Ephesians 4:7-16; Spiritual gifts – the continuation of Christ’s works throughout the age.
length: 77:43 - taught on Oct, 10 2021
Sunday October 10,2021
All that God gives remains His own and returns to Him again. Our life, our gifts, remain God’s and they can only be properly used in His service.
Since He has at His command all the power in the universe, the Lord God omnipotent can do anything as easily as anything else. All His acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished. His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself for a renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that He wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in His own infinite being. There is a negro spiritual that has the line, “Nothing is too hard for Jesus. No man can work like Him.” All that we are and possess as gifts from Him must be used in His service.
Never forgetting the purpose of the spiritual gifts, edifying the body of Christ in service to God, we can move on to more detail about them.
Paul points out that all gifts, natural or supernatural, function under the power of the Holy Spirit. If we assume, and I think rightly, that the supernatural gifts have ceased after the establishment of the church and the canon, then only the natural are left. This makes sense. However, we must understand that these gifts, though the function of them can be performed at some level by the non-spiritual, become supernatural in the Spirit-filled believer.
Natural gifts, permanent in the church, become supernatural in the Spirit-filled believer. They are performed with divine love, truth, endurance, grace, compassion, etc.
The term natural is only used because these areas are common to the human race in general (minus evangelist and pastor-teacher). However, fill in any divine virtue under the power of the Holy Spirit, and the natural becomes supernatural in the spiritual believer.
Gifts from God must be used in and through God’s power. No human abilities, imposters of the real, are allowed in the plan of God; in His kingdom. Humans without God can teach, give, serve, help, gain knowledge and wisdom, have faith in something, lead, administer, encourage, and show mercy.
For any current day believer who says they have a supernatural gift, it would be hard for them to show how it is edifying the body of Christ. Anyone claiming to have the authority of an apostle or prophet only opens up the possibility of doing damage. No one is allowed to add to the word of God, so what message could they give that wasn’t already contained in the word? God has given the church teachers and leaders. The wise master builder was Paul and only upon his blueprints should any man build. No one can claim to perform miracles or healings, God still performs them, but not by the will of any man. Tongues today is not a foreign language but in indistinguishable chatter. How does that edify the church? If they claim that one interprets that noise, and we can’t add to the scripture, which is sufficient in itself, why did we start off with the unknown noise rather than going straight to the word? How did the one who babbled edify us? Distinguishing spirits cannot be claimed after the canon is complete. You’ll know them by their fruit. Giving someone the authority to determine good and bad souls, when the completed word of God would do so perfectly, would not be a building up but much more so an opportunity for abuse.
Spiritual gifts are given to the church which function through the power of the Holy Spirit. They are to equip the church to carry out the ministry of Christ until He returns.
Comparing all the lists, we come up with about twenty spiritual gifts. Prophecy is the only one that appears in all the lists. Again, many expositors do not consider the list to be exhaustive.
Apostle, prophet, teacher, miracles, kinds of healings, helps, administration, faith, tongues, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, distinguishing between spirits, interpretation of tongues, evangelist, pastor-teacher, serving, encouraging, contributing, leadership, mercy.
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were [hos = as like], the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Peter states the gift includes speaking (covering several gifts) and service (covering several gifts). Peter keeps it very simple, classifying gifts in two areas only.
Prophecy is mentioned four times, healing twice, miracles twice, tongues twice, apostle twice, and teaching twice.
No doubt there is some overlap. The gift of administration is likely similar to the gift of leadership, and as well, there is some application of them in the pastor-teacher.
Another reason for thinking that Paul could have made a much longer list if he so desired is that fact that the gifts have many different expressions. Someone may serve by giving wise counsel, others by cooking meals, other by caring for children, helping the sick, cleaning, financial help, legal help, etc. Helps would come in a great many varieties. Teaching and evangelizing might for one be in large crowds and others in small groups or one on one. Our list can get bigger depending on how specific we want to be. It is interesting that prayer doesn’t make any list. I can only guess why, but perhaps that is because all of us are to be very gifted in prayer and God wants us all to learn how to continuously pray in constant intimacy with Him, rather than asking those who we think have a gift of prayer to pray for us. We can do that, and I’ve met a few people who at least seem to get everything they pray for, but all of us have to learn intimacy with God and life has to drive each of us to our knees (metaphorically).
Increasing ability in any gift comes with time and spiritual growth.
Different books about gifts find different ways of classifying. What does that tell us? We don’t know how to classify them since there is no divine revelation of that.
What we should understand is the reason for the gifts, which is building up the body of Christ, and that they come from God by His sovereign choice. They are manifestations of the gifts that the resurrected Christ possesses (Prophet, Priest, and King) and has showered upon His bodyso that she, the church, can minister within herself and outside of herself in the manner that Christ would if He were here.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”
Greater works - the healing and strengthening of the soul that the apostles and other members would accomplish in their ministries empowered by the HS.