I’ve attended a number of churches over the years and I’ve noticed that some of the things that happened to the early church aren’t going on today. I’m speaking of certain gifts – the sort of gifts that don’t go unnoticed. Many of the churches I’ve been to seem to agree that “The reason why we aren’t doing miracles as believers of the Lord is that the Gifts of the Spirit died out long ago.”
Matthew 7:21-23, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
This passage indicates that there are two types of believers – the ones that do the will of God and are saved and the ones that prophesy, drive out demons, and perform miracles – but do not do the will of God – and aren’t saved. If those who don’t get saved can do this much – how much more can those who will be saved do because they’re walking in agreement with the Lord’s will?
Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
1 Corinthians 12:7-11, “7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
These are the two big passages on gifts of the spirit. The first thing that is required is the Holy Spirit and the second is faith. The Bible tells us that Jesus himself didn’t do very many miracles in his hometown because “he was amazed at their lack of faith.” Jesus healed the man who was lowered in from the roof because of the faith of his four friends. He healed others because “He saw he had the faith to be healed.” It also tells us that “God’s call and gifts are irrevocable.” If, with faith the size of a mustard seed we can ask a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will, or a tree to wither, and it does – then what can we do with the gifts of the Holy Spirit? God did many miracles through Jesus’ apostles – even through Paul, who wasn’t called like the others were. The early church was no stranger to miracles. Why should the church in the end times balk at the idea?
So, we have the Holy Spirit who gives us gifts according to the will of God in accordance with our faith. The problem is that there isn’t as much call as there used to be to rely on faith – and when there is – most people either don’t recognize it or ignore the possibility altogether. Why should we ask God to heal us when modern medicine will do the same job? Why should be pray for the salvation of good people – don’t they already have it all figured out for themselves? Why should we come together and ask for the well-being of our authorities when they seem competent for the job at hand? I would say that every reason we have not pray is exactly why we should pray. Let us not forget that there’s more to the world than what we can see and hear and touch – faith and belief are important.
James 5:13-16, “13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
When was the last time you called up the elders of the church for a prayer session concerning the most pressing matters going on in your life? When you pray is there a doubt in your mind that you will get the things you’re asking for?
James 1:2-8, “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
That’s the heart of the issue – doubt, faithlessness – what’s worse is that respected leaders of the church are teaching that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – especially the flashy ones – are no more. If God operates the same way to save us as He has since Jesus’ Resurrection, why wouldn’t He do the same miracles he did through the Apostles and other faith-filled Christians? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves to eagerly seek the gifts? Walk with the Holy Spirit? Employ ourselves in the will of God?