Ministry of Holy Spirit  

Introduction To The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

Special Gifts Of The Holy Spirit or Special Ministry Office

Speaking Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

Serving Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

Sign Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

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

Introduction To The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

Jesus left His followers with the responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task:  But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Jesus did not leave His followers with such a great responsibility without giving them the ability to fulfill the challenge. Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit to empower believers to be effective witnesses of the Gospel. The subject of spiritual gifts was one on which Paul taught in the early church. He said: Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (I Corinthians 12:1)

WHAT ARE SPIRITUAL GIFTS?

The word "spiritual" means "characterized or controlled by the Holy Spirit". A "gift" is something  freely given from one person to another. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to a believer to minister as part of the Body of Christ. There is a difference between the "gift" of the Holy Spirit and "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. The "gift" of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit came in answer to the promise of Jesus: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter...Even the Spirit of truth...(John 14:16-17a)

The "gift" of the Holy Spirit has already been given in answer to this promise. "Gifts" of the Holy Spirit are supernatural abilities the Holy Spirit gives believers to enable effective ministry: And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Luke 16:20)

GIFTS AND TALENTS

There is a difference between spiritual gifts and natural talents. A talent is a natural ability inherited at birth or developed through training. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability which did not come by inheritance or training. It is a special ability given by the Holy Spirit to be used for specific spiritual purposes. It is possible that a natural talent may be sanctioned [approved and blessed] by the Holy Spirit after one becomes a believer. When this occurs the talent then becomes a gift as well as a talent. For example, a person may have a natural talent in administration because of training he has received. After baptism in the Holy Spirit this natural talent may be sanctioned [approved] by the Holy Spirit and he may be used in the spiritual gift of administration. Spiritual gifts provide spiritual capabilities far greater than the finest natural talents. Although we should use all our natural talents for the work of the Lord, we still need spiritual gifts.

PURPOSES OF THE GIFTS

The purposes of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in Ephesians 4:12-15:

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; 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 fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness,  whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)

According to this passage, the purposes of the Holy Spirit are to:

  • -Perfect the saints
  • -Promote the work of the ministry
  • -Edify Christ and the Church

The objectives or goals of spiritual gifts are that we will:

  • -Become united in the faith.
  • -Develop our knowledge of Christ.
  • -Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
  • -Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
  • -Mature spiritually in Christ.

SPIRITUAL WEAPONS

The gifts of the Spirit are also given to the Church as weapons of spiritual warfare to conquer the spiritual forces of Satan:* For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Since the battle in which believers are engaged is spiritual, then spiritual rather than natural weapons must be used. Believers sometimes go into spiritual warfare without knowledge of these weapons. Anytime you go to battle without your weapons you cannot expect to win the fight. This is why it is important to understand spiritual gifts. They are part of the spiritual weapons God has provided.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF THE GIFTS

Each believer has at least one spiritual gift:

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:10)

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. (I Corinthians 12:7,11) Because every believer has at least one spiritual gift, we each have a responsibility to discover and use our gift. You will not be judged by how many spiritual gifts you have. You will be judged by your faithfulness to use the spiritual gift or gifts you have been given. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 confirms this truth.

There are many spiritual gifts, but no believer has all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? (I Corinthians 12:29-30)

A person may have more than one gift, but no one has all the gifts of the Spirit. If he did, then he would have no need of others in the Body of Christ.  

THE ABUSE OF GIFTS

A spiritual gift from God can be abused. To "abuse" a gift means to not use it properly. You can abuse spiritual gifts by:  

  • NOT USING GIFTS GIVEN TO YOU:

The Apostle Paul told Timothy: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)

  • ATTEMPTING TO USE GIFTS NOT GIVEN TO YOU:

While ministering in Samaria, Peter and John met a man named Simon who wanted to have the powerful gifts he saw demonstrated. Simon offered money to obtain these abilities. Peter said: Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter...(Acts 8:20-21) Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. They cannot be obtained by any other method. You cannot just decide you want to have or use a certain spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit must give it to you. On another occasion, seven sons of the chief of the priests saw the miracles of the Apostle Paul and tried to use this gift to cast out evil spirits: And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them and overcame them, and prevailed against them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:15-16) It can be dangerous to try to operate a gift without the Holy Spirit's anointing.

  • NOT USING THE GIFTS PROPERLY:

In I Corinthians 12-14 Paul deals with proper use of spiritual gifts. To summarize the teaching of these chapters he states: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...Let all things be done decently and in order. (I Corinthians 14:33,40) God is not the author of confusion. Where there is confusion the gifts are not being used correctly. Spiritual gifts can also be improperly used when you manipulate people, gain wealth, or use them for your own selfish satisfaction rather than in ministry to others. The guidelines for use of gifts, which Paul gives in I Corinthians 12-14, prevents confusion. 

  • GLORIYING YOUR GIFT:

When you "glorify" your gift, you consider it more special than other gifts. You begin to see the gift as greater than the Giver.

MANY GIFTS FROM ONE SOURCE

The Bible indicates there are many gifts which come from one source. The source of spiritual gifts is the Holy Spirit. He gives and operates these gifts in the lives of believers:

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (I Corinthians 12:4-7) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth on teaching; Or he that exhorteth on exhortation: he that giveth let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8) There is one source of spiritual gifts but there are many different gifts. No gift is more important than another. Your position in the Body of Christ is compared to parts of a human body. Just as in the human body, the smaller parts such as the eye have important functions, the seemingly "small" gift is often quite important in the functioning of the church. Some gifts involve greater  responsibilities, but no gift is more important than another. Some parts of the human body have greater responsibilities than others. For example, the eye lets you see what is around you. It guides you when walking. It permits you to read and see and enjoy God's creations. The eye has greater responsibility, but it is no more important than the big toe, which provides balance for walking. The guidance of the eye for walking is useless if you have no feet with which to walk. The eye's function to permit reading is useless if you have no brain to understand what you read.

Sometimes misunderstanding arises in the Church when believers do not recognize the spiritual gifts of others. For example, one person may have the gift of giving and may not understand another believer who does not give as liberally. Or one may have the gift of administration and become very impatient with people who are less organized. Each believer should use his spiritual gifts to work together with other believers who have different gifts. When this happens, the Church functions effectively as the Body of Christ.

STEWARDS OF GIFTS

You are only a steward of spiritual gifts. A steward is someone who does not own that with which he works. He uses something given to him by another person. He uses it in behalf of the person who gave it to him. You are a steward for Jesus Christ:

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (I Corinthians 4:1) Part of the "mysteries" of which you are a steward are spiritual gifts. They are given to you by the Holy Spirit to minister effectively for Jesus: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:10) As a steward, you will be judged on the basis of your faithfulness to use the gifts you have been given: Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (I Corinthians 4:2)

THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

The main passages identifying spiritual gifts are listed below. Read these before you study the following chapters. These verses introduce the various gifts:

  • -Romans 12:1-8 -I Corinthians 12:1-31
  • -Ephesians 4:1-16 -I Peter 4:7-11

Remember that these gifts are special abilities from God to minister in different ways. While there may be some evidences of these in all our lives it does not necessarily mean we have a certain gift. For example, all believers are to give to the work of the Lord with tithes and offerings. But the gift of giving is an unusual generosity prompted by the Spirit of God. All believers have a measure of faith according to the Word of God. But the gift of faith is a special ability to believe beyond that of the ordinary Christian.

ARE GIFTS FOR TODAY?

Some people claim that all of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible are not for the Church today. They believe some gifts, like prophecy, tongues, miracles, etc., were only for the early Church. These people say that after the Church was established and the New Testament written, some spiritual gifts were no longer needed. They often use I Corinthians 13:10 to explain their belief:

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (I Corinthians 13:10)

They say that when the perfect revelation of God's Word was written, there was no longer a need for tongues, interpretation, and prophecy. They say that once the Church was established there was no longer a need for confirming signs and miracles.

What they fail to note is that knowledge is also mentioned in the same passage as being "vanished"  or done away with: ...whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (I Corinthians 13:8)

If we use this verse to say tongues, interpretation, and prophecy are no longer needed, then we must also say knowledge is no longer needed. This passage actually refers to a future time when the "perfect" Kingdom of God is established on earth. Since what is perfect has come, we will have no need of any of the spiritual gifts then, because... ...He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3) We will have no need of messages through prophecy, tongues, or interpretation, for we will be dwelling with the God who inspires such messages. We will have no need of the word of wisdom or knowledge, for we will be living with the source of knowledge. We will not need discerning of spirits, for... ...there shall no wise enter into it anything that defileth...but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:27) There will be no need for gifts of healing for... ...In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life...for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

Also remember the purposes and objectives of spiritual gifts given in Ephesians 4:12-15. The purposes are for:

  • -Perfecting of the saints.
  • -Promoting the work of the ministry.
  • -Edifying Christ and the Church.

The purposes for which the gifts were given still remain. The saints still need to be perfected, the ministry still needs to be promoted to the ends of the earth, and Christ and the Church need to be edified.

  • The objectives are that we will:
  • -Be united in the faith.
  • -Develop our knowledge of Christ.
  • -Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
  • -Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
  • -Mature spiritually in Christ.

 God would not give spiritual gifts for these purposes and objectives and then remove them without these things being accomplished.

