The Holy Spirit 04: The program of the Holy Spirit for Believers

The past three postings “The Holy Spirit #01,02,03 dealt with the Person, the presence, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We now want to discuss the program of the Holy Spirit for believers.

First, I want to make it unquestionably clear that ALL – ALL – of God’s children are born into the family of God and BAPTIZED by the Holy Spirit the moment Christ is received. John 3:5 states: . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

This second birth makes all the newly born ones members of the family of God. John 1:12 says: But as many as received [Christ], to them gave he power to become the sons [and daughters] of God

Since one can only be a son or daughter through birth, it is clear that the placing into God’s family by a second birth takes place at salvation. However, there is more to it because one is also BAPTIZED into the Body of Christ as the birth occurs. First Corinthians 12:13 states: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . .. This baptism takes place at salvation and happens to every believer.

Theological accurateness will not allow the BAPTISM to be a subsequent or second work of grace but the original work of grace that occurs at salvation. It is erroneous for one who is saved to seek the BAPTISM when one’s salvation produced the BAPTISM. In fact, . . . if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9) and we . . . have been all made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).

Since ALL means ALL and since this text has to do with salvation, then ALL who are saved have the Spirit or they are lost. This Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, but He does not necessarily control each believer. Hence, there is a “filling of the Spirit” which every believer, after salvation, may enjoy many times. There is one BAPTISM, but many fillings. That is why the literal Greek for Ephesians 5:18 is: Be being filled with the Spirit.

Now the filling and the baptism are two distinct things.

The BAPTISM is the placing of a redeemed sinner into the Body of Christ at salvation, and the FILLING is one’s yielding to the INDWELLING Spirit’s control. Let’s delve deeper into the subject. Not only does every believer receive the BAPTISM at salvation, but he receives one or more of the GIFTS as well. Much is heard today about the Charismatic Movement. May I shock you and boldly say that every Christian is a charismatic!

You see, the word charismatic or charisma only means a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Every believer is a partaker of the Holy Spirit at salvation when the Holy Spirit baptizes him into Christ’s body. It is at this baptism that the Spirit bestows a gift or His “charisma” upon every newborn child of God. Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are the “charismatic” or “gift” chapters. Ephesians 4:11 describes gifted or charismatic ministers: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. The apostles were first because the church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20).

Once the foundation was laid and the original apostles died, this gift ceased. Prophets were next and the gift was not only foretelling the future but forth telling the facts of the gospel. Today gifted preachers giving forth the “good news” manifest this evidence of the Spirit. Evangelists, pastors, and teachers are self explanatory and are also recipients of the Spirit’s gifts. This often explains the failures of men who seek the ministry as a vocation. They have never been called and “charismatized” by the Spirit and therefore fail. It is not a job, it is a holy calling.

Gifts For All Believers

The gifts that follow are signs all believers possess. I want to again emphasize that every believer receives at least one of the gifts of the Spirit. They are freely presented to all believers as a result of the BAPTISM that placed the gifted believer into the Body of Christ. Romans 12 speaks about this Body into which all God’s children are placed and 

states in Romans 12:4-8: For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing [yes, differing] according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity [or liberality]; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Now Romans 12:3 states: . . . God hath dealt to EVERY man the measure of faith (emphasis mine.) Some have one of the gifts mentioned already.

Others must find theirs in I Corinthians 12:8-11: For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: BUT ALL THESE [Hear it again: ALL THESE] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to EVERY MAN [How many? – EVERY MAN] severally as he [the Holy Spirit] will (emphasis mine).

It is not the gift one seeks that is important but the gift the Holy Spirit wills to give by grace. Please stay with the Book.

Different Gifts For All Believers

It is not God’s will that all members of the Body should have the same gift.

When one has three eyes or seven fingers, he is a misfit.

So it is with the Body of Christ when there is an improper balance of gifts.

That is why Paul says in I Corinthians 12:15-18: If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, l am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, l am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. Every part of the body is needed and every member in Christ’s body has a gift that fits into the program as needed.

So we again find in 1 Corinthians 12:28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.We will consider the gifts in their totality before concluding the book.

The point I want to make now is that every believer has at least one gift, and each believer’s gift differs.

