115: The Gifts of God’s Spirit: Introduction

God’s calling is a free gift, yet we must respond to that calling by repentance and baptism; which repentance and baptism is the necessary prelude [a seeking of godliness] needed to receive the gift of God’s Spirit;  and even to receive the basic initial gift of the Holy Spirit we must ask for it in prayer after baptism.

Once we receive the initial gift of God’s Spirit we must then seek out [ask for] other gifts of the Spirit.

There is no disconnect between a gift being free, and the concept of asking and seeking for that gift.

We do not earn a gift of God in the sense that God owes us that gift;  for we are all to be zealous to keep God’s Word.  Keeping God’s Word is the obligation of all converted persons and is necessary to receive God’s gifts.

The gifts of the Spirit are given to those who please God, and if we please him and ask for a gift, God will give it to us according to his will and according to what God judges is best for us.  That in no way refers to us earning the gift or to any obligation of God to give any gift.

1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The gifts of God are not earned, but we must qualify to receive a gift by pleasing God, and by asking for the gift.

When God the Father calls us to his son and we respond positively with sincere repentance and a baptismal commitment to “Go and sin no more;”  Jesus Christ intercedes for us before the Father and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is applied to us, blotting out all past sins.

Then God’s GIFT of his Holy Spirit is given to us!

The Holy Spirit is itself God’s Gift to his people, and that Spirit can confer on the faithful the various Gifts of the Spirit which are Gifts of God.

All of God’s people who have God’s Spirit have the opportunity to receive various Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Such Gifts are NOT the sole  prerogative of the ministry, they are God’s Gifts to ALL of his people!

Each person may receive their own Gift or Gifts of God, if we ASK for them and diligently seek to receive them, they will be given according to God’s will.  Like any parent, God will not give us things that we are not ready for or would misuse, and not not everyone always receives the same Gifts.

We are admonished to seek the Gifts of God: 

1 Corinthians 12:31   But covet earnestly the best gifts: 

1 Corinthians 14:1  Follow [seek] after charity [godly love which is defined by the keeping of the commandments], and desire [seek] spiritual gifts:

Yet each one of us then has a choice:  Do we each seek out God’s Gifts and diligently ask for and pursue them?  or do we sit back and bury our talent?

The Gifts of the Spirit are for our good, so that we can use them and be exercised therewith; thus producing spiritual growth [the fruit of the Spirit] for ourselves and the Ekklesia as a whole.  Spiritual Gifts are for the purpose of building up the Ekklesia as a whole and for our own personal development as we use those Gifts.

We receive the Gifts of the Spirit only through diligently studying and applying the whole Word of God in our lives and by actively seeking and requesting these Gifts from God!

Would you be inclined to give a gift of extreme value to someone who you know will neglect it, or misuse it, or not appreciate it?  We have to prove to God that we are worthy to receive such Gifts before they will be given to us; and we do that by our dedicated zeal to learn and to keep his word!

If we seek the Gifts of God’s Spirit and then use them well, for God’s glory and the good of His people; we shall learn, grow and mature in the faith ourselves; to the point where we will begin producing the FRUITS of the Spirit!

After sincere repentance and forgiveness, comes reconciliation with God and the Gift of God’s Spirit.  Then as we diligently seek spiritual growth and the Gifts of the Spirit, God may grant us one or more of His precious Gifts to facilitate our development and for the building up of the whole body of the faithful.

People like plants must first grow to maturity before they can produce fruit.

God may give each of us certain of His GIFTS for our good and for the general good of the Ekklesia, so that we all may grow and produce much Spiritual Fruit.

We must use and exercise God’s GIFTS, and through that we can grow spiritually to the point where we produce godly Spiritual Fruits.

Hence by using God’s gifts, we grow and produce Spiritual Fruits, and help others to also grow and produce Spiritual Fruits.

Think of God’s gifts for a moment; [bad example but the best I can think of right now]   as the gifts of air, water and fertilizer that makes the plants [brethren] grow spiritually to the point where the spiritual fruits may develop and mature.

