Sign Gifts

Sunday, September 6th, 2015
Sermon Series: Tough Stuff

Tough StuffDownload Sermon Outline

If you would like to study the topic of Tongues in more depth, listen to Chris Mueller’s sermon, Speaking in Tongues

Sermon Manuscript . . .

Sign Gifts

Tough Stuff 2015

As we are nearing the end of our Tough Stuff series, we are trying to tackle questions that affect our culture, our valley and our church. We want you to be ready to speak to current issues, and aware of what the Bible says. You may not believe it, but we last talked about spiritual gifts from the pulpit in 2010–a set of supernatural gifts about which debate has increased in the last hundred years.

There’s so much heat and fire about this topic that we wanted to try and bring a little light–we want to help you understand what the Bible says about this topic. I know that people in our body have differing beliefs on the gifts. Some of you are cessationists–you believe that certain spiritual gifts are not operational today. Some of you are continuationists–you believe that all spiritual gifts continue today, though some in a lesser form. You aren’t personally gifted that way, but you don’t want to say that God couldn’t do it now. A few of you may be charismatics–you believe that all the gifts have continued and you personally practice one of the more miraculous gifts in some fashion. And some of you are cynical–you don’t think much about it. You just know that those guys on TV are wackos.

All these differing beliefs exist within our own church, and I love it! We don’t want to be a church where you have to have everything figured out to be here. We don’t want to only minister to Christians who already believe exactly what we believe. So let’s start off by agreeing on the common ground we all share. Here’s what every evangelical Christian agrees on.

All Genuine Christians Agree That:

1)  At salvation you are gifted uniquely and supernaturally

If your kids watch Tinkerbell movies, then you’ve seen how each fairy in Tink’s world has a talent. There are baking talent fairies, water talent fairies, and so on. You are like that. Before you were saved, I would bet there were some things you were awesome at. Maybe you were a child prodigy on the piano, or you had a knack for languages. Or you could spit farther than anyone else around.

These are not spiritual gifts–these are talents. Just like the fairies, they are special abilities you have that you are unnaturally good at. At the time of salvation, the Spirit of God came into your life and heart, and He gifted you. You probably didn’t feel a thing, but He did it. You may not know your gift still, but He gave you one.

At the beginning of Paul’s three chapters on spiritual gifts, he writes this in 1 Corinthians 12:11. “All these [gifts] are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (ESV) At salvation, you are given a supernatural gift–it can be developed further, but it’s there now.

It’s not the result of simple training or life circumstance–every Christian has one. Using it will energize you and uniquely bless others. A person gifted with mercy gets happy when they’re doing a hospital visit. They’re compassionate and sweet and loving, and they don’t come away feeling drained. If I visit the same person they think it’s nice, but are excited when I leave. If a mercy person visits them, they feel encouraged and refreshed.

A spiritual gift is a unique and supernatural gift, given by God through His Spirit, so that you could fulfill certain tasks that God has called you to do. You may have a talent, like piano playing or singing or teaching children–but those aren’t spiritual gifts. Those are God-given abilities and talents. A spiritual gift is unique and supernatural, and nobody manifests it in the same way. The Spirit distributes these gifts individually to each believer, in different measure and type to each.

2)  These spiritual gifts are for the health of the church body

First Corinthians 12:7, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” God gifted you for the health of the Church, Christ’s bride. The gifts which He gave to each person were not for them, but for the whole church. Ephesians 4:16, “The whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Get this–the health of the whole church body depends on each person using their gifts for the growth and maturity of the body. This is the reason why we push people to serve at church. Paul says that the spiritual health of the church depends on you using your gifts to bless others.

Some churches have you serve due to great need. Some churches have you serve because it makes you feel ownership. Our motivation is Scripture–you’re commanded to (1 Peter 4), and our church’s health depends on it. So everyone’s gifted at salvation, and it is for the health of the church. Everyone agrees with this.

