The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Ephesians 4:7, Romans 12:3-8
Date: 02/25/2017 
Lesson: 8
"This week we will study the Holy Spirit as the Sovereign Giver of God’s remarkable gifts and look at the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit."
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We're so glad that you are tuning in. We want to especially welcome our international family, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website or on the various television networks, we're just glad that you are joining us again for another Sabbath school program coming to you from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church here in rocklin, California. We are studying on the Holy Spirit and, before we get to our music like we do every week, I'm going to tell you about our special offer for today. It is called the purpose of the pentecost.

Call in to 866-788-3966 and it's easy to remember - 866-study-more. So, of course, before we have our lesson study, we always have music. And this week it's my job to invite the singers to come out and sing one song for us, and then we have a special that I will tell you about - actually, I'll tell you about that right now. It is a group called 4 his glory and they're visiting with us from southern Missouri, which is about 30 hours away from Sacramento, so they have come a long way to be with us today. And they are called, like I said, 4 his glory, and they're made up of three young people - very nice - I've been talking to them - logan, shalynn, and Michael and they are going to be singing for us a song called heaven is cheap enough.

They're on tour right now. They started their group in August of 2014 and they have three cds and you can go to their website - learn all about them - and that is and 'for' is the numeral '4' if you're listening on the radio - so, So, singers, lead us in some music this morning. We're going to be singing trust and obey - #590 in your adventist hymnal. Please sing with us - we'll sing all five verses of trust and obey.

(Soft piano music) he's coming soon, just a little longer. Don't be impatient, use your time wisely, stand firm in your faith, endure the small things 'cause when it's over you'll be much stronger. It's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah it's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah so when the doors are shut in your face, go to another someone is waiting to be invited to heaven's banquet so they can meet their eternal family. It's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah it's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah then up in heaven Jesus will greet us, he'll say to each one, 'well done, good servant'. And then we'll meet those familiar faces we helped direct to our precious Savior.

It's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah it's worth the effort o hallelujah heaven is cheap enough o hallelujah hallelujah (soft piano music) amen. Thank you so much, 4 his glory, that was a gorgeous song. I want to listen to that again, so I'm going to go to their website to do that - - so I invite you to do that. Before we have our lesson study, let's have a word of prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us, for being here with us, and being with each person around the world who is joining with us.

We thank you so much for your love, for watching over us, for giving us the assurance of Christians that it is cheap enough and, glory hallelujah, one day it's coming very, very soon, and I pray that you'll be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together - that you would speak to our hearts. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson study is going to be brought to us by marshall mckenzie, who is the publishing director at Amazing Facts. You've seen him doing Sabbath school a few times before - he is not a stranger to our program - but he is bringing us our lesson study today. Thank you, marshall.

Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Good morning. Have you been blessed by this lesson study? Yes. Dealing with the Holy Spirit - this morning we're going to get into a topic that's, in some Christian circles, a hot topic. When we're talking about spiritual gifts and the gifts that the Spirit gives for a very specific purpose and reason.

It's lesson #8 in our study - the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit - and I've really appreciated this lesson this week, especially the memory verse as we get started. Now, I want to share with you that we're not going to get, specifically in this lesson, into each individual gift and how that gift functions or works in Scripture, but the lesson does lay a pretty solid foundation for the study of gifts and the understanding of how these gifts work. Though we're not going to get into that in detail, we are going to set the foundation. And I've really appreciated the memory verse for this week. I appreciate it for each week but, specifically this week, I really believe this memory verse kind of sets the tone for this lesson.

Sometimes we just like to dive into the Spiritual gifts and we want to get into each gift and how each gift functions and so forth, but this verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 really lays a foundation that's important, before we just dive into the Spiritual gifts. So, if you have your lessons, I'm going to read it right out of the lesson and we are going to read several passages from Scripture this morning, but I want to read this right out of the lesson study as we begin - the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. The memory verse is taken from 1 Corinthians chapter 4 - or chapter 12, excuse me, verses 4 through 6. It says, "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.

