The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are nine gifts of the spirit; they divide into three threes; there are three gifts which have to do with thought, three with word and three with deed. The more common biblical expression of these is mind, heart and will. The three gifts of mind are; wisdom, knowledge and the discernment of spirits. The three gifts of heart ( word) are tongues, prophecy, interpretation. The three gifts of will are, faith, healings and miracles. In seeing this pattern the gift of faith is more easily identified, it has to do with action, rather than character. The moving of mountains, the acquiring of money, the defiance of anti-God authority, are all usually accomplished to the amazement of others, because the person doing such things has the gift of faith. Wisdom differs from knowledge as knowledge differs from intelligence. How oft we meet folk of no mean education and learning yet who seem to lack simple basic intelligence when it come to how you do something. They know not how to channel the knowledge very often. The wise word is often sound advice concerning which road to take or how to deal with a tricky situation. ( and christians seem adept at getting themselves into such) A word of knowledge id something revealed to a person which they could not have previously known. Peter knew about Ananias and Sapphira , Jesus knew that Nathaniel had been sitting under a fig tree when he heard the call. Healers often can have knowledge of sicknesses in their congregation. Sometimes it is apparent that the people concerned don’t even know. Discernment of spirits is to be able to tell who is speaking in the flesh and who is speaking in the spirit. A woman followed Paul shouting out loud that He was a servant of the mist high God. That was true and would seem to most of us a wonderful thing to say and we would no doubt be encouraged at being recognised, but Paul told her to shut up and then cast the devil out of her. Amazing gift. Healings differ from miracles in that healings take time, miracles happen immediately The gift of tongues is best understood when you realise that God is not an Englishman, so what language does he interpret our words into. He interprets it into the language of the Spirit. When your heart is full, then sometimes it is not always easy to get the mind to express ones feeling properly. When we worship God we need not that our minds are in gear, for we express our hearts by the spirit, and what might seem to be gibberish to the hearers, yet it is a release and blessing to the speaker to have the liberty of expression without having to swallow a dictionary before hand. Jesus was at times heard to be groaning in his spirit. This was probably the gift of tongues, as Jesus communed with his Father. In the church tongues are to be used in general, only when a person is there who has the gift of interpretation. More of this in chapter 14. The gift of prophecy means to “foretell or to tell forth” So sometimes the future can be seen and spoken of, as by Agabus with Paul, and Jesus concerning his second coming days. But also the telling forth was abundant in Jesus’s ministry. “If any man thirst let Him come to me and drink” He shouted at the top of his voice. That has all the hallmarks of prophetic utterance. Some preaching is well prepared and rehearsed but sometimes often to the amazement of the preacher out pours divine truth with amazing authority which had never even been thought of let alone prepared. That is the gift of prophecy. While I was eating my breakfast cereal I began to spoon into my mouth what I thought was cereal, However it was not. It was in fact a plastic folder about two inches long and one and a half inches wide. Inside it was a give-away puzzle which comes with the packet and I suppose is enclosed in order to make children pressurise their parents into buying the flakes. As I bit on the plastic package. I heard a voice within my mind saying “the gifts are not for eating, they are for using” It was a timely reminder as my thoughts went to 1 Corinthians chapter 12. If you read Galatians ch 6, you will read of the fruit of the spirit. Ephesians, says something regarding the church as a tree. In understanding the fruits, we see that the fruit is for the consumption of others, not for the bearer of the fruit. In coming to the gifts we recognise also that they too are for the edification of others and not the one displaying the gift. This is because the life of God is an unselfish outpouring life. Therefore the free gift in the cereal is a timely illustration for us regarding the gifts of the spirit. We regard the word of God as our spiritual food. We devour it week by week. But we would have to admit that the gifts of the Spirit are so far only as something which we have “eaten” in our bible studies, and sadly we have to admit they are not fully in use amongst us. So let us read the twelfth chapter of Corinthians and see if we can remove some of the ignorance which Paul speaks about in verse one. Ignorance which makes many people fear or abuse these gifts in their church. . The Work of the Holy Spirit in the world and in the church.
