Spiritual Gifts and the Ministry

Spiritual Gifts and the Ministry

1. General Principles

In his everlasting wisdom and grace, God decided to grant the Church all the necessary spiritual instruments for its edification: the 9 spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12:8-11) – word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, operations of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, variety of tongues and interpretation of tongues – and the 5 ministries (Eph. 4:11) – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, master.

The edification of the Church, in which the Lord Jesus is directly involved (Mat. 16:18), which is the Work of the Holy Spirit, started on the day of the Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – which is in charge of transmitting the revelations coming from the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Church – and will end the day that this edification is concluded, the day of the rapture (I Cor. 13:10). During all this period, these instruments of edification are necessary to carry out this Word that the Lord entrusted upon His Church.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit was not granted only to transmit anointing (I John 2:27) and joy to the Church (Rom. 14:17). The supreme purpose of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is to enable the Church to receive spiritual gifts and ministries for its edification. It is for this reason that when He promised to send the Holy Spirit to all His servants, the Lord revealed to the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28) that, as a result of receiving the Holy Spirit, there would be prophecies, visions and dreams, in other words, spiritual gifts. It should be noted that these are manifestations of spiritual gifts by which the Lord reveals His will to the Church with more details.

However, the 9 gifts cannot be used properly without the assistance of the ministries. The 9 spiritual gifts and the 5 ministries complement each other. The gifts used without the assistance of the ministries become a source of problems and do not reach the goal of edifying the Church. For this reason, in each local church, it is up to the Pastor to supervise the use of the spiritual gifts, judge each manifestation of the spiritual gifts – along with a group of mature members of the local Church – and decide about the application of the gift with wisdom, so that the purpose of edification is reached.

2. The gifts in the Local Church

Thus, whenever there are manifestations of the spiritual gifts (prophecy, interpretation, visions, dreams, and revelations) that contain orientations for a believer, for a group of the Church or for the Church as a whole, these manifestations are transmitted to the Pastor, who is responsible for deciding – whit the help with the above cited group of believers – about the authenticity of the gift (if it comes from the Holy Spirit) and about the way the orientation transmitted through this manifestation will be applied.

The gifts used in this way – under the supervision of the pastor, judged with regards to its authenticity and applied with wisdom – are always a reason of edification (I Cor. 14:3-5, 12) and joy for the Church. There are Churches in the Americas and in Europe that experience the spiritual gifts in this way, with wonderful results. Some churches already use the spiritual gifts in this way for more than 35 years, without the problems that are generally associated to these manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

In order to prepare the church for a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will happen before the second and glorious coming of the Lord Jesus to rapture His Church, the Lord is calling the attention of His people for the need to use the spiritual gifts in the biblical form: with wisdom and discernment. As these teachings are transmitted to the Church and are put into practice, the Church is prepared to receive a great visitation of the Holy Spirit avoiding the problems normally associated to the spiritual gifts. Much to the opposite, the spiritual gifts are a reason for much joy and blessing for the Church, for through them the Lord will be able to reveal all His will to His people.

3. The service it the New Testament

The spiritual gifts are essential for the service in the New Testament. The orientation of the Holy Spirit as to how the services of the Churches should be carried out only refers to three elements: doctrine, psalms and spiritual gifts (I Cor. 14: 23-33). Paul detains himself, then, in the operation of the spiritual gifts, demonstrating how the one who do not believe will be converted (he will be convinced, will worship God and proclaim that God is in the Church) when there are manifestations of gifts that reveal the secret of their hearts (I Cor. 14:24-25).

The teaching of these verses is confirmed by Mark 16:20 that state that the apostles preached everywhere “the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” This is important, for it demonstrates the doctrine, essential for faith (“faith comes from hearing…the Word of God), is confirmed in the hearts of the listeners and of those who do not believe by the manifestations of the spiritual gifts (“accompanying signs”).

It can be inferred, then, that to preach with power is to preach with the operation of signs that are operated through the spiritual gifts (operation of miracles, gifts of healing, prophecies that reveal the secrets of the hearts, etc.). The Church should, therefore, seek the spiritual gifts – a commandment of the Lord (I Cor. 14:1) so that it can testify effectively of the Lord Jesus.

4. Meeitngs of the servants who have ministries

The spiritual gifts are also necessary so that the Lord can manifest His counsel to the Churches and to the servants used in ministries (pastors or elders, evangelists, etc.). In meetings of these leaders of a certain city or region, for example, the Lord can be consulted about decisions that need to be made in order to carry out the Work of God. The Lord can also take the initiative and reveal His will about issues that are being discussed by the pastors.

The manifestation of the Lord Jesus in the meetings of these leaders results in the edification and unity among the participants. When the Lord has the possibility of speaking to the pastors, God’s presence in these meetings is more real, bringing fear of the Lord, love for the brethren, humbleness and true Christian unity. And, as a consequence, the disagreements, factions, jealousy and aggressions between the pastors cease. When an issue is discussed and a consensus is not reached, the Lord can be consulted for His advice. The Lord, then, graciously, advises His pastors, speaking through the spiritual gifts. And when the Lord manifests himself there is agreement among all, which is the fruit of the operation of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, the leaders who have ministry (pastors, elders, evangelists, etc.) should pray and fast so that the Lord grants them spiritual gifts. The Lord always answers this type of request, because it is done in tune to the will of the Lord (I Cor. 14:1). Furthermore, the leaders should start to teach the Church that, in the New Testament, there no infallible prophets as there were in the Old Testament. Nowadays a prophet who fails is not judged (nor stoned); only the prophecy is judged (I Cor. 14:27, 29: I Tess. 5:20-21). Therefore, the church is also taught that no one should feel humiliated or upset when a prophecy that he or she transmits does not come from the Lord, as judged by the others.