The Gifts of the Spirit, and the use of them have me confused …I was prophesied over in a town several miles from here, by a man I had never seen before …he prophesied that I had the gift of miracles in my right arm. What shall I do with the gift? Often, when I have opportunity and feel the anointing, to lay hands on people, but as yet, to my knowledge, I cannot say that miracles have happened. I felt led to pray for a little boy burned with electricity, that no skin grafts would be necessary, and my husband and I both were satisfied that all was well, but now I have heard that the grafts have had to be made. It makes me. fearful that I don’t understand God’s healing.
It is a tragic mistake to lead any person away from the simple statements of the Word, so that they look to feelings of any kind. This is not to say that the Gifts will not have various manifestations that would involve such phenomena. There are diversities of operations. (I Cor. 12:4-6.) People were healed by the angel‘s troubling of the water (Jn 5:4), by touching the hem of the garment of Christ (Matt. 14:36), by getting into Peter’ s shadow (Acts 5: 15), through cloths that had touched the body of Paul (Acts 19:11-12). He who says that God cannot or does not work in such various ways, is ignorant of the Scriptures. However the man who really has a gift in his right hand. or otherwise, won’t have to ask people how to make it work!
Actually, teaching concerning the Gifts of the Spirit must be placed solidly on the Word of God. People are not healed because someone has power in his hands, but because someone believed God’s Word – although it is true that manifestations of this nature may accompany the healing. But placing faith in anything else except God‘s Word, always leads to confusion and uncertainty
TVH thoroughly believes in the doctrine of the laying on of hands as revealed in the Scriptures. Not scores, but literally hundreds in a single service, have received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, through the laying on of hands in some of the Holy Ghost rallies con- ducted by our associates. Nothing like it has happened in the history of the church since the days of the apostles. This entirely Biblical practice is confirmed by such Scriptures as Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6.
The laying on of hands for the healing of the sick is distinctly commanded by the Lord Jesus in the Great Commission. (Mk 16:18.) The laying on of hands with prophesying is scriptural under certain circumstances. (Acts 13:1-3.) W e also have the example of Timothy who received a gift, accompanied by prophecy, with the laying on of hands. (I Tim. 4:14.) But Paul, in the same epistle,,caution;,Timothy to “lay hands suddenly on no man. (I Tim. 5:22.) In both of the above examples, the individuals were well-known by those who laid hands on them. The apostles were far from laying hands on Paul at a moment’s notice. Ananias had to receive a vision from the Lord before he would even pray for his healing. (Acts 9:lO-18.) After Paul’s conversion, and his receiving the Holy Spirit, there was a time in which he proved himself. There was a period of preparation, of fasting, of waiting on God, of learning to work with the church, before the Holy Spirit spoke and requested that Paul and Barnabas be set apart for a chosen ,work. Then hands were laid upon them, and they were sent away. (Acts 13:l-3.)
Timothy, who was a convert of Paul, sat under his ministry, and no doubt assisted the apostle for a considerable period. Paul knew all about him, about his mother, and about his grandmother. The apostle im- plies quite strongly in vs 6 that it was Timothy’s background of, faith that gave him confidence in his ministry and he says, “Where- fore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir. up the gift of God, which is in thee by putting on of my hands.” (vs 6.)
There definitely must be a heart preparation for the proper use of any gift of the Holy Ghost. There are, of course, certain types of individuals who enjoy being told that they have one, or two, or all nine Gifts of the Spirit. W e find these individuals coming to us in h o s t every campaign, who have no evidence to show that they have these gifts. Proverbs 25:14 declares, “Who ever boasts of himself, is of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.” One does not have to lay claim to Gifts, people soon recognise them when they are in action.
The doctrine of indiscriminate giving of Gifts of the Spirit is wrong for several reasons.
• In the first place, the Gifts are given as the Holy Ghost wills, not as man wills. (1 Cor. 12:ll.)
• In the second place, an earnest coveting of the Gift by the recipient is a prerequisite for receiving them as shown in I Cor. 12:51.
• The third reason is found in the chapter which follows. (I Cor. 13.) The love of God must fill the heart of the individual who possesses any Gifts of the Spirit, else even if he have “faith so that he could remove mountains,” the Gift profits nothing; and he is as a “tinkling cymbal.’’
It is a law of the spiritual world, that the presence of Gods power is in direct proportion as men have opened their heart to the Lord in longings of the soul, in prayer, in fasting’s, in waiting before God. Even with Christ was this true.
On one occasion, unbelieving Pharisees from every part of the country gathered to hear Jesus, looking for opportunity to challenge His ministry. Yet, in spite of all this opposition, the record declares, “the power of the Lord was present to heal. Is it not significant in this connection, that the previous verse declares that Jesus had just come from the wilderness where He had spent long ‘hours in prayer? (Lk 5:15-16.) It was after Moses had been forty days and nights with God that his face shone with the, glory of God. (Ex 34:29.) The apostles were told to “tarry” un- til they be “endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49.) Of course, “tarrying” is not enough; there must be a bold appropriating faith also.
A most interesting study of the ministry of the Spirit is found in Nu 11:11-29. In this case, Moses w h o had been so mightily endued with a Divine anointing, complained to the Lord that he was unable to carry the bur- den of so great a people. (vs 14.) God then permitted him to appoint seventy elders who also receive of the Spirit (16-17.) Nowhere is the these men, so far as w& know, had made little, if any, special preparation to receive of heaven’s blessings, and therefore they received apparently only a part of Moses’ anointing. God said, “I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and I will put it upon them.” (vs 17.) This is a highly significant statement. God ministers the Spirit according to irrevocable laws: In this particular case, there were more people who had received of the Spirit, but the total amount of the Spirit was no more than had been upon Moses!
Nevertheless, any ministry of the Spirit is n o t to be deprecated. T h e Seventy Elders “prophesied and did not cease.” (vs 25.) Joshua, jealous for Moses, forbade them, but the wiser Moses would not have it that way. He replied, “Would God that all the Lords people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!” (vs 29.)
Four lessons are manifest.
• First, the potential illimitableness of an anointing received directly from God.
• Second, the limitations of an anointing received through the faith of another.
• Third, that we, as Moses, should thank God for all manifestations of the Spirit.
• Fourth, though Moses might desire all of God’s people to prophesy, yet God restricted the ministry to those He chose, casting aside the human organisation advised by his father-in-law, and set up as recorded in Ex 18:19-22.
Every minister associated with TVH, has this testimony that his ministry has come directly from God. There was a waiting upon God, there were tears of compassion for the lost and suffering. There were days of prayer and fasting. There was the hour when they saw the vision of a lost world. They thank God for inspiration they have received from others. They thank God for the blessings received through the ministering of others. But ’it. was God Himself Who gave them their ministry. When they received it from Him, they did not have to look to man to make it work.
Let us despise no ministry, however imperfect, that God has given. Let us rejoice in revival wherever it comes. But the day for the exaltation of man is over. There is no need for any man to set himself apart and declare he has something new, and that you or I must go to him. We declare that God has plenty for all, and He desires that Christ alone will be magnified in the eyes of His people.
What has been said, must not be interpreted to impugn those who take a more liberal view of the matter of laying on of hands; nor to overlook the fact that God has blessed them with heaven-sent revivals. But it is to be regretted that some who have been blessed df God should place such unnecessary emphasis on this or, for that matter, any other particular issue, that they should separate themselves from the main body of Spirit-filled people just at the time when God is moving to bring all those who believe in the fullness of the Spirit into unity, in preparation for His son coming. Let us set aside unnecessary issues and labor for the unity of the people of God.
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