4 “There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. 5 There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. 6 There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.
7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8 To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.” 1Cor 12:4-11
There are books and volumes written on gifting and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Scriptures contain numerous examples of references to them. The Holy Spirit at Pentecost poured into all that called upon the name of Jesus divine gifts of knowledge, wisdom, healing, prophecy, spiritual discernment, tongues and others. And that same Holy Sprit that fell on and filled the Apostles falls on and fills everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus today. So why are these gifts of the Spirit that were so evident and a vital part of the witness of the early church, so absent from the church, particularly the church in the west, Europe and America?
One reason I think is we don’t value them or dare I say, think we need them. With the advances of medicine, removal of the sick and dying from us through nursing homes and hospice centers, we don’t feel we need God to heal us. With the advances and availability of the internet, we also believe we have all the wisdom, knowledge and information on future events already in the palm of our hands. We feel in control.
A second reason I believe, is that these Gifts of the Spirit and miracles that used to be a central part of the gathering of the church, have not been relegated to “fringe” ministries in the life of a church. When was the last time at your church you had people come up and be prayed for healing, and actually seen people healed? This important Gift of the Spirit has been removed from Sunday gatherings, except for “blurbs from mouths and in bulletins to “pray for my Aunt Mary who is sick with cancer,” and been relegated to little attended (especially by the lead pastor) weekly or monthly “Thursday Evening” healing services for those “Pentecostal” members of the church. We are all people of Pentecost if the church!!!
A third reason is, we don’t have the time to see miracles, hear prophecies, have people be healed. In our tightly scheduled, clock watching services, who has time to pray for an hour of two for the falling of the Spirit and people to be healed. There is a second service that follows, ball games, lunch at Applebee’s for God’s sake! We have more important things to do than sit and pray.
Anther reason is we don’t like spending time with people. We are not people with welcoming front porches, we are people with back decks. Spending an hour or so together on Sunday mornings and possibly a Bible study is about all we can stand. Yet almost every time in Scriptures the Holy Spirit falls and gifts are manifested is when the people have been gathered together, for hours, days, weeks in prayer and worship. There is that thing about” Whenever two or more are gathered.” We do not come together as a church to fast, pray, and seek Gifts of the Spirit. We are “independent” in our faith.
With all these things I listed above plus other, it is no surprise people in the church do not understand, see, or participate in gifts of the Spirit. It is sad, but it is almost a “miracle” in the church when they do.
Read Joel 2:28-32. The Holy Spirit desires to pour into you and reveal to you his gifts. Meditate on how you, we as a church can receive and be people of power and miracles the church was designed to be.
Here is a link to a 10 minute video from one of my seminary professors Dr. Craig Keener on Pentecost and gifting of the Holy Spirit for you to watch.
After you spend time in Scripture, watch the video, and reflect, please post your thoughts and words from the Spirit as a comment below. As I stated above, spending this time together and all participating is so important.