World of Faith

What is Charismatic? – Part Seven: Spiritual Gifts – The Office Gifts of Ephesians 4

January 30, 2007
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Before I get into the seventh and possibly final installment of “What is Charismatic?” I want to do two things. First, I want to give a preview of what’s coming up next week and the weeks following. Second, I want to publicly comment and clarify about something I’ve posted before, and I also said in a comment to one of my readers.

Next week, so long as I don’t need to post a Q &A for this series, I am beginning a new series, “What is Real Faith?” The purpose of this series is to examine what faith is, what faith is not, how to exercise one’s faith, and how God rewards our faith, because without faith, we cannot please God. There are blessings that come with living a life full of faith and obedience, and I want to explore that with you, my readers. Most recently, my faith has been encouraged because my pastor has been sharing about a vision that his pastor had… and I’ll be discussing that, too, next week, for we all need to have our faith built up and encouraged in these days, so we can all receive everything that God has for us, and accomplish His will and His purposes.

Before I review and discuss this week’s topic of the office gifts of Ephesians 4, I also want to comment on a question that one of my readers posted. I responded to him with this, but I also want to share this on the front page with everyone else. In a previous post I discussed how Mark 16:17-18 should be normative for every believer, and this reader asked whether I believe “picking up serpents” should be normative. I gave an initial response, and then my pastor said something this past Sunday during the sermon that enlightened me about this passage. When Jesus referred to serpents and scorpions in the Gospels, often He was using them to symbolize lies and bondages that even well intentioned Christians get themselves entangled with in these days. Perhaps this is what Jesus said in Mark 16, that it would be normative for believers to “handle” and destroy such destructive lies, and also to deliver people from bondages and oppression. So, perhaps that is what Mark 16 means in that respect. I just for some reason do not believe it means to literally pick up serpents… I don’t see that in the Bible.

Last week I continued looking at what makes one a charismatic, a belief in and exercise of the spiritual gifts. Most Bible scholars cite at least three lists of these in the Scriptures. Two weeks ago I dug into the first of these lists, in Romans 12. Last week I dug into the second, 1 Corinthians 12. This week I’ll look at the third list, in Ephesians 4. Before I go there, I want to introduce the topic of the “office gifts” with Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 12:27-28 (NAS), “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” Apostles, prophets, and teachers are three of the five “office gifts” listed in Ephesians 4.

Paul then wrote in Eph. 4:7-8 and 11-13 (NKJV), “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The first comment I need to make here, which is a major difference between the passages in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, is that Paul is using a different Greek word for “gift” in Ephesians 4. He is using the word “doma,” which means according to Thayer’s Lexicon, a gift, an expression of God’s favor, something that becomes the recipient’s abiding possession. But who is the recipient? Men are, or, more accurately, the recipient is the world. Then what are the gifts themselves here? Individuals who are apostles, pastors, evangelists, pastors, and/or teachers. So, here, unlike the gifts I previously discussed, the gifts here are persons who operate in the “offices” that are listed. Christ has given some men to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors, and some to be teachers.

The next logical question then is what exactly are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. According to Thayer’s, the Greek word for apostles is “apostolos,” which means a delegate, a messenger, one sent forth with orders. The primary biblical model I see for apostles who operate today is that Paul was an apostle to Timothy, i.e., Paul was Timothy’s pastor. Thus, I believe that someone who is pastoring pastors may be considered an apostle. Also, Paul was a church planter, and that is another key function of an apostle today, because modern apostles plant churches, and then oversee the pastors of those churches. Still another key function of the apostle is to establish and mature the believer in a church that the apostle oversees. In a moment I will discuss the purpose of all the office gifts listed here, but Eph. 2:20 specifically charges apostles and prophets with being the foundation of the church, i.e. establishing foundational (but NOT new) doctrine in the churches they oversee. Anything said by any of these ministers, be it an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor, or a teacher, must line up with the Word of God, the Scriptures. I’m not saying that an apostle or anyone else will give some kind of strange or “private” revelation of the Scriptures that adds to the Word of God. Rather, anything an apostle or prophet, or any one of these says would confirm and conform to the Word of God.

