A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 26

Gifts of the Spirit

In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of spiritual gifts and the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. The text discusses the importance of being continually filled with the Holy Spirit, emphasizing that the outcomes of such filling are character-related rather than miracles. It challenges traditional definitions of spiritual gifts, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in the ministry of the church should be considered a spiritual gift. The lesson highlights the idea that natural talents and spiritual gifts are not distinct categories, as the Holy Spirit can repurpose and connect pre-existing abilities to the mission of Jesus. Ultimately, the lesson redefines spiritual gifts as abilities empowered by the Holy Spirit and used for the mission of Jesus, emphasizing the Holy Spirit as the primary gift to all believers.

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 26
Watching Now
Gifts of the Spirit

I. Understanding "Filling" and the Holy Spirit

A. The concept of "filling" and its significance

B. Continuous receptiveness to the Holy Spirit's power

C. Outcomes of being filled with the Holy Spirit

II. Reevaluating the Definition of Spiritual Gifts

A. Traditional definition of gifts as supernatural abilities

B. A revised perspective on spiritual gifts

C. The connection between natural talents and spiritual gifts

III. Spiritual Gifts as Manifestations of the Holy Spirit

A. The primary gift being the Holy Spirit Himself

B. The various aspects of spiritual gifts

1. Enduring abilities (Verse 4)

2. Ministry roles and offices (Verse 5)

3. Activities and functions (Verse 6)

4. Manifestations (Verse 7)

IV. The Non-Exhaustive Nature of Gift Lists

A. Exploring the idea that gift lists are not exhaustive

B. Examples of gifts not explicitly listed in scripture

  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Gifts of the Spirit
Lesson Transcript

Well, we've talked a little bit about filling, and it's something that's from ministry tasks. Could be short-term, like blinding people, or long-term like being Stephen as a deacon. It can be a basic personality or character thing. But then you've got this command, "Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit," so that means that I need to be continually receptive, looking for, receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. And what comes out of filling of the Spirit in this passage, Ephesians 5:18, is not miracles, but character. You're speaking to one another in godly ways. You're giving thanks to God. You're praising God. You're submitting to one another so it's basic community-type things. And we tend to associate filling of the Holy Spirit with something really, really dramatic. And sometimes that happens, but more often it's just the everyday life in the community of the Spirit.

Another topic that's a point of controversy is the issue of gifts of the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit traditionally have been understood to be supernatural abilities given at or after conversion. Basic definition of gifts that's widely taken is gifts are supernatural abilities given at or after conversion and uniquely to the children of God. I'm going to suggest to you that's not the best definition of gifts. I rather like what Wayne Grudem does in his Systematic Theology and others do as well, and a gift is any ability that's empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in the ministry of the church.

Again, this is in your notes. I think what happens is that, biblically speaking, a gift is any ability that's empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in the ministry of the church, in the mission of Jesus. And that's a significantly different definition because if I believe that a gift is a supernatural ability given at or after conversion, then something that's a part of who I am before I'm a Christian can't be a spiritual gift, and I just don't think that's the case. I think it could be any ability, no matter when you get it, could be a supernatural ability given after conversion, but in my understanding, it could be an ability that I have as a person that I had while I was still an enemy of the Gospel, and then God can redirect that and connect it to the work of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then what that happens, and, again, this is where it becomes significant, the distinction that's so often made between natural talent and spiritual gift, I think is a bogus distinction. An absolute complete distinction between a natural talent and a spiritual gift is based on this definition that a spiritual gift is something that is a supernatural ability given at or after conversion and I just don't think that's the case. I think it's any ability. The key is that it's empowered by the Spirit and connected with the mission of Jesus, and that's what makes a natural talent become what we call a spiritual gift, and this to me is a significant point.

Now I can't really use myself as an example because my first day in this world was spent in a church and I've always been a follower of Jesus. I had a significant step away from that as a high school student and early college. But I've got a friend, Seth Trimmer. Seth is the pastor of Grace City Church in Corvallis, and he went to Oregon State University on a football scholarship. He's a wide receiver and he was good enough as a football player. He had a pretty good chance of making it in the pros and he was looking in that direction, and then part way through his college career, another guy got in touch with him and Seth became a Jesus follower, and it was a pretty dramatic conversion.

