God’s Spiritual Gifts to Believers at the Beginning of the Church Age
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
A. Spiritual gifts have a two-fold purpose within the church:
1. To glorify God, the giver of the gifts - 1 Peter 4:10-11. (The proper use of spiritual gifts never draw attention to self, but—as the Holy Ghost Who gave them—points to Christ!)
2. To enable believers to edify one other in the church - Ephesians 4:11-15
B. Sign gifts were given to win the Jews to Christ (1Cor 1:22; 14:21-25) – remember, that on the Day of Pentecost – 3,000 JEWS were saved
C. These gifts of the Spirit were passing gifts and, by the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians, these particular gifts were already passing off the scene. Men, like the Apostle Paul, with the gifts of miracles, healings, prophecy (foretelling), and tongues with interpretation were already losing the ability to perform these particular gifts. We will deal with this, a little more in-depth in another message.
D. These passing gifts were to be replaced by “that which is perfect” in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.
II. Review – the Gift List
A. Three groups of Gifts
1. Sign/Miracle Gifts
2. Service/Ministry Gifts
3. Servant/God’s Calling Gifts
B. Two of the groups are sought after most of all: Sign, and Servant Gifts
C. But Service Gifts are most neglected
D. We have studied the following Sign Gifts so far:
1. Word of Wisdom – a spiritual understanding about situations, and able to teach that awareness to others
2. Word of Knowledge – knowing the mind of God and speaking it even though not written down in Scripture yet
3. Faith – the ability to believe that God will do something specifically just because you ask for it
4. Healing – the ability to heal anybody, anywhere, anyhow!!!
III. Message - Miracles - The Working Of Miracles – 1Cor 12:10
A. Miracle Defined
1. Literally, a wonder or wonderful thing – something that is beyond the norm, or what we expect
2. Something contrary to the known laws of nature; a supernatural event that is unnatural, and was done by either God, or the devil.
B. The Primary use of Miracles – by the Jews
1. God promises to use signs and wonders (Ex 3:20) on behalf of His people, the Jews (Ex 7:9)
2. God used miracles for four distinct reasons:
a. To Authenticate the Messenger. (Pharaoh, an unbeliever, required a sign from Moses as and authentication of God’s message.)
b. To Authenticate the Message prove that it was truly from God, and not just made up
c. To convince His people that He was leading them, and not the leaders (i.e., Moses, Joshua, etc) God gave him three signs to perform before them: his rod became a serpent, and was again a rod; his hand became leprous, and was then restored; and he could turn the water of the Nile into blood (Exodus 4:1-5; 6:6-7).
d. To show the mighty power of God, who said, I will “multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt ... and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt” (Exodus. 7:3-5). The ten plagues followed, which were miracles or signs of the power of God--signs not only to the Egyptians, but also to the Israelites and to the nations, as is shown by the reference to them afterwards
C. The First Miracles
1. Creation (Gen 1)
a. Everything out of nothing!
b. Dirt from Water
c. Man from Dust
d. Woman from a Rib
2. A talking serpent (Gen 3:1-5)
3. The next miracle is in Gen 5:24 – Enoch’s rapture – disappearance
4. The flooding of the entire world (Gen 6:13)
5. The creation of Languages (Gen 11:6-9)
6. The appearance of Jehovah to Abraham (Gen 18:1,2,16,17)
7. The destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and 2 other towns (Gen 19:24) and the supernatural deliverance of Lot from it
8. The barrenness of Abimelech’s entire family (Gen 20:18)
9. The birth of Isaac (Gen 21:1,2) – a miracle
10. The dramatic appearance of a Ram in the bushes next to Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son (Gen 22:12,13)