Moving on to the other office gifts listed, the next office gift is that of the prophet. According to Thayer’s, the Greek word for prophet is “prophetes,” which is a different gift than the gift of prophecy listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. Thayer’s defines this gift as one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. Further, in the religious assemblies of Christians, they are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers. Thus, that is how prophets operate in modern days. The third gift listed is that of the evangelist, and the Greek word for evangelist is “euggelistes,” which means according to Thayer’s a bringer of good tidings. The only person identified as an evangelist in the NT is Phillip, in Acts 21:8. However, there is only ONE other place in the NT where this word is used besides Acts 21:8 and Eph. 4:11, which is in 2 Tim. 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Thus, I believe a true purposes of the evangelist is not only to evangelize, but also to train and equip believers to do the same, after all, we’re all called to be witnesses for Christ. The last two office gifts listed are pastor and teacher. Now some believe this is ONE gift, the pastor-teacher, but that is not what I see in the Greek, because Paul uses two different Greek words, first, “poimen” for pastors, which means according to Thayer’s, a herdsman, esp. a shepherd, but also the presiding officer, manager, or director of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church. In other words, a senior pastor is in effect the “CEO” of a local congregation. The second Greek word that Paul uses is “didaskalos” for teachers, which is also used for teachers in 1 Cor. 12:28-29, yet is distinguished from the gift of teaching that Paul lists in Romans 12:7. Yes, all pastors should be able to teach (see 1 Tim. 3 for the requirements to be ordained an elder (pastor) or deacon). However, Paul clearly distinguishes between the pastor and the teacher in Eph. 4:11. The pastor is the shepherd and the presiding officer (or elder, if you will), i.e. the head, of a local congregation, while the teacher is defined by Thayer’s as one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of a man who is fitted to teach, esp. of those who in the religious assemblies of Christians who undertake the work of teaching, with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the role of the pastor and teacher are different, and the gift of the teacher and the gift of teaching are also different concepts, as Paul uses different Greek words to distinguish these various gifts.

Lastly, before I conclude, I want to briefly discuss the purpose of these five office gifts that I discussed above, and that Paul lists in Eph. 4:11. Paul develops the purpose of all these gifts in verses 12 and 13. Christ gave these persons as gifts to mankind so that we all would be equipped as believers to do the work of the ministry that we are all called to do as believers. The subject of the ministry of the believer really is something I need to develop in another post. However, we all need the ministry of the office gifts to equip and perfect us so we can accomplish God’s will and purposes in our lives. Finally, someone might ask whether God has ceased to dispense these office gifts, esp. the first two, the apostle and the prophet. Paul writes in verse 13, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” For the first time in “World of Faith,” I’m going to issue a challenge to my readers. If you believe that ALL Christians worldwide have come to a complete unity and perfection in our faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, then please, please, please right in and tell me, right away. However, in all honesty, I do not believe Christians have reached such unity and perfection, for there is still much division in the Body of Christ today. And no one is perfect but God. Thus, I believe there still are apostles and prophets today in the Church and we need to recognize in our congregations who we respect and acknowledge as apostles and prophets, for no apostle or prophet is an apostle or prophet to anyone, except to those who receive them as such. So, that’s a wrap on the gifts of the Spirit as Paul develops them in Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, and Eph. 4. Next week, unless I get requests for Q & A, I’ll begin my next series, “What is Real Faith?”

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What is Charismatic? – Part Six: Spiritual Gifts – A Look at 1 Corinthians 12

January 23, 2007
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Before I get into the sixth installment of “What is Charismatic?” I want to remind everyone that I am moderating comments. I want to assure you all that you really do not need to worry about posting here. I do not just delete comments. However, I have had to delete some comments, all by the same author. I am also announcing another policy this week. If your comment is deleted, you’ll receive a personal e-mail from me with my reasons for deleting it, and also informing you what you can do in order to comment and have your stuff posted. Of course, what I am saying here really applies to one person, in particular, who will get that e-mail if he tries to post again. The rest of you are a good audience, keep it up, and ask your serious questions, too, if you have them.

Next week I’m going to conclude this series with a discussion of the “office gifts” in Ephesians 4. I will introduce that topic at the end of this post, when I discuss the last few verses of 1 Corinthians 12. After that, I will either do a Q & A post, or start my next series “What is Real Faith?” Just to give everyone a preview of what’s coming, “What is Real Faith” will take a biblical look of what faith is, and what faith is not, how to exercise your faith, and how God rewards our faith (the blessings of living a life full of faith). My faith was personally encouraged tonight at Monday night intercessory prayer at my church… my pastor shared with the few of us who were there about a dream from his pastor. I’ll probably discuss this in a later post, but we all need to believe God for what He wants to do in our lives… and that is why I’m bringing the new series in February.

As a review, last week I began to get to the crux of what makes someone a charismatic… not a belief in the baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit, which is only a doorway, but a belief in and exercise of spiritual gifts. Most Bible scholars cite at least three lists of these in the Scriptures. Last week I dug into the first of these lists, in Romans 12. This week I’ll dig into the second, 1 Corinthians 12, and next week the third, Ephesians 4.

