[bg_collapse view=”button-blue” color=”#4a4949″ icon=”zoom” expand_text=”Mobile Friendly View” collapse_text=”Hide Mobile Friendly View” ]
WHAT WERE THE THINGS OF CHRIST WHICH WERE FIRST IN GOD AND LATER PLACED BY THE SPIRIT INTO CHRIST’S MYSTICAL BODY ENABLING THEM TO DO GREATER WORKS THAN CHRIST IN HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY?
PART 1 – NEW HOLY GHOST OFFICE
We are approaching a subject which we entitle “THE THINGS OF CHRIST.” Our scripture setting is found in John 16 and deals exclusively with Christ’s final teaching session only hours before His crucifixion. Perhaps no other teaching session in all His ministry will prove as enlightening and invaluable to the disciples as this final one (John, chapter 14-16) which deals strictly with the office work of the Holy Ghost in that of the believer, a lesson which transpired sometime after the Last Supper and before the arrest in Gethsemane.
Note carefully, the Truth revealed especially in John 16:12-15 concerning the Holy Ghost or Comforter who is to be sent in Jesus’ name (John 14:26), and how this Spirit referred to as the Spirit of Truth or Father is shortly to take the THINGS OF CHRIST and show them unto the disciples. Matthew, you recall, was the first writer to openly declare the Holy Ghost to be Father of Christ! (Matthew 1:18-25) John 16:12, Jesus in His final teaching session, after Judas had left the fellowship, (John 13:30) informed His disciples He yet had many things to say unto them, however, they couldn’t possibly bear them now. Howbeit (however) when He the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all the Truth.
TWO THINGS HOLY GHOST DOES
Notice especially two statements found in Part B of John 16:13 declaring what the Holy Ghost will do once He is in His office. (1) He will not speak of Himself but shall speak of only that which He shall hear, (2) And He shall show you things to come! Jesus, referring to the Holy Ghost Father God – says when He is come into His new office work He will never speak of Himself. Why, Beloved, will He never speak of Himself? Once the Spirit of God enters His new office work (the 3rd) He will never speak in any respect to draw attention away from the man Christ, as though giving you the impression there is still yet another Spirit or Person to be glorified, but instead will seek to devote or draw all your attention to the fleshly man Christ, His only begotten Son born of a virgin womb from the seed of God, (Galations 4:4). The Holy Ghost’s attention is forever centered around this man Christ, the only Person of God of whom the gospel story itself is centered around, (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
CHRIST IN SPIRIT FORM
Therefore beloved, the only way possible for Christ to ever be seen in the life of believers must come through that of the Spirit (of Christ) – else how could Colossians 1:27 be correct in declaring, Christ in you, your hope of glory. Seeing the impossibility of an embodied, fleshly man called Christ dwelling in you, the only other alternative for Christ to personally dwell in you would be through His Holy Spirit!
The Bible declares each believer, baptized by the Holy Ghost into this one mystical body of Christ on earth has within them the Father, Son and Holy Ghost through this One Eternal Spirit. If I were trinitarian minded and said I believe what the Bible taught, when various verses indicate the Father is in us, the Son Christ is in us and the Holy Ghost is in us as believers, I would have to interpret that to be three different and distinct persons in the believer.
FATHER, SON & HOLY GHOST IN ONE SPIRIT
However, I am convinced God is not three separate and distinct persons but instead is only one inseparable Spirit who fulfills three office works of God, and once that inseparable Holy Spirit comes into our life John 16:13-15 declares He will: (1) show you things to come, (2) glorify Jesus the Christ only. Beloved, it is only through this Holy Spirit taking the THINGS OF CHRIST and placing them in the believers life are we allowed to see Jesus Christ living in the midst of His people for whom He came to save and redeem, (Matthew 1:21).
SHOWING GODLY CHARACTERISTICS
No Sir, not until the departure of Judas Iscariot into the night to betray Christ does Christ, now having only His true devoted disciples alone, present to them His final teaching session on the Holy Ghost as we hear Him declare that the express purpose of the Holy Spirit working in a believer’s life would be for none other purpose than to draw our fullest attention to the very Godly character of Christ Himself. The Spirit which was in Christ (II Corinthians 5:19) will draw our attention to the godly characteristics, traits and attributes of Christ, those godly attributes which portrayed within Him the nature of Deity or ability to be godlike and secondly, the Spirit when He is come into that new office work will show to the revelated believer the power of Christ, that power which demonstrated the works of Christ.
PURE & GODLY LIFE MAKES HIM DIFFERENT
John 16:14 – (14) “He shall glorify Me for He shall receive of Mine and show it unto you. (15) All things that the Father hath are Mine therefore He will take the things of Mine (THINGS OF CHRIST) and show it unto you.” The Holy Spirit, whom we know to be none other than the Spirit which dwelt in Christ (Romans 8:9-11) as well as the Father, when that one Spirit is come into His new office work He shall take those certain things which were invested in the man Christ and present them unto the Church, His mystical body. The Spirit will take those things which made Christ stand out or be set apart from all other mankind things which made Him to be the God man or godly man He is, and present these things to the revealed Church in order that they one day might become the same as He. Remember THE THINGS OF CHRIST which made Him different or stand out were not found in some particular outward mode of dress or appearance. No, because John 4:9 declares the woman of Samaria recognized Jesus as a Jew apparently from His appearance and dress. By no means did His outward appearance make Him different from others. Dress wise He looked as any other man of that hour. Hence, Christ was no oddball or hippie in His society as some think, yet what made Him different from others was in the pure life He lived and godly nature while here. Jesus who was declared both Lord and Christ was the Son of God, born of woman into a pure sinless body of flesh in which the Eternal Spirit chose to dwell and manifest His Eternal attributes through in order to draw mankind’s attention unto the only route mankind could return to God, I Corinthians 5:19.
Hence, it is important to recognize, first of all, that the Spirit of Truth called God the Father was in this godly fleshly man on earth! Once the Sonship role was finished, Jesus declares that the Spirit of Truth (another Comforter) would come into that third office work of God and now take those things which had made Christ different and make them known unto the revelated believers. I repeat, these things to be shown of THE THINGS OF CHRIST unto the believer was not found on the outside of the man Christ but instead was inside! For without these THINGS OF CHRIST being in the mystical body of Christ which the Spirit is going to take and show unto every revelated believer, you simply wouldn’t have the Spirit of Christ in the believer at all but would be some other Spirit instead. Moreover in order for that same identical Christ to live in the mystical body of Christ through the Eternal Spirit, would require those same attributes or characteristics which were first placed in Christ to now be placed in the revelated church.
ATTRIBUTES OF FATHER IN CHRIST
Verse 15 declares, “All these things that the Father hath are Mine and the Spirit will show them (all these things) unto you.” Let us examine this statement. (1) Whatever the Eternal Spirit, God the Father is in all His Eternal attributes characteristics or makeup has now (every bit) been placed in the Son, Jesus the Christ, born of woman. Therefore, whatever Christ is in His makeup, attributes, characteristics or traits which He received from the Father will all be taken by the Holy Ghost (the one Eternal Father, Matthew 23:9, in this new office work and emptied into His mystical body left here upon earth to carry out His divine will and purpose. Moreover beloved, when that happened you can’t help but see God in the midst of His true revelated church, those people whom God the Spirit has placed the THINGS OF CHRIST within in order they might be reconciled back to Himself, making them also the sons of God, even as God was in Christ on earth. The objective of God, in order for you to become a son of God and have a hope of glory through the Eternal Holy Spirit, is that Christ (your only hope of glory) in Spirit form might dwell in you. A work accomplished only through the office work of the Holy Ghost as He convicts you of your sins and makes a true revelated believer out of you. Beloved, you can by no means split up the THINGS OF CHRIST into certain sections or parts declaring that part which you have chosen in Christ. The THINGS OF CHRIST which you may have chosen can well be a part of Christ, although by no means is it Christ in the fullness of God As He has purposed to be in us, the Church!
FULLNESS OF GODHEAD – WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
Turn to Colossians 2:9, which declares all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Christ. What did Paul mean by “all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ?” Simply this, everything God the Father is, was placed in the man Christ here upon earth. No, not in His bulk Spirit form which fills all space, but in every attribute or characteristic that God the Father is, that attribute in its fullness was placed in Christ, the Son. Hence, Christ could honestly declare, all things (attributes or characteristics) the Father hath are mine. True, else how beloved could Christ remark to Philip in that final teaching session, he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, John 14:16:11.
How could this be? Remember first off, the Father is not a person having hands, feet, etc., as Christ, who was a man, has. Furthermore the man Christ was not Eternal, seeing He had a beginning but the Father Spirit, which is this one Eternal life giving Spirit is Eternal whose shape no one has ever seen, who fills all space and heaven is declared to be His throne while earth is His footstool.
NOT JESUS ONLY
Therefore in Christ what do we see, some second person? GOD FORBID! We see in Christ everything that the Eternal Father ever was, in all His Eternal attributes. An attribute is defined as a characteristic of a person or thing. God, who is made up of many attributes, invested them all in this earthly sonship office of God which originated here on earth through Jesus the Christ who was born of woman. Attributes might be a difficult word for some to grasp, but remember an attribute is a characteristic of a person or thing. Just as you were nothing but attributes once, laying there in the loins of your father before being transferred from your father’s loins unto the womb of your mother, where approximately nine months later you were introduced unto your earthly father as a person! No, the Eternal Spirit in His bulk Spirit form was not in Christ, that would make Him Jesus Only. Instead the Father God being in Christ was there in every Eternal attribute or characteristic which Father God is, else how could Paul declare, it pleased the Father (Spirit) that in Him (Christ) should all the fullness of the Godhead dwell bodily? (Colossians 1:19, 2:9) For the fullness of the Godhead to be bodily in Christ did not require the heavens to drain nor empty themselves of the Spirit and presence of God, thus requiring His entire bulk Spirit form to be placed into a mere body of flesh, called the Christ! Only those Eternal attributes or characteristics which God is, was there in that man.
GOD NEVER SEEN
The Eternal Spirit called God, in all His entirety of attributes or characteristics had never been seen by man at any time, John 1:18. In other words, no man had ever seen God’s eternal abode. Israel had often been privileged to see various manifestations of Him, Hebrews 1:1. They had witnessed the mountain vehemtly shaking at His presence; they knew He was there but could not see Him. They even saw the Red Sea split and felt the sensation of the wind blowing all night. Truly Israel had seen all these manifestations of God although again I repeat, they were never privileged to see His Eternal being. Moses saw his hinder parts, and Abraham had lunch with Him as he entertained three angels, one of the three was the Lord in an visible manifestation to appear unto Abraham. Yet no one had ever seen God in His Eternal being of attributes or makeup. Israel could not possibly perceive what this omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), Spirit called God was actually like! No beloved, not until the fullness of the Godhead (everything God ever was) appeared bodily one day in this one man called the Lord Jesus Christ.
