So, we began a new series on the gifts that the Holy Spirit last week, and church, I cannot express just how important this subject is to our church and the impact we are to have on this community. You see, the fact is, one manifestation of the power of God will have a greater impact than 10,000 words. This is why we need to recognize this power.
Now this does not mean that the manifestations of spiritual gifts are going to make people believe. Signs & wonders will never create faith. What they do, though, is they open people’s hearts up to the Gospel, and then the faith has the opportunity to come. In other words, signs and wonders are the “dinner bell” to get people to listen to the Gospel.
But the fact is, the Lord desires to move our body into a supernatural operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this will not happen simply because God decides to give us these gifts; we will experience them when we decide to experience them. That’s right! He moves when we invite Him to move because He has put the ball in our court and said, “This is what is yours. I have made it available to you. Choose this life. Choose these blessings. YOU come to waters of life and drink freely.” Amen?
So, it is up to us. How much of Him do we want? Do we desire to see Him turn our community right-side up? If so, then we need to press in to seeing more of a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our own individual lives and, as a result, in our church body too.
So, let’s go back over to First Corinthians chapter 12 and look at what is widely recognized as the authority on the subject of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore, I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Now again, I am not saying this mass of Christians who do not operate in the gifts or even believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for us today are not going to heaven. Heck, it might get them there quicker! What I am saying, however, is operating in the gifts of the Spirit is available to every born-again Christian and if we want to truly be a spiritual man or woman of God, then the gifts are to be a regular part of that spiritual walk.
Then we saw how the apostle Paul goes on to refer to this Corinthian Church as “brethren” which should cause a collective “exhale” of relief from all of us, because this church had some serious problems! So, for Paul to refer to them as “brethren” at this point, I’m sure, was quite reassuring for this church and for all of us in the church today—because we can be full of weaknesses, yet our faith in the Greater One makes us free from the condemnation of those failures. Amen!
Then we saw how Paul expresses his desire that we not be ignorant about these spiritual things. Now it is interesting to me that the very thing Paul told us not to be ignorant of is the very thing that the body of Christ is probably most ignorant of. So here, the Holy Spirit is saying to you and I— “I do not want you to be ignorant concerning these spiritual gifts!” Why did He say this? It is because the Holy Spirit knew that this very subject will be one where we will be seriously tempted to be ignorant. And, oh, how this has certainly become common place in the church today!!
We saw that the word “ignorant” used here comes from the Greek word agnoia which is where we get our word “agnostic” from. On a side note—when you hear someone say they are agnostic, what you just heard is them professing their ignorance. The sad thing is that the majority of the church are “agnostics” concerning spiritual things. That’s right! We saw that you have your “believers” who whole-heartedly believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for us today, who hunger for them, and who see them manifested in their life from time to time. Unfortunately, this is the minority. Then you also have the “atheists” concerning spiritual gifts who vehemently believe that they have passed away, that they are not in operation today, and that anyone who claims to experience them is demonically inspired. There are certainly more of the former than the latter. But the vast majority of the church (just like the whole population of the planet) are “agnostics” concerning spiritual things—meaning, they are just flat out ignorant of how the gifts work, what they look like, and have certainly never seen them in operation in their church body. But not us! I said, not us! We are going to believe in the gifts! We are going to grow in our knowledge of the gifts! We are going to become wise concerning their usage and operation! Praise, God!
Which again brings us to the purpose of teaching on this subject: to instill faith in our hearts for these various gifts of the Spirit and empower us to manifest the gifts in our lives while also learning what exactly these gifts are and how they work.
But the main point we made last week regarding these gifts of the Spirit is that they are indeed that—they are gifts. And the reason I emphasized this is because far too many believers do not see the gifts this way, but rather see them as a “wage.” What do I mean by that? I mean that most Spirit-filled believers think that you and I have to “work” for the gifts of the Spirit; that we have to do something to see them manifest in our lives. But that is simply not true. The gifts of the Spirit are free gifts! They do not have to be earned, worked for or paid for! They are gifts, not wages!