  • -Are all believers united in the faith?
  • -Has everyone developed fully in the knowledge of Christ?
  • -Are we all perfected?
  • -Are our church members stable and not being deceived by false doctrines?
  • -Are all our church members spiritually mature?

 The answer to all these questions is "no". These objectives have not been accomplished. For this reason we know all of the spiritual gifts are still for today. God gave spiritual gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the Church. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without these purposes being accomplished. The Bible also says that the "gifts and callings of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29). This means God will not change His mind and take back a spiritual gift or calling He has given.

THE KEY TO USING GIFTS

In I Corinthians 13 the Apostle Paul gives the key for using gifts of the Holy Spirit. He introduced the subject in I Corinthians 12:31. He listed some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and then said... ...and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (I Corinthians 12:31)

I Corinthians chapter 13 explains that "more excellent way." Read the entire chapter in your Bible. This chapter gives the key to using spiritual gifts. That key is love. You can prophesy, have the gifts of healing, faith, giving, etc., but without love in using these gifts, they will not be effective.

Gifts are unprofitable when used without love. Speaking in tongues becomes like a noisy clanging. Every gift is worthless, "it profits nothing", unless it is used in love. Love is the "more excellent way" in which the gifts are used. The gifts become a channel through which God's love can flow to those around us. Love is the key to using spiritual gifts effectively.

A WARNING: SATAN'S COUNTERFEIT

Satan counterfeits the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A counterfeit is something that imitates something real, but it is not genuine. Satan is a deceiver. The Bible says he sometimes even appears as an angel (II Corinthians 11:14). In the final days of time, there will even be a satanic counterfeit of Christ called the antichrist (I John 2:18,22). Much counterfeiting of the gifts is accomplished through the occult. For example, the word of knowledge is counterfeited by witches pretending to foretell the future and the unknown. A witch is a person who seeks to know things and perform acts through supernatural sources other than God. Their source is Satan. Counterfeiting of the gift of discerning of spirits is done by mind reading.

Even miracles are counterfeited by Satan (Exodus 7) and will be performed by the antichrist (Revelation 13:14). The Bible also speaks of false prophets (Acts 13:6-12). The question is, how do you distinguish the counterfeit from the real?

The counterfeit does not fulfill the Scriptural purposes of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Read again Ephesians 4:12-15. Any true gift of the Holy Spirit will accomplish these spiritual purposes and objectives.

Counterfeit gifts do not agree with what the Bible teaches about Jesus. When anyone ministers a gift, what do they say about Jesus? Does it agree with the written Word of God?

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Corinthians 11:4-5)

You can also recognize counterfeiters by their personal characteristics. These are listed in II Peter 2 and the book of Jude. Study these chapters in your Bible to help you distinguish the real from the counterfeit.

Types of Gifts

  • -Special Gifts
  • -Speaking Gifts
  • -Serving Gifts
  • -Sign Gifts

SPECIAL GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)

 

The Bible does not make such a division of the gifts. We have made it to help you remember the various gifts more easily. This chapter discusses the special gifts. Following chapters explain speaking, serving, and sign gifts. The first group of spiritual gifts are what we will call "special gifts". We use this title for these gifts because each one is a special leadership position in the church:

These leadership positions are sometimes called "offices" in the church. "Office" means a place of responsibility and duty. The special leadership gifts are:

  • -Apostles
  • -Prophets
  • -Evangelists
  • -Pastors
  • -Teachers

APOSTLES

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets... (I Corinthians 12:28)

And He gave some apostles; and some, prophets... (Ephesians 4:11)

An apostle is one who has a special ability to develop new churches in different places and cultures and to oversee a number of churches as a supervisor. Apostle means "a delegate, one sent with full power and authority to act for another". The apostle has a special authority or ability to extend the Gospel throughout the world by developing organized bodies of believers. Modern terms used by the church for an apostle are missionary and church-planter.

The Bible speaks of three different categories of apostles. Jesus Christ was called an apostle: Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him... (Hebrews 3:1-2a)

The twelve disciples of Jesus were called apostles:

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these... (Matthew 10:2)

The twelve apostles had a special function. They were part of the founding of the Church. While they had a function which no other believers will ever have, there is also a general apostolic gift of the Holy Spirit:

And He gave some apostles... (Ephesians 4:11)

According to this passage, God is the one who selects apostles. Paul again confirms this:

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles... (I Corinthians 12:28)

The Bible speaks of special signs which confirm that a person has the gift of being an apostle: Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (II Corinthians 12:12) And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among  the people... (Acts 5:12)

The special leadership of apostles over the churches is illustrated in the book of Acts:  And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. (Acts 15:1-2) And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. (Acts 16:4-5)

Apostles extend the Gospel message by raising up churches. They give leadership to these churches and have special spiritual signs in their ministry. The calling and desire to be an apostle comes from God:

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. (Galatians 1:1) This special gift is usually recognized by a local church who does the sending of the apostle to other places:

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch, certain prophets and teachers... As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:1-3)

An apostle desires to minister in places where others have not worked:

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest Ishould build upon another man's foundation;  But as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. (Romans 15:20-21) To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. (II Corinthians 10:16)

The apostle is willing to adapt to other cultures and lifestyles in order to win people for Christ: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake... (I Corinthians 9:19-23) The apostle develops churches with trained leadership that can carry on without him: And when they had preached the gospel to that city and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:2123) This verse reveals that follow up ministry and the raising up of qualified leadership for new churches are responsibilities of an apostle. The seal, or evidence, of the apostolic gift is the spiritual result it brings in the lives of others. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth which he had organized:

 ...of the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. (I Corinthians 9:2b)

The ability to raise up communities of believers and organize them into a church body is the seal of the gift of apostleship. The Bible warns of false apostles who are deceitful but can be recognized by their works: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel: for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according their works. (II Corinthians 11:13-15)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

The New Testament gives several examples of those who had the apostolic gift. Use these references for further study:

  • -Paul: Galatians 1:1
  • -Andronicus and Junia: Romans 16:7
  • -Apollos: I Corinthians 4:6,9
  • -James: Galatians 1:9
  • -Apostles of Jesus: Gospels; book of Acts

PROPHETS

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets... (I Corinthians 12:28)

And He gave some apostles; and some, prophets... (Ephesians 4:11)

There are two prophetic gifts. One is the special gift of being a prophet. The other is the speaking gift of prophecy. In general, prophecy refers to speaking under the special inspiration of God. It is the special ability to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely-anointed utterance. To this point, the definition applies to the special leadership gift of a prophet as well as the speaking gift of prophecy. But a person is not a prophet just because he prophesies. Paul told the whole church to desire the gift of prophecy: Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (I Corinthians 14:1) For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. (I Corinthians 14:31)But Paul indicated that not everyone was a prophet. He asked: Are all prophets? (I Corinthians 12:29)

The difference between a prophet and prophesying is apparent in the following passage:

And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea; and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. (Acts 21:8-11) Philip's daughters had the speaking gift of prophesy. But Agabus was a prophet who not only gave prophetic messages but held a leadership position in the church. God used him in a leadership role regarding Paul's ministry. Agabus gave Paul spiritual direction regarding what would happen in Jerusalem (Acts 21:11).

Those with the special gift of being a prophet do not just speak under the inspiration of God. They also hold an office of authority and leadership in the church. This is confirmed in Acts 13:1-4 where prophets and teachers were used in a leadership capacity to guide Barnabas and Saul into the special ministry to which God had called them. In the Old Testament people went to prophets for guidance. The gift of Holy Spirit infilling was not yet given. The presence of God was shut up in the Holy of Holies. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we now have access to the presence of God. The gift of the Holy Spirit has been given and, as you previously learned, one of His purposes is guidance: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

It is no longer necessary to go to a prophet to receive spiritual guidance. This is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Each believer should learn how to be led by God's Spirit. The New Testament gives no record of believers seeking guidance from prophets after the gift of the Holy Spirit was given. But God still uses this gift to confirm guidance He has already given to a believer through the Holy Spirit. This is what happened in the case of Agabus and Paul. Paul already knew he was to go to Jerusalem. The prophecy of Agabus revealed what would happen to him there. It was not a prophecy of guidance telling Paul whether or not to go to Jerusalem. The words spoken by a prophet under divine inspiration are called prophecies. To prophesy means to declare openly words from God that exhort, edify, and comfort: But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. (I Corinthians 14:3) Prophecy ministers not only to believers through edification but also to the unsaved. Prophecy can convict unbelievers and cause them to turn to the Lord: But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. (I Corinthians 14:24-25) One of the purposes of a prophet is to bring people to repentance: Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them; but they would not give ear. (II Chronicles 24:19) The Bible refers to prophecy as a great gift and more to be desired than the gift of tongues: Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14:1-3) I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. (I Corinthians 14:5)

Wherefore brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. (I Corinthians 14:39) The Holy Spirit is always in control of true prophecy and directs attention to Jesus Christ: Now, concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (I Corinthians 12:1-3) Prophecy is never to replace the written Word of God. The Bible says prophecy will cease, but the Word of God abides forever: ...but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail... (I Corinthians 13:8) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (I Peter 1:25)

The Bible warns of false prophets (Matthew 24:11,24; Mark 13:22). A person called "the false prophet" will be evident in events at the end of the world (Revelation 13:11-17; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). Because there are false prophets, God's word provides several ways to identify true prophecies. You can recognize them by:

1. DOCTRINAL ERROR:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. (Romans 12:6) The phrase "in proportion to faith" means in right relation to the faith. The way to recognize true prophecies is by whether or not they agree with the basic doctrines of the Christian faith revealed in the Bible. For example, false prophets do not confess the deity of Jesus Christ: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist... (I John 4:1-3) False prophets teach sexual immorality and permissiveness: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you... (II Peter 2:1-3) False prophets try to lead people away from obedience to God's Word (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). This type of prophecy is not in right relation to the Christian faith. 

