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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Gifts And Special Power Of The Holy Spirit

By James Massa

"When He ascended up on high, He lead captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." (Ephesians 4:8)

When Jesus ascended up into Heaven He gave us spiritual gifts to help us continue His work, He gave us the power to do mighty signs and wonders to glorify and exalt His holy name. In the gospel Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12). Jesus said He would give us the power to do greater works than He did. In the gospel Jesus raised the dead to life, healed the crippled and He made the blind see, cast out devils and commanded the sea to be still, we not only have the power to do these signs to confirm the preaching of the word, but we also have the power to do greater things than these because Jesus has gone to the Father and sits at His right hand. "Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God."(Luke 22:69)

One of the greatest works we can do is to save a lost soul and bring it into Heaven, that's one of the greater works that Jesus gave us the power to do. When we receive Jesus into our lives and receive the Holy spirit, the Holy spirit can use us to bring people out of the Kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of light, the greatest miracle we can ever be used to perform, is the miracle of bringing a person into the Kingdom of light so that when they pass away, death is swallowed up in victory and they live on in the Kingdom of Heaven after death. We can bring someone into the Kingdom of Heaven by sharing Jesus Christ with them and leading them to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When someone is lead to Jesus and salvation, it is truly a remarkable transformation and miracle, I believe it is the greatest work we can ever be used to do and it is a manifestation of the "gift of miracles". When someone is lead to Jesus Christ and receives His spirit into their hearts, they are given a new heart and a new spirit, and the change in them is miraculous and remarkable. Some of the most dark and wicked men have been completely transformed into God's servants of light through the power of salvation; "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."(John 1:12-13). When someone receives Jesus as their personal savior, old things pass away and all things become new, God actually puts a new heart and new spirit within them. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." (Ezek 36:26). So this is the greatest gift the Lord actually gives us, and the greatest miracle we can ever be used to perform, and that is the gift of being used to lead people to salvation. We have the power to lead people to Jesus and totally transform their hearts and spirits, and that is an eternal miracle that lasts after death and goes on for eternity as they dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

It is good for Gods people to desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and it says in the Bible that's it's a good thing to desire all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are multiple manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 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 works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."(1 Corinthians 12:7-11). There are many different manifestations and gifts of the spirit as you can see, and all these gifts are to be exercised according to our proportion of faith (Rom 12:3, 6). When Jesus healed a man who was blind he said, "according to your faith be it unto you", we need to have the faith to move a mountain if we want to move a mountain, and we need to listen to the Lord and believe what He tells us. If the Lord tells you to tell a man in a wheelchair, to get up and walk as today is the day of his salvation and healing, you need to listen to the Lord and trust in Him that He can do miracles. If we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can tell a mountain to move and it will move through the power of God that flows through us.

When Jesus was walking on the water when the disciples were on a boat out our sea, when he got back into the boat, the boat arrived at its destination immediately. When Jesus climbed into the boat, the whole boat actually teleported to its destination immediately! Most Christians do not allow Jesus to get into their boat; they do not travel with Jesus in their boat as they sail through life. If we are sailing by ourselves and with mere mortals we are not going to get far, but if we let Jesus completely into our lives and let Him sail with us through life, we will get to where God wants to take us very quickly. Unless we have Jesus in the boat with us, we can never get to where God wants to take us, and God really wants to take us into the realms of impossibility that defy logic and the understanding of science, but we can not be taken to this ultimate destination, unless we allow Jesus to sail with us in our boats; as we sail through life.

When we receive the Holy Spirit that is just the beginning, we receive power as the Holy Spirit comes upon us and we receive the Holy Spirit by asking God for it, or getting someone to lay hands on us and praying that the Holy Ghost come upon us. Even if you are saved and have Jesus in your heart, you need to pray for the Holy Spirit, in Acts 19:6 Paul lays hands on saved Christians so they can receive the Holy Spirit, so we see here how after one receives Jesus Christ as their savior, it is good to lay hands on that person, and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

On the day of Pentecost the full spirit of God came upon the disciples with all signs following, a great sound from Heaven erupted like a rushing wind and came into the house the disciples were dwelling in, and fire like cloven tongues rested upon each disciple and they began to speak in new tongues and various tongues they didn't know; all this happened in the beginning of the book of Acts, and throughout the book of Acts the disciples had great and mighty signs following them, which confirmed the word they preached. The Pentecost experience empowered the apostles to great things as the water of life was poured into them, and God commissioned them to go out and give life to a dying and fallen world with His living and miraculous water of life. The water of life is Gods Holy Spirit and it can bring life to anything and everything.

If someone believes Jesus Christ is their personal savior and Lord; is convicted from scripture that they too can have their own Pentecostal experience; and has a deep sense of need to experience this and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to glorify God, they can also receive the same Pentecostal experience as the apostles, if they obey Jesus and are in His will.