1 Corinthians 12:

Are all apostles? [The answer is obviously `No!]

are all prophets? [No!]

are all teachers? [No!]

are all workers of miracles? [No!]

Have all the gifts of healing? [No!]

do all speak with tongues? [No!]

do all interpret? [No!]

But covet earnestly the best gifts . . . .

1 Corinthians 12:29-31

The gifts described as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers lead to prophesying, ministering, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling, and showing mercy. Clergy and laymen may experience these gifts. These are so understandable that we will only explain the final listing of nine gifts, described in I Corinthians 12:8-10.

The gift of wisdom or the ability to speak with discretion. One may have an earned doctorate and be unwise in the usage of accumulated intelligence. On the other hand, one with a minimum of acquired textbook knowledge may have the ability to say the right thing at the proper moment.

The gift of knowledge or the ability to delve into the deep things of God and then communicate them with simplicity to hungry hearts.

The gift of faith or the ability to attempt the impossible for God. Joshua believed God and the sun stood still. Peter believed God and walked on the water. Since this is not a gift for all, do not foolishly launch out on some gigantic project for the kingdom and fall flat on your face. Be sure the venture is in the will of God (I John 5:14-15).

The gifts of healing are given to some, at times, who have the faith to trust God for miraculous healings. In Christ’s day, healing generally was not produced by any virtue of the person healed but entirely through the gift of the healer. The dead were raised.

What faith did they have?

Nevertheless, they were resuscitated. On the other hand, there are times when the gift of healing is impossible, even though the healer may be very sincere.

The problem?

He has not sought the will of God for the one he is attempting to heal. First John 5:14 states: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. When one has not sought God’s will and attempts to heal, it is all in vain. One goes through the motions and all is futile and hopeless.

The Apostle Paul understood this well. 

That is why he left his helper, Trophimus, sick at Miletum (II Timothy 4:20). Epaphroditus also was left behind sick – nigh unto death (Philippians 2:27). Remember, God can heal anytime and anywhere when it is His will. The one enabled to heal will be given the faith to do the job properly, once God’s will is made plain to him through prayer and the Word for each case.

The gift of miracles is the ability to win the lost for Christ. 

Do you know of any greater miracle than getting a man saved for all eternity? 

This is the reason: . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . (Acts 1:8).

The gift of prophecy is the ability to tell forth the “good news” with power.

The gift of discernment is the ability to judge whether the message is from God or Satan.

1 John 4:1 says: . . . try the spirits . . . . and 1 John 4:9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

The gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues was the ability to speak in unlearned, foreign languages. Acts 2:4,6,8, state respectively: . . . they . . . began to speak with other tongues. Also: . . . every man heard them speak in his own language . . . and . . . how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

And again: . . . we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God . . . (Acts 2:11).

Some 14 or more languages were spoken and understood. In 1 Corinthians 14 the word unknown is in italics, meaning that it cannot be found in the original Greek text. Think of what could happen if missionaries received the original gift as they went to China, Japan, Germany, etc. Again, the point I want to make in closing this chapter is:

All of God’s people have the BAPTISM, and ALL HAVE ONE OF THE GIFTS – therefore, we are ALL CHARISMATICS. 

You do not believe it? 

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY MAN to profit withal (1 Corinthians 12:7). 1 Corinthians 12:11 states: But all these [gifts] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to EVERY MAN severally AS HE WILL (emphasis mine). Again: . . . unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4:7).

If you, dear Christian, have still not located your gift, try “helps” in 1 Corinthians 12:28. If you “help” as a counselor, an usher, a choir member, a nursery worker, a bus captain, or a youth worker, and if God has given you a special knack in knowing how to do it, you have a “gift.” Because you have the baptism and the evidence, you are one who has the Holy Spirit and the evidence.

In the next posting I will discuss the filling of the Spirit. Although we have all of the Holy Spirit, He does not always have all of us. When He does, holy living becomes the believer’s experience.

One can have the baptism and the gifts and still be carnal because he does not have the filling. One can minister the gifts and be out of fellowship with God – evangelists, pastors, and teachers often do. It takes a Spirit-filled Christian to minister properly. The gift is for service; the filling is for spiritual service.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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