SPIRITUAL GIFTS

The concept of spiritual gifts is one of the most divisive issues among Christians in the churches, and ranges from belief that the gifts died out with the apostles, to belief that they still exist today. And among those who believe that they still exist, many people clearly violate Scripture in fraudulently attempting to display gifts that they do not have, creating much confusion and division within the churches today. It has become so bad that numerous churches forbid the display of any gifts just to prevent fraudulent displays, and are stifling any real displays that may occur.

The purpose of this study is to take a look at the gifts Scripturally, and see if they really do exist today, and if so, how they are to be used in the life of the Christian.

Questions and issues concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit will not be dealt with in this study.

The first mention of the gifts of the spirit happened in the book of Acts at Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus' resurrection. One hundred and twenty believers, including the apostles, were gathered together in a room for prayer and devotions.

ACTS 1:15-26

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

16 Men [and] brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The apostles and disciples all knew that Judas' "going to his own place" meant that he had gone to his ordained place in Hell when he died.

Scripture then records;

ACTS 2:1-13

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Many people think that it was only the twelve apostles who received the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when Scripture records in ACTS 1:15 above, that there were about 120 people who were disciples of Jesus, and they remained together in fellowship and prayer with the apostles.

And ever the careful historian, Luke, the author of Acts records in chapter 2 verse 1 above that they were ALL together with one accord in one place, ("all" referring to the group described in verse 15 of the previous chapter), when the Holy Spirit fell upon them. I had often wondered how twelve men could speak with at least 17 recorded languages, not including dialects. True, they could have uttered things in different tongues but it would make more sense if the whole group spoke in tongues. Also the entire multitude gathered in Jerusalem heard them speaking, and as any of us knows, when you get a crowd of people together and you can hardly hear yourself speak, let alone someone else.

And yet if there were 120 people rejoicing, praising God in other languages, this would have certainly gathered attention from a crowd! And apparently by their manner of dress they were instantly recognizable as Galileans, who were considered to be peasants, basically ignorant country folk who could neither read nor write. And yet these people were speaking fluently in other known foreign languages, which astounded the multitudes.

A simile would be if a person who dropped out of third grade and grew to adulthood in this country suddenly started speaking perfect Russian, Hungarian, or Farsi (language spoken in Iran). It would be a source of astonishment and wonder to those who were learned in these languages, and had spent long hard years learning to speak that language!

This also brings up another point. If the entire 120 people received the Holy Spirit, then it was not just limited to the apostles at that time. However, to magnify their ministry, Luke focuses on the works of the apostles throughout the book of Acts.

And I have yet to figure out the line of thinking of those who thought that the apostles were drunk. How could a drunkard speak in another discernable language that he had never previously learned? The only thing I can think of, is that the action of the Holy Spirit caught Satan totally by surprise, and he had to come up with something to explain the event. Saying that the disciples were drunk is somewhat of a lame explanation if you ask me, but would fit if Satan had to suddenly come up with something to explain this new phenomenon.

The gifts of the Spirit are wonderful tools given to us by God for the ministry that He has called each of us to do. However some Christians become so wrapped up in the attempted exercise of the gifts that they begin falling into serious errors, and teach unscriptural doctrines which cause divisions in the churches. We'll deal with those in a bit, But first let's look at the gifts themselves.

The apostle Paul records;

I CORINTHIANS 12:1-11

1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

3 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.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

I CORINTHIANS 12:28-31

28 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.

29 [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

ROMANS 12:5-8

5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Note first of all, that in I CORINTHIANS 12:28 above, Paul states that the three primary positions within the church are set for those who preach and teach. The apostles trail blazed the way preaching the Word; prophets in turn reveal God's words and will for the church, and exhort believers to greater faith; pastors and teachers do the "trench work", teaching God's children, feeding His sheep.

The rest of the gifts are supportive to the primary task of teaching and preaching of the Word of God. We should be concentrating more on the teaching and preaching of the Word than on the supporting gifts themselves, for the lesser gifts are meant to augment the primary ministerial gifts.

I honestly feel that Paul in I CORINTHIANS 12:1-11 above was only listing some of the gifts in these Scriptures. I have met prayer warriors, people who were veritable bulwarks of faith, people who were fountains of joy, etc. I think Paul only listed some of the more prominent or popular gifts, with the understanding that there were others that he need not mention.

