You are on page 1of 24

A Biblical Defense of Pentecostal Doctrine

Elder Mark H. Stevens Dean, Th.D New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies


When we receive Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in our hearts as a guest - a guest who is with us forever (John 14:16-17), available to help us when we face difficuloties. He fulfils this ministry in a number of ways: 1. The Holy testifies of our relationship with God ''Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us'' 1 John 3:24 (see also 4:13; Galatians 4:6). When we were born into God's family as His sons, the Holy Spirit came and fused with our spirit in an everlasting relationship. Now the Holy Spirit ''testifies with our spirit" (Romans 8:16) concerning our new relationship with God. Even when we go through difficult times, we still have God's Spirit as a ''guarantee'' (Ephesians 1:14). ''This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" 1 John 3:19-20. 2. The Holy Spirit teaches ''But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" John 14:26. God has sent into our hearts His very own Spirit - the Spirit who ''knows everything'' (1 John 3:20; Hebrews 4:13) and who "searches all things, EVEN THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD'' (1 Corinthians 2:10). Thus the Holy Spirit helps us by teaching us - and in times of spiritual attack, He helps us recall parts of His own Word, making it alive to our hearts (see Luke 12:11-12; Nehemiah 9:20). ''This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit... ' 1 Corinthians 2:13 (read also verses 9-16; 1 John 2:27). 3. The Holy Spirit guides ''... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" Romans 8: 14. As an expression of the Father's loving heart, the Holy Spirit is ever-present to help God's children follow the right path. The Book of Acts gives many accounts of, the direct

guidances of the Holy Spirit (see 10:19-20;13:2; 16:6). Whenever we are faced with a decision that we can't handle by ourselves, we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit - for He is in us to express the mind of Christ so that we can fulfil the will of God. ''O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you . . . Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' '' Isaiah 30: 19,21 (see also 42:16; 48:17). 4. The Holy Spirit helps us live a life pleasing to God ''So l say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit'' Galatians 5:16-17,25. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a righteous life. If we strive to do this in our own strength, we will fail - but with the Spirit's help, backed by the full legal work of the Cross, we have a God-given formula for success. This success is described as the ''fruit'' of the Holy Spirit's own character, and that fruit can begin to grow in our lives only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to express Himself. ''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" Galatians 5:22-23. 5. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer ''In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" Romans 8:26. Because of our human limitations, we often don't know exactly how to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what needs to be expressed. When we lean on the Holy Spirit in prayer, we can have full confidence that our prayer will be answered - because we are in teamwork with God Himself! "And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God's own will'' Romans 8:27 (TLB). 6. The Holy Spirit gives power to witness ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth'' Acts 1:8.

The Holy Spirit is not only our power to live the Christian life, but is the power to tell others about the Good News of what God has done for us! God has given us a Commission (Matthew 28:18-19) that is far too big for us to fulfil in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate His power through us, we are enabled to fulfil the call. '' . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly . . . With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all'' Acts 4: 31,33 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5). 7. The Holy Spirit gives life ''And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you'' Romans 8:11. The Holy Spirit works on every level of our lives. He has brought life to our: SPIRIT ''Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit'' John 3:5-6. SOUL: MIND, EMOTIONS AND CHARACTER ''And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" 2 Corinthians 3:18. And now the marvellous truth is that the Holy Spirit is also the agent for bringing life and dynamic power into our physical bodies. We can look to the Holy Spirit for physical strength when we have to face situations that would normally wear us down (see Ephesians 3:16; John 6:63). "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen'' Ephesians 3:20-21. The Holy Spirit's work is not limited solely to the believer; He is also very much at work in the world, and His ministry is fulfilled in five ways:

"We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him'' Acts 5:32 (see also 1 John 5:6-12). It was through God's Spirit that Jesus was baptised with power to fulfil His ministry (Luke 3:21-22; 4:14,17-21), and it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 1:4). From the beginning to the end, the Holy Spirit was involved in the work of Jesus, and He has now been given to the believer to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and is alive today ! "When the Counsellor comes . . . he will testify about me, but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning" John 15:2627.