We saw that the word “gifts” Paul used to describe these manifestations of the Holy Spirit later in this chapter comes from the Greek word charisma. Now when we use the word “charisma” in our modern-day language, we use it to describe someone who has flare and a gift to influence and attract people’s admiration. It is often tied to people in positions of leadership—specifically because their magnetism is what launched them into that position. And, you know, when it comes to “charisma,” this is not something that people usually claim to have themselves. Rather, others are usually the ones to ascribe it to them. In other words, the person who possesses “charisma” does not usually go around saying, “I’ve got charisma!” No, it is recognized more by others around them. Likewise, with the “charismas” of the Spirit, most people don’t believe that they already got ‘em! They see other big-wigs and super-dupers in full-time ministry as possessing “charisma,” but they do not see themselves as having the goods.
The truth is, if you have the Holy Spirit, then you have “charisma!” Yes, if the Holy Ghost resides in your heart, then all of the gifts that He gives are in you too! Amen? So, guess what that means? It means that you are gifted! It means that you’ve got flare! Yes, you’ve got charisma! Amen!
So, what we did then was we looked at the various times that this Greek word charisma is used in the New Testament and saw that the common usage is that we’ve already got it! Therefore, the point that the Lord was making last week is that we do not need to have the mentality that we are trying to get these gifts of the Holy Spirit. No, we’ve already got them—for if we already have the Holy Spirit, then we have the gifts that He gives. Amen?
Church, this is when I believe the gifts will begin to flow like rivers of living waters—when we tear down the dam of unbelief, complacency and indifference. Let us believe God when He says that we have charisma and walk in that favor today! Amen!
Now this week, let’s begin by looking at verse 2 of Second Corinthians chapter 14 and see what Paul went on to say to them about spiritual things:
LED VERSUS CARRIED AWAY
Paul says in First Corinthians 12:2— “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.”
Now when the apostle Paul says, “You know that you were Gentiles” he was literally saying, “You do remember that you were unbelievers—without God in this world, right?” You see, I don’t think many Christians are mindful of this. I don’t think a lot of us realize that we are no longer idol worshippers. Why? Because many still live like the world does.
Saints, it’s high time we realize that we were Gentiles, and now we are the chosen people of God. Once we awaken to righteousness and who we are in Christ, it will change our behavior and what we experience. Well, that is neither here nor there. Notice what Paul goes on to say: he goes on to describe the characteristics of the Gentiles—that they are “carried away to these dumb idols…”
The phrase “carried away” literally describes “being led away.” However, this was not some gentle, soft leading; this describes more of a harsh & oppressive leading. We see this word used to describe Jesus being “carried away” or drug out of one place to another when he was being led away to Caiaphas and also to Pilate. So, this is not describing those unforceful, gentle nudges that the Holy Spirit gives us when He leads us. This is an oppressive & forced “carrying away” that is indicative of demonic spirits and not the Holy Spirit. Yes, this is exactly what evil spirits will do; they will carry us away; and not gently guide you. The Spirit of God is a perfect gentleman! He will never drag you or force you to do anything. He will gently lead you or impress you to do something, but He will never make you do anything.
First Corinthians 14:32 says that the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. This means that God will never—even in manifestations of the Spirit—make you get carried away to where you cannot control yourself. Evil spirits oppress and carry people away; the manifestation of the Holy Spirit brings freedom (for where the Spirit of the Lord there is freedom)—freedom to be inspired.
Has the Holy Spirit ever made you do anything to where you had no choice? Absolutely not. But ignorance regarding this simple truth has kept many of God’s children from one of God’s greatest gifts to us—tongues! Some who have actually received their prayer language, only believe you can speak in tongues when the Holy Ghost comes upon them and makes them. These are missing out on one of the advantages of tongues which is to pray in tongues whenever they want, however much they want. Then others, who believe that tongues will come out of their own, have been robbed of their prayer language altogether because of this misconception of how tongues come forth. Friends, if you have asked to receive the Holy Spirit, tongues are not going to be forced upon you anymore than the Holy Spirit forces anything else upon you. You have to speak! You have to open your mouth and begin to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gives you the utterance (i.e. the words/syllables)! And the better news is, you can do this anytime you want! We will get more into this in the coming weeks.
Then Paul goes on to say what the Gentiles were carried away to— “to these dumb idols.” Now he was not calling idols “stupid” like this might sound (even though these false gods and the worship thereof is indeed “dumb”). No, this word “dumb” describes the inability to speak. So, Paul was specifically referencing all of the pagan idols of their day (and ours as well) that do not speak back to those worshipping them. Oh yes, people are praying and praying and praying to these graven images, but they will not and cannot speak back to them.
