The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been a topic of debate and controversy among Christians for centuries. While some denominations have embraced these gifts and even built their entire theology around them, others have rejected them as being unnecessary or even dangerous. As Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit still empowers believers with these gifts today and that they are essential for building up the body of Christ and spreading the gospel.
In this blog post, we will explore what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are and how they can be used to further God’s kingdom. We will examine the nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and discuss their purpose and how to use them effectively. We will also address common misunderstandings and opposition to the gifts, as well as offer practical advice for those who desire to develop their own gifts.
As we dive into this topic, it is important to approach it with humility and a desire to seek the truth of God’s word. Whether we agree or disagree on the role of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, let us remember that we are all members of the body of Christ and have a common goal of spreading the gospel and bringing glory to God. May this blog post be a source of encouragement and edification for all believers, as we seek to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up the body of Christ and advance his kingdom.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Bible lists several gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to believers for the common good. These gifts are not natural abilities or talents, but rather supernatural empowerments that come from the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit:
- Word of Wisdom: This gift enables a person to understand and apply deep spiritual truths to everyday life situations. It is a wisdom that comes from God and cannot be learned through human intellect or experience.
- Word of Knowledge: This gift enables a person to know things that they could not have known through natural means. It may involve insight into a person’s past or present situation, or it may be a prophetic message about the future.
- Faith: This gift is not the same as saving faith, but rather a supernatural trust in God’s power to do the impossible. It enables a person to pray with confidence for miracles and see them come to pass.
- Gifts of Healing: This gift enables a person to pray for the sick and see them healed. It may involve physical, emotional, or spiritual healing.
- Working of Miracles: This gift enables a person to do supernatural acts that defy the laws of nature. It may involve raising the dead, calming a storm, or multiplying food.
- Prophecy: This gift involves speaking forth the words of God to edify, exhort, and comfort believers. It may involve predicting future events or revealing hidden things.
- Discerning of Spirits: This gift enables a person to discern whether a spiritual manifestation is from God, from Satan, or from the flesh. It may involve discerning the motives and intentions of others.
- Different Kinds of Tongues: This gift involves speaking in a language that is not understood by the speaker or the hearers, but is a prayer language between the believer and God.
- Interpretation of Tongues: This gift involves interpreting the message that is spoken in tongues so that others can understand it.
It is important to note that these gifts are not given to individuals for their own benefit, but rather for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”
The Purpose of the Gifts
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to believers to help them carry out the work of the Church and spread the gospel. As Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in the world today and continues to empower believers with these gifts. These gifts are not just for the apostles of the early Church, but for all believers.
One of the primary purposes of the gifts is to build up the body of Christ. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”
In other words, each member of the body of Christ has a role to play, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit enable believers to carry out their unique function in the body. When each member of the body is using their gifts, the body is healthy and functioning properly.
Another purpose of the gifts is to spread the gospel. In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus says to his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
These signs, which include speaking in tongues, casting out demons, and healing the sick, are meant to accompany the preaching of the gospel as a testimony to its truth. They are not just for show, but for the purpose of drawing people to Christ.
Using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
While the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given by God, they still require cooperation from the believer in order to be used effectively. John Wimber, a well-known leader in the Vineyard movement, emphasized the need for training and practice in order to use the gifts of the Spirit. He believed that while some people may receive a gift spontaneously, most gifts require discipline and effort to develop.
One way to develop the gifts of the Holy Spirit is through a process called “activation.” This involves practicing the gift in a safe environment, such as a small group or a training session, and receiving feedback and guidance from others. It may also involve seeking out mentors who have experience in using the gifts and can offer advice and encouragement.
Another important aspect of using the gifts of the Holy Spirit is discernment. While the gifts are given by God, they can also be counterfeited by the enemy. It is important to discern whether a spiritual manifestation is truly from God or not. This requires prayer, seeking guidance from mature Christians, and testing the manifestation against the teachings of the Bible.
Furthermore, the gifts of the Holy Spirit should always be used in a way that honors God and builds up the body of Christ. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:12, “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.” The gifts are not given for personal gain or to draw attention to oneself, but rather to glorify God and advance his kingdom.
Despite the importance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there are many common misunderstandings and misconceptions about them. One of the most common misunderstandings is the idea that the gifts are only for a select few individuals who are “spiritually elite.” However, the gifts are given to all believers, not just a chosen few.
Another misconception is that the gifts are always dramatic and attention-grabbing, such as healing the sick or raising the dead. While these gifts certainly exist, there are many other gifts that are less flashy but still important, such as the word of wisdom or the gift of discernment.
Finally, some people believe that the gifts are only for use in the church setting, and that they have no relevance to everyday life. However, the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be used in any situation where the believer is called to spread the gospel or build up the body of Christ. This may include the workplace, the neighborhood, or even the grocery store.
Opposition to the Gifts
While many Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there are also those who oppose them. Some Christians believe that the gifts were only for the early Church and are no longer needed today. Others believe that the gifts are too focused on the individual and can lead to spiritual pride and division in the church.
It is important to recognize that while there may be abuses of the gifts, the gifts themselves are not the problem. The problem lies with the heart of the individual using the gift. If the gift is used with a heart of love and a desire to serve God and build up the body of Christ, it can be a powerful tool for advancing the gospel and bringing glory to God.
In conclusion, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are supernatural empowerments given to believers for the benefit of the body of Christ. These gifts include the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. While these gifts are given by God, they require cooperation, training, and discernment on the part of the believer in order to be used effectively. They should always be used in a way that honors God and builds up the body of Christ.
As Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in the world today and continues to empower believers with these gifts. However, it is important to approach these gifts with humility and reverence, recognizing that they come from God and are not our own natural abilities or talents. We should also seek to use these gifts in a way that honors God and advances his kingdom, always seeking to edify and build up the body of Christ.
Let us continue to pray for the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the use of these gifts for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” May we seek to use these gifts in a way that brings glory to God and draws others closer to him.