5/7/00

THE TEMPORARY GIFTS

Pastor Floyd Koenig

I Cor. 12:8-10

INTRODUCTION

Baptists have always believed that there were some spiritual gifts (and offices) that belonged to the infancy of the Lordís church. They have held that the Bible is to be their "only rule of faith and practice." Orthodox Protestants have also held this position.

Catholicism and the majority of the cults have always claimed to possess miraculous gifts. Inspired prophets, new revelations, and miraculous healing and signs have always been boasted by these groups.

In recent times a religious movement dubbed the "charismatic renewal" has made claims that the miraculous gifts are being restored through it agency. This movement is now interdenominational and has experienced tremendous growth.

As the modern emphasis upon miracles is surveyed, one wonders if the way is not being prepared for the coming of the Antichrist (II Thess. 2:8-12).

1. His coming will be during a time of great emphasis upon the miraculous.

a. In the end time false teachers will come with the power to perform great signs and wonders by which they will deceive many (Mt. 24:24).

b. These false religious leaders will mimic their leader, the Antichrist, who will come with satanic power, signs and false wonders (II Thess. 2:9).

c. Just because a preacher claims to be a miracle worker, it doesnít necessarily mean that he is of God.

d. Our Lord warned of many that would preach, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works, which never had a saving knowledge of Him, or were called to be His disciples (Mt. 7:21-23).

2. It is important for the people of God to examine everything by the searchlight of Godís Word.

We want to look at the temporary gifts and then to prove that they were never intended to be permanent. I. THE NINE TEMPORARY GIFTS (I Cor. 12:8-10).

Here we have nine gifts listed that were the peculiar possession of the apostolic churches. These gifts (as with the office of apostle and prophet) were temporary.

A. The gift of WISDOM.

1. This was the ability to supernaturally make decisions or speak, not on the basis of study or forethought, but through the direct work of the Holy Spirit on the mind.

2. Stephen was given this ability as he was brought before the Jewish counsel (Acts 6:8-10).

3. The Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would give His disciples wisdom to speak when they were put on trial for preaching the Gospel (Mt. 10:19-20).

B. The gift of KNOWLEDGE. 1. This was the ability to know facts and comprehend situations by virtue of a direct revelation from the Holy Spirit.

2. Peter had been given the knowledge of Ananiasí and Sapphiraís deception concerning their giving (Acts 5:1-10).

3. The human writers of Scripture had the gift of knowledge in a unique way.

a. God gave them truths directly, which they recorded as part of His written Word.

b. Since the canon of Scripture has been completed, however, the gift of receiving new truth has passed away.

c. The Lord still gives understanding of His written Word, but those who claim to receive divine revelations are deceivers.

d. God warns that if anyone adds to or takes away from His Word he will suffer His judgment (Rev. 22:18-19).

C. The gift of FAITH. 1. This is what we would call "miracle-working" faith.

2. This Spirit-given faith obviously is distinct from saving faith or the daily faith by which every believer lives.

3. It was not possessed by all saints, but was sovereignly bestowed by God as He saw fit (I Cor. 12:11).

4. When the ship, on which Paul was sailing to Rome as a captive, encountered a terrible storm, he told his fellow travelers to keep up their courage, because there would be no loss of life (Acts 27:22-24).

D. The gift of HEALING. 1. This was the ability to heal at will (Acts 9:32-35).

2. The gift of healing was for Christ (Mt. 8:16-17), the apostles (Mt. 10:1), the seventy (Lk.10:1), and some associates of the apostles such as Philip (Acts 8:5-7).

3. The gift of healing was given to the church to confirm the apostolic message as the Word of God.

4. God may still heal directly and miraculously today, in response to the faithful prayers of His children (Jas. 5:14-16).

5. But no Christian today has the gift of healing.

6. A Christian today has the right to ask God for healing, but He no longer uses the gift of healing to confirm His Word, because the completed Word is its own verification.

E. The working of MIRACLES. 1. This was the ability to do miracles as a sign of confirmation that oneís message was from God.

2. A miracle is an act of God that is contrary to the ordinary working and laws of nature.

- It is an act that only God could accomplish by overruling nature.