2. DECEIVING SIGNS:

False prophets deceive people with miraculous signs: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:11,24)  

3. BAD FRUIT:

The evidence of spiritual fruit is the true test of any ministry: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits... (Matthew 7:15-16)

4. FALSE CLAIMS:

Any prophet who claims to be divine or the same as Christ is false: Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:23-24)

5. UNFULFILLED PROPHECIES:

The final test by which a true prophet can be identified is whether or not what he has prophesied comes to pass: But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Prophecy can come from three different sources:

  • -The human spirit: Jeremiah 23:16; Ezekiel 13:2,3
  • -Evil and lying spirits: Isaiah 8:19-20; I Kings 22:22; Matthew 8:29; Acts 16:17
  • -The Holy Spirit: II Samuel 23:2; Jeremiah 1:9; Acts 19:6; 21:11

This is why we must judge prophecies to determine whether or not they are from the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives many examples of Old and New Testament prophets for you to study to increase your understanding of prophets and the gift of prophecy. As you study these references try to distinguish between those who had the special gift of being a prophet [leadership] from those who had just the gift of prophecy.

Old Testament Prophets:

  • Abraham: Genesis 20:7
  • Moses: Deuteronomy 34:9
  • Habakkuk: Habakkuk 1:1
  • Isaiah: II Kings 19:2
  • Micah: Matthew 2:5-6
  • Hosea: Matthew 21:15
  • Ephriam: Hosea 9:8
  • Joel: Acts 2:16
  • Jeremiah: Jeremiah 1:5
  • Gad: I Samuel 22:15
  • Zechariah: Zechariah: 1:1
  • Ahijah: I Kings 11:29
  • Samuel: I Samuel 3:20
  • Jehu: I Kings 16:7
  • Nathan: II Samuel 7:2
  • Michaiah: I Kings 22:7-8
  • Jonah: II Kings 14:25
  • Iddo: II Chronicles 13:22
  • Azzur: Jeremiah 28:1
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel 2:1-5
  • Hananiah: Jeremiah 28:17
  • Daniel: Matthew 24:15
  • Balaam: II Peter 2:15-16
  • Amos: Acts 7:42-43
  • Shemh: II Chronicles 12:5
  • Elisha: I Kings 19:16
  • Elijah: I Kings 18:22
  • Haggai: Haggai 1:1
  • David: Acts 2:29-30
  • Aaron: Exodus 7:1
  • Azariah: II Chronicles 15:8
  • Obed: II Chronicles 15:8
  • Asaph: Psalms 78:2

Old Testament Prophetessess (female):

  • Miriam: Exodus 15:20
  • Deborah: Judges 4:4
  • Huldah: II Kings 22:14
  • Noadiah: Nehemiah 6:14
  • Isaiah's Wife: Isaiah 8:3

New Testament Prophets:

  • Jesus: Matthew 21:11
  • John the Baptist: Matthew 11:7-11
  • Agabus: Acts 11:27-28; 21:10
  • Judas: Acts 15:32
  • Silas: Acts 15:32
  • Antioch Leaders: Acts 13:1

New Testament Prophetesses (female):

  • Anna: Luke 2:36
  • Philip's Daughters: Acts 21:8-9
  • Study the guidelines for using prophecy when the church meets together: I Corinthians 14:29-31

 

EVANGELISTS

And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)

An evangelist has a special ability to share the Gospel with non-believers in a way that men and women respond and become responsible members of the Body of Christ. The meaning of the word "evangelist" is "one who brings good news". The Word evangelist occurs three times in the New Testament. In Ephesians it is listed as one of the special gifts:

And He gave some...evangelists... (Ephesians 4:11) Timothy is told to do the work of an evangelist:  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (II Timothy 4:5) Although all believers are to "do the work of an evangelist" and share the Gospel with others, God gives some the special gift of being an evangelist. Philip was one who had the spiritual gift of being an evangelist: And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea; and we entered in to the house of Philip the evangelist... (Acts 21:8)

Philip is actually the only person in the New Testament called an evangelist. His tendency towards this gift was evident from early in his experience with Christ. When Philip met Jesus the first thing he did was to share the news with Nathanael:  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. (John 1:45-46) Later Philip directed spiritually hungry Greeks to Jesus: The same came therefore to Philip...and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again, Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. (John 12:21-22) Philip was chosen as a disciple (Matthew 10:3) and was in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:13). Philip was ordained by man as a deacon in the church (Acts 6:1-6) but set by God as an evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12).

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Further study of the ministry of Philip will expand your knowledge of the special gift of being an evangelist: 

  • -His message: Acts 8:35
  • -Deliverance, miracles, healings: Acts 8:5-8
  • -Baptized: Acts 8:12,36-38
  • -Preached [the Kingdom of God]: Acts 8:12
  • -House was set in order: Acts 21:8-9
  • -Traveled to spread the Gospel: Acts 8:4-5,26,40
  • -Ability to persuade groups: Acts 8:6
  • -Stirred entire cities: Acts 8:8
  • -Ministered to individuals: Acts 8:27-38
  • -Led by God: Acts 8:26,39
  • -Knowledge of the Word of God: Acts 8:30-35
  • -Known by effectiveness of ministry and response of people: Acts 8:5-6,8,12,35-39

  PASTORS

And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)

This is the only place in the King James version of the New Testament where the word "pastor" is used. The Greek word "pastor" actually means shepherd. (The New Testament was originally written in Greek). Pastors are leaders who assume long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. Because the word means shepherd, pastors should follow the example set by Jesus Christ as a "pastor" or "shepherd" of people:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that  great shepherd of the sheep... (Hebrews 13:20) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (I Peter 2:25) Jesus also referred to Himself as the good shepherd and listed some of the functions of a shepherd in John 10:1-18.The Bible mentions the office of a bishop (I Timothy 3). Many believe this is the same as a pastor because of the following verse spoken of Jesus: For ye were as sheep going astray: but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (I Peter 2:25) The spiritual requirements for bishops, elders, and deacons, which were positions of leadership in the early church, should certainly also be met by one who would lead these people as a pastor. Study these in I Timothy 3:1-13. The responsibilities of a pastor are to spiritually feed and protect those under his ministry. This is to be done with a proper motive and not just for financial gain: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28) Feed the flock of God which is among you taking the oversight thereof, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready minds; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (I Peter 5:2-4)

The word "pastor" is used in the Old Testament only in the book of Jeremiah. Here, God gives special warnings to pastors: ...the pastors also transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 2:8)

For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord; therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. (Jeremiah 10:21) Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate because no man layeth it to heart. (Jeremiah 12:10) Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and drive them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study the requirements for being a bishop or deacon in the church in I Timothy 3:1-13. These also apply for one who serves as a pastor. Study the characteristics of Jesus as the Good Shepherd given in John 10:1-18.

TEACHERS

And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)

Teachers are believers who have the special ability of communicating the Word of God effectively in such a way that others learn and apply what is taught. Teaching involves training, not just communicating information. The Bible records:

And He gave some...teachers... (Ephesians 4:11)

And God hath set some in the church....thirdly, teachers... (I Corinthians 12:28)

...Or he that teacheth on teaching... (Romans 12:7)

Not all believers receive the special gift of teaching. Paul asked: ...are all teachers? (I Corinthians 12:29)

His answer to this question was "no". God gives some the special gift of teaching. The special gift of being a teacher differs from the speaking gift of teaching just as being a prophet differs from the speaking gift of prophecy. You will recall that Acts 13:1-4 showed teachers in a special leadership position [along with the prophets] in guiding the ministry of Paul and Barnabas. All believers do not have the special gift of teaching or the speaking gift of teaching. But all believers are to be involved in teaching the basic Gospel message: For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God... (Hebrews 5:12) All mature believers are to be involved in teaching the Gospel whether or not they have the special gift of teaching. The Bible warns of false teachers. These are people who claim to have the gift of teaching but do not teach the true Word of God: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (II Peter 2:1)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Timothy 4:3-4) ...thy teachers have transgressed against me...(Isaiah 43:27) II Peter chapter 2 and the book of Jude list some of the personal characteristics by which you can recognize false teachers. It is possible to have a wrong motive when teaching. You should not teach just for financial gain: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake. (Titus 1:11) Those who have been taught God's Word should teach faithful believers who will be able to teach others: Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. (Galatians 6:6) And the same thing that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (II Timothy 2:2) This is the pattern of continuous teaching that, if followed, rapidly multiplies to spread the Gospel throughout the world. A person with the spiritual gift of teaching does not teach man's wisdom: Which things also we speak, not in the word which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (I Corinthians 2:13) A teacher should have Godly understanding and wisdom. Paul warns against those who are... ...desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (I Timothy 1:7) He stresses the importance of teaching with wisdom: ...Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:27-28) Teachers must live what they teach: Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? (Romans 2:21-22) Teachers will be judged on the basis of what they have taught: My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (James 3:1)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study the following examples of teachers in the New Testament. Who do you think might have had the special gift of being a teacher [a leadership position in the church]. Who might have had only the speaking gift of teaching?

