1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (KJV)
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
To understand the spiritual gifts, we need to understand how they came about in the early church.
John the Baptist was the precursor of Christ. God set him to go before Christ to prepare the way. John, when he preached, spoke of the One who would follow him and what He would do. He said the One coming, which was Jesus, would be much greater than him. John said that his ministry must decrease while Jesus' ministry increased. John was a mighty man of God, so much so that many people thought he might be the long awaited Messiah himself.
Luke 3:15 (NLT)
15 Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah.
John was Christ's forbearer. His ministry was one of "preparation" for Christ.
Luke 3:16 (NLT)
John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John said Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Ghost and Fire! That happened, the first time, on the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus had been murdered and resurrected and after He ascended into Heaven.
Let's look at what went on at this time. Remember, Jesus had just been crucified. The Disciples and other believers were not filled with God's Spirit and they couldn't truly understand that Jesus would rise from the dead, like He had told them.
Only one of the Disciples was present when Jesus was hanging on the Cross. Do you you know which Disciple it was? It was John, the brother of James, the author of the Gospel of John, 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Revelation. Consequently, John is the only Disciple that died a natural death. All of the other Disciples, including Matthias who took the place of Judas, were martyred for Christ.
Tradition tells us that John was put into a pot of boiling oil so he could also be martyred but he would not boil! So, what do you do with someone you can't kill? John was exiled to the Island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation in his later years. I believe there may be a correlation to him being at Christ's crucifixion and him not being martyred!
John 20:11-18 (NLT2)
11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” 16 “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). 17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
The Disciples were scared for their lives and were in hiding behind locked doors. Mary had gone to see about Jesus' body but when she got to the tomb, He was gone! She saw a man there and she asked Him if he had moved Jesus' body and where he had taken it. Then, the man, Jesus, looked into her eyes and said, "Mary." It is then that Mary realized it was Jesus. She immediately took hold of Him and began to weep. Jesus immediately told her not to cling to Him because He had not yet been to heaven.
Jesus is our High Priest and He is also our sacrifice. We can't truly understand how this could happen but Jesus had to ascend to heaven to fulfill His duties as the High Priest inside of the Holy of Holies in the heavenly tabernacle. Jesus was also the sacrifice that He, as the High Priest, had to kill, cut up and do all of the things with the body parts of Himself. Then, He had to sprinkle the blood over us, once and for all.
The High Priests under the Old Covenant would do this yearly. The blood of lambs and other animals only gave forgiveness of sin for one year. The sacrifice Jesus made, lasts forever!
The next time we see Jesus, He walks right into that locked room where the Believers and Disciples are! He speaks to them for a little bit and then He walks up to each one of them and look at what He does.
John 20:19-23 (KJV)
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
It is important to understand what happened here. Before Jesus died and completely paid our price for sin, believers did not and could not go to Heaven. They went to Abraham’s bosom, a compartment in the underworld that was not a place of torment. (Luke 16:19-31). ONLY the righteous dead could go here.
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Once Jesus had conquered death and hell, death could no longer hold Him and He was resurrected on the third day! Hell, where Jesus went when He died, had no legal right to hold Him. Because Jesus paid the price for your sins, if you will simply believe it and confess it with your mouth, hell will have no right to hold you!
The Believers were in hiding behind closed, locked doors. When they turned, they saw Jesus! After Jesus spoke to them for a bit, he "breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost."
This is A VERY IMPORTANT TIME AND POINT IN CHRISTIANITY! This is the very first time that people became born again! This is the VERY BEGINNING of the New Testament Church!
Forty days after this, we no longer see the Believers and Disciples hiding and fearing for their lives. They go with Jesus to the Mount of Olives where He ascends to heaven! When He ascended, something happened in the spiritual realm that these Believers and Disciples did not see. Jesus gave the Ministry Gifts (some call them the Ascension Gifts) to the Church.
Ephesians 4:7-11 (NLT2)
7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
These are the Ministry Gifts, not the Spiritual gifts that we are discussing in this lesson.
Before Jesus ascended, He told these Believers and Disciples to tarry, or wait, in Jerusalem until He sent the "Comforter", the Holy Spirit who would fill them with power to be witnesses all over the earth!
Luke 24:49 (NLT)
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Well, in just about a week's time, the Holy Spirit came and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. They received power to be witnesses for Christ all around the world. Their lives would never be the same.
Jesus is still baptizing Believers with the Holy Spirit and fire two thousand years later. If you have not been blessed by this baptism, please read more about it here then pray and ask the Lord to baptize you in the Holy Spirit!
When a Believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, power comes into their lives! It is almost like spiritual blinders are removed and God begins to show you the spiritual side of things. I have rarely seen a Believer who has not been baptized in the Holy Spirit operate in the Gifts of the Spirit. God can use those who haven't been Baptized in the Holy Spirit with the spiritual gifts but from what I have seen in my forty plus years of being a Spirit filled Christian, it is rare. Why wouldn't you want everything that God has for you?
In our next lesson, we will talk more about the Spiritual Gifts and I will give you an overview of what each one of those nine gifts are. Then we will break the teaching down and go into detail on each of the nine gifts.
Spiritual Gifts #2 - Overview
The Baptism into the Holy Spirit
Testimonies from People Who Have Been Baptized in the Holy Spirit