Jesus Gives Gifts
(Eph. 4: 7-13)
We have mentioned that Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit and poured that gift out when the day of Pentecost had fully come. That feast of the Lord was fulfilled in that day and continues fulfillment throughout the earth. That is why people continue to receive the various gifts, including heavenly tongues, spoken of in I Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14. It is a confirming stamp upon the fact that the same Holy Spirit is showing up where hearts are open to the truth concerning Jesus.
Refer to that chapter in Joel to which Peter referred (Acts 2). The dreams and visions spoken of still occur. As I have heard someone point out clearly, the Spirit is poured out on men and also on women. We need to let go of every thought that women are not also called, and anointed, to serve in every capacity in the church. Note that Joel also speaks of the moon turned to blood and the sun being darkened. Much has been written on that recently. Most significant is what I heard John Paul Jackson say that the appearance of the blood moons and other signs is the building of a crescendo of the Holy Spirit’s moving over all of mankind. Looking for the Lord’s moving should always be our main focus.
Now we need to be aware that the gifts themselves, and signs in the heavens and earth can all become distractions. We must look past, or through, or around them to keep our eyes fixed upon the One who gives the gifts. Remember the word to Elisha at Elijah’s ascension, “If you see me. . . “. We are to be careful to guard our hearts from the pride that so easily attends having a gift. How everyone wants a ministry. It is today’s deception replacing church membership and a role in a “church.” Ministry to Him and a life in the secret place is the necessity for us all. For us to know Jesus, and through Him the Father, and only do what we see and hear Him do, is the Holy Spirit’s work and goal. To be filled with His love and maintain pure motives in all we do is ours in cooperation with Him. To sum it up, love from a pure heart is the beginning, and it is the end, of the matter.
The gifts He gives are ultimately us, ourselves. We remind ourselves daily that we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices. Take a reading of the reference at the title above. Jesus ascended and gave gifts to men. He took some captives, slaves, and made them bond-servants, love-slaves, ones who so loved Him they would go with Him anywhere and do whatever He gave them to do. Search out the meaning of a bond slave in the Old Testament. He hears His Master’s voice. We belong to Jesus, bought with His blood, and are all given to one another as brothers and sisters. We are given to one another to build each other up until we together fully mature to be made like Jesus.
This does not happen by programs, or an analysis of scriptural principle followed by proper application. I will be so bold to say it does not work this way at all. We get sidetracked when we have a program, see some fruit, and think we have a good method and follow on with it. Makes me think of the axe-head lost by Elisha’s company. The way was too straight for them and they lost the borrowed axe-head. Elisha made it float. Had they left the “too narrow” way? Are we seeking and following on into that ever narrowing way? It seems impossible to walk this way of the Spirit. It is! We are desperate for Him to lead us, to bring us through. He is pleased to give us greater, unending grace, and do just that. Our Good Shepherd brings us through, even through every valley of the shadow of death. The end is that death works in us, and life in someone else.
Are we willing to pursue earnestly all the gifts His Spirit will give us so that we can be filled up with Him? And seek those which will edify us so that we can build up others like our honored brother Paul? Or do we tell the Holy Spirit what gifts each of us should receive? Much wounding among the body of Christ has hindered the flow of His Spirit and the testimony of Jesus in His church. We together must stop resisting things “Pentecostal.” Those in the main flow of the river of God have so much to offer us. Do we acknowledge our brothers, and sisters who have gone before us, Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Kathryn Kuhlman, Ruth Heflin, to name just a few? Some have never heard of them, nor of Watchman Nee. Do you know of these and appreciate their legacies? They are additions to the cloud of witnesses from the last century. Yes, many others are also worthy of our attention. I must also mention Nicolaus Zinzendorf, William Seymour, and Jim Elliot. That might seem a disparate group but if you look at their lives, you are bound to see the lack in your own and seek God’s face all the more. If you dismiss such as these, you miss the river that flows from the throne. I am compelled by His love for us to write these things for the Spirit jealously desires us.