Continuing in our “Back to the Basics” segment, we are looking at the foundations of the Christian faith. We live in a broken world that is plagued with sin. Our adversary, the devil will use anything or anyone to inflict pain and lead you astray from the truth that he is dreadfully afraid of. If you are a Christian, that is, you believe Jesus was sent by God to die on a Roman cross to be the payment for your sins, was raised three days later and now sits on a throne in Heaven…You are an heir to the riches of heaven and also get enjoy all that Jesus came to make a reality including the gifts of the Holy Spirit…but wait, I am getting ahead of myself. For those reading this blog who do not know Jesus as your Lord and savior I encourage you to go back to our very first post called ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★. Is not until we reach the end of our pride and self-dependence and acknowledge our sin and brokenness, we will never find true joy and freedom. I once read somewhere:
“The Bible says that the church is one body. The Spirit-filled life, according to the Scriptures, is one of interdependency just as the members of a physical body work together interdependently, so you and I, as individual members of the body of Christ are to work together to accomplish God’s will.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says:
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
“We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune or Trinity. The Trinity, composed of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (ever-present at all times). Before I was saved, I knew about some of the bible stories, but I never really knew much about the Holy Spirit. All I really knew was that He was third in the lineup of the trinity.
- First up you have God, the creator of the Universe.
- Second you have Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God made flesh to be the atonement for our sins.
- And rounding out the order the Holy Spirit.
Yes as you all see God’s baseball team is indeed the Texas Rangers. With the end of the 2015 MLB season just a little less than 2 weeks away (at the time of this posting,) the Texas Rangers against all odds are in first place in the American League West. It is hard to believe where they are now considering where they started but as you look at the Trinity, it is clear what God and Jesus are all about, but the function of the Holy Spirit is a bit of an enigma to most people as it was for me. Who is this Holy Spirit? What is the Holy Spirit all about? The very name could lead one to think of some mystical essence but Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as a person. He said In John 14:26:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
He is our intercessor, comforter, and counselor. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence and activity among us. He is not a force or mysterious power, but is a person who is the mover and shaker behind the scenes, taking the weak and building them up. The Holy Spirit strengthens the body of Christ, which we all belong to. He works in each of us anointing, empowering and directing us to carry out God’s work. Let’s compare for a moment the Body of Christ with the Texas Rangers; I think you will see what I mean.
Imagine if a line drive shot is hit to Elvis Andrus at shortstop. As usual he makes a great scoop and fires it off to Mitch Mooreland at first base. But as the ball reaches the target it continues past first base into the dugout because Mitch Mooreland didn’t want to fight the traffic that day on Route 360. Now this is a ridiculous scenario, especially since Mooreland is up for an Esurance MLB Award for coming back after surgery, would be a huge loss to the team if he played hooky because he was feeling lazy. But that isn’t any different to God when we decide not to use the gifts that we have been given because it will be too difficult or too much work.
What if Cole Hamels fired a 100-mile an hour fastball towards home plate but instead of hurling into Robinson Chirinos’ mitt, the ball flies into the stands because Chirinos didn’t feel like catching the ball. Something like that probably would never happen but I am sure there are many things we have the talent to do but we make excuses why we can’t, simply because we don’t feel like it.
How about a shot to Shin-Soo Choo in right field? As he attempts to nail the runner going to second base, Rougned Odor is missing from his position because he felt unworthy to be playing for the Rangers. Now that may sound unrealistic but how many times have you felt unworthy of God’s gifts because of what you’ve done in the past?
These comparisons might be a bit far-fetched but it illustrates how critical each player is to make the Rangers the successful team they are. You need Mooreland to make the out at first. Without Chirinos, Hamels pitches would be wild every time. And Choo is needed to tag the runner out. Just like on the baseball field, each person in the Body of Christ is as crucial as any player. When one person is missing or hurt the whole body feels it and is weakened.
How many people have sat before a test in school and said something like this?
This Comic strip, though silly, illustrates the reliance that we should have in the Holy Spirit. And that reliance is well founded for the He is an ever-present guide in this dark word. His power is manifested through the Gifts of the Spirit. God designed each believer in such a way that we all have a significant role in the body of Christ, and when we work together, we can accomplish great things according to His providence.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 gives us they listing of what the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are:
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”
Through the Gifts of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit enables us to do things far beyond our natural abilities regardless of what gift we possess. The nine Gifts of the Spirit are directed towards the needs of the church rather than the needs of the individual that the Spirit uses to minister the gift.