That is the difference between Spiritual Gifts and Fruits.

Various Gifts of the spirit are available to everyone who is diligent for God and God’s Word, however if we do not seek to receive and then use God’s spiritual gifts; we will not grow, mature or produce the Fruits of the Spirit.

The Gifts of the Spirit which we plan to post on thoroughly are taught in 1 Cor 12 – 14.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS ~ God’s Purpose for Giving Gifts to His Children

What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? What are GIFTS of the Spirit and is it important that God’s people learn about this subject and come to a thorough understanding of how the gifts should operate within the Ekklesia? And what about us as individuals, how vital is it that we discover what God has gifted us to do and what He would have us work at in order to edify and build up the body of Christ: helping the members of the Ekklesia to grow to spiritual maturity?

Paul puts it very bluntly when he addressed this subject in his epistle to the Corinthians; that he did not want the members of the Ekklesia to remain ignorant in regard to spiritual gifts. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 12:1)

WHY does God give spiritual gifts to His children? The Bible tells us that God gives spiritual gifts for the edification of the Ekklesia, which means to build it up and to help nourish it so that it can grow and flourish. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)

The instruction to God’s people is that they are to EDIFY and spur each other to good works and this commandment comes up time and again throughout the epistles.

Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

What does it mean to edify? The Greek word for edify or edification is oikodomé (Strong’s #3619) and means: (the act of) building, a building (Strong’s Concordance)…..”the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness, happiness.”(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

God likens His church to a building or a house, it is specifically His spiritual temple and He is in the process of calling individuals to become a part of that temple. When talking to Peter about the church, Jesus said that He would build His church upon the rock, the rock being an allegory for Himself, and that the church [Ekklesia] could never be destroyed.

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [a pebble], and upon this rock [the mountain of Christ, Daniel 2] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Scripture portrays Jesus as the Master Builder; creating and building things is an innate part of who Jesus is. He is the Creator of heaven and earth and all living things; without Him nothing would exist (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). When He came to earth as a man He was born into the household of a carpenter. His foster father’s trade was one of working with wood and stone; building and creating things. As a child and young man Jesus most likely learned the trade and helped Joseph to build everything from furniture, farm equipment (wooden yokes), to houses and other buildings.

Jesus is still actively in the process of building, only now it is a spiritual building project, building the Father’s spiritual temple which is a building of the people that the Father is calling. The called-out are being built up into a spiritual Priesthood. The following scriptures show this aspect of Christ’s Work of building up a spiritual house fit for an habitation for God and that it would bring honor to the Father.

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We are being made into God’s image and therefore we, too, are to become builders even as Jesus Christ is a builder of His church. He has called us to become skilled in building and edifying, to join in His efforts as team players to build in the church at this present time and also to be builders as skilled leaders in the coming Kingdom of God.

“Gifts” of the Spirit; Compared to the “Fruits” of the Spirit

God calls us to be regenerated through sincere repentance, applying the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, baptism and receiving God’s Holy Spirit. Part of our molding and fashioning is to develop the same spiritual attributes of God which includes internalizing His divine nature. When we receive God’s Spirit we are to grow and demonstrate the FRUITS of His Spirit  (Galatians 5:22-23).

These FRUITS of the Spirit are not the same as the GIFTS of the Spirit. 

The GIFTS of the spirit are gifts from God to help every member to edify the whole body of the called out.

The FRUITS of the Spirit are aspects of Christ’s character, His divine nature which every Christian is to seek, develop and cultivate through his lifetime.

On the other hand, the GIFTS of the Spirit are sovereign manifestations of the Spirit’s power (See 1 Corinthians 12). When a spiritual gift is displayed, it is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit and is usually a visible activity or supernatural work that has an effect. Gifts  are special abilities beyond a person’s normal natural talents or abilities.

Rather than being the FRUITS 0f the spirit which are moral spiritual qualities of excellence such as kindness, meekness or patience, etc., spiritual GIFTS enable one to carry out the work of God.