To begin this week, I am going to discuss 1 Corinthians 12 in basically a verse-by-verse manner, highlighting different points as I see them. I will skip over some verses, but will cover the key areas. 1 Cor. 12:1 and 4-7 (NAS) provides, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware… Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Paul is saying in this introductory section first of all that the Corinthian church was unaware of spiritual gifts. Certainly they exercised them, but lacked discernment in their use. They were “ignorant,” as the NKJV says. Paul also emphasizes that while there are different gifts, ministries, and effects, there is one Holy Spirit, one Lord, and one God, and the purpose of the gifts and graces each one has is to edify the common good. Finally, before I discuss the gifts themselves, I wish to make one more distinction. In verse 7, I do NOT believe that the gifts listed here are a “manifestation of the Holy Spirit.” I believe the common manifestation of the Holy Spirit is found in the baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2), which I discussed two weeks ago. At least what the individual receives when he is initially filled with the Holy Spirit (the prayer language, the empowerment, etc.) is what I believe is the common manifestation mentioned in verse 7, not the specific gifts listed in the verses that follow; not everyone has one of these gifts. That being said let me clarify one other point: I do not believe you receive spiritual gifts when you are born again. Instead, you receive the opportunity to operate in ANY of the gifts once you receive the initial filling of the Holy Spirit (or the baptism in the Holy Spirit), depicted in the Book of Acts.

So, what are the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12? 1 Cor. 12:8-11 (NAS) provides, “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” Now let’s look at each of these gifts in more depth. The first gift listed is the “word of wisdom.” The Greek word for “wisdom” is “sophia,” and Thayer’s Lexicon provides two different classifications for its definition. One set of definitions is the wisdom of man, and the other is “supreme intelligence,” which is the wisdom of God. Clearly, because God is the Source of the gift of the “word of wisdom,” then I’m discussing “supreme intelligence,” or the wisdom from above. Nevertheless, wisdom is not the same as knowledge, because it is applied knowledge. Thus, a “word of wisdom” would be divine instruction on how to proceed because of given knowledge. The “word of wisdom,” then often works with the next gift listed, which is the “word of knowledge.” The Greek word for “knowledge” is “gnosis,” which means according to Thayer’s “general knowledge and understanding.” Thus, having a “word of knowledge” could just be spiritual awareness of fact you did not already know about someone or something else. For instance, if you had cancer, and I did not know it, or you, then God could tell me, “You have cancer,” and that would be a “word of knowledge.” A “word of knowledge” also can be more spiritually oriented, because “gnosis” can also be defined according to Thayer’s as “moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living.” Thus, again, the gifts of “word of knowledge” and “word of wisdom” will often operate together as one package. The third gift listed of the nine here is the gift of faith. I think we all know what faith is, but this is a special kind of faith. I’m not going to comment on the Greek definition or Thayer’s, because there is a different distinction I wish to make about this gift. The Bible says in Romans 12:3 (NKJV), “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Everyone has faith, and even all Christians have faith in God, because that is required for salvation. The gift of faith is more than that; it is specific faith on a supernatural and above normal level for a specific task or function in the kingdom of God. It is like a specific anointing designed for a specific purpose, but is belief, not mere empowerment.

The next gift listed is “gifts of healing,” and here I will note that the Greek word for “gifts” is “charismata,” which is the same Greek word used for “gifts” in Romans 12. Thus, every gift listed in this list is in addition to the gifts I covered last week in Romans 12, although there is some overlap, which I’ll note later. I think its obvious what “healing” refers to here… the healing of the sick, and the healing of diseases. One who operates in “gifts of healing” will be able to lay hands on the sick and impart healing to them, delivering them from sickness, disease, and infirmity. Jesus did this very thing, embodying the gifts of healing. Gifts of healing will also operate together with the gift of faith, and the aforementioned gifts of “word of wisdom” and “word of knowledge,” and also the next gift, the “effecting (or working) of miracles.” There are two Greek definitions to note. The Greek word for “working” is “energema,” from which the English language derives the word “energy.” The Greek word for “miracles” is the word “dunamis,” which Thayer’s defines as “strength, power, and ability,” and further defines it as “power for performing miracles.” Personally, I would say it is supernatural power, because this same word is used in Acts 1:8, where Luke wrote the disciples would receive “power” after the Holy Spirit comes upon them — we receive “dunamis” after we receive the baptism (or initial infilling) of the Holy Spirit.

