Summary: This subject has divided much of the church and as your pastor I want to address where we as a church are on this subject. I encourage you to take notes, and study these things for yourself.
Have The Gifts Of The Spirit Ceased?
Have the Gifts of the Spirit Ceased?
This subject has divided much of the church and as your pastor I want to address where we as a church are on this subject. I encourage you to take notes, and study these things for yourself.
I want to begin with clear unambiguous biblical proof that God never intended for the gifts to have not ceased, then share a story from my life, the purpose of the gifts, evidence for continuance, and desire for the gifts.
1. Clear biblical proof the gifts have not ceased.
Mr 13:11 "And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but [it is] the Holy Spirit.
This is a wonderful promise from God. Elsewhere in the bible it tells us to be ready always to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Pe. 3:15). But here in this text Jesus says don't worry about preparing what you will say when arrested for the faith, the Holy Spirit will speak through you. This is a promise with no time limit on it. A promise that believers will speak prophetically in persecution for the faith type scenarios. "It is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit." Nothing could be plainer, to think this ended at the first century is to deny what Christ taught and to strip the church of the ongoing ministry and work of the Holy Spirit.
Here is another biblical proof:
Re 11:3 "And I will grant [authority] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."
I take a futuristic view of the book of Revelation, that these two witnesses are people who are in the future even from this date. Assuming that to be correct, it simply states that during the great tribulation God will empower to men to prophesy, thus the gifts of the Spirit cannot have ended. Most Christians are futurists when it comes to the book of Revelation and these two witnesses, I don't know how they reconcile the prophetic utterances of these future prophets with cessationism. That is a conundrum for them, not for me.
My third bible proof foncontinuance is this text in Revelation 19:
Re 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The true essence of prophecy is to bear witness and speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. I don't know about you but I have had the experience many times in telling others of Christ, where the Holy Spirit would bring thoughts, ideas, and scriptures to mind to aid in telling of Jesus. Biblically prophecy is not simply telling the future, but encompasses a much broader range of subjects. Paul says that prophecy speaks to men of edification, exhortation, and comfort. In the passage before us, we are told the truest essence of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. To suggest that the Spirit no longer bears witness to Christ, or empowers His people to do so is to deny basic biblical truths. God helps us witness to others of Jesus, and He calls that prophecy. That is very clear evidence that the gifts have not ceased.
An example from my life:
I was a newly saved Christian serving in the U.S. Navy stationed in Kamiseya Japan. A fellow sailor came to me one Sunday afternoon, he was facing surgery the next day and wanted me to pray for him. Apparently his tail bone was sticking out of his back and they were surgically going to do something to change it. I bowed my head to pray, and was about to pray for God to bless the doctors, when I felt very strongly impressed to pray for God to heal him. (This man was not a Christian at the time.) I had never prayed for anyone to be healed, wasn't even sure if that kind of thing happened. The next day the surgery was canceled some piece of equipment they needed wasn't available or working. A few weeks later when he went back for the surgery, upon examination they discovered his tail bone was no longer sticking out or causing problems, surgery was no longer needed. A short time later this man came to Christ, and has been a devoted Christian ever since. Jesus healed the sick to demonstrate that He had power on earth to fogive sins. I believe God still heals the sick and performs miracles to help lost people on their journey to Christ.