But let's note several things here. First Paul is addressing the facts concerning the gifts to the Gentiles. This immediately disproves the concept that the gifts were limited to the apostles and ceased after their deaths as many teach. For if Paul gave the Gentiles instructions concerning them, they existed among the Gentile believers during that time. And the fact that Paul wrote to the Gentile believers in both Corinth and Rome shows that the gifts were widespread and well-known among the Gentile churches.

Next, Paul is careful to assert that not all people will possess the same gifts. I have run into the doctrine time and again, where people believe that you must speak in tongues to show that you have the Holy Spirit, or have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Paul states flatly in

I CORINTHIANS 12:8-11 above that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to people according to His will. And in verses 29 and 30, he again states that not all will receive the same gifts.

In fact, he apparently became so frustrated that he cries out,

I CORINTHIANS 12:12-26

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.

13 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.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?

20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

Paul is saying that as our bodies have many members with different functions, so also the members of the church the body of Christ. Are all church members pastors? Are all ushers, choir directors or song leaders? Of course not! The gifts are the same way. Each person has differing gifts, and there is no "benchmark" gift to determine if you have the Holy Spirit or not!

Those who teach that tongues are a verifiable sign of the Holy Spirit in a person are in serious error, and are teaching doctrines contrary to Scripture! If God chooses not to give a person the gift of tongues, who are we to say that that person does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them? Did Jesus speak in tongues? Scripture doesn't record that He did, and yet He was filled with the Holy Spirit without debate.

Bottom line: Do not teach doctrines that cannot be backed up with Scripture in context!

Ok, so far we have proven from Scripture that the gifts of the Spirit were not limited to the apostles, they did not cease when the apostles died, and that not all people receive the same gifts. Now, let's move on to the uses of the gifts.

God has given each of us a ministry to perform in His church, and has given us gifts with which to augment that ministry. Some gifts are permanent, and remain with the believer throughout their lives, and others may appear temporarily, for a specific purpose.

For example, I while I was in the Navy, we had a young man come into our shop to be trained before he was to be sent overseas. This man had gone to the enlisted men's club and had become involved in a fight. As a result, when he came in to work the next day, one side of his neck was swollen and he could hardly move his head. As I was observing this, the Lord quietly told me, "Go and heal him". My immediate answer was "WHAT?"

I instantly retreated to the corner of the shop where I worked, and began wrestling with the Lord on this issue. As usual, He won. I then put all of the faith I had into my prayer, and honestly told Him, "I am going to do this, because I feel You asked me to. But Lord, if this isn't from You, then I will look like a fool, but even worse, it will bring shame to You also."

I then walked up to the young man, and asked him in front of people who were standing there, "Do you believe in the Bible?" He said, "Well, I've read a little of it." I then placed my hands on either side of his neck, and quietly said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, be healed of your affliction."

He stared at me for a split second like I was weird, but then a look of surprise came over his face and he said, "I don't know what you did, but it's working!" He then began moving his head about, and feeling the side of his neck, where I could see the swelling visibly going down.

He accepted Jesus as His Savior three days later as a result of that healing. Two days after that, he was gone to Japan and I never saw him again. The Lord has never asked me to do such a thing again. But the gift was there when I needed it, and the experience taught me that the Lorddetermines how and when the gifts are to be used, not we ourselves. I think it was also a test of my faith, to see how I would react to the situation.

Which brings up my point. We are to use the gifts as part of our ministry, and they are NOTto be used whenever WE want to exercise them. We cannot prophesy whenever we wish, as the Old Testament prophets prophesied only when the Lord spoke to them. The apostles could not speak in tongues until the Holy Spirit moved them to do so at Pentecost. We cannot heal whenever we wish, nor can we perform miracles whenever we wish either.

The gifts are also to be used for the edifying (building up) of the church, not the believer;

I CORINTHIANS 14:12

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

One thing that has puzzled me is that Christians seem to think they can use the gifts whenever they want to. Case in point;

I had spent five years practicing witchcraft before I became a Christian, and after I had accepted Jesus I tried attending a nearby church. The service went well at first. Then the pastor said, "We're all going to speak in tongues now", and immediately the church was filled with pandemonium as people began speaking in weird languages. The pastor suddenly began blowing random notes on a trumpet at the podium, and the effect was absolute bedlam.

I was stunned and confused to say the least! No one had told me what was going on, so I had no idea what was happening. I left badly shaken after the service, and I sadly told the Lord, "If this is what is required to worship You, I was better off in the Occult."

I know better now, but I wonder how many new Christians or potential Christians have been turned away from the Lord by the actions of that church? If the Spirit of the Lord had been truly moving through that church, He would have known of my shock and confusion and would have had someone explain to me what was happening.