And then the church they were in, Grace City, was led by a pastor who got torqued in the wrong direction and was disqualified from ministry, and it really had a bad impact on the church, and several people left and the people at the church came to him and said, "Seth, we would like you to consider being pastor of this church," and he said, "I can't. I don't have the ability to teach. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. Big part of what you're doing is you want me to stand up on Sunday morning and preach to you and I'm just not good at that." And they said, "Well, Seth, you're an incredible leader. We've seen you on the team." "Yeah, I'm a leader, I've always been a leader, but I'm not a teacher."

And so they did through some stuff, and I'm shortening the story a bit, and finally he said, "You know, I hear the call of God in this and I'm going to do that." And they prayed over him as they installed him and anointed him lead pastor there at Grace City. And what Seth says, he said it to me personally, in that installation ceremony they did and the work behind it, he was given the supernatural ability to teach and preach. I've heard him do it. He is outstanding. That's a supernatural gift given after conversion for a particular ministry task and he's doing it. He actually works internationally now with his denomination, amazing guy.

But, see, did you hear what else I said? Why did they want him to be leader of the church? Because he's a leader. He's always been a leader. That's a natural talent. And when he got saved, people recognized, "Man, you're a great leader. You're working for Jesus," and so the fact that he was a strong natural leader connected deeply to Jesus, that's also a spiritual gift. The natural talent, if you use that as leadership, and the supernatural ability for him of teaching and preaching are both spiritual gifts it seems to me, but they come in different times, different ways. I don't like the distinction between natural talent and supernatural gift because I think God uses who we are and repurposes it and reconnects it to the mission of Jesus even after you come through a dramatic conversion like Seth went through. That's what I'd like to do that.

It seems to me that a spiritual gift is any ability that's empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in the ministry of the church by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so in that case, spiritual means something that's animated, empowered by the Spirit, rather than something that's esoteric and mystical and invisible, because we think of something spiritual, we think of, man, it's esoteric, it's mystical, it's invisible. No, spiritual is something that's animated by the Spirit, connected to the mission of Jesus is what spiritual means there.

That's the first thing I'd like to say. But now what I want us to do, is take a look at a key passage and that key passage is 1st Corinthians chapter 12. Get your Bible. Again, I'm using NIV here, but in most cases, translations don't make any difference in this. If I look at 1st Corinthians 12, here's what it says, "Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed." Now there are some differences in translation. If I look in the ESV, it's going to say, "Now concerning spiritual gifts." NIV is going to say, "Gifts of the Spirit," with the Spirit capitalized, and that's a significant difference it seems to me. Gifts of the Spirit, capital, emphasizes the work of the Spirit. If you say spiritual gifts with a small, it doesn't emphasize necessarily the work of the Holy Spirit. That's a small difference, but there's actually something quite a bit bigger than that.

Would you all turn to your Greek Bible now? Would you all open your Greek Bibles right now? Oh, you don't have one? Well, you could get one. You could learn some Greek. This is a place where you'll find it in some translations if you look in... Oh, let's see, let me make sure what I say is true here before I tell you it's true. If I look in the New Living Translation... Nope, that's not it. Well, look at the New American Standard if you have that available to you, and what you'll see in the New American Standard is it will say, "Now concerning spiritual gifts," but it has the word gifts in italics. And in King James and New American Standard, when it puts the word in italics, it doesn't mean special emphasis. It means that word is not in the Greek and it's been added for meaning. And, if you look in the Greek, it doesn't have the word chrisma there. It only has the word spiritual, pneumatiko.

And to my judgment, it's really important to understand that 1st Corinthians 12 is not a chapter about spiritual gifts. It's a chapter about stuff of the Spirit, to use a very technical term. It's a chapter that's talking about things the Holy Spirit does, and I think we misinterpret the chapter. Frankly, I think we misunderstand it badly when we read it as a chapter about spiritual gifts. Let me show you why. I'm back in NIV now, "Now about gifts of the spirit, brother and sister, I don't want you to be uninformed," and we keep reading, and keep in mind my picture that this is about spirituals or spiritual stuff or things the spirit does. Keep reading, "Now you know that when you pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray by mute idols. Therefore, I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit." What's a spiritual gift there that actually isn't a spiritual gift. What is it?