"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUDGMENT" John 16:8. Because the world has rejected God, the Holy Spirit's aim in people's lives is to bring conviction in three areas: SIN "... in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me . . . '' v.9. The world has rejected God and sinned against Him. People try to cover up their sin and justify themselves, but the Holy Spirit's work is to expose sin for what it is and show the need for God's help (see Acts 24:25). RIGHTEOUSNESS '' ... in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer . . . " v.10. Jesus was the only true standard of the righteousness of God. Without Him, people would only have themselves to measure by (2 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 2:23). When Jesus returned to the Throne, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer- and now the Holy Spirit reveals the standard of God's righteousness, desiring that that standard would be clearly demonstrated in the believer for all the world to see. JUDGMENT

'' . . . and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned'' v.11. People's lives around us are bound by spiritual powers, but the Holy Spirit is present to reveal the marvellous truth of the Gospel - that they can be free because of the work of Jesus, for He judged our sin on the Cross and completely destroyed the legal right that the enemy has over people's lives (Colossians 2:13-15).

"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way'' 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The Holy Spirit is the one force in the world today that is restraining the world from plunging headlong into the darkest expression of its sin and rebellion. But there will come a time in the future when the Holy Spirit will withdraw and believers will be snatched away (Luke 17:34-36; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) - and then the full expression of sin will be revealed in time for the outpouring of God's judgment. As vessels of the Holy Spirit, we too are encouraged to be instruments of His restraint (see Matthew 5:13; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power" 1 Corinthians 2:4 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5). The early Church was birthed in the power of the Holy Spirit, and it was that power that gave evidence of the reality of what they had experienced. One of the Holy Spirit's functions is to testify to the truth of the Gospel by performing miracles and wonders. ''Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it'' Mark 16:20 (see also Acts 2:43; 5:12,15-16; 6:8; 8:6-8,12-13;14:3).

''In the last days, God says, l will pour out my Spirit on all people . . . I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy . . . And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" Acts 2:1718,21. It is God's greatest desire that His Spirit would fall on all mankind in great glory and in a revelation of the nature of God. The day is coming when this will finally happen, and through God's Spirit, the whole earth will be full of His glory.

''Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken" Isaiah 40:4-5. The Holy Spirit's desire in the world is to draw people to Himself. This work is one of the major parts the Holy Spirit plays in God's total scheme of salvation. ''This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" 1 Timothy 2:3-4. But when people continually reject the Holy Spirit's encouragement, He also has a ministry of judgment - though even this ministry is so that people might yet turn back to Him. "Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them" Isaiah 63:10 (see also Hebrews 10:29).


''When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me... HE WILL BRING GLORY TO ME by taking from what is mine and making it known to you" John 15:26;16:14. The Holy Spirit's continual aim in everything He does is to bring glory to Jesus. His desire is that ''in everything (Jesus) might have the supremacy'' (Colossians 1:18), and that: '' . . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord . . . '' Philippians 2:10-11. ''I am the vine; you are the branches. lf a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing'' John 15:5 (read also verses 1-16). The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to express through us the character of Jesus. This is pictured in the Bible as being like the fruit of a plant, and Jesus used the vineplant to illustrate an important principle: the fruit of the Spirit grow out of our relationship with Him. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it is joined to the stem, the source of the life-sap.


