THE GIFT OF FAITH CAN BE YOURS

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another is given faith by the same Spirit.

Let us remember that through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). We call this “saving faith.” The first work of the Spirit in our life is to lead us to faith in Christ. Faith that believes the Word of God which declares what the Lord has done for us through His death on the cross. This is faith that began to work in us before salvation actually takes place. Paul calls it “The faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

Faith is named in the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22. This kind of faith can only be developed by the Spirit as we learn to walk in the Spirit. Fruit can only be grown, not made. This fruit of faith speaks of God creating us to be a faithful people. We begin in faith that saves us. Then we learn to walk in faith, learning to trust the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. At times, we may experience the gift of faith which the Holy Spirit gives at His will for special times of need.

The gift of faith is distinct from saving faith and the fruit of faith.  The gift of faith is in the family of the power gifts. When one operates in this gift, they believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own. He miraculously brings to pass those things spoken in faith.  It is a supernatural endowment by the Spirit whereby what is uttered or desired by a person shall eventually come to pass. This faith utterance covers blessing, cursing, destruction, and is different from the gift of the working of miracles and the gifts of healing in that often its operation is not immediately or even generally observed.

The operation of Miracles is more of an act, as when the Red Sea was rolled back by Moses, while the operation of the gift of faith is more of a process. The Gift of Faith begins with a sudden surge or boost of faith given by the Holy Spirit, when needed, as seen in Joshua 10:12-13, Acts 9:40, and Acts 13:11. Peter is a great example of this operation of faith. He entreated the Lord to bid him to come as the Lord was walking on the water and approaching the disciples. The other disciples in the boat thought Peter had lost it for sure, but when he came back in the boat with Jesus, Peter was their hero of “faith.” You just have to know, each one of them wished they had done what Peter did!

Holy Spirit, there are times when only the “gift of faith” can bring us through to Your intended purpose. Make me a willing vessel to allow You to give me that gift to help me do Your will when my natural ability fails me.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1 Corinthians 12:8 – To another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.

The word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation given to believers by the Holy Spirit of certain facts in the Mind of God. God keeps ever before Him in the storehouse of His Mind all the facts of heaven and earth. He knows every person, place, and thing in existence. He has them ever before Him. That is a real knowledge base! The word of knowledge is a revelation to an individual by the Holy Spirit of some detail that would help them to know what to do or say. It is supernatural “knowledge” such as the existence, condition, or whereabouts of some person or object. It might be the place, location or occasion of some event. It is a gift of revelation, revealed to one’s spirit and mind. It is usually not vocal, but given as a thought, a picture, or some other type of impression.

The word of knowledge is not natural knowledge, but supernatural information. A few examples of the use of this gift in Scripture will help to make this clearer to us. In today’s lesson, we will consider a few Old Testament examples. In tomorrow’s lesson, we will look at a few from the New Testament.

In I Samuel 3:10-21, a word of knowledge was given to the child Samuel, who was to become the Prophet of Israel. God spoke to the child and said, “Behold, I am about to do a new thing in Israel” (1 Samuel 3:11). Even a child can hear the word of knowledge the Lord wants to give. In II Kings 6:8-12, the word of knowledge is used to warn a king of the enemy’s plan. A man of God sent a word to the king warning him where his enemy was about to attack. In 1 Kings 19:14-18, the word of knowledge was given to enlighten and encourage Elijah, a discouraged servant of the Lord. In II Kings 5:20-27 a word of knowledge was given to expose a hypocrite.

As one can see, the word of knowledge is not new to the New Testament. God has been giving this supernatural grace throughout His dealings with His people. The word of knowledge has been made available to any of God’s servants through the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have not already done so, begin to ask the Father, in Jesus’ name for the “word of knowledge” to be activated in your life. Yield your mind to the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to be free to give you words that only He has to give. Lord, please help me to speak for You, as Your servants did throughout the Old and New Testaments.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S WISDOM

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Today, I want us to look further into this subject of wisdom. Throughout the Scriptures, wisdom is highlighted as a gift given by God. In Matthew 2:13, we read of a word of wisdom given to Joseph through a dream which instructed Joseph to take Mary and the babe to Egypt. Compare this with Matthew 2:20 when the angel instructed Joseph to return to Israel. In Acts 13:2, the command by the Spirit to separate Barnabas and Saul was a word of wisdom as to the timing of God’s will to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This word of wisdom had a bearing upon their walk and experience. In Acts 15:5-27, a word of wisdom is given through James as to what commands should be placed on the converted Gentiles. In Acts 26, Paul is defending himself before King Agrippa and Festus. Festus thought Paul to be insane.  Paul testifies of the wisdom from the Lord given to him at his conversion which directed his life in the message he carried as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

