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Part of knowing God is knowing the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also plays a role in finding freedom and He definitely helps you live out your purpose. Actually, you can’t do it without Him.
A few weeks ago I was asking the Lord, “What do you want me to preach next?” And He said, “I need my people to know how to live filled with the Holy Spirit. They can’t accomplish what I need them to do without it.”
That’s why we are doing this series. Because God needs you to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Obedience to God is required.
We kicked off this series talking about how obedience to God is required to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can’t hang out with sin. So, if you keep hanging out with it, you are unqualified to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I’m not talking about your salvation. Salvation is a free gift by believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on a cross so you could be free from the penalty of your sin.
But, if you want the power of God to manifest in your life – if you want the favor of God to be evident in your life – you must pursue obedience.
Obedience is easy when it comes from the right place. The problem is, most of us go at it the wrong way. We try to put on a perfect performance for God.
He’s not looking for your performance. He’s looking for obedience that comes as a result of knowing who you are to God.
Your role in this is not to perform, but to search the scriptures to find out who you are to God. Because when you know how valuable you are to Him, obedience comes easy.
So open your Bible. A good place to start is the book of Ephesians. Read it over and over and extract everything you can find in there about who you are to God, write it down, and meditate on it.
Purpose of the Holy Spirit
Last week, we talked about the purpose of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives you the power, boldness, and truth you need to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done, to lead people to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is what empowered Jesus to work miracles. It’s what enabled Him to speak mind-boggling truth. It’s why He was so bold when confronting religious leaders.
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and He passed it on to us so that we could do not just the same things He did, but even greater miracles than He did.
Holy Spirit Myths
We ended last week busting up some myths about the Holy Spirit.
There’s a false doctrine out there that lumps salvation and being filled with the Holy Spirit into the same thing. It’s not the same thing. They are two different gifts from God.
Sure, they can happen back-to-back. But there can also be years between when you get saved and when you get filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here’s what you need to remember. Salvation is for you. Your faith in Jesus Christ is the only way for you to spend eternity with God.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is for others. When you are filled, you have the power, boldness, and truth you need to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done, to lead people to Jesus.
Wouldn’t you agree that taking people with us to heaven is much better than ending up there by ourselves?
A Week of Trials
Today we are going to talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But before we get into that, I have to clear up something from last week. I totally forgot to tell you something.
We had about 25 people stand up last week to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And y’all, I’m pumped that you made that decision because God needs you to operate in power, boldness, and truth.
But I should have warned you of what you were going to run into next. I told you last week that Satan hates it when you get filled with the Holy Spirit. But what I didn’t tell you is that he hates it so much he will immediately try to empty your tank.
Let me just tell you what happened to me last week. Apparently, I painted a target on my back after preaching a message like that.
Sunday night, we get home after going out for dinner, shut our garage door, and go inside, then we hear this POW! Beth and I looked at each other and very slowly opened the garage door to see what had happened.
The garage door spring has busted into two pieces. Choose joy, right?
Tuesday, we found out that a friend’s roommate had passed away. It has been a long battle for this lovely lady. We’re glad she’s in heaven but she sure will be missed.
Wednesday, my brother-in-law was in an accident and thrown off his motorcycle. He is still sedated in the ICU and we are believing for a complete recovery.
Thursday, God gave me a couple of unusual assignments. It’s funny because, although I post things on Facebook, I never look at the newsfeed. But God asked me to open it up, so I did.
I was scrolling through the feed asking, “Lord, what do you want me to see so I can get off here?” Then I found it and was led to take a stand for faith.
In more than ten years of ministry, I’ve never seen Christians slander other Christians for trying to walk something out in faith. Think they’re a bit crazy? Yeah! But just let them go for it.
Today, though, when you stand in faith for something, other Christians are quick to put you down, call you stupid, or tell you how your faith is harming others.
My Job as Pastor
As a pastor, I’m here to help you increase your faith. I want to lead you to a place where you trust God for everything. Trust Him for salvation. Trust Him for healing. Trust Him to take care of all of your needs. Trust Him to protect you.
Along this journey, you are going to make mistakes. But the church should be a safe place for you to learn how to walk by faith. And I will make sure that it is here at NoLimits.
The Trials Continue
Even though I was led to comment on this Facebook post and take a stand for faith, it didn’t go so well. I’ll be honest, it got me a little worked up, so I went for a walk to calm down.
While walking through my neighborhood, I see a guy working on someone’s lawn. I sense the Holy Spirit say, “Go tell him that I see him, I care about him, and I love him.”
So I did. And he did not receive it. He said he would pass the message along to his sister. I said, “Great! How can I pray for your sister?” He replied, “Oh, you don’t need to do that.”
