In this sermon Greg goes over the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. After explaining each gift, he addressed why he believes these gifts are still relevant and important for the church today. He ends with an encouragement to zealously seek after all gifts God has for you.
A video was shown of a cross with words connected to it representing everything separating us from God (sin, disunity, pride, etc.). Suddenly, there was light and sparks and each word began to explode off the cross, to reveal word representing each of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.
Greg began with a prayer for the shooting and rioting going on in Milwaukee. He called us to be intercessors who first pray, and then remember not to be taken in by the work of the principalities and powers.
In this sermon Greg shared about charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are distinct because unlike the gifts we discussed last week they are not based on personality or aptitude, but are rather given out freely by the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 Paul tells us that these gifts are given by the Holy Spirit for the common good.
Message of Wisdom: This is a word from God unique to a situation. When Woodland Hills was looking for a location to plant the church a person on the committee got a message of wisdom to look at the current building that is now the church.
Word of Knowledge: This is a specific word from the Lord. In the search for the church building another member of the committee got a word of knowledge during a time of prayer where the Lord showed her a bull’s eye with an arrow pointing to a specific location. A few days later a map of the twin cities with a bull’s eye on it was given to leaders of the church. They realized the arrow from the vision pointed right to the building we are currently in. It is important to remember that if you get a word of knowledge that does not necessarily mean that what you saw or heard will happen, but it means that you should continue in the direction God is leading you.
Gift of Faith: This is supernatural confidence against all odds.
Miraculous Powers: This is a display of supernatural power, like Jesus turning water into wine.
Gift of Healing: Healing someone from a spiritual or physical condition.
Prophecy: Whenever a person speaks and God is in it. Prophecy is a God anointed word.
Distinguishing between spirits: When someone can understand what is happening in the spiritual realms.
Speaking in tongues: This is the ability to speak in languages that the speaker has never learned. In private this can be used as a prayer language, and in public should be used with an interpreter.
Interpretation: When one can understand what the person speaking in tongues is saying.
Some people today teach that these gifts were only for the early church and not for today. That type of thinking is called cessationism, because they believe the gifts have ceased. Greg argues against this thinking for two reasons. First, these gifts appear to still be around. Secondly, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:5-7 that these gifts are to enrich the church until the Lord returns. Also, the fastest growing segment of Christianity is in the Pentecostal and Charismatic parts of Christianity.
Why is that? Because the more you are experiencing the power of your beliefs on a daily basis the more fire and passion you have, because you are experiencing your beliefs not merely as ideas but as a lived and vibrant reality.
Paul tells us to be zealous after the gifts. Greg reminds us that the Lord says, “seek and you shall find.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 encourages us to eagerly desire these gifts, especially prophecy because it builds up the Church. Therefore we should be after everything that God wants for us and seek every dimension of His revelation, because He desires to give us good things.
A major obstacle many people, especially in the west face is that we have constant chatter in our minds and give the Holy Spirit no space to speak. The Holy Spirit is not cohesive and will not invade. He is a partner and not a manipulator. We must surrender space and learn to be quiet enough so we can hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Greg had a friend that felt led to pray for tongues. When praying he would experience the urge to begin speaking in tongues, but as he did this he began to fear that he was making it up and the ability to speak in tongues would go away. Greg encouraged him to remember that he had already resolved that he believed in the Holy Spirit and felt called to this gift and that he didn’t need to get caught in a “thought sink hole” where he pushed the Holy Spirit out by taking back control. There is a time to think and reason, and a time to know what you have already settled and move forward giving the Holy Spirit space.
Final reminders, though sometimes these gifts have been abused, we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. God is a God of peace and order, not chaos. The gifts would have been used in the context of a house church and we should remember that today. These gifts are real, and for today, and we should be zealously pursuing the gifts of our good God. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to step out in surrender to the Holy Spirit.
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