Acts 2 reveals the gift of tongues for the first time in Scripture. But what about the other gifts of the Spirit mentioned by Paul in his epistles? This study will provide an overview of those gifts and their purpose in the Church today.
Well, we've been hanging around in Acts chapter Two to address some critical, yet often misunderstood doctrines of the Christian faith. Over the past three studies, we've looked at the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues, and what it means to be filled with the Spirit. And while we're here, we felt it would be wise and helpful to look at all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We know that tongues is one of the gifts of the Spirit. But wait, there's more.
So today we're going to look into those other gifts, believing that the Lord desires to grow our understanding so that we can experience more of the Holy Spirit's ministry in Gospel City Church. This is the fourth message in a row that relates to the Holy Spirit and his work in and through us. I'm not going to rehash the content of the previous messages, but I will build upon them today. So if you missed any of those messages, be sure to hop online to watch or listen to them so that you're up to speed. Before we get into what the different gifts of the Spirit are, I want to establish their purpose.
The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to build up, to strengthen, grow, encourage and mature the body of Christ that is the church. Here are a few quotes from our brother Paul regarding the gifts of the Spirit. These are all going to be on your outline. In one Corinthians one two seven, he says, a manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good. In one Corinthians 1426, he says, everything is to be done for building up.
In Ephesians four, he says, and he himself, that's Jesus gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ. Also in Ephesians four, he writes, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part. Do you see the theme? The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is building up, strengthening, growing, encouraging and maturing the Body of Christ.
So that's going to be your first fill in. The gifts of the Spirit are given to build up the body of Christ. To build up the Body of Christ. Once again, we see that the Lord Jesus intends his followers to be actively involved in their local church family. His Spirit gives gifts to each person so that they can build up their brothers and sisters in the faith.
To state the obvious, you cannot build up your brothers and sisters if you're never around your brothers and sisters, or if you're never around them. In situations where Jesus is the focus, I'm talking about church services, home groups, prayer meetings, dinners or coffees, where you're asking someone else how they're doing, not just in life, but in their relationship with the Lord, where you're praying together, talking about the faith. Secondly, we're reminded that our mindset as church members is to be focused on others. Focused on others. When we decide what we do and don't do as church members, based solely on what we get out of it, we misunderstand how Jesus designed his church to function.
He intends for us to be bound together in love for one another, the kind of love that he displayed for us. Suffice to say, the gifts of the Spirit are not about getting a warm, fuzzy feeling. They're not about getting high with God or drawing attention to ourselves. The gifts of the Spirit are given for the building up of the brethren, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, a wonderful byproduct of operating in the gifts of the Spirit is that I experience the joy of being used by the Lord to build up my brothers and sisters.
As the Lord uses me to build them up. I too am built up in my faith. And I wanted to bring clarity to the purpose of the gifts because Paul tells us that we should desire these gifts. In One Corinthians Twelve, he says desire the greater gifts, and in One Corinthians 14, he says pursue love and desire spiritual gifts. We should desire the gifts of the Spirit simply because it should be our desire to be used by the Lord to build up our brothers and sisters.
We should always have a heart posture that says, lord, I'm available. If you can use me to accomplish your will in any way, please do it. Please do it. Write this down. We should desire the gifts of the Spirit.
We should desire the gifts of the Spirit. Our attitude shouldn't be, that's not really my thing. That's not for me. Because according to Scripture, that would be the same as saying, I'm not really into building up my brothers and sisters. Not really into that.
So we're told to desire the gifts of the Spirit, whoever we are. When a gift of the Spirit is given, it might happen once, it might happen more than once, or it might stick with you for the rest of your life. Paul seems to describe some of the different ways that the gifts of the Spirit can function in One Corinthians one two again on your outline where he writes now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord, and there are different activities, but the same God works all of them. In each person, a manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.
The Spirit might gift you with an ongoing ministry. He might gift you for a season. He might gift you repeatedly or with long gaps in between. Or he might gift you for a one off occasion. As you study the gifts and you observe them in the church, you'll find that they're not as neat and tidy as we might like.
We can't categorize all of them with solid lines. We can't necessarily build a complete, systematic theology around the gifts of the Spirit, and we must leave room for the Holy Spirit to do what he wants to do. As I mentioned, however, we can be sure that all legitimate gifts of the Spirit will build up the body of Christ in the faith. So we can be sure that any legitimate work write this down. We can be sure that any legitimate work of the Spirit will never contradict Scripture.