3)  Scripture lists a wide variety of spiritual gifts

Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 to 14 are the two major passages on spiritual gifts. Romans 12 lists prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and mercy. And 1 Corinthians 12 has wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, helps and administration. There is some debate over whether these lists are exhaustive. If you believe that multiple gifts can exist in one person, then these categories are sufficient to describe people’s gifts.

So let’s pretend—wow, Chris is a gifted preacher. Uh oh–there’s no gift of preaching listed! Well, you’ve got three choices: 1) the list is incomplete, or 2) preaching is the same as prophecy or teaching or exhortation (which is exegetically wrong), or 3) my view, which is that preaching is a combination of a teaching gift and an exhortation gift. Regardless, Scripture lists a wide variety of gifts which God has given. And I think it’s fair to say that you probably have a mixture of them.

Maybe you’ve got strong administration abilities, a bit of leading and a dash of giving. So you tend to find yourself organizing events and sometimes running them, then joyfully giving away all the leftovers afterwards. Scripture lists a wide variety of gifts, and if they’re mixed together the diversity is astounding.

4)  Spiritual gifts do not all continue into eternity

In fact none may, and this is not controversial–this is universal fact. No matter what you believe about sign gifts, this is true. First Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” Scripture clearly states that prophecy, tongues and the gift of knowledge will end.

When I go to the grocery store to buy milk, there’re two things I look for–which is cheapest, and which has the best expiration date? When God brought those gifts into being, he stamped an expiration date on them. Scripture says this really clearly–certain gifts have a definite timeframe. And it seems quite likely that all spiritual gifts will eventually cease, and here’s why I say that.

The Three Primary Purposes Spiritual Gifts were Given

A) Spiritual gifts were given to authenticate the messenger of God’s words

B) Spiritual gifts were given as a sign of judgment on unbelieving Jews

C) Spiritual gifts were given to edify and mature the Church

Now think about Heaven–will we need to validate whether someone speaks on God’s behalf? Will there be unbelieving Jews there? Will the Church be immature and incomplete? It seems quite likely that all spiritual gifts are temporary in nature.

The Big Question

When do they end? And which ones? We already read in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that they do end–but when is it? Many people look to 1 Corinthians 13:9 and 10 to answer this, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” And they make the case that either, a) the perfect is the maturity of the Church, when the canon of Scripture is complete, or b) the perfect is Heaven, when we’re all perfected.

Personally, in studying this, I think that there are some strong reasons to believe that “perfect” means “mature” and refers to the completion of the canon. At the same time, there are good reasons that it could mean Heaven. This verse does not provide the conclusive answer to the question of when the gifts cease.

Let me be even more clear–there is not a clear kill verse for the sign gifts. There’s not a passage that says exactly when–“It will be three years from the Day of Pentecost.” There’s no single verse that states their end. That passage in 1 Corinthians does indicate the tongues will disappear at a different time and in a different way than prophecy, but that’s the most that can be conclusively said there. However, Scripture does present a very clear, evident and compelling testimony that certain gifts would cease in the apostles’ lifetime.

You may be surprised to hear me say that. If you read the email I sent out on Thursday about the message today and I described God speaking to me this week, you may have thought that I was a closet charismatic. So l am sorry to have misled you. I believe that God does still speak—and I believe that the sign gifts are not for today. And hearing that, your ears may have just shut closed and your heart formed a bit of a shell around it. In the past, conversations about the gifts have not gone well–we have problems talking about this.

There’s Danger in Talking about This

For some people, the existence and use of tongues or prophecy or healing have replaced Jesus as the center of their life. So if I say that certain gifts have ceased, I just took away and shut down the very thing which defines their Christianity. For others, you may be so rationalist and anti-supernatural that you live as if God is not actually active in the world today. Cessationists can often appear this way.

Maybe you, or a friend, or a friend of a friend had an experience that seemed to be similar to what the Bible says about the Early Church. For that reason, although you don’t feel personally gifted, you are unwilling or unable to say that the experience didn’t happen. So you’re more comfortable in a cessationist church, but you feel a bit uneasy about the whole topic.