  • -Appollos: Acts 18:24-25
  • -Aquilla and Priscilla: Acts 18:26
  • -Paul: Acts 20:20-21,27; 21:28
  • -Unnamed: Acts 13:1
  • -Peter: Acts 5:28-29

LEADERSHIP WORKING TOGETHER

The five special gifts of leadership function together in the ministry of the church. Apostles extend the Gospel message to various regions and raise up organized bodies of believers. God gives special miraculous signs and wonders to assist in this extension of the Gospel. The apostle provides special leadership to the churches he raises up. Prophets also provide leadership in the church. One of their functions is to give special messages from God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Evangelists communicate the Gospel in such a manner that people respond to it and become believers. They may minister individually or in large groups, but their ministry always produces new believers. These believers then come under the care of apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers of the church who guide their spiritual development. The example of Philip in Acts chapter 8 illustrates this. He brought the Samaritans to Christ, then turned them to the apostles for further teaching. Pastors exercise long-term leadership and care for those who have believed through the message of the evangelist. They provide pastoral care to those who have become believers through the ministry of apostles. Their ministry is a picture of the loving care of a shepherd for his sheep. Teachers provide instruction which goes beyond the presentation of the Gospel by the evangelist. They teach believers to be spiritually mature. They train faithful people who are capable of teaching others.

The main responsibility of those with special leadership gifts is to train other believers to discover and use their spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16). The following chart illustrates how the special gifts function together in the church:

GOD  GIVES APOSTLES PROPHETS EVANGELISTS PASTORS TEACHERS FOR PERFECTING/EQUIPPING OF SAINTS WHO WILL MINISTER EDIFY  RESULTING IN UNITY KNOWLEDGE PERFECTNESS THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE NO MORE CHILDREN GROW UP IN HIM

FINAL RESULT:

EFFECTIVE WORKING OF ALL PARTS OF THE BODY IN LOVE

 

QUALIFICATIONS  

The Bible gives specific qualifications which are to be met by those filling these church offices:

  BISHOPS AND ELDERS:

  • -Above reproach [Should have a good reputation and not be in violation of God's Word]: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6,7
  • -Husband of one wife [If married, should have only one mate]: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6
  • -Temperate [Moderate in all things]: Titus 1:8; I Timothy 3:2
  • -Self-controlled [Demonstrates control in all areas of life and conduct]: Titus 1:8
  • -Sober, vigilant [Prudent, sensible, wise and practical]: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8
  • -Hospitable [Home is open to others]: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8
  • -Able to teach [Has an ability communicate God's Word to others]: I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9
  • -Not addicted to wine: I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7
  • -Patient [The opposite of being quick tempered]: I Timothy 3:3
  • -Not self-willed [Not self-centered and always wanting their own way]: Titus 1:7
  • -Not a new convert [Must have maturity and experience as a believer]: I Timothy 3:6
  • -Loving what is good [Supporting all that is worthwhile to God and His purposes]: Titus 1:8
  • -Just [Fair in dealing with people]: Titus 1:8
  • -Stable in the Word: Titus 1:9
  • -Holy [Righteous, sanctified]: Titus 1:8
  • -Not fond of sordid gain [Not known for greed for financial gain. Free from the love of money]: Titus 1:7; I Timothy 3:3
  • -Manages his own household well [Must show leadership ability in his own family]: I Timothy 3:4-5
  • -Having children who believe [Must have children who have responded to the Lord and are not rebellious]: Titus 1:6
  • -Good reputation with those outside [Must have a good testimony among non-believers]: I Timothy 3:7

DEACONS:

  • -Dignity [Must be respected and demonstrate a serious mind and character]: I Timothy 3:8
  • -Not double tongued [Does not give conflicting reports]: I Timothy 3:8
  • -Not addicted to much wine: I Timothy 3:8
  • -Not fond of sordid gain [Not greedy for financial gain]: I Timothy 3:8
  • -Settled in his commitment to the faith: I Timothy 3:9
  • -Tested [A person who has undergone spiritual trials and temptations and proven faithful]: I Timothy 3:10
  • -Beyond reproach [The absence of any charge of violation in conduct]: I Timothy 3:10
  • -Husband of one wife [If married should have one mate]: I Timothy 3:12
  • -Good managers of children and household [Must demonstrate leadership in family life]: I Timothy 3:12
  • -Proven [Not a new convert, but proven as a believer]: I Timothy 3:10

DEACONESS:

  • -Women: I Timothy 3:11
  • -Dignified [Respected and demonstrate a serious mind and character]: I Timothy 3:11
  • -Not malicious gossips [Does not talk about others in a slanderous way]: I Timothy 3:11
  • -Temperate [Moderate in all things]: I Timothy 3:11
  • -Faithful in all things [Trustworthy and dependable in every area of life]: I Timothy 3:11
  • -Helper of many [Must minister to others and help meet their needs]: Romans 16:2

SPEAKING GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. (I Corinthians 12:18) Five gifts have been given the title of "speaking gifts" because they all involve speaking aloud. The five speaking gifts are:

  -Prophecy -Exhortation -Word of knowledge -Teaching -Word of Wisdom

The first two speaking gifts, prophecy and teaching, are similar to two of the special gifts. But the speaking gifts of prophecy and teaching are not the same as the special leadership gifts of being a prophet or a teacher.

PROPHECY

For to one is given by the Spirit...prophecy. (I Corinthians 12:10) A person with the gift of prophecy speaks by the special inspiration of God to communicate an immediate message to His people. Prophecy was discussed in detail in the section on the special gift of being a prophet. Everything said there about prophecy given by a prophet also applies to the gift of prophecy. But the speaking gift of prophecy alone does not mean you have the special gift of being a prophet. As you previously learned, God has set prophets [who also have the gift of prophecy] in special leadership positions in the church. Although they prophesy like prophets, people with the gift of prophecy do not have the special leadership position of a prophet. They simply deliver special messages under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

TEACHING

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching... (Romans 12:6-7) The subject of teaching was covered in the section on the special gift of teaching. Everything discussed applies also to the gift of teaching with the exception of the leadership position. As in the example of prophets and prophecy, the speaking gift of teaching does not mean a person has the special gift of being a teacher. God sets teachers [who also have the gift of teaching] in special leadership positions in the church.

EXHORTATION

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...he that exhorteth on exhortation... (Romans 12:6,8) The gift of exhortation is the ability to draw close to individuals in time of need, counseling them correctly with the Word of God. To "exhort" literally means to call a person aside, to advise,recommend, admonish, encourage, or comfort. Exhortation is the ability to give wise spiritual counsel. People with this gift minister words of comfort, consolation, and encouragement in such a way that others are helped. A modern term for this gift would be "the gift of counseling". Exhortation was part of the apostle's follow up plan for the churches: And when they had preached the gospel to that city and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith.... (Acts 14:21-22)

The Bible teaches how exhortation is to be done:

AS A FATHER WOULD HIS OWN CHILDREN: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children. (I Thessalonians 2:11)

BY GIVING INSTRUCTION WITH PATIENCE:Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (II Timothy 4:2)

ON THE BASIS OF SOUND BIBLICAL DOCTRINE: Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)

WITH ALL AUTHORITY:These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority...(Titus 2:15)

MORE FREQUENTLY AS THE END OF TIME APPROACHES: ...but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

The Bible gives several examples of people who had the gift of exhortation and counseled others. Study these for further understanding of this gift:

  • -Barnabas: Acts 11:22-24
  • -Judas and Silas: Acts 15:32
  • -Paul: Acts 14:22, II Corinthians 9:5, I Thessalonians 4:1
  • -Jude: Jude 3

WORD OF WISDOM

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom... (I Corinthians 12:8) The word of wisdom is the ability to receive insight as to how knowledge may be applied to specific needs. Given the facts in any situation, a person with this gift knows how to apply the facts to bring a wise solution. The word of wisdom is a divine insight into people and situations that is not obvious to the average person. This God-given wisdom is combined with an understanding of what to do and how to do it. This gift is not called "the gift of wisdom" because it does not give one the total wisdom of God. It is a word of wisdom, just a portion of God's infinite wisdom. The gift of the word of wisdom does not come through education. The source of such wisdom is God: ...to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3) Jesus Christ was called the "wisdom of God": But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. (I Corinthians 1:24,30) Godly wisdom is not the same as the wisdom of the world: But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:14-17) If you do not have the gift of the word of wisdom you can still develop spiritual wisdom. You can receive it by studying the Word of God: And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:15) You can ask God for wisdom: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)Wisdom is given to those who live a godly life: For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous; He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. (Proverbs 2:6-7)