11. The closing and opening of Jacob’s wives’ wombs (Gen 29:31, etc).
12. God spoke to various people in the Old testament, verbally, through dreams, etc.
13. Joseph perfectly predicts the future (Gen 41)
14. Jacob prophesies of his family for the next 3,500 years (Gen 49)!!!
15. The Lord speaks through a burning bush that does not burn up (Gen 3:1-5)
D. Here is a list of a few Old Testament Miracles after Moses came on the scene:
1. Aaron's rod becomes a serpent (Ex 7:10-12)
2. Moses’ hand become leprous and then gets healed
3. The Ten Plagues
a. Water made blood (Ex 7:20-25)
b. Frogs (Ex 8:5-14)
c. Lice (Ex 8:16-18)
d. Flies (Ex 8:20-24)
e. Murrain (Ex 9:3-6)
f. Boils and blains (Ex 9:8-11)
g. Thunder and hail (Ex 9:22-26)
h. Locusts (Ex 10:12-19)
i. Darkness (Ex 10:21-23)
j. Death of the firstborn (Ex 12:29-20)
4. Parting of the Red Sea (Ex 14:21-31)
5. The closing in again of the Red Sea on the Egyptian army
6. Curing the bitter waters of Marah (Ex 15:23-25)
7. Manna every morning for 40 years (Ex 16:14-35)
8. Water from the rock at Rephidim (Ex 17:5-7)
9. Supply of Quail every evening
10. Death of Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2)
11. Death of Korah and his followers by the earth opening up and swallowing them, and their families (Nu 16:31-40)
12. Aaron's rod budding (Nu 17:8)
13. Water flowing from the rock at Meribah (Nu 20:7-11)
14. The healing of thousands by looking at the Brazen serpent (Nu 21:8-9)
15. Balaam's ass speaking (Nu 22:21-35)
16. Clothes and shoes not wearing out for 40 years
17. The Parting of the flooded Jordan River (Jos 3:14-17)
18. Jericho's massive walls fall flat (Jos 6:6-26)
19. Sun and moon stay up for an extra 24 hours (Jos 10:12-14)
20. Withering and cure of Jeroboam's hand (1 Ki 13:4-6)
21. Widow's oil and flour do not fail during the famine (1 Ki 17:14-16)
22. Raising the widow's son back to life (1 Ki 17:17-24)
23. Burning of the soldiers (2 Ki 1:10-12)
24. Dividing of Jordan by Elijah (2 Ki 2:7-8)
25. Elijah’s rapture - bodily carried to heaven (2 Ki 2:11)
26. Dividing of Jordan by Elisha (2 Ki 2:14)
27. Cure of the water of Jericho (2 Ki 2:19-22)
28. Supply of water to the army (2 Ki 3:16-20)
29. Increase of the widow's oil (2 Ki 4:2-7)
30. Raising the Shunammite's son (2 Ki 4:32-37)
31. Healing of the deadly pottage (2 Ki 4:38-41)
32. Feeding the 100 with 20 loaves (2 Ki 4:42-44)
33. Cure of Naaman's leprosy (2 Ki 5:10-14)
34. Swimming of the axe-head (2 Ki 6:5-7)
35. Resurrection of the dead man on touching Elisha's bones (2 Ki 13:21)
36. Return of the shadow on the dial (2 Ki 20:9-11)
37. Deliverance of the three Hebrew children (Da 3:19-27)
38. Daniel from the lions (Da 6:16-23)
39. Jonah saved from the great whale (Jon 2:1-10)
E. New Testament Miracles
1. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, turning of the water into wine, raising the dead, healing the sick, stilling the storm, healing the lame, causing the blind to see, withered hand, money in a fish, etc.
2. Miracles were called by several names in the New Testament:
a. Signs (Mk 16:17),
b. Miracles (John 2:11),
c. Wonders (Acts 2:43),
d. Powers (Mt 10:1),
e. And Mighty works (Mt 11:20)
F. What Does All this mean?
1. Our Bible is a book of miracles – don’t be ashamed of it
2. The greatest miracle? Resurrection of Jesus Christ
G. The Great Counterfeiter (Mt 24:24)
1. Satan can only be “LIKE the most High” – never can supersede Him. Satan was the FIRST great pretender
2. Satan has always counterfeited God’s miracles
a. Moses’ rod turning into a snake – Satan matched it
b. The judgments of God – Satan matched them
c. The creation of life (Rev 13:15)
d. Healing and even the resurrection from the dead (Rev 13:3,12)
e. Fire from heaven (Rev 13:13)
3. Here are some great truth’s about Satan’s power
a. Satan is limited in what he can do (Job 1,2)
b. Satan can not undo the judgments of God!!!
c. Satan cannot keep up with the judgments of God
d. Satan cannot undo what God has done in your soul (Heb 13:5)
4. Here are some sad truth’s about Satan’s powers
a. People believe them more than God’s power
b. Christians are easily deceived by them, when they are ignorant of the Bible
A. God is still a God of miracles in our times, but these miracles are done through His sovereign will, in answer to prayer, but not through the medium of human means.
1. The Miracle of Salvation
2. The Miracle of Divine Healing
3. The Miracle of Removing Insurmountable Problems
4. The List Could Go On And On! God's people continue to experience miracles, but not sign gifts.
B. Miracles still happen, but not miracle workers.
1. No one can feed 5,000 with five fishes and two loaves of bread;
2. No one can walk on water
3. No one can raise the dead after they have been dead for four days
4. No one give sight to men who were born blind
5. No one can heal the mongoloid mentally retarded.
6. But there is a God in heaven who CAN (Lk 1:37)
C. How Should Christian’s Live?
1. In confident hope – never defeated, or depressed!!!
2. In confident, fervent, believing prayer
3. Undaunted when miracles don’t happen
4. Patient for miracles to STILL happen
5. Focused on experiencing the important miracles
6. Sceptical, but not stoic!
D. Next Week, Prophecy.