" In the midst of diversities and differences, which are clearly stated here by the apostle Paul, whether of gifts, ministries, or activities, the apostle Paul emphasizes something very specific. Go back to the verse - we're going to read it again - and I want you to notice something that really kind of helps us lay the foundation. It says, "there are diversities of gifts, but" - he goes on - "the same" - what? Spirit. Spirit. He says, "there are differences of ministries but the same Lord.

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same" - what? God. "God who works all in all." THis Word 'same' is very important because what it's doing is it's emphatically putting God and the Godhead as the pre-eminent factor in this issue of spiritual gifts. That's what Paul's doing when he says 'the same spirit, the same Lord, and the same God.' Now, throughout Scripture, we read about the Spiritual gifts. Specifically, though, Paul mentions them in Romans chapter , 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and we're going to bounce around in those chapters, but I want you to notice this first issue that Paul raises up, or the issue of God and the Godhead in relationship to spiritual gifts. Notice, with me, one of those verses - it's in Ephesians 4 - I'm going to read it to you right from the Bible - Ephesians chapter 4.

One of the other places where the apostle Paul speaks about spiritual gifts - Ephesians chapter 4 - and before, even here, before he even dives into the issue of spiritual gifts, he makes the prominence here focus on the Godhead. See, in our world, there - in Christendom, many raise, in prominence, the gifts. But what Paul does is he raises the prominence of God and then he begins to talk about the gifts so that we have the right perspective when looking at these gifts. When we switch or reverse that, where we focus on the gifts, what often happens is we minimize the work of the Spirit in relationship to the work of the Godhead in giving out those gifts, appropriating those gifts, and the purpose of those gifts. Notice, with me, John chapter 16, okay? This is, by the way, a verse that we studied back in lesson 4.

It kind of brought this verse to our attention when talking about the personality of the Holy Spirit. John chapter 16, verses 12 through 15 - John chapter 16, verses 12 through 15 - Jesus speaking just - to the disciples just before he's about to leave this earth to minister in the sanctuary in heaven. He says, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." So he says, "however, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will" - what? Speak. Speak - whatever he hears - "and he will tell you things to come. He will glorify me, for he will take of what is mine and declare it to you.

" And then Jesus goes on and he says, "all things that the father has are" - what? Mine. Are mine. So you see this relationship that exists within the Godhead. the Spirit speaks of what he's been given or what he's taken from Christ. Christ speaks of what he has taken from The Father and so you see this relationship of the Godhead and so Paul exalts the Godhead in dealing with spiritual gifts first, so that we have the right perspective when we begin to study more about spiritual gifts.

This relationship among the Godhead is central to everything that follows after the Godhead. Even the gifts of the Spirit. In other words, knowing the author of the gifts is more important than just having the gifts themselves. Sunday's lesson makes reference to this, in a manner, when in Sunday's lesson it separates the fruits of the Spirit from the gifts of the Spirit. Everybody who knows God should exhibit, in their life, all of the fruits of the Spirit.

But, when you study about spiritual gifts, not everybody has all the gifts and not everybody has the same gift. Having these things clearly in mind as we kind of dive into the lesson, it'll help us keep in perspective what is really being spoken about when we deal with gifts and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now, I want you to notice something with me. Notice, with me, 1 Corinthians chapter 12 - we read the memory verse, but I want to give you a little bit of context so that we can see how Paul is establishing the prominence, okay, of the Godhead emphatically, before he even dives into gifts. Notice, with me, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 1 - Paul says here, in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 1, he says, "now concerning spiritual gifts.

" Now, it's interesting, if you go back a little ways to 1 Corinthians chapter 8, you see him use these same words, okay? He says in 1 Corinthians chapter , verse 1, he says, "now concerning things offered to idols:" - and then if you go back a little farther, okay? Corinthians chapter 7 - I know I'm kind of moving quickly, but I want you to absorb this - he says, "now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:" - okay? So, 1 Corinthians - the context of 1 Corinthians is that the corinthian church - the church in corinth - wrote to Paul a specific letter in relationship to issues they were facing. And one of those issues just happened to be dealing with spiritual gifts. So, when we get to 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul's going to deal with the issue of spiritual gifts. Notice, with me, 1 Corinthians chapter 14, okay? He says, "pursue love, and desire" - what? - "Spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." And then he dives into this issue of tongues and prophecy. This is one of the challenges the church was facing and they write Paul about it and Paul writes this letter back to them.