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD IN CHRIST
This life-giving, invisible Spirit called God the Father in every attribute that He is was now in Christ on earth. Every attribute the Father is in LOVE, POWER, TRUTH and everything else you could think God to be is all there in Christ! That is why Christ could declare to Phillip after 3½ years, have you been so long time with Me Phillip and still don’t know who the Father is? He that hath (truly) seen me (through revelation of the Holy Spirit), to know I am truly the Lord, hath seen past this vail of blood, and flesh, seen past this earthly role of sonship into the Eternal realm of those godly, divine life-giving attributes, within my own life and makeup, if you have seen past all that Phillip you have seen the eternal Father. No, not until Jesus who was made both Lord and Christ was born from that pure, perfect seed of God as well as the pure created egg of the virgin womb which God borrowed to form that perfect, sinless little body of flesh which would hold all these Eternal attributes that God is, would grow into manhood and walk this earth. No, not until this event had Israel ever seen God. If you can’t see Him through the revelation of the Spirit in Jesus Christ, you will never see Him. Eternal life of God with naked eyes, their hands were also privileged to handle Him, I John 1:1-2. This life-giving Holy Spirit. God the Father Himself, who is made up of all these divine attributes and characteristics, chose one day to walk among men in order that mankind could see God the Father living and ministering through a perfect sinless obedient vessel of clay and it was this vessel of clay, heard to speak to mortal men saying, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father! Why then say show us the Father and it will satisfy us, John 14:9? And then declare in John 16:15 shortly before the cross that all things the Father hath are mine and get this, all things will the Spirit take and give unto you! Therefore, all that mankind could every hope or conceive in HIS THOUGHTS CONCERNING God the Father’s love, power, etc., every characteristic and attribute of God the Father was all in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Everything concerning the expression of God in power to meet every need of mankind; every attribute of God or characteristic of God was found in that one fleshly, perfect, sinless man, Jesus who was both Lord (God) and Christ (anointed one).
CHARACTER GOD DESIRES IN CHRIST
For what purpose, that God now as a man, could illustrate to fallen mankind exactly what kind of character or nature that He, as God desires sinful fallen mankind to be. Christ the perfect man, was the very fullness of the Godhead bodily, that is, in every attribute dwelling in Him, to demonstrate to mankind, exactly how God had always wanted mankind to live, since the first Adam was placed on earth. That exampleship God desired had been lived and portrayed in a perfect man called Jesus, the anointed one (Christ), who is standing here declaring unto His chosen disciples, all that the Father hath are mine and these things that are mine will soon be taken by the (Holy) Spirit in His new office work and shown or distributed unto you!
It could be illustrated further in this manner, the Eternal Spirit says to fallen mankind, LOOK, you have never seen what I expected from mankind. How could you seeing the first Adam (your daddy) fell and by taking on a sinful nature of unbelief and death was only able to father into this planet a fallen human race of disobedient humanity of flesh filled with death!! However, you watch this man I sent, the second Adam who was born of a pure seed of God, who is My Son and is also a new order or new breed of mankind, not like others that are filled with death, instead he is full of ZOE (God’s Eternal Life)! Take a good look at this man’s life, see His loyalty and obedience to do the perfect will of the Father. Look at His exampleship in life and you will see what order of man I desire you to be like. Therefore, unto the revelated mystical body of Christ, the Church, I will give you all these things that made Him what He was as a perfect, obedient Son, full of Eternal Life. I will empty Him and present all the THINGS OF CHRIST unto you, that you in turn one day shall be like Him at the end of the age.
CHRIST OUR OLDER BROTHER
Remember in order to be Christ-like doesn’t mean we run a race with Him, oh no, that kind of Spirit would destroy the very objective we were seeking. Isn’t it strange how some people simply can’t bear for anyone to get ahead of them. Nevertheless, I am glad in the family of God we do have an older brother, the second Adam, who was our example, yet strange to say in natural families one thing that irked the other children was to have an older brother. For some reason they seem jealous of him. In God’s family, as God the Spirit presented Himself in the office of His sonship, the man Christ Jesus was born of the seed of the Holy Ghost, His Father, must in a family relationship be recognized as your older brother, our example. Yet, as very God He is the manifestation of your Saviour and Redeemer in order to reconcile you back to that great Eternal Holy Spirit called Father. The Holy Spirit, who is not some third person but is very God Himself in His future work, is using that supreme sacrifice of the Lamb to regenerate mankind or shall we say, renew, quicken or restore mankind back unto Himself.
CHRIST, HIGH PRIEST
Hence, once Christ became the resurrected Christ, He commissioned His disciples with the great commission and ascended into glory to accept His new office work of High Priest before the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:8-15), while the Holy Ghost would take the things that were in this man Christ, things that made Him what He was, and manifest these great characteristics or attributes unto the Church which is seeking to return to God.
GREATER IN WHAT CAPACITY?
Approaching that statement in John 16:15, the things of Mine (Christ), did Christ mean to imply when He said, “these things (or signs) shall follow them that believe”, Mark 16:17-18, that future Christians would be in some way different than He Himself had been – CERTAINLY NOT! How could you be Christlike or have the Spirit of Christ within you and be different? Moreover when Christ in Mark 16 stated, “These signs shall follow them that believe”, He was linking that statement up with another previous statement He made when He said, “These things (deeds) that I do, ye shall do also and greater works than these, shall you do.” (John 14:12) How could they do greater works than Christ? Greater works than these in the respect that Christ was speaking in reference to His many membered mystical body on earth, which even at that hour the statement was made, already potentially stood before Him a plurality of disciples. Later as the THINGS OF CHRIST was taken by the Spirit and distributed into the mystical body of Christ as He saw fit or as it pleased Him, watch those works of that first generation after Pentecost, 40 years or so, as those disciples allowed the Holy Ghost to work through them in whatever capacity the Spirit so chose as He had distributed all these THINGS OF CHRIST within the body that all could see Christ in the mystical body continuing on with His work! Therefore, as a many membered body of Christ now scattered over a larger area, the body would do far more deeds than Christ did in the sense they would now have His attributes (gifts) within them as they could cover a far wider area than the one man Christ could possibly cover! GREATER IN THAT SENSE ONLY!
PART 3 – WHAT ARE THE THINGS OF CHRIST?
With these thoughts in mind concerning THE THINGS OF CHRIST, how the Spirit is to place these things in the body of Christ, let us find out what these THINGS OF CHRIST are, because whatever these THINGS OF CHRIST are will produce a character of Christ-likeness in the revealed Church.
SIGNS FOLLOWED COMMISSION
The THINGS OF CHRIST to be distributed to the Church are better known as the nine gifts of the Spirit recorded in I Corinthians 12:1-31, a period of time which is well covered within the Book of Acts, a book which we must accept to be the history that covered roughly the first 45 years of the early church, and that entire book is a confirmation of what Mark declared in Mark 16:16-18 concerning signs following believers. Mark declares through verse 20 that after the day of Pentecost the disciples went everywhere preaching, not signs but the gospel of Christ which was the death, burial and resurrection of Christ thus baptizing converts in the name of Jesus Christ in order to identify them with the death, burial and resurrection of the one who died, was buried and rose again! No, they didn’t preach signs, they preached Christ who was the Truth; they preached the Great Commission, and they preached the Great Commission in exactness of revelation and understanding as Jesus had declared after His resurrection. Because of their loyalty to the Commission, to cherish it so obediently in their hearts, God worked with the revealed Church in signs and gifts of the Holy Ghost. (Hebrews 2:4)
CARNAL ATMOSPHERE IN HUMAN THINKING
I Corinthians 11:1-31 was a portion of a letter written by Paul in answer to certain timely questions which were disturbing an established church at Corinth, Greece, a church Paul established on his second missionary journey. Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost had been distributing the THINGS OF CHRIST unto the body of believers. Thus, the gifts of the Spirit to the Church was not only in the church at Corinth, but were in all the established churches of the First Age in this truth. Paul, in his letter, is by no means writing to undo any of the virtues or THINGS OF CHRIST as some without the Spirit have taught. Instead Paul’s interest was only to correct the error, the mis-practice or the ignorance upon the part of the church, ignorance which was keeping them from fully or truthfully understanding the true objective and usage of these THINGS OF CHRIST. However, probably within the little young church a spirit of spiritual competition had developed. The abundance of the grace and power of God being poured out on the Corinthian people, shall we say, had developed a carnal atmosphere of human thinking which was trying to blend itself into the grace of God. This carnal spirit resting on many of those precious saints causes them to sort of run a spiritual race of competition. In other words, I have more gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST than you do. Some people not even in the family of God wants no one else to get ahead of them, no, not even in spiritual matters. Such carnality should never be entertained in Christians.
Imagine believers running a rat race against each other in the things of spirituality, treating the THINGS OF CHRIST as though it is something you gamble with, something you compete against or play with. No beloved, these things of Christ are to be lived in, walked in! In order to walk closely in the family of God every child must recognize what he is supposed to be and do; recognize what, he, through the Spirit, has been given, the potential opportunity or ability to do and do that beloved and no more! Simply being willing to walk with God. Once people reach the place they are just as happy, contented and thrilled to see God using or blessing another believer as they are to see that blessing resting upon themselves, will we then begin to see a people actually showing a Christlikeness in every respect.
The first three verses of Chapter 12 Paul uses to exhort the Corinthian Christians to be thankful for that which the Word of God had accomplished in their lives, seeing how in times past they had been so superstitious (or religious) being led away after all these useless, vain dumb idols by so-called gifted priests or teachers who were supposed to have various gifts from the (planetary) gods. To understand such a statement one would have to be aware of the idolatry which existed in the city of Corinth before Paul came, and see the numerous heathen temples of planetary gods built to Apollos, Venus, Jupiter, etc.. Signs of such idol worship are still visible today. Paul informs the Corinthians no man under the influence of the true Spirit can ever say Jesus is accursed, neither can any one declare Jesus is the Lord, but in the Old Testament is Jehovah God and Paul taught in Ephesians 4:4 there is only ONE LORD!
3 OUTSTANDING WORDS
While studying this chapter on gifts three words used by Paul in verses 4-6 to express certain thoughts seemed to jump up before me. The three words are SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD. Why would Paul choose these three separate words (SPIRIT, LORD, GOD) to express the officework of the Holy Spirit in the distribution of the THINGS OF CHRIST! Paul is dead, yet his revelation of truth lives on, therefore let us consult that revelation in order to see what Paul had in mind when he penned these three separate words, SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD.
To Paul they are not three separate persons. Paul, even in his Jewish religion, believed only in one Eternal God and that truth did not have to change once he came over to Christianity. In the faith he learned the redemptive name of his Lord God (Acts 9:5) was JESUS.
DIFFERENCES IN THE NINE GIFTS
In Verse 4, Paul is ready to show the Corinthians various things concerning the true gifts as he first declares there are diversities of gifts or (THINGS OF CHRIST). True, there are nine different gifts and we desire to study each of them at least enough that we may recognize their various functions within the body of Christ. Paul declares there are diversities of gifts which simply means all different, not one of the nine gifts are alike. For example, tongues is not like prophecy, yet both gifts originate and operate, by one and the selfsame SPIRIT. Wonder why Paul didn’t stick with this word SAME SPIRIT in his next two verses as he does in verse 4?
LORD OF EACH OPERATION
Verse 5, Paul refers to the differences in the administrations or functions of each separate gift and says it was accomplished by the same LORD, not SPIRIT. The reason Paul uses LORD here is because the word SPIRIT itself doesn’t signify that the SPIRIT is LORD or master of every operation of the gifts. In other words, you don’t do what you want to with the gifts, since He is LORD and master of each operation, He operates the gift whenever, wherever and however it pleases Him! Different administrations or functions show that in each person a gift operates through can operate in a number of different ways, therefore, you can’t have a certain rule how it is to function, it simply functions as He wants it, He is the LORD of each operation! It is the Holy Ghost’s administration throughout this one grace age. As a matter of fact, He is the only one who will have an administration in the true body of Christ. We think of presidents in America who have had various administrations in running the country, we refer to Nixon’s presidency as the Nixon Administration. Therefore, in God’s kingdom it is the Holy Ghost’s Administration!