Spiritual GIFTS are a supernatural empowerment with special abilities to perform certain functions within the Body according to God’s purposes. The spiritual gifts are for the common good, for the benefit of an entire congregation or community; or sometimes are directed toward humanity as far as preaching, teaching and warning; but the manifestations are to bring glory to God and not to ourselves.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

BOTH spiritual GIFTS and FRUIT are vitally important in the lives of believers. God’s children must grow and mature in their fruits of the Spirit as well as mature in their understanding and in the utilization of the gifts of the Spirit.

Both are essential if the whole Body of Christ is to grow, thrive and bear much good fruit, thus glorifying God.

Spiritual maturity comes through growing in the fruits of the spirit while using the gifts of the spirit.  We are to be using the spiritual gifts to grow in the spiritual fruits.

When we think of the fruits of the spirit, such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control, we can see that these things are all aspects of godly love incorporated into our character as we exercise the GIFTS of the spirit given to us for our development and for the edifying of the other parts of the Body of Christ.

When we manifest a gift of the Spirit that has been freely given to us by God, God intends that we use our gift to benefit others and to edify the members of the Body of Christ.  When do so we are expressing godly love to others as God intends through his giving of that gift.

Exercising the gifts,  brings spiritual growth to the one that practices them and also benefits those that are on the receiving end as we use those gifts to edify others.

We are in training to be priests and kings in the future Kingdom of God and we need to be using the gifts of the Spirit to serve others, exercising the gifts that God has given to us as we walk in the Spirit.

If we are faithful to do what God has given us to do now in this lifetime, God can use us mightily when we are spirit beings forever. Those who are faithful now in small things (or things that may seem small to us) while we are still physical, show God that we will be diligent in ruling over His creation with agape love when placed in positions of authority in His Kingdom.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Matthew 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make the ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Supernatural Abilities Compared to Natural Abilities

A person’s natural talents and abilities do not constitute spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are not natural abilities, rather they are supernatural abilities given by God to perform works that glorify Him and further His Plan and Purpose for mankind.

For example, if a man has a natural talent in public speaking and seems to be very charismatic, we need to be careful that we do not attribute that natural talent as a spiritual gift, the same with a person who may seem to have a dynamic personality. Outward appearances can be very deceptive. Our cultures have programmed us to assess people by how they look, dress, their human strengths, education, experience, their wealth, etc., etc. God looks upon the heart and He most often uses weak and otherwise ordinary people to do mighty things for Him. The Bible is full of just ordinary people, who had human weaknesses like we all do, that God used in mighty ways after they submitted their hearts and lives to obeying and following Him.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.  (Also, see 1st Corinthians 1:26-29, 2nd Corinthians 11:6, Hebrews 11)

Whenever a believer is using a spiritual gift as God leads, it is evidence of God’s grace at work. The praise and glory will always belong to God for it is He who gives the gift, which  brings about results by His power. 

God is working through the believer for the benefit of the Ekklesia and for others outside the Ekklesia that He may be calling. The gifts are bestowed upon His children as needed and at the sole discretion of our heavenly Father to effect a miracle; either small and undetectable by most, or very dramatic and made very public. For example, it could be a healing, or to know something that we could not know through natural means, or perhaps to discern an evil spirit at work in our midst.

The closer we are to God and the more we are living according to His will, the more we will become sensitive and obedient to the Spirit’s leading or promptings. We need to understand about the supernatural things, including the workings of the gifts of the Spirit; for knowledge and understanding will help us to have the faith we need to look to God for His help and not to do things by our own power as most of us have been done from our youth.

The more faith we have, the more we will be attune to the supernatural things of God, to be able discern and to follow the leading of His Spirit. To have  faith in God, rather than to doubt, thereby supplying boldness in seeking God’s gifts to help us to carry out God’s purposes; just like the first century Christians that prayed and asked that God would do mighty signs and wonders by the name and in the authority of Jesus to further the work of preaching the Gospel.