But, before he even gets into gifts, he talks about the prominence of God. Now, it's interesting that he then moves from 1 Corinthians 12 to 1 Corinthians , which is what? It's the love chapter. Why would he talk about love when he has to be talking about spiritual gifts? Because if you're going to exalt God, how does the Bible define who God is? Love. God is love. So it's natural for Paul - if I'm going to raise up God, okay? The prominence of God, before I dive into gifts, I need to talk to you about love and the importance of love in this process.

And then he begins to dive into the gifts. But he doesn't do it independent of the Godhead and who God is and how God functions and what God's purposes are. The gifts are kind of entwined in all that, not separate from all of that. Matter of fact, Monday's lesson - Monday's lesson talks about God as the sovereign giver of spiritual gifts. And it's appropriate that we deal with this right from the very beginning, as we get into the issue of spiritual gifts.

Notice, with me, Ephesians chapter 4, verses 7 and 8 - Ephesians chapter 4 - one of those passages, again, that the apostle Paul speaks specifically about gifts - Ephesians chapter , verses 7 and 8. By the way, Paul's going to unpack for us that it's not only the Holy Spirit that gives gifts. Many times when we talk about spiritual gifts, we talk about the power of the Holy Spirit, while, biblically speaking, the Spirit isn't the only one who gives gifts. In Ephesians chapter 4, verses 7 and 8, Paul outlines that even Christ is a giver of gifts. "But to each one of us" - verse 7 - "grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

Therefore he says: 'when he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and" - he - he what? "And gave gifts to men." So not only does Paul describe the Holy Spirit as giving gifts, but he describes who else as giving gifts as well? He describes Christ as giving gifts also. And then when you go, and I'll read it for you, but you can write it down. In James chapter 1, verse 17, we read this: every good gift - "...every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." So who else gives gifts? The Father gives gifts. But they're all working together in the distribution of the gifts. Though the primary individual, as Scripture points out, is the Holy Spirit, we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from The Father and The Son, because they're all active in the process of giving gifts and we need to understand God first, that he has the prominence in relationship to the issue of spiritual gifts.

Now, I have a few that'll be reading a couple passages, in just a minute, that I've picked out for you, but I - this helps us better understand, okay? Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11 - notice, with me, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11 - I know I'm throwing a lot of verses out at you, but I hope you're tracking with me - 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11 - here Paul writes, "but one and the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually" - what? - "As he wills." Is the Holy Spirit, based on what we just finished talking about, is the Holy Spirit doing this independent of The Father and The Son? No. Is he - is this describing, in some way, the Holy Spirit going rogue? Okay? As he wills - no. Matter of fact, the beginning gives us context to understand that what he's doing, as he wills, is still in context to what The Father and son approve of and agree with in relationship to the gifts. This, by no means, shows the Holy Spirit in any way doing something independent of The Father and The Son. It's true that he's making an authoritative decision - as he wills - as a member of the Godhead, but it is in agreement with The Father and The Son.

The bestower of the gifts is God's sovereign decision. This is God's decision, it's not ours. We don't just use the gifts however we want them. God is in control of this process - from The Father to the son to the Holy Spirit, God is the one that has the prominence in relationship to the gifts, which help us get a better perspective of how the gifts are appropriated, distributed, and even used in many different cases. So, we have the Spirit's wisdom and will, which is according to the divine will as God sees fit as a whole.

So we can't - when we talk about spiritual gifts, we can't just talk about the Holy Spirit; we have to talk about God The Father, we have to talk about God The Son, because they're involved - all of them are involved in distributing the gifts, though Scripture points out the Holy Spirit, kind of, as the main individual, they're all a part of this process. And what they all agree on is what is done, not one independent of another. And this is where we begin speaking about spiritual gifts. This is, kind of, the foundation that Scripture helps us grasp before we dive into spiritual gifts - when we see through God's eyes they are all of equal importance though, in some cases, others may have more prominence based on the situation surrounding the giving of them. Sometimes we like to kind of separate the gifts and we kind of like to say, 'well, this one's more important than this one.