The Holy Spirit actually takes control of us and uses us to manifest its power and perform exploits, "the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."(Daniel 11:32). The signs and wonders done through us that confirm the word that's being preached are manifested by the Holy Spirit, and it's purely the Holy Spirit that is performing the exploits through us. Jesus said "without Me you can do nothing", its only through the power of Jesus and His Holy Spirit that we can do anything, and we must show that its only God working through us when He does might deeds through us, and that it is through no power of our own.

The greatest sign and wonder that can ever be done to confirm the preaching of the word, is the saving of a soul, when someone is saved and their life is transformed, nothing can beat that miracle. Another sign that confirms the preaching of the word which comes second to salvation (spiritual healing) is the healing of ones physical body. In the New Testament Jesus healed the physical sicknesses and afflictions that had afflicted many men and women throughout their lives; he also healed people from death and raised them from the dead as they lay dead in their tombs. The Apostles throughout the book of Acts had the Holy Spirit and Jesus work through them, as they were used to make the crippled walk, make the blind see and heal all manner of sicknesses and diseases, the power of the Holy Spirit was like dynamite throughout the ministry of the Apostles in the book of Acts, as they lived by faith and were obedient to the Lord.

In probably the most brilliant and accurate demonstration of how the spirit of God works through mere mortals to do miracles, we read in the book of Acts 3:6 how a lame and crippled man was sitting at the gate of the temple asking people for money. When the crippled man saw the two apostles John and Peter walk past he asked them for money, Peter and John then stared directly at the crippled man and they said to him, "look at us", and when the crippled man looked at them they told him to get up and walk, the crippled man obeyed Peter after he was miraculously healed and got up and walked, as he jumped up and down praising God for the miracle he had given him through these two apostles. Its interesting how we see here how the two apostles asked the crippled man to look at them, I believe they got the crippled man to look directly into their eyes so he could see the glory and light of Jesus in their eyes, so the man would have faith in the spirit of Jesus that radiated from their eyes instead of having faith in these mere men. Jesus said, "The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light." The eye is the lamp of our body, so if our eyes are full of goodness and light that means our eyes are full of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, so when this crippled man looked into the eyes of the apostles he must have seen the power of Jesus in their eyes, and he had faith in that power and light that emanated from their eyes and he was healed by that power. As followers of Christ we too have that power flowing through us and radiating from our eyes, the more we obey the Lord and follow Him, the more power that flows and radiates through us. If we have Gods power flowing through us like electricity our mere shadow will heal the sick, because God is walking with us and God is a God that's heals thee.

God does not always heal people of their spiritual or physical afflictions for reasons the natural man does not understand, Gods ways are not our ways, so his actions are not always fully understood by a mere mortal. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sometimes a person's affliction and sickness is left with that person even if they are a servant of God or in His will. Paul himself had a messenger of Satan that afflicted him like a thorn in the flesh through his whole ministry, and when he prayed to the Lord to take it away, the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient for him, so Paul never had that thorn in his flesh which was a messenger of Satan ever healed or taken away from him. It was Gods will that this thorn in Paul's flesh remain even though Paul prayed to be healed from it, this incident is one that illustrates the mystery that surrounds the purpose ways and will of our great God.

I once saw a preacher by the name of Nick Vujicic who was severely handicapped preaching a very inspiring sermon as he related the word of God to his own life, and preached on how God had given him the strength to overcome his disability and great obstacles in life, and this man was an inspiration to me and still is. This preacher was a man who was born with no arms or legs; as he was born without any limbs at all. As I watched a man with no arms or legs placed upon a table, which he stood upon with his buttocks as he had no legs, I was taken by his passion and love for God, as He preached on how God had given him the strength to overcome his disability, and had raised him up as a mighty apostle who changed lives and inspired the world. The fact that this man was able to praise God and inspire an audience to be better people, and that they could do anything they wanted with Gods help despite any shortcomings they had is one of the greatest miracles I've ever seen. If people are told they are not good enough to serve God, or are not smart enough or cannot speak properly or are told they are worthless, when they see Nick Vujicic preach their whole lives change, and they are given a miraculous motivation and supernatural fire that makes them believe nothing is impossible with God. They look upon Nick Vujicic who has no limbs, and they think to themselves, "if God can use a severely handicapped man like Nick to be his representative on earth, he can use me too!" Nick is a true example of a man who praises God in the storm, he is a man who shows how God can inspire and use anyone despite what shortcomings the world sees on them. God sometimes allows the breaks in a clay jar to not be repaired, so his glory and life giving water can flow through those breaks and cracks, and I really see the glory and inspiration of God flow through the breaks of the clay jar called Nick Vujicic.