The next gift listed is “prophecy,” and this is overlap from Romans 12, it is the same gift, and the same Greek word, “propheteia.” Rather than providing a repeat discussion of this gift’s definition, I am going to discuss instead how this gift should operate. One of my readers wrote in, and genuinely asked me to provide some guidance about the gift of prophecy. Paul writes in 1 Cor. 14:1-3 (NAS), “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification, exhortation, and consolation [or comfort in some translations].” Thus, Paul expects anyone operating in any spiritual gift to operate in love, and to edify, exhort, console, and comfort believers. As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 14:4, “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.” Paul then later in 1 Cor. 14 provides further instruction. He writes in 1 Cor. 14:22, “So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.” Paul ads in verse 24 and 25, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” Paul then instructs in verses 29-33, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that al may learn and be exhorted, and the spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” Paul is making several points here. First, in any meeting, there should only be two or three individuals who openly operate in this gift, and the others are to judge the word that is given — it must line up with the Bible. Also, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,” which means one can prophesy at will — you can control the utterance, it is not ecstatic (neither is the gift of tongues, which I will discuss in a moment).

After the gift of prophecy, the next gift listed is the “distinguishing of spirits.” The NKJV translates this as “discerning of spirits,” and basically, without getting into the nitty-gritty of this gift, one who operates in it will be able to discern or distinguish between different kinds of spirits, telling whether the spirit is of God, of man, or of Satan. Those are the three main sources of spirits according to the Bible, and the different kinds of spirits themselves is really a topic for another post, whenever I cover pneumatology and demonology.

The last two gifts listed are “various kinds of tongues” and “interpretation of tongues.” In the NKJV, the word for “various” is “different,” and in the King James, the word is “diverse.” This means the gift of tongues consists of various, different, or diverse kinds of tongues. It means more than one. Thus, the next logical question is what are the various kinds of tongues? Paul provides an answer in 1 Cor. 13:1, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels…” Here, we see at least two different kinds of tongues: those of men, and those of angels. Someone is going to write in with this question if I don’t address it: is the gift of various kinds of tongues the same as having a prayer language? The answer to this is no… I’ve dealt with this topic in a previous post, so for the sake of time and space, I will reference everyone to Part 4 for more information about this gift and the

Before I conclude, there is one more area I need to address. 1 Cor. 12:27-31 (NAS), “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I should you a still more excellent way.” Again, Paul is saying a lot here. First, apostles, prophets, and teachers are all “office gifts,” which are listed in Ephesians 4. I will cover the “office gifts” in greater detail next week. Second, while working of miracles, gifts of healings, and various kinds of tongues are all gifts listed here, “helps,” and “administrations” are not really spiritual gifts. I would classify these more so as “ministries” or “effects” discussed in verses 5 and 6. It is interesting to note that 1 Cor. 12:28 is the ONLY place in the Bible where the Greek words for these concepts are used. The Greek word for “helps” is “antilepsis,” which simply means according to Thayer’s “aid.” The Greek word for “administrations” is “kubernesis,” which means according to Thayer’s “governments.” The root word for “kubernesis” means to steer, and so I believe that anyone who is in charge of any ministry in a church, or someone who is a pastor of a church will operate in the ministry of “administrations.” This would cover not only senior pastors, but also associate pastors, department heads, and those who are considered part of leadership in any given local church. Lastly, one note on verse 30, “All do not speak with tongues, do they?” Paul is addressing those who operate in the gift of various kinds of tongues, not those who have a prayer language. In NT times, it was normative for every Christian to have a prayer language, as I defined it and distinguished it from the gift of various tongues in Part 4. However, not everyone has the gift to speak in tongues publicly, for the purpose of edifying the local body. That’s what Paul is saying here concerning that issue. And that covers spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Next week I’ll look at Ephesians 4, in what I promise will be a much shorter post.


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What is Charismatic? – Part Five: Spiritual Gifts – The Motivational Gifts (Romans 12)

January 17, 2007
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Before I get into the fifth installment of “What is Charismatic?” I must make an important announcement for all those who wish to comment on my blog. It is unfortunate that I must make this decision, but there is an old adage, “one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.” Oh, how true that statement is. Because a certain commenter who sought to hijack my blog, I have decided to moderate this blog, i.e. all future comments will be subject to my approval. That being said, most of you (except the commenter who has been warned twice under the principle of Titus 3:10), have nothing to worry about… you will still be allowed to post your comments on my blog, once I approve them, and such comments WILL be approved. This is just a minor change to wade off some trolls who wish to hijack this blog, and turn it into their own mouthpiece. I will not allow that, for the good of all. Now, let’s move into this week’s topic, spiritual gifts.

Most Bible scholars agree that there are at least three different passages in the Scriptures that outline spiritual gifts. These passages are found in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. Beginning this week, and ending in two weeks, I will discuss each of these passages in turn. It is not just belief in the baptism (or infilling) of the Holy Spirit that makes one a charismatic, for that is only the doorway — it is exercising one’s spiritual gifts that makes one charismatic. So, this week’s topic is the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12, also known as the “motivational gifts.”

