Summary: History of charismatic/pentecostal movement and importance of spiritual gifts.
Receiving Spiritual Gifts
We’re in a series called Supernatural Stories,
we’ve been looking at some of the stories in the Bible
where God did amazing things.
Well today I want to start
by telling you a supernatural story,
but its not a bible story,
though it does start in the bible.
The story actually starts on what is now called the day of Pentecost,
which was 7 weeks after Jesus resurrection.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now this is the first time anything like this had ever happened,
and so everybody was amazed,
and it started off an explosion in the growth of the church.
That day alone, 3,000 people committed their lives to following Jesus Christ,
and that growth spread around the world.
Much of the excitement that started that day,
was because of the fact that the Holy Spirit was coming into people’s lives in obvious ways,
and doing miraculous,
People were speaking in different tongues,
or languages that they didn’t know.
Others were prophesying,
or had words of knowledge which means information or facts told them by the Holy Spirit,
that they couldn’t have known except that the Holy Spirit spoke to them,
Other people were healing the sick miraculously,
and doing miracles,
and just all kinds of amazing stuff going on.
In fact, the apostle Paul listed the different gifts that were given by the Holy Spirit to the church, that day
(there are other gifts of the spirit listed elsewhere,
but this is the list of what you might call the miraculous gifts,
or the supernatural gifts)
They’re listed in 1 Cor 12:8-11 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
These are the gifts from God
that were given to people on the day of Pentecost,
when the Holy Spirit came on them.
Within a short while, these kind of things became so commonplace in the church.
that Paul had to write instructions to one of the churches
to tell them not to let all this supernatural stuff
get out of control.
Now you have to remember that
when he wrote this the churches all met in homes,
they didn’t have any church buildings,
so it was like he was writing to people in our small groups,
and saying, okay guys, when you get together in your small groups,
and you’re prophesying,
take turns, go one at a time, so everyone can understand.
And if you speak in tongues,
make sure there’s somebody in your group who has the gift of interpretation,
so that everybody can understand what’s being said.
There’s so many people using these spiritual gifts,
that Paul tells them they have to take turns.
Now as you study church history,
and you read what was written by church leaders since that time,
it seems that these spiritual gifts were widely used,
for about 300 years after Christ.
The greatest theologian of the third century
was a leader of the church named Tertullian, who died in 225 AD He used to instruct new Christians that when after they were baptized in water, they should expect the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. They should expect to prophesy and to speak in tongues.
So we see these spiritual gifts being widely used,
for about 300 years after Christ.
Well, what happened then?
In the year 313, Emporor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire,
So all the sudden instead of being persecuted for their faith,
now everyone wanted to be a Christian,
the church became very weak in faith,
because a lot of people were in it just because it was politically correct.
And then the church split into two main groups,
east and west,
the east was Greek speaking,
the west was Latin speaking,
The east eventually became the Orthodox church,
the west became the Roman Catholic Church.
The east never did lose an emphasis on the Holy Spirit,