3. Jesus performed miracles to prove that He was truly the promised Messiah (Acts 2:22).

4. Miraculous signs were a mark of apsotleship, authenticating the apostlesí message and work as being of the Lord (Heb. 2:3-4).

5. The gift of healing confirmed that the apostles possessed the authority of God, and they passed away with the apostles.

F. The gift of PROPHECY. 1. This was the ability to receive and to convey to others messages or doctrines that came by direct revelation from God.

2. The Bible was written by prophets who spoke forth new revelations (II Pet. 1:21).

3. When the Bible was completed, the gift of speaking forth new revelation ceased (I Cor. 13:8-10).

4. In a sense, the Spirit of God still empowers men to speak forth the Word of God effectively.

5. But they are given the ability to proclaim only what has already been revealed in Scripture.

G. The gift of DISCERNMENT. 1. This was the ability to discern whether those who claimed to exercise spiritual gifts were of God or of Satan.

2. The early churches did not have a completed New Testament by which to examine the teachings of professed prophets.

3. Satan is the great deceiver, "the father of lies"(Jn. 8:44), and ever since the Fall he has counterfeited Godís message and Godís work.

4. Today, false teachers and their heresies can be judged by the Scripture.

H. The gift of TONGUES 1. This was the supernatural ability to speak in languages that had not been acquired by study (Acts 2:1-11).

2. This was done as a sign (I Cor. 14:22).

3. The gift of tongues was given to validate the message and power of the gospel.

4. The gift of tongues has ceased because its purpose as a confirming sign of apostolic authority and doctrine ended when the New Testament was completed.

5. Now that the New Testament has been completed, nothing is to be added to or subtracted from it (Rev. 22:18-19).

I. The gift of INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. 1. This was the ability to supernaturally interpret for those who spoke in tongues (I Cor. 14:27).

2. Needless to say that if the gift of tongues has ceased, so there is no longer a need for an interpreter.

II. FACTS THAT PROVE THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THESE GIFTS

It needs to be understood that we are not trying to prove that God no longer heals, does miracles, or leads and illuminates His people.

Every Christian rejoices in a prayer hearing God. There is a difference, however, in God healing in response to prayer and in a man having the gift of healing as a sign.

What we are asserting is that those gifts that were for the purpose of authentication or revelation were temporary.

Letís now look at some reasons why these gifts were temporary in nature.

A. The early church had special needs.

1. The apostolic churches obviously had some needs that are not found in churches today.

2. They did not have a complete New Testament; therefore, they stood in need of various Divine revelations.

3. They needed signs to authenticate the revelations thus received (Heb. 2:3-4).

4. There is no Scriptural reason why churches with a complete and totally authenticated New Testament need these nine miraculous gifts.

B. The Apostle Paul declared that these temporary sign gifts would pass away. 1. Paul shows the importance of love and its superiority over these miraculous gifts (I Cor. 13:1-13).

a. Paul declares that the incomplete will be done away with by the coming of that which is perfect.

b. The incomplete revelation of verse 10 is obviously the miraculous gifts of verse 9, and we believe that the Bible is "that which is perfect."

c. Verse 10 teaches that the completed New Testament canon would supersede and bring to an end the miraculous gifts.

2. In I Corinthians 13:8-13, Paul seems to compare the relative permanence of faith, hope, charity, and the miraculous gifts.

a. Charity (love) never fails (v. 8).

- It is a grace that we will enjoy even in Heaven during the ages to come. b. Faith and Hope are abiding when compared to the miraculous gifts (vv. 13, 8-10). - Note: Charity is still superior to faith and hope, for these will be done away with at the return of Christ (Rom. 8:24). c. The miraculous gifts were only temporary (v. 8). - They are not eternal like charity, neither will they continue till the return of Christ as will faith and hope.
CONCLUSION

1. Those who believe that these sign gifts are still in operation cannot say: "The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice."

2. To them, the Bible is an open-ended revelation.

3. Scriptural churches, on the other hand, believe that the Bible is Godís finished revelation.
 
 

 Return To Main Study Page

Source: http://www.woosterbaptisttemple.org/studies.html