Gifts of the Spirit Summary
This study discussed many of the supernatural attributes, abilities, and authorizations of power that the Father bestows on his earthly children in order for them to perform his purpose for calling them to salvation during this gospel age. If you are one of the Father's elect, he has given you certain supernatural attributes, abilities, and authorizations of power above and beyond those of a person without the indwelling of the holy spirit. But, do you recognize the ones you have and are you using them to effectively work out your salvation and perform your functions and responsibilities within your heavenly Father's earthly family?
The use of spirit-power produces an effect in the physical and spirit realms which would not happen in the normal course of events. This is the power that God the Father and Jesus Christ authorize the elect to use as they seek to accomplish the goals which have been set for them during their physical life.
There are many different spiritual attributes, abilities, and authorizations of power that the Father can bestow on an individual through which his spirit-power can be exercised. Not everyone receives all of them (1.Cor.12:1-12), but each of the Father's elect is given what he determines they need in order to successfully perform their calling and obtain salvation.
Because the Father allows those he authorizes discretionary use of the power he gives them within certain boundaries, it is important to understand the following about this spirit-power:
God the Father is the source of all physical and spirit-power and he has all authority and control over it.
It is through the Father's power that he creates, energizes, sustains, and influences all that exists.
Spirit-power is neither good nor evil in and of itself; it is energy which can be made to perform any function that the Father has determined or authorized.
Spirit-power is similar to knowledge, which is an inanimate thing and incapable of any action of its own. It is what an individual does with their knowledge that results in good or evil. As with knowledge, the end result of using the Father's spirit-power is determined by the user and not by the spirit-power itself.
It is important to remember that being delegated authority to use the power of the Father's holy spirit is not only a great blessing and privilege, but also an awesome responsibility which must be taken seriously. Moreover, it is wise to study the biblical accounts that show how Christ, the apostles, and others of the early church used their various gifts of the spirit and authorizations of spirit-power in order to understand your authority and how to correctly use it.
Are the Father's gifts of the spirit only for the ministry? These men do need many spiritual attributes and abilities, including authorizations of power, but the scriptures clearly show that many of these attributes, abilities, and authorizations of power are given to non-elders—both men and women. Therefore, it is important to understand that each of the elect is responsible for the stewardship of the various spiritual gifts and authorizations the Father has given them to use at their discretion.
Stewardship within the Sovereign Father's earthly family begins the instant you receive the indwelling of the holy spirit. From this point forward, you are responsible to manage all things that come under your control in a righteous manner, including your physical possessions and the gifts of the spirit and the authorizations the Father has or is yet to give you.
All who are called to participate in the first resurrection are expected to perform certain tasks and fulfill certain responsibilities for their Heavenly Father while living in the flesh. However, few realize this important fact and therefore many are ill prepared for their role as a steward within the Father's family, which includes exercising the supernatural attributes, abilities, and authorizations given to one at their adoption into his family. This situation primarily exists because of a lack of study into the Father's truth and an understanding of a steward's functions and responsibilities within his family. For details about stewardship within the Father's earthly family get a copy of the Book Survive and Thrive as a Follower of Christ, ISBN 978-0-9844608-6-1 or visit www.bibleresearch.org.
Profitable and Unprofitable Stewards
In a parable about the events that will precede his return, Jesus explains the need for each steward in the Father's earthly family to be actively working to increase the value of what has been entrusted to them, which includes the three gifts of the spirit given at the time of adoption into the Father's earthly family. See 2.Tim.1:7.
It is no accident that Matthew records the parable about profitable and unprofitable stewards after the parable of the Ten Virgins, which tells us that we should always be prepared to meet Christ at his coming.
"It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. . ." (Matt.25:14-15 NIV).
When Jesus returns, each steward within the Father's earthly family must give an account for what they have done with what has been placed in their trust (2.Cor.5:10). The faithful stewards are the ones who increase the value of what was placed into their care. These individuals receive a reward that is representative of their efforts (Matt.16:27). However, some individuals will not try to increase what is entrusted to them:
"Then the man who had received the one talent came. Master, he said, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you" (Matt.25:24-25 NIV).