''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law'' Galatians 5:22-23 (see also Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10; James 3:17). All the fruits mentioned in this verse are NOT just the natural products of circumstances around us. Even when things are going wrong, the life of the Holy Spirit inside can well up in an overflowing expression of these fruits (see John 7:38-39). 1. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE Love is the giving of yourself for the good of another. The greatest expression of love is found in the Lord. John 3: 16 says, ''For God so loved the world that he gave . '' The fruit of love is an expression through the Holy Spirit of God's own nature of love, and the quality of that love is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: ''Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres'' (see also v.1-8; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21). 2. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY ''If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete'' John 15:10-11. The joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not dependent on happy situations, but on the character of God. People in the world are searching for happiness, but the answer is found only in the supernatural joy of the Holy Spirit (see Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16: 11; 132: 16; Isaiah 12:3; 35; 10; Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4). 3. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE Peace is that quality which everyone desires but only the child of God can truly experience. It is the peace of God Himself - ''the God of peace'' (Romans 15:33) that has been given to us, and is designed to operate even in times of turmoil (see John 14:27). ''And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus'' Philippians 4:7 (see also Colossians 3:15).

4. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PATIENCE " . . . being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . . . '' Colossians 1:11. Patience is that ability given by the Holy Spirit to wait with confidence for the result promised by God. It is not a passive emotion, but is in actual fact an expression of faith and of the inner strength that comes by the Spirit. The fruit of patience comes when we begin to see things the way God sees them (2 Peter 3:89; see also Ephesians 4:2). 5. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS KINDNESS This fruit is expressed in the loving acceptance of those around us. An attitude of intolerance leads to broken relationship. The word "kindness" comes from the same root word that "kindred" comes from- and points to a quality of relationship similar to that found in a close-knit, loving family. ''Be kind and ,compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you'' Ephesians 4:32. 6. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS ''The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart . . . For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks" Luke 6:45 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10). Goodness, as a fruit of the Spirit, is that purity of heart which produces virtuous behaviour. The child of God has received, through the Holy Spirit, a new heart (Hebrews 8:10). The fruit of goodness in our daily dealings with people can be maintained by keeping our heart pure before God. 7. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS FAITHFULNESS Faithfulness is one of the most important aspects to Christian life. It begins in our relationship with God, and then overflows into our relationship with others. God is absolutely faithful (Psalm 36:5; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:13), and it is His desire that through the Spirit that faithfulness will become a part of our character also. ''They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers'' Revelation 17:14.

8. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS The two men renowned most for the fruit of gentleness were the Lord Jesus and Moses (see Numbers 12:3; 1 Peter 2:21-23). Both were great deliverers - Moses for the nation of Israel, and Jesus for the whole world. This shows that gentleness is not weakness but CONTROLLED STRENGTH. The world's attitude toward strength is to aggressively defend yourself, but real strength is found in a gentle spirit - an attitude of being able to receive a wrong without fighting back and demanding your rights. ''Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls'' Matthew 11:29 (see also Psalm 37:11). 9. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS SELF-CONTROL ''Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who la"cks self-control'' Proverbs 25:28. This is the crowning fruit of the Spirit because it is the evidence of a Spiritcontrolled life. The Holy Spirit's ministry is to help us regain the control we lost to Satan and sin, so that we might live the way that God created us for. ''For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and controlled by the desires of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit" Romans 8:5 (Amp) (see also Galatians 5:16-17;Titus 2:11-13). "The righteous . . . planted in the house of the Lord . . . will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him'" Psalm 92:12-15. ''Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, l do not want you to be ignorant" 1 Corinthians 12:1. The Apostle Paul placed a tremendous importance on the operation of ''spiritual gifts'' endowed by the Holy Spirit, and so we will be looking at this vital part of the Holy Spirit's ministry, through the individual believer, to the Church and to the world. Our first step is to see the gifts of the Spirit in their setting.


''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 baptised by one Spirit into one body . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink'' 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (see also Romans 12:4-6). All believers are part of the Body of Christ - the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and ''God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be'' (1 Corinthians 12: 18). Christ is the Head of the Body, and God's design is that ''from him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK" (Ephesians 4:16). That means that, for this to happen, every believer must have a part to play, and it is with in this framework that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are revealed. The Body of Christ is the physical expression of Christ on earth, and just as the FRUIT of the Spirit is the expression of Christ's character to the world, so now the GIFTS of the Spirit are the expression, through the Holy Spirit, of Christ's power and will. These gifts are not given for ourselves, but so that others in the Body may be built up and encouraged, and as a witness to the world.