Romans 12:3-8 (NKJV) provides, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Before I discuss spiritual gifts in general, and when one receives them, this passage begins by making some introductory comments. The first thing Paul says here is that no one is to be prideful, and think of himself more so than he ought to, but to be sober, because every one to whom he is writing is a Christian (they have received Christ by faith). Paul has already addressed earlier in this same letter the requirements for salvation (see Romans 10:9), and so Paul’s audience is assumed to be saved and regenerate. However, Paul is teaching that not all Christians have the same function or gifts in the body of Christ, and so he teaches that we are all members of each other. We are all incomplete without each other, and we need to (and in fact must) recognize the gifts and graces that each one of us has. There is a great shame when one person’s giftedness is not recognized in our churches and Christian groups, and as a result they are denied their spiritual destiny. Paul writes here, and also in 1 Corinthians 12, against this practice, exhorting us to recognize one another’s gifts and graces.

So, before I discuss the specific spiritual gifts listed, what is a spiritual gift in general, and how and when does one receive one? Paul writes in verse 6 that we receive spiritual gifts by grace and by faith, which is just how we receive our salvation in Christ. But do we receive spiritual gifts AT our salvation, or later? This is an important question, and one that I will address both this week and next week as well. There are at least three different Bible passages that discuss an impartation of spiritual gift(s) to believers, who are already saved, by some means other than that which they receive at salvation. The first of these passages is Romans 1:11 (NKJV), “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established.” Here, the word for “gift” in the Greek is “charisma,” the same word used later in Romans 12. Paul also writes in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.” Here, not only is the same Greek word “charisma” used for the English word “gift,” but also, this specific gift was imparted by the laying on of hands. Thus, this gift mentioned here was imparted when Paul laid hands on Timothy, and this very well could have happened (we do not know for certain) when Timothy received the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit, which usually is accompanied by the laying on of hands (that is the normative pattern established in the Book of Acts for the initial filling of the Holy Spirit). Paul reiterates this position in 2 Timothy 1:6, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Thus, these three Bible verses indicate that one receives their spiritual gifts at a point subsequent to their salvation, perhaps when they receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and also possibly through the laying on of hands. This is the biblical pattern illustrated by these verses of Scripture.

We are now ready to discuss the specific list of spiritual gifts listed here in Romans 12. The reason why these gifts are also called “motivational gifts” is because these gifts serve as primary motivations for ministry in the believer’s life. The first gift listed here is prophecy, and the Greek word for this gift is “propheteia,” which is the same Greek word used for the gift of prophecy in 1 Cor. 12:10 (which I’ll discuss next week). Thayer’s Lexicon then defines the gift of prophecy as “a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events.” Thus, someone who has the gift of prophecy will, as the Holy Spirit directs, be able to proclaim divine inspiration that declares the purposes of God, either by issuing warning or comfort, or revealing hidden things by foretelling future events. Prophecy itself can be past, present, or future, and relates to the purposes of God, either in a person’s life, or the life of a larger group, such as a church, a city, or even a nation.

The second gift listed in Romans 12 is “ministry,” or in other translations, “service.” The Greek word for this gift is “diakonia,” which is the same Greek root from which we get the word “deacon.” Again, Thayer’s provides some helpful definitions that help illustrate this gift. One definition is “service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others.” Another definition is “the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection esp. those who help meet need by either collecting or distributing of charities.” Still another definition is “the service of those who prepare and present food.” Thayer’s also defines those with this gift as serving in the office of deacon. Perhaps that is an accurate definition, since the first deacons in the Book of Acts were charged with waiting tables in the early Church.

The third gift listed in Romans 12 is “teaching,” and the Greek word for this gift is “didasko,” which according to Thayer’s means to impart instruction, instill doctrine, explain and expound a thing, etc. Much of what I am doing in this blog is teaching. It is important to note that this is a different function than the teacher gift discussed in 1 Cor. 12:28 and Ephesians 4, which is an office gift (I’ll explain that in the next two weeks). However, regardless of which variety of this gift you have, the outcome is basically the same, although the function is somewhat the same.

The fourth gift listed in Romans 12 is “exhortation,” and the Greek word for this gift is “parakaleo,” which according to Thayer’s means to call to one’s side, to summon, to admonish, to console, to encourage, to comfort, to strengthen, and it can also mean to instruct or teach. Much of what I am doing here in this blog can also be construed as exhortation. The gift of prophecy, and other verbal gifts that I will cover next week in 1 Corinthians 12 also are operations of the gift of exhortation.