For as Paul says of these things;

I CORINTHIANS 14:21-25, 33, 40

21 In the law it is written, With [men of] other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 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:

25 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.

33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

If a church gets together and all speak in tongues, someone unlearned or uninformed will think that they have stumbled into a looney bin. Which is exactly what I thought of the church I previously described! Fortunately I attended another church, and received the feeding and teaching that I needed.

But if the whole church prophesies and reveals the thoughts of newcomer's heart and life, it will be a definite sign of the Holy Spirit at work within that church. And it will be irrefutable proof to the unbeliever that God is the discerner of the thoughts and hearts of men.

Another case in point. I had read where a missionary was invited to Japan to speak to a congregation there. When he arrived, his interpreter hadn't yet showed up, so he waited. After a while the audience became restless, and the missionary understood that people would soon start leaving. He then put all of his faith in God, and basically told Him that he was going to step up and preach anyway, and asked for help with the situation.

He started talking, and suddenly had no idea what he was saying. Moments later his interpreter showed up, listened for a moment, and sat down. That missionary spoke perfect Japanese to that audience, and as a result many accepted Jesus as they knew that the missionary had no previous knowledge of their language. It was a sign to unbelievers just as Paul stated it would be in verse 22 above!

The same with Pentecost. As a result of seeing ignorant Galileans praising God in languages they couldn't have possibly known, many of the Jews and proselytes (Gentiles who had converted to Judaism) became believers by this very wonder. For Jews and proselytes who would probably not have believed the disciples' preaching otherwise were convinced by the preaching they heard in their own language. Truly tongues in this case was a sign to unbelievers!

Ok, let's go through the gifts, and see what they are to be used for.

Word of wisdom

Many times we run into situations that are outside of our knowledge scope, and yet we are required to make some kind of decision or judgment concerning the issue. And that is where this gift becomes extremely useful.

A good case of this would be the wisdom of Solomon, in the case of the two women who claimed the same baby.

Scripture records;

I KINGS 3:16-28

16 Then came there two women, [that were] harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we [were] together; [there was] no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living [is] my son, and the dead [is] thy son. And this said, No; but the dead [is] thy son, and the living [is] my son. Thus they spake before the king.

23 Then said the king, The one saith, This [is] my son that liveth, and thy son [is] the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son [is] the dead, and my son [is] the living.

24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

26 Then spake the woman whose the living child [was] unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, [but] divide [it].

27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she [is] the mother thereof.

28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God [was] in him, to do judgment.

Solomon, faced with a hard case with no evidence of proof for either woman's claim, made a shrewd decision. He would not have killed the infant, but used wisdom given to him by God to decide the case.

And so is the word of wisdom used. God will give a person the wisdom to understand the situation, and provide a means of resolution by granting wisdom to bring about proper judgement.

These people are usually set by God to be leaders within His church, namely pastors, teachers and counselors. Their duties are to dispense their wisdom to the church in order that the church may grow in wisdom and understanding of both the Scriptures and judgment.

Word of knowledge - This is an interesting gift, and differs from prophecy in the fact that a person having a word of knowledge has not been commissioned by the Lord to be a prophet. But to this person is given knowledge of something that they couldn't have possibly known otherwise.

A good example of this is found in the book of Acts;

ACTS 27:1-44

1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto [one] named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.

2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; [one] Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.

3 And the next [day] we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave [him] liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.

4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, [a city] of Lycia.

6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.

7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;

8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city [of] Lasea.

9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished [them],

10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, [and there] to winter; [which is] an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.

13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained [their] purpose, loosing [thence], they sailed close by Crete.

14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.

15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let [her] drive.

16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:

17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.

18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next [day] they lightened the ship;

19 And the third [day] we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.

20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on [us], all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of [any man's] life among you, but of the ship.

23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;

28 And sounded, and found [it] twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found [it] fifteen fathoms.

29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought [them] all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.

34 Wherefore I pray you to take [some] meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.

35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken [it], he began to eat.

36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took [some] meat.

37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed [themselves] unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.

41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from [their] purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast [themselves] first [into the sea], and get to land:

44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

Note that in verses 9-12, first Paul is given the word of knowledge that the voyage would be dangerous, and they would suffer as a result, a fact which did indeed happen. Then after nearly two weeks of being driven by a storm, Paul warns them that they should have listened to him. He then reports that an angel assured him that the lives of himself and those aboard would be spared. He then reveals through a word of knowledge that they would be cast upon an island, and the ship would be wrecked, a fact which did indeed happen.

