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SUMMARY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing. "In some ways this passage from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 sums things up.

Truly there are those who when they receive the gift of tongues think they have arrived and that there is nothing more to aim for. Sadly for them receiving this gift is intended to be just the beginning. Tongues are a gift of a prayer language to be used to enhance your intimate relationship with your creator and to be used as a spiritual weapon during times of spiritual warfare and intercession.

There are those who seriously believe that they are more spiritual than someone who does not speak in tongues and will therefore seek every opportunity show off this spiritual gift that God has given them. Romans chapter 8 verse 26 reads as follows: "Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray or as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning that cannot be uttered."

Paul advises us in Ephesians chapter 6 to "Pray in The Spirit on every possible occasion."

This means more than just one thing, it means praying as God leads in the language He will give you for that very purpose. It will mean that you can intercede for someone and/or pray about a situation with much greater effect. Generally speaking this gift is for your own private use and should not be used in public unless there is someone present who can interpret.

Interpretation of tongues

Sometimes during a meeting there will be somebody who publicly speaks out something in a different language. Many times this is either a private prayer or a message from The Lord. Unless it is an exceptional time it should always be interpreted by someone. There have been people in a meeting who were unsaved and someone boldly spoke out a message in a language that they could not possibly have learned their own language that is to say the language of the visitors.

Although everyone else will need to know in their own language what has been said the visitors understood it perfectly and they were amazed at the demonstration of the presence of God in the meeting. Another misunderstanding that often occurs is the fact that an interpretation is not necessarily a translation; therefore the interpretation could be a great deal more brief than the original message.

Sometimes it will be a prophetic message that the church needs to hear, at other times it will be the heart-felt prayer of the person who spoke out. Many have asked how come many of the people from different parts of the world heard the gospel in their own native language on the day of Pentecost? Was the miracle in the hearers or in the procaine's? The very first interpretation of a tongue that a student gave was from somebody who had spoken an unknown language and the leader of the meeting asked if anyone had the interpretation.

This rather confused the student since he had heard it in perfect English throughout and fortunately was bold enough to speak out what he had heard and therefore bless the meeting with an encouraging word from The Lord. Along with the gift of interpreting tongues goes on many occasions the ability to interpret visions that have been received by other Christian brothers and sisters in Christ and brought to the meeting.

Daniel was very good at interpreting visions as was Joseph, the amazing thing about Daniel was that he gave the interpretation but nobody ever told him what the vision had been. This story can be found in chapter 2 verses 14 to 28 read as follows: "Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, why is the decree so hasty from the king?

Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and He changes the times and the seasons: He remove kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has made known unto me now what we desired of you: for you have now made known unto us the king's matter.

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, are you able to make known unto me the dream I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, the secret that the king has demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."

In Joel chapter 2 God promises that dreams and visions shall become much more common as time draws to a close. Joel chapter 2 verses 28 and 29 clearly state: "and it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.

Perhaps you are wondering what the difference is between a dream and a vision, the answer is simple. A dream is something you experience when you are asleep a vision is something you experience when you are awake, both are pictorial and usually in colour.

Discernment

This gift enables you to tell whether what has been or is being said is from The Lord or of the flesh. It is a gift that is much needed in the church today for it also includes becoming aware supernaturally when there is someone in the meeting who needs deliverance. Not everybody who comes to church meetings is there because they want to know more about God, sometimes they will come in with the intention of disrupting a meeting, sometimes this can be done without them speaking a word or making a noise.

If the demonic spirit in the person can influence the gathered people it can make praise and worship difficult and in some cases absolutely impossible. When you know who the person is and where they are in the meeting what should you do? You have no right to ask her to leave and the leader of the meeting does not have this gift so he would not support you even if you did.

Clearly the solution is to get together with someone else in the gathering, someone who is a member of the church and going on with The Lord who knows about the gift of discernment and pray that either there is a manifestation and the demon leaves through being cast out or the person who is causing the problem leaves and we can get on with the meeting. One time this was done, the latter prayer was prayed and within five minutes the offending person got up and walked out. After that the praise and worship in the meeting really took off and the presence of God was felt by all.

Words of Knowledge

This is the ability to know how to pray at the root cause of the problem if you are praying with someone or the ability to know that there is somebody in the meeting with a particular problem and that God wants to minister to that person or those people that night.

You might be shown just one person with that problem and be surprised to see five or six people respond to that call. This does not mean that you were wrong in thinking that there was only one, it simply means that God particularly has an appointed time for one person in that meeting, but since others have responded in faith God will give them a touch from Himself also.

Sometimes it is a medical problem, sometimes an emotional problem and sometimes it is a family problem that needs to be dealt with in confidence privately rather than in public. If you are willing and are open to what God wants you to do then be brave enough just to follow His instructions. This gift is for the glory of His holy name, it is not a gift that in any way should glorify you.