It will never contradict Scripture.
The gifts of the Spirit are not natural talents or abilities. This is really important. They're not given to nonbelievers. The gifts of the Spirit provide us a special ability, a special anointing that exceeds our natural and normal state of being. That's what makes it of the Spirit.
I really want us to understand this. Some people think they have a gift of the Spirit, but it's really just their personality. Some people say, Well, I have the gift of hospitality. It's like, no, you just like eating good food and hanging out with people. I don't know if you know this, but nonbelievers have been known to sometimes congregate with friends and have things like a barbecue together.
Nonbelievers do that too, for real. So how do you know if it's a gift of the Spirit? It's real simple. If it builds up the body of Christ in the faith, you might have one person who has people over for dinner. Everyone has a great time, the food is good, the fellowship is fun.
But then you have another person who has people over. And when those people leave, they might not even be able to explain it, but they just feel spiritually built up. There's something in the conversation that minister to them, that strengthen them, that encourage them. Maybe you prayed together, maybe you spoke an encouragement from the Word into their life. That's a gift of the Spirit because the body is being built up in the faith.
That's the difference. Last week we talked about how it's pointless to ask to be filled with the Spirit if you're unwilling to obey Jesus or an unrepentant sin. I would say, in the same way, asking the Lord to give you a gift of the Spirit is pointless if you're unwilling to obey the Lord. If he doesn't, if he gives you a word for the church and says, I want you to share this with the church, and you say, I can't do that. I don't speak in front of people.
God's not going to say, Okay, let me give you some other options. If we want to be used by the Lord, we must be pre committed to obey the Lord. It's a tremendously insulting thing to ask the God of the universe to invite you into a supernatural work on the earth and then turn them down when he grants your request. That's a big deal. We also need to deal with unrepentant sin before asking the Lord to move through us, to strengthen our brothers and sisters.
Because when we live with unrepentant sin, we are rejecting the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. We're tuning Him out. The longer we persist in sin without repenting, the better we're getting at tuning out the voice of the Holy Spirit and our thinking and discernment becomes clouded. So if you ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you, how are you going to be able to discern with clarity if it is the Holy Spirit? You won't be able to if you've been spending the past weeks, months, maybe even years, perfecting the art of tuning out the voice of the Holy Spirit.
This is why there has to be freedom from unrepentant for sin. Before we ask the Lord to move through us and operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we have to have a mind that can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, can hear and discern the Holy Spirit, and we simply cannot do that if we've perfected the art of tuning out the Holy Spirit. So write this down if we desire to be used by the Holy Spirit, we must first repent of our sin and precommit to obey his leading. Now, if you grew up in the church or you've been around the church for a while, you might have come across spiritual gifts tests. These are tests that are intended to reveal which of the spiritual gifts you may have.
And everybody loves taking tests. I won't ask how many of you have been on Facebook and taken a test to find out what kind of kitchen appliance your personality is or something ridiculous like that. Probably more of us than we would care to admit. But I'll telegraph my view on this issue. I don't believe in spiritual gifts tests.
I don't believe in them. I think they're well intentioned, but they fail to understand how the gifts of the Holy Spirit work. The gifts of the Spirit are not personality types. They're not a list of different things that people are interested in or passionate about. Neither are the gifts necessarily permanent.
As I said earlier, the Spirit may give them for a season or a oneoff instance. I've had gifts that were oneoffs, gifts that were for a season, gifts that have reoccurred, and gifts that have stayed with me. Additionally, how you view yourself or what your passions are does not necessarily correlate to the gifts of the Spirit in any way. Remember, the gifts are for building up the body of Christ. They are not, first and foremost, about you and I finding personal fulfillment.
For example, you may love to sing it may have been your heart's desire for as long as you can remember. But when you get up and you sing with the worship team, everyone in the church starts praying. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. You don't have a spiritual gift, you just like to sing. If the church isn't being built up in the faith, it's not a gift of the Spirit.
