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Have the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased?
by Robert Randle
6/26/2009 / Christian Living
There are many Bible scholars, clergy, as well as believers in the Christian Church who claim that the extraordinary manifestation of spiritual gifts ceased in the first century with the death of the last Apostle; and even a few others will concede that this phenomenon ended with the completion of the New Testament canon in later generations. All of this may sound plausible on the surface, especially by those of the 'Faith' who have not personally experienced this unique demonstration of the working of the Holy Spirit. Tradition is not always the custodian of 'truth' so it is imperative to search the Scriptures for the internal evidence and biblical narrative to either prove or disprove this important matter of faith practice and eternal salvation.
A disciple in Damascus ["Syria"] named Ananias went to Saul and laid hands on him that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit(Cp. Acts 9: 10-11, 17).
Romans 1: 7, 11
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift, so that you may be established.
Having then gifts, differing, according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them;
For I will not dare speak those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word or deed, to make the Gentiles obedient in mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God. . .
I Corinthians 12: 1, 4-5, 7, 11, 28, 31a
Now concerning Spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. But the manifestation of the Spirit given to each one for the profit of all. And God has appointed these in the church: first Apostles, second Prophets, third Teachers, after that, miracles, then gifts of healing, helps [interpretations of tongues, etc.??], Administrations, varieties of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. But earnestly desire the best gifts.
13: 8-10, 12a
Love never fails. But whether there are prophesies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away with. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.
The preceding text contrasts things done in part [temporary, impermanent] as a prelude to something perfect and lasting; as well as the time frame of 'now' versus 'then.' So what is this special 'something' that when it arrives, all these others things ("gifts of the Spirit") will no longer be necessary? The following are suggested:
Hebrews 6: 4b-5
. . . Having tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and powers of the age to come.
Romans 8: 19b, 21b, 23b
. . . The revealing of the sons of God
. . . The glorious liberty of the children of God
. . . Eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body
I Corinthians 1: 4-7
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in every thing by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE PURPOSE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
I Corinthians 14: 1, 5, 22-25, 39
Pursue Love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless indeed he interprets, so that the church may receive edification. Therefore, tongues are for a 'sign,' not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole Church comes together in one place, and all speak in tongues, and there come in [your midst] those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus, the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
Galatians 3: 5a
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you. . .
Ephesians 4: 7-8, 11-13
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN." [Psalms 68: 18; not quoted perfectly??]. And He Himself gave some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the 'faith' and the knowledge of the Son of God.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the "Day of Redemption."
The Apostle Paul also admonished the Church in I Thessalonians 5: 19-20: "Do not quench [resist??] The Spirit. Do not despise prophesies." Even Timothy, Paul's fellow-worker and son in the Gospel received his spiritual gift through prophesy and the laying on of hands by the eldership (I Timothy 4: 6, 14; I Thessalonians 3: 1).
The Apostle Peter wrote: "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good Shepherds of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks let him speak as the oracle ["mouthpiece"] of God. If anyone ministers [serves??] let him do it with the ability that God supply, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom belong the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4: 10-11)
So then, to sum it all up:
The Holy Spirit distributes gifts to members of Christ's body as He chooses, as a sign to unbelievers of God's presence and to confirm the Gospel record as well as to edify the Church. This supernatural administration is a taste of God's goodness and demonstration of His power in the lives of the believers to be fruitful, until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to judge the good and the bad. There is no Scriptural reason to surmise that these wondrous blessings have been suspended, and certainly no one in the Household of God wants to appear to have a form of godliness, but deny its power (II Timothy 3: 5a). Lastly, the Apostle Paul wrote: "The kingdom of God is not in word but in power."
(Cp. I Corinthians 4: 19-20)
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