''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'' 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. There are nine gifts of the Spirit actually mentioned in the Bible, and God has distributed them evenly amongst different members of the Body, so that each member is dependent on the other. The gifts are not natural talents, but supernatural - given by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose. "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 THE ABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SPIRITS, to another THE ABILITY TO SPEAK 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 man, just as he determines" 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11. The gifts fall naturally into three categories:

GIFTS OF REVELATION These gifts embrace the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, and the ability to distinguish between different spirits - all three involve special revelation knowledge straight from the Holy Spirit. GIFTS OF POWER The gifts of power include faith, gifts of healing, and miraculous powers - they are an expression through the Holy Spirit of the power and earthly ministry of Jesus. GIFTS OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION These three gifts include prophecy, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of those tongues - these are all divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and are an expression of Christ's will and direction.


The three chapters of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are totally devoted to a proper understanding of spiritual gifts. In chapter 12, the Apostle Paul defines the gifts, and places them in the context of the Body of Christ. Then chapters 13 and 14 are respectively devoted to: BALANCE ''And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, l am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, l am nothing'' 1 Corinthians 12:31 -13:2 (read also verses 8-13). Spiritual gifts, says Paul, are nothing without love - for that is their whole reason for existence. The church in Corinth was moving in the area of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 1:7), but had obviously become unbalanced in its understanding of the use of those gifts, and this needed to be corrected. In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul encourages the Corinthians to "follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts . . . " ORDER "For you can all prophecy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of tprophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace . . . Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophecy, and do not

forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way'' 1 Corinthians 14:31-33,39-40. The Corinthian church had obviously got into areas of difficulty with those misusing the gifts. We must understand that when we enter the realm of spiritual gifts we enter the arena of the supernatural - where the enemy also works. For this reason it is important for the gifts to operate under the covering of experienced ministries - those mature in the gifts themselves - for leadership is a God-given safeguard in the Body against the misuse of gifts.


''What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. ALL OF THESE MUST BE DONE FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THE CHURCH" 1 Corinthians 14:26 (see also Colossians 3:16). The reason for the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and the basis for their operation must be to build the Body of Christ up in love, so that all may grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord. And so, for this reason, it is the Holy Spirit's desire that we: " . . . eagerly desire the greater gifts . . . '' 1 Corinthians 12:31.

Gifts of Revelation
1. The Message of wisdom ''Keeping close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him, 'Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. ls it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?' He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 'Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?' 'Caesar's,' they replied. He said to them, 'Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.' They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent'' Luke 20: 20-26. Jesus Himself, the source of all revelation, provides the best examples of the message of wisdom (see Luke 4:1-13; 10:25-37; 20:19-39; John 8:3-11).The message of wisdom operates in circumstances where we may be faced with a problem that we don't know the solution to. The Holy Spirit can prompt our hearts, and suddenly we find ourselves with a wise answer. This gift is particularly useful in counselling or witnessing to others.

''If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault; and it will be given to him . . . the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" James 1:5; 3:17. 2. The Message of Knowledge "When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, 'Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.' 'How do you know me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, 'I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you' '' John 1:47-48. The message of knowledge, like the message of wisdom, is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is not natural, acquired learning, but a portion of knowledge that could not have been received by any other means than supernaturally. Once again, this is a gift of the Spirit which can help when we talk to others about the Lord - we can ask the Lord to isolate for us the key-problem in their lives so that we can speak right to the heart (see Matthew 9:18; 17:27; John 4:18; Acts 9:11-12; 2 Kings 6:8-12). God is all knowing - He has a complete knowledge of things past, present and future (Psalm 147:5; Hebrews 4:13) - and in the operation of a message of knowledge, the Holy Spirit gives the believer a portion of specific knowledge straight from the Throne of God. '' . . . that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge'' Colossians 2: 2-3. 3. The Ability to distinguish between Spirits ''From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never ha ppen to you!' Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Out of my sight, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men' '' Matthew 16:21-23. This gift is the God-given ability to distinguish the difference between good or evil spirits, between right and wrong attitudes of the heart, and between the Holy Spirit's work and that of the spirit of Satan (see Matthew 23:13-36; Luke 9:51-56; Acts 5:3; 8:9-24). The gift of distinguishing between spirits comes into crucial use when on the outside it is impossible to tell whether something that is said is from God or from the enemy (see Acts 16:16-18). Like the first two gifts of revelation, this gift can be used particularly in witnessing and counselling, and is designed to help us perceive the spiritual powers and forces we are dealing with (see also 1 John 4:1-3,6; 1 Corinthians 12:3).