So, what is the apostle Paul’s point here? It is that while the Pagan Gentiles are worshipping idols that do not speak, we serve the unseen, invisible God who does indeed speak!
Friends, this is the difference between us and all the other religions of the world: We serve a living God who still speaks today! He longs to manifest Himself to you and speak many wonderful mysteries to you! But not only that, He also desires to speak through you—speaking to His people through prophecies, tongues, etc. He is alive, church! He is the true and living God! He is just as alive today as He was in the Book of Acts—desiring to speak and manifest Himself through His church! Just as it was with the blood of Abel, he being dead, his blood that was poured on the earth still speaks; Jesus who is a type of Abel is still speaking today because although He was slain by His brethren, He is alive forevermore! And He still is speaking today—now through His Spirit who was also poured out on the earth! Hallelujah!
Of course, we know many in the church today do not believe this. They do not believe that God still speaks to His people like He did in the Bible. But that is just not true! God still speaks to and through His church today! And He desires to do this in each of our lives. Amen!
Finally, Paul goes on to say at the end of verse 2— “however you were led.”
You see, this might be shocking for some people to hear, but before we became new creations in Christ, we were “led” by evil spirits. Ephesians 2:2-3 tells us this when it says, “in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” These verses teach us that before we came to Christ, we were controlled, led around, and carried away by the kingdom of darkness—some certainly more than others, but all of us in varying degrees. But the exact opposite is supposed to be true for us now that we are in Christ. Now we are to be “led” by the Holy Spirit. As Romans 8:14 says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” This means that every born-again, child of God, can and should be led by the Holy Spirit just as every unbeliever has been and is led by another spirit. Amen!
Let me give you what I believe to be an accurate picture of what you and I have now—the polar opposite of Ephesians 2:2-3: “In which you now are to walk according to the course of God’s kingdom, according to the King of all kings (Jesus), the spirit of Christ who now works in the sons of obedience, among whom also we all are to conduct ourselves by walking in the Spirit, fulfilling the desires of the Spirit and the mind of Christ, and are now by nature children of righteousness, just as everyone else in the Body of Christ.” Glory to God! That is how we are led, church! I’ll have me some of that! How about you?
So, yes, according to the First Corinthians 12:2, we do serve a God who still speaks to and through His people today! Yes, we do have His Spirit who has been promised to lead us! So, no longer are we to worship & serve a god who doesn’t speak. We have the Holy Spirit and can now expect to hear from God and be led by the Holy Spirit! Amen?
Now this “being led” leads me to the point I believe the Holy Ghost wants to make today:
THE HOLY GUIDE
You see, I have grown up in the circles where the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit and hearing from God has been greatly emphasized. And while certainly being led by the Spirit and doing what God tells us to do are two of the most important things we can learn, there is a tendency that comes from embracing these truths that must be avoided. Let me explain:
Oftentimes when someone gets the revelation of the importance of only doing what God leads or tells them to do, there is a fear that creeps in of “missing God.” What I mean is that when they begin to see that God has a perfect will for them and that He wants to lead them along His path for their life, many do not move forward until they know that they have heard from God. Generally, this happens because they fear getting out of His will and doing something that will derail His plan for their life. Therefore, the reason for this is usually not noble, but is motivated by the fear of missing His plan for their lives. But what we need to understand is that, even if we make a mistake, God is more than able to get us back on the path He has for our lives:
A very close friend of ours once had this concern about “missing God.” She had a decision before her and was seeking God for His direction but did not want to do anything that would derail her from His plan and purpose for her life. So, as she expressed her concern to Him, He said to her, “If you miss Me, I know where to find you.” In other words, the Lord was settling that concern by letting her know that it is not the end of the world if she made the wrong decision because God, who alone is wise, is able to work all things together for our good and turn any mistake into a miracle.
My friends, waiting on God’s direction to do the very things He’s already told us to do has never been His plan for His children! While He has always desired to lead us and tell us what to do and where to go, His intention is not for us to sit still—waiting for Him to tell us what, when, where, etc. His intention is for us to act on the direction that He has already revealed to us through His Word. He has already told us to do many things in the Bible, and as we walk in the light of what He has already revealed, He will guide us along the way. So, I believe a wise prayer is not to just ask the Lord what it is He wants you to do, but for Him to remind you if there is anything He has already told you to do that you’re not doing. As a matter of fact, the word “guide” is a much better description of how God has purposed to lead us.