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 4:30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Gifts are to Bring Glory to God and Not To Men

The gifts are given as needed and are not given to bring glory to ourselves when the powerful works of God are being demonstrated [seemingly] by our hand. God is able to speak and manifest His power and presence at His discretion and in any way He wants; it is to bring glory to Him and not to the one who is acting as His agent.

In Acts 3, when the people looked to Peter and John after the healing of the lame man, Peter directed the peoples’ attention to the fact that it was not by their power that the healing took place; but rather the dramatic healing was by the power of Almighty God.

Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

The lame man who begged for alms was a familiar sight for many people in Jerusalem as they entered the temple and they knew that he was crippled and had been crippled from birth. This miraculous event brought the occasion for Peter and John to preach about the Messiah to those standing by and to proclaim the fact that is was by Jesus’ name that this man was made whole. Peter then preached:

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.  3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

This man, himself, became a witness of the wonderful works of God for the religious leaders who could not deny that he had been healed by the hands of the apostles and this gave even more credence to what Peter and John were teaching about Jesus.

Acts 4:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. (See the whole chapters: Acts 3 and 4)

The gifts are freely given; they can be neither earned nor purchased with money or bribes. When Simon Magus saw what was happening with Philip and the miracles that were being performed, he envied the fact that they were doing these miraculous things and he wanted the same power.

Simon did not care about the fact that the miracles were changing people’s lives and directing them to believe the Gospel and then want to live righteously for the Kingdom. But instead, he wanted the notoriety that the miracles (in his mind) were bringing to the apostles. He wanted to be thought of as a great one that had the power of God; he did not have love in his heart for the lost of the world and the fact that the miracles were for bringing people to Christ. The miracles were definitely NOT to make celebrities of those whom God was using as His agents.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

By “earnestly desiring the best gifts,” Paul exhorts God’s people to not be passive and neglectful in regard to these things, but to zealously seek God’s spiritual GIFTS and to seek to understand the operation of and appropriate application of spiritual gifts; and that to do so is biblically proper. This is a form of being passionate for the things of God and wanting the GIFTS of God to serve God all the better.

But on the other hand we are never to be puffed up because of what God gives in the way of spiritual gifts.  In this chapter, after telling them to desire the spiritual gifts, Paul then tells them that they must be used with agape love of God as their basis.

The next chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, goes into detail about the Gift of godly love and what it means to have charity [agape love] and that to have this kind of godly love is the most important spiritual Gift of all.

If we have godly love, we will be motivated to use other spiritual gifts based on godly love. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul cautions us that if we have all gifts and are empowered to use them mightily, they are nothing without charity [godly love]. To even begin to seek the spiritual gifts, which is a very worthy thing to do, we must get a grasp of why we are to seek after the gifts and set godly love as the top priority of the gifts of the Spirit that we seek. (Please see the whole chapter of 1st Corinthians 13) The final verse is a summary of Chapter 13 and tells us that:

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [Deep Agape love].

Charismata: The Spiritual Gifts of God

In the New Testament the Greek word charismais is used to designate the spiritual gifts; charismais is (Strong’s #5486) and means: free gift. From charizomai; a (divine) gratuity, i.e. Deliverance (from danger or passion); (specially), a (spiritual) endowment, i.e. (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty — (free) gift. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

And from Word Helps: A grace-endowment to edify the Church, divinely empowers a believer to share God’s work with others, i.e. Spirit-empowered service to the Church to carry out His plan for His people. [5486 /xárisma (but not limited to) “spiritual gifts.” xarismata (the plural form) literally means “grace-endowments.”]   (Word Helps)

From these definitions of charismais we see that the gifts of the Spirit are divine endowments from God,  freely given to a believer to empower him to act as God’s agent to do those things that will edify the Ekklesia and demonstrate God to others. The word “charisma” is “derived from charis, which means “grace”. We can therefore say that spiritual gifts are “grace [Free GIFTS] endowments” from God our Father.

