SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR THE BELIEVER

THE TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF HEALING, MIRACLES, AND FAITH

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

The Gift of Healing

The fifth temporary spiritual gift was the gift of healing, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9, and it was the ability to heal at will. The apostles and many of their close associates had the gift of healing. It was the ability to heal people with all kinds of diseases to provide a highly visible platform of recognition of their authority and communication of the message of God. The gift of healing was designed to focus attention on the message of apostles, prophets, pastors, and evangelists before the New Testament was completed and circulated. Healing certified the message of the Gospel with supernatural phenomena. Those who were given the gift were not required to exercise their faith for the gift to work. For instance, someone with the gift of healing in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age could simply notice that a person's eye was red and inflamed. In sympathy, he could say, "Be healed" and that person would be instantly healed, whether he believed that the healing would take place or not. That was because the nature of this gift was to establish the authority of the apostles or close associates. People would see tremendous wonders and pay attention to the message being communicated.

to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, (1 Corinthians 12:9)

The gift of healing was closely related to the gift of miracles. Although they were different, they both were supernatural. A man with the gift of healing could heal at will. He could heal anyone at any time he chose to do so. Many with this gift had the gift of miracles as well. Healing does not exist today as a spiritual gift because it ceased with the completion of the Canon as did all other temporary spiritual gifts according to 1 Corinthians 13:10. Any healing today must come directly from God, and not through any delegated human authority or intermediary. Normally, healing is performed through medicine or even a tranquil mental attitude so that the body can heal itself. While this normal healing capability of the human body is a grace gift from God to us all, it is not the gift of healing.

but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:10)

Healing is not a question of God's power. Healing is not even a matter of someone's faith. It is the wisdom of God's sovereign will in individual situations. God heals today only in special cases in which He has a special purpose, such as extending your life so that you can learn doctrine. However, no one has the right to take any credit for such healing. The credit lies with the wisdom and sovereignty of God.

True healing also occurs when a demon-possessed person experiences the demon leaving his body. In this way, such a person is then "cured." This method is used by Satan to establish false teachers. This is one of the big problems in the Charismatic Movement. With their emphasis on signs and wonders, miracles, tongues and their interpretation and so forth, they put emphasis on these temporary spectacular gifts where none should be. They fail to put the emphasis on the message being communicated such as an accurate Gospel message or an accurate doctrinal message. In fact, you would be hard pressed to go to any charismatic Bible college or seminary and find anyone who is a real scholar in the Scripture.

There is a dearth of scholarship and always has been in pentecostalism. They put abnormal emphasis on emotions and ecstatics. They emphasize all of these so-called sign gifts. There are supernatural occurrences that are manufactured by the devil to deceive people and to keep them away from the accurate communication of the Gospel or accurate communication of Bible doctrine. The pentecostals don't use spiritual gifts the way they were used when the gifts were bonafide. All these supernatural, spectacular, spiritual gifts were always used to draw people’s attention to the communication of a message from the Lord. The emphasis was never upon the supernatural occurrence as the pentecostals believe it is. It was not the important thing, but a way of drawing a crowd.

In drawing a crowd today, it might be people going out and inviting others to the local church or to a Bible class. You might use different ways like passing out flyers and calling people in order to get them under the hearing of the Word of God. The ways and means are not important. What is important is that people receive an accurate exposition of the Word of God. These gifts were for that. They were a means to an end. They were not an end unto themselves.

Paul’s Use of Healing in His Ministry

Paul had the gift of healing. In Acts 19:11-12, people could just touch Paul and they were instantly healed. It was used by Paul to establish his apostleship immediately since he murdered more Christians in the first century than anyone else before the great persecutions began.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19:11-12)

Once Paul's authority and message were established and generally accepted, God withdrew the gift of healing from him. It was no longer needed. Paul was not able to heal two of his closest friends - Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25-27 and Trophimus in 2 Timothy 4:20. He solicited prayer on their behalf, but he could not heal them. Paul had to leave Trophimus behind at Miletus because he could not heal him.

But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. (Philippians 2:25-27)

Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. (2 Timothy 4:20)

Paul wasn’t able to heal himself either in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. He prayed three times to heal himself, but it didn’t happen. God would remove the thorn in the flesh eventually. The thorn demon was a messenger from Satan to buffet him and keep him humble. This suffering for blessing was to prevent him from becoming too proud from all the marvelous revelations that God had given him regarding the Church Age and the Eternal State. Paul could not heal himself. Why? The spiritual gift of healing had been removed. If it was that way with the greatest of all apostles, it was probably the way it was with all the apostles.