The Gifts of Power

1. The Gift of Faith The gift of faith is NOT saving faith - the faith we put in Jesus when we are born again. Nor is it the daily trust we place in God's character when we need His help. It is a dynamic, direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit related to the boldness which many Old Testament heroes experienced and which the early Church was birthed in (see Joshua 10:12-13; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1: 1-15; Daniel 6:16-23; Mark 4:35-41; Acts 3:2-7; 27:22-25). " . . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you' '' Matthew 17: 20. 2. The Gifts of Healing This gift is one of the "signs and wonders" gifts which confirms for the world the reality of the Gospel, and is an extension of the ministry of Jesus when He was upon the earth. It is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit "bears witness" that Jesus is alive (see Acts 5:32) (see also Matthew 4:23-24; 11:4-5; John 9:6-7; Acts 3:6; 5:14-15; 8:5-8; 10:38). Jesus promised of the believer: ''I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" John 14:12. 3. The Gift of Miraculous Power The Bible is full of miracles, displaying God's power over all circumstances of life. The gift of miracles involves a special enduement of the creative power of the Holy Spirit over natural laws for a specific time and purpose, and can include everything from miraculous provision to the casting out of evil spirits (see Exodus 7:10; 10:21-22; 1 Kings 18:31-39; 2 Kings 2:13-14; 4:1-7; Matthew 8:23-27; 17:27; Mark 6:41-51;John 2:1-11;Acts 8:39-40; 19:11-12). ''And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well'' Mark 16:17-18. In all these gifts, because it is "the same Spirit'' working them, there is considerable overlap and dependence on other gifts. There are special ministries that the Lord has

endowed specifically with one gift or another, but it is the Holy Spirit's desire that every believer operate in some or all of His gifts when the need arises.

The Greater Gifts

There is far more teaching in the Word of God on these three gifts than on all the rest put together. This is because they are vitally important for the building up of: The individual believer (tongues) (1 Corinthians 14:4). The Body of Christ (prophecy, and tongues with interpretation) (1 Corinthians 14:4-5).

The Gift of Prophecy

Prophecy is a gift straight from the Holy Spirit, and comes from the Greek word meaning ''to bring forth". It can be a message of encouragement from the Lord, a word of direction or warning, or even a message telling about something that will happen in the near future (see Luke 1:46,67; Acts 11:27-30; 21:10-11; 1 Corinthians 14:3).

"Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said'' 1 Corinthians 14:29 (read also verse 32). There are different realms of prophecy requiring different measures of safeguard. There is prophecy which: Strengthens,encourages and comforts (1 Corinthians 14:3). Brings direction to a person's life (1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14). Foretells future events (Acts 11: 27-30; 21: 10-11). Reveals sin and brings a warning from God (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). With each of the four realms of prophecy there is a lesser or greater need for ''weighing carefully what is said'' by experienced ministries. ''For we know in part and we prophesy in part'', Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:9 (read also verses 10-12), and so there is needed the gift of distinguishing between spirits, so that leadership can determine whether the prophecy was inspired by the Holy Spirit, the speaker's own human spirit, or even the enemy. The very first principle for judging a prophecy is whether or not it is based on the Word of God (see 2 Peter 1:19). The reason for these safeguards is because there is such a thing as a false prophet (1 John 4:1-3,6).

