Welcome to Number 3 of The Holy Spirit sessions
Last session, we saw when it is that we receive the Holy Spirit, and we looked at some questions about the Holy Spirit which may have concerned us in the past.
Let’s quickly recap what we said:
- When do I receive the holy spirit? – We receive the Holy Spirit during the process of becoming Born Again.
- Two examples of receiving the holy spirit – The Samarian men were baptised but had not received the Holy Spirit; Cornelius’s household were born of the Spirit, but not yet baptised.
- Two schools of thought – Whether we take hold of the Holy Spirit at the time of being born again or at a later stage, both are scriptural
- Why do I need the holy spirit? – We need the Holy Spirit to assist us in our work of building the body of Christ
- How does the holy spirit prepare me for service? – Dramatic change comes to our lifestyles as the Holy Spirit takes up residency within us
- Why no change in me? – There are people, right in our midst who are experiencing all or some of the Holy Spirit’s power.
- How do we know we have the holy spirit indwelling us? – If there has been change in our lives and we hear a ‘still small voice’ teaching and guiding us, then we have the Holy Spirit living in us.
By way of introduction this week, let’s have a look at this scripture in 1 Corinthians
Previously, we talked about receiving the Holy Spirit. We said that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God – a single gift – not gifts (plural). In other words, when He comes to live in us, not only is HE a gift, but He brings GIFTS with Him – and please notice here – HE is a gift (singular) and He brings Gifts (plural) with Him, and those gifts are for us to use.
Once He begins to live in us, two things happen:
- We display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives
- The Spirit gives us gifts.
Gal. 5 shows us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Notice here that the scripture says “Fruit” of the Spirit – singular – which means all these characteristics are in one! We cannot have one characteristic without the others. As an example, if we were to plant a peach pip, we will not receive an apple tree – no – a peach pip will produce a peach tree with peaches as a fruit. The Holy Spirit is the same – as He resides in us, His fruit automatically comes out. Let’s have a quick look at this diagram to explain (Fig.2). Notice how the ‘Fruit’ of the Spirit is ‘altogether’ (as one unit), in the green band and the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit are separate.
If we read through the scripture of 1 John 4, we will see that, “…God is love…” and as a result, He is all the other fruit of the Spirit; In 2Cor., we see our very beings are the temple of God and that His Spirit lives in us.
It is so important to remember that the fruit of the Spirit is really the nature and character of God being displayed through us. The scripture of John 15 verses 4-6, explains this clearly and warns us that without God indwelling us, we will not only never please Him, but that the result will be eternal damnation.
As the process of being ‘born of the Spirit’ now takes place, we start to enter the narrow gate as Matthew tells us in chapter 7. However, to pass through this gate and walk along the narrow road, we need to be suitably equipped – the ‘Fruit’ of the Spirit is only part of this equipment.
The remaining parts of the equipment are the ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit. Notice that this is now ‘gifts’ (plural) as opposed to ‘gift’ (singular) of the Holy Spirit himself.
What is very important for us to know at this point is – that, these gifts are given to benefit the body of Christ – not mankind personally. God gives these gifts in order to show the work He does through His children, while demonstrating His supernatural power. The gifts benefit both believers and unbelievers alike.
REMEMBER: The spirit of God (NOT MAN) is the Source of the gifts, and they are there to equip the body of Christ as well as, to glorify God (NOT MAN).
Let’s look more closely at the gifts….
There are nine personal gifts and these are divided into three groups:
– Language Gifts
– Knowing or Revelation Gifts
– Doing or Power Gifts
In this session, we’ll look at the first group of gifts, the ‘language gifts’:
1 – DIVERSE TONGUES
Romans 8, shows us that this gift comes to us as a means of the Spirit praying within us, either when we do not know how to pray, or when we just simply have no words to express ourselves. The heavenly language or ‘tongue’ is strange to our ear, and at times, can even sound nonsensical to us. We don’t understand this language and neither do others in our midst. The Devil also doesn’t understand – God alone understands this language.
It is a language that is therefore spoken to God alone. It’s important to note here that Pauls says in 1 Cor., this language is never from God to us, but spoken from us to God. Words spoken from God to us are called prophecy, which we will deal with later.
