The Grace Gifts of God the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians

The Grace Gifts of God the Holy Spirit

December 27th, 1981 @ 10:50 AM

1 Corinthians 12:1-4

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 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. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
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THE GRACE GIFTS OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

12-27-81     10:50 a.m.

 

 

We welcome the great multitudes of you who are with us in heart and spirit in the First Baptist Church of Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Grace Gifts of God the Holy Spirit.  This is the last in the series on pneumatology, on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  In these years, the pastor is preaching on the “Great Doctrines of the Bible,” and I have divided them into fifteen major sections, and this section on pneumatology closes with the sermon this morning.  Next Sunday, we begin a new calendar year.  And on the first Sunday in the calendar year, I always prepare a message entitled The State of the Church.  And this coming year is going to be an incomparable one for us.  Next Sunday morning we’re going to burn a note of $7,500,000 dollars that we have paid off.  We do not owe it anymore; we have paid it off!   And we are going to cut that note square in the middle, we are going to get us an old-time bucket, like we fed hogs with when I was on the farm, and we are going to burn half of that note at the 8:15 service, and we are going to burn the other half of it at this service next Sunday morning.  Then we begin the new year without our manacles, and without our chains, and without our shackles.  It is going to be the greatest, finest, year we have ever known in our lives.  So you be here, and we will celebrate, and rejoice, and praise the Lord together next Sunday morning, the first Sunday of the new year.

 The message is entitled, as I said, this morning, The Grace Gifts of God the Holy Spirit.  If you would like to turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians chapter 12, the middle section of this letter to the church at Corinth—chapters 12, 13, and 14—are given over to a discussion of grace gifts.  So he begins with chapter 12:  “Now concerning ta pneumatika, my brethren, I would not have you without knowledge” [1 Corinthians 12:1].  So the Lord intends for us to be instructed and to be taught in the things concerning ta pneumatika.  The word for Spirit is pneuma, and pneumatika —plural—refers to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, ta pneumatika, spiritual gifts [1 Corinthians 12:1].  In verse 4, he uses another descriptive word for them: “Now there are diversities of ta charismata,” grace gifts, “given to us by the same Holy Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:4].  The word for “grace” is charisCharin is an accusative form of it, and we name a beautiful girl “Karen.”  Charis, “grace,” and the plural of it, applying to gifts, charismata, “grace gifts.”  Now there are diversities, all kinds of grace gifts, but the same Holy Spirit bestows them [1 Corinthians 12:4].  Verse 11: “All of these work,” glorify, build, “all of them are given to us by the one and selfsame Holy Spirit” of God, sovereignly bestowed, “dividing to every one of us severally as He will” [1 Corinthians 12:11].  Any grace gift that I have is something God has to bestow.  I cannot achieve it; it has to be given from heaven.

What did you have to do with whether you were a man or a woman?  God did that!  What did you have to do as to whether you were born a hundred years ago, or fifty years ago, or thirty years ago?  God did that!  You had nothing to do with it at all.  What did you have to do with choosing your parents?  God did that!  When you’ll get to studying it, you’ll find out that practically all of us in our lives is directed by, framed by, the sovereign election of God.   That’s one of the great doctrines of the Bible we’ll preach on when the time comes: the doctrine of sovereign election.  We don’t like to think about that because we love to think that we did it.  We do very little of it, practically none of it.  About the only thing that a man can do is to yield himself to the sovereign purpose of God for his life.

Now, he avows that concerning these grace gifts:  they are from heaven, they are from God, they are sovereignly bestowed [1 Corinthians 12:11].  And they are diversified—there are diversities of ta charismata [1 Corinthians 12:8-10].  You have one; you have one; you may have several; each one of us has a different grace gift.  God chooses it and fits it for us [1 Corinthians 12:11].  Now, I pray God will help me this morning as I take the passages of scripture in this Corinthian letter and try to portray the spirit, and the heart, and the meaning of the apostle Paul as he speaks of these ta pneumatika and ta charismata in the letter to the church at Corinth.

