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Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 - THE BEGINNING - A Foreshadow of the Christian's Birth

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons

 

Preface

Since the day the 120 disciples in the upper room received the Holy Spirit, many believers have taken the position that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given only to those disciples for the inauguration of the ministry of the gospel. This point of contention has divided the church and created doctrines that result in a stumbling block for personal spiritual growth and inhibited many from serving Christ in the ministry of the gospel. This controversy is not based on scriptural evidence, but rather in the minds of men who do not have a complete perspective of their relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (KJV) - Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (2) Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. (3) Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

"I would not have you ignorant" - Paul states that he wants the Corinthians to fully understand from where the gifts of the spirit come and to what purpose they are given, so that each person can serve in the church's ministry of grace and love according to the gift he has received and according to the office, in which God has called him. In this way, there will be no misunderstandings or divisiveness in the church.

"Ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led" - The Corinthians were once pagans who were led astray by pagan religious systems which claimed to have divine wisdom from their gods. The pagan priests and priestesses pretended to receive, by inspiration from their god, the answers which they gave to their notaries. As for the people who believed their pretensions, they were led astray by their teaching.

"No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed" - No Christian, speaking by the Spirit, can call Jesus accursed. But, the Jews called Jesus a blasphemer and accursed (separated from God), thus they spoke without the Holy Spirit's influence.

"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" - We cannot reveal Jesus to be the Messiah and the Savior of men apart from the Holy Spirit's enabling us. Christians reveal Jesus through faith and signs and wonders that follow their demonstration of faith working in their lives. God gives gifts to Christians for speaking words of knowledge and wisdom, the working of miracles; uttering prophecy, speaking and interpretation of tongues. Gifts that attest to the truth of faith to them that hear Christians' witnesses and who observe Christians' lives; which enlightens their minds, changes their hearts, and draws them nearer to God.

Apart of the Holy Spirit, the church would fail as ambassadors for Christ and the Christian is without hope and separated from God.

This lesson will help in understanding the work of the Holy Spirit in each Christian. In the Old Testament, Emmanuel was "God with us". Then after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He is "God in us" by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the primary difference between the Abrahamic covenant before Jesus' birth and the New Blood covenant after His crucifixion.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV) - What you heard [gospel] from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (14) Guard the good deposit [truth] that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

1 John 3:23-24 (NIV) - And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (24) Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Colossians 1:25-27 (KJV) - Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; (26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The New Testament teaches us that "Christ is in us". He is much more than "God with us". If Christ is in heaven, then how does he lives "in us"? Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, whom we receive by faith - 1 John 3:23 (NIV) And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

How do we know he lives in us - 1 John 3:24 (NIV) - Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. Faith and obedience to love one another go hand in hand, providing the right personal attitude for the full operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is what Jesus meant when He stated in Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) - Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." When we love those whom God loves, then we are vessels of God's grace to them. Our hearts are open to the Holy Spirit's influence and God can fully operate in our lives to do His will.

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Can we sense the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit?

Not physically, but we can spiritually. I am reminded of Moses when he came off the mountain after spending 40 days with God, receiving the Law - Exodus 34:29-30 (NIV) - When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. (30) When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. Moses was not aware his face was so radiant that the Israelites were afraid to come near him. Why? Because Moses, as well as all other men, was created to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Moses felt normal, physically speaking. So, when the Bible tells us that when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and we should not doubt His indwelling presence because He can't be physically sensed.

I think this is the main reason Christians doubt the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and it has led many to doubt the scriptures concerning the gifts of the Spirit.

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First, the Holy Spirit works in us to transform our thinking and cleanse us from the things that hinder our interpersonal spiritual growth. Secondly, the Holy Spirit works through us to reach those who are hurting and in need of God.

Working in us - Transformation

God has promised to continue working in us until the day Christ Jesus returns to take Christians to be with Him in heaven -

Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV) - I thank my God every time I remember you. (4) In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Interpersonal spiritual growth in each Christian is performed by the work of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit is manifested through the decisions we make in accordance with the Word of God. We decide, He performs and through steadfast faith we are changed to be like Him.