By talking about sign gifts, I risk treading on your experiences, on your own knowledge of God, and on friends who you love–I get that. So before we dive into what we believe Scripture says, let me share three core principles that guide us at FBC.

Guiding Principles

1)  Determine that the text is authoritative over everything else

One of the defining marks of any true Christian is that the Bible is our singular authority for life. We look to God in His Word to define what’s true. It is not true truth if it is not affirmed by His Word. We are to even submit our own experiences to the Word. The Bible informs us what is true and what God wants.

We recognize that it’s not always easy to understand. There’s not always one clear verse that says exactly what we should do or believe. Oftentimes there is–but not always. And because we’re all in various stages of maturity and understanding of the Word . . .

2)  Choose to love Christians who differ on secondary issues. If they’re solid on the Gospel and in love with Jesus, if they read and obey His Word, and love the Bible–then love them. Have affection for them.

There were times past when Christians killed each other over their views of baptism and the gifts. We don’t have to do that. In fact, loving them can be more effective than killing them. There are numerous men whom I love and whom God has used in my life, though they hold to a different view of the sign gifts or even a different eschatology. There are churches which preach the Gospel faithfully, though they practice infant baptism. Have affection for them, be friends with them–this is not a cause to break friendship and fellowship.

3)  Don’t quickly write off experiences, but don’t validate what’s not in Scripture

In our day, our experiences reign supreme. We can’t say something is wrong anymore–only that it’s not how we would do it. We’re even supposed to change our pronouns based on how you experience life. We all tend to trust our senses and the stories of our friends–and that’s understandable.

But there’s a difference between listening and validating. Oftentimes we are quick to stop listening–we write off what others are saying. A cessationist will hear of something supernatural and be visibly dismissive. A charismatic will hear the cautious questions of a friend and become defensive. Listen, stuff happens–weird stuff happens. Unexplainable stuff can happen. But those experiences are always subordinate to the Word.

The Apostle Peter saw Jesus in the moment He was transfigured into his glorified body, and later he would write and say the Word of God we hold in our hands is more certain than that. Second Peter 1:18 and 19, “We ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention.” (ESV)

The fact that something happened doesn’t make it a standard of truth. Your three-year-old may have actually spoken in Sanskrit, but if you can’t find evidence in Scripture that it should happen, then please don’t validate it or attribute it to God. In fact, we should be slow to attribute the supernatural to God. Acts 16 tells how a slave girl would cry out whenever Paul and Silas passed by, shouting, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” But we learn a bit later in the story that her words were not from God, but a demon. Now I’m not saying that everything supernatural is demonic–but we can’t be certain of the source if the Bible doesn’t clearly tell us.

Maybe a more typical example would be if I have a dream where I take Beth on a date to Prado (her favorite restaurant), and wake up feeling like I should take her to Prado, and then Steve Schweizer asks me when I’m going to take Beth to Prado again? Does this mean that God wants me to take her to Prado? No. But I still might take her. Don’t be quick to write off experiences, but don’t validate what’s not in Scripture. Let’s keep the Word as the authority in our lives, even as we love other Christians who view this differently. So with that in mind, let’s talk about . . .

Why We Believe Certain “Sign” Gifts Have Ceased

Here’s the typical dialogue on this issue.

“We believe sign gifts have ceased.”

“Can you point me to a verse?”

“No,” (with a mild look of embarrassment).

Because we lump the gifts together, people expect that there will be a single verse that deals with them. But get this–there is not one central reason. Each gift had a unique purpose and therefore has a unique reason for its end. So it makes sense that there is not a single verse to point to, with a time stamp on it for clarity. Instead we want to look at the gifts individually and see what Scripture says.

Tongues

Because of the influence of Pentecostalism, this gift is the most talked about and sought after of the sign gifts today. Oftentimes it is viewed as a second blessing from God that comes at a point sometime after salvation–but here’s what it actually was.