Jesus said that The Holy Spirit would reveal sufficient light to convince the world of Righteousness, Sin and Judgement. Time does not allow an exposition of this threesome, but when you understand what it means you will see it fits as another three into the columns. Judgment is easily equated with the mind-wisdom, Righteousness with the heart and Sin with the will.) Being the central being in the trinity, the Holy Spirit’s predominance in this age is endorsed by the Holy Spirit being associated with the number nine.. (3 x 3)
Note the TREE NINES of the Holy Spirit
MYSTERIES FRUIT GIFTS
GOSPEL LOVE WISDOM GODLINESS JOY KNOWLEDGE INIQUITY PEACE DISCERNMENT CHURCH LONGSUFFERING FAITH ISRAEL GENTLENESS HEALING SECOND COMING FAITH MIRACLES GOD GOODNESS TONGUES STARS MEEKNESS INTERPRETATION BABYLON TEMPERANCE PROPHECY
In John ch. 14-16 Jesus said the Holy Spirit would come. He refers to Him as the Spirit of Truth, The Comforter and the One who will testify of the Son, not of himself. He Propagates Truth, Produces Fruit and Promotes Gifts. He propagates Truth by revealing the nine “mysteries mentioned in the New Testament. He is the Spirit of Truth There are nine MYSTERIES of the Spirit to fascinate the MIND
MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, MYSTERY OF GODLINESS 1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, MYSTERY OF INIQUITY II Th 2:7. For the mystery of iniquity already works: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way. MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. MYSTERY OF ISRAEL Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. MYSTERY OF 2nd COMING 1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, MYSTERY OF GOD Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. MYSTERY OF STARS Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. MYSTERY OF BABYLON Rev 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
There are NINE FRUIT of the Spirit’s life to be produced from the believer’s heart. Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness & Temperance (Galatians 5:20)
There are NINE GIFTS of the Spirit for those who minister to the church, the Body of Christ.
Furthermore; each Nine consists of three threes; For example, just examine the gifts of the Spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians ch. 12.
Three Gifts of THOUGHT, (mind) - Wisdom, Knowledge and Discernment. Three Gifts of WORD, (spoken - Jesus said- out of the mouth the heart speaks) Tongues, Prophecy and Interpretation Three of DEED (will). Healing, Miracles and Faith. So from these gifts of the Spirit, we can trace two threesomes, Thought, Word and Deed, plus Mind Heart and Will. (From this we can differentiate between the Fruit of faith and the Gift of faith.)
So the pattern is conclusive. The Holy Spirit controls everything in the world- Restraining evil and convincing men of Righteousness Sin & Judgment. The Holy Spirit controls everything in the church, opening up the mysteries of truth, producing the life of Christ(fruit) in the believer and administering gifts for the building up of the church. Corinthians & Ephesians tell us that there are Operations of God, Gifts of the Spirit and Ministries of the Son. A study of this Trinitarian work often gives rise to the much asked question;
Have the Gifts of the Spirit ceased?
There is quite a large section of the genuine Christian community who sincerely believe that they have. Needless to say there are millions around the world who not only believe that they are still operative but consider them to be indispensable to their personal and church life. The writer’s contribution to the debate would be to emphasise the pattern and principle of threes in 1. Corinthians ch 12, where we read of the gifts. In this chapter we are told that there are Operations of God, Ministries of the Lord Jesus and Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this chapter the Gifts of the Spirit are listed and the Ministries of the Son are mentioned in Ephesians chap 4 and they also are recorded as “gifts” Eph 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” It was the Son who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up There is an obvious difference between the gifts of the Son, just referred to, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Son are recognised as Ministries in the church, as indeed it categorises them in 1. Cor. Ch 12. The question should be asked, within this debate, why should the gifts of the Spirit have ceased, (if the claim is made that they have) and not the Ministries of the Son, nor the Operations of God? Especially in the light of the fact that we are definitely in the age or “day” of the Holy Spirit? The division among Christians is very sad, because within the context of both 1. Cor ch 12 and Ephesians ch 4 the call is for unity and love. The oneness of God in chapter 12 is spoken of later in the chapter when the Operations of God are listed and they include both Gifts and Ministries. He is the Father and God of all. Likewise in Ephesians 4 we are being exhorted to keep the Unity of the Spirit, as there is only one body. There are not two or more bodies. There is not a dismembered body. There is not a body suffering from nervous disorder, out of control of the head. There IS ONLY ONE body and we are DIFFERENT yet separate members one of one another. If God’s “true” church can be identified by the mark of a denominational label then it is of the flesh, according to the early chapters in Corinthians, and is no different from the hundreds of false sects and religions all started by men.
