Book Review XXXVI: The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

 

Another great book recommended by a friend.
It is like a textbook in explaining the spiritual gifts.
Shall we begin the review?

God has given the Holy Spirit.
Our task is simply to receive Him.
We can ask for His minister to pray for us and we can immediately receive the Holy Spirit. There is no need for a waiting period.
Speaking in tongue is the evidence of the baptism if the Spirit, not the evidence of new birth.

When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are actually receiving the Person of the Holy Spirit.
It does not matter what denomination we belong to. We can all receive the baptism/Person of the Spirit.
While there is the work of the Holy Spirit when the person is born again, this is not the same as in the infilling of the Spirit in the believer’s life.
God has already given the Holy Spirit. When we pray, we should pray that people receive the Spirit (we should not pray that God gives the Spirit).
Some teach that only the apostles can pray for the infilling of the Spirit. However, the truth is that an ordinary believer can lay hands and pray for the infilling of the Spirit.

When the believers are born again, the Holy Spirit immediately dwells in them.
They are now able to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
However, only after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit will the Holy Spirit comes in power.
They are now able to move in the gifts of the Spirit.
As the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the believers, He becomes their Helper, Comforter and Guide in the affairs of life.

The church did not begin on the Day of Pentecost. It began when Lord Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples (John 20:22)
This is the indwelling of the Spirit in the believers.
Later on, the Spirit came upon them and filled them with power. This baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced through speaking in tongue.
Through infilling of the Spirit, the believers now have access to 9 gifts of the Spirit.
The power of the Spirit is now available to the believers regardless of what they feel.

Some believe we need to tarry before we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
However, the tarrying was only meant for the early disciples. They had to wait until the Day of Pentecost.
However, subsequently when the disciples prayed, the people immediately received the Holy Spirit.
Just like salvation is a gift, baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift too. The believers only need to receive it in faith.

The gift of speaking in tongue is still available for the believers today.
While the speakers may not understand the the words they say, sometimes the hearers can understand.
Speaking in tongue requires no interpretation if it is used in personal worship.
However, if it is used for public teaching, it requires interpretation.
Speaking in tongue is the door to the supernatural.
The more (less) we use this gift, the more (less) manifestation of other gifts we will experience too.

The fruit of the Spirit is for holiness and the gifts of  the Spirit is for power.
Some Christians produce much fruit of the Spirit but they have not received baptism of the Spirit. Hence, they can’t move in the power of God.
Some Christians, e.g. Corinthians Christians, have abundance of gifts of the Spirit but they are still immature in the term of virtue.

Some believers received supernatural experience or joy in addition to gift of tongue the moment they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
However, those supernatural experience and joy are exception rather than rule.

By praying the Spirit, believers build themselves up spiritually, become continuously aware of  the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking in tongue eliminates selfishness from entering into our prayer life and keeps us holy from profane elements of the world. As  we pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will direct our prayer.
While we are alone, praying in  the Spirit is the best way to give thanks to God. In fact, speaking in tongue helps us control our tongue.

Some guideline to receiving the Holy Spirit:
1.The candidates must be born again.
2.The ministers should lay hands on the candidates.
3.The candidates should do the speaking while the Spirit gives the utterance.
4.The candidates must not fear of receiving the wrong spirit.
5.The candidates must not be distracted.

Apostle Paul did not want the Corinthian Christians to be ignorant.
Similarly, he would not want us today to have no or limited knowledge of the gifits of the Spirit.
Spiritual gifts will exalt Lord Jesus.
They are supernatural, not natural ability.

We can divide the gifts into 3 categories:
-The revelational gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits.
-The power gifts: gift of faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles.
-The utterance gifts: gift of prophecy, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.

Word of knowledge is not natural human knowledge. Neither is it Bible knowledge.
Neither is it knowledge of God through communion with Him
Through the word of knowledge, God told John about the condition of the seven churches.
God told Ananias about Saul or Tarsus.
God told Peter that three men were looking for him.
God told Samuel regarding the location of Saul’s donkey.
God told Elijah there were 7000 people who still worshipped Him.
God told Elisha that Gehazi asked for money from Naaman.
God told Elisha about Syria’s plan of ambush.
Lord Jesus knew the Samaritan woman had 5 husbands.
Apostle Peter knew Ananias and Saphira were lying.

