Keith Hunt - UNDERSTANDING THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT - Page Two   Restitution of All Things

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3 THINGS GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT ARE NOT!

Understanding the Gifts of the Spirit

We continue here with the articles that were published in the
November  2002  ACTS magazine, from the General Council of the
Churches of God (7th Day), Meridian, ID.


     It is IMPORTANT to dispel any ignorance about spiritual
gifts so that no confusion exists which might have a tendency to
throw some people off track. "Now concerning SPIRITUAL GIFTS,
brethren, I would NOT HAVE YOU IGNORANT" (1 Corinthians 12:1).
     Spiritual gifts are often CONFUSED with NATURAL talents,
FRUIT of the Spirit, and, to a great extent, COUNTERFEIT gifts. I
will consider these one at a time.

NATURAL TALENTS

     It is imperative to distinguish between SPIRITUAL GIFTS and
NATURAL TALENTS. Every human being possesses certain NATURAL
talents. These talents, by virtue of being made in the image of
God, come from God and are derived from or through parents. There
are obviously different VARIATIONS and degrees among the
natural talents. Part of every human being's unique personality
has to do with the particular MIX of talents that we have. God
bestows talents upon mankind to benefit mankind on the NATURAL
level.

     Having natural talents has NOTHING DIRECTLY to do with being
a Christian or being a member of the body of Christ. Many
ATHEISTS, for example, have SUPERB talents for one thing or
another. They have natural talents but they do NOT have SPIRITUAL
gifts.
     Christians, like anyone else, also have NATURAL talents. But
they should NOT be confused with SPIRITUAL gifts. Such talents
may and ought to be dedicated to the Lord to be used for His
glory and in His service, but they must always be considered
consecrated talents, NOT SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

     Spiritual gifts are dispensed to BELIEVERS.  "But the
manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit
withal" (1 Cor. 12:7).
     An unbeliever may have the talent to TEACH. He is able to
impart knowledge and facts but not in such a way as to bring
SPIRITUAL blessing and growth. POWER and BLESSING are missing
where there is natural talent only. Even a BELIEVER may have
the talent WITHOUT the gift. It is a tragic mistake to assume
that every talented teacher has the GIFT of TEACHING. If there is
NO gift, there will be a mere imparting of facts done WITHOUT the
POWER and BLESSING of God. Conversely, one may have the
GIFT of teaching APART FROM any natural talent to teach.
     When that person is EMPOWERED by the Spirit of God, he is
endowed with a NEW capacity - the GIFT of teaching. God has OFTEN
raised up great PREACHERS out of families with NO history of such
capabilities. There is NO element of heredity involved as with a
natural talent. It is for God to choose what GIFT He imparts to
His believers. "But ALL these worketh that one and selfsame
Spirit, DIVIDING to every man severally AS HE WILL"
(1 Corinthians 12:11).

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT 

     The FRUIT of the Spirit is described in Galatians 5:22,23,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy peace, long-suffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such
there is no law."
     Some Bible expositors point out the fact that the "fruit" is
SINGULAR, and that the original Greek would permit a colon after
love. All these other things are different ASPECTS of LOVE.
     The greatest gift God has given us is His gift of LOVE, yet
it should not be listed with the SPIRITUAL GIFTS. Love is not
something that God imparts LIMITEDLY to SOME of the Body, but not
to others. LOVE is to be the result of an abiding relationship
with Jesus in ALL believer. "We love God because He fist loved
us" (1 John 4:19).
     The FRUIT of the Spirit is the NORMAL, expected outcome of
spiritual growth, and fullness of the Holy Spirit. FRUIT is not
discovered like the GIFTS, but developed by the believers WALK
with God. Both GIFTS and FRUIT are the total work of the Spirit
of God. While Spiritual Gifts help define WHAT a believer DOES,
the Fruit of the Spirit helps define what a believer IS.