CLIMAX OF GIFT – GOD IS PRAISED
In verse 6, Paul refers to the different operations of the gifts but it is the same GOD who works all in all. Paul uses the word GOD here because God is the highest word that could be used to show the SPIRIT is God, and God means an object of worship. Therefore it is the Spirit as God who deserves the highest admiration and praise for what these gifts have accomplished through their different operations once the gift has reached its fullness or climax. Then in verses 7-28 where ever Paul mentions these gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST he returns to his former expression of THE SAME SPIRIT distributing them throughout the body of Christ as He sees fit! In order for people to catch his meaning in different expressions of the Spirit concerning these gifts he had to use the word LORD and GOD as well as the same SPIRIT showing this one Eternal Spirit was LORD and GOD. Don’t forget, according to verse 3, an entire verse which deals with Jesus, says no man calls Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost!
SPIRIT WON’T LEAVE YOU IGNORANT
Therefore, we know in John 16:14, when Jesus told His disciples when He the Spirit of Truth is come He would be the one who is giving out these gifts. Furthermore, He is also to be Lord over them, and thirdly He is God seeing He is the one to be praised for them; His name is Jesus, He shall take the things of mine and show them unto you. He will never speak of Himself but of Me; He will glorify only Me. Isn’t that what the Spirit is doing here in I Corinthians 12? It is the same Spirit of God who is Lord working in the new office work, distributing the THINGS OF CHRIST after that He, the Spirit of Christ, (the father) in His new office work has first wooed and convicted you of your sin of unbelief, John 16;8-9, bringing you to a realization that you should accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. It is this Spirit of God who is Lord that baptizes you into the mystical body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13) and beloved, that Spirit of Truth will not leave you ignorant as to the objective of God in your life. Recall that objective of God is that you be conformed to the image of His dear Son (Romans 8:29). However, if you don’t know that His dear Son was Lord God Almighty in flesh and that the Spirit now in you is not some third person but is the very Spirit of Christ who distributes all things of Christ into the mystical body, then all you would know is, there is a Spirit in me, I don’t know where it came from or what it is doing! All I now is I feel it about me. HOGWASH! When the Spirit of Truth is come, He testifies of Christ, telling you all about Christ. He doesn’t leave you in ignorance as to who Christ is, (John 15:25, John 16:13-14). And through a demonstration of these nine gifts, the Spirit distributes throughout the mystical body you see a demonstration of Christ in the earth throughout the Book of Acts.
EVERY BELIEVER GIVEN SOMETHING
Leaving verse 6, Paul now drops his Holy Ghost thought down on to the level of the individual through which the gift will operate. No longer does Paul use the phrase Lord or God to carry over a certain emphasis. Instead he returns to his original phrase, the same Spirit. Once these nine gifts of the Spirit or THINGS OF CHRIST have equally been distributed throughout the entire body of Christ, verse 7 declares, and please remember this following statement in verse 7 can only be applied to a setting similar to Paul’s day in the first church age, the spiritual manifestations of the Spirit is given to every believer (Paul says) to profit withal. Note that, given to every believer, not to profit the individual the gift operates through, but instead is to profit everyone is the body of Christ, according to the Apostle Paul.
EARLY CHURCH CONSISTED OF TRUE BELIEVERS
What a truth is concealed in this small verse! However, in order to grasp such a statement one must recall fully the setting of that early church in Paul’s hour, some 30 years after Pentecost. Here Paul teaches two facts: (1) All believers of that hour had been baptized into the mystical body of Christ, not by water baptism but by the baptism of the Spirit. True, once the early church believer had embraced the gospel of God as taught by the apostles this one Spirit of God baptized every believer into the body of Christ. (2) Every believer once baptized into the mystical body by the same Spirit was also given, along with his portion of the Holy Ghost, a gift or his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST!
HAD GOSPEL NOT GOTTEN OFF COURSE
However, remember this can only apply to the revelated born again Holy Ghost filled believers who made up this mystical body of Christ on earth in Paul’s day! Had the gospel of Christ not gotten off course after the first century, this setting could still continually have been applied! The same Spirit of Christ which ascended on high, returning ten days later to take up His permanent abode in the church, which at that hour consisted of only 120 believers, however, before the day was finished, according to Acts 2:37-42, 3000 more precious souls were added to that mystical body. Several days later 5000 more Jews we know were added (Acts 4:4) making at least a grand total of 8120 souls filled with the Holy Ghost as the gifts of the Spirit are distributed equally among the body. And get this, not a tare nor unbeliever was in the midst! And so, on down through the centuries of time as people have been truly converted to truth, the same Spirit has given to each his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST as He baptizes them into the body. For what purpose, that this mystical body, made up strictly of Holy Ghost filled revelated believers might live Christ, teach Christ and demonstrate Christ on the earth. (John 14:12-16, 14-15)
However, one must not forget, according to the revealed scriptures and history itself, everything did not remain under the beautiful leadership of that same Spirit of Christ as was in that first generation of the grace age! No, another Spirit took over to guide the church! By the time the true church had passed out of the Apostolic Age, which overlapped well into the second Century, the church was slowly losing her ability to carry the true Word seed or revelated knowledge of the Word of God as they had so beautifully accomplished within the first generation, that Jesus was truly the Old Testament God in the flesh! Nevertheless, by the time the church reaches 325 A.D., and that man-made Nicean church council called by the Roman Emperor Constantine, the church was now no longer the kind of spiritual church she was when Paul was writing to the Corinthian church during that first age when she was fed by the early five-fold ministry. Instead the church in the 3rd Century was rapidly being filled with carnal, unconverted pagans who had left their religion within the Roman Empire and had come over to Christianity since Constantine had made Christianity a state religion.
The Bible declares in Matthew 13:24-30, that even as early as the 2nd Century, after the death of those first apostles and five-fold ministry, Satan had succeeded in sowing false doctrinal seed among the mystical body and had already begun to implant certain personalities who continued to sow false doctrine. Naturally once such teaching began to take hold of the people’s minds, this automatically wrecked the framework of true revelation as taught in the early church and slowly began brainwashing the minds of the 2nd Century saints causing them to lose that fervency for revelatory knowledge, and the power of God was also beginning to diminish from their midst. Why? Because God will not confirm error! God confirms only the truth as shown in Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4. Sure, for a while no doubt these believers within the 2nd Century continued to live and exemplify Christ in that of Christian character, rejoicing over the fact they are saved from their sins. Nevertheless, once the devil was permitted to enter into the midst of believers sowing his false doctrine, doctrine which many saints in the 1st Age had already been battling according to the scriptures. Satan, finally entering their midst, led to the warping of their spiritual revelation, the framework of their thinking concerning the fact God is One. Instead Satan slowly now implants into their minds that God is 3 persons. Note, as long as the church was made up of true born again believers, as they were in the days of Paul, Satan could not penetrate the church. Not until 325 A.D., was Satan successful in turning his theory into a creed or church doctrine. Once this promoting of a teaching began what do we see, the diminishing of the power of God as it leaves their midst, for the setting is now no longer as it was in the day of Paul, when He wrote I Corinthians 12:7.
The true revelation of Christ now seems to slowly deteriorate and with it also deteriorates the power of God, because the power of Christ or THINGS OF CHRIST must feed into the framework of the true revelation. God’s presence leaves what is called the church of that hour. Why? Because God cannot confirm error. On and on this deterioration of Truth continued until you reached about 500 A.D., and the church which is now scattered over Europe filled mostly with unbelievers is approaching the threshold of the dreaded 1000 years of Dark Ages or Satan’s Millennium. Christianity, as known during the first age when Paul addressed the Corinthian church in chapter 12, simply did not exist! Therefore, I Corinthians 12:7 could not apply to this type of people. No beloved, THE THINGS OF CHRIST Paul spoke of concerning how the Holy Ghost operated these gifts in the body and further said every man was given a gift of the Spirit could now no longer be applied to such a church.
GIFTS DEMONSTRATED IN DARK AGES
Nevertheless, here and there during that Dark period, God by His grace would raise up certain men who possessed only a dim vision of what little spiritual light was available in that hour and God would be seen to confirm and bless that, through certain gifts and demonstrations of His power. No, by no means, was God confirming this well organized belief of God in three persons of a trinity or any other carnal church doctrine. God merely confirmed their spirit of love to detest this evil corruption within a blinded religious system! No where did God ever confirm with signs following the doctrine of the Catholic church!
That beloved is the position the church world lay in once the first dawning light of Protestantism, around 1500, broke over the horizon and slowly through time God began to restore certain basic doctrinal apostolic truths to the church. However, around the opening of the 20th Century the believers are brought back unto a Holy Ghost experience wherein once again in great measure do we see the gifts of God begin to automatically function wherein the gift might once again profit withal, according to I Corinthians 12:7, and on the end of that final gentile Laodicean church age came a gentile church age messenger to restore within Laodicea all Truth which had been embraced by the apostles, but lost through these various church ages. Yet God returned this Truth to restore a potential bride of this hour shortly before Christ returns. Through this God-sent messenger the believers could now make a full return to the teachings of that first church age or first generation after Pentecost and experience, once again, that same Pentecostal new birth experience thereby embracing the one Spirit who distributes al these THINGS OF CHRIST into the mystical body, whereby the body might demonstrate Christ once again in the earth as Paul had taught.
However isn’t it strange, now that God has given us this restoring message to place us back whereby I Corinthians 12:7 might operate in our lives as effectively as it did in the first age, that now we have people who declare they are a part of this message, who when they were out there in some Pentecostal church, they fully believed in these THINGS OF CHRIST! And no doubt occasionally, or quite often, God may have used them in different operation of these gifts to a certain measure. However, it seems as if the very moment they stepped outside the doors of that carnal organizational system and stepped over into this glorious revelated message of apostolic truth, which places us in perfect alignment with I Corinthians 12, suddenly it seems all their electrical wires from glory have been cut lose and everything spiritual in the way of gifts suddenly stopped! Beloved, it should not be that way! Nevertheless such a condition does exist, although I am sure somewhere God will change the situation even if He has to use a world condition to do so.
NOT BELIEVERS AND TARES
During that early hour the church, or mystical body which had a setting such as I Corinthians 12, was not filled with tares and true believers as you see once the church approaches the 2nd Century. And in the hour of I Corinthians 12:7, everyone who was being added to the church by the Spirit not only was baptized with the Holy Ghost, but it was this baptism of the Holy Ghost which placed revelated believers in the mystical body of Christ, thus completing the New Birth. Hence the baptism of the Holy Ghost is not something optional, IT IS A MUST!
HAVE I A GIFT?