 It is a sadness, and it is a tragedy to me, that the ta pneumatika and ta charismata, the grace gifts, the spiritual gifts of God, that they are over-sown and they are overshadowed by far-out extremism and fanaticism, by abuse and by excess.  That is a work of Satan: to over-sow and to shadow out, by fanatical excess, the most glorious thing that God has ever done for us.  You see that in a current fact that if a man stands up to speak about the charismata, the grace gifts, the “charismatic gifts” of the Holy Spirit, immediately you remember one thing: you remember the gibberish that passes by and for so-called “speaking in an unknown tongue.”  What a great sadness that these charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit of God should be so completely identified with fanatical extremism, with gibberish, until we have lost the glory, and the richness, and the fulsomeness of what the Holy Spirit does for us.  That the extremity and the excess of gibberish, “unknown tongues,” it is so different from the Holy Scriptures—it moves, and it lies, in a different world.

 Take your Bible and look at it just for a moment.  It begins in the New Testament with the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  These recount the ministries of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus.  You will never find, even hinted or mentioned, such a thing as a gibberish, as an unknown tongue, in the life of John or in the life of Jesus.  I could not imagine John the Baptist standing on the banks of the Jordan River [Matthew 3:1-12], announcing the messianic kingdom, and doing it in an unknown tongue.  It is unthinkable to me that Jesus could ever have stood on the mount, and delivering the great Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5:1-7:29], or any other message that He ever delivered, in an unknown tongue.

 When I turn to the Word of God and look at these books, and books, and books in the Bible, the one that I just had you read out of—the Book of Romans: the Book of Romans is a formal, studied, systematic treatise on the doctrine of the Christian faith.  And I had you read a passage out of it.  And he named there some of the grace gifts of the Holy Spirit of God: prophecy, the first one; ministering, the second one; teaching; exhortation; giving; mercy [Romans 12:7-8].  Not in all of the theological treatise will you find any mention of, or any reference to, such a thing as an unknown tongue.   In the great, marvelous things that the Spirit of God does for us, He mentions here teaching [Romans 12:7].  Paul would say that a humble Sunday school teacher with a group of little children does a greater service for the kingdom than any kind of intrinsic, esoteric, ecstasy that he might enjoy in a solitary withdrawal.  He never mentions such a thing in the great theological treatise called the Book of Romans.

When I turn to 2 Corinthians, it is never mentioned.  When I turn to the Book of Galatians, it is never mentioned.  When I turn to the Book of Ephesians—which is an encyclical, a letter to all the churches of all times—it is never referred to.  When I turn to Philippians, it is not mentioned.  If I read Colossians, it is not mentioned.  If I turn to 1 and 2 Thessalonians, it is not mentioned.  If I read the Pastoral Epistles, which is a directive to the ministers of the church—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—it is never mentioned.  When I come to the great doctrinal study of the Book of Hebrews, it is never mentioned.  When I read the Book of James—the pastor of the church at Jerusalem and the Lord’s brother—it is never referred to.  When I read of Peter, 1 and 2 Peter, the great and chief apostle never refers to it.  When I read John, 1, 2, and 3 John, the beloved apostle who leaned on the Lord’s breast at the Last Supper [John 13:25, 21:20], it is never referred to.  When I look at Jude, it is never mentioned.  And finally, read throughout the Apocalypse that closes the Bible, it is never even hinted at.  Isn’t it a strange thing how the Bible is so opposite, and moves in another direction, from that strange fanaticism called the “speaking in an unknown tongue?”

And then, let us see what Paul says about such a phenomenon.  Now, this isn’t I.  This isn’t from me; this is from the Word of God!  First Corinthians 14:8 and 9:

If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?

for ye shall speak into the air—

[1 Corinthians 14:8-9]

verse 19—

In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding,

that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

[1 Corinthians 14:19]

Now you think of the proportion there: “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that… I might teach others, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” [1 Corinthians 14:19].  Now you look at verse 23, now I didn’t say this, this is the apostle Paul writing:

If therefore the whole church come together…

and they speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers,

will they not say that ye are mainesthe ?—translated here “mad”—mainesthe ?

[1 Corinthians 14:23]

We took that word and made “maniac” out of it—lunatic, crazy, mad.  “If the church come together, and they speak with unknown tongues, and there come in those unlearned or unsaved unbelievers, will they not say that you are crazy, you are mad, you are lunatic, you are mainesthe ?”  This is the verdict of the apostle Paul, and it is the substance and the meaning and the revelation of the whole Word of God—the whole Bible.

 Now, there is a great, and far-reaching, and significant assignment for the Holy Spirit, and the Lord plainly delineated it in John 16:13-14.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit:

When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth:

He shall not speak of Himself… He shall glorify Me:

for He shall receive of Mine, and show it unto you.