God gifts certain individuals to do the functions that He has called them to do and they in turn are a gift to the Ekklesia for their job is to help, to build up and to edify the members of God’s spiritual temple.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Paul goes on to give more detail as to WHY God gives these responsibilities that work to perfect the saints and to edify the whole body:

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

In Hebrews, Paul gives the reason we are to submit to godly leaders in the Ekklesia, leaders that are godly examples themselves and are also faithfully teaching and expounding the Scriptures in order to help each individual to grow in his spiritual walk.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (See also 1 Peter 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 11:1)

The spiritual gifts strengthen and empower God’s people to do works for Him.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

Paul uses the word spiritual to describe God’s gifts and helps us to understand that the gifts of the Spirit as supernatural in nature.

The Greek word for “spiritual” is pneumatikos (Strong’s #4152) and means: spiritual.  (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

Word Helps defines pneumatikos: in reference to things emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character.  (Word Helps)

“Now concerning spiritual gifts” the word pneumatika is used to describe the gifts as things belonging to the Spirit. The word, “spiritual” emphasizes that the gifts work in tandem with the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and by the power of God.

As we put to use the spiritual gifts on a daily basis, God is preparing us by His power to be equipped for kingdom service as we grow in His grace to do His works here, now, in this lifetime, but also when we will be working in all the fullness of God’s Spirit with great power in the Kingdom of God.

In Colossians 1 Paul prayed for the brethren that they would be fruitful in every good work, filled with the knowledge of God’s will in the spiritual things of God and that they would be “STRENGTHENED with all might” to enable them to endure with patience; by doing so this would make them fit to be partakers of the future inheritance that God has for them.

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.

The Greek word for “strengthen” is dunamoó (Strong’s #1412) and means: From dunamis; to enable –see GREEK dunamis, to empower, make (be) able.  And dunamis (Strong’s #1411) means: (miraculous) power, might, strength Definition: (a) physical power, force, might, ability, efficacy, energy, meaning (b) plur: powerful deeds, deeds showing (physical) power, marvelous works. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

When we have been granted certain spiritual gifts by God (according to how it pleases Him), and we use them well for God’s glory and the good of His people, we will then learn, grow and mature in the faith ourselves. As we grow in spiritual maturity, we will also be strengthened and will become strong Christians. This in turn will help us to strengthen others and if everyone is exercising their gifts, the whole Body will be strengthened and will become STRONG; the kind of “strong spiritual body” that is glorifying to God. This is not the strength that refers to numbers of members, finances, number of programs, etc. but to be spiritually strong with faithful obedience to God’s commandments, doing the works of God, and fighting and overcoming spiritual foes.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

We are to become fit and then meet the stringent qualifications it takes to be competent, effective and strong spiritual leaders; the kind of godly leader that leads others to the righteousness of God and that show others the way to salvation by their example and good works (enabled by the spiritual gifts).

Colossians 1:12 which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

The Greek word for “meet”is  hikanóō (Strong’s #2427) From hikanos; to enable, i.e. Qualify — make able (meet). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

Word Helps defines “meet” used in this passage as: properly, reaching the place of sufficiency and hence making someone qualified, i.e. able (competent). (Word Helps)

Paul prayed that the brethren would live and conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the people of God, ones that show by their character and by their works that they do belong to the LORD; that they would be fully pleasing to and would desire to please Him in all things, being spiritually fruitful in all their works, steadily growing and increasing in the knowledge of the things of God. He further prayed that they would be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, to joyfully exercise endurance and patience. Then in verse 12 Paul gives thanks to the Father who makes His people qualified and fit to be a part of the inheritance that Christ will bring at His coming, which is His kingdom.

If we have God’s Spirit then we are given spiritual gifts that will enable us to do good works now; and as we utilize those gifts we are becoming more and more qualified for whatever position God will allocate to us in the future Kingdom of God.

God’s people have always needed to be spiritually strong, but a time is coming when they will need to be very strong and God will empower His faithful  saints to do “exploits” in His name. We know and believe that God is going to do a powerful work on earth during the tribulation just before He returns; this will require God’s strength in His people, as well as strengthening them by spiritual gifts to enable them to work miracles just like the first century Christians. (Acts 4:24-31, Acts 5:12)

Daniel 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

The Hebrew word for “strong” is chazak (Strong’s #2388) and means: became strong, became mighty, became powerful, stand firm. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

The people that do know their God, (those that are close to Him and who seek to obey Him completely) will become mighty, become powerful, become strong, stand firm by the mighty power of God working in them. And “exploits” means: to take action and to act valiantly.