The gift of the word of wisdom is not wisdom in the affairs of life.
It is the revelation of the future events.
Example of word of wisdom includes:
-Noah and Lot received  warning of future judgment.
-Joseph’s dream of his future leadership
-the Old Testament prophets announcing the coming Messiah.
-Prophet Agabus warned of the coming drought.
-Apostle Paul received warning of the storm that would wreck the ship.
-Apostle John in the island of Patmos receiving revelation of the end times.
The word of wisdom can be conditional. Old Testament prophet gave warning of future judgment if the nation would not repent.

Discerning of spirits. This gift is not:
-spiritual mind reading
-psychological insight or mental penetration.
-power to discern the fault of others.
It is the gift to see into spiritual realm
-to see the evil spirits
-to see the similitudes of God
-to see the risen Christ
-to see the Holy Spirit
-to see the host of God’s armies.
-to see the spirit behind an operation.
Sometimes even though we do not have the gift of discerning of the spirits, we can sense something is wrong because it is against the word of God. In addition, the Holy Spirit inside us will prompt us too.

The gift of faith is not the same as saving faith event though saving faith is also a gift from God.
Gift of faith is the greatest among the three power  gifts. It is the faith to receive a miracle from God.
This special faith is not the ordinary faith to receive answer to prayer. While ordinary faith grows as we feed on the word of God and exercises it, this special faith is the manifestation as the Spirit wills.
This gift of faith sometimes manifests in the face of danger.
Daniel received this gift of faith when he was in the lion’s den.
In another occasion, it manifests when Christians cast out demons or raise the dead.
Moses had the gift of faith to believe he could walk without food and water 40 days and 40 nights.

A miracle is defined as the supernatural intervention by God in the ordinary course of nature. Examples of miracles in the Bible.
Samson killed a lion.
Prophet Elisha split the river Jordan.
Moses called for 10 plagues and split the Red Sea.
Lord Jesus calmed  the storm.
Lord Jesus turned water into wine.
Lord Jesus fed 5 thousands with little boy’s lunch.
We need to earnestly desire this gift of working of miracle especially in this end times.

While we thank God for doctors, gifts of healings is not about medical science.
While gifts of working of miracles are more prevalent in the Old Testament, gifts of healings are more prevalent in the New Testament.
Lord Jesus ministered healings using the power of the Holy Spirit, not the power inherent to Him as the Son of God
Gifts of healings are plural. Different diseases require different gifts.
God is the source of healings. At times, the sick person receive his/her own healing through faith in God’s word. At other times, the gifts of healings operates when a ministers lays hands on the sick person.

Gift of prophecy is equal to tongues plus interpretation of tongues.
Prophecy means to flow forth in speaking to people on God’s behalf.
In the Old Testament, the prophecy was foretelling. In the New Testament, the prophecy is forth telling.
In some occasion, the gift of prophecy manifests when Christians preach beyond their rational capability.
Many times, gifts of prophecy is manifested during corporate worship when the name of Lord Jesus is lifted up.
Christians cannot use the gifts of the Spirit as and when they like. They can only use the gifts under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
A simple gift of prophecy is for edification, exhortation and comfort. 
We can use the gift of prophecy in personal life. We can start with praying in the Spirit and continue with prophesying to pray out the plan of God in our lives.
Through the gifts of prophecy, we can sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in our personal prayer and in corporate worship. That’s how we edify the body of Christ.

Gifts of divers kinds of tongues.
It is the initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives.
Though the Holy Spirit used the prophets in the Old Testament, it is different measure as compared to the infilling of the Spirit under the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Lord Jesus had not yet died. Hence, the prophets did not have the recreated heart. It also means the gifts of speaking in tongues is unique to New Testament saints.
Through speaking in tongue, we can communicate with God supernaturally, magnify God and edify ourselves.
As we speak in tongue in our personal private prayer, we may pray that we are able to interpret our own tongues.
In public ministry, speaking in tongue must be accompanied with interpretation.

The gift of interpretation of tongue is the least of spiritual gifts because it depends on gift of speaking in tongues.
It is not necessary to interpret our own tongue in private prayer. However, it is better if we can do so.
God knows what we are praying when we speak in tongue. But sometimes, He wants us to know what we are praying about too.
In public ministry, there should be at most 3 people who speak in tongue in succession. These three can either interpret the tongue by themselves or can ask someone else to interpret the tongue.
The gift of interpretation of tongue is not translation of tongue.
Even though the speaking in tongue is lengthy, the interpreter will occasionally give a short message and vice versa.
A good order of gift of speaking in tongues, gift of interpretation of tongue and gift of prophecy will become a testimony even to the non-believer.

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Posted November 30, 2016 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review, Kenneth E. Hagin

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