But remember, this spiritual wisdom available to all believers is not the same as the gift of the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom is a special ability given by God through the Holy Spirit.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study the references made by Paul to wisdom: I Corinthians 2:1-13. What are the differences between the two wisdoms of which he writes? The word of wisdom was operative in his life. See II Peter 3:15-16; I Corinthians 2:4-8. Wisdom was evident in the ministry of Stephen: Acts 6:3,10 King Solomon was the best example of wisdom in the Old Testament: I Kings 3:5-28 Study the book of Proverbs. It was written by King Solomon and is the practical application of spiritual wisdom. Study James 3:17. List the characteristics of godly wisdom. Study these examples of the word of wisdom in operation:

  • -Luke 2:40-52; 21:15
  • -Acts 5:26-33 (observe wisdom in the statement "we ought to obey God rather than men").
  • -Deuteronomy 34:9
  • -Exodus 36:1-2

WORD OF KNOWLEDGE

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit...(I Corinthians 12:8) The word of knowledge is the ability to understand things which others do not know and cannot comprehend and to share this knowledge with them under the inspiration of the Spirit. Like the word of wisdom, it is not called "the gift of knowledge". It is the gift of the "word of knowledge". It is not the total knowledge of God, but only a portion of His knowledge. The source of this spiritual knowledge is God: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:11-14) The gift of the word of knowledge is revelatory knowledge. This means it is knowledge revealed by God. It is not knowledge obtained through education or study. When Jesus asked Peter a spiritual question and he answered with a word of knowledge, Jesus said: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 16:17) The gift of the word of knowledge should be used in humility because you are not the source of the knowledge. God is the source: ...Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. (I Corinthians 8:1-2)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

New Testament examples of the word of knowledge for further study:

  • -Jesus: John 1:48; 4:17-18; 11:14
  • -Simon: Luke 2:25-35
  • -Ananias and Sapphira: Acts 5:1-11
  • -Paul: Acts 27:13-44
  • -Peter: Acts 5:1-10; 8:23; 10:19
  • -Ananias: Acts 9:1-18

   SERVING GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mark 10:44)

 There are nine spiritual gifts which we will call the "serving gifts". These gifts are not special offices such as those of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. They are not speaking gifts where one stands before the church body to minister the Word of God. These nine gifts "serve" the church by providing structure, organization, and support in both spiritual and practical areas. The nine serving gifts are:

-Discerning of spirits -Helps -Leadership -Serving -Administration -Mercy -Faith -Hospitality -Giving

DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...discerning of spirits... (I Corinthians 12:7-10) Discerning of spirits is the ability to evaluate people, doctrines, and situations as to whether they are of God or of Satan. In no way should discerning of spirits be confused with a critical spirit. The gift is a spiritual gift. Spiritual things are not discerned with the natural mind: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:15) This gift is limited to the discerning of spirits. It is not just discerning in general. This gift serves the church by identifying people who would split the fellowship with wrong motives, doctrines, and attitudes. Discerning of spirits is an important gift because the enemies against which we fight are not visible to the human eye. They are recognized only through spiritual discernment: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) One of the strategies used by Satan is deception. This is why discernment is so important: And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:14-15) As we near the return of the Lord Jesus, these spirits of deception will increase: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (I Timothy 4:1)

The Apostle Peter warned:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (II Peter 2:1-2) If you do not have the gift of discerning of spirits you are not left defenseless. God has given a way to test the spirits. This test is valid whether or not you have the gift of discernment: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (I John 4:1-3) You can learn to use your spiritual senses to discern between good and evil. These spiritual senses are developed by study of God's Word: For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:13-14)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

The following references are examples of use of the gift of discerning of spirits:

  • -Jesus: Matthew 16:21-23; John 1:47; Luke 9:55
  • -Paul: Acts 13:6-12; 16:16-18

·         -Peter: Acts 5:1-11; 8:18-24 (In Acts 8:18-24, what is one intended result of the use of the gift of discerning of spirits?)

LEADERSHIP

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...he that ruleth, with diligence... (Romans 12:6,8) The spiritual gift of leadership is the ability to set goals in accord with God's purpose and to communicate these goals to others. A person with this gift motivates and leads others to accomplish these goals for the glory of God. Leadership is mentioned in Romans 12 and the qualification for this gift is that one leads [rules] with diligence. Diligence means to show constant care and effort to accomplish what is undertaken. It means to be industrious, attentive, and to persevere. A person with the gift of leadership should lead his own family well: For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (I Timothy 3:5) This is true for one with the gift of administration as well. Believers should show respect for those who are leaders in the church: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake... (I Thessalonians 5:12-13)

We are told to... 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. (Hebrews 13:17)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Three of the greatest leaders were Moses, Joshua, and David. The story of Moses is found in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy. Joshua's story is contained in the book of Joshua. You can read about David in the books of I and II Samuel.

Other great leaders were:

  • -Nehemiah: Book of Nehemiah
  • -Ezra: Ezra and Nehemiah
  • -Peter: Book of Acts

 ADMINISTRATION

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:28) The gift of administration is actually called "governments" in the Bible. A person with the gift of administration has the ability to give direction, organize, and make decisions on behalf of others. The meaning of the word administration is similar to the word used for a pilot steering a ship. A similar word is used for both in the Bible: The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were they mariners; thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots. (Ezekiel 27:8)  A person with this gift is responsible for direction and decision making. Like the pilot of a ship he may not be the owner of the ship, but he has been entrusted with the responsibility of directing it on its voyage. The gifts of leadership and administration both involve organizational skills which result in the accomplishing of spiritual goals. Often a believer will have both the gifts of leadership and administration. If a person has the gift of administration but does not have the gift of leadership, he will need someone with that gift to work with him. A person with the gift of administration has the ability to direct, organize, and make decisions. But without the gift of leadership he does not have the ability to motivate and actually work with people to achieve goals. Pastors and teachers often also have the spiritual gift of leadership. They are able to motivate people to accomplish spiritual goals. But many of them do not have the gift of administration. Although they motivate, they fail to organize in such a way that the goals can be achieved. The relationship of Titus and Paul illustrates how the gift of administration functions. Among other gifts, Paul had the special leadership gift of being an apostle. He raised up a church in Crete, then Titus organized and directed it: To Titus, mine own son...For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. (Titus 1:5) Paul had appointed Titus as administrator over the churches in Crete. Paul was still the authority in the churches. Titus was administrator carrying out his instructions. According to this passage, one of the functions of administration is to train other believers for leadership positions in the church.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study the problem described in Acts 6:1-7. What was the problem? Who used the gift of leadership? Who might have had the gift of administration? Read Luke 14:28-30. Observe the value of planning and organization. This is part of good administration. Study the life of Joseph in Genesis 37 through 50. Joseph had a gift of administration. He organized and directed Egypt for Pharaoh. See also Acts 7:9-10.

FAITH

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...faith...(I Corinthians 12:7-9) A person with the gift of faith has a special ability to believe with supernatural confidence and trust God in difficult circumstances. It is special faith to meet a special need. He knows God is going to do the impossible. He exercises this faith even when other believers around him do not believe. The Bible defines faith as: ...the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of thing not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

The Amplified Bible adds to this definition:

  • Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. Faith is the perceiving as real what is not revealed to the senses. (Hebrews 11:1) (The Amplified Bible)

 Faith gives assurance that the things promised in the future are true and that unseen things are real. There are different kinds of faith. There is natural faith that is a trust in things that have proven stable. The Bible speaks of sanctifying faith (Galatians 2:20), defensive faith (Ephesians 6:16), and saving faith (Romans 5:1). The Bible reveals there are various levels of faith. Jesus spoke of people who did not use their faith as being faithless (Matthew 17:17). He spoke of those with little faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26: 14:31; Luke 12:28) and of those with great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; Luke 7:9). The Bible teaches that each person has a certain amount of faith given to him as a gift of God (Romans 12:3b). It also teaches that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8). But the gift of faith is an unusual ability to believe God in every area of life. This faith knows no impossibilities. It puts no limits on what God can do. For those who do not have the gift of faith the Bible tells how to increase faith: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) Faith is listed in Galatians 5:22 as a fruit of the Holy Spirit as well as a gift. Faith as a spiritual gift refers to power. As a fruit it refers to character. Faith as a gift is an act. It is the ability to act in faith in the face of impossibilities. Faith as a fruit is an attitude. It is developed through spiritual growth just as fruit in the natural world develops through growth processes.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study Hebrews ll. This chapter gives many examples of those who had great faith. Make a list of the things these people accomplished by their faith.