The Holy Spirit works in us to raise us beyond the perception of self (self-serving) to enable us to follow Christ and to be like Him. Fruits of the Spirit reveal the progressive work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Working through us - Servanthood

Interpersonal growth (fruits of the Spirit) prepare us to be vessels God can use to work through us (enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit). Gifts of the Spirit reveal God equipping us so He can work through us.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (KJV) -

Verse 4 - Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

The Holy Spirit empowers Christians with diversities of gifts.

Verse 5 - And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

The Lord, Christ Jesus, oversees the Christian in his ministry of grace and love.

Verse 6 - And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

God calls Christians into special offices of the church's operation in the ministry of love and grace to the body of Christ.

These verses of scripture reveal the Trinity working through Christians to reach the lost and those in the church who are in need of God's intervention in their lives. There can be no ministry of grace and love apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

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Was the Holy Spirit given only to the apostles and 120 disciples in the upper room?

Since the Word of God hangs on the commandment of love and love is imparted to each Christian by the Holy Spirit, then no one can say the Holy Spirit was given only to those in the upper room. Else, there would be no power to fulfill Christ's command to take the gospel into the four corners of the earth. Romans 5:5 (KJV) - And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The Upper Room

Acts 4:31-35 (NIV) - After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (32) All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. (33) With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (34) There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales (35) and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Acts 4:32-37 - The prosperity of the church (Matthew Henry's Commentary)

We have a general idea given us in these verses, and it is a very beautiful one, of the spirit and state of this truly primitive church; it is conspectus saeculi-a view of that age of infancy and innocence.

I. The disciples loved one another dearly. Behold, how good and how pleasant it was to see how the multitude of those that believed were of one heart, and of one soul (v. 32), and there was no such thing as discord nor division among them. Observe here,

1. There were multitudes that believed; even in Jerusalem, where the malignant influence of the chief priests was most strong, there were three thousand converted on one day, and five thousand on another, and, besides these, there were added to the church daily; and no doubt they were all baptized, and made profession of the faith; for the same Spirit that endued the apostles with courage to preach the faith of Christ endued them with courage to confess it. Note, The increase of the church is the glory of it, and the multitude of those that believe, more than their quality. Now the church shines, and her light is come, when souls thus fly like a cloud into her bosom, and like doves to their windows, Isa 60:1,8.

2. They were all of one heart, and of one soul. Though there were many, very many, of different ages, tempers, and conditions, in the world, who perhaps, before they believed, were perfect strangers to one another, yet, when they met in Christ, they were as intimately acquainted as if they had known one another many years. Perhaps they had been of different sects among the Jews, before their conversion, or had had discords upon civil accounts; but now these were all forgotten and laid aside, and they were unanimous in the faith of Christ, and, being all joined to the Lord, they were joined to one another in holy love. This was the blessed fruit of Christ's dying precept to his disciples, to love one another, and his dying prayer for them, that they all might be one. We have reason to think they divided themselves into several congregations, or worshipping assemblies, according as their dwellings were, under their respective ministers; and yet this occasioned no jealousy or uneasiness; for they were all of one heart, and one soul, notwithstanding; and loved those of other congregations as truly as those of their own. Thus it was then, and we may not despair of seeing it so again, when the Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high.

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Fruits of the Spirit

His work in us is made known to others by the fruits of that work in us -

Galatians 5:19-25 (NIV) - The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

God works in us to perfect us so we can become true witnesses of Him. Else, how will those around us who don't know Him ever get to know Him? The life we live in front of others is still the most effective powerful message of His grace and love for others. Your life will become a light of God's truth that is available for all who believe in Christ Jesus. Your light will draw unbeliever's to God.

All Christians are commanded to be witnesses of the experiences and blessings they have in their relationship with Him. Our witness of His grace and love for us is the most influential message that unbelievers will ever hear! Unbeliever's will believe what you say about God's intervention in your life, far more than what they hear preachers preach or teachers teach. As Christians develop the fruits of the Spirit in their hearts, their witness to unbelievers will grow more powerful.

We should conclude that the fruits of the Spirit, operative in us, prepares us to be His true witnesses of His grace and love for those to whom we minister to their needs. So, the Spirit's fruits in us are evidence of our preparedness to be true ministers. Thus, we should strive to acquire the fruits of the Spirit through submission and obedience to His Word.

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Gifts of the Spirit

All Christians are commanded to be witnesses of God's grace and love. Those who are called into specific offices are equipped by God with gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill their specific calling.