No one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. Is that a spiritual gift to be able to say, Jesus is Lord? No. It's a confession of the mouth that can come at conversion or afterwards when I'm submitting myself to the lordship of Jesus Christ. That's something the Holy Spirit does is transform us through the confession, Jesus is Lord, but it's not a spiritual gift, it's not a special ability, it's just the work the Holy Spirit does. So what I want to suggest to you, coming back to the notes here as we work through this, a primary gift that we see in scripture is, the primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.

So when I think of gifts of the spirit, the first thing I want to do is not talk about some ability. I want to talk about the very gift of the Holy Spirit, and I think that's what 1st Corinthians 12 is focusing on. We get the gift of the Holy Spirit by virtue of becoming in Christ, that's incorporation, indwelling, and because we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, then things happen and one of the things that happens is what we call spiritual gifts. It also is the filling of spirit and other things as well. I think the heart of it when we think about gifts, is we have to talk about the primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself given to all believers. And I've got a whole bunch of stuff in there that you can look at in the notes. And as I note there, the common translation of verse 1, spiritual gifts is misleading because gifts is not in the Greek.

In fact, nowhere in Paul does he use the term spiritual gifts anywhere. The term spiritual gifts is just not there. The spirituals is the things that the Holy Spirit does, the things of the Spirit. And the first thing is being able to say, Jesus is Lord. So the first thing the Holy Spirit does. Now, what's the second thing we see of the Holy Spirit? Well, that's verse 4. Now we have the term gifts, the same spirit distributes them and the term gifts here, charismata. To look and see what that means, what I want you to do is turn over to Romans chapter 12, and if we go to Romans chapter 12, we all know verses 1 and 2. Do his perfect, good word, given me. But look down at verse 6, look down at verse 6. Romans 12:6. Paul says this, "We have different gifts," and that's the term charismata. It's the same word we find in 1st Corinthians 12:4, but now he gives us some things. If your gift is prophesying... Okay, now let me ask you a question here. Prophesy. Is that a natural ability or a spiritual gift?

Spiritual gift.

It's obviously something the Holy Spirit does. Now you can of course, get a demonic spirit and do prophecy, but it's not something that's resident in me. Prophecy's a connection with the spirit. Okay, good. So he says prophesy according to your faith. Now look at the next one. Serving. Think of people who are servants. Is that a spiritual gift or is that more natural talent or some of both? It's both. See, and what I want to do is say, while prophecy is, we call it supernatural, serving is not, but they're both gifts that Paul is talking about here. Teaching, encouraging, giving, leading. Remember my story of Seth Trimmer. Leading is here and I think Paul is talking about enduring abilities here.

I think what Paul is talking about in Romans 12 are enduring abilities and what he's saying is use them for the sake of Jesus. Use them for the sake of building up the body of Christ. Use them for increasing your character of Christ-likeness. So that's the term gifts we find in 1st Corinthians 12:4 I think. There are different kinds of gifts, different kinds of enduring abilities is what I'm suggesting. Okay, got that. Verse 5. Verse 5 goes on to talk about different kinds of NIV translated as services. The Greek word there is the word diakonia. And another translation that's often used there is different kinds of ministries. And deacon or elder or prophet or evangelist or pastor, those could all be different ministries. And I think this is a role or an office that people fill. When you look down in verse 5, it says there are different kinds of service, in the NIV.

The Greek word behind that is the term diakonia, and it could be translated and often is, ministries. So I think what he's talking about, there are different kinds of roles or ministries, offices, where believers are called to minister in the name of Jesus and he's talking about different kinds of roles, different ministries. See that's not spiritual gifts. That's ministry areas. But it's still things the Holy Spirit does. Work of the Holy Spirit is to develop those and put us in those spaces. Verse 6, NIV translate there are different kinds of working. The word there is energema or energizings or activities. And I think activities is actually a pretty good translation. So you've got different enduring abilities, verse 4, different offices or roles, verse 5, and different activities, functions that you do within those offices. And those are all works of the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, but they're not all gifts. Only verse 4 is gifts.

Now here's where I'm going to give you a curve. I actually heard it from John Mark Comer, my friend who's now with planning. What the name of it? Anyway, his new thing. I'll think of it. He's pastor of Bridgetown and he showed me this. He said, "Gary, what is the word there?" I said, "Well, the word is translated manifestation." "Um-hum, okay." The word there is phanerosis and manifestation is a good thing of that. And a manifestation is something that appears. And so I like, just to get the point I think Paul's making here, these are eruptions of the Spirit. These are eruptions of the Spirit. And I think these eruptions can happen in any person at any time, talking particularly of believers here of course, but the Holy Spirit can work in anybody at any moment, an eruption of the Spirit.