You see, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would “guide” us into all truth (see John 16:14), which implies that we must already be moving. But did you know that you cannot guide anything that is not already moving? For example, in order for a rudder to guide a boat, the boat must first be moving. You can turn a rudder as far as it will turn, but if the boat never leaves the dock, it will remain pointed in the same direction. Likewise, God expects us to be moving so that His Holy Spirit can then guide us into all truth.
But this is what we must understand: The Holy Spirit’s job is to guide us, not to drag us. In other words, His ministry is to help us stay on God’s path, not to tell us every little step to take.
You see, there is a reason that God is likened to a shepherd in the Scriptures and not a cowboy. A cowboy drives his cattle. In other words, he makes them do what he desires. A shepherd does not operate like this. A shepherd has a much milder and gentler approach. He leads his sheep and they follow Him, and if they start to veer off the path, He gently guides them back on the path with His rod and staff.
This is a perfect illustration of the ministry of the Holy Spirit! He is a Leader! He is a Guider! But He will not make us do anything. He is a perfect Gentleman, just as is all of the Blessed Trinity. He never wants to usurp our own free will but is ready and willing, when invited, to guide us into His perfect destiny for our lives! Thank you, Lord, for the Holy Spirit!
Somebody might be thinking— “Trey, I am not sure about this. I do not think we should “move” until we hear from God first.” Well, I completely agree! But the truth is that we have already heard from God on what I am referring to. How? The Bible is God’s Word to us! So, if He has already told us to do it in the Scriptures, then we have already heard from God and do not need to wait on Him to give us further direction.
For example, let’s look over at Mark chapter 16:
Now in the beginning of Mark chapter 16, we have the account of Jesus’ resurrection and how this was revealed to His disciples. However, there was much unbelief in His disciples when others communicated to them what they had seen and heard.
So, in verse 14 we see Jesus appearing to His disciples and notice what He said to them: “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
Did you know that you cannot be a Christian if you don’t believe in miracles, signs, and wonders? That’s because our faith is based upon the greatest sign of all—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christianity is all about miracles, church! But some will say that these signs passed away with the apostles or are no longer needed. We can’t just choose which parts of the Bible we want to believe and what parts we can throw out. No, these signs are not passed away any more than our calling to go preach the gospel into all the world has passed away. The only reason people do not believe in these things is because either:
In Jesus’ great commission to His disciples, He told them to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Do you know what this verse should eliminate? It should eliminate the questions: “Lord, should I go to this person?” and “God, do you want me to go there?” Why? Because Jesus did not say, “Go into the parts of the world I tell you to”, nor did He say, “Go preach the gospel to the people I lead you to.” No! He told all of His disciples, for all of time, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature! Therefore, we already have heard from God!
Now, of course, we individually cannot go everywhere in the world and tell every human being the good news. That is not the point. But what Jesus meant was that we all, collectively, should be fulfilling this great commission by each of us doing our part. This is where we need to be led by the Spirit and where we need to hear from God—not to whether we should be a part of this great commission, but to where our part is.
And this is my point: If we are sitting on our hands for extended periods of time waiting on God to tell us what to do, we are missing it. We should not be doing nothing and waiting on God to tell us what to do. We should be going out seeking to fulfill this command of Christ, while being sensitive to how the Holy Spirit might be guiding us to do it.
In fact, the Book of Acts gives us a great example of this: After Jesus’ disciples got this directive from God, they began moving—preaching everywhere they went and to every person they came in contact with. It was amazing! If you just were to study the maps of where these disciples went, you will find that they just followed the roads they had and stopped in all of the cities along the way. And in one particular passage, we have a great example of really how the Lord has planned to lead and guide us:
In Acts 16:6-10 we are told, “Now when they (Paul and Silas) had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us. Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Now I hope that you see the significance of this passage of Scripture. Notice in verse 6 that they “had gone”—which denotes that they were already moving, but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. This describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide us. They were sensitive to the Spirit’s direction as they were already acting on the command of Christ. Then what did they do? Did they just sit at the border of Asia and wait for further directions? No! Verse 7 says that when they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but were again not given permission by the Holy Spirit to go into the area that they intended. So surely they did not try and go anywhere else until they heard from God, right? Wrong! Verse 8 says that they passed Mysia and came down to Troas where the Apostle Paul received the vision of the Macedonian man pleading with them to come to them. But did you know that this is where many miss it? Most of us would have pitched camp in Mysia because it seems like we are running into a brick wall. And guess what would have happened? We would have “myssed” it in the process. Church, even if we are trying to move forward in doing something for God and we see that we missed it, don’t camp in Mysia. Rather, do what Paul and Silas did and “pass by Mysia” and go on to the next one!