1)  What it was

A known language (listen to Chris’s message in 2010—he did a great job). Acts 2 makes it really clear–they spoke in languages that other people understood. On the Day of Pentecost everyone is understanding what’s being said. In Acts 10, the Gentiles (non-Jews) speak in tongues–it’s a known language there too. Then in 1 Corinthians 14, the reason for interpreters of tongues was so that non-speakers would know what was said, which is assumed to be understandable.

Tongues was given to authenticate an inspired message from God. It authenticated the message of the Gospel in Acts 2, the conversion of Cornelius to Peter in Acts 10, and the conversion of John’s disciples to Paul in Acts 19.

It was also a sign to unbelieving Jews, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 14:21 to 22. The gift of tongues was the final fulfillment of earlier prophecies in Isaiah 28 and Jeremiah 5 that judgment was coming on Israel. Paul says that tongues served as a sign to unbelievers of God’s judgment on them.

Consequently it was not for edification–it was of little value to the Church. First Corinthians 14:18 to 19, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

2)  How We Know It Ceased

The purpose was not edification, but authentication and judgment–those purposes were fulfilled (the message of the Gospel spread and judgment came by Rome). As the Church matured, the gift of tongues fades–its latest mention is Ephesus in Acts 19 and in 1 Corinthians, both during the third missionary journey.

Acts was written almost a decade after 1 Corinthians–its testimony of earlier happenings is the final mention and last information we have. In Acts we see it portrayed as a known language, with interpreters, and for authentication and judgment. In all of Paul’s epistles, he never mentions anyone using it or gifted in it, and Peter and John are the same.

What about 1 Corinthians 13–isn’t Paul saying that there’s also the ability to speak in an angelic tongue? No–he’s really not. He’s speaking in hyperbole. Let me put it on the screen to help you see this more clearly.

 

Gift Extreme/Hyperbole Motive Result
If I: But:
Speak with the tongues of men And the tongues of angels I do not have love Only noise
Have prophecy And know all mysteries, and have all knowledge, and all faith I do not have love I am nothing
Give all my possessions And my body to be burned I do not have love No profit for me

 

Paul is making a point about the priority of love. If you want to use this verse to argue for the existence of an angelic prayer language, then you need to affirm that Paul was the most brilliant man in the world ever–and that he tried to be burned to death, but failed. The point of 1 Corinthians 13 is that the most amazing gifts, if not motivated by and grounded in love, are useless–utterly useless. We believe that Scripture is clear on the nature and purpose of tongues, and that those purposes have ceased.

Prophecy

1)  What it was

A prophet was one who spoke for God and declared His will to His people (Jeremiah 23:21 to 22). ”I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people.” Note the word choice–God sends them, He speaks to them, they stand in His council, they announce God’s words to His people. That’s a perfect description of a prophet.

A preacher is not a prophet. The Puritans labeled preachers as prophets to highlight the authority and directness of their sermons, but they’re not the same. A prophet speaks by direct revelation from God, and not from insight into Scripture. In the Old Testament, a prophet spoke from God and carried a measure of authority over the community in which he lived. In the New Testament, a prophet speaks from God, but lives as one of the community and is under the authority of the apostles. In the same way that tongues required interpreters, his prophecies were subject to affirmation by those gifted in discernment.

Now just think about life back then–the gift of prophecy was incredibly necessary for the Early Church. Jesus was gone. They did not carry Bibles. The scrolls of the Old Testament were not very accessible to them. The Church needed prophets to declare God’s will for them. Much of their prophecy was localized and specific to their particular audience. Some of their prophecies became Scripture. Like Old Testament prophets, those gifted in prophecy were able to predict (foretell) the future.

Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.” There are only a few New Testament examples of prophecy, and they all involve prediction (Acts 11:27 to 28, 21:10 to 11, 1 Timothy 1:18, Revelation 1:3).