The heavenly language varies in type, not necessarily being the same from person to person and can be different from one day to another, as witnessed in the book of Acts.
As we are released into the gift of tongues, so we must allow that tongue to flow freely when we pray alone and with others, before God. As time goes by, the tongue will change in sound and become more mature as we are confident of accepting the gift.
2 – INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
In 1Cor, Paul is very clear about the order of speaking in tongues. He says If anyone speaks in a tongue, they must pray for interpretation as to its meaning. This, so that we and others might be edified.
Interpreting, once we have asked for it, is a matter of faith…. namely, opening one’s mouth and speaking whatever is coming into one’s mind. Like prophecy, all those listening will discern the interpretation in terms of God’s word.
It should be remembered when interpreting another person’s heavenly language, that the prayer is going from them to God, as the Spirit of God searches their hearts. Because it is a prayer which is going from that person to God – this sometimes helps us, with the interpreting of that tongue.
3 – PROPHECY
Paul outlines the gift of Prophecy in 1 Cor., – I would like to ask you to please spend time in this scripture during the coming week, as we are restricted by time on this video and can’t go through the whole of it now.
It would be unwise to suggest that in a few minutes, everything pertaining to prophecy could be fully discussed. In the main, prophecy in our day is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and consolation. On the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we would open our mouths and speak that which the Spirit brings to us.
Prophecy is a communication from God to man, unlike tongues which are a communication from man to God. Paul confirms this in 1Cor.14.
Prophecy will always be in line with the written word of God and is something that we believers must not treat lightly, but rather we should test (with the word of God).
LET’S REMEMBER….(Here’s a few points to remember…)
– God gives the Holy Spirit freely to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).
– God has offered, we must accept.
– This arrangement applies to all the gifts we have mentioned.
– We need to become like little children to receive these gifts (Matt. 18:1-6).
The gifts are freely given to those who are devout to do the will of the Father. The physical manner in which they are given is that: God uses our mouths, lips and other body parts to suit His purpose.
The story of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10 is a beautiful example of this: Firstly, Cornelius was a man whose devotion was expressed by his fear of God, his prayers, and giving to the Jewish people. The result of this situation was that God heard his prayers and saw his works. The Holy Spirit gave all in his household gifts, and they received them, praying in tongues. What an amazing story.
Let’s recap what we’ve heard this week:
1. A Gift from God – The Holy Spirit is a gift (singular) from God and He brings along with Him gifts of the Spirit (plural)
2. The Holy Spirit Comes to Live In Us – When the Holy Spirit resides in us, we display the Fruit of the Spirit and receive gifts.
3. God’s Nature – The Holy Spirit is the nature of God abiding in us.
4. God’s Tool Box – The Fruit of the Spirit is only part of the equipment we need; the gifts of the Spirit make up the balance.
5. God the Source – The spirit of God (NOT MAN), is the source of the gifts – the gifts glorify God (NOT MAN).
6. Nine Personal Gifts – The language gifts, Knowing or Revelation Gifts and Doing or Power Gifts, make up the group of personal Gifts.
7. Heavenly Language – Tongues is a heavenly language by the power of Holy Spirit, spoken to God – not Man.
8. Interpretation – Paul commands us to pray for interpretation of the heavenly language, so that all may be edified.
9. Prophecy – Words brought by the power of the Holy Spirit from God to man is called prophecy.
10. Given Freely by God – The gifts are given freely by God to all those who desire them.
To close this session, why not take a few minutes to go around your group, practicing the gifts that we’ve just covered.
VERY IMOPORTANTLY though – The purpose of this exercise is to help us overcome the ‘fear of man’ (in other words shyness) – this is done by practicing. The more we practice in front of others, the more confident we will become.
With regard to the language gifts, we must:
Firstly, Believe and
Secondly, open our mouths and move our tongues – otherwise absolutely nothing is going to happen!
Thirdly, we must get rid of any unforgiveness or anger in us by praying quietly for the Lord’s help. (remember – Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling!).
Also, please remember those who are not comfortable praying out aloud. Don’t force them to pray, but rather allow them to be still and let the Spirit of the Lord wash over them during this time.
The Lord be with you as you discover new things – In Him!
Thanks so much for spending this time with me – next in session 4, we’ll look at some more gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us. Until then, Bless you all.