Summary: Today, the power gifts remain available as a part of God’s plan for His church, and are increasingly being manifested within the ’Body of Christ’ around the world. They are given to the body of Christ as valuable helps to accomplish works of ministry.
Opening illustration: Reflect on my first experience at Nizwa of how hesitantly I discovered and used the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in faith. It just blew me away. The secret was praying without ceasing, fasting, practicing holiness and being sensitive to heed and obey the Holy Spirit.
Introduction & Background: There has always been a discrepancy of the operation or manifestation of the Charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. In fact Church History clearly refutes any notion that charismatic gifts faded away after the apostolic era. Other than diminishing somewhat during the middle ages (probably due to the inaccessibility to scripture by the common people), it is obvious that spiritual gifts were never completely absent from the church. Scores of statements to this effect were recorded by church leaders such as Irenaeus, who wrote around A.D. 150 "...we hear many of the brethren in the church who have prophetic gifts, and who speak in tongues through the spirit, and who also bring to light the secret things of men for their benefit [word of knowledge]..." Elsewhere he said, "When God saw it necessary, and the church prayed and fasted much, they did miraculous things, even of bringing back the spirit to a dead man." (Refutation and Overthrow of False Doctrine, Pg. 174). Near the close of the second century, Tertullian cited similar incidents, describing the operation of prophecies, healings and tongues, and in 210, Origen reported many healings and other charismatic gifts, as did later writers such as Eusebius, Firmilian, Chrysostom and others throughout many centuries. None of these gifts can be learned or developed. [complete]
Argument of whether they are operational today or not:
Arguments based on ~
1 Corinthians 13: 8 – 10 “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
• Context of comparison with love to show that the practice of love supersedes everything.
• Prophecies and speaking in tongues cease with the advent of the arrival of the perfect one.
• Most people think that the perfect one is the ‘Bible’ whereas there is no verse or passage to support that in ‘God’s Word.’ When the Bible talks about the perfect one, it always refers to Christ or God the Father Himself. [Deuteronomy 32: 4; 2 Samuel 22: 31; Matthew 5: 48; Hebrews 7: 19] Obviously when Christ returns we will not need ‘Prophecy, Tongues or Healing’ any more.
• In fact in 1 Corinthians 14: 39 it says, “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”
• If prophecy and tongues were to cease in 1 Corinthians 13: 8 why then is Paul still continuing to talk about them in 1 Corinthians 14 and Timothy, Peter in his letters and John talks about them in Revelation?
• In Greek the phrase that Jesus uses to still the storm on the Sea of Galilee. ‘Storms will cease’ – have they ceased? In fact they reoccur but with greater intensity in this century.
• Then why do many in Christian leadership and the churches keep harping about these charismatic gifts being non-operational today?
• They are afraid of chaos at their churches. If the ‘Body of Christ’ is taught these gifts of the Holy Spirit in the right manner, there will be no confusion. The challenge is to teach it through the ‘Word of God.’ How many would really stand up to this challenge?
What are ‘God’s Power Tools’ and how are they manifested?
1. Word of Wisdom
OT ~ Operational through the prophets and chosen men & women of God [e.g. Solomon].
NT ~ Operational without any changes from the OT.
Manifestation ~ While the word of wisdom may generally be a spontaneous manifestation of a God-given insight or perspective to the mind or spirit of the believer, references to God’s secret wisdom in 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 and elsewhere in the letter may enhance the understanding of this gift. The secret wisdom pertains to the Gospel that Paul preached. This wisdom relates to that which God had previously hidden and destined for the glory of believers. It is a wisdom that speaks of those things that God has prepared for those who love Him. These emphases from the broader context of the Corinthian letter could imply that the gift known as the “word of wisdom” involves insight into God’s plans and preparations for the Christian believer. These things are not made known through human wisdom; they are revealed or manifested by the Holy Spirit. As is the case with all of the manifestation gifts, in light of 1 Corinthians 13, the expectation in the community of faith is that the word of wisdom be exercised out of a heart of love.