Does that mean, someone in the body of Christ may ask – that I have a gift in my life? Certainly! Isn’t that what Paul said! Now I remind you the setting, gospel-wise, must be the same as in Paul’s day to make this scripture, I Corinthians 12:7, apply in your life. Remember, when the Holy Ghost baptizes you into His mystical body, He is already fully aware of your capacity as you dedicate your life obediently unto His will. That Spirit of Grace within you called the Father, called the Spirit of Christ, called the Holy Ghost, knows the ability you possess in allowing the Spirit of God to work His will and purpose in your life. Therefore, according to Paul’s teaching there is the potential of some gift lying in every Holy Ghost filled child of God (though bear in mind the setting of I Corinthians 12:7 was within that first generation of saints in the grace who embraces all the truth to their bosom, in an hour when a congregation lived holy and clean, not resembling the man of the world whatsoever.)
PAUL NOT ILLUSTRATING HOW TO GET GIFTS
Note these nine gifts, even though the church did not fully understand their spiritual operation, they were nonetheless already operating in their full capacity within the body of Christ on each during that first church age as Christ had promised in John 16:13-15 that they would be! Christ had kept His promise! The evidence was most visible among the body of Christ!
Isn’t this beautiful, Paul isn’t writing to the Corinthians church as well as the other churches who would read this letter also, explaining unto them anything about how or what to do in order to get the gifts started to operating in their life. No, they needed only an understanding of the gifts which were already operating. They needed to know how to treat and respect these things of Christ now operating in His body. It wasn’t a question of how many of these things they could have, provided they could pray and fast, because Paul tells them the gifts were distributed by the same SPIRIT, as He saw fit, NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY WANTED! As the person was baptized into the body of Christ by this one Spirit, that potential, or THING OF CHRIST, came with the believers portion of Christ! And Paul declares to one is given one thing and to another is given something else. Paul is showing the church they must not get in the way of these gifts with carnal ideas toward them, because they are only the vessel through which the gift operates. The Holy Ghost, who is Lord of the operation of the gift, will operate it whenever He Himself so chooses! It can not ever be operated wherever or whenever we choose, says Paul.
PART 4 – RECOGNIZING THE 9 GIFTS
Having informed the Corinthian church, everyone in that church age up to the hour within the first generation of believers had already received the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. Paul begins with verse 8 to name the various, different nine gifts of the Spirit. Beloved, these THINGS OF CHRIST are given by that Spirit who will never speak of Himself, but seeks only to glorify and exemplify Christ through these nine gifts. Therefore, to make a foolish statement as some are doing today, saying there is no gift of the Spirit within the true mystical body of Christ today, is the same as to say, there is no Christ in the body of true revelated believers as was found in the first generation of the revelated saints! A statement of such caliber is to further admit that as a people of the end time you have never even been returned through the message of the prophet to the true apostolic teachings of the apostles, for the teaching here according to the Apostle Paul is, that once the Holy Ghost placed you into the body of Christ He gave to each believer a certain potential of the THINGS OF CHRIST, else how will Christ be lived and exemplified to this age!
NO. 1 – WORD OF WISDOM
Having clearly stated in verse 7 everyone in the body of Christ (up to that hour) had received something in the way of the manifestation of the Spirit, Paul begins by saying in verse 8, “for to one person in that body is given the WORD OF WISDOM.” Notice, the Spirit did not give to everyone the Word of Wisdom because Paul further states, to another He gave the Word of Knowledge to another something else, etc. This thing of wisdom is seen continually in Christ’s ministry. Read especially Matthew 21:23-27. Wisdom kept Him out of many traps set by religious leaders. Wisdom gave Him the correct answer. Read Matthew 22:15-46. This wisdom was one of the THINGS OF CHRIST to be placed in the body!
WHAT IS IT?
What is wisdom? There is only one book on earth that can show us what Holy Ghost wisdom is like and that is the Bible. In this book we have a beautiful account which portrayed what wisdom is or the manifestations of what wisdom is. The Bible speaks of Solomon, who in his day did not desire silver and gold, instead asked for the wisdom of God in order to know how to lead his people in Israel. Jesus himself referred to the wisdom of Solomon declaring how the Queen of Sheba came to hear and see the wisdom of Solomon (Matthew 12:42) and Jesus said, “Behold a greater than Solomon is here!” Two women appeared before Solomon. (I Kings 3:16-28). Both had given birth to children and even shared the same bed. One woman apparently had smothered her baby and out of her grief for a live child stole the other woman’s baby. An argument arose which brought in the elders of the city, who after examining the situation, declared it was one which required Solomon’s wisdom to unravel. Listening to both women’s stories, Solomon drew his sword to divide the living child in half. Watch the wisdom of God in operation. Wisdom can be cruel, yet it never fails to get the job done. Solomon knew the real mother would give up the child rather than see it killed. One woman cried out to spare the baby’s life and give it to the other woman, thus Solomon knew who the real mother was.
Sometimes the wisdom of God may not appear ethical and at times appears quite crude, nevertheless, it is always effective in assisting you to make the right decision or judgment. Your case in needing wisdom may never be like that of Solomon’s, yet you may have a decision which you cannot possibly know what to do or what decision to make without God’s wisdom to assist you. What then is the operation of this gift of the word of wisdom? It is the impartation of Godly wisdom that God Himself imparts to you through His Spirit, which is already in you if you are a member of the true revelated body of Christ. Wisdom often serves as guidance! Suddenly you are faced with an important decision, you need an answer pondering the situation which confronts you, it appears through one line of thought the thing could go one way while looking at it from another angle it appears it would go another way. Sooner or later it is something you must face and when you do it will require action on your part in making a decision. It may be a decision of such nature there is no book you can consult, not even the Bible for an answer. Recall, the Bible records only the action of wisdom portrayed in others of by-gone days as situations and conditions affected their individual lives. There might be a similarity to fit your need, then again there might not. Remember, there is not a situation which God cannot handle.
A LITTLE WISDOM IMPARTED
God is unlimited in wisdom, therefore, the Word of Wisdom referred to by Paul as a gift given by this same spirit who is also God and Lord does by no means imply that God gives to the believer of this particular gift all the wisdom which God possesses. No! It is only a Word of Wisdom. Sometime in your life a condition arises where it appears Satan has you hemmed in, nevertheless, if you walk humbly before God, He won’t allow that situation to last forever without revealing to you what to do.
Seeing that this godly wisdom which was first in Christ is now in the mystical body of Christ, God may choose to give you the answer you need personally, or on the other hand, He may give your answer through another believer, and that Word of Wisdom pertaining to the certain situation you are in will show you exactly what to do. The answer is the imparted Word of Wisdom needed to meet that particular situation. Remember in our study of the gifts or the THINGS OF CHRIST we are only seeking to identify the gifts that are definitely within the true body of Christ in order that we may recognize their function. Our purpose is not to show how they operate within a believer, they will operate however the Holy Ghost wants them to operate.
Wisdom may appear simple, nevertheless it works. Was it quite simple in Solomon’s case, he simply picked up a sword to divide a living child. It doesn’t even have to be a huge task in order for that gift, the Word of Wisdom, to manifest itself. The situation at hand may be very small and requires only a small word or deed to work out this problem, nevertheless, whether large or small whatever the answer comes be sure to give God glory. If you can’t thank Him for the small things, you will never recognize Him in the large things. Paul teaches in I Corinthians 14:1, that we should desire the cultivation of the spiritual gifts in our life. If we desire this gift of the Word of Wisdom of this God who is unlimited in wisdom, then beware we be not a person prone to much gossip. Gossip and the Word of Wisdom would surely somewhere take our lives off balance.
NO. 2 – THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
The second gift or THING OF CHRIST mentioned by Paul, also recorded in verse 8, presented to (still) another person in the body of Christ by the same Spirit (which never spoke of Himself) is the Word of Knowledge. Yes, definitely within the body of Christ some (not all) whosoever the Spirit chooses to receive this gift are given the Word of Knowledge. The Word of Knowledge was seen in Christ’s ministry in John 1:47-51 and Matthew 17:27. How do we recognize the Word of Knowledge in operation? Again when the hour arrives that you are confronted with something, shall we say a situation develops and you need to know what course to take, you are faced with two lines of thought. Seeing God’s knowledge of everything including the future is unlimited and shall we say, somewhere in the future unbeknown to you, you are about to be involved in a car accident. Through this Word of Knowledge God may speak and warn you as a believer concerning this accident. With the Word of Knowledge there is a good chance you can avoid this accident, provided you heed what you are shown concerning the accident. Either God Himself, who is on the inside of you, may choose to show you personally through your own fleshly vessel what will happen if you do a certain thing, or He may choose to use another believer to warn you concerning the wreck.
LEVELS OF OPERATION
Recall in verse 5-6, Paul declared there were differences of administrations concerning the gifts as well as different functions or operations of the gifts, nevertheless, it was the same LORD controlling it all. There are differences in the operations of these gifts. The Word of Knowledge can appear on 3 levels: (1) VISIONS – which is the highest order of the Word of Knowledge. Many people observed Bro. William Branham under the anointing of the Holy Ghost as he would inform people of the secrets of their hearts and people thought this was a gift of discernment in operation. No, that particular part operating in the prophet was not discernment, or as Paul said, the gift of discernment of spirits. No beloved, that working within the prophet to inform him of the secrets of people’s hearts was none other than the operation of the Word of Knowledge! You will see the difference between the two gifts once we study the discernment of spirits. When Bro. William Branham looked upon a person and told them their names and such, that wasn’t discernment, that was Knowledge! God who has all knowledge knew all of that, didn’t He? Therefore, when the prophet told people all these things to build their faith, that was a Gift of Knowledge drawing off the past tense. When he said I see through the vision that you are up for an operation, that is knowledge drawing on the future tense. And remember beloved, as we stated, visions are the highest manifestations of the Word of Knowledge. Knowledge is that gift which you always read about being in the lives of the prophets. (2) DREAMS – is the secondary level of Knowledge while (3) IMPRESSIONS – is the third level of Knowledge. God may choose to simply impress upon you something so heavy that you literally, without a vision or dream, feel it in your soul so strongly this is what will happen if you pursue the plan you have in mind. In a prophet’s life, such as Bro. William Branham’s, the gift of Knowledge was continually working on one of the three levels – through visions, dreams or impressions.
IMPRESSION THE 3RD
Back to the car wreck, say you’re planning to do a certain thing in the future, for instance take a trip and the very moment plans are made, suddenly inside of you have that feeling or impression, no, it’s not a dream and it’s not a vision, it’s the 3rd level of operation and God is going to permit you to draw off of His unlimited knowledge of the future, and concerning that trip you have an impression that if it is carried out something is going to happen. That something inside of you is the Holy Spirit operating through the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE, because He possesses all knowledge of all things and it is through this gift that God imparts knowledge, either by vision, dream or impression, and here by the 3rd level of the operation of the gift, an impression, you have received warning if you take that trip something will happen. You see, God knows that and He further knows how to press this upon your Spirit. What is it all about? God the Spirit is merely allowing you, through this gift, the ability to have just a little foresight into what He already knows. He does that to equip you with a little understanding whereby we may prepare ourselves to either avoid, in this case, the accident or once it happens whatever the situation may be you will have prepared yourself for nothing drastic to come out of it. Irregardless to which of the three levels; visions, dream or impression, it is the Spirit of God through this gift seeking to guide His children, because as we saw in verse 7, the manifestation of the Spirit (in some manner) is given to every true believer to profit withal.
