Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

I Speak in Tongues

 

 I [Paul] thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you.

1 Cor 14:18 NLT

I first spoke in tongues on a street corner in Dallas, Texas in 1979. It was not a highly emotional experience, but it was a surprisingly sweet and tender moment of encountering Christ in the Holy Spirit. Since then, the gift of tongues has lifted me out of times of discouragement, helped me to pray when I don’t know how, and drawn me into greater awareness of God’s presence. The greatest benefit to this most controversial of the spiritual gifts: deeper intimacy with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tongues, or glossolalia, is a special ability from the Holy Spirit to speak in a language never learned: earthly or angelic (1 Cor. 13:1). Unintelligible speech directed in praise and prayer toward God for the edification of the speaker and for the building up of the people of God.

Speaking in tongues is normal, but not normative. That is to say, do not be surprised to experience the gift of tongues upon being renewed in the Holy Spirit. However, the experience of this blessed gift is not a requirement, but a grace-gift from God to assist us in praying when we do not know how to pray (Acts 2:1-11).

Tongues is “a way of responding to the inexpressibility of God, a way of crying to God from the depths and expressing the too-deep-for-words sighings of the heart.

The gift of tongues cuts at our pride. Receiving this gift surrenders our speech to the Lord and makes us like little children: humble, dependent and trusting.

The gift places us in unfamiliar territory and requires us to be childlike in prayer. But this may be why tongues are important. It is a means God uses to challenge strategies of control. It is a humble but also a humbling gift to which we should be open.

Clark H. Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 172-173.

A benefit of speaking in tongues is the ability to pray when you don’t know how to pray, this gift enables us to speaks directly to God (1 Cor. 14:2), providing personal edification (1 Cor. 14:4) enabling praise and worship (Acts 2:11) increasing our personal intimacy with Jesus (Mark 16:17; 1 Cor. 12:10, 28; 13:1; 14:2, 4, 13-16 ,27). Best book on the practicality and joy of experiencing the gift of tongues is Jack Hayford’s The Beauty of Spiritual Language.

 

Charismata (Spiritual Gifts)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts (Greek: charismata). Use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 NLT

We need supernatural power to fight and win a supernatural war, therefore the Father gives us spiritual tools and grace-filled weapons for the battle–the spiritual gifts. These weapons are concrete expressions of grace, charismata, which enable and empower every believer to do the words and perform the works of Jesus. The word explains the reason for the works and the works demonstrate the power of the word.

It is not enough to believe in the spiritual gifts or even occasionally participate in their practice; we must intensely hunger for their manifestation. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “eagerly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1). The phrase “seek not, forbid not” concerning the gifts of the Spirit is an unbiblical aphorism (1 Cor. 1:7, 12:31, 14:39; Heb. 2:3-4).

But while indeed the Church’s sacramental and apostolic order witnesses to the historical givenness of gospel and Church, there is need to remember the continuing lively action of the Spirit whereby alone the believers are Christ’s body. The many charismata shared among the Church’s members are not personal qualities or possessions so much as constant actions of the Spirit in which the liveliness of God touches human lives.

Michael Ramsey, Holy Spirit: A Biblical Study (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977), 127-128.

Spurgeon’s Word of Knowledge

Charles H. Spurgeon

 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance (i.e., word) of wisdom, and to another the utterance (i.e., word) of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

1 Cor. 12:7-8 ESV

A word of knowledge is insight given to a believer into another person’s past which ministers God’s present love into their current problems and struggles. A word of knowledge reveals heart-felt secrets that only our omniscient God could know for the purpose of displaying God’s care and concern for that person’s needs. “A word of knowledge is usually defined within charismatic circles as the report of a specific piece of information that a person could not possibly have known naturally” (Adrian Warnock).