Jesus Christ has the power over all sicknesses and powers that be, so its not up to us if someone gets healed or not, its up to the Lord and we need to listen to the Lord, as He is the one who heals and it is Him who has the power to heal and not us. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."(Matt 28:18). Jesus has the authority over all sicknesses and diseases and he works out everything to fulfill His will, people are Gods vessels and sometimes more of Gods glory can shine through a break in a vessel, so God sometimes leaves those breaks without restoring them so His glory can shine through the breaks in that vessel. When I saw preacher "Nick Vujicic" who has no limbs preach, although I saw that he had no arms or legs and from a worldly perspective he looked unhealthy, I saw the healthiest spirit I had even seen a man possess as he shone and radiated with Gods power. I've known some people, who have very healthy bodies with all their limbs, but their spirits were the: unhealthiest, hurting and oppressed spirits I'd ever seen. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing." (John 6:63). In the end the condition of the flesh profits nothing, it's the condition of a spirit that brings life, but if its God will to heal someone's flesh and its in align with his purposes He will heal a persons flesh, and one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to not only be able to heal souls but to be able to heal the flesh and all manner of diseases.

In the book of Exodus, the Lord tells the Israelites "I am the Lord that healeth thee." The Lord is a Lord who heals us and wants to heal us, and because the Lord loves us and wants us to live up to our greatest potential he knows what's best for us, and the best healing we can ever receive is the healing of our spirit, and the Lord will often heal our flesh and sicknesses as well. One of the main signs that follow the preaching of the word, is when an apostle lays their hands on a person with a disease, then that person recovers as a sign to confirm the preaching of the word, "they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."(Mark 16:18).

By the stripes of the Lord we are healed. Jesus was whipped and left to die on the cross, he had to go through pain and suffering, but after the suffering He rose to glory three days later. As disciples and follows of Christ we are called to suffer with Him, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him."(2 Tim 2:12). If a person is suffering and God doesn't heal or deliver them immediately, they will eventually be healed and rise to glory and reign with Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered on the cross and lay in a tomb for three days, but His Father raised Him to glory after a time, those who are suffering shall reign with Christ, and the Lord will deliver those who suffer, because He is the Lord that healeth thee.

Another gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of Prophecy. Prophecy is the voice of God speaking through a human being, "I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him."( Deuteronomy 18:18). The gift of prophecy is having a direct phone line to God, so you can receive messages from God and His very spirit speaks through you, and then when the Lord speaks through us, it is not we that speak but the spirit of our Father that speaks through us.

Often a Prophet actually hears a voice speak to them, the only way to confirm as to whether the spirit the Prophet is speaking to is of God is to test the spirit. We can test the spirit by asking the voice if it confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, if the voice denies Jesus Christ came in the flesh, remains silent or curses you, this means the spirit is a spirit of Satan. However if the spirit confesses Jesus Christ came in the flesh, it's a spirit of God and it can be trusted to obtain prophecy from, "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God."(I John 4:2-3). Most of the time when a person receives prophecy, the prophecy is coming from the Holy Spirit; prophecies can also come directly from Jesus Christ or the Father. Sometimes Jesus Christ can actually visit a person and give them a direct prophecy; this happened to me sometime ago when Jesus visited me in park and gave me prophecies and revelations of the future. Jesus also has appeared to me in visions in my home and told me to write certain things, however when He visited me in the park, it was the most visible and tangible experience I had ever experienced in relation to Him visiting me.

Prophecy is a powerful gift to have, and prophecy is basically direct messages from God. Often in the Old Testament a Prophet would say, "Thus says the Lord", then the Prophet would speak Gods exact words that He was speaking through them. The Prophetic messages can vary in their type; sometimes they are prophetic warnings, prophetic predictions of things to come, prophetic messages of doom and sometimes an edifying prophecy of exhortation filled with love. Whenever God wants to share something with the world or a particular person or group of people, he will often employ a Prophet to deliver the message to them, and when the Prophet speaks it is God speaking through him or her.

Words of knowledge are another gift of the spirit and can often be a very powerful tool in evangelizing. Jesus used words of knowledge when he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, when He met her at the well, He told her everything about her life, He told her about the men she had married and about the current man she was having a relationship with; Jesus had never met this woman before so it was clear to this woman he was receiving this knowledge about her supernaturally. Having the gift of words of knowledge is the ability to receive knowledge or facts about someone or something in a supernatural way.