The fifth gift listed in Romans 12 is “giving,” and the Greek word for this gift is “metadidomi,” which according to Thayer’s simply means to impart. The same Greek word is used to mean “impart” in Romans 1:11 above, so giving here can be spiritual impartation, or as Jesus used it in Luke 3:11, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who ahs food is to do likewise.” Thus, giving can also be a very practical sharing to meet the needs of someone else.

The sixth gift listed in Romans 12 is “leadership,” and the Greek word for this gift is “proistemi,” which according to Thayer’s means to set or place before, to set over, to superintend or preside over, to protect or guard, to give aid, to care for or give attention to. Other passages that use the same Greek word in discussing this concept are found in 1 Thess. 5:12, 1 Tim. 3:4-5, and 1 Tim. 5:17 imply that this gift is inherent in anyone who is called to be deaconate ministry, or eldership ministry in the local body.

Finally, the seventh and last gift listed in Romans 12 is “mercy,” and the Greek word for this gift is “eleeo,” which according to Thayer’s means to help one afflicted or seeking aid. Thus, someone who has this gift will specifically seek out those who are afflicted, and out of compassion seek to minister to their needs and give such an afflicted person aid. As I will discuss next week, manifestations of this gift found in 1 Corinthians 12 include gifts of healing and miracles.

That is the perfect segue into our conclusion. We just covered the seven spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12. These gifts, and the others listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are received at some point subsequent to salvation, perhaps at the baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit. Paul even indicates the laying on of hands may be involved in the receipt of some gifts. More importantly, we are to learn to recognize the gifts and graces in each one of us, and receive one another in love and humility. Next week I’ll pick this discussion up and explain about even more spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.


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What is Charismatic? – Part Four: Prayer Language and Speaking in Tongues – Evidence of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

January 10, 2007
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Before I get into the fourth installment of “What is Charismatic?” I want to do two things. First, I want to apologize to everyone for releasing this week’s post a little later than usual. Normally, I try to release each week’s post around Sunday or Monday, but because my church had a guest speaker this weekend, I’ve been tied up, and so this week the post is being released a few days later than normal. Second, I want to give everybody a “heads up” and a roadmap to the next several posts, beginning next week. The next three posts will almost operate as a series within a series. Beginning next week, I am going to spend at least 3 weeks on the subject of spiritual gifts. Next week I will discuss the motivational gifts, as listed in Romans 12. The following week will be a discussion of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, and three weeks from now I will discuss the office gifts and five-fold ministry, as discussed in Ephesians 4. I believe that will round out the series “What is Charismatic?” For those wanting to really know what is ahead, I believe the next series will be “What is Real Faith?” But we’ll see about that, I’ll let y’all know.

This week I am discussing having a prayer language, or speaking in tongues, which is the biblical evidence of receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or the infilling of the Holy Spirit. As a review, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct experience, which happens after one is saved. It is a separate work from salvation, when we are baptized into Christ. the New Testament teaches at least 3 different baptisms as normative experience for Christian believers, and the third of these is the focus of this week’s post. Hebrews 6:1-3 (NKJV), “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” Again, notice that baptisms is in the plural, but all notice that the foundation listed after “doctrine of baptisms” is the foundation of “laying on of hands.” The three baptisms we have been discussing are (1) baptism into Christ, which occurs at salvation, and is performed by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) (2) water baptism, and (3) baptism in the Holy Spirit, which was last’s week discussion, and is performed by Jesus (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16).

Thus, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an enduement of power for Christian living and service, the power to be an effective and bold witness in one’s life for Christ, etc. It is a normative experience that all Christians should experience. It is documented several times in the Book of Acts, and I refer you to the discussion concerning that in Part Three.

It is also normative for believers to expect for the Holy Spirit to give them utterance (speak in tongues) once they have been initially filled with the Holy Spirit. There are three reasons why speaking in tongues, or having a prayer language should be expected by the believer as “evidence” he has been filled with the Holy Spirit. These three reasons are #1, Jesus said to expect this Himself, #2, this is the scriptural pattern found in Acts 2 and other passages in the Book of Acts, and #3, other scripture verses exhort us as well.

The first reason why believers should expect to receive a prayer language and speak in tongues when they are filled with the Holy Spirit is because Jesus said to expect this Himself. Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, “These signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and see them recover.” There is no limitation here. Some say this was for the early Church, but — that’s not said here, either. A simple exegesis leads one to believe that in verse 17, Jesus is saying speaking in tongues is for all Christians, not just for a few.