So verse 4, as I'm understanding enduring abilities, you have long-term ability in this area, use it for Jesus. Verse 5 is talking about ministries, offices, roles created by the Spirit. Serve faithfully. Verse 6 is talking about activities or functions done by the Holy Spirit. Do it well. Do it as unto Jesus. Do it for the building up of the body. Verse 7 is talking about manifestations or eruptions of the Spirit that can happen in anybody at any time. Now what happens is, people, if you have this idea, you come into the ministry of Jesus, whether it's a church service or somewhere else, you come with an expectation. The Holy Spirit can do anything any moment. And it may be way out of my personality characteristic or am I right in the center of it? But it can happen.

Now, of course there can be false gifts, where I'm not missing that point, but I think there's an expectation that happens is, let's see what the Holy Spirit does this time. Now, frankly, I've been using Baptist as kind of pejorative way because I am a Baptist and glad of that. Baptists don't like manifestations. They want it all approved by the board well in advance of the service. And if it's not been prior approved by the board, you can't do it here. And actually, I think people quench the Spirit with that kind of attitude. But I find a lot of Pentecostals do it too because they're so emphasizing gifts and not open to manifestations. And I find people saying, "Well, that's not my gift." It's true. It's not your enduring ability. That does not mean the Holy Spirit cannot manifest in that area. And you may do something that you've... I think Paul blinding Elymas is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. He only did that one time and he did it with power. And I think that's an openness.

So it has a list of things here, a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge by the same Spirit, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, speaking different kinds of tongues. Those can all be manifestations and then he begins to summarize in verse 11, all these things, that could be the list in 8 through 10, or it could be the whole chapter to date, are work of the same Holy Spirit as he distributes just as he determines. So to try to wrap this up a bit, I taught at Faith Academy for three years, 1969 to 1972. It's a school for missionary kids just outside Manila. It was and is a top flight MK school. And I joined a prayer group when I first came to Faith, a wise old man of 22 years old. Had one year of math teaching under my belt and came there to teach.

And I joined this prayer group. And part of what we were praying, is faculty and staff there, was we were praying for revival at Faith Academy because MKs, they can be a real cynical lot because they've been through a lot and also can be just incredibly powerful people. And we were praying for revival at Faith. Holy Spirit, would you do your work and bring revival in some of these hard-bitten kids that had been knocked around by the stuff of life and being third-culture kids and all that. And the second year we were there, we had a group called the MadriGals & Guys, playing on the musical form madrigals, as our students gals and guys who went and they did stuff, singing group and such in church, they give their testimonies, that sort of thing. And the MadriGals & Guys had been on a mission trip and they were coming back.

We had chapel. We were on the stage of the gym there at Faith Academy and on the stage right above us was a metal roof and we were doing chapel and the MadriGals & Guys were giving testimony of what happened in this trip. The thing that made a little more complicated, we had a typhoon headed toward Manila that day. And if you think of typhoons or hurricanes we call them here, what do you think about? A lot of rain. What does rain and a metal roof do? Noisy. And we were typical MK school. Our sound system was not this marvelous system I'm working with right now. The sound system was the missionary barrel sound system and I couldn't hear. I was about halfway back on the stage and I could not hear what was going up on the front of the stage. I looked around and I saw the sound guy and I saw him take that knob. There was one knob, not a whole bank of things, and I saw him go to lock. He had given it all the juice it had and I still couldn't hear what was going on.

And suddenly I found myself praying, "Lord, stop the rain." And just as fast, Gary came back and said, "You've got to be kidding. It's a typhoon." And just as fast I came back, "No, this is your work, God, to stop the rain." Now this is all quiet and I didn't say anything out loud, but there was just a, I would say a manifestation of faith in that moment. Within five minutes, the rain had slowed down and we were able to hear. Within 10 minutes the rain had stopped. I wish like anything I'd kept the map from the Manila Times the next day. That typhoon was headed right toward Manila. It did a hard right turn and headed up to Baguio.