The above Scriptures are but a few examples of this wonderful gift the Spirit of God has made available to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:31, Paul warns us not to boast in ourselves, but in the Lord. In wisdom, he is quoting from the prophet Jeremiah. “Thus says the Lord, Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I believe Jeremiah gives to us the sum total of the subject of wisdom. Paul establishes the need for us to pursue wisdom in our personal and corporate life. Today, receive God’s wonderful grace of wisdom. If you can identify times this grace has been released in your life, rejoice and thank the Lord continuously. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to give you this gift as needed. Open up yourself to receive a deposit of supernatural wisdom from God by asking for the gift of wisdom, especially when you are at the end of your own sufficiency. If you are anything like me, that would be quite often.

I WILL GIVE GOD A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART

Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Brokenness is the true sacrifice which God desires. It is not a sacrifice in Old Testament terms of animals or grains. In New Testament terms, it is not about good deeds. Jesus offered Himself as “the sacrifice.” Jesus became broken for all of us. In His brokenness, I can recognize my own brokenness and need for His saving grace. On the cross, Jesus cried out to His Father and said, “Into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Some believe that Jesus died more quickly than usually experienced on a cross as a result of a broken heart. He was broken for us, broken over our sins. Jesus is the only sacrifice that fully pleases the Father.   

In Psalm 51, David came to understanding that the sacrifice God is waiting to receive is a broken and contrite spirit. Our hearts should be broken over our own sin, and then the sins of others. God is looking to find broken and contrite hearts to work through. Religion is full of self-serving attitudes and fleshly attempts trying to appease God. Many run after religion, trying to get their needs met by God and also hoping that God will accept them. True faith in the living God is rooted in this one thing, “brokenness”! Brokenness will produce humility and a heart desiring to serve.  

David concludes this verse with the confident cry, “O God, You will not despise.” God will never turn away from the broken spirit or a contrite heart. Even as David, the king, had to come to this place in his life, so also God’s people must learn of brokenness, hopefully not in the same way David had to. Many in the Lord’s church are filled with self-approval and self-serving attitudes making them vulnerable to the enemy. Brokenness begins with the individual, develops in the congregation, and becomes the spirit of the church throughout a city, which in turn will cause sinners to be converted!

Pray with me for the Spirit of God to deal with our individual heart condition. Pray for your local church community and for the church of your locality. Pray that we will bring to God a “broken and contrite heart.” Claim the salvation of sinners and their conversion to God’s glorious kingdom. 

REST TO THE WEARY

Isaiah 28:11-12 – Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary and here is repose,” but they would not listen.

Yesterday, we saw how God chose to speak through the Assyrians as their conquering army was poised to swoop in and take Israel captive. God’s people mocked the word of the Prophet and rejected the protection that Jehovah was offering His people.

It is interesting how the Scriptures can have more than one meaning, and prophecies can have a couple of applications. The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:20-21, chose to use Isaiah 28:11 to explain the purpose of the “gift of tongues.” Paul says, “Do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20). In Isaiah’s passage, he reveals that Israel was not being mature. They acted like children as they mocked the Prophet. The Corinthians were misusing the “gift of tongues.” They acted immature in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 14:22 Paul teaches, that tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.

In Isaiah 28:10-12, the stammering lips and a foreign tongue was a “sign” to Israel. When God poured out His Spirit as recorded in Acts 2, once again “tongues” was a sign to Israel. This time, it was evidence the kingdom of God had come with the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and the accompanying sign of tongues. Paul is reminding the Corinthians “tongues” was God’s means of getting His people’s attention. Isaiah said, “This is the rest whereby I will cause the weary to rest, this is the refreshing, but they would not hear.” The “rest” was found in receiving God’s warning through the sign of pending judgment. In Acts 2, the rest is found in receiving the Spirit who brings the Good News of the kingdom of God through the Apostles’ preaching.

The rest and refreshing for the people of God is found in an open heart poised to receive God’s word by making the needed corrections and moving in the direction of God’s will. The Spirit of God has come with gifts that will refresh God’s children as they receive them. Many resist the Spirit’s gifts because they seem strange or because their hearts are fixed on other things.

Today, let us choose to be mature in our thinking. Open your heart to what God has for you. He may choose to speak to you through His written Word or through another individual. Holy Spirit, lead us to be aware of when You are speaking, though it sounds like a stammering lip, help us to hear and obey.