Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a Gift!
We’ve covered WHEN the saved children of God receive the Holy Spirit (see hub John and Jesus: About BAPTISM). If you were raised in a church where the Holy Spirit seemed to have been “left out” of the equation, KNOW that THIS (the Spirit) IS the POWER of God in our lives! He is our Comforter that Jesus sent to us in His stead (John 16:7). Jesus, as a man, could only be in one place at a time. Once He makes us righteous through Him, we become the children of God and thus our bodies become the temple of His Holy Spirit! (1 Corinthians 6:19)
The Bible says that God gives His children the Holy Spirit! (Luke 11:13) “If you then, being evil, knowing how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Oh! You mean we have to ASK HIM? That’s what it says! We ASK (invite) Jesus into our hearts, and to fill us with His Spirit. Revelation 3:20 states, “Behold, I stand at the door and KNOCK; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.”
Evidence of the Holy Spirit
How do we KNOW we’ve received the Holy Spirit? Jesus says we will recognize a by their FRUIT (Mat 7:16-20)! The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The fruit of the Sprit in our lives means we will bear much fruit. This countenance of Christ will draw the unsaved to salvation.
Many churches emphasize the fruit, but may overlook the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit! Not only do we see the first account of the Holy Spirit falling upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, but we see this same evidence happening when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles who heard the Word and believed in Acts 11:44-46 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.”
As shown above, one of the manifestations of the Spirit in us are spiritual GIFTS! The gifts are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, various kinds of tongues*, and interpretation of tongues. Now, not every believer will have every gift manifested in his/her Christian walk, but be assured God will gift them to you as needed to accomplish His will through you!
Some Christians believe the gifts were only given to the apostles. However, not only do we see the Gentiles receiving gifts in the example already given, but we see the very power of the Holy Spirit manifested in Luke 10:17 "And the seventy returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.' In verse 20 Jesus replies to them, "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are in the Lamb's Book of Life." The ability to cast out demons comes from the Holy Spirit's power in us. In Mat 12:22-28, Jesus is accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub (Satan), whereby Jesus replies that Satan cannot cast out Satan. Furthermore, Jesus said to blaspheme (or speak against) the Son of Man would be forgiven, but to blaspheme the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven in this life or the age to come. No one is to call the Holy Spirit unclean!
Now, to caution us, the Word says we are not to follow AFTER signs and wonders (Matthew 16:4), but "signs and wonders will FOLLOW THEM that believe." (Mark 16:17; Luke 10:19-20). Please note that "taking up serpents" or "drinking poison" could be literal (in the case of Satan's attempt on your life) or pertain to false prophets and their doctrines. So, in the case of the Jim Jones cult, they purposely ingested cyanide and a number of sedatives, including liquid Valium, Penegram and chloral hydrate, for they were certainly not saved. This cult made a mockery of God's Word, which is Satan's purpose!
Evidence (Confirmation)? Mark 16:20 states "And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and CONFIRMED the Word by the signs that followed."
*1 Corinthians 13:1
Many Will Say, "Lord, Lord!"
The gifts of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29), so there are those who have the gifts of the Spirit, but if they don’t have the most important fruit of LOVE, those gifts are worthless to God and His work (1 Corinthians 13).
The scripture in Matthew 7:21-23 states, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WORKERS OF INIQUITY'."
Because we know that we are not saved by works, this “will of the Father” is to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and allow the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Therefore, this passage is indeed addressing those who practice in God’s authority, using His name (the Name above all names), but they are not saved and indeed are “workers of iniquity”. Look at the passage in Acts 19:13-16. The Jewish exorcists and seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were attempting to cast out a demon using Jesus’ name. The demon said he recognized Jesus and Paul, but not them; therefore the man with the evil spirit leaped on them and overpowered them!
There is only one account of the "SIN unto eternal death" (1 John 5:16) and that is to say that which is of the Spirit of God is evil, thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit. In jest, there will be those who have once tasted of the heavenly gift (gift of salvation/the Spirit), yet they turn from the truth and follow after wickedness, thus crucifying to themselves the Lord again and putting Him to open shame! For these, the Word says, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4).
Are Gifts of the Spirit Still in Use Today?
There are Christian churches who do not believe the gifts of the Spirit are in use today based on 1 Corinthians 13:10. They believe when “that which is perfect is come" is the completed, written Word of God, the Bible. Some think it means when a Christian becomes mature based on the next verse 11 “when I became a man, I put away childish things”. However, if we look at verse 12, it is clarified what is meant by “that which is perfect is come”: “…for then we shall see FACE TO FACE”. Yes, face-to-face with Jesus!
As Paul exhorted the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 13:13 states, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE", we must not ignore the next verse, which is Chapter 14:1: "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts...". Truly, the gifts of the Spirit have not ceased, nor are they to be called "of the devil", for that is blaspheming the Holy Spirit! Be blessed in His Name. Amen.