The Corinthian church which obviously practised the gifts was not a good advertisement for them. They caused controversy then and they still cause controversy now, in the way they are operated. On the other hand, there are churches which would deny the validity of the gifts within their doctrinal statement, yet there are gifts of the Spirit obviously in operation in their church. If they are not gifts then where did they get them from? Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment, are often abundant in churches which would frown on Tongues, Prophecy and Interpretation of tongues and the churches which would boast of the latter three are often bereft of the former. The gifts of Tongues, Prophecy and Interpretation are probably more prolific than the others within gift-practising churches, because they are the gifts of the heart. Out of the mouth the heart speaks. (Incidentally there is a science today which studies people’s character from the way they speak.) Often the heart speaks without the mind coming into operation and often a good control of the mind can hide the hidden thoughts and intentions of the heart. Although not wishing to demean these gifts, it is a fact that any minister who seeks to operate these gifts in a disciplined sanctified way, would recognise that these gifts, because they come from the heart are the most easily counterfeited, for the “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”. The gifts of the Mind, - Wisdom, Knowledge and Discernment, by their very nature are difficult to see. It is usually the fruits of them that becomes abundantly obvious. The gifts of the Will, - Faith, Healing and Miracles, are not so rife as some others because as in the Christian life generally, the effects of gospel are seen less in the area of the Will than in Mind or Heart areas
Chapter 14; This chapter never fails to promote discussion and comment, not to say arguments and division at times. How often when group sharing is called for, mouths remain shut and minds appear bereft of any thoughts sufficient to make the smallest comment. But if there is one subject that never fails to light the fire and get the party going it is this chapter, or rather the subject of it, which is The Gift of Tongues. It certainly gets the tongues working, and no interpretation is usually required. YET, YET, YET, it is a fact that this chapter was written for the sole purpose of reducing its preeminence within the church. So we recognise that as then so now, it seems to fascinate the church more than any other gift and brings about contention more than any other gift. This chapter spells out very clearly that the purpose of the gifts were to edify the church. It should be the main object of all ministry, no matter what we bring, a psalm, a hymn, an exhortation a tongue or whatever, it should be for the building up of the church. Paul quite clearly states that tongues on its own has no real benefit in the church in terms of edifying anyone. Although it remains a single “stand-a-lone” gift, yet it seems to function best on a personal level, when one is alone. Only when accompanied by other gifts is it of any real import to the fellowship. The tongue is an avenue of the heart, but unless the mind is fruitful, in that the members understand what is being said, the tongue has no powers of edification. Even if the preacher speaks in English, the English will remain unedified if they do not understand what is being said, or what the preacher means. So as a stand-a-lone gift, when one is alone with the Lord, nothing could be more appropriate than to be able to speak to God in His native language, i.e. the language of the Spirit. “The Father indeed does seek such to worship Him, in Spirit and in truth.” ( John ch 4.) The unbeliever is truly identified by his lack of understanding when this gift is in operation. Paul’s peculiar knack of producing obscure texts from the Old Testament, seemingly out of context at times, is seen here as he quotes from Isaiah. The great prophet warns the Israelites that because they have refused to listen to God and obey Him while he spoke to them in their own tongue, the day would come when they would not be able to understand, for God would speak to them in a tongue they did not understand. If the Apostle Paul had not expounded this text in Isaiah, then the obvious interpretation would have been solely that one day God would speak his judgment in a Babylonian tongue, during their seventy years of coming captivity. However, Paul calls the gift a “sign for unbelievers”. So really it is a sign that points to identify the unbeliever, for such a person would not understand, and his estimation of the christian speaking in tongues would be that he or she or they, were mad. However if the church wants to convince the unbeliever of truth then a word of prophecy or knowledge would convince them, because they would be able to understand the message. Certainly in the church Paul advises that if no interpreter is present – no-one should give a message in tongues. It seems therefore that a church should have known gifted interpreters to fulfil this ministry. If they are not there then the rest know not to speak in tongues.
One final point which usually provokes discussion, if not argument is Paul’s advice for women to be silent in the churches. In today’s context it seems rather extreme but in Paul’s day, the early church was not the formal and ritualistic place that it is today. People interjected their own thoughts and testimonies. No doubt there were lots of questions to be answered in the early church, if the Law seemed no longer relevant. They did not have the New Testament as we know it. Such times of freedom and questionings could develop into disorder if not chaos and confusion. Hence Paul’s advice to the women, who could well have lived in a society which provided great liberties of speech to the feminists of their day. An evangelist friend of mine recently told me of an incident which reminded me of this situation. He had led a totally un-churched lady relative to the Lord. He invited her to a church one day where he himself was preaching the gospel. With the lady came her two sons, and their sons. All were unconverted, and whose lifestyles were even outside most of the laws of the land let alone the church’s teachings. My friend preached earnestly the gospel which had saved him from such a similar life style. Before he told them the Good news he began by telling them the bad news. So for ten minutes or so he outlined the sinner's future of an eternity in Hell. He preached the wrath of God with fire. Then just before he was about to change to the good news of God’s mercy, the lady spoke up, much to the amazement and indeed amusement of the rest of the regular congregation “Joey!” she shouted “Its not as bad as all that” as if that wasn’t enough, one of her sons took his cue to throw in his contribution and reaction to the conviction he was obviously experiencing. Then the other son spoke up and said his piece as well. So you can see how people who are not used to the respectable and ordered church service as we know it, can easily make known their views as if they were in a local pub or indeed at any public meeting. I guess the Corinthian church had a few people of like ilk. Chs 1-2: Chs 7-8: Chs 3-4: Chs 5-6: Chs 9-11: top of page ch 13: chs 15-16