  • -Abraham was called a man of faith: Romans 4:16-21; Hebrews 11:18-19
  • -Stephen apparently had the gift of faith: Acts 6:5-8
  • -Barnabas possibly had it: Acts 11:22-24
  • -Paul demonstrated great faith: Acts 27.
  • -Faith emphasizes the impossible: I Corinthians 13:2

GIVING

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...he that giveth let him do it with simplicity... (Romans 12:6,8)

A person with the gift of giving has a special ability to give material goods and financial resources to the work of the Lord. He does it with joy and eagerness. The gift of giving also includes the giving of time, strength, and talents to the work of the Lord. The one requirement for a person with the gift of giving is that it is done with simplicity. The word simplicity as used here means liberally. All Christians are to give to the work of the Lord: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7) All believers are to give tithe from their income. The tithe is 10% of all that is earned. If believers do not give tithes and offerings, it is the same as robbing God: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8) God has promised special blessings to those who tithe their income: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-12)  

According to this passage, those who give are promised:

  1. Unnamed blessings from God, so great they cannot contain them. Verse 10
  2. Blessings on the work which provides their income. Verse 11
  3. They will be a blessing to the nations of the world. Verse 12
  4. Their own land [nation] will be blessed. Verse 12

God blesses you financially upon the basis of how you give. He provides in order that you will have funds to give to the work of the Lord:

But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully... And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. (II Corinthians 9:6,8) Jesus also promised: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

The way you are to acquire the money or goods to give is described in Ephesians: Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands, the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 5:28) Paul commented regarding the giving of the Philippian believers: ...the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18) He indicated because their gifts were a sacrifice they had pleased God. Then he told these giving believers: But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) This promise was made to those who had given to the work of the Lord. But remember: Although all believers are to give and are blessed of God for doing so, a person with the gift of giving has an unusual ability to give joyfully to the Lord; a special spiritual motivation to give.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

The following are Biblical examples of people who had an unusual ability to give to the Lord. It is possible they had the spiritual gift of giving:

  • -Widow: Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
  • -Mary: John 12:3-8
  • -Galatian church: Galatians 4:15
  • -Philippian church: Philippians 4:10-18
  • -Macedonian churches: II Corinthians 8:1-7

From what motivations must giving come? See Matthew 6:3; Ephesians 4:28; I Corinthians 13:3.

HELPS

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:28) A person with the gift of helps has the ability to assist others in the work of the Lord enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. From custodian to musicians, anything assisting in the operation of a church or a ministry can be considered a gift of helps. When Paul sent a woman named Phoebe to Rome, he asked believers there to assist her with the gift of helps: I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. (Romans 16:1-2) Priscilla and Aquila apparently served Paul with the gift of helps, for he wrote:  Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus... (Romans 16:3) The gift of helps is any work which supports or assists someone else. It is like serving as an assistant.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

  • -Tabitha [Dorcas] had the gift of helps: Acts 9:36
  • -Women helped Jesus in His ministry: Mark 15:40-41
  • -The help given could be in the area of organizational responsibilities:  Exodus 18:22; Numbers 11:17
  • -The ministry of helps can assist those who are weak: Acts 20:35

 SERVING

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...or ministry, let us wait on our ministering... (Romans 12:6-7) The word "ministering" in this passage means serving. The gift of serving is an ability to perform practical tasks related to the work of the Lord. A person who serves helps others accomplish spiritual goals by freeing them from routine but necessary duties.

The Amplified Bible translates this passage... ...he whose gift is practical service, let him give himself to serving... (Romans 12:7) Serving differs from helps in that it relieves someone of certain duties. One who serves assumes the responsibility for certain tasks to free another to exercise their spiritual gift. A person with the gift of helps assists someone in the performing of their ministry. For example, musicians in the church help the pastor accomplish spiritual goals during a church service. They do not relieve him of the responsibility of the service, but use their gift to help him accomplish spiritual objectives. On the other hand, a person with the gift of serving might totally relieve a pastor from involvement in the distribution of food to those in need within the church body. An example of this is found in the early church where certain believers "served" tables to free the apostles for more important spiritual tasks: And in those days when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:1-4)

Observe the qualifications for those who were to serve. They were to be honest and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. Paul spoke of those who ministered or served him: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. (II Timothy 1:16-18) The gift of serving involves bearing the burden of others: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) The attitude of one who serves was described by Jesus:  And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:25-27)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Examples of serving:

  • -Angels: Hebrews 1:14; 4:11; Mark 1:13
  • -Serving or waiting at meals: John 2:5,9; Luke 10:40

MERCY

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6,8) "Mercy" means compassion. This means you are able to feel with and for another. A person with the gift of mercy has special compassion on those suffering and an ability to help them. The gift of mercy involves an attitude as well as an action. This is shown in the story of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:30-37. The Samaritan not only had compassion on the victim of the robbers, but also took action to help him. A requirement is that this gift should be ministered with cheerfulness. The word "cheerfulness" refers to a joyful readiness to do anything possible immediately to relieve suffering. Compare the compassion of the disciples with that of Jesus as illustrated in the following events:

  • Reference Jesus Disciples Matthew 15:23-28
  • Syrophoenician woman Healed daughter Send away Mark 8:1-9
  • Multitudes Fed them Send away Matthew 20:31-34
  • Blind men Healed them Tried to make them be quiet Mark 10:48-49
  • Blind Bartemaus Healed him Tried to make him be quiet

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Study these illustrations of the gift of mercy:

  • Jesus, in connection with healing: Matthew 9:27-30; 15:21-28; 17:14-18; 20:30-34; Mark  10:46-52; Luke 17:1-14
  • The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:30-37
  • Dorcus: Acts 9:36-42

HOSPITALITY

Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:9-10) The gift of hospitality is a special ability God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to provide food and lodging for those in need. A requirement for the use of this spiritual gift is that it is done without grudging. Grudging means resenting having to do it. Hospitality is an evidence of unhypocritical love: Let love be without dissimulation... given to hospitality... (Romans 12:9,13)

Hospitality is one of the qualifications of a bishop: A bishop then must be...given to hospitality...(I Timothy 3:2) For a bishop must be blameless...a lover of hospitality... (Titus 1:7-8)

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

  • Lydia is an example of one with the gift of hospitality: Acts 16:14-15
  • Gaius hosted Paul in Rome: Romans 16:23
  • There is an exciting possibility in showing hospitality. Discover what it is in Hebrews 13:1-2.
  • This happened to Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 18.

The Bible lists additional gifts which are given to believers which were not covered in this lesson. These gifts are not specifically called gifts of the Holy Spirit. For this reason they are not included in the study of spiritual gifts.

CELIBACY:  

The gift of celibacy is the ability God gives to certain believers to remain single for the purpose of Christian service. In I Corinthians 7:7-8 the Apostle Paul refers to his gift of celibacy. Celibacy should not be required however (see I Timothy 4:1-5). It is a gift of God, not a requirement to be imposed by the church or a denomination. The church is edified by those who have the gift of celibacy (see I Corinthians 7:32-35).

INTERCESSION:

The gift of intercession is a special ability God gives to pray with great intensity for extended periods of time on a regular basis. To intercede means to plead on behalf of another. Intercessors pray for the needs of people, leaders, ministries, and nations. Although intercession is not specifically identified as a spiritual gift, there is evidence that the Holy Spirit has provided for it to function as a gift (see Romans 8:26-27). Study the following passages to identify some of the purposes for intercessory prayer:

  • -James 5:14-16 -Numbers 14:17-19
  • -I Timothy 2:1-2 -Acts 7:60
  • -Ephesians 6:19

CRAFTSMANSHIP:

There is another gift which we will call "craftsmanship". It is the ability to craft things of beauty and/or function for the work of the Lord. Examples are seen in those given special skills by God to prepare items for the house of the Lord and garments for the priests (Exodus 28:3; Exodus 31:3-6).

SIGN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4)

There are four gifts which we will call "sign gifts" because they are supernatural signs of God's power working through believers to confirm His Word:

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Mark 16:20) The sign gifts minister to and through believers in healing, miracles, and special messages from God through tongues and interpretation. These supernatural gifts are also a "sign" to unbelievers that God exists.

The four sign gifts are:

  • -Miracles
  • -Healing
  • -Tongues
  • -Interpretation of tongues

 

MIRACLES

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...the working of miracles. (I Corinthians 12:7-10) Through a person with the gift of miracles God performs powerful acts which are beyond the possibility of occurring naturally. These supernatural acts are a sign that God's power is greater than that of Satan. Miracles accomplish specific spiritual purposes. God uses miracles to confirm the Gospel message: How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:3-4) Miracles cause people to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name. (John 20:30-31) Miracles are also used by God to show approval of the person ministering. The ministry of Jesus was confirmed by miracles: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2) Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know. (Acts 2:22) God confirmed the ministry of the apostles by miracles: Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (II Corinthians 12:12) There are different types of miracles. Jesus demonstrated miraculous control over physical elements: And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

Physical healing and the casting out of demons are miracles: And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12) The miracles by the hands of Paul were called "special miracles". The fact that they are called "special" to distinguish them from "ordinary" shows how common miracles were in the early church. The early church was birthed in a demonstration of great power. So common was the powerful manifestation of signs and wonders that this distinction was apparently necessary. Signs and wonders do not necessarily mean a man or ministry is of God, however. Satan deceives through miracles: For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles... (Revelation 16:14) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-12) These verses indicate that people are deceived through miracles of Satan because they are not grounded in the truth of the Word of God.  