The second reason why believers should expect to receive a prayer language and speak in tongues when they are filled with the Holy Spirit is because this is the biblical pattern found in Acts 2, and other passages in the Book of Acts. I covered much of this last time in Part Three, but as a recap, Acts 2:1-4 gives this account, “When the day of Pentecost has come they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then, in Acts 10:44-46, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them (the Gentiles) speaking with tongues and exalting God.” Peter explained this in Acts 11:15-16, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning (see Acts 2). And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” The last recorded occurrence of disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit is in Acts 19:1-6, “It happened while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, Jesus.’ When they (the disciples) heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” So, these major passages of the Book of Acts presents a pattern that the initial evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues.

The third reason why believers should expect to receive a prayer language and speak in tongues when they are filled with the Holy Spirit is because there are a plenary of other Bible verses that exhort us to exercise one’s prayer language and speak in tongues as well. Much of this exhortation is Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12-14. But also select verses from Romans 8 and Jude give an exhortation as well. I will discuss these verses in turn. 1 Cor. 12:4-7 states, “Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are a varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” I believe this manifestation of the Spirit given to all is one’s prayer language, enabling such a person to speak in tongues. I believe that when this prayer language is given like a prophecy in a public setting (in church), then it now is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and must be interpret so the congregation can be edified. This is what Paul touches on in 1 Cor. 12:30, when he rhetorically asks whether all speaks in tongues. Not all have the gift of publicly prophecying in tongues, but ALL (normatively) should expect to pray in tongues, and speak in tongues as Jesus exhorted Himself in Mark 16. Paul even exhorted this in 1 Cor. 14:1-5, “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue doe not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophecies speaks to mean for edification, exhortation, and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” Let’s break this passage down. Paul is exhorting the believers at Corinth to seek ALL the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy. He is not exhorting this congregation to NOT speak in tongues at all. Paul does make clear, actually, that when tongues are used as a gift in the public assembly, they need to be interpreted. He says in 1 Cor. 14:13, “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” Paul then adds later in verses 27-28, to reiterate this point, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.” These are restrictions on the use of tongues as a spiritual gift in the public assembly. Paul says that one who speaks in tongues edifies himself. Paul is endorsing self-edification, here. Elsewhere in the Bible, Jude endorses self-edification in Jude 20, “But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” This is a reference to the practice Paul mentions in 1 Cor. 14:14-15, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit AND I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” Paul further contemplates this in Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Lastly, Paul writes in 1 Cor. 14:39, “Therefore, my brethern, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. Thus, all these other Bible verses exhort us to expect to pray and speak in tongues. It is the biblical and normative pattern for “evidence” of being filled with the Holy Spirit, found in the Book of Acts. Further, even Jesus told us that a sign of a believer is, among other practices, we WILL speak in other tongues (Mark 16).

Thus, having a prayer language and speaking in tongues is normatively to be expected by all Christians (Mark 16), and becomes a spiritual gift when prophesied in public in a church gathering. In the latter case, it must be interpreted, so that the body can be edified. Next time we’ll begin our discussion of spiritual gifts in general, beginning with the motivational gifts in Romans 12.


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What is Charismatic? – Part Three: The Baptism in the Holy Spirit – Being Filled Afresh for the New Year in 2007

January 2, 2007
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Before I get into the third installment of “What is Charismatic,” I want to wish everybody a happy new year here in 2007. I pray for everyone who reads this that 2007 would be your year of the open door, a year of possibility and opportunity for God’s will in your life to be achieved, a year of abundance for all.

This week I hope that my topic will be non-controversial, but I cannot make any promises or guarantees. We’re going to discuss the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or as some call it, the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is a distinct experience that occurs after one’s salvation, because it is a separate work from the baptism into Christ, which we receive at salvation. Nevertheless, it is still something that is necessary if a Christian believer desires to live an effective and efficient life for Christ, and desires to have a bold witness.

As a review, the New Testament teaches at least 3 different baptisms as normative experience for Christian believers, and the third of these is the focus of this week’s post. Hebrews 6:1-3 (NKJV), “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” Again, notice that baptisms is in the plural, but all notice that the foundation listed after “doctrine of baptisms” is the foundation of “laying on of hands.” The three baptisms we have been discussing are (1) baptism into Christ, which occurs at salvation, (2) water baptism (that was last week), and (3) baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is this week’s discussion. Some also call this the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It is important to note that receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or being filled with the Holy Spirit, is an experience subsequent to salvation. When we are saved, we are baptized into the body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:13, and Romans 6). This action is part of the saving and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, and I discussed the reality of that two weeks ago in Part One. However, in Matt. 3:11, John the Baptist says, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He (Jesus) who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” So, with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the first thing to note is that it is Jesus Himself who performs and administers this baptism, and not the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit into which we are baptized. I firmly believe the disciples in Acts 2 were already saved. I believe the disciples were saved, regenerated, and “born again” in John 20:22, when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them. When one is “born again,” you receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, who comes inside and dwells in your heart. But there is no immersion into the Holy Spirit, at least not yet. So, we need to understand it truly is a subsequent experience from salvation. One quick note: I am not using the term “second blessing” here, and for a big reason. 2 Pet. 1:3 says, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him (God) who called us by His own glory and excellence.” We receive all we need in terms of the blessing of salvation at salvation. However, we all need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so we can effectively live the Christian life, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a requirement for salvation. But it is a requirement if you desire to live an effective Christian life and be a bold witness for Christ.