Now please bear with me this is the technical part of the blog but also is the most important part. As I am talking and describing each gift I want you to be prayerfully considering which gift God has equipped you with. The New Testament has divided the Gifts into three groups.
The message of Wisdom and Knowledge are useful in teaching and preaching.
- Wisdom is a gift that gives supernatural insight into some particular need or problem and brings a practical application of God’s Word.
- Knowledge gives insight into the truth of the gospel and its application to Christian living.
The second grouping of Faith, Gifts of Healing, Miraculous Powers, Prophecy, and Distinguishing between Spirits are useful in ministering to the church and to the world.
- The Gift of Faith is not the faith that we are saved by. It is the one that miraculously meets unusual opportunities.
- The Gifts of Healing are the ability to heal those plagued with sickness and disease.
- Miraculous Powers are the ability to do supernatural deeds such as casting out demons.
- The Gift of Prophecy has a threefold purpose, to speak to men and women to build them up spiritually, for encouragement, and comfort.
- Distinguishing Between Spirits may be given in a variety of ways. It may be used to “judge” or “weigh” prophecies. Or it could be to protect us from satanic deceptions.
The last group, Speaking in Different Kinds of Tongues, and The Interpretation of Tongues are useful in worship.
- Speaking in Different Kinds of Tongues is when the Holy Spirit anoints someone to speak in a language they don’t know. Tongues are the Spirit – directed language from heaven.
- The Interpretation of Tongues is when the Spirit directs another person to speak in the language of the congregation to translate what the Spirit was saying through the one speaking in tongues.
Regardless of what order the gift appears in the scriptures, all gifts are equal in importance, as are the individuals who minister with the gifts. God has specifically picked each person and equipped them with the gift that would best fit his plan. 1 Corinthians 12:5-6 says:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”
I belong to Generation X which has been labeled as lazy, useless and shallow. The ‘X’ as the rest of the world views it, symbolizes that we stand for nothing. All through my teenage years I heard how uneducated and immature my generation was. Similar to the way I had viewed the Holy Spirit in my ignorance, so does this world view Generation X. I remember hearing once, that if you call someone something over and over whether it’s true or not eventually they start to believe it. I believe that the stigma of the ‘X’ on our Generation has produced the very thing that this world has claimed that we are. But if you step out of the box and look at things in a different way you will see that because we are different that makes us unique. To build on the comic, in algebra, the “X” in the quadratic formula is the most important value to determine. The same is true for Generation X. Charles Stanley said, “Everybody is somebody in the body.” We need to fill in what the “X” stands for in our life and what our God-given talents are. Many people feel that they are insignificant members of the body of Christ. We are all essential in the body of Christ regardless of your past, God can use you no matter what. Each person here is special and has a unique gift that God has given them. Think of it this way, if you lose one piece of a puzzle, you almost have a beautiful picture. But, what is your eye focused on? The missing piece because the picture is incomplete. So it is true of us. Each person, and each gift is equally important in carrying out God’s master plan. He is the artist and we are His tools. Together we can do great things through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Our gifts are God’s way of administering His grace to others. We become channels through which Christ’s ministry flows. We do not get to choose our gifts, the Holy Spirit gives them as He wills but we are obligated to use them for the benefit of the body of Christ. We need to be vigilant in seeking opportunities to use those gifts. If we do not, other members of the body of Christ will have to work harder to carry our weight. Or worse yet, people could be discouraged and drift away from the body. And that loss could mean eternal darkness for that person.
The power of the Holy Spirit is available for all believers in Jesus Christ. But you must first believe before you can tap into the limitless resources of God. So whose body are you a part of? In John 3:5-8 Jesus told Nicodemus:
When you are born again you are a new creation. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are or what you have done in the past. God’s grace is boundless and He is just waiting to bestow on you all the riches of heaven. All you need to do is ask. In a minute we are going to open the altars for prayer. I want to encourage you to ask Jesus into your life. It is a simple prayer but the results are endless. If you want to give your heart to Jesus come up and someone will pray with you. If you just need prayer for something you can come up as well. For those who have already given your heart to Christ, I want to challenge you to ask God to release the gifts of the spirit in your life and to provide opportunities for you to minister those gifts. Don’t click on the “X” on the web browser without first seeking the power that is available to everyone!
If you would like to learn more about making the decision to accept Christ, please read ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★ God Bless!!
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