HEALING

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given...the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:7-9) A believer with the gifts of healing has the ability to let God's power flow through him to restore health apart from the use of natural methods. "Healing" means to make well. This type of healing is called "divine healing" because it is done by the divine power of God rather than through natural means. The healings recorded in the Bible were all immediate and complete recoveries of normal bodily functions. Physical healing is one of the spiritual signs that is to follow the ministry of all believers: And these signs shall follow them that believe...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover... (Mark 16:17-18) The elders of the church are also used of God to bring physical healing: Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15) All believers can pray for the sick. Elders in the church can also pray for the sick. But a believer with a gift of healing is used specifically and consistently by God in this area of ministry. The name of this gift is plural. It is the "gifts" of healing. This is because there are various healing gifts, different ways healing comes, and various methods of using the gift of healing. God uses some believers in the healing of specific illnesses. For example, the Bible records that Paul was used in special miracles of healing (Acts 19:11-12). Some believers may have a special anointing to pray for the blind or deaf. Others are used in a more general healing ministry to pray for all types of sickness. In addition to curing physical affliction, healing can also include the casting out of unclean spirits [demons]:There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:16) Faith in God is a key to receiving healing. Divine healing can come through the faith of the one ministering with this gift. Jesus raised a girl from the dead and healed her: But when the people were put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. (Matthew 9:25) Since the girl was dead, she could not have faith for healing. Healing came through the ministry and faith of Jesus. Healing can also come because of the faith of the person who is sick: But Jesus turned Him about and when He saw her, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. (Matthew 9:22) Healing also comes through the combined faith of the one who is sick and the one who is ministering: And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto Him Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. (Matthew 9:28-29) Jesus had the ability to perform this healing. He knew He was able to heal. This was combined with the faith of the blind men to bring healing. The plural "gifts" of healing is also used because healing comes through various Biblical methods. For example, healing can come through the spoken word: The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8) He sent His word, and healed them... (Psalms 107:20) Healing comes by the laying on of hands: Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them. (Luke 4:40) ...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover... (Mark 16:18) And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul. (Acts 19:11) Healing comes through the anointing of oil in the name of the Lord: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15) Healing has even come through the shadow of one with this gift: Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:15-16) We can have divine healing because Jesus suffered and took upon Himself our infirmities: But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus suffered at Calvary not only to free us from sin, but also to free us from sickness. He was beaten and received stripes on His back for the healing of sickness. He suffered so we can be healed as well as saved. When ministering with the gifts of healing it is important to understand that everyone to whom we minister may not be healed. Paul spoke of fellow workers who were sick and apparently had not received healing through his ministry: ...Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (II Timothy 4:20)

Paul had the gifts of healing and special miracles, yet for some reason Trophimus was not healed through his ministry. Paul wrote to Timothy regarding a chronic illness: Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. (I Timothy 5:23) Paul did not stop using his gift of healing just because everyone to whom he ministered did not get healed. This would be like an evangelist ceasing to minister because everyone to whom he preached did not respond to the Gospel. Everyone Paul preached to did not respond positively to the Gospel message. Everyone he prayed for was not healed. But he kept on doing what God had called him to do. He preached the Gospel and prayed for the sick and left the results in the hands of God. There are reasons why healing does not come to everyone for whom we pray.  

 TONGUES

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...divers kinds of tongues...(I Corinthians 12:7-10) The gift of tongues is the ability to receive and communicate a message of God to His people through a language never learned. "Tongues" means languages. The reason we have called this a "sign" gift rather than a "speaking" gift is that the Bible indicates clearly that this gift is given for a sign. When one speaks in tongues it can be in a language known and recognized by the listeners: Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language... And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born. (Acts 2:6-8) It can also be in a language not known to man. This is called speaking in unknown tongues: For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries. (I Corinthians 14:2)

As you previously learned, speaking in tongues is the physical sign of having been baptised in the Holy Spirit. But this experience of speaking in tongues is different from the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is the special ability to deliver messages from God to the church in a language not known by the speaker. The purposes of speaking in tongues, both as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues are for:

  • Prayer to God: I Corinthians 14:2
  • Self edification: I Corinthians 14:4. Edification is not exalting self, but means encouragement, improvement, and development. Isaiah 28:11-12 also calls it spiritual refreshing.
  • Intercession: The Holy Spirit speaks through the believer in an unknown tongue to intercede in prayer. The word "intercede" means to pray on behalf of another. The Holy Spirit knows just how and for what to pray. I Corinthians 14:14. See also Romans 8:26,27
  • Praise: Acts 10:46; I Corinthians 14:15
  • Fulfillment of prophecy: I Corinthians 14:21; Isaiah 28:11-12

But the gift of tongues has two additional purposes. When a person with the gift of tongues gives a message to the church assembly and this message is interpreted it is for...

Edification of the church: I Corinthians 14:12-13 A sign to unbelievers: I Corinthians 14:22. This is why the gift of tongues and the interpretation which should accompany use of this gift are called "sign gifts".

There are specific guidelines given for using the gift of tongues in the church:

1.         lNot everyone is to speak at one time: I Corinthians 12:30

2.         To edify the church, the gift of tongues must be accompanied by interpretation so the listeners will understand what is said: I Corinthians 14:1-5

3.         Because of this, a believer with the gift of tongues should keep quiet if there is no interpreter: I Corinthians 14:28

4.         He should also pray for the gift of interpretation himself: I Corinthians 12:13

5.         In the church it is more important to speak in language understood than tongues if no interpreter is present: I Corinthians 14:18-19

6.         Only one person should interpret at a time: I Corinthians 14:27

7.         A person with the gift of tongues can control it: I Corinthians 14:32-33

8.         Speaking in tongues is not to be forbidden: I Corinthians 14:39-40

9.         The most important thing is order in the church services. There should be no confusion caused by this or any other gift: I Corinthians 14:40

 

INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the...interpretation of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:7-10) The gift of interpretation is a special ability to make known in a language understood the message of one who speaks in tongues. The interpretation of a message in tongues is given by the Holy Spirit to one with this spiritual gift. It is not interpreted by knowing the language in which the message was given. It is given by revelation from the Holy Spirit. Interpretation is a summary of the message, not a word-by-word translation. Because of this, interpretation may vary from the message in tongues in length or structure. The purpose of this gift is to provide interpretation of the message given by one with the gift of tongues: If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. (I Corinthians 14:27) The gift of interpretation is to accompany use of the gift of tongues. It is only when a message in tongues is interpreted that the church is blessed by it: I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret that the church may receive edifying. (I Corinthians 14:5) A person with the gift of tongues is to keep silent in the church if there is no one present with the gift of interpretation: But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. (I Corinthians 14:28) A person with the gift of tongues should pray for the gift of interpretation: Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. (I Corinthians 14:13)

 

THE PATTERN OF EFFECTIVE MINISTRY

The following chart shows how each of these divisions fit together in the church to form a pattern of effective ministry:

  • SPECIAL GIFTS -> TO EQUIP GOD'S PEOPLE
    • Apostles
    • Prophets
    • Evangelists
    • Pastors
    • Teachers
  • SPEAKING GIFTS ->TO EXPLAIN GOD'S TRUTHS
    • Prophecy
    • Teaching
    • Exhortation
    • Word of Wisdom
    • Word of Knowledge
  • SERVING GIFTS -> TO ENABLE GOD'S WORK
    • Serving
    • Helps
    • Leadership
    • Administration
    • Giving •
    • Showing Mercy
    • Discerning of Spirits
    • Faith
    • Hospitality
  • SIGN GIFTS ->TO ESTABLISH GOD'S AUTHORITY ..
    • Tongues
    • Interpretation
    • Miracles
    • Healings

GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIFE OF JESUS

      • -Miracles: Acts 2:22
      • -Healing: Acts 10:38
      • -Word Of Wisdom: I Corinthians 1:24,30
      • -Word Of Knowledge: John 1:45-50; 4:18; 11:14
      • -Discerning of Spirits: John 1:45-50 6:61
      • -Prophecy/Prophet: Matthew 24
      • -Teaching/Teacher: Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 26:55; Mark 6:6; 14:49; Luke 5:17; 13:10,22; 21:37
      • -Exhortation: Luke 3:18
      • -Mercy [compassion]: Matthew 20:30-34
      • -Apostle: Hebrews 3:1
      • -Evangelist: John 10:16
      • -Pastor: John 10:11
      • -Leadership: John 13:15-16; Mark 10:42-45
      • -Administration: Luke 10:1-17
      • -Faith: Luke 8:49-56
      • -Giving: John 10:11
      • -Helps: John 17:6-10
      • -Serving: John 13:4-16; Mark 10:42-45
      • -Hospitality: John 21:9-13 [Had no home yet had hospitality].
      • -Tongues and Interpretation: These were the only two spiritual gifts not evident in the life of Jesus.

These were not necessary because He was the Word of God Himself. There was no need for the gifts of tongues and interpretation to bring a message from God through Him to man.

 

DISCOVERING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)  

THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCOVERY

It is important to discover your spiritual gift in order to:

ACCOMPLISH SPIRITUAL PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES:

You will recall the purposes and objectives of gifts of the Holy Spirit given in Ephesians 4:12-15:

Purposes:

  • -Perfect the saints.
  • -Promote the work of the ministry.
  • -Edify Christ and the church.
  • -We will develop our knowledge of Christ.
  • -We will develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
  • -We will become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
  • -We will mature spiritually in Christ.

If these purposes and objectives are to be accomplished in the church then it is necessary that each believer discover and use his spiritual gift.

 

CONDUCT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are also given to the church as weapons of spiritual warfare to fight the spiritual forces of Satan: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

It is important to discover and use your spiritual gift in order to effectively fight your spiritual enemy, Satan.

AVOID ABUSES:

In previous chapters you learned there are three ways spiritual gifts can be abused:

  1. Not using those gifts given to you.
  2. Attempting to use gifts not given to you.
  3. Not using the gifts properly.

It is important to discover your spiritual gift in order to avoid these abuses.

