The Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
Are The Gifts for Today?
There is a considerable amount of controversy concerning the subject of spiritual gifts. Many of God's people think that the gifts of the Holy Spirit stopped manifesting after the first century and are no longer operating except for demonic counterfeits. While it is true that the works of God can be counterfeited, it should not be a matter of opinion as to whether God is no longer bestowing His gifts upon His children. Our only source of information regarding this subject should be found in the word itself. Therefore our purpose in this study is to excavate the truth as objectively as we can, using the Scriptures themselves with as little commentary as possible.
We will begin by asking a simple question -
What Is God’s Will?
NUMBERS 11: 27-29
27 - And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.”
28 – And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, “My Lord Moses. Forbid them.”
29 - And Moses said unto him, “Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!”
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; (Exodus 4:4) and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Tongues and the Gifts Shall Cease?
The gifts and calling of God are without repentance- KJV (Cannot be recalled).
Gifts and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit may remain inactive due to apostasy and unbelief –
And He did not many works there because of their
I CORINTHIANS 14:21
In the law it is written, ‘With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear Me, saith the Lord.’
HOSEA 9: 1, 2
Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a-whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.
The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. (LUKE 5: 38, 39).
JEREMIAH 8:10, 13
10 - …for everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
13 – I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
Gifts will continue to be active in the Spirit-filled church until –
“That which is perfect shall come”
I CORINTHIANS 13:10
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
I THESSALONIANS 3:13
To the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
I CORINTHIANS 13:12
For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.
I JOHN 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
Test the spirits – A legitimate, God sent manifestation of the Holy Spirit will be based on, and magnify the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I CORINTHIANS 12: 1, 3
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
JOHN 16: 13, 14
Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.
He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.
So we conclude that –
Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. - James 1:17
When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets, and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (For by One Spirit are we all baptized into One Body)
I CORINTHIANS 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
I CORINTHIANS 12:27, 28
27- Now you are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. (And the eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of thee:” Nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”) I CORINTHIANS 12:21
28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.
When there is no longer any saint who needs perfecting in Christ, when the work of the ministry is completed; when the Body of Christ needs no longer to be edified; then tongues and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit shall surely cease, for that which is Perfect most assuredly will have come.
(For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout!) I THESSALONIANS 4:16
UNTIL THEN –
ROMANS 14:19 – Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
I CORINTHIANS 14:1 – Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts…
I CORINTHIANS 12:31 – Covet earnestly the best gifts…
I CORINTHIANS 14:39 – Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues
I THESSALONIANS 5:19, 20 – Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. (for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy Rev. 19:10).
ROMANS 11:8 – Boast not against the branches (The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? The Bread which we break, is it not the communion of the Body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that One Bread.) I CORINTHIANS 10:16, 17 There should be no schism in the body I CORINTHIANS 12:25
I CORINTHIANS 1:10 – Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
I THESSALONIANS 3:12 – And the Lord make you to abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.
The Controversy of Tongues
A layman visited several Pentecostal churches in order to see for himself if the gift of tongues was legitimate. He was disturbed to hear people making indistinct sounds. I told him that indistinct sounds could be a counterfeit, a reflection of indistinct, non-Biblical doctrine, an indication of apostasy. In the Scriptures the gift of tongues was always a legitimate language, and not indistinct babbling.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. - Acts 2:6-11.
While some words can be repeated over and over, like the equivalent of "Holy, Holy, Holy" - real tongues are always real languages.
A friend of ours was on an airplane coming home from Europe. The man who was seated next to her happened to be a language expert. She asked him if he could tell her what her prayer language was, and he did. She was told she was speaking perfect Syriac and he couldn’t believe she hadn’t studied it. What was she saying? He said she was praising God.
A woman I met who was working in a Christian bookstore, I will call her Bonnie,
told me that one day an Irish Catholic lady came into the store who was really struggling and down. Bonnie felt led to pray for her and was led to
pray in tongues. She prayed for the woman and when she was finished, the Irish one replied, "Oh, thank you that was just what I needed to hear!" Bonnie didn't know she had been praying in Gaelic.
Bonnie also told me that one time she was attending a conference and was seated next to an Oriental woman. During a prayer time, Bonnie prayed for her in tongues. The woman was amazed. Bonnie was speaking in a rare Oriental dialect.
"I am from a royal family, and this language is only known by the royal families," the woman told her.
"What did I say?" Bonnie asked.
"You said, 'You've tried Buddha, you've tried Confucius, you will find your rest in Jesus.'"
That's great advice, no matter what language you hear it in.
Food for Thought: New Orleans was the witchcraft capital of the United States (at least before hurricane Katrina). The satanists there would actually hand out tracts. Some Christian woman were handed one of them and they reported that the tract outlined the satanists' agenda, and on their to do list included the goal of keeping the Holy Spirit out of the churches. With that in mind we have to ask those who are opposed to Pentecost- whose side are you on?
copyright 1981 by H. D. Shively