The Gifts of the Holy SpiritJuly 1, 2018
I am sitting here today in my living room in Moscow, praying over the needs of our partners. My heart is so filled with thanksgiving when I think of you — I am grateful for your prayers for us and for your support of our ministry. Praying for you is part of my responsibility to you before God, and it is one of the greatest joys of my life.
One of my prayers is that you will come to know the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, I am writing to you this month about the supernatural working of the gifts of the Spirit. I trust that my letter encourages you to launch out by faith to move in these supernatural manifestations!
Let’s begin in First Corinthians 12:7, where Paul wrote, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”
In the passage in First Corinthians 12:7-11, Paul unequivocally stated that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifestations of the Spirit to the Church. Since they are manifestations of the Spirit, they must be good, because He only does what is good and profitable for us. In addition, this verse plainly tells us that the Holy Spirit doesn’t just want to be present in the Church — He wants to manifest Himself in the Church. And one way He manifests Himself is through spiritual gifts, including the gifts of the Spirit listed in this passage.
In Romans 12, Paul lists other spiritual gifts, such as teaching, exhortation, giving, administration, and so on. These, too, are spiritual gifts that are supernaturally imparted by the Holy Spirit. But in my letter today, I’m going to focus on the gifts of the Spirit as enumerated in these verses in First Corinthians 12.
GOD WANTS THE GIFTS TO OPERATE IN EVERY PERSON
TO BRING BENEFIT TO THE WHOLE BODY
Paul stated that these spiritual gifts are designed by God to operate in “every man” (v. 7). The words “every man” is from the Greek word hekastos, which is an all-inclusive term that includes every single person, with no one excluded. It plainly means that God wants every Christian to function in spiritual gifts. “No one excluded” really means no one excluded! That means explicitly that the Holy Spirit wants to manifest these gifts through you!
Paul continued to say that when these gifts are at work, they cause everyone to “profit.” The Greek word for “profit” describes something that is a benefit. This means the operation of spiritual gifts bring benefit to the Church.
The devil knows these spiritual gifts are beneficial, and that is the reason he has withstood their operation in the Church and even tried to theologically convince people they passed away with the death of the apostles. You see, the devil knows that when a supernatural element of the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church, it brings a dimension of Christ to the Church that it otherwise doesn’t know. These manifestations of the Spirit are essential if the supernatural power of Christ is going to continue inside the Church of Jesus Christ.
SPECIFICALLY, WHAT ARE
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
There were sundry spiritual gifts in operation in the Corinthian congregation. But in First Corinthians 1:5, Paul affirmed which gifts were most common in the Church there. He says, “That in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge….”
The word “utterance” is the Greek word logos, which refers to something that is vocal. By using this word, Paul was referring to vocal gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word “knowledge” is the Greek word gnosis, which describes knowledge or insight. As used here, it refers to revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit that impart supernatural knowledge or supernatural insight.
In First Corinthians 12, Paul listed a broad range of spiritual gifts. Among those were vocal gifts and revelatory gifts. The vocal gifts include tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy. These are spiritual gifts that when vocalized, they convey a message from God to a specific person or to a congregation. The Church at Corinth was overflowing with such gifts.
The revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit include word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning of spirits. The word of wisdom enables one to possess supernatural wisdom that he could not naturally possess. The word of knowledge enables a person to supernaturally know details or facts that he could not naturally know. The discerning of spirits enables one to possess the supernatural ability to see into a spiritual situation or to discern what kind of spiritual forces are at work, which could never be seen or known without revelation. These revelatory gifts were also in abundance in the Church at Corinth.
Paul’s list of gifts in First Corinthians 12 included additional gifts, such as the gifts of faith, healings, and miracles, and certainly there are variations of these manifestations. But when Paul described what gifts primarily operated among the Corinthians, he noted vocal gifts and revelatory gifts — tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and discerning of spirits.
The Church at Corinth was so “enriched” with these particular manifestations that Paul sensed it was necessary to write an entire chapter about how to manage the operation of these spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 14)!
So many gifts were in operation in Corinth that the congregation had to be instructed on how to properly administer them in a single church service. Today it seems we’re thankful if we see just one of these gifts in operation in a service. Yet in Corinth, there were so many of these regular operations of the Spirit that they had to learn how to correctly make room for them in each service.
WE ARE COMMANDED
TO DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS!
Paul never rebuked or corrected the Corinthians for having so many spiritual gifts. In fact, he told them to “desire” spiritual gifts when he wrote these words in First Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts….”
The Greek word for “desire” means to be fervently boiling with zealousness for a thing. This is not a mere want or wish. This word emphatically means Paul wanted them to possess an intense longing and boiling zealousness to have more and more of these spiritual manifestations. Why was this so important that Paul told the Corinthian believers to zealously desire these gifts? He knew that the gifts were vital to bring the supernatural dimension of Christ to the Church. That is why Paul really wanted the Corinthian Christians to fervently boil with desire for them!
Since God’s Word is true throughout all generations, we know that Paul was also telling us to desire the operation of spiritual gifts in our lives and in our churches. This is God’s commandment to you and me and our respective churches!
Oh, how much God has in store for us if we would just open our hearts to the fullness of the Holy Spirit! I encourage you to throw away fear and apprehension — and embrace these supernatural gifts so they can bring a divine benefit to you and to your church. Pray for it and step out in faith to let these divine gifts operate in you. That is my prayer for you this month!
If this letter has been a blessing to you, please feel free to make copies and share it with a few friends who are also seeking to see more of the gifts of the Spirit in operation. Let’s try to encourage each other in this very important matter!
Also, please let Denise and me and our prayer team know how to pray more specifically for you, and we will go to prayer on your behalf immediately when we hear from you. If you’ll let us know about your need, we will pray, and that is a promise!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families