EXAMPLES OF KNOWLEDGE OPERATING
Several examples of the gift of the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE I would like to mention. First that great 2nd Century martyr Polycarp, John the Beloved’s loyal student who lived among the 2nd Century disciples, in an hour when the truth was deteriorating away from the right revelated, apostolic standard as it was in the first age, was shown in advance concerning the martyr’s death he would die. Peter the apostle also testifies how he could see himself leaving the scene of life, and Paul, did not he also declare how he knew his own departure was getting close. It is because they lived so sensitive to the Spirit of God, the people allowed the Holy Ghost to guide their lives. Returning from Asia Minor to Jerusalem, Paul testifies how he would go to Jerusalem bound in the Spirit. Paul had that feeling in his soul how he would meet trouble in Jerusalem. Paul declared how the Holy Ghost bore that same witness in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem. (Acts 20:23)
NO. 3 – REVEALED FAITH VS. PRESUMPTUOUS FAITH
The third thing of Christ Paul mentioned is referred to as THE GIFT OF FAITH. Note if you will how Paul groups these 9 gifts in groups of threes. WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE and now FAITH makes up what is referred to as the thought (or mind) gifts. Out of all 9 gifts FAITH is the one gift which truly affects us more perhaps than the others, because of the necessity of FAITH even for conversion and the new birth. I sincerely believe this gift of FAITH, though on different levels, absolutely lays in each believer’s life and no doubt when conditions are perfect, if we walk with God as we should, we will see the gift of FAITH more in operation to produce the purpose in which it was placed with the body of Christ to accomplish.
What is scriptural FAITH and what does it feed from? In short, scriptural FAITH (though it appears on different levels) is a revelatory faith or is something you can believe in because it is something that has previously been revealed unto you by the Spirit to do, then BY FAITH you do it! It is a promise of God whereby you may link your FAITH up to. Hence, revelatory faith is something far more than merely blind belief. It is not having faith in something when there is no assurance that something will happen once you have believed. REVEALED FAITH is not blind reaching out in the unknown, hoping you made the right decision or choice!
By examining Hebrews 11, we will better understand what scriptural revealed FAITH is. By the way, Hebrews 11:6 declares without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God! Verse 1 declares, “Faith is the substance (or the assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (or the conviction) of things not seen.” Then we are presented with a list of Old Testament saints showing how their lives had all been motivated through revelatory faith where both conviction and assurance played a great part in their faith. In verse 1, the original word for substance means assurance, hence revealed faith is an assurance of the thing hoped for and it is the conviction of things not seen. Inside every believer is that certain feeling which produces certain convictions. Therefore, revealed faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Throughout that 11th chapter of Hebrews, we are confronted with patriarchs the writer uses to exemplify that kind of revealed faith.
As we have often stated, not one of these men mentioned here who walked by faith, from Abel on down, suddenly came up with some wild notion or idea (which they called faith) that they wanted to travel or journey the route they embarked upon. No, not one of them one day suddenly had a wild notion, strike them to do what they did and call that action on their part faith! If they themselves or some other human prompted them to believe what they did, then where did that particular desire originate?
In each case God spoke before they acted – AND HERE IS FAITH IN ACTION! Once God had spoken to their inner being, that planted within them an assurance and a conviction needed to move out in the direction they were told. Faith on their part was merely obeying the voice and holding on until what was supposed to happen, did happen. It was by no means a presumptuous faith on their part. In each case God had spoken!
REVEALED FAITH IN NOAH
Watch the scripture portraying this revealed faith in Noah and others. And remember, without this faith it is impossible to please God! This faith that pleased God is not a presumptuous faith. Verse 7 declares by faith Noah built an Ark! Beloved, this doesn’t mean Noah was sitting around one day watching the growing evil of the hour and suddenly decided it would be wisdom on his part to build a boat, seeing that when it rained a flood would come and all would be drowned if he didn’t! Yet that is about the idea of our modern teaching of faith, simply take it by faith, move out by faith and God will honor etc…. He honored Noah, Abraham and others because they moved by faith. Beloved, a revealed Bible faith does not work that way. Suppose Noah had taken it all by presumptuous faith, that God was going to destroy the world by water and he built himself a boat without having previously heard one word from God concerning a flood? No, God never told Noah, you simply take it by faith! God told Noah what to do! Noah’s test of faith was this, how do I know or what proof do I have it is going to rain? The assurance and conviction in him that a flood was coming was in the fact God had spoken and said it will (and God can’t lie).
Noah had never seen rain nor a boat that large, nevertheless, Noah’s test of faith came over whether to build such a thing, seeing there wasn’t that much water around to float it. But by faith Noah built an ark! If a voice speaks to you which you are convinced is the voice of God to do something which you have never previously thought of doing, and secondly you recognize the natural impossibility of the thing ever happening, would that not be a test to you to do it? What assurance would you have the thing would ever happen? Yet if you are positive the voice which spoke was God’s voice (As Noah was) and you act by faith upon what that voice said, then you are acting upon revealed faith and not presumptuous faith or as we hear of today, simply take it by faith. Your very action in doing what the voice has commanded you becomes the expression of assurance and conviction inside you that once you perform this deed which you were instructed to do (irregardless to how the voice came) it is because your convictions which motivate you to do this, acting on this revealed faith means you are just as positive what you are doing once it is finished or promised, that is acting on faith (revealed faith)! And remember, it is the only kind of faith that can please God! Noah wasn’t a man who looked upon the evil of the day and knew what to do. Oh, no, he did not know what to do until God spoke to him! Recall, Genesis 6 declares after God looked upon the evil situation He then saw Noah, a just and perfect man in his generation. However, now until the Eternal Spirit approached Noah did he know what to do. Yet Hebrews 11:7 declares, by faith he built a boat to save his household. Building a boat so long and so high wasn’t something Noah had thought about. I repeat, what Noah did was not presumptuous thinking and then moving out on his own thoughts saying, I will do it by faith, God will honor it. Noah acted on the only kind of faith that pleases God – REVEALED FAITH!
ABRAHAM – BY FAITH
Another example of a man acting on the only kind of faith that can please God was ABRAHAM. In verses 8-10, Abraham wasn’t sitting outside his tent one day when suddenly he got the thought or notion in his mind he would, by faith, move to a strange land, therefore, he would simply move out by faith and God would honor his move. No, God spoke to Abraham and told him to move! Verse 8 declares by faith Abraham sojourned in a strange land. Where then does Abraham’s faith enter into the picture? How do I know as I move out this is a move in the right direction, what assurance do I have this new land will be a good land? How do I know the outcome? The Bible declares Abraham believed God and staggered not at the promises, yet by no means was the move one of presumptuous faith. He acted on revealed faith – the only kind that can please God! Even though he was tested every step of the journey, it was still revelatory faith, God spoke to Abraham to make the move! Abraham, like Noah, was guided by that assurance and conviction he felt inside his bosom. His testing along the way was to build within him that type of spiritual character God desired to instill in Abraham, seeing he was to become the father of faithful. Father of all those who through the centuries would also walk by revealed faith, in other words, acting upon what God told them to do.
Speaking of presumptuous faith of which we hear so much about today, just move out by faith and God will honor you, I am ruling out the fact God, often in His mercy, does honor what we do through a mere presumptuous faith, yet remember, that is not walking by revelatory faith, the only kind of faith that pleases God and without it it is impossible to please Him! God is not obligated to honor presumptuous faith as He is revealed faith.
SAVING FAITH – WHAT IS IT?
Seeing the scriptures boldly declare in order to be in the kingdom of God we must first be saved by that kind of faith that pleases God, that revelated faith – without it it is impossible to please God, don’t you think we should establish just what saving faith is and what God expects from it! Remember it is not the gift of faith spoken of in I Corinthians 12:9. Why did Jesus declare, no man comes to me except the father draw him (John 6:44)? No, you cannot be saved whenever you choose, there must first be that convicting or drawing power of the Spirit called Father. Jesus, referring to Isaiah, declared all that should come to me will be learned of the Father. Therefore, before you can ever know God in revelatory truth as to who He is, it is going to require revelatory faith of the Spirit to be imparted to you as it was in Hebrews 11. After God has convicted you of your sins, it will require a revelatory faith to start you out walking in faith with God.
THE GIFT OF FAITH – WHAT IS IT?
Having briefly explored several aspects of the revealed faith, along with presumptuous faith, let us now examine the gift of faith in I Corinthians 12:9. This gift of faith is not that tried and tested faith of which we spoke. No, instead it is that special anointing or operation of the body of Christ. The gift of faith is the anointing or the demonstration of that imparted faith to be exercised only in an hour when it is needed, mainly to minister to someone standing in need of prayer or simply a word wisely spoken through that particular anointing of faith. Regardless to whatever manner that gift of faith in the believer operates, it will always accomplish God’s purpose. Remember in the discussion of these 9 gifts it is not my intention to tell you how they operate, seeing the scriptures declare there are diversities (differences) of operation. Our desire only is to show their identity as they have been scripturally placed in the body of Christ. The point is, irregardless to public opinion concerning these THINGS OF CHRIST, if He placed one gift in the body He wouldn’t stop until He placed all the gifts in the body! And once that hour arrives for the body of Christ to actually take on the full measure of the stature of Christ, as recorded in Ephesians 4:12-16, I assure you it won’t only be in the stature of the revelatory part of Christ, it will also be in the expression of portraying or showing forth the THINGS OF CHRIST! After all beloved, wasn’t that God’s entire objective of having a mystical body in the earth to begin with, to represent Jesus Christ here on earth!
The gift of faith is something you have not worked for, had you done so it would not be a gift! It is that special anointing which rests upon us that when we look at a situation which often seems hopeless, we nonetheless have that unshakable assurance inside of us that everything is going to be all right. (Luke 8:49-50 is one example where the gift of faith operated in Christ’s ministry.) There have been many men of faith in this century greatly anointed of God to pray for afflictions of divers kinds of diseases. No, it wasn’t the gift of the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE that assures them everything will be all right; it wasn’t being able to tell the sick who they were, what city and state they were from, their house number etc., no, none of that! Nevertheless something inside these men God was using, when they came in contact with such an afflicted person, it is that special gift of faith that rose upward and assured the man of God as he lay hands on that incurable disease that every thing would turn out all right.
Let us bring this gift of faith down to your level. Say we are faced with a situation or circumstance which seemingly there is no way out. If God has not, through the gift of knowledge, already fore shown us the way out then once you are under this kind of pressure it is then this gift of faith will shine. Whether it would simply be God anointing or inspiring you to give you that needed assurance that everything will be all right, although in that hour things couldn’t look darker, or whether God might simply impress upon another believer, operating through the gift of faith to say unto you – the Lord impresses me to tell you not to worry over this situation because everything will be all right. Don’t you think for a moment, beloved, that somewhere out there in front of us there is not going to be all kind of room for this gift of faith to operate!
NO. 4 – GIFTS OF HEALING
Verse 9, Paul mentions another gift, only here he refers to it in the plurality – the GIFTS OF HEALING – not the gift of healing. Yes, there are many (kinds) of gifts of healing placed throughout the true body of Christ. Remember we are not discussing how any of these gifts operate, we are not even identifying the effects of them upon individuals through which they operate, we are seeking only to identify them in their operation. The gift of healing is that special anointing of God placed inside a vessel of clay which may or may not be accompanied with outward physical manifestations.