There were many instances of remarkable conversions at the Music Hall; one especially was so singular that I have often related it as a proof that God sometimes guides His servants to say what they would themselves never have thought of uttering, in order that He may bless the hearer for whom the message is personally intended. While preaching in the hall, on one occasion, I deliberately pointed to a man in the midst of the crowd, and said, “There is a man sitting there, who is a shoemaker; he keeps his shop open on Sundays, it was open last Sabbath morning, he took ninepence, and there was fourpence profit out of it; his soul is sold to Satan for fourpence ! ” A city missionary, when going his rounds, met with this man, and seeing that he was reading one of my sermons, he asked the question, “Do you know Mr. Spurgeon?” “Yes,” replied the man, “I have every reason to know him, I have been to hear him; and, under his preaching, by God’s grace I have become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Shall I tell you how it happened ? I went to the Music Hall, and took my seat in the middle of the place ; Mr. Spurgeon looked at me as if he knew me, and in his sermon he pointed to me, and told the congregation that I was a shoemaker, and that I kept my shop open on Sundays ; and I did, sir. I should not have minded that; but he also said that I took ninepence the Sunday before, and that there was fourpence profit out of it. I did take ninepence that day, and fourpence was just the profit; but how he should know that, I could not tell. Then it struck me that it was God who had spoken to my soul through him, so I shut up my shop the next Sunday. At first, I was afraid to go again to hear him, lest he should tell the people more about me ; but afterwards I went, and the Lord met with me, and saved my soul.”

Spurgeon elaborates that his experience of the word of knowledge (not his term) was not uncommon in his ministry:

I could tell as many as a dozen similar cases in which I pointed at somebody in the hall without having the slightest knowledge of the person, or any idea that what I said was right, except that I believed I was moved by the Spirit to say it; and so striking has been my description, that the persons have gone away, and said to their friends, ” Come, see a man that told me all things that ever I did ; beyond a doubt, he must have been sent of God to my soul, or else he could not have described me so exactly.” And not only so, but I have known many instances in which the thoughts of men have been revealed from the pulpit. I have sometimes seen persons nudge their neighbours with their elbow, because they had got a smart hit, and they have been heard to say, when they were going out, “The preacher told us just what we said to one another when we went in at the door.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: 1854-1860 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1899), 226-227.

 

Prophetic Ministry

Prophetic Ministry

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers . . . .

Eph. 4:11

A prophet is a male or female called by God to hear his voice, display in his or her life that message, and proclaim that word to the people of God. A prophet is anointed to be a voice of encouragement and correction to the Body of Christ by exhorting God’s people to walk in holiness of life and obedience to the Word of God (Amos 3:7, Eph. 4:11, Acts 21:7-14). Not every believer is a prophet, but every believer can exercise the gift of prophecy. Prophetic ministry still exists today, but the prophets must be accountable to the governing authorities of their local church (1 Cor. 14:36-40).

We do have prophetically gifted people in the church today. Some of the most gifted of these can regularly predict the future, tell you the secrets of your heart, receive accurate impressions and dreams, see accurate visions, and some are even used to do miracles. I don’t really care what we call these people, as long as we are wise enough to see the value of their ministries and benefit from them.

Since the beginning of the New Testament church, God has given prophetically gifted ministers to each generation of believers, just as he has always given evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 69.

Evaluating a Word of Prophecy

Assessing a Word of Prophecy

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Cor. 14:29

Every believer can prophesy because every believer has indwelling within him or her the presence of the Holy Spirit. The word of prophecy has not ceased because the Holy Spirit has not stopped being our advocate, counselor, and guide (1 Thes. 5:19-22). In addition, the Holy Spirit endows every believer with the gift of discernment.

Evaluating a word of prophecy involves three elements: revelation, interpretation, and application. Revelation: Is a prophetic word genuinely from the Holy Spirit having a sense of eternity? Interpretation: What does the word mean to us? The correct interpretation is important as the revelation. Application: What do we do with this word?

The gift of discernment is insight from the Holy Spirit which enables a believer to know whether a practice, teaching, or gifting is from God, Satan, or a manifestation of the flesh (Luke 10:19, Acts 16:17-18, 1 Cor. 12:10). The Holy Spirit has not only graced the Body of Christ with prophetic guidance, but also, he has granted the church the ability to weigh prophetic words. Is a prophetic word from the Lord or simply a human creation? Is a prophetic word eternal, genuinely from the Lord, or a manifestation of the flesh, an emotional working up of concern? Could it be possible that a prophetic word is a distraction from Satan?