The Gifts are Freely Given But the Saints Must Still Must Do Their Part
The Bible commands us to “….not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18). 

The Greek word for “to be filled” is pléroó (Strong’s #4137) and means: to “make full”, to complete (Strong’s Concordance) fill to individual capacity, i.e. to the extent it is “meet” (appropriate) (Word Helps)

Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit, yet we know that being filled with the Spirit is not something the Christian can achieve through his own efforts but is something that is done for him as he yields his life to the will of God and seeks to follow and obey Him.

To “make full” is in the present tense, indicating that this filling begins when we first become Christians and we need to keep being filled; the filling continues throughout our lives if we remain faithful to God. Also, this filling is a blessing that one may experience and enjoy now and as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

The fact that “to be filled” is a command does not leave those who are believers an option in the matter. So even though God does His part in bestowing His Spirit along with the gifts and fruits, we still must do our part in seeking and asking to be filled on a daily basis and studying God’s Word, meditating and seriously applying the things that we learn to our day to day living.

Each person may receive their own Gift or Gifts of God, if we ASK for them and diligently seek to receive them, yet not everyone always has the same Gifts.  Yet each one of us then has a choice: Do we each seek out God’s Gifts and diligently ask for and pursue them? or do we sit back and bury our talent? The Gifts of the spirit are for our good, so that we can use them and be exercised therewith; thus producing spiritual growth for ourselves and the Ekklesia as a whole.  Spiritual Gifts are for the purpose of building up the Ekklesia as a whole and for our own personal development as we use those Gifts. We receive the Gifts of the spirit only through diligently studying and applying the whole Word of God in our lives and by actively seeking and requesting these Gifts from God!”

Just after the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and after Jesus gave them an outline for what to pray for, He went even further by giving them the parable of the man who asked his friend for three loaves of bread to feed His visitor. Jesus’ instruction to them was to: “ask, that it may given to you, seek that you shall find, and knock and it will be opened to you” in our prayers to our heavenly Father. He sums up the parable by saying “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?”

Along with the Holy Spirit are all the things associated with the Spirit which includes the Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit, along with being filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Luke 11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 11:6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 11:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11:11 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? 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Also, we need to exercise FAITH, we can ask for these things in faith and believe that He Will supply us with what we ask for if it is according to His will. We just saw that Jesus wants us to ask for these things and tells us to ask, seek and knock so we know that it is His will that we receive them IF we are staying close to God in our daily walk with Him and seeking to obey Him with all our hearts.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Jesus commands His disciples to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel, warning all peoples to repent and then teaching them to keep all the commandments of God and everything else that He had taught His disciples.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

In order to do these things we need to have God’s protection and empowerment along with  the gifts of the Spirit. Satan would stop us in our tracks without God’s special protection and the spiritual gifts that make it possible for us to do as He has commanded.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

God distributes spiritual gifts as He wills and according to what He has determined for each one of His children and as He determines for the benefit of others who are blessed by those who utilize their gifts.  God gives His spiritual gifts according to His good pleasure. The gifts, even as they are given to each person of the Ekklesia, ultimately express the Father’s sovereign action in the life of each believer and the community of believers as a whole. He knows where He wants each person and what He wants each to do. We are to trust Him in His distribution of His gifts as He sees fits.  If we understand the sovereignty of God, it will help us to come to know and believe that God has ultimate control in all the affairs of this life and we will come to trust and rely on Him even more.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 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: 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It is God’s plan to equip us thoroughly to enthusiastically carry out His will in our own lives and also in the lives of those we come in contact with. He has appointed specific ministries of service for each one of His children, and He has placed us in the Ekklesia to carry out specific responsibilities 

We should pray to God and ask Him to guide us as to what He would have us to do and to ask for Spiritual Gifts; and also to grow in the Gifts we have already been granted to do our work more effectively.

