The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

Luke 11:9-10 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.

That is quite a promise! If we ask, we will receive; if we seek, we shall find; if we knock, it will be opened unto us. The Lord is telling us that the first requirement is to have a desire in our hearts to receive from Him. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17. The Lord is encouraging us to ask, seek, and knock, because He wants us to receive from Him. So what should we ask for? Jesus tells us in the following verses.

Luke 11:11-13 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?

God wants to give us the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to be fearful that He will give us something harmful. We can fully trust the Lord to give us the very best gifts. So if we ask, He will give us the Holy Spirit.

Would you like to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would you like to be led by the Spirit of God? Do you want Him to bring you into all truth (John 16:13)? We can confidently receive Him, because it is the will of the Father to give us the good gift of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to be mature men and women of God who live in His presence and walk with Him. So He is very willing to give us the Holy Spirit to lead us into His fulness. If we ask, it will be given to us; if we seek, we shall find; if we knock, it will be opened unto us.

There are uncharted realms of spirit that God wants us to walk in. He wants us to walk in His fulness, and more than at any other time it is necessary to do so. We have come to the day in which the Church is to experience the glory of the Lord and to see the fulfillment of all the promises. We will see the restoration of all things and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. However, we must understand that God wants to use us in establishing His Kingdom. And if we are going to become those who do the will of God, then it is necessary for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. God not only wants us to know the truth, but He wants us to become the truth. Moreover, that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). God wants us to know the things that belong to Jesus Christ, and it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us (John 16:15). Without the Holy Spirit we cannot grow in the Lord and become what He wants us to be.

I Corinthians 12:1-3 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 You know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as you were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

We understand what Paul meant by saying “no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed.” That is quite obvious. But what does he mean when he says, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”? It is not difficult to quote the words “Jesus is the Lord.” Anyone can do that. In fact, most non-Christians will say that Jesus is the Lord. However, saying the words “Jesus is the Lord” does not mean they are speaking by the Holy Spirit. So what does it mean when Paul says, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”?

The main ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to the place where Jesus becomes the Lord over our lives. We know that Jesus is Lord, but there needs to be more than just a mental assent to His Lordship. It has to be a revelation to our hearts. We must become submissive to His Lordship by walking with Him. Then He is not just our Savior, but He is the Lord over us. He becomes the one who directs our lives. He makes the decisions concerning the course we take. When Paul says that no man can say Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost, he is saying that everything we are, as well as what we do and say, speaks one thing: “Jesus is the Lord!” And this can only be done by the Holy Spirit. When we come to the place in our walk with God that every manifestation of our lives and every aspect of our being says, “Jesus is the Lord,” then that is a work accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 12:4-7 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Having a gift of the Spirit is not something to boast about. It does not mean we have an inside track with God. The gifts of the Spirit are given to edify the church. They are given that we may minister the life of Christ to others. Neither is a gift of the Spirit a mark of maturity. The gifts are given while we are yet immature, for it is then that we need them most. We need the gifts so we can do the will of God until we come to a place of maturity in the Lord. Then the gifts develop into a ministry.

I Corinthians 12:7-8 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

The word of wisdom and the word of knowledge is not the natural ability to make proper judgment and to have a knowledge about many things. The gifts of wisdom and knowledge are gifts of divine wisdom and divine knowledge. It is being able to have His wisdom in a given situation. It is having a knowledge that only God would have. So it is divine wisdom and divine knowledge that comes as gifts by the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

The same principle works here. This faith is not just ordinary faith. It is not the measure of faith given to every man (Romans 12:3). The gift of faith is God’s faith, and it comes to you through the Holy Spirit.

Concerning healing, notice that it does not say “gift of healing.” There are many different gifts of healing that are given.

I Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

What is a miracle? A miracle is that which defies all laws. Childbirth, which has often been called a miracle, is not really a miracle because God has established certain laws to bring it about.

It has been said that spiritual birth is a miracle. But that is not a miracle either, because the Lord has set up certain laws. If one repents and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, he will be forgiven and saved. These laws have been established so that if we comply with them it will happen. The gift of miracles works when a given law must be bypassed or when there is no law to accomplish a certain thing.