So a word of knowledge is information of something or some event that is given by God to someone. Usually it is something you just "know" with every fiber of your being.

Faith

This one needs little explanation. I have met Christians who are veritable towers of faith, people who have made my faith seem weak by comparison! I really admire these people, for they have rock-solid faith, believing that God can do anything, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem.

The duties of these people are to be pillars for others to lean on when their faith becomes weak or falters. These also tend to be the mighty prayer warriors who intercede with God in matters for the church, and are examples of the faith that all in the church should have.

Healing

Pretty much self-explanatory, but with one important exception. Healers are not called to heal everyone. They can only heal when the Spirit wills for them to, and only whom the Spirit selects! Healing was one of the gifts given to the apostles for the magnification of their ministry, and they healed as the Spirit gave them ability.

If a healer tries to heal without the Holy Spirit's consent, no healing will take place. God will tell them whom to heal, as He did with me. I have not yet met a healer who could heal whenever they wished to.

Television evangelists use "long-distance healing" to promote their ministries, yet I have never heard of any of them being truly effective. They couch their responses in vague, general terms such as "There is someone out there watching this program who has gall-bladder problems. We command healing in the name of Jesus Christ for this person." If it truly was of God, I believe the person would be specifically named, so that the hundreds of people watching who might have gall-bladder problems would not have a false hope.

I am wary of these types of "healings", for there is no way for the average person to verify that such a healing has taken place. Jesus did such long-distance healing only on rare occasions, Scripture verifying that the event did indeed take place, and usually many were witnesses of the event.

For example;

LUKE 17:11-19

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up [their] voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw [them], he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on [his] face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where [are] the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Here were ten lepers, diseased, unclean men, shunned outcasts of society who called to Jesus from a distance for mercy and healing. The crowds with Jesus couldn't help but see these men, and when the healing took place, one of them, a Samaritan, considered by the Jews to be among the dregs of society returned to Him, loudly praising God for his healing and worshiping at Jesus' feet.

Please understand that I am not maligning prime-time ministers, but I am wary of those whose healing ministries cannot be verified. There are well-known and documented cases of fraud in the healing ministries, and Paul admonishes us to;

I THESSALONIANS 5:21

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

My personal belief is that healing ministries were meant for the local area and were never meant for state or nationwide campaigns. If the gift of healing is spread abroad among God's people, why do we need prime-time ministers to try to heal on camera?

I know there are probably many who will disagree with me on this point. But if God has called a person to be a prime-time preacher, then they should do what God has called for them to do, namely preach. Let those chosen by God to be healers do what God has called for them to do.

Miracles

This would be the ability to raise the dead, multiply foods, etc. This I think would be a rare and treasured gift, and while I have heard of cases of the dead being raised today, foods being multiplied, water being walked on, and it is not often reported in modern times. This is not to say that God does not still perform miracles such as this today. If I was to name a reason, I would say that it was the lack of faith in Christians today that is the cause of this. But, this is only my opinion.

Prophecy

This is another much-abused ministry. First of all, Scripture has clearly set down the parameters of what is required to become a prophet.

NUMBERS 12:1-6

1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard [it].

3 (Now the man Moses [was] very meek, above all the men which [were] upon the face of the earth.)

4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.

5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood [in] the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream.

Note God's words here. He will commission a prophet in a vision or a dream, appearing to them personally, to do so. As far as I know and understand Scripture, He has never modified or changed this proof required of a prophet, and what He has not changed or removed is still valid.

The gift of prophecy should not be confused with the gift of the word of knowledge. A person can have a word of knowledge from the Lord and not be a prophet simply by the fact that God has not appeared to them and commissioned them to be a prophet.

Nor is the fact that a person has had a vision or a dream proof of a prophetic ministry. I have had several dreams and visions, and yet I am not a prophet, nor do I claim to be a prophet, as God has not appeared to me to commissioned me to be a prophet.

I believe there are prophets today, but the apostle Paul is adamant as to the purposes of prophecy today. He says;

I CORINTHIANS 14:1-5

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 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.

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 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.