It was quite an awkward conversation. And for the second time in a row, on the same day, when the Lord led me to do something, the outcome was, well, it sucked.
I’ll be honest. I struggled Thursday. It was a tough day. Then came Friday.
I took a shower that morning. Towards the end, the drain started gurgling. After my shower, someone came to use the bathroom, flushed the toilet, and things started to back up. Choose joy, right?
I go out to the septic tank to see if I need to clear out a wad of toilet paper. Because let me tell you, when you have as many girls in the house as I do, there’s a lot of toilet paper going on.
I find out that the tank is full and we need to have it pumped. I call the septic guy and they say they can’t make it out until next week.
How’s that for a week of trials and opportunities to choose joy and stay filled with the Holy Spirit?
God Still Provides
Now, let me tell you how God has already worked some of these things out for good.
We called the garage door guy on Monday and he came out the same day. We had a good discussion about current events and were able to encourage each other.
The septic guy ended up being able to come out just a few hours after I called him and we now have an empty septic tank, ready for another 3-5 years.
When I was asking the Lord about the Facebook post and the lawn guy who didn’t receive my message, here’s what He told me:
“Not everything I ask you to do will immediately have a good outcome. Sometimes, it’s a seed sown and you will have to be patient for the good result.”
So, y’all, listen up. Don’t use other people’s response as an indicator of if you are doing what God wants you to do. Look only to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God for confirmation.
Help me remember what I just said because I’m sure I’ll need to hear it again. I’ll help you remember it too because as you learn to do what God asks you to do, you need to know that the way other people respond is not confirmation one way or the other.
Regarding my brother-in-law, I ask that you stand in faith with us that we will see a complete recovery.
Now, let’s talk about spiritual gifts.
You’ve probably noticed that the American church as a whole is weak in spiritual gifts. Here at NoLimits, we’ve been growing over the past year. We see spiritual gifts more often than we used to, but we need to keep growing.
The problem we face is that we’ve come to believe that we are so sophisticated that we don’t need spiritual gifts to reach people. We’ve got the lights, the great sound system, the good-looking pastors. What else could you need?
On top of this, we’re obsessed with being normal. We don’t want anyone to be bothered by what we do. And spiritual gifts are hard to understand, so we neglect them in an effort not to run people off.
But we are actually running people off by not embracing spiritual gifts. I mean, if Jesus needed spiritual gifts to reach people, who are we to think that we can reach people without them?
9 Gifts of the Spirit
So, let’s go through the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And as we work through them, I am going to show you an example of each in the Bible.
1. The Word of Wisdom
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,
Wisdom can be defined as the proper use of knowledge. In other words, wisdom enables you to take what you know and apply it in the correct way.
We live in the information age. So we all know a lot of stuff. And because we are so knowledgeable, we think we have it all together. The problem is, not many people apply their knowledge the correct way.
In other words, without wisdom, knowledge is pretty much worthless. Even years of college are worthless if you don’t know how to apply it the correct way.
When it comes to the spiritual gift called the word of wisdom, this is what enables you to take what you know and use it in the most effective way.
Let’s look at an example of Jesus operating in this gift. This is one of the many times that the Pharisees – the religious elite – were trying to trap Jesus with their so-called knowledge of the Bible.
This is even a question people are still asking today, trying to skirt their way around it:
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
Uh oh. Jesus better get some wisdom on this issue because no matter how you answer it, someone is going to be mad.
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Well, that wasn’t good enough for the Pharisees because they had more knowledge to throw at Jesus:
Matthew 19:3-9 NLT – “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.”
This is the word of wisdom at work. Jesus knew what the Bible said, but He knew the right application of each scripture. He knew divorce was permitted by the law of Moses, but it will never be God’s best.
This still rings true today. If you’ve been divorced for any reason other than adultery, God does not hate you. But you’ve probably already found out that it was not God’s best.
If you want God’s best for your marriage, then you work it out. If you need help working things out in your marriage, there are several couples here that will walk it out with you. You just have to reach out and let us know.
Alright, next spiritual gift:
2. The Word of Knowledge
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
The Word of Knowledge is different from the knowledge you obtain at school, or by reading a book. The Word of Knowledge comes supernaturally.
It’s when you know something by the Spirit of God that you could not have known otherwise. And the Holy Spirit gives you this gift to help you reach people.
Here’s an example of Jesus using this spiritual gift:
John 1:47-50 NLT – As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”
Jesus knew the specifics about Nathaniel because of the Word of Knowledge. And all it took was Jesus simply knowing that Nathanial had been sitting under a fig tree for him to believe in Jesus.
See how simple it can be to lead people to Jesus when you embrace spiritual gifts?