The elect who do nothing with the opportunities that come their way, their physical blessings, and the spiritual gifts and authorizations given to them by the Father are viewed as worthless servants:
"His master replied, You wicked, lazy servant! You knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed [i.e.,You understood what I was doing and yet you did nothing]. You should have at least put my money in the hands of an investor, then I would have received my money back with some interest added to it Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt.25:26, 28-30 NIV Para.).
The following are several important lessons which can be learned from what is said to the unprofitable servant:
When the Father calls a person to salvation, that person has enough personal attributes to be spiritually successful and secure salvation with the help of the holy spirit dwelling in them; otherwise, that person would not have been called.
At the proper time, each person is given additional attributes according to their potential to produce value for the Father. See Rom.12:3-8; 1.Cor.12:8-10, 28-30; Eph.4:11-16.
Although each individual may be given different opportunities, attributes, skills, talents, and spiritual gifts to work with, each person is required to add to the value of what they are given.
The parable clearly shows that, if a person feels inadequate or is unable because of some valid reason to do an individual work by themselves, he or she should find a way to place their skills, talents, or spiritual gifts under the direction of someone who is more able to use them to produce a positive result for the Father.
The parable implies that, if a person will make an effort to accomplish something of worth for the Master, they will receive a reward for that effort.
Unprofitable servants will not be punished because of a feeling of inadequacy or because of being unable to increase what they were to increase; the punishment is the result of doing nothing positive with what was given.
The reward that the unprofitable person should have received for being a faithful steward will be given to those individuals who seize opportunity and are willing to extend themselves and produce something of value for the Father.
The following seem to be the overall lessons about stewardship in Matthew 25:14-30:
The Father and Jesus Christ expect each of the elect to grow in grace and knowledge and to produce spiritual fruit in their life.
Each individual is to accomplish something of value for the Father to claim as his own when they give an account of their life's work.
If a person becomes too fearful and lazy to accomplish something positive for the Father, they are not worthy to enter the Family and Kingdom of God.
Each individual who is called to salvation must make an effort to use what they have been given and to increase their personal worth for the benefit of the Father.
It only takes a review of the other parables Jesus gave about the necessity to do a personal work and what the apostles wrote about participating in the collective work of the church to understand that, if you do not heed these warnings, you will be in jeopardy of losing your salvation and rewards (Matt.25:14-30; Lk.12:35-40). But, if you put forth an honest effort to perform your calling, you will be rewarded above and beyond your expectations.
Be a Doer of the Word
"But you be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone hears the word, and does not do it, they are like a man looking at his face in a mirror. Because he looks at himself and departs, and right away forgets what kind of man he is. But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this person shall be blessed because of their work" (Jms.1:22-25 Para.).
This analogy pictures the following two categories of the elect who start out truly understanding their calling and what is required of them:
The person who does nothing about fulfilling their calling will soon forget their awesome opportunity and responsibility as a child of God.
The person who does what they know they should be doing will be blessed for their effort.
It is what you do with what you have been given to work with and the opportunities that come your way to do good works that will determine which of these two categories you will be in when you give an account for your life.
In James' analogy, self-deception seems to be the result of truly understanding the Father's will, but believing that it is not necessary to practice his will in one's life. To avoid becoming a worthless servant, once you understand what the Father expects of you, it is imperative that you practice to the best of your ability what you know to be your responsibility.
It is the consistent compromising of the truth which a person truly understands that leads a person into self-deception and into forgetting who they are and their awesome opportunity and responsibility as one of the Father's chosen ones. This is why it is not enough to just know that the Father requires you to do good works; you must also do good works in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with the Father and Jesus Christ.
Good Works and Gifts of the Spirit
So what does doing good works have to do with the gifts of the spirit? The answer is everything, because doing good works in a spiritual sense requires understanding who you are spiritually and exercising the spiritual gifts you have been given.
It is understood that elders in the ministry must have several supernatural attributes, abilities, and authorizations to effectively perform their functions and responsibilities. But this does not exclude non-elders, both men and women, from having some of these same gifts of the spirit, depending on gender, and one's desire to serve the Father, the elect, and other people.