Healing

Sometimes God requires us to lay hands on people in order that He will heal them, other times He will do it soveriegnly during the time of praise and worship. Not everybody will have any of these gifts but at the same time when God chooses the time literally any born-again believer can be used in this way.

You should however remember to move at God's direction and therefore in faith rather than in presumption. Jesus never moved in presumption, only at the command of The Father, if only the church today would learn this lesson. Some people have been surprised by the wording of Luke chapter 5 verse 17 when it reads: "17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town in Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

(This obviously refers to Jesus and the power of God being present with Him to heal) the way that sentence is written it implies that this was not always the case. This ties in perfectly with Jesus words to His disciples in John Chapter 5 verse 19 reads: "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things He does, these also does the Son likewise." How do you know when God is moving and wanting to heal the sick? You know it by discernment.

Wisdom

As a spiritual gift this has nothing to do with worldly wisdom resulting from experience or taking risky decisions, this is literally the wisdom of God. It is like a word of knowledge or a prophetic word, it comes to you in a way that you have to acknowledge is supernatural. You can have an empty head not thinking about anything then suddenly The Lord will drop a word into your heart as to how you can deal with the situation you need wisdom for.

James chapter 1 verses 5 to 8 reads as follows and is very relevant to this particular gift: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and it shall be given to him. But let him ask in faith, not wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

Faith

There is a great deal of difference between faith and wishful thinking. Faith comes through hearing, hearing the word of God. If you act on something without having been told to do it by God then you are acting on presumption and not on faith. The gift of faith is when you will meet a situation, somebody needing counseling or prayer for healing, and suddenly you are one hundred per cent convinced that you know what God is going to do so almost without thinking you speak it out.

You would not normally have the faith to believe that but this is why that supernatural gift is needed in so many cases, so that your response on impulse to the prompting of God, knowing that what you have spoken shall surely come to pass.

The gift of miracles

This is a gift that very few people have and you must be sure that when they are apparently operating this gift that it is God that is producing the miracles, normally you will be able to discern this through the preaching of the word or through the spiritual gift of discernment

But remember that in Revelation chapter 13 verses 13 and 14 we read this about the devil himself when he is released to rule the earth for 42 months: "and he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceive them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image of the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live."

Now for a quick summary of the five-fold ministry gifts each taken separately and given a description of what you can expect from a person with such a gifting.

Apostle

In scripture there are different names for this ministerial gift but all the ministerial gifts have something in common. An Apostle (sometimes called an overseer and Bishop) is one who goes around (where needed) setting up new churches and becoming a spiritual adviser to many churches sometimes across the globe.

Prophet

Up to the time of Samuel this ministry was referred to as a seer because the person would normally be given visions of many different things. It was later referred to as Prophet because the main function of a person with such a ministerial gift is to proclaim the word of God, not necessarily to predict future events, though it is inevitable that this will happen from time to time by the nature of the word he receives from God. Anyone can prophesy in a meeting for a brief moment but one holding the ministry of the Prophet will be one who is walking in the presence of God and always ready to bring a word from the throne of God (preach) even if he has been given literally no time to prepare.

Evangelist

There is a great misunderstanding about the Ministry of an Evangelist. The job of an Evangelist is not simply to bring people to The Lord as we shall see later. His job, like the job of all the other five-fold ministry gift holders is to encourage the body and equip them by teaching them how they can win souls for The Lord also.

Pastor

The job of the Pastor by definition is to care for the flock. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and contrasted Himself thereby with the bad shepherds mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 34, it would be good to take a look at this chapter in your own time to see what a Pastor should not do, even though there are Pastors who have failed miserably to care for their flock, they will have to answer to God for it. Make it a joyful thing for your Pastor to be over you in The Lord, he will have burden enough without you making things more difficult for him.

Teacher

Some Pastors are great teachers, other teachers make great Pastors, usually these two Ministerial gifts will not be held by the same person. There are rare instances where it is but in general this is most certainly not the case. The teacher's job is to proclaim the scriptures and the word of God that has come from God's throne for that day in a way that can be understood by the listener even when they have not had anything like as much tuition in bible study.

Their job is to know what God wants to teach his people at any given time, he must not pick a subject and teach on it because he thinks it is a good thing to talk about on a certain day. If he does that then not only should he not be teaching, but he does it without the authority of God.

The job of all five of these Ministerial gift holders is to build up, encourage and equip the body of Christ. In Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11 to 13 inclusive read as follows: "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 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 fulness of Christ:"

It would be ridiculous to equip a soldier with expensive armour unless he was at some time going to be used in combat. Similarly the purpose of these gifts is to equip God's people for ministry themselves. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 12 to 25 we read: "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where how would you hear?

If the whole body were an ear how would you smell? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, yet one body.

The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, that seem to be more feeble are necessary: and those members of the body, that we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need of special protection but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that parts that lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. "Unless all the parts are working as they should what you will have is literally a sick body. Perhaps this is why many churches have become so ineffective?

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