Note what Paul is expressing here. The gifts are for the building of the church, not for the glory of the individual. Prophets are to speak the words given to them by the Lord to the church, for learning and comfort and that the church may know what God requires of them. A good example would be John's prophetic letters to the seven churches in Asia. (REVELATION chapters 2 and 3)

I have heard of people calling themselves prophets, because they perceive their ministry to be one of teaching and exhortation. Once again, I refer these people to NUMBERS 12:1-6 above; if the Lord has not appeared to you personally and called you to be a prophet, do not call yourself a prophet.

Note also that prophets were called Seers in that people came to them to enquire of the Lord some word concerning a request or action they wished to perform. The Lord gave His word to the Seer/Prophet, who in turn gave it to the people.

I SAMUEL 9:9

9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for [he that is] now [called] a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

The purpose of prophecy is to relay to the church the words that God has given to a person either through dream, revelation, or direct word to the building up of the body of believers, or to warn them of things to come.

A good example of this would be when prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch in Syria. Agabus indicated that there would be a famine soon, and the disciples gathered and sent money to their brethren in Judea to help beforehand. Scripture records;

ACTS 11:27-30

27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:

30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Also, after the resolution of the great dispute as to whether the Gentile converts should be required to follow the Law, prophets came to the Gentile church in Antioch and exhorted the Gentile Christians there and comforted them, apparently with words given to them by God. BUT, note that Judas and Silas were already proven prophets.

ACTS 15:1-32

1 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.

2 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.

3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.

6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us;

9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men [and] brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

23 And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment:

25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth.

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

31 [Which] when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed [them].

So should it be today. Only if a person is proven to be a called prophet, should they be accepted as a prophet. There are many counterfeits who call themselves prophets, but are not. We in the churches need to be watchful, and follow Paul's commands of;

I THESSALONIANS 5:20-21

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Peter's warning;

II PETER 2:1-2

1 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.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

And the apostle John's admonition of;

I JOHN 4:1-4

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Note that Paul and Peter both advocate the testing of the prophet and the spirit by which the prophet prophesies. Paul states to not despise prophecies, but prove everything. John says to test the spirit within the person for truth. This does not mean the human spirit, but the spirit dwelling within the person. Note that John specifically mentions prophets as needing to be tested.

Paul finalizes the issue with;

I CORINTHIANS 14:29-33

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If [any thing] be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Note that Paul says when a prophet speaks, other proven prophets are to judge the prophecy as to whether it came from the Lord or not. I suspect that the gift of discernment may be tied in with the prophetic gift, but Scripture is silent on this subject.

And note that Paul says that there should be at most three prophets who prophesy at any particular time within the church. And when a prophet speaks, they are not to be interrupted. In other words, no outbursts of tongues or any other kind of distraction, for the Holy Spirit would not interrupt a teaching or revelation given from God to the church.

Discernment of spirits

This is a gift that is vital for those called into spiritual warfare. Demon workings can be subtle, and the discernment of the Holy Spirit is needed to separate normal problems with demonically driven ones. Case in point:

A friend of mine introduced me to a lady he knew, a single mother named Sherry. In talking with her, she indicated that her little boy Bobby, then about 4 years old had been having severe nightmares nearly every night for the last two years. I suspected a demon problem, but had no proof. I spoke to her about what I suspected, but she wanted nothing to do with me, apparently thinking I was a crackpot. I told her that if she wanted to talk further, to let me know.

Two weeks later, I got a call from the friend who had introduced me to her, saying that she wanted to speak with me. I then called Sherry and she told me that the nightmares were getting worse, and she wanted to talk further.

My wife and I went over to her house on Sunday evening, and witnessed to her, and I explained my suspicions further to her. She wasn't sure what to believe, but I told her that I would be back next Sunday night, and we would take care of the problem. I told her to put him to bed as usual next Sunday night, and we'd go from there.

On Wednesday, we were conducting a Bible study with some close friends, and I was explaining the situation and was telling them what I planned to do, and when. Suddenly I felt something in the room with us. I said "Something's here!" and immediately cast it out. Nothing further happened that night.

On Saturday night, I called Sherry to confirm our appointment for the next night, and she said, "Oh, my sister called Friday night, and came and picked up Bobby for the weekend." I then understood what had happened. On Wednesday night a demon had eavesdropped on what I had planned to do, and had ensured that the boy was taken away for the weekend. I told Sherry that we would try it again the next Sunday night, and to make sure that no one took him away for the weekend this time.

The next Sunday night, we went over to Sherry's and she told us that she had put Bobby to bed and had told him that if he had any more nightmares, a nice man was going to talk to him, and make them go away.

