This past Sunday the bottom line of my message was this:"Your S.H.A.P.E. is important! Their S.H.A.P.E. is important! Everyone’s S.H.A.P.E. working together is MOST important!"
I used 1 Corinthians 12 which is a key spiritual gifts passage in the Bible. This chapter even mentions many of the spiritual gifts that are given to the Christ-follower at the point of salvation. Specifically 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 says this
"8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." - 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (ESV)
In teaching about how we in the modern church handle gifts of healing, miracles and tongues, I said that at HHICC we “don’t practice” these gift, that "they were gift for that time and in that time then” and “specifically used for that time.” I wish I could eat my words because these gifts deserve a more hearty explanation than I gave them and that is why I am writing this blog today. I was, simply put, unclear. In fact, you could take from my lack of clarity on this issue that I was adding to, taking away from or changing the word of God. That is something that I wish NEVER to do because I take handling God’s Word seriously and because God calls it a sin (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:19)
Since the very first church began in the first century, this has been a hotly debated subject in the church world. Church leaders through the ages have interpreted these gifts to mean different things and to this day there are polarizing views on the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives, spiritual gifts in general and these three spiritual gifts specifically. Even those who agree on a many number of other Biblical issues have disagreements on these issues. And when trying to make sense of a difficult passage or theological concept it helps me to frame the concept by considering the extreme viewpoints. On one side of the argument is a belief that (either all or these three) spiritual gift ended after the genesis of the first century church. On the other side of the argument is the view that these spiritual gifts exist today EXACTLY how they existed in the first church.
The view of HHICC is somewhere in the middle. Let me explain why I believe this: Healing, Miracles and Tongues...
1. ARE valid spiritual gifts - You can’t pick and choose what you want to believe about the Bible. You either believe all of it or none of it. Given that, all of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible are valid spiritual gifts, given by the Holy Spirit to the believer for the benefit of God’s church and His kingdom. Included in this passage are gifts of healing, miracles and tongues.
2. ARE still used in our modern age - I have seen God use His people to pray for, lay hands on and be a part of God’s healing work in the life of another. I have seen God use His people to pray for, believe and have faith for a miracles in an impossible situation. And I have seen God use His people to divinely communicate His truth in a different language (tongues and a unknown language) and the message had complete clarity. In each of these cases it was God using His people to do HIS work. Not the other way around. That is true of EVERY spiritual gift. God uses us to do His work! He is the one DOING the work…we are a conduit, mouthpiece or representative of His.
3. ARE manifested differently now than then - Just like many of the other gifts are utilized in a different manner today than in the first church, because of many cultural and technological differences, healing, miracles and tongues are practiced differently THEN than NOW.
For instance: Someone who has the gift of miracles has the ability to pray in faith for God to intervene in an impossible situation. They may utilize their gifts to encourage and challenge others to move to a place of greater faith that God works in the realm of the impossible and that we can believe Him to provide a solution when nothing and no one else can. Someone who has the gift of healing has the ability to pray in faith for God to heal people who are in need emotionally, physically and spiritually. They may also be involved in assisting, encouraging and challenging those who are ill, hospitalized and may be guided by God to in some way become a part of the healing process. Someone who has the gifts of tongues has the ability to communicate in a language that only God understands and is used when there is someone else present to clearly understand and communicate that information. They may utilize their gifts to communicate a specific revelation from God to a specific group of people in a clear way. I believe that they may also be used by God to understand and/or communicate miraculously in a language that was previously unknown to them.
These gifts are often misunderstood and I hope this explanation will help bring clarity to my under-explaininig it this past Sunday and encourage you in your own personal faith journey.
I’ll see you Sunday...