Pastor Terry Inman
I was playing golf in a scramble with some colleagues in the ministry a couple weeks ago. I am not an avid golfer by any means. I enjoy getting outdoors. I need the occasional exercise and the fellowship is great.
The outing was part of a two day District Presbytery meeting. It was my last one. I was honored with a plaque for my 15 years as an Executive Presbyter at an evening banquet.
It was also my privilege as one of the senior members of the presbytery to pay tribute to our District Superintendent James Braddy for his twenty years of service to the Northern California and Nevada District.
I’m not real big on plaques they remind my of something that causes heart problems. However my foursome was the grand champion of the golf scramble and I won a free I-PAD! I am using it today!
It was a warm day at Silverado in Napa and I only play a few times a year. By the 15th hole I was out of gas. Fortunately the refreshment cart showed up with free drinks. We had a couple good golfers on our team. We lucked out but the powerade did help me make it through eighteen.
A few weeks ago I talked about the Breath of Fire, the baptism in the the Holy Spirit. Several of you experienced the Spirit’s empowering. It was confirmed by the gift of praise in unlearned languages.
Then we followed up a couple weeks ago with a fun message, “Juicy Fruit” a teaching on the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been given to us for a purpose. Our partnership with the Holy Spirit is productive.
Let me remind you again of the purpose for the power. Jesus said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1.8 (NIV)
The power encounter with the Holy Spirit gives us confidence and the fruit gives us credibility as we give personal testimony to Jesus Christ.
More people are influenced to follow Christ by our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control than by our religious rhetoric. Gal. 5.29 (NIV)
God has also gifted us with several supernatural expressions of the Holy Spirit to assist us in sharing the reality of Christ with our friends and family. We could call these power-aids!
These power aids are typically translated as spiritual gifts. But the English text inserts the word “gifts” only for clarification. The Greek word is actually, (pneumatikos)best translated as“spirituals”. This isin contrast to things that are natural, physical or human. These power aids are God given powers, skills and abilities for functioning according to His purposes.
Let’s read the scriptures. Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you 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. 1 Corinthians 12.1-3 (NIV)
The ancient Greeks with their pagan gods and goddesses considered them selves very spiritual. It was much like the counterfeit “spirituality” of our new age culture. Paul wants to make it clear he is not talking about their psychic powers and secret mysteries. He is emphatic, no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit is going to reject Christ and no one can claim Jesus is their Lord or master unless they have been born of God’s Spirit!
Then Paul describes various spiritual powers given exclusively by God. He lists them in three groupings and identifies the Holy Trinity as the source.
There are different kinds of gifts (charisma, endowment), but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, (diakonia, ministry) but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, (energema, effects) but the same God works all of them in all men.
1 Cor. 12.4-6 (NIV)
Now before Paul goes on to describe the specific power aids we are individually given he emphasizes that they are for everyone’s benefit.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1Corinthians 12.7 (NIV) “Manifestation” is the Greek word (fan-er´-o-sis). It is like our termphenomenon or exhibition.
Jesus Christ is on display to those around us through His character “the fruit of the Spirit” and also through His capability, the gifts for the Spirit.
So let’s take a look at some of these power aids listed here…
“To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)
We are so interested in learning more about spiritual gifts and how they work that it’s easy to miss the emphasis here. Paul uses the term “another” several times in this list of spiritual manifestations. He wants us to know that God manifests a variety of spiritual abilities in a variety of individuals but is all about Him and not about us!
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” 1Corinthians 12:11(NIV)
The Holy Spirit intentionally allocates these power aids individually for the benefit of everybody! I especially want us to see how these powerful gifts equip us to be effective witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just for clarity they can be broken down into three categories that we will label Spiritual Intelligence, Spiritual Intervention and Spiritual Interaction.
Spritual Intelligence is information that we are given exclusively by God. This is insight or awareness that we cannot get on our own.
Wisdom: Spiritual sensitivity for right decisions and appropriate actions. Jesus modeled this in his encounter with the woman at the well. He was made aware of her broken relationships but approached her with great wisdom and compassion. This is not experience, it is God given wisdom.
Knowledge: Spiritual disclosure of information and comprehension. Jesus commended Peter for the insight. He correctly identified Jesus as the Christ the Son of the living God. Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. Matt.16:17(NIV) This is not learned but revealed knowledge.
Discernment: Spiritual discrimination of good and evil, truth and error. Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. 1John 4:1 (NIV)
God gives us spiritual intelligence so we can effectively reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. He makes us aware of their needs. He helps us distinguish between darkness and light. He also gives us understanding on how to approach people sensitively and effectively.
Spiritual Intervention is God’s involvement beyond natural processes. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)
Faith: Spiritual anticipation of supernatural results. This is not positive thinking. It is an overwhelming confidence that God is doing something extraordinary. The bible says Jesus did what he saw the father doing!
James says, “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” James 5:15
Healing: Spiritual remedy resulting in remarkable recovery. God heals in many ways, physical, emotional and spiritual. This is one of the best ways to reach those unfamiliar or uncommitted to Christ. Jesus sent out his followers to the villages of Palestine with a healing mission. “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you.” Luke 10:9
Healing and freedom are part of the good news of the Kingdom. Luke 9:2 “He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Notice he “sent them out” healing isn’t only for the church it for the lost!
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8 (NIV)
Miracles: Spiritual interruption of natural laws of nature. Spontaneous healings can be classified as miracles but miracles are much more than healing. Miracles of provision and protection are often given in circumstances where they are needed to confirm the gospel.
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Heb. 2:3-4 (NIV) Jesus said, “even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles I do” John 10:38 (NIV)
Spiritual Interaction is divinely inspired revelation and communication. God talks to us and gives us the ability to share his thoughts with others, especially those that don’t know him.
Prophecy: Spiritual communication of inspiring truth. People are very interested in knowing what God thinks about them. They are also curious about the future. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 1Cor.14:1(NIV)
Tongues: Spiritual expressions of worship and prayer. On the day of Pentecost thousands were added to the church because they heard the followers of Jesus supernaturally speaking in their languages and dialects.
Interpretation: Spiritual explanation for community edification. Paul makes it very clear that the public gift of speaking in other tongues can be confusing unless accompanied by the gift of interpretation. But these two gifts can be very convincing and convicting when exercised properly.
Paul says when the interpreted message is clear, the unbeliever “will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and …and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” 1 Cor. 14:23-25 (NIV)
We need powerade! The Spirit’s drink! We can’t reach people for Christ with out it. The bible says to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts”!
I believe God gives us a desire for certain gifts. What are you drinking?