All may Prophesy

Paul encourages a desire for the ''greater gifts'' (1 Corinthians 12:31) - of which he puts the gift of prophecy at the top of the list because it builds up the Body (14:1,12). In the realm of encouragement and building up the Body, Paul says: "For you can ALL prophesy in turn so that everyone fmay be instructed and encouraged . . . Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy . . . '' (1

Corinthians 14:31,39; see also verses 24-25; Acts 19:6; Romans 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:20).

The Gift of Tongues

''I would like every one of you to speak in tongues. . . I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you'' 1 Corinthians 14:5,18. Tongues (and its accompanying gift of interpretation) is the only gift not operating in the Old Testament - although it is foretold in Deuteronomy 28:49 and Isaiah 28:11 (see 1 Corinthians 14:21). It acts as one of the signs of the accompanying presence of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4), and is specifically designed by the Lord for the building up of the believer: "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself . . . " 1 Corinthians 14:4. According to 1 Corinthians 13:1, the gift of tongues appears to fall into two main classifications:
The Tongues of Men

These tongues are natural languages that the Holy Spirit can supernaturally enable a believer to speak. "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them . . . a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked, 'Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!' " Acts 2:4,6-11.
The Tongues of Angels

These tongues are not the natural languages of men, but heavenly languages. As opposed to the tongues of men, the purpose of these tongues is for the edification of the believer as his spirit communicates with God's Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 14:14-18). "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit" 1 Corinthians 14:2.

Some sections of the Body do not fully understand the gift of tongues, but the Scripture clearly says: " . . . do not forbid speaking in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:39), provided things are done in an orderly way (verse 40).

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

Tongues, by themselves, only build up the believer who is speaking, not the rest of the Body, but the gift of interpretation takes a message in tongues and makes it intelligible for other believers. It elevates the gift of tongues from individual edification to Bodyedification, so that ever,yone can be encouraged and built up by what is said. The gift of tongues CAN be used in the church when it comes to individual or corporate worship, because worship is simply between the individual believer and God. But when it comes to a message to the Body, then ''the man who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says" (1 Corinthians 14:13). ''He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS HE INTERPRETS, so that the church may be edified" 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 (see also verses 6-19). Those who exercise in the gifts must remember that the giving of those gifts by the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of building up the lives of God's people in a framework of love and concern for one another. "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy... Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church"1 Corinthians 14:1,12.

The Promise of the Father

Right throughout the Old Testament, the Bible reveals one major problem in man that God continually came up against: ''The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure . . . '' Jeremiah 17: 9. In all his dealings with mankind, people would inevitably rebel against God, and through Jeremiah and many of the other prophets. God identified the root cause of this as the heart of man - his nature of sin. But God also gave a special promise that would remedy the problem forever: ''I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . '' Ezekiel 36,:2627.

God's Power Within

''I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high'' Luke 24:49. When the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the Church, He fulfilled every detail of the Father's promise in Ezekiel 36. The Spirit's infinite power was given to the believer so that he could live a life pleasing to God. This the Spirit does by: 1. Setting Us Free from Sin's Power "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death'' Romans 8:1-2. 2. Making Us Clean in God's Sight '' . . . He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life' ' Titus 3: 5-7 (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Thessaloniahns 2:13). 3. Giving Us Instant Access to the Father ''For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit" Ephesians 2:18 (see also Hebrews 4:16). 4. Empowering Us "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being . . . that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God . . . who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us'' Ephesians 3:16,19-20 (see also 1:19-20; Colossians 1:10-11; 2 Timothy 1:7). Now, with the Holy Spirit living inside, the believer has ALL power - out of the treasure house of God's vast "riches'' - to live the way God wants him to live (2 Corinthians 4:7). But there is also something required of the believer to do: We are encouraged to APPROPRIATE what the Holy Spirit has given us. ''You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like

God IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS" Ephesians 4:22-24 (see also Romans 12:2).

