Serving Christians Seeking to Live a Holy Life

The Holy Spirit II
Spiritual Gifts
Leon L. Combs, Ph.D.
The author started putting this together 6/15/2002
However, the notes go back at least 15 years
All Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible

I. Introduction.

The Third Person of the Trinity

(I recommend "The Holy Spirit" by Billy Graham, Word Books, 1978 as an excellent book for the believer to gain important insight into the Third Person of the Trinity.)

The Holy Spirit is almost totally neglected in the modern church, yet He is the Third Person of The Trinity and is God. If we say that God can be represented by infinity, then we are neglecting infinity/3, which is also infinity! Also note that the very kingdom of God depends upon the Holy Spirit:

Rom 14:17 "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

The giving of the Holy Spirit to individual believers is the pinnacle of God's individual work through Jesus Christ:

The fifth step in this process is crucial to the life of the believer and yet it is hardly ever mentioned in the church today, or it is horribly misrepresented. Jesus Himself said that this last step was critical:

John 16:7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

Perhaps the reason for the neglect is fear on the part of church leaders that there will be misuse in the congregation as there was in the early church and as we see in some churches today. However such fear is demonstrating a distrust of God. God makes it very clear in the Scripture that the Holy Spirit has a very important mission in God's purpose for the individual believer and the congregations of believers. The Holy Spirit even has to pray for us (Rom 8:26,27)! We must then approach the topic of the Holy Spirit with awe, respect, and diligence. Without the Holy Spirit's guidance and counsel we cannot proceed successfully toward sanctification, which is an integral part of God's purpose for us here. It is impossible to truly worship God without including the Holy Spirit. Thus I am afraid that I must conclude that most churches in America today are severely crippled.

One of the important purposes of the Holy Spirit is the giving of Spiritual Gifts, so that is what we will now study. However first we need to differentiate between talents, fruit, and gifts.

A. Talents

It is important to distinguish between talents and gifts. Talents are given to Christians and to non-Christians (James 1:17 "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow."). Spiritual gifts have been defined by Ray C. Stedman of the Peninsula Bible Church of Palo Alto, California as "a capacity for service which is given to every true Christian without exception and which was something each did not possess before he became a Christian" ("Body Life", Regal Books, Glendale, Cal, 1972, p. 39).

Sometimes the gifts work through the talents: Ex 31:3-5 "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all {kinds of} craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all {kinds of} craftsmanship." The "craftsmanship" is the talent and the "understanding" and "knowledge" are the spiritual gifts.

The ability to play a musical instrument or to sing is a talent given to Christians and non-Christians. Sometimes God will give such talented people the gift of exhortation to work with the talent.

B. Fruit of the Spirit

Before proceeding with the Gifts, let's now briefly mention the Fruit of the Spirit:

Gal 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

Every Christian should exhibit all of these fruits of the Spirit. Let's repeat them and savor them slowly in our mind:

I propose that each of us put these somewhere that we can see them almost constantly during the day: on the refrigerator, on the door going out to the car, on the dashboard of the car, on the computer monitor at work, on the door to the bedroom, on the door to the bathrooms, etc. What a changed world we would occupy if each of God's children concentrated on letting the Holy Spirit manifest these fruits in our lives all the time! When we don't cooperate with the Holy Spirit we are grieving Him as seen below:

Eph 4:30 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

II. Spiritual Gifts

A. What is the relationship between the spiritual gifts and the church?

Since the purpose of the spiritual gifts is to edify the church (as seen below), we must first look at a few vital points about the church. The church is