And I found out later there were at least a dozen people who prayed the same prayer at the same time and God stopped the rain in an Elijah-ish kind of way. And frankly, I live in Portland, Oregon. I've never stopped the rain since. But that was a time and that was revival that broke out. The only time I've been in a true revival. It stopped everything at Faith Academy for two full days as we worked with students. And it was a tremendous impact there. I mean I just got all kinds of memories, but that was a manifestation of the Spirit. I don't particularly have a gift of faith. I have ordinary faith abilities. But see, I want to have a manifestation that can happen at a time like that. And it's not something I generate. I'm receptive to it. Lord, if there's something you want to do, do it now.

And I can say, Lord, give me the faith to, but that's a manifestation. Enduring ability, gift, verse 4. Ministry office role, verse 5. Activity function, something like that, verse 6. Verse 7, manifestation, any person, anytime as the spirit moves, all done for the mission of Jesus. And I think that's kind of the sort of stuff that 1st Corinthians 12 is talking about. I don't want to limit it. I don't want to limit simply to enduring abilities. Enduring abilities are important and I don't want to limit gifts itself only to supernatural abilities. So when I think of gifts, that's a foundational thing I want to do is have that to be a place where God can do it. So look at the different dimensions. If I can think of an eruption of prophecy. In a moment I have an ability to speak the word with transforming power and ooh, there it is and it's maybe never there again. That would be a manifestation.

There are people who have an enduring ability of prophecy. They speak the word of God of transforming power as a regular thing. And it's a gift. I think there are people biblically who are prophets. They have an office or a role in that area. That's one in Ephesians 4:11. And that's now a leadership role, an activity, a ministry, where they're not only doing prophecy regularly, but have an office to equip and encourage others to do that sort of thing. You could do the same thing with teaching. Somebody could do teaching in a moment or a word of wisdom. These are here in the list. But you can have somebody who could teach powerfully in a moment and never do it again. You could have somebody who is a good teacher. You have somebody who has an office responsibility of a teacher. So I think those different levels are there. And I think that's what 1st Corinthians 12 was talking about. Don't limit it simply to supernatural ability given out after.

Now, one more thing and we'll be finished. The list of manifestations or gifts. There are like five of them and they're very different. The only one that appears in more than one list is the word prophecy. Is the list in there exhaustive? And see, I don't think it is. If you take all the words in all the different gift lists, Romans, 1st Corinthians, Ephesians, 1st Peter, you come up with, depending how you count things, 21 or 23 different things. Is that all of them? And see, that comes back as sole authority, only what scripture says, or primary authority. And I think that this list is not exhaustive. I think it's exemplary. These are the kinds of things the Spirit does. "Well, Gary, if there's other stuff, what would it be?" Well, frankly, worship is never listed as a gift. I know people who have a gift of an enduring ability of worship and leadership roles in worship. It's never in there.

The one that's near and dear to my heart is the gift of prayer. It's never listed here as a gift anywhere. I have been with people. One of the more transforming experience of my life was with a man who had the gift of prayer. I only spent one hour with him. He is a missionary in the Philippines. And I was with a man who had the gift of prayer and it was like something I've never been before. I've been with other people who have had the gift. One woman in particular was tremendously powerful, but this man was unique. Prayer is not listed as a gift in scripture or a ministry. I think it should be. So I think there are others.

What's the most important gift in the church today? What is the most important gift in the church today? Stop and think realistic. What is the most important gift in the church today? It's the tech team. No, it's the tech team. Without a doubt, it's the tech team in today's church. We cannot do church without really competent tech team, right, Kevin? I am only slightly sarcastic. This is so important for the way we do church today with Zoom's church and all those things. And it's a gift. It's an enduring ability that's used for the service of Jesus. And I laud our tech team for doing things. Okay, we're done. Questions?

So we have the command to be filled by the Spirit. How do we do that?

Well, biblically we have no answer. There's nothing in scripture that says how to do it. So I think that's a point of wisdom. But a big piece of it, being receptive to it. And a big piece is stop the things that grieve the Spirit. So if I've got sin in my life that grieves the Spirit, I need to deal with that sin to become a responsive person to scripture. And then I think a big thing is to pray for it. So the filling of Spirit I think comes with that closer connection with God that comes through prayer and community of the Spirit. I think those are key things, but scripture never tells how to do it. And in different traditions, you have different common ways of doing things. If you're in a more Baptist tradition is studying scripture. If you're a more Pentecostal tradition is going down to the spiritual mosh pit down on the front of the thing and jumping up and down and going a little crazy. But I think there are different ways to do that. But scripture never tells us how to do that except be receptive in prayer.


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