The tremendous and meaningful and significant assignment of the Holy Spirit of God is this, “He will not speak of Himself” [John 16:13].  He will not draw attention to Himself, but He will magnify the Lord.  He will glorify Jesus!  He will lead us to our blessed Savior!  He will guide us to sit at His feet and to learn of Him [John 16:14-15].  That is the tremendous work of the Holy Spirit of God.

 In the second chapter of the Book of Acts, in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, on the day of Pentecost, the gift of languages—the word for “language” and “tongue” are the same, glōssa.  So, in some places here it’ll be called “tongues,” in some places it will be called “language.”  That gift of languages, the miracle of languages, on that Day of Pentecost, was for one purpose; namely, that those who listen to their own tongue might be told about the wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s the purpose of that miraculous gift.  When the Day of Pentecost was come, there appeared unto them three miracles: the sound as of a rushing mighty wind; the second, the tongues of fire that lambently flamed upward, parting, burning on the head of each one of them; and the third, the gift of languages.  “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues,” other languages, “as the Spirit gave them utterance” [Acts 2:1-4].

And they were confounded, those people there, at that Passover season, at that Pentecostal season, because everyone heard in his own language these marvelous words about Jesus [Acts 2:5-6].

They were amazed and they marveled, and they said…

How hear we every man in his own tongue, in his language, wherein he was born?

Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites . . . and Mesopotamians . . . Judeans, and Cappadocians, and Pontus and Asians . . . And Phrygians, and Pamphylians, and Egyptians . . . and Libyans . . . and Cyrenians . . .  Romans and Jews . . . And Cretes and Arabians . . .

we do hear them speak in our languages, in our own tongues, the wonderful works of God—

the glory of His grace in the Lord Jesus—

[Acts 2:7-11]

The purpose of the gift, the miraculous gift of languages, at Pentecost was that the whole world might be made aware of the glory of the Lord Jesus.  And the whole moving Spirit of God never fails in that same assignment.  He magnifies the Lord! [John 16:13-14].

 In the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, we have the story of an official of Ethiopia who had gone up to Jerusalem for to worship,” as the King James says, “for to worship” [Acts 8:27].  And there he found a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  And seated in his chariot, returning to the capital of Ethiopia, he was reading Isaiah and was coming to the fifty-third chapter.  And the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirit of God, said to Philip, “Join yourself to the chariot.”  And he took the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, “and beginning at the same Scripture, preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:28-35].  The Holy Spirit always guides us to the Lord Jesus.  He glorifies the Lord Jesus!  [John 16:13-14].

In the sixth chapter of this same Book of Acts, the deacons are chosen and ordained [Acts 6:1-2].  The office of diakonos begins there.  And the Bible says these men were “full of the Spirit” [Acts 6:3].  How do you know they’re full of the Spirit?  Because they magnify the Lord Jesus: immediately after their ordination, you have the story of Stephen who magnifies the Lord [Acts 6:8-10].  Then you have the story of Philip, the deacon, who finally became called an “evangelist” [Acts 21:8] because of his witnessing to the Lord Jesus [Acts 8:5-8].  When a man is filled with the Spirit of God, that’s what he does, He magnifies the Lord Jesus; he witnesses to the grace of God in Christ Jesus.  He rejoices in the wonderful Savior of the world.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit of God, magnifying Jesus, glorifying Jesus [John 16:13-14].

I read this last week of a little boy who was lame and crippled in his feet.  And they took the little lad to a marvelous and wonderful doctor, a surgeon.  And the surgeon healed the boy by the grace of God; made the little boy well and whole by the grace of God.  And when the little fellow came home, all the folks round were rejoicing that the physician, the surgeon had been able to heal the little boy.  He was perfectly sound, and whole, and well again.   And they would say to the little fellow, as they would talk to him, something about the hospital.  And he would say in reply about the hospital, but he would always add: “But you should have seen that wonderful doctor.”   Then somebody else would talk to him about the kind nurses.  And he would say something about the kind nurses, then he would always say: “But you should have seen that wonderful doctor.”   And then somebody would talk to him about the flowers and about the cards.  And he would acknowledge that.  Then he would always add, “But you should have known that wonderful doctor.”  Then somebody would speak to him about the visitors who came to see him and he would comment about all the visitors that came to see him.  Then the little boy would add, “But you should know that wonderful doctor.”

