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Archive for January, 2007

Are You On the List? – Part 1

Recently I’ve been watching a new program on TV called Heroes. In it ordinary people discover they have extraordinary powers. Powers above those of the rest of humanity. Some use their powers for good and others evil. The writers of the show leave it to your imagination as to whether they are brought about by evolution or by God. In the show those with powers can be found on a list made by a dead scientist. The show asks the question: "Are you on that list?"

Believe it or not there are very real people who have been given extraordinary powers alive on this earth at this very moment and you may be one of them. Powers that a mere mortal has no way of possessing aside from a higher power. These people are on a list as well. The list is known as the Book of Life and those who are written in it are given access to gifts and abilities that others can only mock. Like Superman, they are not of this world but strangers and aliens. They are only sojourners here on earth. They have been given great power and yet with that power comes great responsibility. They have been given the mission of bringing hope to humanity and spreading the Good News of man’s redemption.

Let’s look at some of the powers available to them. For that we have to go to God’s word, the Bible. I Corinthians 12. Verses 1-7 in the Amplified Version says;

NOW ABOUT the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed. You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed and whenever the occasion might arise. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same. And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served]. And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.

Now for those powers;

1- V.8a To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom.

Wisdom seems to be one those things lacking in the world today. But we are not talking about man’s wisdom here for as 1 Cor 3:19 says;  For this world’s wisdom is foolishness (absurdity and stupidity) with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their [own] craftiness. We are talking about God’s wisdom. Solomon in all his glory was the wisest man to have ever lived and yet his wisdom was foolishness to God. God’s wisdom sees beyond all we can see. It is the ability to impart to others wisdom that is beyond this world. To make decisions and give guidance that is according to God’s will. It is open to everyone.

Some examples of it in operation are;

– Paul before the council (Acts 23:6)
– Jesus’ answer to the question regarding taxes (Matthew 22:15-22)
– The temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-14)

For I [Myself] will give you a mouth and such utterance and wisdom that all of your foes combined will be unable to stand against or refute. Luke 21:15

However, some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (freed Jewish slaves), as it was called, and [of the synagogues] of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and [the province of] Asia, arose [and undertook] to debate and dispute with Stephen.  But they were not able to resist the intelligence and the wisdom and [the inspiration of] the Spirit with which and by Whom he spoke. Acts 6:9-10

Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away.

But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God–[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence].

None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.

But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].

Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].

For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.

And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. 1 Cor. 2:6-13

Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you]. Colossians 4:5-6

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). James 3:17

2 – V.8b and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit.

Knowledge is the ability to have insight into a situation or problem. In many cases it will allow you to see into a persons heart allowing things hidden to be revealed. It is the ability to understand and see through things others can’t. To have an in-depth understanding of a spiritual issue or situation.

In many situations when I have been praying for people, God’s Spirit revealed to me things that no one knew except them and God.

Some examples of the gift of knowledge in action are;

– Noah building the Ark. (Genesis 9:24)
– Joshua knowing about Achan’s sin. (Joshua 7:10-11)
– Elisha knowing that Gehazi lied to Naaman. (II Kings 5:20-27)

Personally I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness, amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another also. Romans 15:14

Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 1 Cor 2:12-14

But even if [I am] unskilled in speaking, yet [I am] not [unskilled] in knowledge [I know what I am talking about]; we have made this evident to you in all things. 2 Cor. 11:6

Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that knowing these things beforehand, you should be on your guard, lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition [your own steadfastness of mind]. But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)! 2 Peter 3:17-18

To be continued