Even if you have a natural talent for singing, the question remains is the church body being built up in the faith? If you have a gift of the Spirit on an ongoing basis, it will be evident in your life. Others will observe it, and the evidence will be the fruit of the church body being built up in the faith through the gift the Spirit has given you. The church body and the Scriptures affirm the gifts of the Spirit. No test can do that if you believe you have an ongoing gift of the Spirit.
But the church body is not being built up by that gift that you believe you have. The only explanation is that you're not yet obeying the Lord and using it as you should be in the body of Christ. And if that's you repent and start using your gift, stop holding out on your brothers and sisters. We need it. Okay, so with that, let's read through the key passages of Scripture that list the different gifts of the Holy Spirit.
You'll find these on your outline, and then after them you will notice that I've combined all of these verses into one megalith of the gifts of the Spirit. In Romans twelve, Paul writes, according to the grace given to us, we have different gifts. If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one's faith. If service, use it in service, if teaching, in teaching, if exhorting in exhortation, giving with generosity, leading with diligence, showing mercy with cheerfulness. In one Corinthians twelve, Paul says, to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit to another, a message of knowledge by the same spirit to another, faith by the same spirit, to another, gifts of healing.
By the one Spirit to another, the performing of miracles to another, prophecy to another, distinguishing between spirits to another, different kinds of tongues to another, interpretation of tongues. And then later in one Corinthians twelve, we read, god has appointed these in the church. First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading various kinds of tons. In Ephesians four, our brother Paul says, and he himself that's Jesus gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastor and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ's fullness. Those are the primary texts in Scripture that list the gifts of the Spirit.
Let's take a little bit of a closer look at each one. When the Apostle Paul is writing about the gifts of tongues, in One Corinthians 14, he tells believers it would be better for them to desire the gift of prophecy more than tongues, because while the person who speaks in tongues speaks to God, he says the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. So, simply put, prophecy is a message from God to people. That message could pertain to the past, the present, or the future. Peter clarified that the prophets who wrote in the Old Testament scriptures did so under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In Second Peter one, he says, no prophecy of scripture comes from the prophet's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. This is why the Old Testament prophets use phrases like, Thus saith the Lord, or this is what the Lord God of Israel says. The person who prophesies is making that claim. They're saying, this is what God is saying to you or to us.
They're claiming to speak on behalf of God. Not a light claim. Not a light claim. That's why you don't hear me saying that on a regular basis. It's a big deal to name drop God.
I'm going to play the God card on this one. It's a huge deal. When BJ and I are talking, we're having conversations with elders. We do our best to lead with wisdom. But there's this understanding if any of us ever says, god is telling me we must do this, that trumps everything.
That trumps everything. I don't know that it's actually happened yet, but for us, that would trump everything. You can have all the strategy, but if somebody says God has said this and it doesn't contradict the scripture, we're like, well, I'm not taking sides against God. It doesn't really matter what I think at that point. It's a serious claim.
Deuteronomy lists two ways to spot a false prophet. Number one, they direct you to worship other gods. Number two, they prophesy about the future, and their prediction doesn't come true in either case, guess what the law of God required Israel to do with a false prophet? Stone them to death. You don't get to be wrong twice if you're a prophet in the Old Testament.
Suffice to say today this would create a lot of empty time slots on Christian TV and radio channels. The lineup would be rotating very, very regularly. Okay, yeah, I know I was wrong about who was going to win the last election, but this time I've really heard from God. Please. I hope none of you are listening to people who have made false prophecies.
I hope none of you are listening to any Christian leader who prophesied that Donald Trump was going to win the last election. They're a false prophet by the definition of the Bible, not me the Bible. Okay, don't give them a second of your time, because prophecy is God speaking to man. Some of these other gifts could likely fit under the umbrella of the genre of prophecy. As I said, these lists of gifts are not as neat and tidy as we would like them to be.
Some of them cross over. And while we know everything in the Scripture that's listed is obviously a legitimate gift of the Holy Spirit, we can't even say with absolute certainty that these are the only gifts of the Holy Spirit. He might do something else at some point. How will we know if it's legit? Does it build up the body of Christ?
Does it contradict Scripture? These are the tests we can run it through. If it's a gift of the Spirit, it'll agree with Scripture. It will be presented in a manner that is decently in an order for Paul's instructions in One Corinthians 1440, which will include submitting it to the elders before sharing it with the church. It will build up the body of Christ.