Fruits of the Spirit are for personal preparation to be witnesses. Gifts of the Spirit are for equipping those who are called into specific areas of the ministry of the gospel -

Hebrews 2:4 (KJV) - God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NIV) - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (6) There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (7) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (8) To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, (9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, (10) to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. (11) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

"Different kinds of gifts"; "Different kinds of service"; "Different kinds of working" - The Holy Spirit searches the heart of the Christian and draws him or her into areas that agree with the desires of the heart. The Holy Spirit will not draw a Christian into an area of servanthood that disagrees with his disposition and personality traits. I believe God calls a person based on the desires of his heart to serve. A Christian with the gift of wisdom and knowledge may not be a person that would make a good shepard of God's flock, nor would he make a good missionary in a foreign land. But, he would be a good teacher of God's Word and teach with a zeal to break the bread of truth because it is the desire of his heart, according to his gift.

As a Christian acquires fruits from the Spirit, he will may change the desires of his heart to serve in a specific area of ministry. God will honor the desire of his heart. Every area of the gospel ministry is to serve the common good of those in the body of Christ - to experience God's love and grace in their lives.

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The Gift of Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues

These two gifts are the most misunderstood gifts mention by the apostle Paul in the following scriptures.

Acts 2:1-12 (NIV) - When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

(5) Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (6) When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (7) Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? (8) Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? (9) Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (11) (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (12) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." - Other tongues means the 120 disciples spoke in a tongue that was not his native language. The language was given by the Holy Spirit.

"How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" - Those (devout Jews from many languages) heard what was spoken in his own language. God gave those who heard the disciples speak in tongues at Pentecost the gift of hearing in his own native language, even though the words were spoken by Galileans.

"What does this mean?" - Those who heard the Spirit's gift of tongues were amazed at what just happened. Still today there are many in the corporate body of Christ who ask the same question, "What does this mean?" They do not understand the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues are spoken for the benefit of unbelievers, even as it was a sign for the unbelieving devout Jews who first heard it on Pentecost Sabbath.

1 Corinthians 14:22 (NIV) - Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.

The objective of tongues is as a sign for unbelievers. A sign that God is among the congregation. But, a message in tongues must be interpreted so the unbeliever and the rest of the congregation is edified - 1 Corinthians 14:2-5 (NIV) - For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. (3) But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (4) He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. (5) I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

"Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God" - Speaking in tongues is speaking to God, not to men. This can occur in the privacy of one's prayer closet. Even though one prays in the Spirit and does not know what he is saying because he utters mysteries with the Spirit, his prayer is effectual for his personal edification. No interpretation is needed because God knows what the Spirit is saying. So, when do we pray in the Spirit? When words cannot express what we have in our hearts. The utterance of unknown tongues is a way that we can speak to God and experience the release of what we bear in our hearts when words are not sufficient. Unction of the Spirit is an anointing to speak soothing, comforting, sympathetic, and / or joyful expressions in an earnest and fervor utterance to God. Speaking in unknown tongues should always be in response to the Holy Spirit's unction.

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A good Scripture reference for seeking to serve God -

Note: Fruits of the Spirit in the following passage are highlighted in blue.

Romans 12:1-21 (NIV) - Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. (2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. (3) For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (4) Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, (5) so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (6) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (7) If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; (8) if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (9) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (10) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (11) Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (12) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (13) Share [goodness] with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality [kindness] . (14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (15) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (16) Live in harmony [peace] with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (17) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody [self-control]. (18) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (19) Do not take revenge [self-control], my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. (20) On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us" - God equips each Christian to be productive in ministry according to the desires of his heart. Desires come from the deep parts of our dispositions and personality traits, with which we were born and from which we choose our direction in life. For instance, engineers and builders are task oriented and are drawn towards wisdom and knowledge. Social types are people oriented and drawn towards areas of hospitality and become good servants to the body of Christ.

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Conclusion:

God works in each Christian developing fruits of the Spirit. This is the developmental stage of preparing us to serve Him. How productive can a Christian's service be without fruits? Matthew 22:14 (KJV) - For many are called, but few are chosen. Not all who are called are chosen because they lack fruit and are not prepared to serve.

First, God develops the minister and then He calls Him into a specific area of ministry according to the desires of his heart [fruits]. God will not choose anyone for service who is not prepared to serve, even though he is called.