The gift of discernment operates in the congregation and within the leadership of the local church. This gift is enables the congregation to identify the source, content, and intent of a prophetic word. Individually, discernment is a check in one’s spirit with a question mark in one’s mind. A prophetic word may sound right, but does not register in our spirits as being from the Lord.

Certainly in these Last Days, the church needs the gift of discernment more than ever before. All types of false teaching and wrong-headed leadership are attempting to subvert local churches. We are not only called to discern, but are commanded to do so. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1-2).

One aspect of discernment is the ability to judge not by what our eyes see, or our ears hear, but with righteousness through the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11: 2-4). The Holy Spirit can show us whether or not predictions will come true. But this is not the highest level of discernment that he has to offer the church.

The Spirit of Truth is given to the church, especially its leadership, what promotes the love, testimony, and glory of Jesus. If the leadership of the church would follow resolutely after these three things—the love of Jesus, the testimony of Jesus, and the glory of Jesus—it would be very difficult for them to be deceived.”

Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 198.

The Word of Prophecy

The Word of Prophecy

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Cor 14:1 ESV

Today, many believers express confusion and consternation over the nature and purpose of the charismatic gift of the word of prophecy (1 Cor 12:10; 14:1-5). We will examine the gift of prophecy and prophetic ministry over the next several days.

The word of prophecy is spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible speech, orally-delivered to the church gathered intended for the building up of the people of God. In other words, the gift of prophecy is not planned, we cannot make the Holy Spirit give us a word. Properly, the word is not self-generated, but insight and instruction from the heart of God for the people of God. Biblically, the word of prophecy is shared by an individual for the whole Body of Christ in a language that everyone can understand. A word of prophecy, even if given to just one individual, should be submitted to the whole congregation for discernment (1 Cor. 14:29).

Prophecy can be both foretelling, insights into the plans of God; and forthtelling, God’s word for our present circumstances. Prophecy is an important gift for the Apostle Paul encouraged us to “earnestly desire” the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14: 1) and prophecy has the ability to “strengthen, encourage, and comfort” the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 14: 3). New Testament prophecy is not inspired like scripture, but insights from the Lord for personal guidance and corporate direction.

In its broad meaning, prophecy is simply God communicating His thoughts and intents to mankind. When a true prophecy is given, the Holy Spirit inspires someone to communicate God’s pure and exact words to the individual or group for whom they are intended. It is delivered without any additions or subtractions by the one prophesying, including any applications or interpretations suggested by the one speaking. To be most effective, it must also be delivered in God’s timing and with the proper spirit or attitude.

Bill Hamon, Prophets and Personal Prophecy (Santa Rosa Beach, FL: Christian International, 1987), 29.

What Do You Do With a Personal Prophetic Word?

Active or Passive Response?

Here and here, we defined the word of prophecy as a spiritual gift and how during this season of Advent, we especially need to seek the prophetic word. Today, we reflect on how to respond when a prophetic word is given by the Holy Spirit.

What should our response be to a confirmed prophetic word (1 Cor. 14:29)? Do we just sit around and wait? Do we just discuss it, debate it, or analyze it? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit desires for us to pray this move of God—an inbreaking of the kingdom—into existence?  The Holy Spirit calls us to obey Isaiah’s injunction, “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near” (Isa. 55:6, NLT). We seek the gift of prophecy for we hunger for God’s direction in the midst of the chaos and confusion of this world (1 Cor. 14:1).

The prophetic word is an invitation to enter God’s promises, to receive God’s provision, and to release God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 14:1-5). When a prophetic word is given to us, we are called to pray the promise’s fulfillment, believe the promise’s pledge, and obey the promise’s command.  In other words, we are not to sit passively waiting for a prophetic word to come true, but we are called by God to be actively cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that word fulfilled.