My wife and I proceeded to witness to her more, and about a half hour later, we heard Bobby running out from his bedroom into where we were sitting. He took one look at me, and raced back into his bedroom. Sherry went in to calm him down while my wife and I prayed for God to deliver the little guy.

When I walked into the bedroom, Bobby was watching me. He had the covers pulled up to just under his eyes. So, I sat on the bed, and said "Hi, Bobby, how are you?" No answer. I asked "Do you have these nightmares often?" "Yeah." I asked, "Are they the same, or are the different?" He said "They're different." and was instantly asleep.

I watched for a moment, surprised, then I felt a growing evil presence in the room. I said, "Oh no you don't!" I then rebuked it and ordered it to leave him in the name of Jesus Christ. A moment later I felt it leave, and Bobby fell into a normal, peaceful sleep.

I waited for a moment, then walked out to where my wife was sitting with Sherry. "Feel anything different?" I asked. She thought for a moment, and said, "Yes, it's warmer in here! Even in the summer it's always been cold in the house!" We explained what had happened, and left about an hour later.

When we got home, we had just climbed into bed to go to sleep when the phone rang. My wife answered it, and said, "It's Sherry.....!" My first thought was that the thing had come back. But Sherry told me that Bobby had come out after we had left, asking when the nice man was going to come and visit him.

She said, "I heard you talking to him, and I heard him answer you! What's going on?" I told her, "Sherry, it wasn't your son I was talking to. I was talking to the demon controlling him." Needless to say, she was shocked.

I lost contact with her two years later, but up until then, Bobby had had several nightmares, but they were usual little boy nightmares, not the graphic horrors he'd had before. Sherry still hadn't accepted Jesus into her heart, but I prayed that Bobby's deliverance would plant the seeds that would bring them both to Him.

But it was through the gift of discernment that I was able to identify the problem, and feel the demon presence that was eavesdropping on our Bible study and feel the demon attack starting when I went in to deliver Bobby through the power of the Holy Spirit.

People with discernment usually don't go looking for demons in everyone, or in every situation. In fact, most of the time, the discernment is involuntary. I had no idea that the eavesdropper would show up, nor did I even consider it beforehand. But when needed, the Holy Spirit will grant that a person with discernment will either feel a demonic presence, or will understand that demon forces are at work in a situation.

I have had many other cases of discernment, and almost all of them were verified before witnesses, up to and including physical manifestations of the demon(s) involved. In each case, I suddenly sensed what was going on, and was able to prepare ahead of time, although in some cases, I only had seconds worth of warning before the attack.

Tongues

Sadly, this gift has to be the most abused of all of the gifts, and it's because it is so hard to verify. A person can babble anything they wish, and claim it's a tongue and usually there is little way to verify that it is indeed a tongue given by God.

And I can't count the number of people who teach that if a Christian doesn't speak in tongues, they have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit, despite Paul's express instructions that say just the opposite.

However, a look at what Scripture says about tongues will tell much about their use and validation.

I CORINTHIANS 14:1-2

1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.

2 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.

Here we see a separation from the tongues spoken in the book of Acts. Paul says that those who speak in unknown tongues speak to God alone. The disciples and apostles in Acts spoke in tongues that were readily understood by the people who spoke those languages. The purpose of tongues in Acts was to preach the Gospel in the native tongues of those who were gathered at Jerusalem.

I CORINTHIANS 14:3-5

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5 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.

Paul addresses the crux of the issue here. It is far more important that the church receive edification than for an individual to be edified. We are all equal in the body, and have different functions within the body. But our primary purpose is to support the body as a whole.

I CORINTHIANS 14:6-11

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them [is] without signification.

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh [shall be] a barbarian unto me.

Again Paul strikes at the heart of the issue, when he states that speaking an unknown tongue is useless to the church, for no one understands what is being said. And yet in churches I have heard people yelling words that no one can understand, many times simultaneously, and others praising God for the tongue(s) being spoken!

I CORINTHIANS 14:12-13

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue pray that he may interpret.

Here Paul states that a person who speaks in an unknown tongue should also interpret, if they are going to speak the tongue aloud to the church. The primary thing that Paul is expressing again, is that the church be edified rather than the believer.

I CORINTHIANS 14:14

14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

I have only spoken in tongues on several occasions. In each case it was strictly involuntary, and each case served a specific purpose. Case in point:

My wife and I had laid down to take a nap. Suddenly she doubled over with severe stomach pains. I suspected Satan was involved, so I gently laid my hand on her stomach and began praying quietly to myself in English.