Here's another one for you, though. If it pertains to the future, it will be specific, and it will come to pass. When I say specific, I mean God doesn't give words about the future like this. Somebody in here has an anniversary coming up. I'm getting a birthday to a birthday.
He doesn't do that with God. It is incredibly specific because prophecies about the future are intended to demonstrate the sovereignty of God over time. Okay? They're incredibly impossibly specific, and they always come true. There's only one explanation.
If they don't come true, wasn't from the Lord. Okay? The next gift we see listed is service, and I suggest that the gift of helping from One Corinthians 1228 is the same thing service and helping. The Greek word translated service diaconia, means to take the posture of a servant and attend to someone's needs. Interestingly, the same word is translated from the Greek in the New Testament as ministry, and it's the verb to minister.
To minister is to take the posture of a servant and attend to someone's needs on the behalf of Jesus. The Greek word translated helping, only appears in this one place in the Scriptures, and it means to aid or to help. So when we put it all together, the term seems to refer to a gift that empowers a person to minister to a brother or sister by serving them in practical ways at a point of need. It's an anointing to be the hands and feet of Jesus when someone is shouldering a heavy load of some sort. The gift of teaching is just that.
It's a gift to teach. Again, it's not the natural ability or talent to teach. It is not the skill of teaching that can be learned. It's a supernatural empowerment by the Holy Spirit to teach the truths of God's word in a way that causes people to understand what it means to follow Jesus. When someone has the gift of teaching, you can sense a spiritual weight to their words.
You have moments of illumination as they teach, but you're aware that it's the Holy Spirit that is giving you understanding. You find that the Holy Spirit just connects the dots as this person teaches. And I've heard people preach who were skilled public speakers, but they did not have the gift of teaching given by the Holy Spirit. I've also heard people who needed to do serious work on their public speaking skills, but they had the gift of teaching given to them by the Holy Spirit. And there was just this weight to what they said, and God was moving through them.
You cannot go to college and learn how to have the gift of teaching. A seminary degree cannot give you the gift of teaching. Like all the other gifts, it is bestowed on a person by the Lord to build up the saints in their knowledge and understanding of the Word. This is why the greatest preachers in history have never been the best trained or the most naturally gifted. They've been men powerfully anointed by God to teach his people.
God gifts some men to teach the whole church. He gifts other brothers and sisters to teach children. He gifts parents to teach their children, and he gifts people to lead Bible studies. He will even give the gift of teaching for one on one conversations. Sometimes the gift may be given for specific situations or certain groups of people.
The gift may stick with you, or God may give it supernaturally for a particular ministry, situation, opportunity, or conversation. The gift of exhorting is a supernatural ability to build someone up, strengthen and encourage them in the truth. It may be through a verbal encouragement. It may be through a text encouragement. It could be a challenge.
It could be a scripture that is shared. It's an arm around the shoulder, literally or metaphorically, that strengthens a brother or sister in the faith. It's the heart that identifies someone who needs encouragement, someone who needs a pat on the back and says, let's grab coffee this week. Let's get into the Word. Let's pray together.
What's going on? You seem out of it that's the heart. Be strong, stay in the Lord, don't give up. Keep the faith. I know you're going through a hard time right now.
Keep doing the right things. God is with you. That's exhorting someone. And the supernatural part is that it's always truthful and it's always timely. Always timely.
When you receive an exhortation, you're keenly aware that it was a word from God for you that you just needed to hear at that time. I don't know if you've ever had the blessing of having someone call you and they're like, I don't know why, I just felt I needed to call you. I just felt I needed to talk with you and just ask how you're doing? Just felt like the Lord wanted me to do that. That's the gift of exhortation at work.
The exhortation could come through a message on a Sunday, could happen in a home group, in a one on one conversation, can happen anytime two or more believers are together, and at least one of them is being led by the Spirit. In the book of Acts, we're going to meet the best biblical example of someone with this gift. His name was Joseph, but the disciples called him Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. We'll see him come alongside the newly converted Paul and introduce him to an understandably skeptical church. In Acts 1343, Barnabas will encourage believers to continue in the grace of God, and later he will choose to give a young man named John Mark a second chance as a ministry partner after he had deserted his brothers on a previous missionary journey.