So, my point is that the great apostle Paul who certainly knew about hearing from God and being led by the Holy Spirit was not sitting in his prayer closet waiting for God to tell him where to go preach the gospel. The Lord had already specifically commissioned him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, so he was just acting on the Word that he had and was going into whatever gentile region that seemed best to him while certainly being sensitive to the “red lights” the Holy Spirit gave him.
But as evidenced, not only in this passage of Scripture but all throughout the rest of the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit guided them as they went. They had taken the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus seriously and were actively going into all of the world and preaching the gospel to every creature and making disciples. They had this word from God and they ran with it! Of course, there were times when the Holy Spirit had to stop them from going into certain areas and/or redirect them, but this is the pattern of how God directs us. He wants us acting on what He has already said and what is written in His Word and then He will redirect us as needed.
But as I have already made the point of, the mistake so many people make is that they are waiting for God to tell them what to do and they are doing nothing in the meantime. They believe God is the “God of the Red Light.” What I mean is that they believe that they need to ask the Lord for His direction and then they sit there, as if at a red light, waiting for the light to turn green before they start moving. Let me assure you, this is not God’s plan for us when it comes to sharing the gospel with others. He wants us to act on the Great Commission and then expect Him to give us more specific direction as we are moving.
As I have said time and time again: In order to receive God’s specific direction for your life, you first need to follow His general direction for all of our lives. What I mean by this is that God has already told us to do many things which are contained in His Word. So, before we seek more specific direction from God through His Spirit, we need to act on the general will of God found in the Scriptures.
WHERE DO I START THEN?
So, the question many of us have is “Where do I start?” Let’s look over at Acts 1:8 where Jesus gives us a very practical directive to fulfilling His great commission. In this verse, He said that His disciples would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. I want you to notice that this is progressive: Jerusalem is the city where they were currently at. Judea and Samaria was the region surrounding their city. And to the end of the earth obviously includes everywhere beyond the previous two.
First of all, notice that the first place that Jesus mentioned for His Jewish disciples to begin was the city where they were currently at—Jerusalem:
This should be a practical lesson for us that when it comes to fulfilling the great commission we do not need to get bogged down by the immensity of the call. As Jesus said, we just need to begin where we are at! We need to find the opportunities contained in our “Jerusalem.” So, in regards to the letting the Holy Spirit use us in the gifts, I see this as our comfort zone and the culture in which we are familiar. Where might this be? In our church gatherings, Sunday school classes and Bible Studies, of course! You see, we are to find the places and opportunities around us in the “city” in which we live and take advantage of them. Yes, we need to actively be looking for the opportunities contained in our center of influence and comfort zone as we can! The possibilities are limitless. The key is just possessing a sense of urgency and an acute awareness of the opportunities around us in the Centre of the church!
Then notice what Jesus told them next: He told them that they would go into all of Judea and Samaria. As I previously stated, this was the surrounding country and region around the city that they lived. So when we have done what we could do in our “Jerusalem”, we are to move on to “Judea and Samaria” which is symbolic of the places surrounding our circle of influence. This would obviously be the opportunities we are surrounded with and see in the “marketplace” or the place just simply outside of our comfort zone like Samaria was to the Jew. You see, we all want to stay in our “Jerusalem’s” (i.e. the places where we are comfortable and that we are familiar with), but God has called us to eventually move out of our comfort zone and into a ministry that might stretch us. That would certainly be in the grocery store, the movie theatre, the airport, etc. So be aware of those “Samaria’s” that the Holy Spirit might desire to manifest Himself through you to.