There are many gifts of the spirit that are not gender specific, such as the gift of prophecy, which is given to both men and women depending on who is selected to convey the message to others. Other gifts of the spirit in this same category are discernment, exhortation, giving, governments, helps knowledge, faith, mercy, wisdom, and perhaps teaching depending on the circumstance and who is being taught. There are also the gifts of miracles, healing, languages, and the interpretation of languages, which the Father bestows to men who are not elders.
Among the many supernatural attributes, abilities, and authorizations the Father bestows, there are several that all of the elect need in order to fulfill their calling. Several of these are: spiritual knowledge, understanding, discernment, faith, and wisdom, as well as the spirit-power, godly love, and self-control which are given at one's adoption into the Father's earthly family.
The simple fact is that everyone who is adopted into the Father's earthly family of king-priests is a steward over their physical and spiritual possessions and is responsible to perfect and increase the effectiveness of each spiritual gift the Father has given them.
It is evident from the biblical record that the Father's elect are called to practice a life filled with good works while working out their salvation and performing certain functions and responsibilities within the collective work of the church. It is also clear that the Father gives each of his elect the attributes and abilities necessary for them to successfully obtain salvation and perform their specific functions and responsibilities.
If you truly believe that God the Father has called you to salvation and made you one of his earthly children, you should regularly perform a self-evaluation in order to determine if your attitude, behavior, and performance conforms to the life you have been called to practice. This evaluation is especially necessary when assessing whether or not you are using your gifts of the spirit effectively.
If you find that you do not know or are not sure if you are doing what is expected of you, or that the Father's gifts of spiritual power, godly love, and self-control are not recognizable or are weak in your life, ask the Father to help you understand what he expects of you, how to recognize, exercise, and increase the effectiveness of these three foundational spiritual gifts plus any other ability, attribute, or authorization he has given you, and then diligently study the scriptures where these gifts are explained.
Without exercising spiritual power, godly love, and self-control, growth toward spiritual maturity and godly character cannot be achieved nor can any other gift of the spirit be exercised effectively or to their full potential.
If you desire one or more additional gifts of the spirit in order to better serve the Father, Christ, your spiritual brothers and sisters, and to be of help in performing the greater work Christ, Joel, and Habakkuk foretold, ask the Father to help you, and then diligently study the biblical record where these gifts are found and explained.
Our heavenly Father knows that we need spiritual knowledge, understanding, discernment, wisdom, faith, and other attributes, abilities, and authorizations in order for us to fulfill his purpose for our lives. The undeniable fact in the biblical record is that the Father is more than willing to give us what we need to help us successfully become one of his immortal children and to perform the work he has called us to do.
However, he requires that we are sincere in asking for attributes, abilities, and authorizations above and beyond those he gave us when he adopted us into his family, and that we ask for the right reasons. If we do both of these things we can be assured that he will give us what is necessary for us to serve him and fulfill his purpose for calling us during this gospel age.
There are basically five keys to receiving things we request from the Father. Christ reveals four of these keys and the apostle John reveals the fifth.One day the disciples asked Christ to teach them to pray, so he gave them an example of what they should say, after which he made the following promise:
"Ask and It shall be given you: seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matt.7:7-8 KJV Para.).
A casual reading of this promise seems to indicate that whatever a person requests from the Father will be given to them, but this is not what Christ meant. A person must first make a request, then put forth an effort to seek out what is desired, and then aggressively go after what is desired—ask, seek, and knock. These are the first three keys that guarantee the Father will fulfill our legitimate requests. What Christ says next gives us the fourth key and qualifies what the Father will give to his earthly children:
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" (Matt. 7:9-10 KJV). See also Lk.11:11-12.
When asked for food, will a father who truly loves his child give them something harmful instead of the food they need to sustain their life? Of course not. If it is within his power to do so, a loving father will give what is beneficial and more. In verse 11, Christ further qualifies what the Father will give when he is asked for something:
"If you being wicked, know to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy spirit and good things to them that ask him" (Matt.7:11 Para.).