Words of wisdom work in conjunction with a word of knowledge. An example of someone using a word of wisdom and a word of knowledge in conjunction with each other; is when Ananias received a word of knowledge in a vision he received from God regarding Saul and then acted upon that vision of facts. God showed Ananias in a vision that he would lay hands on Saul and heal him from his blindness; this vision was the word of knowledge. Ananias then applied a word of wisdom when he went to visit Saul and told him that he was there to heal him in the name of Jesus; Ananias then laid hands on Saul and healed him. A word of wisdom is basically when you express the words of knowledge you receive from God, just like Ananias was able to express and manifest the vision he received from God, when he acted upon the word of knowledge or facts he received from God.

Discernment of spirits is a very important gift that is needed in ministry, disciples of Jesus Christ need to use discernment to recognize wicked spirits and spiritual strongholds the enemy is using against them, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."( Ephesians 6:12). Christians are at war with spirits, and most of these spirits are made up of rebelling angels who have followed Satan out of Heaven in defiance against God. These fallen angels often use men and women as vehicles to fulfill their purposes, or they can often hover around people and influence and attack them spiritually. In the Bible it says that Satan seeks to dwell within humans (Matt 12:10), so satanic spirits often dwell in the body of a person, especially people involved in the occult, the occult basically opens up a spiritual doorway for satan and his followers to enter into. The Bible also tells us that Satan is a seducing spirit who often seduces us through our pride, self righteousness, greed and other temptations; Satan is also the accuser of Gods people (Rev 12:10). Other attributes that we know about Satan is that he is a liar and a murderer, and any spirit in a person that manifests any of these characteristics is a spirit of Satan.

In Acts 16, Paul discerns that a woman has a spirit of divination; divination is an occult spirit which is basically a demon that can help a person tell the future, divination is practiced today in psychic readings and through clairvoyance. Anyone practicing divination or any other occult activity with spirits that do not confess Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is defiling themselves with a demonic spirit of Satan. Discernment of spirit is also used when God uses somebody to heal somebody, sometimes a person's sickness can be the result of an affliction by a spirit or demon. In Luke 13, Jesus discerns a spirit of infirmity had caused a woman to be sick, so we can see here how discernment of spirits is important, when he go about to help people and deliver them from the strongholds of Satan. Asking God in prayer, listening intently to the Holy spirit and testing the spirits in accordance with 1 John 4:1, is the best way to discern the type of spirit you are dealing with. God has given us a spirit of love, peace and of a sound mind, and he is also more powerful than Satan, the spirit and power of God is monumental, so when the enemy comes in like a flood you will see Gods spirit lifts a standard against it, so the enemy goes running. God gives us a spirit of love and peace, but he also gives us a tremendous amount of POWER if we obey Him and are in His will.

The working of miracles is another gift we receive from the Lord. Miracles similar to when: Joshua commanded the sun and moon to be still, Moses struck a rock and caused water to come out and when the red sea was parted, Elijah called fire down from the sky, Jesus fed the 5000 and when the Hebrews survived when Nebuchadnezzar put them in the furnace. Jesus said that if we have the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains, if we have faith anything is possible. Nothing is impossible with God. Miracles are easy to perform, you just need to have faith in God and know that it's Him that's doing it all. God is the God of miracles who created the heavens, the stars, the planets and the universe, he can do anything he wishes and there's no limit to what he can do.

Speaking in tongues and interpreting are other gifts of the spirit that can be used to edify and speak to God. If speaking in tongues are done in front of a congregation there should be an interpreter there to interpret the tongues, so the message received in tongues can be interpreted and shared with the body of believers for the edification of the body of Christ. Often believers speak in tongues in front of a congregation to edify themselves and to signify they are special; however the gifts of the spirit are given to profit the whole body of Christ and not just one person, so if the tongues are not being interpreted it does not profit the body of Christ. If nobody is interpreting a person's tongues then the person should remain silent in the church, "If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church." (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). Another aspect of speaking in tongues is when a person is able to speak in another language known to man, that he himself has never spoken before. Examples of this is when Christian missionaries from western countries have gone to Japan and met a Japanese person on the street, and wanted to speak to them about the gospel but could not speak the language, and then all of a sudden they are given the ability to speak Japanese so they can communicate the gospel with them.

The gift of faith is another gift of the spirit, and this is a special type of faith. The gift of faith can only come through hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith without works is dead, so the special type of faith which is a gift from God is put into action. An example of special faith is when Elijah had the faith to pray for rain after three and a half years of drought with persistent faith. By faith Peter told Aeneas who had been sick of the palsy and in bed for eight years to rise up and walk… and he did! Peter had a special faith that Jesus had given him to move mountains and do the impossible; we can have that faith to if we ask!

James preaches on various occasions at churches and other events, he has also had many religious and spiritual articles published in various publications. James was saved by the grace of God from a life of: drugs, crime and occultism. James believes his greatest testimony is that he was brought into God's Kingdom and his life was saved through the grace of Jesus Christ. You can contact James by emailing him at: James_m183@hotmail.com

 

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