That’s the way it is with the Holy Spirit of God in our lives.  Always, He says, “But ye ought to know the wonderful Jesus.  You ought to see the face of that glorious Lord.”  He magnifies the Lord Jesus; he honors and glorifies Christ our Savior; that is the work of the Holy Spirit of God [John 16:13-14].  Now, it is not thinkable, it is not reasonable that the Holy Spirit of God should do one thing—that thing, glorifying the Lord Jesus—and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit of God should do something else; they would be the same.   If the great assignment of the Holy Spirit of God is to magnify the Lord Jesus, why then, the gifts, the grace gifts of the Holy Spirit of God in us are to do the same thing.  They also are to magnify the Lord Jesus, to witness to the Lord Jesus, to bring men and women to the Lord Jesus.

 Now that is the reason that you will find the apostle writing here concerning his appeal that we covet, and that we pray for, the greatest and the best of all of the charismata, the grace gifts.  Now listen to him as he will say, closing the twelfth chapter, he will say: “Covet earnestly the best gifts” [1 Corinthians 12:31].  Remember, he said they are sovereignly bestowed [1 Corinthians 12:28]; I can’t create them for me.  God has to give them to me.  So he says, “In your heart and life, earnestly seek after, covet, the best gifts” [1 Corinthians 12:31].  Well, what would that be?  He begins the fourteenth chapter with the naming of it, “Follow after love,” agapē, which is the thirteenth chapter [Acts 13:1-13], “and desire ta pneumatika,” the spiritual gifts, mostly and “above all, that ye may prophesy” [1 Corinthians 14:1]. That is the first, and the marvelous, and the pristine, and the primary of all of these gifts of the Spirit.  Isn’t that first one that you just read in Romans 12?  “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy…” [Romans 12:6].  That’s the first one!  “Follow after charity, and desire ta pneumatika.”  Ask God for the grace gifts, but mostly that ye may prophesy—that above everything else [1 Corinthians 14:1].

 Isn’t it a shame that language changes, and it doesn’t mean what you read into it?  “Prophecy,” to us, has come to mean foretelling the future, “The fellow prophesied so and so…”  Isn’t that a shame?  The word that is here in the Bible, and used in that day, had no meaning of that at all about it, not even an overtone or a connotation of that.   The word is prophēmi—the root word, prophēmi, “to speak out.”  Then they use the word prophēmi to turn into, to use to make up propheteuō, which means “to magnify God,” “to speak of divine things.”  So the word “prophecy” and “the gift of prophecy” has nothing to do with foretelling anything.  The word prophecy has to do with witnessing to the Lord Jesus—speaking of the grace of the blessed Jesus, magnifying the Lord Jesus.   And the apostle says: “When you ask God for the gifts, the grace gifts in your life, covet the best one [1 Corinthians 12:31]; namely, the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking for our Lord—boldly, courageously witnessing to the grace of our blessed and wonderful Savior [1 Corinthians 14:1].

 Now you look how he will magnify that.  He says, “Follow after charity,” and love, “and desire grace gifts, above all, the gift of prophecy” [1 Corinthians 14:1].  Then he describes it here in verses 24 and 25:

If you prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

And thus the secrets of his heart are manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth—

[1 Corinthians 14:24-25]

 

Look again at verse 31—

For all of you may prophesy… that all may learn, and all may be comforted—

[1 Corinthians 14:31]

And then [verse] 39—

 Brethren, covet to prophesy…

[1 Corinthians 14:39]

This is the great, marvelous, first gift of God; a grace gift, that we magnify the Lord openly, boldly, beautifully, spiritually, graciously.  Not in a way that makes people weary in the dullness of it, but in a marvelous outpouring of the Spirit of God, witnessing to the grace of our wonderful Lord. O Master, that we all might have the grace gift of prophecy! [1 Corinthians 14:1].

I think of the story of Moses in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Numbers.  God said to Moses:

Moses, you cannot pastor all these people.  You have to have people to help you.

They have to be those around you to bear the burden and the responsibility of so great a parish, so many people—

So God said to Moses—

You choose seventy men, elders of the children of Israel, and I will place upon them the Spirit that I have placed upon you.

[Numbers 11:16-17] 

So Moses did according to the word of God, and he chose seventy elders from among the people, and they were gathered there in the tabernacle, in the church, in the house of God [Numbers 11:24]—and they prophesied!  [Numbers 11:25].  This eleventh chapter of the Book of Numbers: the Spirit of God that was upon Moses was poured out upon those seventy, and they prophesied; they magnified and glorified God [Numbers 11:25].