Concerning this endtime message of revelated truth, we witnessed a man who possessed a gift in his life which I seriously doubt such a gift has ever been seen in all church history, including the Book of Acts outside the life of Christ. However, don’t you try to compare other gifts on the same level with the gift in this man! That attitude does the program of God injustice! Maybe by illustrating with a quarter I could better show you what I mean. A quarter is equivalent to 25 pennies, isn’t it? Yet you wouldn’t belittle the penny simply because it wasn’t a quarter, would you? I grant you, a penny won’t buy much, yet you can get a penny’s worth and if you had 25 pennies you would buy the same thing you could with a quarter, wouldn’t you? Therefore, never belittle God’s spiritual monetary program. True, He does have certain gifts within the 9 which stand out far above and beyond the others, even as you have certain organs within the human body that also stand out far above other organs, yet you don’t belittle uncomely organs simply because certain ones are not a noticeable as others.
Keep in mind, when Christ placed Himself in the New Testament church He distributed Himself by His Spirit whereby there is going to be different levels of His representation, characteristics, demonstrations illustrated throughout His mystical body. And certainly it would be wrong to pick one gift above the other. Yet sorry to say, this is what we find today. Back in the 50’s we had a true deliverance move of God. God anointed men with faith and through them He also places the gift of healing, because it was God’s hour to present to the world a demonstration of His goodness and mercy through that of healing, etc. Men who knew little of the Truth of this hour, yet out of a simple prayer of faith prayed for multitudes of sick and God honored their prayers. Bear in mind we are not discussing the disobedience of any individuals who fail to walk further along in Truth, we are only discussing these gifts and how you can’t pivot one against the other because each one has a particular purpose and objective given by the Spirit to produce a certain ultimate goal or objective which the Master and Lord placed in His mystical body.
Concerning the gifts of healing, they can be manifested through that of some kind of physical sign to the individual they operate through. Outward physical sensation can even accompany the gift whereby the individual may know their vessel is being anointed for that particular gift of healing to operate, since I don’t possess the other person’s anointing or sensation I cannot possibly explain the operation of the gift in someone else’s life, only that individual through which the gift operated would know that. Our purpose is to examine strictly from the point of identification. The individuals themselves will recognize their own anointing. How could a person declare God had given them a gift of tongues if they never heard themselves in another language, the same would be true with the gift of divine healing.
Beloved, here is the sad, pathetic attitude or feeling among many who declare they follow this true revelated message, and until God creates some world shaking event to shake such people into a different frame of thinking they, no doubt, will continue on in this frame of mind. That lopsided thinking concerns the gift God placed in Bro. William Branham’s life, and no doubt what God did through that man’s life He will never repeat in that measure again. Nevertheless, we must realize many men prayed for the sick with great results years prior to any of Bro. William Branham’s meetings. Therefore, don’t think for a moment as some do, that there wasn’t divine healing before the prophet came to the age! To those with that kind of attitude I would have to ask, where on earth have you been? In early Pentecost there were such men as Wigglesworth, Charles Price or Bosworth, etc. True, these men in their respective hour did not see the truth revelatory wise that many of our readers are walking in, and I would have to say that you wouldn’t be seeing any more truth today than what they saw had it not been for a church age prophet messenger who was sent to the age! Nevertheless, chapters could be written concerning the early years those men ministered to the sick and God confirmed their action by healing the sick. True, their healings were not on an outstanding world-wide scale, national or city scale later demonstrated throughout those years of 50’s. However, healing was evident in those early Pentecostal years leading into the late 40’s and 50’s.
GIFT IN PROPHET
My personal feeling why God placed such an outstanding gift in this one man’s life we call Bro. William Branham, the messenger to Laodicea, was because there was a message he had to preach and the gift in his life was truly a higher anointing to draw special attention to the vessel of clay who was going to declare that message. Believe me, the demonstration of that gift in his life wasn’t to declare to the world; Look, you have never seen healing until this hour! It is sad when people look at it that way and furthermore will go off and declare nobody even had the Holy Ghost until Bro. William Branham brought the teaching to the age! God forbid such silly teaching of carnality! Beloved, when God declared to another He gave the gifts of healing, you will have to accept it whether you want to or not, because He, by His Spirit, distributed plurality gifts of healing throughout the body and you can’t interpret it on the basis of what you heard and saw demonstrated in the prophet’s life. That great anointing was strictly a vindication of a message as well as a messenger. And no doubt you will never see it again performed in that fashion. It was not even in the Book of Acts, which portrayed the life of the apostles and early church as well, but only in the life of Christ. Yet at no time in the apostles’ lives did anyone ever line up people in prayer lines and one by one they were told their names, addresses, illnesses, etc. True, the gift of knowledge operated throughout Peter marvelously when he told Annanias and Sapphira what they did and God vindicated it with death. A similarity is seen in the Apostle Paul’s ministry when he spoke to a man who was trying to lead astray his converts, God rebuke you, be blind for so many days and unable to see, declared Paul! No one speaks in that manner unless first he knows in advance that individual is going to be struck with blindness, yet no where in the Book of Acts or in church history do we see those men forming prayer lines and telling one after the other their names, addresses, etc. Most of the miracles recorded were performed through the prayer of faith or the gift of healing.
Even the gift of miracles lay in the lives of those men, yet no where on record did the gift of the word of knowledge ever operate in any believer as it operated in the life of Bro. William Branham. However, don’t belittle God’s gifts as some have because you don’t see them operate in others in this fashion!
Bro. Branham had a special anointing upon him which worked through his hand against diseases and afflictions unto such a point if he did not remove his wrist watch the power of God was known to have shattered his unbreakable watch crystal. Remember beloved, the gifts of healing can either be accomplished by physical manifestation or certain other sensations which only that individual through whom the gift operates will know and understand.
To another, God says, the gifts of healing – And how would any man know that these gifts lay there in his life, placed by this same Spirit, unless somewhere they are evident through certain sensational healings! Only the person in whom the gift operates will know the anointing of God as the gift itself is being stimulated in behalf of someone who is to receive the benefits of the gift. Don’t misunderstand, I am not telling you how to operate the gift, we seek only to identify it and remind you that somewhere either some physical or emotional sensation would accompany the gift, however, it is up to the person alone who possesses the gift to become acquainted enough with the operation of the gift itself to know its operation.
NO. 5 – GIFT OF MIRACLES
The next gift given to still another believer yet by the same spirit, of whom Jesus declared will never speak of Himself but only show the things of Christ – is the WORKING OF MIRACLES. With this gift we will definitely see the difference between a divine healing and a miracle in healing, although we can associate the working of miracles along in the same category with the gifts of healings much the same as we would associate speaking in tongues with that of interpretation, because without the gift of tongues the true benefit to the hearer would never be understood.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALING & MIRACLE
Understand there is a difference between a healing and a miracle. Say someone has TB who received prayer and over the period of weeks the doctor checks the patient declaring something is happening, in other words the reaction of the tests if showing less and less positive, yet still minor traces remain of TB. He instructs his patient to return in 2 weeks. This next checkup shows TB is lessening and this time he instructs his patient to return in 3 months where upon this checkup shows a completely negative test, no sign of TB whatsoever. That beloved, was a healing but not a miracle. What is healing in relation to a miracle? Healing is God’s own act of slowly allowing you to recover from something, whereas a miracle is instant. For example, say a man is totally blind and all functions of his natural eyesight have completely deteriorated, either destroyed by accident or disease, and doctors declare an eye operation would in no-wise be successful. Here is the difference between a healing and a miracle. If the person is prayed for and the power of God begins to undo slowly through a process of days, weeks, months and etc. that damaged eyesight until vision has returned, that is a healing! However, if the eye was prayed for and the individual instantly saw, the divine act of God immediately reversed the entire situation of the eye and made a miracle out of it.
Another instance of miracles would be if a person had a cancerous growth on the side of the face, prayer is offered and the cancer immediately disappears. That would be the work of the Gift of Miracles whereas had the cancer, over a process of time, eventually disappeared as it continually shrank, that places it under the category of healing. There are many evidences of miracles in our generation granted to people through the prayer of faith, through the Word of Knowledge and through the expression of the Gift of Healing. Miracles are whenever God immediately reverses the order of the situation or immediately undoes the existing condition.
GIFT OF MIRACLES MEETS NEEDS
Too often we want to associate miracles with the opening of the Red Sea or Jesus calming the stormy Sea of Galilee or perhaps Christ raising the widow’s dead son. True, these are great miracles which immediately changed the present tense condition unto just the opposite, didn’t it? Although throughout the New Testament area miracles are more closely associated with that of meeting the physical needs of mankind such as Peter and John on the way to the temple where lay the lame man, placed daily at the gate to beg alms. Peter and John no doubt had often times passed that poor man, nevertheless, on this particular morning they were anointed with the Gift of Miracles. No, we are not aware of the particular anointing resting on those men or what began to transpire in Peter’s life shortly before he commanded the lame man to rise and walk, Acts 3:1-11. Commanding the lame man to rise and walk, Peter took him by the right hand (verse 7 declares) and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength as he went leaping off unto the temple ground, praising and glorifying God. THAT BELOVED WAS A MIRACLE! Furthermore, it was the Gift of Miracles in operation. That miracle produced and instant healing for the lame man.
PHILLIP’S MIRACLE UNUSUAL
Let us examine another miracle which happened in the life of a deacon by the name of Phillip, Acts 8:39, when Phillip was given a free air ride after baptizing a eunuch of Ethiopia. However, this type of miracle could never be classified as the gift of miracles operating in the body of Christ as spoken of by Paul. Here was a miracle of God yet it wasn’t a miracle in the nature of a gift of miracles spoken in I Corinthians 12:10. Bear in mind, through this study our only purpose is to identify the function of these gifts whereby we may recognize their presence in the body of Christ seeing the Spirit has placed them there to operate.
NO. 6 – GIFT OF PROPHECY
To another person, Paul declares, is given another of THE THINGS OF CHRIST, which you recall was in His corporeal body and which this time He refers to as PROPHECY. What is Prophecy? It is God expressing His thought to you personally or to two or more persons in an understandable language of the people who are listening. For instance, if you had a congregation of only French speaking people, then God’s gift of Prophecy would address them IN FRENCH, not in English as they could only understand French. In prophecy, the Holy Spirit is using some person’s vocabulary to get this inspired point across. The inspiration for the operation of the gift would come upon the individual to be used, and since there are diversities of a variety of operations within different people (according to verse 6) that anointing would come upon the person and as the gift operated it would be God expressing His own thoughts in an understandable language of the people He desired to address.
3 REACHES OF PROPHECY
Remember a prophecy can have three reaches. God can be speaking (1) in the present tense, and within the prophecy He may choose to reach (2) into the past tense, to bring out an example or illustration and then if God so chooses that prophecy can project its thought (3) into the future tense. Prophecy, according to Paul, is for edification, exhortation or comfort (I Corinthians 14:3). Yes, God can be speaking in a present tense and reach into the past calling your attention to a former time where He has done something for Israel, etc. The highest degree of prophecy is when that prophecy reaches out into the future and speaks of things yet to come. However remember, simply because a person prophesies does not imply they are a prophet, because prophecy can also rest upon a woman as well as a man, I Corinthians 11:5.
