Luke 1:67-68 – “Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people…NKJV
This week is the Christmas week. Schools have dismissed for the holidays, and stores are having their “biggest sale of the year” to make as much money as they can before Christmas Day! All month, I have used a verse from the account of the birth of Jesus as we have approached this exciting holiday. Whatever we feel about it, He is still the reason for the season for most of us!
Today, I will conclude my look at the manifestation gifts, or the charisma gifts of the Spirit. We have already gone over the power gifts, and the revelation gifts. The gifts that remain are the inspiration gifts, the gifts that say something. Just a reminder that all of the gifts are supernatural in their administration, and should not be used for any purpose other than what He intended, to benefit the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:10 – “to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” NKJV
The inspiration gifts: prophecy, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues, are the most controversial gifts of the mix. Why? I don’t know for a fact! But I believe it is because tongues is so misunderstood in the church, and having a gift that includes tongues, for some, may be a little much. Anyway, I am a staunch believer in the “whole” counsel of the word, so I believe in all of the gifts, and have seen them operate under the anointing enough to know they are real.
The gift of prophecy. In our key text, Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost and he prophesied. This is how the gift works. In his case, it could have been a once in a lifetime manifestation, but the gift of prophesy is activated by the Holy Spirit, as are the other eight gifts. Zacharias suddenly began to speak what was placed in his spirit, or his heart, as the Holy Ghost moved upon him, and he prophesied. Throughout the Bible there are many such instances where individuals prophesied. These people were not considered prophets, but the Spirit moved upon them and gave them a word to “speak” to the people. As such, they prophesied. In order for this to be a gift, and not just a response to the overwhelming presence of God, it must occur frequently in the life of the believer.
I want to veer for a moment and point out that Zacharias didn’t get everybody’s attention by saying, “Thus says the Lord!” Or by saying, “The Lord is saying to me…”. I’m not mocking people who do start out like this, I’m just pointing out that the gift is not to bring attention to the individual, but always, always, to God. This gift has been released in the body to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to men (1 Corinthians 14:3).
The gift of tongues. I have already written about the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. That isn’t this gift. It looks the same, yet it is different. Another thing about tongues, is that it’s one of two gifts that is only seen in the Church age, because the baptism of the Holy Spirit happened after Jesus’ resurrection. The other one is the interpretation of tongues. Maybe this is another reason is it not widely accepted as genuine, because we only learn about it from the early Church.
A person who has been given the gift of tongues, will receive a message from God in a tongue. That tongue is not known by the individual, and thus it is supernatural. However, during the Azusa Street Revival, people who received the gift of tongues was said to have miraculously gained the ability to speak and understand a new language they had never learned. These individuals would then go to that country and become a missionary. On a more “normal” understanding of the gift of tongues, a person would receive an unusual language, or a known language, that would have a prophetic message within it.
This brings us to the interpretation of tongues. Whenever the gift of tongues is in operation, someone with the gift of interpretation of tongues must be present to let the people know what is being said. The same person can have both gifts and can speak in the tongue and interpret it. These gifts operating together equals the gift of prophecy. Again, they are for the edification, comfort, and exhortation of the hearers.
One man shared this testimony: He was invited to church by a friend. He didn’t realize it was a Pentecostal service, but when he did realize it, he didn’t want to be there. Suddenly someone began to speak in tongues. As the tongue went forth, it was his native language. The message that was given really ministered to him. After service he went to the person and began to speak to him in his language thinking the man knew his language. But he did not. He realized then that God had set it up for him to receive that message, resulting in his salvation and in him receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have heard this type of testimony on many occasions.
When a tongue is interpreted, it is not word for word. The tongue could be long, the interpretation could be short. And vice verse. But the message, from God, will encourage and bless those who hear it. It could even be a direct message for a particular person, like in my example.
After I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was given a message both in tongues and in English. We were in Bible study, and the Spirit of the Lord moved on me to speak in tongues. After I finished speaking in tongues, I heard a clear word in my spirit and just said what I heard. When our pastor got up to teach his lesson, it was on the very thing that I had spoken or interpreted from the tongue. The Spirit confirmed his teaching for the evening. It shocked me. I knew I hadn’t made it up at that point, and I knew I didn’t have prior knowledge of the message, so the Holy Spirit encouraged me to trust Him when He moved on me. That night, the church was eager to hear what the pastor had to share and we had a move of the Spirit during the service.
These gifts of inspiration, or utterance, are designed to encourage the Body of Christ. People leave refreshed, comforted, and strengthened after these gifts are in operation. They can be abused, but again, that doesn’t give us the right to throw them out.
As I come to a close on these gifts, I want to remind you that I know I have not shared all there is to know about the gifts. I also know that I have been very general in what I have been sharing. Again, my intent was just to think about Christmas, not only as gift giving time, but as a time to receive and enjoy the gifts that Jesus has given to us through His Spirit.
When we were growing up we used to say, what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But that is so not true. If you don’t hear that a flood is coming to your area, and it comes, you most definitely can get hurt. If we don’t have the information we need to be successful in our walk with the Lord, it most definitely can hurt us. It can also stunt our growth, or keep us in bondage to fears of the unknown. I’ve never experienced the pleasure of skiing down a mountain, but I know for many it is a wondrous experience. When I think of sliding down a mountain on two skis at a slow pace, it feels me with dread. Therefore, I would avoid this experience at all cost. But the people who experience it, anticipate it and highly recommend it. Just because we have not experienced something, like the gifts in our life, or we have not even had a positive experience with them, doesn’t negate them, or the blessing that they are in the lives of others. And can be in yours!
This Christmas, let’s open our hearts to all of who Jesus is and to all that He has for us. Praying you and your family will have a very safe and happy holiday celebration! Wonderful Jesus!