Each person the Father adopts into his earthly family receives his holy spirit along with the gifts of spirit-power, godly love, self-control, and any other attributes and abilities the Father has decided to bestow on a person at that time. After receiving these initial spiritual endowments the Father wants us to increase in godly character through practicing a righteous lifestyle, developing unquestionable loyalty to him and his way of life, doing good works which reflect his nature and goodness, and proclaiming his message to humanity.
The apostle John gives the fifth key to receiving what we request of the Father, encouragement about the Father's attentiveness to our needs, and speaks of the confidence that we should have when speaking to him:
"This is the confidence we have in making requests of the Father. If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, we know that he will give us what we request of him" (1.Jn.5:14-15 Para.).
If what we request is within the Father's will and purpose for us, other elect, and his plan for the salvation of humanity, we can be assured that we will receive a positive answer. However, it is not always easy to determine if something we desire is within his will, but is not a necessity, such as additional spiritual attributes, abilities, and authorizations. Therefore, if we desire additional spiritual gifts, we should take time to do a serious self-evaluation and ask ourselves some of the following questions:
Why do I want these additional abilities?
Am I using the ones I already have to their full potential?
Do I need to ask for help to increase the power and effectiveness of what I already have?
The primary key to receiving what we request from the Father is requesting things that are compatible with his purpose for us as one of his earthly children and for his overall plan for the salvation of humanity.
Remember, the apostle Paul said that all gifts of the spirit are given for the benefit, edification, and enrichment of the Sovereign Father's elect and the performance of the collective work of the church. See Eph. 4:11-16.
For the Father's elect there are two primary reasons to desire additional supernatural abilities:
To render service to other members of our heavenly Father's earthly family.
To help perform the collective work of the church to proclaim the Father's good news message of salvation and as a witness and warning to the world of Christ's return.
The Father desires to give us things that are good for us, including, but not limited to, spiritual knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and discernment. He also wants to help us increase our ability to effectively use the spiritual attributes and abilities he first gave us, which included spirit-power, godly love, and self-control. Because of this, we should take full advantage of the Father's desire for our success and heed Christ's and John's advice to ask the Father for things that are good for us and within his will for us.
It is the Father's will that we obtain salvation and that we perform the work he has called us to do, so we should ask the Father to reveal his will and purpose for us if we do not know what it is. We should also seek this knowledge and understanding through studying his written word and meditating on what we find there —ask, seek, and knock.
The Father knows each one of us better than we know ourselves; he knows our heart, desires, strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Therefore, he knows if giving us gifts of the spirit in addition to those he initially gave us at our adoption into his earthly family will be good for us, our spiritual brothers and sisters, and the work he has called us to do above and beyond working out our salvation.
Although we are sincere in our desire to have additional gifts of the spirit and authorizations to use for their intended purpose, we may not receive them because the Father has determined that it is not in our best interest or his purpose for us during this age of salvation.
As a child of God, we must not remain static in our spiritual growth or the work our heavenly Father requires us to perform as a member of his earthly family. We either grow in spiritual maturity, do good works, and put forth an effort to fulfill our part in proclaiming our Father's message to humanity, or we regress toward our old behavior. See Jesus' admonition to the Ephesians and Laodiceans in Revelation 2:5 and 3:1-3, 15-19.
If we become lazy and refuse to put forth the effort to pray, study, meditate on our Father's truth, and do the work we have been told to do, the supernatural attributes, abilities, power, and authorizations given to us become weak and useless. When this happens, we become incapable of recognizing and serving truth and are in danger of losing the power of the spirit in our life, which results in eternal death. However, when we diligently exercise the spirit in a positive manner, we become more powerful and able to please our Father and our Savior with our life.
God the Father has made a special effort to call some in this age to salvation, and Jesus Christ came and gave his life so that those called can be saved. The Father and Jesus have committed themselves and their tremendous resources to helping us successfully obtain salvation and perform the work we are called to do during this life. And in order to succeed, all one has to do is put forth an honest effort and properly exercise the gifts of the spirit our Father has given us. See Matt.6:25-34; Heb.13:5-6; Jn.14:12-14.