' You know, we do this in life, many times. You know? We kind of stand on our soap boxes and we have one way of looking at something, and God says, 'wait a second. Look through my eyes. Look from my perspective and you'll understand that each of these are important, but they're all equal, also, in importance because we're the ones who are distributing them to you. So their individual importance and equality is not up to us to decide - that's what Paul is saying.

And in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, he has to deal with this because there was an issue in the church where some were raising up the gift of tongues over the gift of prophecy and the gift of prophecy over the gift of tongues, and so Paul has to deal with this situation in Corinthians chapter 14, but he sets the stage in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 - and it's where all of us should begin. Now there's an example of this in acts chapter 2, verses 4 through 6 and I've asked somebody to read that for us - acts chapter 2, verses 4 through 6 - from the book of acts. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

" Now I love this verse. Here, there's the need for the gift of tongues. In the context of acts chapter 2 you have devout jews - and thank you for reading that so clearly - you have devout jews that are coming together from everywhere to Jerusalem. And so God pours out his spirit and there is this need. The situation arises and God sees fit - the Godhead sees fit to distribute the gift of tongues.

Why? So that everybody there can hear the message of Jesus and everybody can understand in his own language. Now, it's interesting, in this passage, that he says, "and they were confused". I stopped there for a minute; they weren't confused because they didn't understand, they were confused, in a sense, because they could understand. Let me give you an example of this: I spent a year as a missionary - student missionary - in india. And while I was there for a year, I was in a little town called mirzapur, and many people in that town - well, all of them - really didn't speak english.

And so, I had to learn how to read, write, and speak hindi, okay? And I enjoyed the process; it was very challenging and I prayed, 'Lord, please give me the gift of tongues. I need to understand this language.' And so, I learned the language. Now, over time, I've lost a lot of it, but I enjoy going to indian restaurants and I enjoy sitting there and eating indian food. And when people come up to me and they - and I ask them if they can speak hindi, all of a sudden - I'll say, you know, 'op kinom keya hay' - you know? Or I'll say, you know, 'ob ki sehay', which is 'how are you?' And 'what is your name?' And they look at me like they're confused. (Laughter) because they clearly understood me, not because they didn't understand me.

They're confused, in a sense, because they're seeing this white guy (laughter) speak their language. That shouldn't happen. So here, in the book of acts, you have the same situation. They hear, in their own language, the Word of God and they're confused - they're stunned for a moment - and the rest of the passage kind of brings this out - it bears this fact out. I have somebody else reading acts chapter 2, verses 7, 8, and 11.

"Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, 'look, are not all these who speak galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?...cretans and arabs - we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." Now notice this: they were confused and yet, right after that, it says, 'then they were all amazed and marveled.' In the proc - in the aspect of confusion, they actually understood, but they were amazed and they marveled because they heard these people speaking in their birth language. Not just any language - you know, you go to different countries and you get different dialects of a main language - and it's kind of like their birth language. These guys were talking in their birth language - this goes way back to when they were born - but God knew this gift was needed. And, notice how this verse ends, by the way: it starts with the spirit who gives them utterance, but it ends by saying, what? They were communicating the wonderful works of God - the Godhead. Amen.

The purposes of The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit - the Spirit gave them utterance but they testified to the work of God. And this is what the Spirit does in giving these gifts. This is why it's needed that we understand first the prominence of God in this process. Now, there's a few other examples of this, dealing with other gifts that were actually given in the book of acts. Matter of fact, in acts chapter 7, verses 54 through 56 - and we don't have time, really, to run there, but it's talking about stephen the deacon.

And in these passages, it's interesting that stephen is the prophet at the end of a major prophecy given by Daniel. And so, there was the need for God to give the gift of prophecy to stephen before his death. And that's exactly what God does for a very specific reason. And then you see this in acts chapter 21, verse 8, in relationship to the deacon, Philip. Later, we find out that the deacon Philip has been given the gift of evangelism - the gift of an evangelist - and in acts chapter 21, verse 8, it identifies Philip as the evangelist.