And while they were there in “church”:

Somebody  came running up to Moses in the tabernacle and said to him: Moses, in the camp down there are Eldad and Medad; and they are prophesying in the camp.

And Joshua, the son of Nun, the right-hand young man who stood by the side of Moses, said to Moses:

Moses, let me go down and rebuke them.  They are not up here in the “church” among the seventy prophesying and magnifying the Lord, Let me go down and rebuke them.

And Moses said to Joshua: Are you jealous for me?

Oh, said Moses, I would to God that all of the Lord’s people prophesied.

That all of them prophesied!  All of them magnified the Lord!  All of them glorified the Lord!

[Numbers 11: 27-29]

That’s the way with us: Lord, grant it that not just in the pulpit here is there great magnification and glorification of our Christ, and not just in the staff around the pastor.  God grant that all of His people prophesy; that they speak out for Jesus, that they magnify the Lord; that they witness for our glorious Savior.  And what a wonder it would be and what a marvel it is, when we witness for our Lord.  That’s the most marvelous thing in the world.  And that’s the greatest thing that can happen in a family, or in a heart, or in a house, or in a home, or among children.  Think of the power of Christ to change, to save, to convert, to recreate.  We can’t do it.  Our only hope is to cast ourselves upon the mercies of God, “Lord, the children we have.  Lord, Lord, the problems we face.  Lord, my own soul and my own life.  God, magnify Thy name through me!”

And that’s the most marvelous thing that can happen: the man is a new creation, it’s a new home, it’s a new child, it’s a new somebody.  There’s nothing like somebody being brought to the Lord Jesus; and the Lord healing, or helping, or curing, or recreating, or forgiving, or blessing.  There’s nothing comparable in human life like that.  Ah, Lord, that’s why the gospel is called the “Good News.”  An old Anglo-Saxon godspel, “good news,” it’s the best news in the world; there’s no news like it, none like it.

 I remember when Dr. Salk announced to the world that he had found a vaccine against poliomyelitis, that dreaded disease.  And I had seen it since I was a boy pastor, a teenage pastor, the awesomeness of that terrible disease.  “Now the good news,” he announced to the world, “I have found an immunization against it.”  And, I presume, you were as I was.  I went down to the doctor’s office and he gave me a little cookie, a little sweet cookie.  And on that cookie he had poured out a little of that vaccine.  The whole thing tasted good.  And I am immunized forever against that disease.  Man, that’s good news!  That’s good news!  That’s wonderful news!

 The Bible and its message, Jesus and our Savior and what He can do is not dull and humdrum, commonplace; it’s the grandest thing in the world!  If Jesus can somehow be brought into the life of a man, or a family, or a child, or a people, it’s a new creation.  Good news!

 I came across this week in my reading, one of the funniest things.  Everybody in the whole world had a candle, or an oil lamp, or a coal oil lamp, or whatever.  I studied by a coal oil lamp.  When I went to preach at the church, all the folks brought lanterns and we hung them up around, fought the bugs. Between them, and when a bug would go through those little mantels, you know, the little things—good night!  People would stand up and rush right in the middle of my sermon over there to their particular lamp and try to keep the thing going and on and on.  Well, in my reading this week; I have here a picture of a sign placed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Ohio—and there’s something new in that room; there’s something new.  And this is what the little announcement says, the little card says, it says, “This room is equipped with Edison electric light.”  Then it says, “Do not attempt to light with a match.”  Don’t go up there to that electric light and try to do it with a match, “Do not attempt to light with a match.”  That’s the only kind of light anybody had ever seen in the world before, “Don’t attempt to light with a match.”  Simply turn the switch on the wall by the door.  It’s a miracle!  And then underneath are these words, “The use of electricity is in no way harmful to health, nor does it affect the soundness of sleep.”   It’s a wonderful thing—the electric light!  Think of that!  And the guy put up in his hotel room, and he put lights in his hotel room, and it shined, and it worked.  Oh, what a wonderful thing to the whole world: the light that shines!

But, man, that’s no news at all compared to the light that shines in Jesus our Lord! [2 Corinthians 4:6].  It’s the best news in the world!  That little child, that little boy and that girl; the finest thing that can ever happen to that child is that the child come to know Jesus.  That’s the best news that he could ever hear.