Barnabas, we will find, had the gift of exhorting. The gift of giving relates to finances. Now, all believers are called to give generously to the Lord so that the local church is fully funded by her members. But believers with the gift of giving are empowered by the Holy Spirit to give above and beyond what would be considered normal giving for a Christian. Believers with this gift are often also gifted with wealth, and they display business, entrepreneurial and investing savvy.
But not always. We know of at least three women who financially supported the ministry of Jesus, and they were from very different socioeconomic levels. Luke tells us they were Mary, called Magdalene. Seven demons had come out of her. Joanna, the wife of Chusa Herods steward Susanna Jesus pointed to the widow giving her last two small copper coins at the temple as an example of incredible faith, because it was all that she had.
She was operating in the gift of giving in that moment. And in two Corinthians eight, paul writes about how the gift of giving gripped the church in Macedonia. Paul says, we want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia during a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. I can testify that according to their ability, and even beyond their ability of their own accord, they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints. The church in Macedonia heard that the church in Jerusalem was suffering.
The church in Macedonia was suffering too. They were experiencing poverty, but they were gripped by this gift of giving and gave above and beyond what they had any reason to do on a logical or natural level, because they were gripped by the Holy Spirit. And of course, we can trust the Holy Spirit provided for them. When the gift of giving is present in a person, they give above and beyond with great joy and a heart to see the body of Christ built up. The gift of leading called administration, in some translations is just that a supernatural empowerment to lead the church.
This is not, again, the natural talent of leading. Elon Musk does not have the gift of leading. The gift is given to those who are called to lead in the context of the church elders and deacons, and we're going to talk more about elders and deacons in future chapters in the Book of Acts. It's the ability to shepherd God's people and lead them in the direction Jesus desires, resisting the pressure to conform to the world. It's walking in partnership with the Holy Spirit as he reveals how to make disciples in each church's unique context.
It's a gift to tackle all kinds of issues that come up when leading a church practical, relational, financial, legal, spiritual, you name it. Those gifted by the Holy Spirit to lead the church understand that the church belongs to Jesus, and they gladly take their place under him, constantly exhorting their brethren to look to their Savior. In Ephesians 413, Paul tells us that the goal of the gifted leader is to guard and guide those he leads until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son. Growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ's fullness. Please note that the gift of leading has nothing to do with charisma.
It has nothing to do with being liked by the world. It has nothing to do with having a large following on social media. The test of a leader gifted by the Holy Spirit is Ephesians 413. This is the test. If you submit to their leadership of that church, do you find yourself growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ's fullness?
If you submit to their leadership, do you find yourself becoming more like Jesus? That's the test. The gift of mercy is God given compassion that inspires helpful action. Let me clarify here. We're not talking about people who have a savior complex or a personality trait that makes them constantly want to rescue broken people.
Those characteristics are often highly dysfunctional. We're talking about someone so overwhelmed by the mercy of Jesus that they feel compelled to extend that mercy to other people. This mercy is not defined by the person to whom it is extended. This mercy is defined by the agape love of Jesus. What I mean is that the gift of mercy that comes from the Holy Spirit does what is best for the other person, even when it is difficult, because the true gift of mercy is not self serving underneath.
The gift of mercy is not a dysfunctional need to feel important or feel needed. That's not what's going on. The gift of mercy is the agape love of God overwhelming a person who feels compelled to extend it to others. Those with the gift of mercy will be active in extending it first to their brothers and sisters in the faith and then to those outside the church. This order of priority applies to all the gifts and is summarized by Paul's instruction to the Galatians when he said, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
Unsurprisingly, those with the gift of mercy are often active in ministering to the marginalized, the oppressed, and the lowly. Now, your translation might refer to a word of wisdom, for that is what this gift is. It's a spoken gift, a word of wisdom. Simply put, the Holy Spirit gives someone the wisdom to practically apply biblical truth to a specific context or situation. It's a wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit, not solely from the experience or knowledge of the person speaking.
When direction and clarity are needed, God can speak through a believer in a way that lines up with His Word and brings illumination. Where there is confusion, indecision, or conflict. That's a word of wisdom. The message of knowledge is another gift that is spoken, and it occurs when the Holy Spirit reveals knowledge to believers that they could not have known apart from supernatural revelation. The best example in Scripture is Jesus's interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well.
