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During the days of the prophet Joel, God promised to pour out His Spirit and that sons and daughters would prophesy, old men would dream dreams, and young men would see visions (Joel 2:28).
On the day of Pentecost, when all those in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and proclaimed that it was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:16-17).
The day of Pentecost also marked the beginning of the New Testament church as we know it.
So, the day of Pentecost which ushered in the outpouring of the Spirit of God coincided with the beginnings of the New Testament church. It’s as if God saw that it was necessary for the church to be a Holy-Spirit empowered body.
The truth is that it is only through our being empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish the divine mission of the church.
Also, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came spiritual gifts—gifts given to believers by the Holy Spirit. For instance, Joel’s prophecy mentions prophesying and seeing visions. On the day of Pentecost, every recipient experienced speaking in other tongues. Then Paul the apostle addresses spiritual gifts more completely in chapter 12 of his first letter to the church of Corinth.
For the record, by spiritual gifts I mean supernatural abilities granted by the Holy Spirit such as those enumerated by Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10—the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, etc.
Three Points about Spiritual Gifts
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul the apostle writes, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (verse 7, NASB). … Using this one verse as the basis, let me share three points about spiritual gifts.
1. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself through spiritual gifts. Note that in the verse, Paul refers to spiritual gifts as “the manifestation of the Spirit.” The point is that when we gather in the name of the Lord, we know the Holy Spirit is in our midst. We can’t see Him, however, because He is a Spirit. But the Holy Spirit can manifest His presence through the operation of spiritual gifts among us.
2. Spiritual gifts were not limited to the apostles. According to the verse, not only the apostles, “But to each one [“to every man,” (KJV)] is given the manifestation of the Spirit.” Some of you who read this post may not believe in spiritual gifts for today but that they ceased to exist at the end of the apostolic age. It is not my intent to debate that point. But based on 1 Corinthians 12:7 and Joel 2:28, spiritual gifts were never limited to the apostles.
3. Spiritual gifts are “for the common good” of the body. That means each of us in Christ has received a gift or gifts from the Holy Spirit to contribute so that when we come together the body as a whole is blessed. Spiritual gifts are for ministering to the body of Christ. They are not for gaining attention to ourselves. Nor are they to be used as a basis for showing how spiritual we are. They are for ministering to the body—nothing more, nothing less.
When I come to church, I love to hear biblical and practical preaching. I love gospel music. But while there are certain things that only the preaching of the Word can accomplish, there are other things that require the works of the Holy Spirit. Hence, when we gather in the name of the Lord, let us not only allow the Word of God to minister to us but also let us be open to the works of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
Copyright © 2021 by Frank King. All rights reserved.