 AVOID FRUSTRATION:

Many new believers often plunge into ministry without knowing their spiritual gifts, experiencing frustration and defeat as they try to work for the Lord. You, too, will be frustrated if you do not discover your own spiritual gift. You will be ineffective if you try to serve in positions for which God has not given you a gift to minister. You may be busy in ministry, but you will not be accomplishing anything for the Kingdom of God. For example, one person tried to imitate the gift of a great evangelist named Billy Graham. He preached just like Rev. Graham but no one responded to his messages. He was very frustrated in the ministry until he discovered that his spiritual gift was not the gift of evangelism. His gift was teaching. When he began to use his own gift of teaching he saw great results in his ministry. Discovering your spiritual gift will not only keep you from being frustrated with yourself, it will also keep you from being frustrated with other Christians. For example, you will understand if your pastor is a good teacher but a poor administrator. You will recognize that he has the gift of teaching but does not have the gift of administration. Instead of criticism, he needs the help of someone who does have this gift in order for the church to operate more efficiently.

ASSUME YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

It is important to discover your spiritual gift because you have a responsibility to "stir up" and use it. The Apostle Paul wrote Timothy: Neglect not the gift that is in thee...(I Timothy 4:14) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6) You must discover your spiritual gift in order to fulfill your responsibility to develop it. You must know your gift in order to set priorities which permit you to use it productively.

DISCOVERING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT

The following guidelines will help you discover your spiritual gift or gifts:

STEP ONE - Be Born Again: You must be born again. Spiritual gifts come through the new birth just as natural talents come through natural physical birth. If you are never born in the natural world you will not have natural talents. If you are not born again in the spiritual world you cannot be given spiritual gifts: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

STEP TWO - Receive The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit:

STEP THREE - Know The Spiritual Gifts: If you do not know what spiritual gifts exist, you will not be able to recognize the one(s) God has given you. The lessons you studied in this course have equipped you to identify the various gifts available to believers.

STEP FOUR - Observe Models Of The Gifts: As you are considering what gifts you might have, it is helpful to observe mature models of the various gifts. A "mature model" of a spiritual gift is a believer who has been effectively using a gift for an extended period of time. For example, talk with someone who has the gift of teaching. Question them as to how they knew they had the gift, how they began to use it, and ways they are continuing to develop their gift. Do the same for the other gifts. Learning how others discovered their gifts and observing mature models of the gifts in action will help you identify your own gift.

STEP FIVE - Seek A Spiritual Gift: Desire a gift and fast and pray for it. The Bible tells us to seek spiritual gifts: But covet [desire, seek] earnestly the best gifts... (I Corinthians 12:31) We each have at least one gift, but this verse implies we can also seek a gift which we do not now possess.

STEP SIX - Laying On Of Hands: Have your spiritual leader lay hands on you and pray for God to reveal your spiritual gift: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

NOTE: As a result of Steps One through Six God may reveal your spiritual gift. If this does not happen, proceed with the following steps.

STEP SEVEN - Analyze Your Spiritual Interests:

The areas in which you find great joy in serving God are often those for which He has gifted you. Just as a gift you receive in the natural world brings joy, so do spiritual gifts. You must have a "passion" or "burden" [great interest or desire] for a certain ministry in order to serve God effectively.

For example, a person with the gift of administration can use it to organize and direct anything. He could administer a church, a Christian school, a drug rehabilitation center, etc. But he must have a burden or passion for the ministry where he uses his gift. If he has no interest in a Christian school, he will not last long even though he has the gift of administration.

Answer the following questions to help determine your spiritual interest or burden:

  1. What kind or group of people do you feel most attracted to?
  2. (If you are called to a particular group of people, your spiritual gift will relate to their need. For example, if you feel a call to children and want to see them learn about God, you may have the gift of teaching).
  3. What areas of need cause a strong emotional stirring in you? (When God calls you to meet a specific need, you will often feel a strong emotional stirring within).
  4. If you could not fail, what would you desire to do for the Lord? (God honors personal desires). Complete this sentence: "I have a growing restless conviction from within that I should get involved in..." (Such convictions are often God speaking to your spirit about an area in which He wants you to serve).
  5.  I am certain God has definitely called me to a specific area of ministry. It is... (If you know the specific area of ministry to which God has called you, it will be easy to determine your spiritual gift. God always provides the necessary gifts to enable you to fulfill the call. The "For Further Study" section of this lesson will assist you in recognizing your spiritual calling).
  6.  What gifts bring you the most joy in thinking about them or using them? (For example, do you enjoy teaching? Do you enjoy being hospitable and having people into your home? Are you often moved to give large sums of money to God's work?)

STEP EIGHT - Analysis By A Christian Leader:

Have a Christian leader analyze your spiritual abilities. Ask the following questions and record the answers:

  1. In what areas of Christian service have you observed me to be effective?
  2. Based upon this observation of my effectiveness, what spiritual gifts do you believe I might have?

STEP NINE - Analyze Your Past Christian Service:

Analyze your past ministry. Answer these questions:

  1. In what areas of Christian service have you ministered in the past?
  2. In which of these were you effective?
  3. In which of these did you experience great joy in serving?
  4. In which of these did your spiritual leader and/or others note your effectiveness?

STEP TEN - Complete The Spiritual Gift Questionnaires:

It is Added under topic Holy Spirit. Go to that section and read it.

STEP ELEVEN - Identify Gifts You Think You Might Have:

Identify the gifts you think you might have based on:

  1. The knowledge of gifts you have obtained through study.
  2. What God has revealed to you through prayer.
  3. What you have analyzed in yourself.
  4. What a key Christian leader has observed in your life.
  5. Analysis of your effectiveness in areas of ministry in which you have previously served.
  6. Completion of the Spiritual Gifts Questionnaires.

STEP TWELVE - Identify Spiritual Needs:

Analyze the spiritual needs of your neighborhood, community, and church. Review this list of needs:

  • Visitation: Sick, newcomers to church, members of church, hospital, widows, prisons, bereaved, home for aged.
  • Evangelism: House-to-house, evangelistic services, crusades, open air services.
  • Follow Up Ministry: To new converts.
  • Counseling: General counseling or to specific groups; telephone counseling.
  • Office/administrative Support: Typing, drawing [art], filing, assembling, reproducing materials, mailings, telephones, records.
  • Hospitality: Cooking meals and lodging for those in need or for visiting ministers, evangelists,
  • Christians. Ministry To Poor: Providing food, clothing, shelter.
  • Maintenance Of Church Buildings: Landscaping, painting, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, cleaning.
  • Music: Choir, instruments, song leader, special music groups, soloist, writing music.
  • Religious Dramatic Productions.
  • Financial: Fund raising, accounting, financial planning for ministries.
  • Writing: Christian books, newsletters, tracts, news and magazine articles, poetry.
  • Multi-media: Audio and video tapes, radio, television, satellite.
  • Ministry To Special Groups: Deaf, blind, mentally ill, narcotic addicts, alcoholics, migrant workers, gangs, unwed mothers, homosexuals, Jews, minority groups, women, men, families, married couples, abused children, runaways, school dropouts, illiterate, prisoners, military, children, youth, aged.
  • Church Offices: Elder, deacon/deaconness, Sunday school teacher, usher, committees such as building, finance, etc.
  • Translation: Bible and Christian literature.
  • Christian Education: Sunday school, vacation Bible school, Christian preschool, elementary, high school, college; home Bible studies.
  • Missionary/Church Planting: To unreached peoples in your region/nation.
  • Literature: Christian library, bookstore, Bible and Christian literature distribution.
  • Camps And Retreats.

Now, answer these questions: 

    1. What needs are not being met in your neighborhood?
    2. What needs are not being met in your community?
    3. What needs are not being met in your church?  

STEP THIRTEEN - Fill A Spiritual Need:

The analysis you have completed will be of no benefit unless you apply it to your life and ministry. To "apply" something means to use it effectively, to actually do something with it. Compare the list of spiritual needs you made in "Step Twelve" to the list of gifts you believe God has given you. Identify a spiritual need that corresponds with the gift you believe you have, and then make a commitment to fill this need. For example, if there is a need for teachers in your church and you believe you have the gift of teaching, volunteer to meet this need.

 

STEP FOURTEEN - Evaluate Your Ministry:  

After serving awhile in this area with your gift, evaluate your ministry. You have discovered and are showing proper stewardship of your spiritual gift... 

-When you are fruitful in the area in which you are serving. This means you will see positive results of your ministry.

-When you are fulfilled...You are enjoying your ministry. If you are frustrated, you may not be serving in an area for which you are gifted.

-When the feedback [comments you receive from your spiritual leaders] indicate you are effective in the position in which you are serving.

If the ministry you are filling does not fit your spiritual capabilities and you are ineffective, review your list of possible gifts and ask God to show you another area in which to minister. Do not be discouraged... Remember the man who thought he was an evangelist but later discovered he was a teacher! It is just as important to know what gifts you do not have as to discover the gift you do have. This prevents you from wasting your life in ministry where you will not be effective. By combining prayer and these practical steps you will soon discover that special place of ministry God has for you.  

 

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