He was like the church evangelist. He started as a deacon but God gave him this gift - and you see in the book of acts, the Spirit of God taking him from place to place to place to preach the message that God so longed for him to preach. I've asked another reader, as well, to read another passage and, in a minute, we're going to turn to that passage, but this is where we take a transition into the lesson, because, from here, now we start to talk about the distribution of the gifts. We understand that God needs to be the focus when we talk about spiritual gifts - and God's purposes and God's works and God's plans. And, when we grasp that, then we move to the distribution of the gifts.

And this is very intentional. Throughout God's church, his body, which is made up of just one member? No, God's - God's church is made up of many members and we all are distinctive and we all are different, okay? What would the world be if we were all the same? What would heaven be like if we were all the same? But here, Paul goes on to talk about distribution of gifts in the context of talking about the many members that make up the church in which the gifts are given to - and for a very specific reason. This is where the apostle Paul breaks down diversity and differences that exist in relationship to the gifts. Because of the diversity of the members - members live all over the world - and they all live in different locations, and they all face different challenges at different times - I can guarantee you, what I face here is very different than what somebody in india faces. And those gifts are given and appropriated to different members all over the world, but to accomplish the same goal and same purpose.

It's not for us, it's for God's honor and glory. Notice, with me, Romans chapter 12 - I've asked someone to read verses 4 and 5 - Romans chapter 12, verses 4 and 5. "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." Hmm. I'm so glad we're all different. I am so glad.

Sometimes that poses challenges, right? Because we're so different, sometimes we have challenges. But praise God for the Holy Spirit and his work. And I praise God that he's willing to give gifts to this body for a very specific goal and very specific purpose. Our personality differences make relationships, in many cases, unpredictable yet fun and enjoyable - and yet, for sure, at times challenging. You know, I have three children and many times, when I talk to parents, you know, they always talk about, 'man, I wish my child would stay' - you know - 'this size.

' And I'm beginning to understand that. Sometimes the day just doesn't go as it should and I sit back and think, 'I just wish you were this small again.' But then when I stop back - stop and actually process and actually look at it, I'm just so thankful because I see their personalities coming out and how they're relating to different people and how they're even relating to their parents and I'm just like, 'this is what home is all about.' This is what makes home very special. And this is why I truly believe that God longs to come and he longs to take us home because home is just not the same without us - without our personalities. And you see this in the book of acts - sure, the Holy Spirit was poured out and sure the Holy Spirit was doing great things, but let me tell you something, Peter was still very different than Paul. And sometimes there were challenges there, but it made the church stronger.

Amen. It made the church stronger as God was, ultimately, in control. Paul speaks about these different parts of the body in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Notice, with me, 1 Corinthians chapter , verses 15 through 20 - 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verses through 20 - he says, "if the foot should say, 'because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body?" - Of course not - "and if the ear should say, 'because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as he pleased." - Friends, when a part of the body leaves the body, the body feels it. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, it feels it.

It understands because they're all one but, yet, they're different members. Verse 19 - "and if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body." And to that body God gives specific gifts for his purposes, for his plans. Notice, with me, Ephesians chapter 4, verses 12 and 13 - I told you we're going to kind of bounce around a little bit - notice, with me, Ephesians chapter 4, verses 12 and 13 - Ephesians chapter 4, verses 12 and 13 - it says here - I'll go back to verse 11 so we can kind of understand: "and he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers," - and then he says exactly why - he says, "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," - verse 13 - "till we all come to the unity of the" - what? - I love this - "to the unity of the faith" - the same unity that exists between The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. That same unity is the unity God wants his church to enjoy and it happens to be built off of the issue of faith - what they believe, what they hold, how they function, what their purposes are. - "The unity of the faith and of the knowledge of The Son of God, to a perfect man to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ;" I want to start with tHis Word 'equipping'.

He gives the gifts for the equipping of the saints. Have you ever felt, in your life, at some point, that you just were inadequate? You just didn't quite measure up and so, in your mind, you just thought, 'oh, I can't do that.' You know, I remember, I've asked in the past and in other churches, I've asked church members, 'could you please - would you be willing to do a Bible study?' And they're just like, 'I just don't know. I just - you know, I just don't feel adequate. Pastor, that's just not for me.' And really, they feel inadequate. And yet, tHis Word 'equipping' actually means 'completely adequate' or 'sufficient for something'.