In John, chapter four, I'll read you a few of the verses. Go call your husband, he told her, and come back here. I don't have a husband, she answered. You have correctly said, I don't have a husband, jesus said, for you've had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true, sir, the woman replied.
I see that you are a prophet. After their interaction, she goes back to her village and calls everyone to come and see Jesus, telling them, Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. In that instance, the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus with this knowledge for evangelism. In the context of the church, the gift of a word of knowledge could be used to encourage someone who's been suffering in silence, or it could be used even to do something like expose sin that is, endangering the whole church body. As we shall see when we get to Acts, chapter five, god gives all believers the gift of saving faith, for without it, none of us would be able to recognize and place our faith in Jesus.
But in some instances, the Holy Spirit gives a special gift of faith to a believer, enabling them to unswervingly hold to a promise from God or to a Scripture. Despite incredible challenges, I think of Noah and the decades that he spent building the ark far from the ocean in a world where it had likely never rained. How do you not quit after year 30? The gift of faith is the only explanation. I experienced this gift myself when Charlene received a cancer diagnosis years ago.
The Bible doesn't promise that every believer who gets sick will be healed in this life. But he told me that Charlene would recover in that specific situation. I can't explain it, but there was no doubt in my mind from the moment I heard the diagnosis to the moment the doctor said, you're all clear. Zero doubt. I can say that with sincerity ever.
It was a gift of faith given by the Holy Spirit for that time, for that purpose. The gift of healing is precisely what it sounds like. The Holy Spirit moves through a person to heal another person. In the ministry of Jesus and the apostles, this gift was given to authenticate their ministry as being from God. Now, we believe that miraculous healing still occur today.
And our brother Amen tells us that if anyone among the brethren is sick, they should call for the elders who are to lay hands on them, anoint them with oil, and pray for them to be healed. This gift is still active today. The performing of miracles gift is broad and includes miracles other than healing. Examples would be Moses in Egypt or Elimus being struck blind, which we'll read about when we get to Acts, chapter 13. Now, there is a compelling case to be made that this gift was specific to the upper case A apostles.
We will see this in multiple places. In the book of Acts, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and speaking of himself, he said the signs of an apostle were performed with unfailing endurance among you, including signs and wonders and miracles. In other words, there may have been a category of signs and wonders and miracles that was a special empowerment given to the upper case a apostles, the apostles in the first century through whom Jesus established the Church. For what it's worth, I think that was likely the case. When a person is full of the word of God, the Holy Spirit may give them a special gift to distinguish between spirits empowerment, to discern the truth from the deceptions and forgeries of Satan and his allies.
The Holy Spirit will bring specific Scriptures to mind, which will enable clear discernment. Or he may simply give the conviction that something is off and should be investigated or weighed or prayed about. Further, this gift of the Spirit was active in Jesus when the Spirit empowered him to discern the difference between someone who was sick and someone who was possessed, someone willingly involved with demons, as opposed to someone who was being oppressed against their will. I don't have a verse for it, but experience will teach you that generally God created woman to be more sensitive than men. And in the spiritual arena, I have often found that God will work through that natural spiritual sensitivity to discern when something is going on beneath the surface in a person's life.
Now, please hear me. I am not encouraging Amen to follow their heart. Okay? I'm exhorting woman to be students of the Word submit their lives to Jesus and be available to be used by Him. But I am saying that I have often seen the Lord choose to amplify the natural spiritual sensitivity he created woman with and give them this gift the ability to distinguish between spirits, to discern that something is off, something else is going on.
We addressed the subject of tongues in the interpretation of tongues extensively two weeks ago. So you can go check out that message online if you missed it. And then I want to talk about this sort of other category that's in here. In these spiritual lists of gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the church, we find this other category where the gifts are not abilities per se, but rather people. And Paul lists them as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, and teachers.
The Word says that the Holy Spirit raises up specific men to be these things. And again, there's an argument to be made that the apostles and prophets being spoken of. Here are the apostles and the prophets, the upper case a apostles of the first century, and the old covenant prophets whose ministry we read about primarily in the Old Testament. Here's why I say that. Paul told the ephesian believers they were members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.
And Peter encouraged his readers to recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. While we still see people planting churches and networks of churches, and while we still see the gift of prophecy active in the church, there can be no question that we no longer see identical ministries to the power of the prophets and the apostles. So I think that view is credible and very likely correct. However, we do still see remarkable evangelists people empowered by God to reach thousands, sometimes even millions of people with the Gospel leading many to faith. And that's what an evangelist does.