For me, the Word of Knowledge comes as a thought or an image, and it comes out of nowhere. It’s almost like someone else’s thought. I find myself thinking, “Where did that come from?”
It’s so easy to talk yourself out of this spiritual gift. But to operate in it, you have to start using it.
If God gives you a Word of Knowledge about your own life, put it to the test. Take steps to walk it out. If you get one for someone else, go share it with them.
I know, you think people are going to think you’re crazy. And some might. But most will be encouraged by your boldness to share and do what God is revealing to you.
Let’s move on to the next one:
3. Gift of Faith
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another faith by the same Spirit,
First of all, let’s clear up the fact that the gift of faith talked about here is different from the faith that enables you to believe in Jesus Christ. God has given everyone the faith they need to believe in Jesus and receive salvation.
The gift of faith, on the other hand, is something that comes over you and enables you to believe God for something that you would normally struggle to believe.
Think of Noah. He spent 120 years building a boat when he had never even seen rain before. All because he heard from God and obtained the faith to be obedient to a crazy assignment, not just for a few days, but for 120 years.
How about Abraham? He was promised many children and when his wife was 90, they still didn’t have any. Yet Abraham still had faith even when his wife was way too old, and they had a son.
The gift of faith enables you to believe in crazy things. Everyone else might be laughing at you, but it doesn’t shake you. You just keep believing until it comes to pass.
Here’s the next spiritual gift:
4. Gifts of Healings
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
We all know that Jesus healed people – a lot of people. When you dig into the details of these healing stories, you find that sometimes people were healed because of their faith, other times Jesus simply healed them.
So, not all healing that takes place is because of the gift of healings mentioned here. Sometimes it’s the gift of faith that causes people to reach out and receive healing. Sometimes it’s a Word of Wisdom enabling you to apply the Word of God.
However it comes, there is no bad way to be healed.
Here’s an example of Jesus using the gift of healing:
Matthew 9:35 NKJV – Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
When operating in the gift of healing, it doesn’t matter if the sick person has the faith to be healed or not. They are all going to be healed simply because the gift of healing is at work in you.
What an awesome gift to have. Remember how I told you the gifts of the spirit are given to help you lead people to Jesus? Can you see how the gift of healing would do just that?
Here’s the next one:
5. Working of Miracles
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the working of miracles,
A miracle is something that is humanly impossible, but simple for God. The Bible is full of miracles.
The working of miracles was actually one of the first spiritual gifts that Jesus used in His ministry. It’s when He turned water into wine at a wedding celebration.
They had run out of wine, which was a big problem because it could make the groom’s family look really bad at the wedding. So Jesus’ mom asked Him to do something about it.
Jesus had the servants at the wedding fill six waterpots with water, each containing 20-30 gallons each. Then Jesus turned the water into the best wine anyone had ever tasted.
This is what you call the working of miracles. Jesus operated in this gift often, and since we are supposed to be doing greater works that Jesus, we should be operating in this gift too.
Here’s the next one:
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another prophecy,
Prophecy is a bit misunderstood in the body of Christ. We think of it as the telling of future events, which it is, but it often gets misused.
People sometimes say they have a prophetic Word and it’s really just their own opinion. Here’s how we know if a prophetic Word is from God:
1 Corinthians 14:3 NLT – But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.
Did the prophetic word strengthen you, encourage you, or comfort you? If it doesn’t pass one of these three tests, it’s probably not the gift of prophecy at work.
For the past couple of years, God has been leading me to write books. Last year, I went to a church service where the pastor prophesied over me, “You will write books and people will read them.”
At this point, the only person that knew I was thinking about writing books was Beth. This pastor had no idea. And the prophetic word definitely encouraged me in something God had been speaking to me. That’s a true prophetic word.
And now, as you probably know, my first book is set to launch on September 1.
Don’t misunderstand, though. Not all prophecy gives you the warm fuzzies. If you think of things that strengthen you, they usually hurt a little. Like, if you want to get stronger physically, you head to the gym and push through a lot of pain.
Most of the prophecies we hear from Jesus are to strengthen us. Jesus prophesied that He would be betrayed and that the disciples would desert Him.
I believe He said these things so that after they happened, the disciples would remember that Jesus already knew they would desert Him for a short time, and yet He continued to stay with them, which means He is still with them.
Jesus prophesied that the temple would be destroyed. Obviously, that is not very encouraging, but it was strengthening because now people know that even though the temple was destroyed, it’s not over.
So, prophecy exists to either strengthen you, encourage you, or comfort you. You should run every prophecy through this test to help you determine if it is the true gift of prophecy at work.