So, when God gives the gifts, he gives them for the equipping of the saints, so that the saints - the members of the church - may never feel inadequate. Amen. That they can go forward and do what God has asked them to do without feeling inadequate or that you're just not sufficient enough. God makes up those differences when he gives to the church gifts. And his spirit is working to distribute those gifts among us.

So we never need to feel inadequate - we should never feel inadequate because God has the ability to make us adequate. You know, I was telling you earlier I was a student missionary in india. Let me tell you something: the people that I was staying with at that time were really precious individuals, but after three months of being there - three months, four months - they had to leave. One, the wife of the husband had to leave because she was pregnant and she was going to have the baby in the northern section of india. And her husband had to leave because he was taking classes in spicer college.

And now, all of a sudden, I'm left there by myself and there are some people coming from the United States and they're supposed to be staying with me and now I was in charge of the project. I was in charge of everything that was going to happen, and I was overwhelmed. You want to talk about feeling inadequate? But it's amazing how God makes up the difference. Amen. And what God is able to do.

You know, he means it when he says he can do abundantly above more than we could ask or ever think. And so, he - the Spirit gives gifts for the equipping of the saints. And this equipping is for the work of ministry. Not just ministry within, but he's talking about ministry outside of the body, because he wants the body to continue to grow. He wants the body to continue to expand its borders, so to speak.

We weren't talking here about ministry, we're talking about a divine commission - a ministry of the church. That is reaching outside of us. And then, finally, he says, 'not only for the equipping of the saints, but it's also given for the work of ministry and, finally, for the edifying of the body of Christ - or the building up. In acts chapter 2, verse 47, we see this illustrated. When it says after pentecost, after the Spirit was poured out, after they had the specific gift that was given to them, it says at the very end, in acts chapter 2, verse 47, ".

..and the Lord added to the church daily" - I love that - "...the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." God wants to build up his body. He wants his body to grow. Why? Because he wants as many who are willing to come home, to enjoy face-to-face time with him for eternity. The focus, biblically, in relationship to gifts, is for God's purposes and desires. It's not for us in relationship to, 'well, I got this gift.

You got' - 'well, I'm more important than you are.' That's not the purpose of these gifts. God has a greater purpose in giving these gifts - the work of ministry - the building up of the body of Christ. To reach that goal, diverse gifts are needed. And friends, they're going to be needed until Christ returns. In Wednesday's lesson it gets into this because there's some that just kind of think well, the gifts were given during that new testament period of time and then, kind of, the gifts aren't given any more.

But that's really not the case. God wants to continue to give the gifts to his church because they are needed. There's no doubt - they are needed. Matter of fact, in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 25, the apostle Paul says, 'we need to gather ourselves together, even more so as we see the day approaching.' Not less and less - he says we need to build up the body and in building up the body we need to come together, come together, come together. Amen.

To edify the body - to do that why? Gifts help us to do that. The church is going to continually need the Spirit's gifts because the church is going to need the Holy Spirit and his work until Jesus comes. Quickly, I want to turn to Thursday. And this point actually is kind of woven into Thursday's lesson a little bit - Wednesday and Thursday really come together in relationship to this point. And this is why, by the way, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 - notice with me 1 Corinthians 14 - 1 Corinthians chapter 14, verse 1, he says, "pursue love, and desire" - what? - "Spiritual gifts," - Paul knew that these gifts were vital and very important to the church.

And so he encourages the church to desire these gifts and the church is no different than today. We should still desire those gifts - he's just as willing to give them out as he always was because he wants the church to continually be built up - for personal benefit? No. For proof that God is doing something in us? No. It was for the work of ministry, for the equipping of the saints for the edifying of the body. In Thursday's lesson it says 'the Holy Spirit and the gift of discernment'.

Why is this so important? The gift of discernment - you know, we're told in Matthew 24 that in the last days of earth's history, false prophets and false Christs will arise. Matter of fact, Jesus said that they would deceive many. So if there are false prophets and false Christs in the last days of earth's history, then there also must be what? True prophets. In other words, the gift of prophecy must still be given out. God's still working and he's still distributing the gifts.