     (I might add that God gives His Spirit to ALL you REPENT and
are willing to OBEY Him - Acts 2:38 and 5:32. The AUTOMATIC
result of having God's Spirit is the LOVE of God flowing into and
out of that believer - Romans 5:5. The love of God is defined for
us in 1 John 5:3 as keeping the commandments of God. This is
automatically the way of life with God for all His Spirit
begotten children, and is not something that is only given
to or distributed to some as the Spirit wills, which is the case
with Spiritual gifts. The various Spiritual gifts are given to
various individuals as chosen and willed by the Spirit,
but LOVE and all its defined fruits is given to every Spirit
filled believer that walk in the way of the Father and their
Savior Christ Jesus - Keith Hunt).

     Though DIFFERENT, there seems to be a direct RELATIONSHIP
between the EFFECTIVENESS of Spiritual gifts and the DEVELOPMENT
of the Fruit of the Spirit. Gifts WITHOUT Fruit are WORTHLESS.
The believers in Corinth were busy DISCOVERING and USING their
Spiritual Gifts, yet they became Spiritual DISASTERS because they
LACKED the FRUIT of the Spirit. That is why Paul sandwiched 1
Corinthians 13 in between his discourse on Spiritual Gifts found
in chapters 12 and 14. Paul explained to them and also to us that
if you had ALL the Gifts of the Spirit but WITHOUT FRUIT
(love), they amounted to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

     "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and
have not charity (love) I am become as sounding brass, or as a
tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and
understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have
all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity
(love), I am NOTHING" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

     The gifts of the Holy Spirit are TEMPORAL to build up the
body of Christ (yes indeed can be so, for Paul could at times do
mighty and great miracles of healing, but later it would seem he
could not heal Timothy of his stomach problems, but told him to
take a little wine for help, and he could not heal himself from
the "thorn in his flesh" which he asked the Lord to remove three
times, but the Lord answered that His grace was sufficient for
him, and would not heal him from this trouble - see 2 Cor. 12 and
1 Tim. 5:23 - Keith Hunt) but the FRUIT is ETERNAL. In the same
chapter we are told that Gifts such as prophecy, tongues and
knowledge shall all VANISH away. "Charity (love) NEVER faileth:
but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail (come to pass
and so be no more, or people or nations will repent and so the
prophecy will not happen as was the case with Jonah being sent to
Ninevah, see the book of Jonah - Keith Hunt); whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish away (the knowledge of what makes the
earth stay in orbit around the sun is now known and so that part
of knowledge is found and is no more un-knowledge, as we might
say - Keith Hunt) (1 Corinthians 13: 8).

     GIFTS are TASK-ORIENTED to spread the Gospel to the whole
world. FRUIT is GOD-ORIENTED forming the believer into the IMAGE
of God. It is important to note that every place in Scripture
that deals with the GIFTS is ALSO accompanied by passages
of FRUIT. (See Romans 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:16; 5:2; 1 Peter 4:8,9
and 1 Corinthians 12; 13).

COUNTERFEIT GIFTS

     Do not confuse Spiritual Gifts with counterfeit gifts. Satan
and his evil spirits are real and actively OPPOSE the work of the
Lord. He is the author of CONFUSION. Jesus said, "For there shall
arise FALSE Christs, and FALSE prophets, and shall show great
SIGNS and WONDERS; insomuch that, IF it was possible, they shall
deceive the very ELECT" (Matthew 24:24).
     Jesus also speaks about those who PROPHECY and CAST OUT
demons in His name, but who, in reality, are WORKERS of INIQUITY
(See Matthew 7:22,23). Every Spiritual Gift supplied by the Holy
Spirit CAN BE COUNTERFEITED by Satan and may be used to influence
both Christians and non-Christians.

     In order to deal with the problem of DISTINGUISHING
Spiritual Gifts from COUNTERFEIT gifts, many Christians teach
TOTAL AVOIDANCE of ALL Spiritual Gifts. In this way, the church
will not have to DISCERN the DIFFERENCE. God has given Spiritual
Gifts to build up the body of Christ. Through avoidance and
indifference concerning Spiritual Gifts, Satan has suppressed the
growth of the Church. We must turn our FEAR into DISCERNMENT, so
that the Church can be about God's business of spreading the
Gospel.
     The Bible gives us some help in distinguishing Spiritual
Gifts from counterfeit gifts. I John 4: 1 says, "Beloved, believe
NOT EVERY spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God;
because many FALSE prophets have gone out into the world. Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God (The Greek tense here
for 'is come' means Jesus did come in the flesh literally
as a human person, and is still coming into the flesh, coming
into His physical flesh followers via the Holy Spirit, hence
living His life again within them, just as Paul said in
Galatians 2:20. Jesus will still be obeying the commandments of
the Father, and living as He did when walking this earth as a
human person - Keith Hunt); and every spirit that confesseth NOT
that Jesus is come (same Greek tense as before) in the flesh is
NOT of God."