Suddenly I was speaking in an unknown language, and I had no idea what I was saying. I remember thinking "This must be speaking in tongues!" And when I stopped several seconds later, her pain vanished. My wife stared at me curiously, and I related what had happened. She in turn had no idea what I had said, as I had apparently spoken directly to God. But just as the disciples and Apostles at Pentecost, I spoke as the Spirit gave me utterance. I did not speak in tongues on my own accord!

I have previously related about the church I attended right after coming out of the Occult. They all felt that they could speak in tongues whenever they wished, which goes completely against Scripture.

This is also a golden opportunity for witches and satanists who infiltrate the churches and believe me, they do. Any church with over 30-50 members within their congregation will more than likely have someone in their congregation who is a witch or a Satanist.

Please understand that this does not mean that congregations should go on "witch hunts" to root out any witches or satanists within their congregations. At a church I attended some years ago I identified two witches in the congregation, and I knew this only because the Holy Spirit showed me.

I proceeded to tell the Pastor privately, and he didn't believe me at first. Then several months later he called me into his office, and told me that I was right. He didn't relate how he found out, but the witches left immediately afterward, promising to bring down both he and his ministry.

I have also been in churches where there was a "praise time" where people all spoke in tongues at once, praising God. This is a wonderful opportunity for witches and satanists to bring curses on the church as well as believers within the church.

With everyone babbling in weird languages who is going to know? Satanists can use tongues as well as Christians but for far different purposes, and witches and satanists who have come to the Lord have admitted cursing churches, praising Satan, releasing demons, and cursing believers during this time.

That's why it is SO important to have an interpreter if someone speaks in a tongue in church. And if two or more satanists or witches team up to have a tongue and an interpretation, surely the Holy Spirit will convict the congregation that it is a false tongue.

And remember Paul's warning;

I CORINTHIANS 14:23

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

And yet whole churches don't seem to understand this warning, or totally ignore it. But ignoring warnings such as this in Scripture is sin, and Satan has every legal right to curse a church and believers which are engaged in active disobedience to the Scriptures!

And they then fall under the condemnation of James who says;

JAMES 4:17

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.

I CORINTHIANS 14:15-19

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue.

In the above verses Paul proceeds to put tongues in their place as the least of the gifts. For if the church is not edified, what good does it do to speak in a language no one understands? Who is taught by the experience?

I CORINTHIANS 14:20-22

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With [men of] other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Remember the missionary in Japan that I described earlier? The one who spoke perfect Japanese to his audience? And the apostles who spoke in languages understood by those who heard them? This is the true use of tongues. That unbelievers may understand the Gospel, and come to the Lord especially when they see and hear you speaking their language and know you have never learned it. This is in fulfillment of the prophecy of ISAIAH 28:11-12 as quoted by Paul in verse 21 above.

Unknown tongues are reserved for speaking to God, unless there is an interpreter. And Paul places this use of tongues as the least of all of the gifts, for the church is not edified or taught by the experience. Anyone can fake an unknown language, and unfortunately many well-meaning Christians do so. But remember, we can only do so at the will of the Holy Spirit, and when it happens, it is usually involuntary.

I CORINTHIANS 14:23-25

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 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:

25 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.

Paul in verse 23 points the finger directly at churches which have uncontrolled speaking of tongues within their congregation. I mentioned a church that I attended as a new Christian, and I thought they were nuts, just as Paul describes.

Like I said, anyone can fake a tongue but the gift of prophecy is given only to believers. And if an unbeliever isn't convinced by tongues, they certainly will by prophecy! Only God knows the thoughts of the heart, and can reveal such to men. And a unbeliever who hears his thoughts and secrets revealed will know for certain that God is indeed in that church!

Paul in the verses below sets out the exact order that the gifts are to be used within the church. Remember, this is accounted as Scripture, and is to be obeyed as the commandments of God Himself through the Holy Spirit!

I CORINTHIANS 14:26-33, 37-40

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

27 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.

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30 If [any thing] be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

In summary, we have proven that the gifts of the Spirit did not die out with the apostles as some teach, but were given to the Gentile churches as well as to the disciples at Pentecost. We have also proven that the gifts cannot be used at will, but only by the motivation of the Holy Spirit, and only for the purposes that He has set for them to be used.

We have also shown that the greatest gifts are those which teach the church, namely the gifts of apostleship, teaching/preaching and prophecy. The rest of the gifts support the ministry of the teachings, confirming the teachings with signs.