And, last but not least, He included all of the earth so that they were not confused about His intention to preach the gospel to every creature all around the world. So, this is a process to expand until we have covered the whole earth! Jesus has plans for His kingdom to spread like leaven until it fills the whole earth and this is only going to occur as you and I first claim our “Jerusalem’s” and then our “Judea’s and Samaria’s.”
Church, the Holy Spirit has a BIG vision for you! He wants to use you in a much greater way than you can imagine to be a vessel that He can manifest through!
But what I believe is the Lord’s main point for us this week is that we are not just to sit on our hands and wait for a green light from Him! He has already given us the green light through the mouth of Jesus! Jesus has already said, “Go therefore!” Go into your Jerusalem! Go into your Judea and Samaria! Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature! Amen!
Then notice what Jesus went on to say in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Now notice what Jesus was saying here: He was saying that although we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, not everyone is going to receive the good news. Likewise, not everyone we pray for or speak prophetically into their life will receive it. Therefore, if we attempt to minister to someone and they do not accept it and it falls flat, that does not necessarily mean that we missed it. Let me ask you this: If we share the gospel with someone and they reject it, does that mean we were not led by the Spirit to share it with them? Absolutely not! So how come we believe that if we pray for someone to be healed and they don’t receive, that it must not have been God’s will for us to pray for them? No, the receiving is not our job! However, the stepping out part is our commission. We leave the results up to God and the person being prayed for. Our job is to simply be obedient to “GO.”
In other words, our job is put ourselves in the position to be used by God every chance we get. And we do this by praying for every sick person and speaking into every person’s life that we have the opportunity to in every place we go— (and here is the key) while not getting discouraged if we do not see any results or manifestations of the Spirit the first 100 times.
But I want you to understand something else here that we see in this verse: The Lord once showed me that not only is it true that those who do not believe will be condemned, but also those who are condemned will not believe.
You see, this is another major reason why so many of God’s children do not flow in the signs and gifts that are supposed to follow them that believe—condemnation! Church, this is one of the most used weapons by the devil on the body of Christ. The reason is because it is his most effective weapon that he uses against us. A condemned Christian is already an ineffective Christian. One definition of condemnation is to “deem unfit for use” (in reference to a building) and that is what the devil’s goal is when condemning us.
You see, he is not as concerned with making you sin as he is with the after-effects of your sin. The devil is out to steal your faith and if he can get you to compromise in any area then your faith will be less effective. Satan is afraid of the anointing. That is why he is constantly trying to get us to compromise in our lives. It’s because he knows that if he can cause us to quit reading our Bible, quit praying daily, or to allow sins into our lives that he can steal the anointing that is on our lives. And it is that anointing that can break the yokes and destroy the bonds in a split second which he has spent years to erect.
In First Peter 5:8 Satan is called the “adversary.” This word was used in the first century to describe a prosecuting attorney. This shows us his work of attempting to condemn us. He is also called in the Book of Revelation the “accuser of the brethren.” He will constantly make accusations against us in an attempt to get us to agree with him and accept the guilt of our mistakes. The biggest mistake we can make as saints of God is to plead guilty when those accusations are brought against us. If we do that then I don’t care who your lawyer is—you will be condemned! But the reality is that Jesus Christ is our advocate (i.e. our defense attorney) and if He be for us who can be against us (Romans 8:31)! Not only that, but the Judge is our Father. So, with that scenario, how could we lose a case? The answer is what we have already learned—to admit to the guilt.
So, what is the solution to this condemnation? Well, it is not to simply to attempt to avoid, resist, and dispel the condemnation. No, the best way to eliminate the lie is with the truth. It is the law of displacement. The more effective way to get rid of any lie is to replace it with the truth, because when the truth abides within you, the lie cannot stay. Take for instance darkness: The right way to getting rid of darkness is not to shovel out the darkness; it is to turn the light on—because when light enters, darkness must flee.
Now what is the opposite of condemnation? It is righteousness and justification! You see, condemnation is a legal judiciary word. It is generally used in a court of law to bring justice to the guiltiest of defendants. We condemn them to death or life in prison, etc. Well, justification and righteousness are done when what is right and just is accomplished.
So, my point is—condemnation must be dispelled in order to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. We must know and understand that we have been qualified and gifted already, and now simply use the gifts of the Spirit within us!
