Luke continually connects the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We must always maintain the pre-eminence of Jesus. As Jesus did ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit, so we can do ministry like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. Works of the Spirit: Four teams
The cessationist’s position essentially says that the supernatural gifts like tongues, prophesy, healing, miracles, any of the more supernatural, you know extraordinary gifts, function only in the early church and are not to be practiced today.
So there are no tongues today. There’s no prophecies today. There’s no healings today. There’s no miracles today. That was for the early church, not for today.
We don’t believe that. We don’t believe that certain gifts were for then and they’re not for now. This came from Augustine – his early position was cessationism and later, he changed his mind. In the more modern era, there was a theologian named Benjamin Warfield, B.B. Warfield, who was afraid that if we allowed tongues and prophesy, then we would have revelation that could be in competition with the authority of the Bible. And so he and some others essentially argued for the early Augustinian cessatonist position in an effort to get rid of lesser forms of revelation so that there would be no competition for the Bible.
Some of you come from cessationist backgrounds. Some of you get freaked out when you see someone raise their hands in worship. You think, “Oh my gosh! It’s a charismatic!”
You get freaked out if you think that someone is praying in tongues. We do not hold, as a church, the cessationist position.”
We are charismatic with a seatbelt. Supernatural gifts are given to every generation and should be practiced today, according to the seatbelt of Scripture.
So we believe that things like tongues and prophesy and healings and miracles all do exist today but they’re supposed to be done in a way that is Biblical, not violating the teachings of the Bible
There’s rules, according to the Bible that govern how these things are to be done. So what we are saying is all of the gifts exist today. Sometimes they are abused, but as long as we obey the teaching of the Bible and we maintain the Bible as the highest authority and the gifts are used according to the Bible, then there is no problem and there is no conflict and there’s nothing to be scared of.
They believe that all the gifts are for today, but they tend to have at least functionally, a lower view of the Bible. That, that contemporary revelation is, in effect, equal to Bible. We don’t hold anything above the authority of the Bible, which means if you say you’re a prophet, we test you by the Bible and your prophesy.
If you say you have tongues, we test how you function in your prayer language or your prophetic utterance, according to the Bible.
The charismanic position is one where there is, sort of, an abuse of spiritual power. Someone saying, “I’m God’s anointed and I speak for God. Put your Bible down and listen to me.” That is how you start a cult.
You may ask, “How do I know whether or not I’m a charismanic?” Four things that should cause you concern:
The first is if the husband and wife are co-pastors. Where accountability lies within one family.
If the name of the church includes any of these words – holy ghost, anointed, revival, dominion, rain, fire, or Shekinah glory. And the images are ones of flames and fire.
Thirdly, where prayer ministry includes violence!
Fourthly, where worship is designed to change your sense of reality.
We’re not a charismanic church, we’re just a Bible believing charismatic church.
Pentecostal position is similar to the charismatic position in that it believes that all the gifts are in operation, the tongues, prophesy, healing, and miracles with this exception – that some Christians have the Holy Spirit and some don’t and that the only way you know you have the Holy Spirit is if you speak in tongues, and that tongues is essentially the evidence of having the Holy Spirit, which is not true.
So our position is that if you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is not exclusively evidenced by the speaking in tongues. Some people will speak in tongues, other people will have other kinds of gifts.
2. Sorting out the ignorance (v1)
First, there is a distinction between a natural talent and a supernatural or spiritual gift. Who gave you your natural talent!!
Some have perfect pitch and a great singing voice. Some can write code and have all kinds of technical skills, right? These are gifts that God has given you and you can have those gifts and abilities, those talents, without being a Christian. That’s why there’s people who don’t know Jesus who have some amazing talents and abilities and a can do some amazing things. Not because of the Holy Spirit indwelling them as a Christian, but because God made them and gave them the certain abilities. And so when we’re talking about spiritual gifts and natural talents, sometimes the error is saying, “Well, I need to find out my gift.” That’s true, but you also need to look at your talent and skills..
Secondly, there is no complete list of spiritual gifts in the New Testament. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 have some lists of gifts. 1 Peter 4 and Ephesians 4 have additional lists of gifts and the lists aren’t all the same.
Third, some people don’t cultivate their spiritual gift, which is an ignorant thing to do. Discovering your gifts are trial and error, figuring out where’s my passion? Where am I effective? What gives me joy? What do other people see and how do they respond? And do they see that I have some ability that God has given me in this area? Your gift needs to be cultivated.
3. The primary issue is Jesus (v2)
The primary issue is always Jesus. Yet the entire Trinity is involved in the distribution of spiritual gifts. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.” Verse 5. “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” That’s the Lord, Jesus. And “There are different kinds of working, but the same God,” that’s God the Father, who “works all of them in all men”.
The Holy Spirit has brought that gift in to you to now enable and empower you to do that thing that God the Father has for you to do and your whole life is about looking at Jesus,
4. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to serve others (v7)
To bless others. To benefit others. So that the whole church, he says in 1 Corinthians 14, may be edified.
That the whole church may be built up, he says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians 12.
That God gave you a gift – and let me say this – that you are a gift to this church. That you are a gift to this church. That God has given you to this church as a gift.
And the Holy Spirit is in you and the spiritual gift that has been imparted to you is part of the gift that you give. And you serve and other people help. So if you teach, you teach and other people learn. If you’re in encourager, you encourage and other people grow. If you’re an administrator, you help us organise this growing church.
Whatever the capacity God has given you, he has sent you here on divine mission with important things to do and we need you and you need us and we all need each other to become the church that is most like Jesus, so that as many people as possible hear about his love, know of his affection, and are transformed by the Holy Spirit. So we’re all in this thing together and we each have our part to play.
God has given us everything we need to get the job done!
5. What’s your part in GBC?
What is your part? Why has God brought you here? To become a Christian? To be a person who participates in a meaningful way and figures out how God has knit and wired you together to do something to help make this church better so that we can help see more people come to know and love Jesus.
That’s why we’re all here. I want you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into your part in this body of Christ. Holy Spirit, what do you want me to do? Where’s my part? Where’s my gifts? Where should I start? What passions, desires, dreams, and abilities do I have and why did you bring me here and what am I supposed to do? And he’ll tell you. He’ll lead you, he’ll guide you.