Updated: Mar 27
There is little doubt that the work of the Holy Spirit is often confusing, unless one rightly divides the word of God (II Timothy 2:15). Of the most interesting (and difficult) topics to understand is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly teaches that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is/was to give spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8, I Corinthians 1:5 -7, 12-13, I Peter 4:8-11, Ephesians 4:7-12, Hebrews 10:4). We have already noted in this series that the Holy Spirit seals us to the day of redemption (II Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30), but what special gift(s) does it intend to bestow upon a child of God until that day comes?
It is evident that there is fruit that should flow from the life of a believer through the Holy Spirit (John 15:1-8). Paul says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). That fruit will enable us to use a God-given talent to bless the kingdom. Every Christian has at least one special ability/talent (Matthew 25) that will enable us to do good works, even to the “least” of those among us. Your spiritual gift(s) can be developed and nurtured to shine light into dark places (Matthew 5:16).
We must not confuse the temporary supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (limited to the work of the early church) and the natural gifts of the Holy Spirit (provided to all believers). The temporary supernatural gifts of the Spirit were for the purpose of bringing attention to the fact that Jesus IS the Christ (Mark 16:20, I Corinthians 12:8-10, 13:8). It is clear that only be apostles could pass on these supernatural gifts (Acts 2, 8, 10, 19, Romans 1:11, I Corinthians 13, 14:32, II Timothy 1:6) but once the apostles died off this ability to pass on supernatural gifts ceased. This leaves only the natural fruit of the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of a believer, who has become a personal temple of the Lord (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
The natural gifts of the Holy Spirit include teaching (Romans 12:7, Ephesians 4:11), leading a ministry (Romans 12:7), administration (Romans 12:8, Hebrews 13:7), evangelism (Ephesians 4:11, II Timothy 4:5), shepherding the flock (Ephesians 4:11, I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9), exhorting/encouraging (Romans 12:8), liberal giving (Romans 12:8), showing mercy (Romans 12:8), assisting/helping those in need (Romans 12:8), strong faith (Romans 12:3-6). The time for the apostles and prophets would also fade away with the supernatural gifts, miracles, healings, and tongue speaking. This is why we see a slow progression of leadership from the Twelve to elderships that were appointed in each city, deacons that were appointed to serve the flock, and evangelists that preached in that community. God blessed the church one generation at a time.
I realize that this is a very “meaty” subject, but one that must not be neglected. I strongly encourage you to keeping your faith through Bible study. Take your Bible (and possibly a concordance) and go through all the passages that talk about the Holy Spirit and His work. It will be a fruitful study! If you need some help, feel free to download my study guide on the “Holy Spirit” on my personal website (www.rayreynoldsrap.com). I know that God will bless you in your efforts to learn more about Him!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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