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology has popularized an unbiblical description of prophecy. There is no indication in Scripture of a lesser-type prophet who is sometimes accurate. There were not two classes of prophet–the inerrant kind and a localized one. Scripture only knows one gift of prophecy–their predictions were not vague, general statements, but specific predictions that could be verified within a reasonable period of time.

Acts 11:27 to 28, “Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.” Secular history writers testify of a great famine in the land during the years of 45 and 46 AD.

Together with the apostles, God appointed prophets to provide the foundation of the Church–and that is why we believe that the gift of prophecy has ceased.

2)  How We Know It Ceased

Ephesians 2:20, “[the church has] been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Along with the apostles, the prophets were given as a gift for the establishment of the Church–two groups, separate but related. This is the plain and clear meaning of Ephesians 2:20.

When Paul wrote to Corinth, they would’ve had no gospels, and at the very best four epistles. It took many decades for what you hold in your hand to be written and then to be circulated among the churches. Prophets stood in the gap. Just as Paul did to the Thessalonians, they would provide direct revelation from God to particular congregations for their edification and instruction. Historically, their role in the Church began to die out with the establishment of the canon.

The book of Revelation then wraps it up cleanly. John’s prophecies address his local churches in that time (around 90 AD) and they extend forward to the return of Christ and the new heavens. Revelation covers the entire time period from back then to now to the future kingdom. And at the close of the book, John says in Revelation 22:18 and 19, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

Now think about this–the book of Revelation reveals God’s plans for the world from the New Testament Church up to the return of Christ, and even describes Heaven and life with God there. At the end of the book, the Scripture declares a severe penalty on anyone who attempts to add to its prophecies. Do you think maybe that the gift of prophecy is done with? Its purpose is done away with. It is no longer needed for our edification, as we now have the complete canon–“the faith once for all delivered to the saints” as Jude puts it. We believe that Scripture is clear on the nature and purpose of the spiritual gift of prophecy, and that those purposes have ceased.

Healing

Now at the very mention of this one, some of you may be getting very concerned. You’re thinking–I am in a church that doesn’t believe that people can be healed. I bet he doesn’t even pray for me when I’m sick! This is where cessationists can sound very anti-supernatural. So let me try to be super clear. I very much believe that God heals–Scripture says that He hears our prayers and He answers them.

Five years ago, Izzy, our second, was six-months-old and pushed her chair off the dining room table, and hit our tile floor hard. At first we were sad, but then she threw up and started getting cold and clammy, and her breathing grew very shallow and she became increasingly unresponsive. As we rushed to the ER, we thought she was going to die.

I believe that God heard our prayers and healed her. Shortly after arriving at the ER, she threw up again and began to gradually come back to life. She has no red marks, no bruises and a CAT scan of her brain came back with no damage. God hears our prayers and answers.

There are people in our church who have been diagnosed with severe diseases by doctors. Some of them seem to be completely and unexpectedly free of those diseases in a way that is medically unexplainable. Maybe there’s just a lot of misdiagnosis, but it sure does seem like God still heals when He wants to. So when you hear me say that the gift of healing has ceased, I am not saying that God doesn’t heal people anymore. Here’s what I am saying–Christians are no longer supernaturally gifted with the ability to heal others.

I don’t care what you saw on TV. It doesn’t matter what your friend told you about. The gift of healing existed for a time, during the establishment of the Church, for a specific purpose. The goal was not to bring health to everyone. If that was the goal, it was quite a failure. Paul’s eyes were never healed. Luke, a physician, still was needed by Christians. Thousands of sick people in Israel were never helped. And those who were healed still eventually died.

1)  What It Was

In a day of false messages and pretend Messiahs, the gift of healing was given to attract attention and make certain men stand out from the rest. When John the Baptist wasn’t yet confident that Jesus was the Messiah, he sent guys to ask Him, “Are you the one we’ve been expecting?” Jesus answered in Matthew 11:4 to 5, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”

The gift of healing was used as a sign that a particular individual bore a message from God. People who could heal didn’t all the time. Healing was not used in the context of the Church. Healings that took place were typically public and visible and then followed by a Gospel message.