     (Those who say and teach that the Ten Commandments, any of
them, are  "done away with" under the New Covenant age, or that
Jesus is not now still coming and living His life over again
within the Christian as Paul clearly taught He was - see again
Galatians 2: 20 - are FALSE teachers and false prophets, even if
they can perform what on the outside looks like any of the Gifts
of the Spirit, they have a spirit that is NOT the Spirit of the
Lord, and what they can perform are then counterfeit gifts of the
Spirit, coming from a spirit that is in reality the spirit of
anti-christ -see 1 John 4:3 - Keith Hunt).

     The Spirit of God is available by the acceptance of Jesus
Christ as Lord and Savior. Discernment of Spiritual Gifts from
the counterfeit comes with a DEEP STUDY of the WORD of God. "But
strong meat (food) belongeth to them that are of FULL AGE,
even those who by reason of USE have their senses EXERCISED to
DISCERN BOTH GOOD AND EVIL" (Hebrews 5:13,14). "These (Bereans)
were more NOBLE than those in Thessalonica, in that they RECEIVED
the WORD will all READINESS of mind, and SEARCHED the Scriptures
DAILY whether those things WERE SO" (Acts 17:11).

     Many have been RELUCTANT to DESIRE Gifts of the Spirit
because of the FANATICISM they see in various churches. Much of
this fanaticism's ROOT is a total MISUNDERSTANDING of the PURPOSE
and FUNCTION of Spiritual gifts. The purpose is to BENEFIT
mankind on the Spiritual level by EMPOWERING the believer to
POWERFULLY present the Gospel and help bring about CONVICTION to
the unsaved. The function of the Gift is not to be used for
SELF-edification, but to be used for the glory of God and the
building up of the body of Christ.


CONCLUSION

     Even though counterfeits are prevalent in some churches,
this should NOT hinder us from SEEKING God's true Gifts of the
Spirit. The church will not become what God intends it to be
unless the body of Christ equips itself with the Gifts of the
Spirit. When the church begins to discern the DIFFERENCE between
NATURAL talents and SPIRITUAL Gifts and between FRUIT of the
Spirit and SPIRITUAL Gifts, God will EMPOWER His church with the
Gifts of the Spirit.

POSTSCRIPT

COMPARING GIFTS AND TALENTS

Gifts

1. Supernatural abilities from the Holy Spirit

Talents

1. Natural abilities from posterity and environment

Gifts

2. May be used for selfish or godly purposes

Talents

2. May be used for selfish or godly purposes

Gifts

3. From baptism of the Spirit

Talents

3. From birth

Gifts

4. To benefit mankind on the Spiritual level

Talents

4. To benefit mankind on the natural level

Gifts

5. Task-oriented

Talents

5. Self-oriented

Gifts

6. Given and developed by the Holy Spirit

Talents

6. Recognized and developed by man

Gifts

7. Gifts are used to build-up the Body of Christ

Talents

7. Talents used to build-up man

COMPARING GIFTS AND FRUIT

Gifts

1. Supernatural abilities from the Holy Spirit

Fruit

1. Supernatural changes in life from the Holy Spirit

Gifts

2. May be used for selfish or godly purposes

Fruit

2. May be counterfeited by self works

Gifts

3. Gifts are temporal

Fruit

3. Fruit is eternal

Gifts

4. Have to do with what a Christian does

Fruit

4. Have to do with what a Christian is

Gifts

5. Task-oriented

Fruit

5. God-oriented

Gifts

6. Refer to function and calling

Fruit

6. Refer to relationships and spiritual quality

Gifts

7. Gifts without fruit are worthless

Fruit

7. Fruit without gifts will not build up the Church

                    ....................

TO BE CONTINUED



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