The Gift of the Spirit 1. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12-13 a. The gifts are sovereign, and for the good of the church b. All gifts are to be in order, and subject to the word of God c. The list of gifts are not meant to be normative, nor inclusive, nor exclusive i. There are no descriptions in the new testament as to what these gifts include ii. Whenever Paul list spiritual gifts, it is a different list iii. In the context, Paul is describing whatever was going on in Corinth at that time, which is unknown in history d. The point is this: God gives His gifts according to His pleasure, for the building up of the one body of Christ 2. Prophecy a. Prophecy in scripture either is immediate or mediate b. Immediate prophecy is infallible, inerrant, and binding. Revelation 22:18-19 indicates that this type of prophecy is complete and finished c. Mediate prophecy is the gift of the Spirit to understand and interpret God’s word. This continues in the ministry of the Word d. All prophecy must be tested against the written word of God. (1 Thess. 5; 1 John 4:1-3; Isa. 8:16-23; Deut. 13:1-5) e. God harshly condemns all who say “Thus sayeth the Lord” when God has not spoken. 3. Healing a. Miraculous healing was immediate, unquestioned (even by enemies), not a result of faith, and took place everywhere b. Miraculous healing was a sign of the truth of the message of Jesus and the apostles (Mark 2:112; Acts 2:22; Rom. 15:19) c. But even false prophets and the antichrist perform signs and wonders. Teaching must still be confirmed by the word of God. d. Whether miraculous healings still take place is not a fruitful discussion. God can and does heal in miraculous ways. But our faith is in His promises which are written in the scripture. 4. Tongues. Glossa always means an actual language. Acts 2 is clear that this is not gibberish, but actual language a. The gift of tongues can be immediate or mediate. In Acts, men without learning spoke the languages of the nations around them b. There were two purposes for immediate tongue speaking. i. To show clearly that the Spirit has been poured out on all flesh, not just Israel (the curse of Babel was reversed) ii. As a judgment against Israel (1 Cor. 14) iii. God gave every nation separate tongues to divide them and drive them away from each other (Gen. 11). At Pentecost, tongues were given as a sign to the Jews and to call together all of God’s sheep into one fold c. Mediate tongue speaking is a gift from God where men have been specially gifted to translate and speak other languages for the purpose of spreading God’s word to the world. Calvin testifies that this was being done in a remarkable way during his time. The orthodox have never denied that God still works wonders and can do as He pleases. But God will never deny His word. We hold to the sufficiency, perspicuity, authority and necessity of scripture in all things Even in the days of great signs and wonders, the Word of God was valued above all. All the gifts of the Spirit are to be tempered with love and brought into subjection to God’s word.
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