 Here’s a young man in the strength of his life, or a young woman, and they stand at the threshold of young manhood and young womanhood, the best news in the world is that for you in your decision to marry; in your decision in work; in the decision of the cast, and turn, and color of your life, make it Christ-like.  Make it Jesus-like; open your heart God-ward, and heavenward; and let Him bless you.  That’s the best announcement, the best news, in the world!  There’s nothing like it!  And that’s the glorious, grace gift that Paul says “I wish all of the people had.  I wish all of them witnessed, and testified, and magnified the Lord” [1 Corinthians 14:5].

  Dear people, I’m through.  Isn’t that another world from what usually you think when we speak of grace gifts—charismatic gifts?  The most charismatic gift of all is: let us magnify the Lord, let us love and serve our wonderful Savior.  Let us bow down before Him; let us call upon His name; let us invite Him into our hearts and homes.  Let Him walk by our sides as a fellow pilgrim; let Him open the door for us to heaven, and let’s look forward to that triumphant day when we’re with Him and one another, world without end [1 Thessalonians 4:15-17].  That’s the Spirit of God in His grace gifts in our hearts.  Now, may we stand together?

Wonderful, wonderful, Savior whose name is Wonderful [Isaiah 9:6], O Lord, that we might have the words, and the syllables, and sentences to magnify Thee more, to tell of Thy glorious and wonderful goodness, and greatness, and grace.   And, our Lord, bless Thou the appeal this morning to the hearts of these who listen.  And dear Savior, in Thy goodness and grace, call to Thyself families, and couples, and souls.  May this be a great day of decision and commitment.  And unashamedly and boldly, gladly and triumphantly, gratefully and believingly, may they come and stand by us and with us.

 In this moment that we make appeal, nobody leave: we stand in the presence of God and pray, just for this moment.  And then I’ll give you opportunity in a moment to leave.  But right now, if anyone moves, he moves toward this altar.  “Pastor, my whole family is coming today.  My wife and children, all of us are coming.  We’re on the way.”    Or just a couple you, “We’ve decided for God and here we stand.”  Or just one somebody you, “I am coming to give my heart to Jesus.” Or, “I am coming to follow the Lord in baptism [Matthew 3:13-17], as He has written in His Holy Word” [Matthew 28:19]. Or, “I am coming to put my life in this church.” Or, “I am coming to answer God’s call in my soul.” Make the decision now while we pray.  And in this moment, when we sing our song of appeal, down one of those stairways if you are in the balcony; down one of these aisles if you are in the press of people in this lower floor, “Pastor, we have decided for God and here we stand.”  Take that first step. It will be the most meaningful you have ever made in your life.  Do it now, make it now.

And our Lord, bless those who come.  Thank Thee for that sweet harvest, in Thy wonderful and saving name, amen.

While we pray, while we wait just for you, welcome as you come, while we sing our hymn of appeal.  God bless you.

THE GRACE GIFTS OF GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 12:1, 4, 11

12-27-81

I.          The tragic sadness to overshadow the grace gifts with fanaticism

A.  The gifts of the Spirit usually remembered by the gibberish of speaking in unknown tongues

B.  But the Holy Scriptures so different

1.  Never mentioned in the four gospel stories

2. Not mentioned in theological treatise of Romans(Romans 12:6-8)

3.  Not mentioned from 2 Corinthians to Revelation

C.  Paul speaks concerning such a phenomenon(1 Corinthians 14:8-9, 19, 23)

II.         The work of the Holy Spirit(John 16:13-14)

A.  The purpose of the gift of languages at Pentecost – that those in whose language the apostles spoke might know about Jesus(Acts 2:2-4, 6-11)

1.  Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch(Acts 8:26-35)

2.  The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of deacons, Stephen, Philip(Acts 6:3, 8-10)

3. Always glorifying Jesus, bringing men to Jesus

a. Little crippled boy healed by surgeon

B.  The one great purpose of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to magnify Jesus

1. Why the apostle emphasizes the best of all gifts – prophecy(1 Corinthians 12:28, 31, 14:1, 6)

a. Prophemi – “to speak out”

2. We are to covet, pray for the best gifts(1 Corinthians 31, 14:1, 23-25, 31, 39)

a. Moses(Numbers 11:16-17, 25-29)

3.  The marvelous work of the Holy Spirit – bringing men to Christ, a new creation, a new life

a. Dr. Salk

b. Label in hotel room “Room equipped with Edison electric light”