Here’s the next spiritual gift:
7. Discerning of Spirits
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another discerning of spirits,
We live in the physical realm, but the physical realm was created by the spiritual realm. So, the spiritual realm is superior to the physical realm. Yet, we get so caught up in the physical realm we forget the spiritual realm even exists.
This spiritual gift, discerning of spirits, is what helps you see how the spiritual realm is affecting the physical realm.
For example, when this gift is active in your life, you can clearly see that the news cycle is controlled by a spirit of fear and deception. You can also see that mainstream entertainment is controlled by a spirit of lust and violence.
Without the ability to discern what’s going on in the spirit, you are completely unaware of these things and end up deceived by the news and thrown off course by TV shows and movies that have no purpose other than to pollute your mind.
It’s not because you are a bad person. I’m not trying to condemn anybody. I just want to help you get a place where you desire the ability to discern what’s going on in the spirit so you can protect yourself and your family.
Jesus used this gift many times. That’s how he knew when a demon needed to be cast out of someone. But let me take you to one of the most shocking times when Jesus used this gift.
He was prophesying to His disciples about how he would soon suffer under the hands of the religious leaders and even be killed. But on the third day, He would be raised from the dead.
One of the disciples, Peter, pulled Jesus aside and said, “Heaven forbid! This will never happen to you!” And then Jesus’ response is shocking:
Matthew 16:23 NKJV – But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Whoa! This isn’t the kind and politically correct Jesus that modern Christianity has made Him out to be. That was kind of rude! I mean, how could you call one of your own friends satan?
Jesus was using the gift of discerning of spirits. He knew Peter’s comment wasn’t coming from the spirit of God but from the spirit of deception.
We’ve gotta learn how to use this gift. So many Christians have no idea this gift even exists. They can’t even see the most blatant evil right in front of their face. How will they ever see when someone close to them is saying something to mislead them?
If you want this gift, simply say, “God, I receive the gift of discerning of spirits. Open my eyes to see what’s going on in the spiritual realm.”
Alright, two more gifts to go. Here’s the next one:
8. Different Kinds of Tongues
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another different kinds of tongues,
This is a controversial subject, isn’t it? Entire church denominations were formed because they were either for speaking in tongues or against it. What a bummer that the church has allowed it to bring such division.
I know this gift seems weird. But aren’t all of them a little weird?
I mean, if we are going to believe in prophecy, where God can enable people to see things to come, why can’t we believe in tongues where God enables someone to speak in a language they don’t even know?
If you read about speaking in tongues throughout the Bible, there is absolutely no doubt that this is a legit spiritual gift. And it’s apparently pretty powerful since the enemy works so hard to keep us from it.
Even Jesus told us about this gift:
Mark 16:17 NKJV – And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
And then it was fulfilled shortly after His resurrection:
Acts 2:4 NKJV – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The question is, why? Why this gift of speaking in tongues? What does it benefit me to speak in a language I don’t even know?
I Corinthians 14:2 NKJV – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
Speaking in tongues enables you to pray perfect prayers. I mean, how many times have you been praying only to realize that your prayer really wasn’t that great because you didn’t know what to pray for?
That will never happen when you have the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues.
When you speak in tongues, your prayer is always effective, always spot on, and you are speaking mysteries – things you have no idea that need to happen. But the Holy Spirit does and He speaks those through you.
This gift is awesome! No wonder Satan doesn’t want us to use this gift. Imagine how much destruction we could do to the kingdom of darkness if we all prayed in tongues every day.
Now I do want to point out that scripture says speaking in tongues is not to speak to men, but to God.
This gift is not so you can baffle others by your ability to speak in tongues. No, this gift is between you and God.
One more gift to go:
9. Interpretation of Tongues
I Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV – to another the interpretation of tongues.
Like I said, speaking in tongues is primarily a personal gift. It’s one that you use in your own prayer time between you and God.
But sometimes you are led to speak in tongues in front of others. In this case, there should be interpretation. Let me show you what I mean:
I Corinthians 14:6 NKJV – But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?
In other words, if I showed up to church every Sunday and spent thirty minutes speaking in tongues instead of teaching the Word of God, you all would leave no better than you were before. You’d be more confused, actually.
That doesn’t mean that no one should ever speak in tongues in front of the church. But if they do:
I Corinthians 14:13 NKJV – Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
In order for tongues to be helpful in front of the church, it must be paired with the interpretation of tongues so that we can all understand what was being said. Makes sense, right?
However, when you pray in tongues when it’s just you and God, you can ask for interpretation if you want to, but you don’t have to. Just go for it. Pray those perfect prayers, those things you don’t even know what to pray for.
Go ahead – destroy the kingdom of darkness by praying in tongues every day. Man, what an awesome opportunity.