They preach the Gospel with a special anointing that is evidenced by a remarkable number of responses to the Gospel message. Evangelists don't only preach in stadiums, they minister in and out of local churches. They are those believers in churches who genuinely love to share the Gospel with people. It's not a massive step of faith for them. It's natural.
There are those people, like, when we get together and pray for God to give us boldness to share the Gospel, they're biting their tongues because they're like, you guys are nervous about sharing the Gospel. I don't get it. What are you talking about? Evangelists are definitely still given to the church as a gift. And according to Paul, every pastor must be able to teach.
But there's a difference between being able to teach and having the gift of teaching. Every pastor should be able to teach in such a way that they can present the truths of Scripture, clearly building up the hero in their faith. But the gift of teaching and the gift of a teacher is a person empowered by God to teach with clarity and authority, above and beyond their natural ability or any skill that can be learned. It's a special anointing from God for the task of teaching. The word pastor in the original Greek is the word for shepherd.
When God gives the gift of a pastor to a local church body, he gives them the gift of a shepherd, someone who desires to care for, protect and feed the flock of God so that they grow into strong, healthy sheep. That's the heart of a faithful pastor. He is always aware that the flock belongs to his master, the Lord Jesus, and his life's work is shepherding the sheep that have been entrusted to him by his master. I just want to point out again that every believer is called to serve. Every believer is called to give generously, every believer is called to show mercy, and on and on.
I would he a gift of the Spirit is a special anointing to serve, give, or show mercy above and beyond our natural inclinations or abilities. If one of my kids came up to me and said, dad, after listening to that message, I've realized I don't have the gift of washing dishes, it might surprise you to learn that my response would not be, oh wow, I had no idea. Thanks for letting me know, buddy. I would never want you to serve where you don't feel gifted. My response would be, cool story, bro.
The dishes still need to get washed, so let's get to it. I say that lest anyone dream of saying, I don't have the gift of chair stacking, I don't have the gift of helping with kids ministry, I don't have the gift of service. The church is a family, and in a family the work needs to get done. I don't run dinner clean up multiple times per week because it's my gift or my passion. I do it because it needs to get done and I'm part of the family.
The gifts of the Spirit are a means to bless your church family more, not an excuse to bless them less.
So how do these gifts work in and among the church? Well, as we've said, we're told to desire these gifts. We're told to desire being used by the Lord to be a blessing to others. And so we want to be open. That's the first thing.
We want to be open and available to the Lord. Remember that if we have unrepentant sin in our lives, we need to deal with that first. Then we need to be pre committed to obeying the Lord should he choose to give us a gift of the Spirit. If we believe the Holy Spirit is asking us to do something, we test it by ensuring first that it doesn't contradict Scripture and that it will result in the body being built up in the faith, assuming it passes those checks. We do what the Lord has asked us to do.
This is really important. We do what the Lord has asked us to do. We don't edit his instructions to us. We don't expand his instructions to us. If the Holy Spirit tells you to share an encouragement, a verse, a word, a prophecy with a person, you humbly go up to them and you say, I believe the Lord wants me to share this with you.
You share it and then you leave it with them. I mean, like, you literally walk away. You don't stand around like that's good, right? So spot on. Did you feel that?
Because I felt something. Did you feel that? You don't do that. Does that mean anything to you? Does that make sense to you?
Does that bless you? You don't add your thoughts to God's message. You don't add an interpretation he might have. You share a word and you're like, I have no idea what this means, because it's not for you. It's not for you.
It's for them. Your part in the process is to obey in faith. That's it. That's what the prophets of God did in the days of old. And if you believe the Lord has given you something to share with the whole church, then we ask that you go up to BJ or myself during the worship time that follows the message, go up to whichever one of us is not up at the front at that specific moment in the worship time following the message and just share it with us.
Just say, Hey, I believe the Lord wants me to share this with the church. This is biblical, and it will allow us to just quietly discern if it is indeed a word from the Lord. And we do that because of Paul's instructions in One thessalonians Five, where he writes, don't stifle the spirit, don't despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. If we believe it's from the Lord and it's going to build up the whole body, we'll ask you to share it with the church.
