The Present-Day Ministry Of
The Holy Spirit (Pt. 2)

By William Handschumacher

Rock of Offence Special Bible Study





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This is Part 2 of a two-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to navigate
this material.

Part 1


Return To The Next Step Index Page
Return To Basics of Salvation Page
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Conformed to the Image
of Christ


Jesus initially accepts us “just as we are”, but He doesn’t intend on leaving us in that condition. Do you really think that this kind of human transformation occurs without power? John called it a “baptism of fire”. Fire tends to burn away what we are so that Christ can shine through. This Godly process threatens the theology and political structure of most churches, which is why some of them make great efforts to stop the source of the change - even if they have to redefine parts of the Bible to do it. Isn’t that strange?

I shudder to think of the unintended consequences that these wrong beliefs will bring upon those that either oppose or attempt to explain away these Godly provisions. They will be cheated out of the extraordinary truth and liberty found in these blessings - and will never discover why God refers to them as “gifts” that He gives to His children.

Sadly, ministers that routinely misinterpret and redefine Scripture to propagate false denominational traditions cause most church members to miss out on these incredible blessings. The apostle Paul constantly warned first century believers not to allow anyone to cheat them out of the blessings of Christ (Colossians 2:8). Below is a Scripture that is wrongly redefined by many in the “Cessationist” movement. As a result, the church members sitting under their teaching are being cheated out of tremendous blessing ... while being led to believe that they’re faithfully obeying God’s Word.


"Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know just as I also am known." (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)


Cessationists commonly attempt to use the words of the apostle Paul to defend their beliefs. You’ll hear them say, “See, even Paul said “tongues will cease”. But, is that what Paul actually said? Let’s take a closer look. First of all, we see that not only will tongues cease, but also “knowledge will vanish away”. Has knowledge vanished away yet? If not, then tongues haven’t ceased. They conveniently leave this fact out of their argument. What is Paul really saying here? By reading his words carefully, you will see that Paul is talking about two kinds of knowledge ... and how the future return of Jesus Christ (when we see Him face-to-face) changes this knowledge.

The natural human kind of knowledge that we currently possess is greatly limited. Paul used phrases like “in part” or “looking through a glass (window) darkly” to describe it. This state of “limited knowledge” is the reason the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy are needed. These gifts, if we embrace them, give us the supernatural ability to leap over these limitations. However, at some future time, Jesus returns and we will all stand before Him “face to face”. At this “face to face” encounter with our Lord ... we receive “perfect knowledge”. Paul describes this “perfect knowledge” by saying, “then shall I know just as I also am known”.


When Jesus returns, then “that which
is perfect (Christ’s knowledge) has
come - and that which is in part
(imperfect human knowledge) will be
done away”. Only when this “perfect
knowledge” comes at the return of
Christ will tongues and prophecy
(and the other unmentioned spiritual
gifts) cease.

Until that time arrives, all nine
“gifts of the Spirit”, recorded in
1 Corinthians chapter 12, remain in
operation as far as God is concerned;
regardless of what the critics say.



Paul gives us a directive in
1 Corinthians 12:1 by saying:


“Now concerning spiritual gifts,
brethren, I do not want you to
be ignorant:”


Further down in the chapter Paul
lists all nine of these spiritual
gifts:


“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the Word of Wisdom through the Spirit, to another the Word of Knowledge through the same Spirit, to another Faith by the same Spirit, to another Gifts of Healings by the same Spirit, 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. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-14)


Notice that two of these nine gifts involve the subject of “Tongues”. Our Heavenly Father placed these gifts in His Word for a reason. We would do well to learn why He considers them to be important.

The Apostle Paul told the mostly
Gentile Corinthian Church ...



"I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue." (1 Corinthians 14:18-19)


Paul told the Corinthians (and all modern-day Christian believers) that he operated in the Spiritual gift of tongues more than they did. Yet, he went on to say that tongues was not the most effective way to communicate in the public meetings of the Church.


If Paul, who wrote nearly half of
the New Testament canon,
considered tongues important
enough to use it this much - then
every Christian living today
should consider embracing the
same belief.



In this section of Scripture Paul is
addressing the Corinthian's
excessive (and sometimes abusive)
use of tongues, which involves an
unknown language. As a result, Paul
was making the following point:



During the public meetings of the
Church, it is far better to use
words that others can understand
rather than words spoken in tongues
that cannot be understood.

Some critics deliberately distort this
Scripture and teach that tongues
should be avoided - because Paul
discouraged their use. Yet, any
honest reading of these Scriptures
will reveal that Paul said no
such thing.




In comparison to the other Gifts of the Spirit, Saint Paul always taught that "speaking with tongues" is the least important. However, he considered this 'lesser gift' to be important enough to use it, in his personal life, more than the Corinthians. In the following studies we will discover the reason Paul held this belief.

Concerning the Gifts of the Spirit, a dangerous mentality exists within the Christian Church. Some Christians and their leaders (usually in Protestant fundamentalist circles) arbitrarily toss out the gifts of the Spirit because they offend their intellect and disturb their most cherished traditions. Yet, the Gifts of the Spirit is the way God governs His Church following the cross and the day of Pentecost. We don’t want to spend too much time on this problem in our introduction.


However, a dangerous bias or resentment exists among various Christians against tongues and the nine spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. This bias can block you from receiving these blessings and paralyze your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. No Christian who has committed their life to Christ should have this mindset. In the New Testament Church, the Holy Spirit uses all nine of these gifts today - and will continue to do so until the end of the Church Age.


As we mentioned earlier, a diverse and non-denominational group often called 'Cessationists', unknowingly do great damage to Christ’s Church by attempting to “shut down” these areas of the Holy Spirit’s government - so that they can rule in His place. New Christians should be aware of these efforts and avoid these kinds of churches. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the doorway into the “gifts of the Spirit”, providing us with the supernatural power to do the works of Christ. It should not be surprising that our enemy works very hard to keep new Christians away from this amazing truth.

Some recommended books are listed in each section. If this topic is new to you, we recommend getting these materials for a more detailed introduction to a most holy and sacred truth.



*****************************************************

This is Part 2 of a two-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to navigate
this material.

Part 1


Return To The Next Step Index Page
Return To Basics of Salvation Page
Go To Home Page
*****************************************************




Recommended Resources


  • "Commissioned With Power" by Gordon Lindsay (Subject: The Gifts of the Spirit)

  • "The Spirit And Glory" by Dr. Jack Hayford (Subject: The Spirit-filled Life)



These are generally out of
print - but both can
still be obtained
at:

Amazon.com

Or through an Internet Search









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Most recent revision July 2018