Walking in the Spirit

''So l say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . '' Galatians 5:16-17. We have been given the Holy Spirit, but He is only released to do His work in our lives as we allow Him to. We are not only to "receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22), but are to ''walk in the Spirit'' (Galatians 5:25, KJV) - to live under His canopy and allow Him to have full infoluence over our daily lives. This ''walk" in the Spirit is also described as: 1. Walking in the Light ''If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin'' 1 John 1 :6-7 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10). 2. Walking in Love ''Therefore be imitators of God . . . And walk in love . . . as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us . . . " Ephesians 5: 1-2 (Amp). 3. Walking in Faith "For we walk by faith . . . not by sight or appearance'' 2 Corinthians 5:7 (Amp). ''Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" Romans 8:5-6 (read also verses 7-8; Galatians 6:8). The Holy Spirit works in the believer by prompting and encouraging him toward the kind of life He wants him to live (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 4:1-8). If we respond, the Holy Spirit is released to do a work of change in our lives, so that we grow to be more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). If, however, a person deliberately chooses to resist the Spirit's promptings, he can, in successive stages, end up: 1. Grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). 2. Quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). 3. Insulting the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29).

God said in Genesis 6:3: "My Spirit will not contend with man for ever . . . ", and if, after continual pleading on the Holy Spirit's part, a person still refuses Him, He will then ''give him over'' to what he really wants (Romans 1:24,26,28; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20 - in the hope that he will eventually ''come to hisb senses'' and return to the Lord (read Luke 15:11-32; 2 Timothy 2:26). ''For the grace of God . . . teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives . . . to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good'' Titus 2:11-12,14.

Life in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit birthed us into a new life in God, and now it is the Spirit who helps us live that life. As we live in Him we experience the "life and peace'' (Romans 8:6) that we were created for, and it is as we walk under his covering that the fruits of the Spirit, as well as His gifts, begin to operate. The secret to the Christian life is found in the Holy Spirit, for He is: " . . . able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence with out fault and with great joy . . . '' Jude 24. What is speaking in tongues? Definitions: Tongues: "ecstatic, usually unintelligible utterance accompanying religious excitation" Ecstasy: "a state of overwhelming emotion; especially: rapturous delight" (both from Webster's Dictionary) Speaking in tongues is a unique way of communicating with God, and edifying oneself and/or others (1 Corinthians 14:4-5). It is most often used in prayer and worship. Tongues and interpretation are gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Tongues speak to God through "mysteries" of the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2). Similarly, praying in tongues is praying with the spirit and singing in tongues is singing in the spirit. The natural man will not understand these manifestations unless interpretation is given (1 Corinthians 14:2,14). Tongues can be a sign that a person follows Jesus Christ, but it is not a requirement (Mark 16:17) Why speak in tongues? We receive edification needed for spiritual warfare (1 Corinthians 14:4). Tongues is like "spiritual battery charging" . Spiritual warfare often weakens faith and hope, and tongues can help rebuild them. Paul spoke more in tongues than many Christians (1 Corinthians 14:18), and it is