We'll bring you up here, we'll get the mic, and we'll have you share it with the church. And Lord William, the church will be built up. If we discern that it's not for the whole church, we'll graciously share that with you, and we'll just ask you to seek the Lord and ask Him to show you if it's a word just for you or for another specific person. But if it's from the Lord and it's for the whole body, the Lord will affirm that through the elders of the church. He will.
And if we do that, please don't be embarrassed or upset. Nobody's in trouble. We're all doing our best to obey the Lord and honor Him, and none of us gets it right 100% of the time. None of us. There's stuff before I share that.
I run past BJ and BJ's like, that's a bad idea. I'm like, I'm grateful for you. I do that. Okay, I do that. I don't go like, that's it I'm never teaching again.
I'm done. I don't do that because I recognize that God speaks through my brothers and sisters to me. So here at Gospel City, I'll ask the worship team to come up. Our goal is to be and do everything that Jesus says in his would. He wants his church to be in due.
And we find in Scripture that that includes making room for the gifts of the Spirit. We know this is new for many of us and very different and maybe a bit exciting and scary simultaneously. I'm there too. I'm there too. Our plan, though, is to simply do our best to do what the Word of God says.
And so we're going to allow room for the gifts of the Spirit in the coming time of worship. And it's our plan to allow room for the gifts of the Spirit in this time of worship. Following the message going forward from here consistently, we want to be really intentional about this. We want to grow in this. We believe that the Lord desires to move through his people, to bless and build up his church.
If the Lord puts something in your heart to share with the church, a scripture, a word, a prayer, just go up to BJ in the front line at any time and just tap Him on the shoulder. Even if he's, like doing this, just like tap him on the shoulder, he'll probably do that, but no, he won't do that. He's going to be ready for it and just share it with Him quietly there. And then if he discerns it's from the Lord, he'll wait for one of the songs to finish, and he'll just walk you up here and have you share that with the church. Just share what the Lord told you.
That's it. And so let's desire to be used by the Lord to build up his church, and let's precommit to obey Him if he calls us to do that in this coming time, after the service, this week, whenever, before we pray, I just want to remind you what communion is all about. The greatest gift we've ever received is Jesus, and it was a gift sent by the Father and Jesus, the gift sent by the Father gave us the gift of salvation, and he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. And then the Holy Spirit gave us gifts that we've talked about today. Whatever angle you look at God from, you will find that he's a God who loves to give.
It's just who he is. He just gives and he's just good because he has such an abundance of goodness but just flows out of Him. All the time. It's his essence, it's who he is. God is just good.
He just gives. He's just generous. And he gives from an infinite supply of goodness that is within Himself. It's who he is. The Lord is good.
And so take some time in this coming time of worship to take communion and just thank the Lord that he's good and just, over and over and over, whoever you are, over and over and over, you experience the goodness of God. You experience the kindness of God. Thank Him for that. Would you buy your head and close your eyes? Let's pray together.
Lord, it is our desire to be available to be used by you our whole lives, everything we own, we want it all to be available to you. Whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it, Lord, sincerely. So help us to do that with our whole lives, Lord. But today we're focusing in on this area of the gifts that you give Your church through Your Holy Spirit. And Lord, we desire to be available to be used by you to bless our brothers and sisters.
And so, Lord, if there's any trepidation in the room, Lord, would you give peace and an assurance that everything you do is good? You're never out to embarrass or humiliate anybody. You're just good. And so, Lord, help us to sincerely be able to say, lord, we're available. We'd love to be used by you to encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith.
Lord, if there's any sin that needs to be repented of, would you reveal it right now by Your Holy Spirit? Lord, if there's anyone in bondage to sin, would you give the gift of faith right now that you are able to set them free, that your grace is stronger, it is more powerful, it is greater? So, Lord, help us to be able to stand before you with open, clean hands. As we say, we're available to be used by You, Lord. We desire, as you command us to the gifts of Your Spirit, so minister to Your people.
We would love it if you would do it through us. Lord, may Your church be built up. May we be who you want us to be, that you might be pleased, you might be blessed, you might be glorified. May you be glorified above all things, Jesus, and receive the kind of honor that you deserve, Lord, among us in this place. We love You, Jesus.
In Your precious name we pray. Amen.