Anyone here have faith? How about experienced a healing? A Miracle? So, what was going on? How did it happen? What “gifts of the Spirit” were at work? Let’s talk about that today!
1 Cor. 12:7, 9, 10 “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles…”
These gifts are “given” or “granted” by God. Why? To help the entire church function as a complete body in order to continue the ministry of Christ in the world- fulfilling his cause! And these gifts of faith, healings, and miracles play a big part in that. To understand this we’re going to look at four (4) areas of application:
THE JESUS APPLICATION (How they functioned in/thru Jesus…)
The gifts, as they applied in Jesus’ life, had to do with either declaration (wisdom, knowledge, etc.) or demonstration (healing, miracles, etc.). In Nazareth they noted Jesus had “wisdom and works.” Mt. 13:54 “When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was astonished and said, ‘Where does he get his wisdom and his miracles?’” Acts 10:38 Peter tells people how “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed…”
All the gifts are an extension of the ministry of Jesus on the earth thru the church. These gifts were functioning through the disciples, as an extension of Jesus ministry. Mark 16:20 “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked with them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.”
Jesus said in Jn. 14:12 “The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” Works- not greater in quality, but in quantity- multiplied, manifested ministry of Jesus…
THE ALL BELIEVERS APPLICATION
FAITH: Every believer has been given a “measure of faith” to believe for salvation, for the miraculous, for healing, etc. in their life. We all have that privilege. These three gifts are not to be confused with our “common” faith or the privilege that we all have to ask for healings and miracles, etc.
Rom. 1:17 “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a person has a righteous life.’” Eph. 2:8 “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is the gift of God.” Rom. 10:9 “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Gal. 5:22-23 we see that “Faith is also a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit- it is the only one that is part of the fruit and also a “gift.” THE “GIFT OF FAITH” is given to some, but faith as a characteristic of Christ in us is expected of all of us! The gift of “special” faith is exactly that- a SPECIAL FAITH.
HEALING: We all have the privilege of experiencing healing, being prayed for, etc. Praying for others to be healed, the Bible clearly reveals this: Ja. 5:14-16 tells us if we are sick to “pray for one another.” It also tells us to call for the elders who will lay hands on us and pray for us to be healed; but it doesn’t necessarily mean that every elder is operating in the gift of healing! (I’ll explain shortly).
MIRACLES: All believers can experience a miracle! Peter was in prison asleep and the church was praying for him and suddenly he was released- so he wasn’t operating in the gift of miracles, he was asleep…
THE PRIMARY APPLICATION (How “the gifts” function…)
The “SPECIAL GIFT OF FAITH” (Say, “extraordinary”- not everyone has this gift…). Here’s some ways to understand and appreciate the “gift of faith”…
Special Faith sees “POTENTIAL” in people: It can recognize and call out the potential that is in a person or in a church in respect to what God has for them, etc. Jesus did this with Peter- he met “Simon” and called him “Peter” a rock! Jesus called his disciples salt and light- their potential. Barnabas saw the potential in Saul/Paul’s life. Ordinary faith may dismiss people, but the special gift of faith can see it.
Special Faith sees what is “POSSIBLE”: To see, or have vision of what God wants to accomplish and live it in a way that it will come to pass. Abraham in the OT had this- “saw the stars to be a father of a great nation!”
Special Faith to step out in “PEACE”: Step out in faith? Yes. But more aptly the special gift of faith may operate in your life to be able to fulfill what God has called you to do because you “know” he is with you, peace- you step out, you don’t wait for open doors, you open them! Etc.
Special Faith to stay the course, “PERSEVERE”: The special gift of faith enables you to keep going long after others stop, etc. With healings and miracles you “see it”; but with this kind of faith, you “don’t see it in the natural” but you keep going because you “see it” in terms of supernatural faith! Heb. 11 is all about people who had this gift of faith! They all were commended for their faith, for persevering without ever seeing what was “promised!”
Special Faith to see “POWERFUL” results: The gift of faith obviously supports things like healings and miracles… The gift of faith may have an immediate result or may not be immediately realized (Heb. 11 they all died in their faith…)
The GIFT OF HEALINGS: (plural- the way it is written in the original text…)
There is a “DIVERSITY” of healings that need to take place: Phillip had a special gift of healing for those who were lame and demon possessed (Acts 8:7). There is the need for all types of healings- outward and inward, acute and chronic, body and spirit, etc.
The Gift of Healings helps to “DEFINE” apostolic ministry: Praying for people to be healed is prevalent in the NT; but the gifts of healings seem to be very much associated with apostolic ministry in the NT. First 5 chapters of Acts all the healings take place at the hand of the apostles. We see this today where there are apostolic people, pioneering, moving into new territory, etc. and often there is the manifestation of the gifts of healing to open the way for the gospel to be preached and received.
The Gift of Healings to “DELIVER” the sick and to “DEMONSTRATE” the gospel; bring credibility: Jesus said in Jn. 10:38, “If I do his work, believe in what I have done, even if you don’t believe me…”
The Gift of Healings to “DECLARE” praise to God: Mt. 15:31 “The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking around, and those who had been blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel”
The WORKING OF MIRACLES (Plural…): Healings can be included in miracles, but miracles have a wider scope of operation…
The Working of Miracles “PROVE” God is who he says he is: (1 Kgs. 18 the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal… I’ve seen this in India, Uganda, etc.- God proves who he is with the miraculous!
The Working of Miracles for “PROTECTION”: This often comes in the form of delivering God’s people out of the hand of an enemy… (When God delivered Israel form Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den, Jesus and the disciples in the storm…)
The Working of Miracles for “PROVISION”: Especially to those who are in need. The widow’s oil in 2 Kgs. 4, Jesus in feeding the 5000, etc.
THE INDIVIDUAL APPLICATION (Two key things…). How do the GIFTS OF FAITH, HEALINGS, AND MIRACLES operate in the individual lives of those in the church; how can we exercise them? Remember there is the side of God’s sovereignty- he chooses who gets them; and there is the side of man’s desire- we seek them in order to better fulfill what he’s called us to do. So, sometimes God “gives them” and sometimes they are “granted”.
FIRST: The “Can’t Do It Without God” Application: Dare to step out into a ministry or situation where you will absolutely fail unless God shows up and comes through! That’s not to say go presumptuously, etc. but to step out because you want to see the kingdom expanded and God glorified! It’s something that will completely fail without God in it! It’s realizing that the gifts of faith, healings, and miracles don’t occur unless you’re in water way over your head!
SECOND: The “Motivated by a Compassion for People” Application: They seem to operate in the lives of people who are profoundly moved by human need! The gifts are not a charismatic or Pentecostal sideshow! They are not given so they can be paraded around as some super spiritual display, etc. The gifts are in operation because God cares about people and human need! And where there are people with a profound compassion for human need coupled with the stepping out beyond your own limitation of resource; these gifts seem to be vividly on display.
Remember: Our greatest challenge is to NOT have “ministries”- but to serve the Master!