MISTAKEN IDEAS ABOUT PROPHECY
Some have the mistaken idea that a Gift of Prophecy only reaches into the future tense of time and if it doesn’t it isn’t prophecy, while still others – because the dictionary defines prophecy as preaching, has the mistaken idea that prophecy is preaching the gospel. Therefore, when the scripture declared in Acts 21:8-9 that Phillip the evangelist had four virgin daughters, all of whom prophesied, to them this meant Phillip had four women preachers in his household! Beloved, I am not a woman hater but there were no women preachers in the early church! Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, declared in I Timothy 2:11-12, he would not suffer woman to teach (the scriptures) or to usurp authority over a man but to be in silence, or to learn in silence, with all subjection! The only offices available in the early church for the ministry of the Word set in by the Holy Ghost is recorded by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 where he declares the Spirit gave to some men the office of apostles, some he gave prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers and note – they were all men! Their qualifications are found in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and furthermore these five offices, according to Ephesians 4:12, is the only thing that can perfect the church here at the endtime!
PROPHET OFFICE NOT SAME
Back to the thought, does merely prophesying declare a man to be in the office of a prophet? NOT NECESSARILY! There is a vast difference between the office of a prophet in the Old Testament and one who merely fills a New Testament office of prophet. No where in the Book of Acts was any of these people, who merely prophesied, ever referred to as New Testament prophets! Paul told the Corinthian Church they could all prophesy, one by one, as shown under the gift of Prophecy, I Corinthians 14:31. No, a gift of prophecy, I Corinthians 12:10, does not merely prophesy concerning things in the distant future. Nowhere recorded in the Book of Acts did any of those men referred to as New Testament prophets such as Agabus (Acts 11:27-28) Barnabas, Simion, Lucius, Manaen, Judas, and Silas (Acts 15:32) prophesy far reaching events to transpire in the future.
NOT FAR REACHING
Agabus came to Antioch and through the gift of prophecy, which did not reach out too far into the future tense when he signified by the Spirit there was going to come a great drought into the land, which you will notice was fulfilled in the days of Claudius Caesar, Acts 11:28. This event transpired not too many months or years out into the future. As we stated, the office of the New Testament prophet was no where near the caliber as was the office of that Old Testament prophet. Therefore, don’t confuse the Old Testament prophet office with that fivefold ministry office of a New Testament prophet. (Ephesians 4:11) The only outstanding marvelous ministry we note in the New Testament prophet was his gift or ability to prophesy, however, recall the record shows his prophecies did not have that far reaching future tense as was quite common within the ministry of the Old Testament prophets! Therefore, none of these men referred to as New Testament prophets prophesied of things centuries in advance. John the Revelator, the last of the original apostles marooned on Patmos, through visions was given a higher degree of prophecy, (seeing the distant future) although even with John the Revelator he did not receive those far reaching future tense events through the Word of Prophecy! His prophecy concerning the distant future was shown to him through a VISION. Prophecy therefore may come through three routes: VISIONS, DREAMS OR EXPRESSION OF THE WORD OF PROPHECY. Naturally whichever way prophecy comes, in the final analysis, it is going to come through the word being expressed, either spoken prophetically or written, isn’t it? If it is a vision or dream showing something is going to happen, in order for others to understand, it would have to be in the expression of words. If what was shown was not a vision or dream and it is to be catalogued under the spirit of prophecy, it has to be an expression of word in an understandable language to the hearer. The spoken word of prophecy is where God simply takes over the mentality of the person’s thinking and inspires that person to speak the thoughts of God, and in so doing we associate it with the gift of prophecy, one of the THINGS OF CHRIST which was seen continually in the ministry of the Lord Jesus, and has now been placed within the mystical body of Christ by the same Spirit. However with Christ, prophecy was not some special anointing, His words were simply prophecy. See Matthew 24:1-51 for example.
GENERALLY NOT FAR REACHING
The gift of prophecy placed within the body is usually a prophetic utterance dealing within a present tense situation which can easily reach back into the past as well as reach somewhere into the very near future of time (if God so chooses), reaching perhaps not more than 5 to 6 years in advance. Although in certain isolated instances I have heard of God speaking in somewhat a more distant future tense than what the mere word of Prophecy usually presents. Usually when God does that it is being done in relationship to a particular group of people. I will illustrate. I once read an account concerning the European Armenians back before the turn of the century being mightily blessed of God in an outpouring of the Holy Ghost in their part of the world. God spoke through prophecy telling these people to prepare to flee to another land. Eventually through a period of years they wound up in America and by wagon train they traveled across this country and was in California when the Holy Ghost fell in 1903. Here was prophecy spoken somewhat in advance covering a span of time, though not a half century seeing all the prophecy transpired in a generation of time, yet it was spoken a number of years in advance and was on behalf of a certain people.
Often I have heard it said, prophecy should be judged. I agree! So does Paul in I Corinthians 14:29, yet beloved there is only one way you can judge prophecy and that is by the Holy Scriptures, not by how you feel or what you think about it! To some people if they hear someone prophesy a prophecy which the scripture declares is for edification, exhortation and comfort, I Corinthians 14:3, and if that prophecy didn’t say something was going to happen tomorrow or in three months or next year (something future tense), they would declare that was not prophecy, seeing their idea of prophecy involved only what to be aware of tomorrow, etc. Prophecy can and will on certain occasions do just exactly that, however, don’t you limit prophecy to only that!
NOT ALL SPOKEN IN FUTURE TENSE
Are you aware the biggest percentage of the prophetic writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and men of that caliber when prophesying did not speak concerning the future whatsoever! True, many of their prophecies dealt with the present tense rebuking the children of Israel and reached only into the past tense bringing out certain examples showing the goodness of God toward them. Concerning prophecy in the Old Testament we note the old prophets lived in an hour when certain spiritual conditions had developed in Israel, hence when the prophet wrote or stood to prophesy there was a present tense rebuke and this present tense rebuke did not dip into the far future! No, it was often rebuking a present tense situation, although God often speaking of the present tense hour, would reach into the past tense saying, did not I bring your fathers out of the land of Egypt and blessed them and did thus and thus….
Therefore beloved, that is why prophecy in the body of Christ can: (1) carry a rebuking thought from God or (2) can bring forth words of edification, comfort and exhortation seen in I Corinthians 14:3, or (3) prophecy can reach those high peaks wherein that gift reaches out into the future and pulls the future into the present hour concerning certain things for people to be watching for in days ahead.
NO. 7 – DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
To another by the same Spirit is given the DISCERNING OF SPIRITS. That gift is the ability to know whether or not an individual speaks or is motivated under the anointing of the true spirit or the false spirit. As I explained earlier under the Word of Knowledge, many people thought while watching Bro. William Branham’s ministry telling the people they had certain diseases or came from certain places as he through the Spirit was seeking to build the faith in the believer – all this they associate with discernment. In some far flung identification you might consider it all in a category like that, however, to me that was not the discerning of spirits of which Paul is referring to here. Instead that was the gift of the Word of Knowledge operating through the prophet, and to me that is the highest demonstration of the operation of God we have in the entire Bible. For a prophet such as Elisha to sit in his room and instruct a man called Naaman, whom he had never seen, to go down to the old muddy Jordan River and dip 7 times and he would be healed, such a thing for a man to do in his own carnal thinking would be foolish. Elisha did not sit in a little room and cook up such an idea. The story is recorded in II Kings 5:1-27, yet when Naaman finally obeyed what the prophet said, he was healed. I want you to know, the prophet did not even look at that big shot. Today he would be considered most unsociable and many preachers of today would jump over backwards to have the privilege of working with such a guest personality as General Naaman. Jordan may have been a dirty river, nevertheless, it was the pride of Israel. Naaman naturally would rather have gone to a much cleaner river in Syria to bathe himself and he was infuriated by what the prophet said. I say all this to show you how much God thought of this great personality coming to meet HIS PERSONALITY.
PERSONALITIES IN EARLY CHURCH
We are living in an hour when especially within this glossolalia, charismatic move you are seeing all kinds of great worldly personalities linking up with ministers of this hour. It is strange how the religious world flocks after a worldly personality of stage, screen or television simply because they testify to some kind of glossolalia experience! We are living in a day unless you are some kind of converted snake in the grass you don’t have any influence on people. You have to be some crook or low-down scum of the earth and suddenly make a change in your ways and when you do, the whole world runs after you like a little puppy dog doing tricks. May I say, it wasn’t so in the beginning! Great personalities of that hour had little to do with the true church and shocking as it may sound, if they were converted they were converted to TRUTH. The Holy Ghost they received in that hour showed them WATER BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins and led them on into deeper truths. No, it didn’t allow them to continue to live in sin or be worldly, living and looking like the world! You just don’t see those renown personalities being used in the scripture!
RELIGIOUS WORLD DECEIVED
The prophet Elisha wouldn’t even come out and talk to his great visiting personality even though he had brought all kind of wealth to reward him for his healing. Big personalities in the days of the scriptures, when converted, were not pushed out in front but had to sit in the services with the rest of the congregation. Not so in this hour, when the religious world cares nothing about the Truth, all they are interested in is hearing about some of these big personality who got converted. Yet if God were to reveal truth to the man and he walked in it and dared testify to it they would say, throw that poor misled devil out! No beloved, this religious world is deceived! It is not truth they are looking for, it is only an escape route out of hell for which they are searching!
NO ESCAPE WITHOUT TRUTH
However, I am afraid without the truth of His Word there won’t be much of an escape route for them. HEAR ME! The revelated Word of God is the only acceptable escape route! Our generation is headed rapidly into the wrath and destruction of God, therefore, some seek an escape route through dope, others try a route through immorality, while some say let us try it religiously, only don’t get too involved. Old Babylon therefore presents every kind of door of teaching imaginable and in the end of their analysis of the interpretation of Christ’s escape route is that you can believe anything you want to just as long as you believe in Jesus! ACCORDING TO THIS BIBLE THAT IS NOT TRUE! There is truth in this book you must identify yourself with and embrace, and furthermore, this Bible informs us of the deceiving hour in which we live and declared an hour of even greater deception where the spirit of deception or seducing spirits would be so close to the real truth that it would deceive even the very elect if possible! But remember beloved, if the grace of God has saved you He won’t stop until He brings you to the full knowledge of Truth!
DISCERNMENT IN CHRIST
Therefore, if ever there was a gift needed to operate within the body of Christ, truly it is this gift of discerning of Spirits. There are numbers of instances where this gift operated in Christ to discern Spirits, one particular incident in the life of Christ (Matthew 16:23). Christ told His disciples He would have to go to the cross. Peter, before being converted, (Luke 22:32), declared Lord, be it far from thee, you don’t have to go to the cross. And Jesus looked at Peter with discernment and said GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN, THE THINGS YOU SPEAK ARE NOT THE THINGS OF GOD. Jesus wasn’t calling Peter a devil, yet He was speaking to the spirit influencing Peter to have to look at what is going on under the cloak of Christianity to discern most of it is of the devil for the purpose of deceiving. The devil in the honky tonk, beer joint, etc., isn’t going to deceive you. His attempt to deceive you will come religiously, therefore, we need the grace of God in this respect to be able to look at what is going on under the cloak of religion and identify it as to whether it is motived by the right or wrong spirit.