Elijah is a biblical example of responding to God’s prophetic word: he acted and prayed into existence God’s promise of rain (1 Kings 18:1, 41-46).

Elijah sought the Lord even when the word of the Lord was clear and unequivocal; he did not wait passively, but pursued Yahweh while he could be found. God promised Elijah, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth” (1 Kings 18:1, NKJV). First, Elijah obeyed the word of the Lord and was immediately obedient to the heavenly command. For in verse two, Elijah went and presented himself to his greatest enemy King Ahab. He obeyed despite the threat of rejection, persecution, and even possible death.

Second, Elijah grabbed hold of the word of God and believed it for he heard “the abundance of rain” before it was ever visible (v.41). Third, Elijah sought the Lord in prayer basing his request for rain on the promise of God (v.1).  Fourth, Elijah humbled himself before the Lord, not demanding, but requesting that God honor his promise of rain. “And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees . . . ” (v. 42). Fifth, Elijah was earnest; he wanted to see the word of the Lord fulfilled (James 5:17). He persevered until the answer came, for “seven times” he looked longingly to the sea for rain (v.43).

Sixth, Elijah was undeterred for he continued to believe God even after six times of seeing no results from his prayers. Seven, Elijah acted on God’s prophetic word for he gave Ahab instructions to drive through the Jezreel Valley before rain flooded the area. Elijah based his orders on seeing a cloud as small as a man’s hand, thus Elijah was a man of faith (v.44). Elijah saw his prayer answered (v.45) and became an example for us all (James 5: 16a-18). [F. B. Meyer, Elijah: And the Secret of His Power (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1978), 90-100.]

Conclusion, Elijah is biblical example for receiving a prophetic word: we should pray until the promise is fulfilled. The great prayer warrior, E. M. Bounds, instructs us in the same manner:

All revivals are dependent on God, but in revivals, as in other things, he invites and requires the assistance of man, and the full result is obtained when there is cooperation between the divine and the human. In other words, to employ a familiar phrase, God alone can save the world, but God chooses not to save the world alone.

E. M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer found in The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990), 360.

Advent and the Gift of Prophecy

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Prophetic Hope

“Eagerly desire . . . the gift of prophecy”

1 Cor 14:1

In a previous post, I defined the spiritual gift of prophecy as spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible speech, orally-delivered to the church gathered intended for the building up of the people of God. Prophecy can be both foretelling; insights into the future plans of God, and forthtelling; God’s word for our present circumstances.

During the church season of Advent, the word of prophecy is important for Advent is the period of the Christian year dedicated to prophetic hope. Prophetic hope is believing and expecting God’s inspired promise of Jesus’ soon return. Advent means confident waiting: waiting on God to fulfill his word that Jesus will return in a physical body to bring his church home and judge the world (2 Peter 3:8-10). Advent is a prophetic season for we wait for the prophetic fulfillment of Jesus’ second coming while marveling at the Old Testament prophetic fulfillment of Jesus’ first coming. The Old Testament prophets spoke of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death (Gen. 3:15; Micah 5:2; Isa. 7:14. 53:4-7) and years later these promises were fulfilled. Today, we read the prophetic words of Jesus, Paul, John, and Peter concerning the Second Coming (Mark 13:26-27; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 3:8-10; Rev. 19:11-16) and with confidence we expect the prophetic words of scripture to be fulfilled again.

The word of prophecy is hope: knowledge that God is aware of our need and actively working to meet that heart-cry. The gift of prophecy points the Church to Christ, calls for obedience to his commands, and brings healing and restoration. The gift of prophecy reminds believers of their call to holiness, their dependence on God’s grace, and the faithfulness of God’s promise. Corporately, the prophetic gift calls forth repentance, restoration, and renewal in the Body of Christ. The prophetic gift builds up the Church in her call to be God’s witness to the world (1 Cor. 12:31, 14:1, 39; Heb. 2:3-4).

During the season of Advent, the church can expect the Holy Spirit to encourage, comfort, and strengthen all believers for the coming year.

