The Gifts of God’s Holy Spirit will be here for the Christian church until ‘that which is perfect has come’ (1 Cor.13). There are some people today who deny the use of some of the spiritual gifts because they think “that which is perfect” refers to the completed Bible. And they say not all, but some of the gifts ceased in the first century, and are not for the church today. However, when we read the Scripture in context, it is clear that the “perfect” refers to the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. In 1 Cor.13:12 the Word says then we will see “face to face” – not book to face. Also in Joel 2:28-33, Joel prophesied the pouring out of His gifts on His people until the Judgment Day. In these last days the Bride of Christ (the Church) needs all the gifts until our perfect Lord returns for us. After Jesus returns they won’t be necessary.
The Church at Corinth was gifted. They experienced and exercised the spiritual gifts, and yet they were divided and carnal. They had neglected Love. Paul tried to teach the church that the gifts mean nothing without Love. He wrote; “earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (1 Cor.12:31). God’s Agape’ Love is the more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 13) The ability to exercise any of the spiritual gifts mean nothing if it is done without God’s Love. Love is the key. If Christians miss that, everything else we do is a waste of time and effort. John wrote; “He who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love” (1 John 4:8). That is what it all comes down to, and Love is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22).
Our Father gives the gifts of the Holy Spirit to each Christian as He wills, and as we need them. We don’t decide for ourselves what we will receive; that decision comes from the Father to His children (1 Cor.12). Christ gives each of us different gifts, and He works in us and through us in different ways. We make a big mistake if we try to make God go with our plan or system. Jesus doesn’t operate in our lives by a formula or a program. I will probably experience the gifts of the Spirit and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a different way than you will. Don’t try to duplicate someone else’s experience in your life. There is One Holy Spirit but differing gifts, ministries, activities and manifestations of God the Spirit. Our Father does what He wants, when He wants. It is a great blessing when He uses us, and gives us the gifts that are needed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Whenever we partake of Communion is a good time for us to come before Jesus and ask, as David did; “Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps.139:23,24). It is interesting how good we humans are at examining others, but how blind we can be to our own sins. It is almost impossible to examine yourself, because the human heart is deceitful and wicked (Jer.17:9,10). Before we partake of the communion bread and cup is the perfect time for us to ask Christ to examine our hearts; while we hold in our hands the symbols of the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross to forgive us of our sins (1 Cor.11).
Beware of becoming overly confident in your own abilities. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” All temptations are “common to all of mankind” (1 Cor.10). We are all human. You are not the exception. You are not the Lone Ranger. You are not better or worse than anyone else. We all face failure at every turn. But Christ, our Rock is faithful. He will always give us a way of escape if we will listen to Him and His Word. That doesn’t mean necessarily that we will always take the way of escape, but Christ always offers it. If I fail, it is because of my unfaithfulness, not His. – Pastor Chuck Smith 1927–2013