DISCERNMENT IN PAUL
When the woman who followed Paul and Silas for so many days continued crying out, these are the servants of the most high God who have come to tell us the words of life (Acts 16:18), the first few days Paul didn’t say anything. After all, what she was saying was Truth, however beloved, she was motivated by the wrong spirit! About the third day the same thing happened and no doubt the Apostle Paul said, somehow that just doesn’t have the right ring to it! I must say today there is an awful lot of things going on in certain circles of Christianity dealing with this high pressure personality evangelism that just doesn’t have the right ring to it, yet sooner or later if this thing is of God (which I doubt) it must come to the whole Truth of the Word. As they say in the court room, do you solemnly declare that what you are about to say is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. To this deceived religious world who claims Christ, I would like to say, do you confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord and truly the Saviour of your soul and do you solemnly declare you will submit yourself to the understanding of His whole Word of Truth! Because if you won’t it could be because some old religious seducing spirit has gotten hold of you and allows you to hear just barely enough of the bible to deceive you and never allow you to walk on in the Word of Truth!
What the woman is saying is Truth, we are man of God and we have come with a truth yet somehow it doesn’t carry the right ring! The Spirit of Discernment came upon Paul and he declared, no wonder it didn’t sound right, it sounds religious enough but it is motivated by the spirit of the devil! Come out of her you devil in the name of Jesus Christ and from that time the evil spirit which troubled the girl departed. What let Paul know the girl operated under the wrong spirit even though what she said was truth was that DISCERNING OF SPIRITS Christ placed in the body whereby the church would not be deceived by spirits – that they might know the working of the true Spirit from the false when it speaks, I John 4:1. We most assuredly need that gift to operate in its fullest capacity in this hour!
We are down to our final two spiritual gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST in the body and remember, we are not discussing any particular operation of them seeing they operate different through different vessels of clay. Our purpose is to seek only their identity and declare to all God set these nine gifts in His body on earth and nowhere has He ever removed them from His true body. No not even in the darkest hours within church history when it appears they ceased to operate, because church history proves that even through the Dark Ages in certain scattered isolated areas of Europe there would be a few scattered remnants of people who simply could not tolerate the present religious evils of their hour, and usually it was under such dire circumstances of oppression and severe hardships of pressure that drove these scattered remnants to seek God for survival and existence, in that hour certain spiritual gifts would be moved to operate, to lead and encourage these people. And what about this hour or restoration in these last days, if the church is to be restored back to her original apostolic teaching she must also be restored back to that same degree and identity of having all these gift ministries operating through her as she closes out the present age, ready to leave for glory.
NO. 8 – DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES
To another DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES. What does the Apostle mean? He is saying to another different kind of languages of tongues are given. In other words, we would say a gift of speaking in other languages is in certain people, just as other gifts which Paul declares in I Corinthians 12:27-31, in this many membered body of Christ also. And God set some (not all) in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts of healing, helps, government and last of all he mentions diversities of tongues. Then Paul, as he was noted for doing, answered a question by asking a question. Watch Paul ask this question, Are all who are set in the body of Christ apostles, are all prophets, teachers or workers of miracles; do all have the gift of healing, do all speak with tongues, do all interpret? THE ANSWER TO EACH QUESTION IS NO! Because if you will note from verse 7-11, Paul is constantly showing that the same Spirit of God is dividing the THINGS OF CHRIST as He sees fit, or as it pleases Him to place them throughout the body. He therefore gave to one, one thing and to another He gave something else and to another He gave still another gift and so on. When did the Spirit give this believer his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST, when he received that portion of His Spirit that completed his new birth and he was added to the mystical body of Christ.
And to another the Spirit of God gives divers Kinds of Tongues. On one occasion you may hear the individual speaking and it will sound like one language and the speaking may sound as if it remains in that language for a while, and then you will notice a slight change in their vocabulary of tongues. Here I want to pause and say, tongues are not prophecy, although tongues are a manifestation of the power of God placed in the mystical body of Christ to represent that part of Christ which was 1st here in the corporeal body walking on earth.
3 OCCASIONS CHRIST SPOKE IN TONGUES
When Christ was on earth we have a record of 3 different times He spoke in other languages. Mark 7:34, was one event where He spoke in tongues praying for a deaf and dumb person. Mark 5:40-41 is another time He spoke in tongues raising a dead girl, and the third time was in Matthew 27:46, while hanging on the cross. Remember Christ had within Him the THINGS OF GOD, the Father, and it was the operation of the Spirit that would take those THINGS OF CHRIST which had been manifested through His corporeal body and later place them all in the mystical body of Christ.
TONGUES A SIGN
Therefore, the GIFT OF TONGUES or languages is in the church. They are not necessarily for the edification of the believer, on the contrary, the gift of tongues is the one gift which portrays a sign among the body of Christ not toward believers, but toward that of the unbeliever, I Corinthians 14:22! Beloved, just the operation of the gift of tongues alone spoken of in a congregation (without interpretation) does not edify the believer at all. Furthermore, Paul declared if there is no interpreter in the congregation, keep silent.
TONGUES IN PRIVATE PRAYER
Although, may I say, when a person is in his prayer closet praying in the Spirit as shown in I Corinthians 14:2, many times revelated believers pray in languages which they themselves do not understand. It is an anointing of the Spirit to the person in secret prayer and it builds up their own spirit and in this kind of praying, there is edification to the believer, yet in a congregation it would be of no edification, and unless interpreters are present this should not be used, I Corinthians 14:27-28. Tongues is placed in the body of Christ so it can be manifested to the unbeliever as he hears. Verse 22, the case in the early church the unbeliever would no doubt be associated enough with tongues to know the individual speaking in tongues or languages did not know other languages, and he will wonder why that person could speak in another tongue. Tongues is a sign to unbelievers, not believers. How often do we hear people say, if I don’t hear someone speak in tongues I don’t believe they have the Holy Ghost. YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER because Paul said tongues is not for the benefit of believers but for unbelievers! Think about it and prayerfully read verse 22 again. It is only when tongues is accompanied with the sister gift of interpretation that it can benefit the congregation, because as we shall later see the gift of interpretation places the unknown language in the language of the listener whereby they may rejoice over what was uttered in the other language.
The gift of tongues was placed in the body as a sign to the unbeliever! However I would say the gift of tongues, even though it is accompanied with interpretation, is not a gift that is ever going to take the place of the Word of Knowledge. While it is true, when the interpretation of tongues is declared, often times details about a certain condition are brought into the open which brings about the same understanding in pointing to a future condition as would the Word of Knowledge. Nevertheless remember, it can never take the place of the Word of Knowledge, even though at times it brings about an understanding that the Word of Knowledge alone would produce. No, the gift of tongues with interpretation can never take the place or do away with any other spiritual gift, because God wants all of these gifts kept within His mystical body and seeing there is difference of operation in different vessels, I am not telling you how any of them operate other than say, let us get acquainted with all of them and be able to recognize their separate functions as they are going to definitely be in operation within the endtime church! Tongues as languages are expressions of the power of God through individual believers which enables them to speak in other dialects as that ability was in the corporeal body of Christ.
NO. 9 – INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
Now to the last of the nine gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST placed in His mystical body by the Holy Spirit and that is to another person is given the INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. Remember according to verse 11, that all these gifts differ and have different operations, although they are all placed in the body of Christ and distributed by that self-same Spirit as it pleases Him. Paul began in verse 4 declaring, there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit, and in verse 11 He winds up this part of this subject by saying, the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. See beloved, that takes this out of our hands. It is the work of the Spirit who divides to every man severally as He will. That is why I mentioned early in the lesson when Paul spoke concerning the distribution of the gifts he used the phrase, THE SAME SPIRIT, then when he left that thought and came to the administration of various functions of all these gifts, he refers to these as being under the administration by THE SAME LORD, shown as Lord, the Spirit is the headship and through the anointing of that leadership He works in the believer. Yes, He is master of it in every operation, and when any of the gifts have completely fulfilled its purpose in its operation it is then the term THE SAME GOD is applied in verse 6. The Word GOD means an object of worship and shows the highest order of admiration, praise and worship that can be attributed to the Spirit whereby in the final analysis, or in the end, it is God who is glorified for what was accomplished. Yet remember SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD are all one and the self-same object of worship and Jesus is His name!
Now to the GIFT OF INTERPRETATION, different people seem to hold various views as to what interpretation is. Some declare the interpreter knows in advance what he is to say, while others will declare he doesn’t. Both can be right seeing the Bible declares there are differences of operations in these gifts. A person knowing in advance the words of interpretation could be every bit as true as the one who doesn’t, depending on the manner the Spirit chooses to operate through the person. However, don’t go to seed on that! If there are diversities of tongues then the gift of interpretation has to be in like manner also! That is, as God has spoken through a language, He knows what He said and since the Holy Ghost spoke it the Holy Ghost may interpret it anyway He sees fit. Is not God the author of every language?
WITH TONGUES CAME UNDERSTANDING
Think back a bit before the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1, everyone spoke the same language and to halt the erecting of the tower they had intended to stretch into heaven to protect them from a flood, which God declared would never again destroy all mankind, He simply gave them different languages. However don’t forget, as God confused the languages that night He also had to give understanding of these languages at the same time. What a terrible situation this would have been had a wife, husband and children all in one family gone to bed speaking another and could not understand each other. They wouldn’t have even known what was going on in their own families. You see, it is one thing to say He changed their languages, which was true, but I say He had to add some understanding to their own tongue also. I don’t believe God broke up any homes; He broke up their languages because they were all trying to settle in one geographical area in the land of Shinar. Earlier God had told Noah to go out into the earth and re-populate it, but here several generations later they wanted to stop and build a city and tower that would reach into heaven and build a name for themselves, lest they be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. See, they didn’t want to fulfill God’s commission, therefore by changing their language they were scattered abroad throughout the earth, seeing they could not understand each other.
INTERPRETATION GIFT DIFFERS
Therefore, when God came down in the power of the Holy Ghost in the early church and manifested tongues, He also brought the gift of interpretation to go along with the tongue gift. Hence, it is not necessary that the person interpreting have foreknowledge of what is to be said in order to interpret the tongues. Some people interpret tongues with eyes closed, seeing the words before them, while others hear a voice saying those words and they repeat them. Some say just a few words are in their mind and when they speak those words more flows into their mind and they continue to speak. All these methods stem from the fact there are diversities of operation. It is all God’s way of giving the understanding of what was said in tongues.
GIFTS NOT REMOVED
Furthermore, when Paul declared in I Corinthians 13:8, that tongues shall cease and prophecies shall fail, he didn’t mean they would cease out of the body of Christ! By no means, they are the THINGS OF CHRIST which are in His Spirit distributed into His mystical body, thus to say the THINGS OF CHRIST would cease is the same as to say Christ would cease to exist in His body! No, it simply means they shall cease to fulfill the purpose they were placed in the body for in the first place, not that they would not still be in the church! He also declared knowledge in the Bride of Christ would vanish away! Are we to interpret this to mean there is no knowledge? Amazing how people can go to seed on certain points! Prophecy and the Gift of Interpretation is associated together and in operation often produces the same effect of edification and understanding to the congregation, I Corinthians 14:5, just as knowledge and wisdom are two parallel gifts which work and are associated together operated by the Holy Ghost as they are ministered to the person or persons, often times they accomplish similar edification and understanding.
Beloved, nobody can give you a gift! It is God who does the distributing of the things He has taken from the corporeal body of Christ and placed in His mystical body on earth to represent Christ. Therefore, to have a gift you must first have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, then it is up to us to walk humbly, become more sensitive to the Spirit of God and become a praying person that God in His own way might lead and direct us through these gifts He has chosen and ordained to guide His mystical body through the earth wherein they may, in turn, represent Christ in the earth.