True Prophets are the healers, preachers, and teachers who are “binders of wounds,” because they call people to genuine transformation and repentance. True prophetic words point to sin, to what is amiss in a life or in a culture; they warn of the consequences if one fails to repent (here a predictive element can come in); they console; they encourage. They do all this in conjunction with the fundamental truth that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 12:10).

Leanne Payne, Heaven’s Calling: A Memoir of One Soul’s Steep Ascent (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 116.

We Have Something For Which They Longed . . .

new_covenant

. . . the Indwelling Holy Spirit.

Trinity Sunday, June 7th, I preached the sermon, “We Have Something For Which They Longed.” This message had been burning in my heart for some time and many of you resonated with the biblical truths that I shared. As requested, the outline, notes, and text of my message is now posted for your spiritual encouragement. If you have any problems downloading the entire sermon in Google Documents, please email me and I forward the text to you in Word format.

We Have Something (or Someone) For Which They Longed

Pentecost Year B 2009

[Preached Trinity Sunday Year B 2009]

Rev. Canon Glenn E. Davis

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (emphasis mine)

Gal. 3:13-14 (NKJV).

Overview: The Old Testament people of God yearned for intimacy with God: conscience-cleansing forgiveness of sin, power to obey the law, and life-changing experiences of His presence. The finished work of Christ on the Cross performed the work needed for us to experience all these truths and much more. What Old Testament men and women of faith hoped for and desired, we as New Covenant believers now know. We must not take these precious truths for granted. This sermon is about these great doctrinal truths and how we can fully experience their power and purpose.

Read or download the entire sermon on Google Documents.

To believe fully in the Holy Spirit as the present and abiding and all-comprehensive gift of the New Covenant has been to many an entrance into its fullness of blessing.

Andrew Murray, The Believer’s New Covenant (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1984), 49.

The Rest of the Charismata

spiritual_gifts

Charismata: The Spiritual Gifts as Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit,who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

1 Cor 12:7-11 (ESV)

Over the last several weeks, I have been posting my definitions of key Christian terms related to the Charismatic stream of historic Christianity. With our fourth session of the Ps-501, Life in the Spirit course meeting tomorrow, I thought it would be helpful to post the entire list. This list covers all the charismata, spiritual gifts, found in 1 Cor. 12:8-11 and Eph. 4:11. Below are a couple of definitions to wet your whistle and the remaining definitions are listed in the attached Word document file.

FAITH, GIFT of -Supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to believe for a major victory in a power encounter with the Enemy. An other-worldly conviction that God will reveal his power and mercy in a special way for a specific instance (Acts 3:6, 1 Sam. 17:26).

HEALING(S), GIFTS of -The everyday expectation/faith that the Holy Spirit can heal any disease at any anytime. The plural endings on both Greek nouns indicate various kinds of healing for numerous and different types of diseases (1 Cor. 12:9, Acts 3:1-10).

INTERPRETATION of TONGUES, GIFT of -An enablement from the Holy Spirit to explain meaning of an unknown human language or heavenly tongue (1 Cor. 14:5).

MIRACULOUS POWERS, GIFT of -An extraordinary display of God’s power bringing individual deliverance from sin, death, and the devil. Supernatural power that goes beyond the regular healing of the sick (Acts 5:15, 9:36-43; Acts 8:6-7; 1 Cor. 12:10).

POWER EVANGELISM is a presentation of the gospel which breaks down resistance to the gospel through powerful displays of God’s presence by the manifestation of the spiritual gifts. Through the church’s use of the spiritual gifts: words of knowledge, prophecies, healings, and deliverance from demons, the lost are draw to the Word of God by the power of God.

SIGNS and WONDERS-A special inbreaking of the kingdom which brings deliverance to those bound by sin, sickness, and Satan. This release includes the spiritual gifts manifesting breaking down barriers to the gospel. Synonymous with miracles and the word, “works,” as used in the Gospel of John for displays of God’s power (Acts 2:22, John 14:12). The entire list of definitions can be found on the Scribd page linked below:

Charismata Definitions document file