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s Spirit Produces a Sound Mind

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The Bible very clearly teaches that one of  the Gifts of the Spirit is a rational, sound, well controlled  mind; and that individuals  have voluntary control of the gifts.

What we want to make perfectly clear is that what we see in many of the mainstream churches and especially in the Pentecostal movement is NOT the work or Gift of God’s Holy Spirit.

Scripture distinguishes the charismata of the Holy Spirit from the psychotic states of trance mediums and pagan psychics, evangelistic side shows of supposed supernatural healings, speaking in babbling incomprehensible speech patterns (“tongues,” as they put it), falling backward, false premonitions, astrology, etc. etc. are NOT the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather are the works of another spirit and should be avoided at all costs.

If we have God’s Spirit we will be able to know them by their fruits and thereby turn away from all that entices us to seek these kinds of “powers”. There are many Scriptures that warn us to turn from the wicked deeds of darkness and expose them for what they are.

God’s Gifts are Tools to Benefit the whole Body of Christ

A believer through whom a spiritual gift is manifested is not the only beneficiary of the gift. He is also an agent through whom God can work to bless others and/or to further His Work of salvation here on earth.

Paul said that his own ministry was given to him according to the gift of God’s grace, implying that the ministry itself was by the effectual working of God’s power within him and not by his own power. God’s power enabled Paul to do the work that he did. We may not be given the same ministry as Paul was given, but each of God’s children has his own godly ministry and must utilize whatever gift or gifts that have been conferred upon us.

Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

The giving of spiritual gifts to the Children of God offers them the opportunity to demonstrate genuine agape love and meeting the needs of others without expecting anything in return. God is love, and He is the source of all spiritual gifts. Therefore, God’s love is abundantly evident in the effectual workings of the spiritual gifts. It is never for vanity or self-aggrandizement and if a church member begins to believe that they are for such purposes, God will withdraw those gifts from him.

One of the spiritual blessings of God’s gifts is the interdependency they generate. First, a converted child of God must lean on his heavenly Father, who grants a gift or gifts and empowers him to use them. Then, the members of Christ’s Body must depend on one another and God expects them to cooperate with each other as a team; like the individual parts of a body, using every gift by the grace God supplies, so that the Ekklesia can grow, mature and bring glory to Him.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

From the Scriptures regarding the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit we come to understand that it is very important to strive to cultivate them for our own personal growth and it is also important to learn about and utilize the gifts of the Spirit to build up and edify the Ekklesia the spiritual body of Christ.  We need an awakening to the understanding of what the spiritual gifts are about so that we in these end-time days may be able to recognize them when they are being displayed by others and also to seek the correct application of these gifts in our own service for the Work of God in whatever capacity God places us; to be effective servants, now, and in the coming years ahead.

In summary, a spiritual gift is a God-given ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit beyond our natural abilities, and is used in our own spiritual growth and also in ministering to others. They are used to fulfill God’s purposes and to further His work here on earth.

God gives spiritual gifts to His Children who have chosen to obey and to follow Christ, in order that His people will grow and mature in their faith, the needs of the Church will be met, God’s work on earth will be done and to bring glory to God, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10)

As the collective Bride of Christ we need to learn about these things according to the biblical definition of them (and not the world’s) and then apply ourselves to building up the church rather than tearing it apart. Jesus Christ is preparing and getting His bride ready for His soon return and that is why it is imperative for those of us who are called to be trained to fulfill the role of the Bride of Christ, to seek to  receive the gifts of the Spirit, as it pleases our espoused Husband.

Spiritual gifts are gifts of grace, and an undeserved benefit from God. The spiritual gifts are expressions of God’s nature, given to equip His called-out ones to grow in godliness and produce the Fruits of the Spirit, to edify the Spiritual Temple, and to fulfill God’s purposes on the earth.  

James Malm and Constance Belanger

Note-  Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2015, which I then completed for posting. 


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