Jesus left His followers with a responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task. Part of this “power” of the Holy Spirit was special gifts which the Holy Spirit gives believers to equip them to minister effectively.
These spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. Natural talents and abilities are given at the time of physical birth and/or developed by natural efforts during the course of a lifetime. They can be used to minister in the church, but are different than spiritual gifts.
Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. Their purpose is…
…For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…
But speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)
This passage reveals spiritual gifts are for:
-Perfecting of the saints.
-Promoting the work of the ministry.
-Edifying Christ and the church.
The end objectives of these gifts are that we will:
-Be united in the faith.
-Develop our knowledge of Christ.
-Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
-Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
-Mature spiritually in Christ.
Some churches claim that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for modern believers. They teach that some of the powerful gifts like miracles and speaking in other tongues were only for the early Church.
The answer to their objection is this: The Lord gave ministry gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the church. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without the purposes being accomplished. Are all our churches in unity? Do we have full knowledge of Christ? Are we all walking in perfection, stable, and mature? Have we stopped false doctrines from penetrating our churches?
The answer to these questions is “no.” All the purposes of the ministry gifts have not been fulfilled. For this reason, all the gifts which God gave to accomplish these objectives are still operative today. The Bible also says that the “gifts and callings of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). That means God will not change His mind and take back a gift or a calling He has given.
The Holy Spirit gives each believer at least one spiritual gift (I Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:7,
I Corinthians 12:7). It is important for us to discover and use our spirituals gift in the church. The main passages explaining the spiritual gifts available to believers through the Holy Spirit are Romans 12:1-8, I Corinthians 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:1-16 and I Peter 4:7-11.*
FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit develops in the life of the believer qualities which the Bible calls “spiritual fruit.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Holy Spirit being evident in the life of a believer. God desires that all the fruit be evident in the life of each Christian:
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.
Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The development of these qualities are another important function of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
The following are Biblical guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED:
This will put you in a position of spiritual receptivity:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
* The Harvestime International Institute course, “Ministry of the Holy Spirit”, explains in detail the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is designed to help believers discover their spiritual gift and develop the fruit of the Spirit in order to function effectively in the Body of Christ.
BELIEVE IT IS FOR YOU:
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)
…Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)
REALIZE IT IS A GIFT:
The Holy Spirit has already been given. It was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost.
Because it is a gift, you can do nothing to earn it:
…the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
He therefore that ministereth to you in the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles; through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:2,5,14)
Begin to praise and thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
YIELD TO GOD:
Do not be afraid to speak the language of the Spirit as you are praising and worshiping God. As you praise Him audibly you will first experience stammering lips. Yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit and He will speak through you words foreign to your understanding. This is the sign of Holy Spirit baptism:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. (Isaiah 28:11)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
REQUEST THE PRAYERS OF OTHER BELIEVERS:
The Holy Spirit can be received through the laying on of hands (Acts 8,9,19) or without the laying on of hands (Acts 2,4,10). Study these chapters which show how Spirit-filled believers can help you experience baptism in the Holy Spirit.