We have also shown that uncontrolled speaking in tongues, faking of the gifts, etc. is direct disobedience to the Scriptures, and allows Satan to curse the church and believers through that disobedience.

And sinning through ignorance will not protect the church or the believer from Satan. As God told Moses;

NUMBERS 15:27-31

27 And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.

28 And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, [both for] him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.

30 But the soul that doeth [ought] presumptuously, [whether he be] born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity [shall be] upon him.

Granted, we are no longer under the Law of sacrifices, but if it still remains that if we sin in ignorance before the Lord, it is STILL sin in His eyes, and allows Satan the legal right to work within the church.

Case in point;

While on one of my cruises in the Navy, the church I had been attending suddenly got a new pastor. My wife attended the church after the new pastor arrived, and didn't like him. She said there was something about him that bothered her.

Several months later when I came home, I decided to see and hear this new pastor for myself. I also wanted to see friends there that I hadn't seen in over 8 months. (Navy cruises were usually 6-9 months long at the time)

When I entered the church, I could feel a coldness in the atmosphere even though it was high summer, and it seemed to be more of a spiritual coldness than a physical feeling. I also felt somewhat uneasy, but I put my misgivings aside and sat down.

As soon as the pastor got up and began to preach, my spirit fell flat. I had been teaching intense Bible studies while out at sea, and thought perhaps that I was feeling just a "step down" from that kind of intense fellowship and teaching, so again I watched and waited. But by then I knew that there was demon activity within the church. I just didn't know where it was coming from.

When the service was finished, we went to leave, and the pastor was standing at the door, greeting the congregation members as they left. And when we reached the door, he reached out and took my hand to give me a handshake. And when he did, I knew without a doubt where the demon influence was coming from. It was him! I was stunned!

As I left, badly shaken, I asked the Lord concerning this. I told Him, "Lord this is your anointed, your servant whom You have brought to this church as a pastor! How can this be?" I doubted what I had felt, telling myself that it couldn't be so, and wrestled with myself throughout the rest of that week.

The next Sunday, I decided to go again, and see what would happen. Again, my spirit fell flat, and less than halfway through the service I heard the Lord clearly tell me, "Get out! Get out of this church now!" I immediately took my wife and children and left.

Three weeks later I saw one of the elders of the church in a grocery store, and he told me he had seen me take my family and leave, and had wondered why I hadn't been back. I proceeded to tell him what had happened, and braced myself for a railing rebuke.

Instead he gave me a long look, and asked that I write a letter to the Diaconate, telling them what I had felt, and what the Lord had told me, which I did. I told them that there was a demon influence within the church, and while I didn't know how this could be, the pastor was the source of it.

Apparently my letter confirmed suspicions that the elders of the church had had concerning this pastor, and havoc broke loose. The elders tried to get him to leave. He wouldn't, and began a railing accusation from the pulpit against those who were trying to remove him, accusing them of hindering God's work, and trying to divide the church.

The congregation finally bought out the rest of his contract, and he left. The congregation fellowship was shattered and divided, and some went with him, forming a new church. This church disintegrated within a year, and as far as I know, the pastor never formed another church.

I found out several months later, that this pastor had put voodoo fetishes that he'd picked up in Haiti on display in the church. That explained how the demons got into the church, and what I had felt coming from him.

God's word is clear concerning such things when He warned Israel;

DEUTERONOMY 7:25-26

25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold [that is] on them, nor take [it] unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it [is] an abomination to the LORD thy God.

26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: [but] thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it [is] a cursed thing.

Bringing those fetishes in his house brought a curse on the pastor, and bringing them into the church allowed Satan legal access to the church, and it's members.

And concerning the use of the gifts, if we sin in willful disobedience, knowing the truth written in Scripture, we are told;

HEBREWS 10:26-31

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Pastors, you are responsible for the doctrines taught in your church. If you preach or teach doctrines and beliefs contrary to Scripture, even if done so in ignorance, you are sinning and leading your congregation into sin also, and neither you or the church will prosper.

Paul has set out an orderly use of the gifts, and these are to be obeyed as the commandments of God Himself, for His Holy Spirit spoke through Paul to set these things in this exact order to prevent confusion and to limit Satan's ability to try to corrupt the church through counterfeit gifts.

Those of you who attend churches who violate these commandments, talk to your pastor and show him how he is in violation of the Scriptures. If he refuses to listen, talk to the elders. If they refuse to listen, leave and find another church which DOES follow these commandments.



Questions? Comments? E-mail: watchmen_777@yahoo.com.com

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