So, what is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” This was then fulfilled at Pentecost in Acts 2. Acts 2:1-4 provides the account, “When the day of Pentecost has come they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” So, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is what happens when one is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the initial and normative sign, at least according to Acts 2:4, is speaking with tongues. Next week, in Part Four, I am going to examine, “What is speaking with tongues?” more up close, and then for several weeks I’ll be looking at the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well. However, what I am trying to capture this week is what the baptism in the Holy Spirit is, and what it provides to the Christian believer, i.e. enduement of power for Christian living and service, the power to be an effective and bold witness in one’s life for Christ, etc.

The next question then is whether the baptism in the Holy Spirit is normative for all Christian believers. Some will argue Acts 2 was a unique occurrence, and thus is “descriptive,” but not normative. However, new disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit later on in the Book of Acts several times. Let’s look at each of these instances in turn. The next instance of the baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit is in Acts 4 where disciples were praying. Acts 4:29-31, “ ‘And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” This is almost a repeat performance of what occurred in Acts 2. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and the primary evidence was God answered the prayers here, that the disciples spoke the word of God with boldness. We all need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be bold witnesses for Christ. The next occurrence of the filling of the Holy Spirit is recorded in Acts 8:14-17, “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them to Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He (the Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen on any of them; they simply had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” What happened in Samaria? Was this an authentication of the gospel? No, the disciples in Samaria were clearly already saved and born again. They had already received the word of God (were saved) and had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (water baptism). Thus, these disciples received the baptism in (or infilling of) the Holy Spirit, just like in Acts 2 and Acts 4 earlier. The next major instance of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is recorded in Acts 10:44-46, when Peter was preaching to the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius. Acts 10:44-46, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them (the Gentiles) speaking with tongues and exalting God.” Again, we see the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. Was this an authentication of the gospel as a sign gift? No, but this again shows the experience is normative for the believer. Even Peter explained this in Acts 11:15-16, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning (see Acts 2). And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” The last recorded occurrence of disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit is in Acts 19:1-6, “It happened while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, Jesus.’ When they (the disciples) heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” Here, again, we see disciples, people who were already saved, already Christians (John the Baptist told them to believe in Jesus, but they were unaware and uninformed of the Holy Spirit), and Paul came to have them re-baptized in the appropriate name (the name of Jesus), and to administer the baptism (or infilling) of the Holy Spirit just like we saw in Acts 2, Acts 4, Acts 8, and Acts 10. This is now at least the fifth occurrence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is normative for all believers.

Now, you might ask, I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit everyday (which is right, because Eph. 5:18 exhorts us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, and we are all ‘leaky vessels’), but I don’t feel like I need to have someone lay hands on me to receive this. Well, first of all, that is correct, you do not NEED someone to lay hands on you to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible does not command you to have someone lay hands on you. However, consider a relatively new believer, who does not understand discipleship. He doesn’t have a walk with God, and the power of God is foreign to him… all he has is his own power, and his own strength, to walk out the Christian life and be an effective witness. Don’t you think, for the FIRST time in an individual’s walk with God, it would be HELPFUL to have another person lay hands on him (like we saw in Acts 10 and 19), and pray for him to get filled with the Holy Spirit, which would be the start of a life of discipleship and obedience to God? Wouldn’t that be beneficial in beginning your life of discipleship and obedience? I’m not saying its necessary, but I believe it is helpful and beneficial, for someone to lay hands on you, and be a facilitator of the Holy Spirit, to fill you, and for Jesus to baptize you into the Holy Spirit, so you can have power to effectively serve God and be a witness. That really is what the baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit is all about, becoming endued with power so you can walk out the Christian life. The normative sign that was evidenced in several of the instances when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit was that they spoke in tongues. Some consider this to be the initial and/or normative evidence of the baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and we will take up that proposition next time in Part Four of the series “What is Charismatic?”


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