But notice when Paul talks about the gift of prophecy, he talks about it in line with the gift of discernment. Notice with me, 1 Corinthians chapter 12 - 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and in verse 10 he says, "to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits" - in line with miracles and the gift of prophecy is the gift of what? Discernment. God knew that there would be false prophets. God knew there would be false Christs - there would be false workers that even work miracles - and so Paul, in line with these gifts, says we also need the gift of discernment in our midst. John talks about the fact that we need to test every spirit because there are false prophets that have gone out into the world and so, right along with the gift of prophecy and the gift of miracles, is the gift of discernment.

And we need discernment, but that discernment comes, and is in line, with the Word of God. It's not a gift that is separate, just as the Spirit isn't separate from The Father and son when he gives the gifts, those who receive the gifts and follow through with the gifts are also in line with The Father, son, and Holy Spirit. They're in accordance with his will as it is received in his word. And I praise God that he's given us His Word. I praise God that he's given us these gifts.

And I'm so thankful that he's with us and working with us each and every day. In closing, I want to read a statement here on the bottom of page 69 in your lesson - in Thursday's lesson. It says, "the man who makes the working of miracles the test of his faith will find that satan can, through a species of deceptions, perform wonders that will appear to be genuine miracles. Let not the days pass by and precious opportunities be lost of seeking the Lord with all the heart, with all your mind and with all your soul. If we accept not the truth and the love of it, we may be among the number who will see the miracles wrought by satan in these last days and believe them.

Many strange things will appear as wonderful miracles, which should be regarded as deceptions manufactured by The Father of lies." Men, under the influence of evil spirits, will work miracles. We need to be on our guard. We need to be studying the Word of God. We need to understand spiritual gifts and how God gives those gifts - why he gives those gifts - so that we're not deceived in the last days of earth's history when dealing with this issue of gifts and God's work in distributing them to each of us for the work of ministry, for the equipping of the saints, and for building up the church. It's a powerful lesson.

I'd like to remind you and our viewers of our free offer today, the purpose of pentecost - Pastor Doug's sermon - you want to get ahold of this and to do so, it's #824, you can call -788-3966 or just 866- study-more. You can also watch it online and even download it. It's the purpose of pentecost. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for your many blessings. Lord, we thank you for Your Word that you've given to us.

We thank you for the truth in just how you've unpacked for us these spiritual gifts - how needed they are in - at how we should view them so that we may glorify you in all that we do and say and think. Lord, we know we're living in the last days of earth's history and we know many different things are being said and shared, but we thank you for Your Word that brings us back to truth and helps us to cut through it all so that we know the right path to be walking on. We thank you so much for your love and your goodness to us and continue to bless us this Sabbath day and each day, as we serve you. May each of us experience, in our lives, your spiritual gifts for your honor and glory. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen.

So what is the brightest light in the world? Well, naturally, you'd say the sun, but we're talking about the brightest man-made light in the world. It's the light that shines out of the roof of that pyramid-shaped hotel in las vegas called the luxor. There, in the cap of that hotel, there's a room that contains 39 washing-machine sized xenon bulbs; and each of those bulbs requires about 7,000 watts. Altogether, they produce about billion candle power of light. Can you imagine getting that electric bill at the luxor hotel every month? That light is so bright that planes can see it 250 miles away.

They're shooting light ten miles up into space, meaning, if you happen to be floating by, you could read a newspaper up there. And, as you might have guessed, that bright light has become the world's best bug attractor, bringing in moths, bats, and owls - creating its own ecosystem there at night, above the hotel. But the sad thing about the brightest light in the world is especially when the night air is clear - without any particles - the light doesn't hit anything and it's invisible. It shoots up into empty space. The brightest light in the world illuminates nothing.

You know, the Bible tells us that there's another great wasted light, and that's the light of God's Word. It says in psalm 119, verse 105, "thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.' And yet, so many people are walking in darkness. Furthermore, Jesus said, if you do have that light, make sure you don't put it under a bushel, but you let it shine and illuminate the lives of others. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 5, 'set your light up on a hill, like a city, so that all might see it.' Light only benefits others when it reflects off of something. God wants our lights to illuminate the lives of others.

So, are you glowing for God? Remember, Jesus said, 'let there be light.' Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at ''. At '' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit ''. For life-changing Christian resources, visit

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