THE KEY TO MULTIPLYING YOUR GIFTS
Which leads me to my final point: Let’s look at another parable of Jesus which further teaches this principle I am attempting to share with you today. In Matthew 25:14-30, we have the Parable of the Talents, and in this parable, we see how the Lord entrusted to each of His servants a certain amount of talents.
Now have you ever noticed that the two in this parable that were entrusted with multiple talents were the ones who ended up multiplying their talents? Yes, it was the one who was entrusted with one talent that never multiplied his, but rather buried it in fear of his master.
Now do you suppose that the Master might have had a little intuition as to who would be the good stewards of what they were entrusted with and who would not? I guarantee you that He did. He saw their hearts. He knew who was wise and who was foolish. He knew who was most likely to produce more with what they had. So, he gave to each according to their own ability (see Matthew 25:15). What does this mean— “according to their own ability”? It means that the master saw and understood what they were all three capable of. So, he distributed to each one very intentionally and specifically. This means that when God sees your faithfulness and He counts you worthy to be a carrier of the keys of the kingdom, He will entrust you with more. You see, God is not stupid. He is the wisest investor in history! And when He finds someone whom He knows will be good stewards with His gospel and His power, He will show Himself strong through them. He counted Paul worthy! He took this man who was giving 110% for the work of Satan and said, “I can use this man! All He needs is a little change in perspective and philosophy and that 110% he is giving to satan, He will give it to Me.”
Now understand me: I am not talking about our salvation and God’s love for us. That is the same towards us all and has zero to do with our works. What I am referring to is our hearts and how we are used by Him. We must be faithful with our gifts and then we will begin to see an increase in those gifts. Holy Spirit gives us the tools, but we have to open up the toolbox and use them. The more we lean on Him, recognizing that it's only by His grace that something good will come of this, the more we receive.
But as I have personally experienced myself and witnessed in others, the main reason that we do not feel confident to step out in faith and let God flow through us is because we fear missing God—which goes back to the condemnation thing. In other words, the primary reason we do not go out on a limb is because we are scared that it might not be God’s will, plan, or timing. In other words, we want to be sure its God. But this is not how it works! You have to step out in faith first and then you will come to that place of seeing and understanding. But what so many Christians want is they want to know, see, and understand everything before they step out. Just as it is in the natural, in the kingdom of God you are going to have to go out on a limb in order to get the best fruit!
But why do we fear missing God like this? It is partly because we fear failure. We are scared of falling flat on our face. But, thank God, Peter did not think like this. He stepped out of the boat, not fearing that He would sink. And that is the mentality that we need to adopt—not being afraid of falling flat on our face! Sure, we might fail. Sure, we might miss it sometimes if we live our lives like this. But what do you suppose God would rather you miss it in? Do you think He would rather you miss it in not praying for people or do you think He would rather you miss it in praying for people? I guarantee you He would rather you try to walk and fall down than never attempting to walk at all. This is simply a fact of life for any young child: They fall down several times before they truly learn to walk. Do we frown upon them when they fall? No, we understand that in order for them to learn to walk, they might have to fall a few times. Likewise, in order for us to learn to walk with God and walk in the miraculous, we might have to fall on our face a few times! And that is ok because this is how we learn to soar!
You know, it has been said that the way a mother eagle teaches her young to fly is by pushing her chicks out of the nest. It is during their fall that they learn to fly. Now this is a frightening thing, but what does it require? Faith! It requires faith on behalf of their mother to push them out of their comfort zone and risk them never learning to fly during their quick plummet to the earth. But we need to understand that God is a God of faith too, and He believes in us! He believes that we can mount up with wings as the eagle and learn to soar with Him! Now the awesome thing about our God is that He does not want to push us out of our nests. He lets us choose to make that leap ourselves, just as He did not push Peter out of the boat, but let him make that leap of faith of his own initiative. God, likewise, will wait for us to jump out of that comfort zone—our proverbial “nest”—and learn to operate in the gifts and talents that He has given us stewardship over.
But there is another reason why so many of God’s children fear stepping out in faith to pray for someone or speak into their life: It is because not only do they fear failure, but because they fear God! And no I am not talking about that healthy, reverential fear of God, but the being afraid of displeasing Him.