What Paul wrote at the beginning of 1.Thessalonians, chapter 5 is also meant for the elect through the centuries and can easily apply to the elect today as we approach Christ's return:
"Always rejoice, continually pray, in every thing give thanks: for this is God's will in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do not extinguish the spirit" (1.Thess.5:16-19 Para.).
In order to follow Paul's warning to not extinguish the holy spirit, but to instead increase its power in our life, we must exercise it in our daily life.
Stir up the Gift of God
One cannot read the letters recorded in the New Testament without noticing that the followers of Christ are continually urged and encouraged to exercise the holy spirit in order to use their gifts of the spirit, mature spiritually, and perform the work of the church. The following are important to keep in mind:
All who have been chosen for salvation, have truly repented, and have been properly baptized, have been given the Father's holy spirit through which we may access and use the supernatural abilities, attributes, authorizations and power the Father gives to us. See Acts 2:38; 5:32.
Each person with the indwelling of the holy spirit has been given enough spiritual attributes, qualities, and power to allow them to grow toward spiritual maturity and perfection.
The Father expects his children to use all of the attributes, authorizations, qualities, and power of the spirit he gives them. See Matt.25:14-30; Lk.19:12-26.
The gifts of the spirit a person has are of no use to them, the Father, Jesus Christ, or other people if that person does not use them.
Each gift of the spirit has an important place in the Father's family and each is meant to complement all the others and work in concert to fulfill the Father's purpose for the existence of his earthly family.
If you are serious about allowing the Father to complete the work he has begun in you, there are several important things to do. One of the first things to do, if you have not already done it, is to diligently search the scriptures to understand why the Father called you to salvation at this time in history. Once you have this understanding the next logical thing to do it to ask the Father to:
Clearly reveal what he expects of you other than working out your salvation.
Help you to help him complete the work he has begun in you.
Help you recognize the talents, skills, abilities, powers, and authorizations you already have.
Show you how to use what you already have more effectively.
Give you any additional abilities necessary for you to perform the work he has called you to do.
The tools our heavenly Father gives us to successfully mature spiritually, build godly character, live the life he has called us to practice, and perform a work for him are the gifts of the spirit, which he bestows to each of his elect according to his purpose for their life.
At the beginning of Christ's ministry, he chose twelve men to be his disciples and close companions to help him proclaim the coming Kingdom of God. He also chose seventy others and commissioned them to proclaim the same message. It is important to note that each of the men Jesus chose had the ability to learn what he had to teach them and to perform the task set before them. All that these men needed was to be taught what to proclaim, to be given the tools with which to carry out their task, and to be sent forth to fulfill their task. See Matt.10:1-8; Lk.10:1-24.
Christ did not choose a few thousand or a few hundred men, put them through years of preparation, pick the twelve who were the most qualified for more intense instruction, and then send the seventy lesser qualified out to prepare people for his arrival and to proclaim his Father's good news message. He chose these eighty two men, because they had the ability to perform the task that they would be given to perform. The same is true of everyone whom the Father calls to salvation during this age. All that is necessary for you to succeed is to be taught what is expected of you and how to successfully perform it; to be given the tools with which to carry out the task; and to be sent forth to fulfill the task. See Isa.48:17; 2.Pet.1:10;1.Thess.5:9.
As we approach the end of this age of human rule, it becomes more and more important to use the tools (i.e., the abilities, attributes, authorizations, and power) the Father gives for our benefit and the proclaiming of his message of salvation.
It is the Father's will that we receive supernatural abilities from him and increase the power and effectiveness of the ones we already have. It is also his will that we ask him for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to use the tools he has already given us and will give us to perform his purpose for calling us to salvation during this age.
If you truly believe that you are one of the Sovereign Father's chosen ones who has been called for a specific purpose during this gospel age, it is your duty to use the gifts of the spirit he has given you for the purpose they were given in order to become a more productive servant.
By B.L. Cocherell b14w12