The Gifts Part 93
It wasn’t just the apostles or the Disciples of Christ that needed the manifest power of the Holy Spirit. We need the gifts of the Holy Spirit just as readily as those who came before us, because we face the same foe, we are confronted with the same obstacles, and we are expected of God to walk the same narrow path.
If truly the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no more, then what pray tell has taken their place? What is that surrogate, that substitute that now suffices? Is our own intellect enough? Is our own reason a suitable substitute for the Holy Spirit? Is the humanism we so heartily embrace a worthy surrogate for the power of God? Perhaps the materialism into which the household of faith has descended is a worthy enough replacement for the manifest power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the seminaries that are cranking out agnostics by the boat load, fools with titles and degrees who refuse outright to even consider the supremacy and singularity of Christ Jesus as the only way, the only truth, and the only life, are a suitable substitute for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the authority that comes with knowing that He resides in us after all.
When will we realize that every substitute, every surrogate, every replacement and every proxy that we are encouraged to utilize in lieu of the Holy Spirit is a mere shadow of the real thing, an unworthy stand in of the most egregious kind? Why would I settle for a drawing of a loaf of bread when I can have the loaf of bread itself? Why would I settle for a picture of a sunrise when I can see the sunrise with my own eyes? A picture of fire will not warm you, just as a picture of a loaf of bread will not fill your stomach. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is as useful as a new car with no gas in the tank. It’s pretty to look at, of this there is no doubt, but without gas in the tank that shiny new car will not operate the way it was meant to, nor will it take you to your desired destination. Given enough time, that shiny new car will lose its luster, begin to rust, and remain as useless as it ever was, just showing more of the signs of the ravages of time.
This is what many churches have become, shiny new cars with no gas in the tank. Sure, we have opulent buildings, comfy pews, state of the art sound and video equipment, ushers, doormen, parking attendants, and greeters, but no manifest power of the Holy Spirit.
Why feed our souls with stories of those in far off lands who experience the power of the Holy Spirit, who see the gifts operating within their congregations, who are witness to miracles and healings and words of knowledge and words of wisdom, when we can ask the heavenly Father in faith, and He will give us these selfsame gifts?
I cannot fathom an existence where God didn’t comfort me, speak to me, encourage me, strengthen me, or equip me. I cannot fathom an existence in which God no longer communed to His children, in which He no longer answered prayers, or in which He no longer worked mighty works.
Even the gospel the apostles and Disciples of Christ preached was preached with power due to the gifts of the Holy Spirit that operated in them. It wasn’t that they were of superior intelligence, it wasn’t that they came from exceptional stock, and save for two of them they were not extensively educated. It wasn’t eloquence, it wasn’t hermeneutics, it wasn’t cadence, it wasn’t tonality, and it wasn’t delivery. The reason they were so effective in preaching the gospel of Christ, the reason so many hearts were stirred and turned toward repentance was because the power of the Holy Spirit gave life to the words they spoke, and convicted those who heard them spoken.
For those who would attempt to claim that only some of the gifts are still among God’s children, while others have been removed, I submit to you it is an either or proposition. Either all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available, operating, and manifesting within the congregation of God, or none of the gifts are available, operating and manifesting.
If Christ promised that the Comforter would come, then the only thing keeping us from experiencing Him is our own doubt and unbelief. If Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us and in us until the end of the age, then we either believe Him at His word, or call Him a liar to His face.
Yes, Jesus said that in the last days there would be false prophets, but He also said that there would be false teachers, so logic would dictate that if we dismiss all prophecy as being false because Christ warned of false prophets, then we must likewise dismiss all teaching as being false because He warned of false teachers as well.
We are commanded to test the spirits, we are commanded to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and especially that of tongues in an orderly manner during public worship, and in so doing not only will we spare ourselves undue heartache due to the allowance of deception in our hearts, we will also grow in God during times of fellowship with the brethren.
It is when we attempt to do as the church of Corinth did, when we attempt to highlight the gift of speaking in tongues and think ourselves superior for having been granted this gift, or operate in it in a matter outside biblical parameters that confusion takes root and begins to bloom, creating an atmosphere of disorder and disarray.
We cannot blame God for the outcome of our actions, if our actions were not in accordance with His holy word. When manifested properly, and in harmony with scripture the gift of speaking in other tongues edifies the individual, and when coupled with that of interpretation of tongues is able to edify the entire body of believers.
When speaking to God via the gift of tongues, because this is what Paul tells us tongues is, we are able to commune with Him unhindered by doubt or distraction. We know that we are speaking mysteries to God, we know that we are edifying ourselves, and we know that we are growing in Him when we operate in this gift.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.