Do you remember in the Parable of the Talents why the one who had only been entrusted with one talent buried his talent? It was because he “feared” his master (see verse 25). In other words, he had an incorrect view of him. In verse 24, he said that he “knew he was a hard man, reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not scattered seed.” Friends, this is exactly why so many fail to grow in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit and in the gifts pertaining to their calling. It is because they have an incorrect view of God. They think He will be “hard” on them if they fail or do something wrong. This incorrect view of God keeps His children from growing.
For example, many people fear speaking out by faith the utterance given to them by the Holy Spirit. And this is why they don’t speak in tongues when baptized in the Holy Spirit. One thing I have told those who maybe only received one syllable from the Holy Spirit is— “Be faithful with that one word! Speak it out and let the Holy Spirit see your willingness to be faithful in little and He will make you rule over more syllables.” One might say, “Yeah, but what if it’s not the Holy Spirit and it’s just me?” God is not going to be angry with you if you are trying and fail. It is like a parent whose child has not learned to speak yet. When the child is trying to tell daddy & mommy that he loves them, but can’t say it perfectly. Doesn’t that still bless the parents? Sure, it does! I believe our Heavenly Father is no different! He is blessed when His children are trying to obey Him! Amen?
But, no, God is not hard on us, and looking to come down on us if we make a poor investment with the talents He has entrusted us with? No, God is not sitting up in heaven with a scowl on his face waiting for us to mess up so that He can pour out his wrath and fury on us! No! Just like with any of us who know how to give good gifts to our children, our Heavenly Father is blessed with our good intentions! He is pleased when we, as His children, make the effort to multiply the gifts He has given to us! What actually displeases Him is when we do not try—making the effort to walk in the gifts He has given to us. That is what God does not want to see.
So I encourage you, begin to put into practice this truth by practicing praying for people and laying your hands on the sick. For as you are faithful in your stewardship of the gifts He has put on the inside of you, you will be made ruler over much! It is simply a principle of the kingdom that as you are faithful to put yourself in position for God to flow through you that He will multiply those talents! Amen!
Church, this very thing I am teaching you today is what unlocked me operating in spiritual gifts much more than I had been. Yes, I experienced such an increase in being used in the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, word of knowledge, and word of wisdom through this new way of thinking—that God has already told me to “Go!” and that I need not be condemned if I fail to get results. So, it was not because I was praying more, was any more “holy” or anything else that I was doing different. So, as I thought about it, what was the difference? And the conclusion I came to was that I have simply been practicing!
For several years now, I have been laying my hands on people and speaking healing over their bodies every chance I have gotten. I have not shunned to pray for people and speak words of encouragement and love into their lives. Simply put, I have been boldly putting myself in a position to be used of God and not sitting back and waiting for God to use me in these things. I have been acting on the Word for a few years now by praying for people every chance I got—not being timid and shy and waiting for God to “lead” me to do these things.
And this is a problem so many of God’s children have: They are waiting on God when, in fact, God is waiting on them! God has already told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation! God has already told us to lay hands on the sick and they will recover! God has already told us to do all of these things, yet the majority of the church is sitting on their hands waiting for a sign from God to begin doing these things. Well, here is your sign—God has already spoken because it is already written!
You see, God is a God of the green light, not the red light! What do I mean by that? I mean, He is not a God who wants us sitting at that proverbial red light, waiting on Him to turn the light green for us. No, He wants us moving on the green light already given to us in His Word while being open to the red lights that the Holy Spirit might give us in certain situations. This is a big difference in mentalities.
I mean, if Jesus healed them all, then that ought to tell us that God certainly is not going to be leading us to not pray for the majority of sick people that come across our path. No, it should actually be a rare thing that the Spirit not lead us to pray for someone who is sick and ailing! The Spirit and the Word agree! So, if one is consistently being “led” to not pray for someone who is sick, then I question what they are being “led” by—because it is not God’s Spirit.
This is a wake-up call, church! The Lord is calling His church to no longer miss our “God moments.” No longer are we to pass by those that are lame like the man at the gate called beautiful, and are denying them their moment to receive God’s will for their life. And at the same time, we are denying God’s moment to be glorified! My brothers and sisters, we need to get off our hands and start putting those hands on people!
Church, God is always moving! The Holy Spirit is always willing! He always wants to heal and manifest Himself in us and through us! God is always sitting on “GO” for He said, “Go, Therefore!”