Healings were not what you see on TV. They were major health issues like blindness and being lame with severe atrophy from decades of non-use. Healing was instantaneous, without fail, without side effect and beyond the reach of medicine–even modern medicine. The gift of healing was for certain individuals who, discerning the will of God, chose to heal particular severely-diseased people to authenticate the message from God which they would then share.

2)  How We Know It Ceased

The last Scriptural mention of healing took place right around 60 AD. As Scripture progresses, we actually see a diminishing mention of healing and an increased call for medicine and prayer–both. James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church.” First Timothy 5:23, “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Second Timothy 4:20, “Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.” The purpose of the gift was fulfilled and so it begins to cease.

As the Gospel spread, there was no longer a need for a miraculous sign that a particular individual bore a message from God. The canon was being written. Christians were being persecuted and killed. Their own martyrdoms often provided the testimony that healings had earlier. God still heals people. He hears our prayers. He acts in unusual and unexpected ways. But no longer are people particularly and specifically gifted as healers in order to promote the Gospel message.

Miracles

Alright, so now you know the standard disclaimer. Yes, God does miracles and no, he doesn’t gift particular individuals as miracle workers. Today we’ve lessened the term “miracle” to mean anything extraordinary. Braves pitcher has a miracle elbow. There is now miracle technology. Bipartisan political support is a labeled a miracle. We can buy Miracle-Gro. Those aren’t miracles–here’s what a miracle was.

1)  What It Was

Bringing someone back from the dead, like Peter did in Acts 9. Declaring blindness as judgment on someone, like Paul did in Acts 13. Being bitten by a deadly viper with no side effects, like Paul was in Acts 28. A miracle is something so profoundly supernatural that there is no explanation for it, apart from divine intervention.

Certain people were gifted as miracle workers. It was a means God gave them to gain a hearing for their message. It would provide verification of the inspired message that came through the apostles and prophets. Just like healing, it would be used to attract hearers and give them a basis to trust the message which they would hear.

2)  How We Know It Ceased

God provided external means like healing and miracles to authenticate his messengers. Hebrews 2:3 to 4, “After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Once the canon was finished, the purpose of this gift was completed.

That’s not to say that God has stopped doing miracles–He still does. But He does not need to use specially-gifted miracle workers to reveal new truths. He doesn’t need to provide miracles to prove that what’s said is true. We now have the Bible to check it against.

So let’s take a step back. There is a reason why certain gifts are called the “sign gifts.” Overall, these gifts served to authenticate that a message was from God so that the messenger would be trusted. Peter acknowledges this same role for miracles and supernatural signs. Acts 2:22, “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst.”

The apostles and prophets had a foundational role in the spread of the Gospel and the establishment of the Church. The primary purpose of the sign gifts was to verify their authority and message (Acts 2:43, 5:12 to 16, 19:11). I put some of the verses up on the screen behind me.

Matthew 10:1, “And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”

Mark 16:20, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”

Acts 2:43, “Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.”

2 Corinthians 12:12, “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.”

Hebrews 2:4, “God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

Certain gifts were critical for the establishment and health of the Early Church. They demonstrated that certain men were from God and their message was to be trusted. The specific purpose of each of the sign gifts–tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles and their corollary gifts have ceased. There’s not a universal verse that addresses them, but at FBC we believe that Scripture is very clear about each of them individually.

And here is what your takeaway today should be. What was it that led to the conclusion of some pretty spectacular spiritual gifts? It was the completion of the Bible that’s sitting in your laps. God believed that His Word was more convicting than prophecy. God believed that His Word was more self-attesting than miracles. God believed that His Word was more helpful than healings. God believed that His Word was more understandable than tongues.

How much do you value God’s Word? How much do you cling to the Word for guidance in the storms of your life? How much do you listen to the Word for direction when you need to hear God? God still speaks, but He does it through His written Word.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

John serves as a pastor and elder at Faith Bible Church

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