The gift of prophecy is the most important of all the gifts. Paul confirms that in I Corinthians 14:1 where he says, “Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” Why does Paul give emphasis to the gift of prophecy? One reason is because prophecy is usually the channel through which the other gifts are manifested. For example, the word of wisdom needs the gift of prophecy as a channel for it to operate. It is the same for the word of knowledge. The gift of faith and gifts of healing can operate through the gift of prophecy, too. When Jesus healed someone by merely speaking a word, the gift of healing was operating through the gift of prophecy. The gift of miracles can also operate through prophecy. So prophecy becomes one of the more important gifts.

Prophecy is not just the prediction of future events. Predictive prophecy would only involve a very small percentage of prophetic utterance. The gift of prophecy is primarily a forth-telling, a proclaiming of the Word of God. Prophetic utterance has an element of creativity in it. In fact, the Lord’s prayer should be proclaimed prophetically, rather than quoted by rote. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” we should sound it forth as a prophetic declaration. After all, that is the way the Lord is going to establish His Kingdom.

We must also understand that being able to prophesy does not make one a prophet. Anyone who has received the Holy Spirit can prophesy, but a prophet is one who holds a particular office. Prophecy is a gift that everyone in the church should have, even the children. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. I Corinthians 14:31.

Discerning of spirits is also a gift that is very necessary for the Body of Christ. It is one of the more important gifts, as is prophecy. The gift of discernment is often viewed in a negative way. Sometimes people think they have the gift of discernment when they really only have a suspicious nature. The gift of discernment is not a gift of suspicion. Neither is it a gift to be used primarily for the detection of demonic activity. It will enable us to discern demonic activity, but it is far more valuable in discerning the movings of the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians are not able to discern the movings of God. God dwells on a very high realm of spirit, while Satan dwells on a low level of spirit. Consequently, it is more difficult to discern God. Those who are constantly finding a demon behind every bush have their focus on a low level. Because of that, they usually miss the movings of the Lord. Our focus should always be on the Lord. If we come to the place where we can discern the movings of the Holy Spirit, then our discernment of other spirit activity will be sharper and more accurate, too.

There has probably been more controversy over the gift of tongues than any other gift. That is understandable. Of all the gifts, tongues have been misused and abused more than any other. Nevertheless, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit and it is necessary. Even if many others have misused and abused the gift of tongues, that doesn’t mean we have to misuse and abuse it. If we reject tongues because others have misused it, then our problem is just as great as theirs.

We need the gift of tongues. But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Jude 20. Praying in tongues will strengthen you spiritually and build up your faith. It is also an excellent way to praise and give thanks unto the Lord (I Corinthians 14:17). Tongues are particularly useful and needful in private prayer. When you need to pray about something, and you do not know the will of God concerning it, then it is best to pray in tongues. That allows the Holy Spirit to pray through you the perfect prayer according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). It also enables us to have explicit faith. Our confidence is often limited when we pray in our native language, but our faith can reach maximum level when we allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. I John 5:14-15.

When the gifts of tongues is operative in the church, there should also be interpretation. In fact, Paul says that if there is no interpreter then one should not speak in tongues in the assembly (I Corinthians 14:27-28).

We must understand the necessity of the gifts of the Spirit, for the church will never be able to do the will of God without them. The lack of spiritual gifts in the church is a strong indication of a lack of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The gifts of the Spirit are the medium that allows the Lord to function through His church. If we do not have the gifts, then He is limited in what He can do in and through us.

I Corinthians 13:1-2 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

The gifts can operate without love, and that is why there have been problems in the past. Paul tells us that love has to be mingled with the gift. It is one thing to have a gift of the Spirit, but it is another thing to have God’s love mixed in with the gift. Love is the motivating force that makes the gift effective. So Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, though I have the gift of prophecy, and can understand all mysteries, and have all knowledge and faith, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

I Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Some would say, “Love is the important thing. I’m going to seek the love and not be concerned about the gifts.” Yes, be concerned about the gifts. Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy.

Do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Ask the Lord to fill you. Do you want the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and do you want His love so the gifts will function effectively? Then ask the Lord. Ask, and you shall receive! Seek, and you shall find! Knock, and it will be opened unto you!

Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose

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