likely that he used tongues to edify himself during his many tribulations and trials (2 Corinthians 11:22-31). The effectiveness of our intercessory prayer is increased: When we don't know how to pray, tongues directly engages the intercession of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). Our communication and worship of God is carried to a deeper spiritual level (1 Corinthians 14:2) It is an opportunity to yield ourselves to God in humility. Speaking in tongues surrenders our human desire for control and understanding to God. Points about tongues and interpretation: 1 Corinthians 14 is a key reference chapter for tongues. See 1 Corinthians 12-13 for helpful information on all the gifts of the Spirit. Tongues may take the form of an unknown (1 Corinthians 14:2 , 2 Corinthians 12:2-6) or known language (Acts 2:8-12) As with all Spirit's gifts, tongues and interpretation should be grounded in love (1 Corinthians 13:1,4-7) Tongues should be exercised in a peaceful, organized manner, not in confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) A person speaking in tongues should pray that he may interpret (1 Corinthians 14:13) Tongues in a worship service are best done with interpretation, so that all people present are edified (1 Corinthians 14:26-28). Paul explained that there should be two or at most three people speaking in turn; one person (at least) should interpret; if there is no one to interpret, the speaker should keep silent, speaking to himself and God (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). People should not ascribe tongues or other works of the Spirit to the work of Satan (Matthew 12:22-32), nor should they forbid speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39). The Apostle Pauls comments on tongues: Paul wrote the majority of Bible's guidance on tongues. Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:18 that he spoke in tongues more than any of the Corinthians. He also witnessed a form of tongues ("inexpressible words" NKJV) during a miraculous revelation in heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-6). His comments provide expert guidance on the subject: Paul desired that all the Corinthian Christians would have spoken in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5). People who spoke in tongues should pray for interpretation of the tongues (1 Corinthians 14:14)

Paul found it best to engage his mind when he prayed or sang with the spirit in case interpretation might be given (1 Corinthians 14:15). For group gatherings, he preferred to speak in plain language so that all present could be edified (1 Corinthians 14:19). Examples of tongues in the early church: The accounts of speaking in tongues in the New Testament coincide with special moves of the Holy Spirit, when the believers received a "filling" of the Holy Spirit: Acts 2:1-13 Jews at Pentecost are filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues Acts 10:45-47 -- Gentiles receive the Spirit at Cornelius house and speak in tongues Acts 19:5-7 Ephesian Christians filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues Discover the gift of tongues What if I dont want to pray in tongues? It is not mandatory that every Christian speak in tongues, and his/her salvation certainly does not depend on it. God will not force His gifts on anyone, as He is gentle and patient. If you dont feel comfortable praying in tongues, then don't! You can still pray effectively with confidence that God will hear and intercede in your prayers.

Pray in the Spirit

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" Ephesians 6:18 NKJV Why pray in the Spirit? Builds holy faith Jude 20-21 Adds God's power to your prayer (Romans 8:26) Increases effectiveness of prayer for others (intercessory prayer) (Romans 8:27) Aligns your prayer with God's will (Romans 8:26-27) The Bible says to! (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 20-21) How it works: The Bible tells us that God's Spirit intercedes for us when we pray. God perfects, directs and projects our prayers to the areas where they are needed: In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too

deep for words and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 NIV How to pray in the Spirit: Paul's command to the Ephesians "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (6:18) captures the "how to" part for us. The definition of supplication is "asking for humbly or earnestly, as by praying" (American Heritage Dictionary). Every time we go to God, we should be doing so earnestly in humility, inviting the Holy Spirit to work in the situation as God wills. It is really that simple. God's Spirit does the difficult part from there by deciding the best course of action and doing it according to God's will (Romans 8:26-27). He may let us know what He is doing and He may not, as many of God's ways are "too deep for words." If a thundering voice acknowledged the receipt of our prayer every time we prayed, we might not be as atuned to the other forms of confirmation and guidance that God uses. God can use many ways to speak to us. Some ways God speaks include a clear quiet voice in our mind, a "knowing," a situation, a word from another person, a Bible scripture, a vision, a trance and yes, even an audible voice. No matter how God chooses to work with us, we can have faith that we will hear Him and recognize His voice if we are abiding in Him (John 10:4). What about "speaking in tongues?" Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit that can add new dimensions to one's prayer, worship and ministry in the church. Some people refer to tongues as a special "prayer language." Tongues can be an integral part of praying in the Spirit. When to Pray: Always! (2 Timothy 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11) Getting into the habit of constant prayer is a difficult thing to do. It must be consistently practiced and requires a change in control of life. Prayer is an acknowledgement that "I am not in control and that I need God to intervene." This attitude opens the door for communication with God, who can direct and apply my prayers in ways far beyond my own understanding and imagination.