And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Linkage of the Gift of Healing to Communication Gifts

Anyone with the gift of healing could not use this gift unless they had the authority to communicate a message from God, like the apostles or their close associates. This is the principle in Acts 19:11-12. This passage established the apostle Paul in the church at Ephesus. God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and demons departed from them. Why could Paul do that? It was because so many people were crowding in and he wanted to heal many to establish his authority and the authority of the Word of God. So, through the handkerchiefs and aprons, Paul could exercise his gift of healing.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19:11-12)

It was somewhat like the woman touching the hem of the Lord's garment and being healed in Matthew 9:21-22. Why did all these miracles occur? It was because through these fantastic spectacular miracles, people would understand that this person and his message must truly be from God. Remember, the Jews sought for signs, wonders, and miracles. Then, these spiritual gifts showed up to impress them. Some concluded that Christ must have been the Messiah and that He must have been their Savior. Through this, they believed in His work on the cross for them and became saved. However, the majority of Jews in client nation Judea rejected Him, and the nation was destroyed in 70 A.D.

for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I shall get well." But Jesus turning and seeing her said, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." And at once the woman was made well. (Matthew 9:21-22)

The Gift of Miracles

The sixth temporary spiritual gift was the gift of miracles, as in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and was the ability to perform a miracle at will. This was the sign that he was from God. Faith of the person who had the gift of performing miracles was not required. It didn't depend on how strong or weak his personal faith was. It depended upon God the Holy Spirit to get the job done. God the Holy Spirit performed the miracles through the one who had the gift of miracles.

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

This temporary spiritual gift was designed to authenticate and certify communication gifts during the Apostolic Age. This gift was used by apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, or evangelists to certify that they had that communication gift as stated in 2 Corinthians 12:12. Today, no one has the gift of miracles. Further, no one has had this gift since 96 A.D. because of the completion of the Canon of Scripture. The greatest miracle of all is the power of Bible doctrine in the life of the positive believer who makes doctrine his highest priority in life.

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. (2 Corinthians 12:12)

God never designed miracles to alleviate suffering. Otherwise, our Lord would have been remiss in not healing everyone when He was on earth. Miracles were designed to focus attention on the power of God and the Word of God. Miracles were designed to focus attention on the one with the message from God. The fact that miracles often alleviated suffering was incidental to their purpose. It was an after-the-fact result. The greatest thing in life is not a miracle, but Bible doctrine resident in your soul. Miracles are sovereign and personal, never in the hands of a human being during the Post-canon period of the Church Age. Paul performed miracles, indicating that he had the gift of apostleship. Therefore, he was given a hearing. Whenever our Lord performed a miracle, it was always in relationship to His message. The message of doctrine is infinitely more important than any miracle that has ever occurred.

People tended to lean on miracles during the Apostolic Age and resulted in apostasy. Whenever someone had a problem, instead of using and applying Bible doctrine, they waited for a miracle to occur to get them out of their situation. Miracles became the basis for leading many into apostasy, even though it was legitimate at that time. Remember, the Jews saw all of these gifts and wonders for 40 years, yet the majority of the Jewish nation rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior. This led to their destruction in 70 A.D. Today, no believer has the gift of miracles. God performs miracles today, as in every age, according to His sovereign will. No miracles are performed today by any human through a spiritual gift.

Be aware that Satan has a clever system for duplicating miracles. Also, you should already know that there is no such thing as an intermediary between you and God for the performance of miracles. There are no ceremonies to perform or system of prayers to complete for a miracle to happen. Believers who practice this today insult God as though He were a genie to grant wishes apart from His sovereign will. The false function of miracles today is designed to call attention to man. It's an ego trip for the arrogant person trying to control and influence a lot of people not understanding Bible doctrine. Miracles are not the issue today. The fact that people ask and pray for miracles means they do not begin to understand the true greatness of God's power or the greatness of His plan for every believer.

One of the easiest things God can do for us is to perform a miracle. This is because it does not require any cooperation or positive volition from any of us. It only requires a decision from the sovereignty of God and the use of His omnipotence. The greatest demonstration of God's power toward mankind was sending His Son to be our substitute on the Cross. The next greatest thing He did was to provide the Fellowship Sphere for Time for all believers. In this way, we can all achieve God’s plan through consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine. In this way, we glorify Him because He provides it all. All we do is stay with His plan through faith.

Miracles do continue to occur in the Church Age under the sovereign decision of the Lord. One notable miracle occurred for a missionary to Africa. This man was trying to make inroads into one particular tribe where demonism was very, very intense. So much so that when he entered a certain village, a woman under demon possession and demon activity was levitating herself over a fire. He didn't rebuke the demon. He took it to the Lord in prayer. You are never to rebuke Satan. We are to resist. The missionary resisted through prayer. He took it to the Lord to undertake and the Lord did. The power of the Spirit came upon that tribe, overruling the power of demons and the demon-possessed woman fell right into the fire. She got out of the fire and the whole tribe realized that the missionary had some power. They saw the missionary pray and saw the woman no longer able to levitate! The missionary understood the language and went in and led every person in that tribe to the Lord Jesus Christ! That was a miracle. It was the exception to the rule that generally, in the Church Age, we do not have miracles occurring as a function of the Church Age.

This is not the objective of the Church Age, because for the first time, we have something greater than any miracle. We have the entire written Word of God for the human race. This is God's miracle of the ages. One line from the Bible is worth all of the miracles that have ever been performed. The Word of God in your life and my life must be more important to us than anything else.

Have you done your homework? Many believers are defeated in their thought life because they are thinking human viewpoint and satanic concepts. They are far too preoccupied with themselves. Their thoughts are mental attitude sins like guilt, fear, worry, anxiety, and self-pity. They are defeated because they are defeated in their thinking. The Bible says that the entire Scripture is the thinking of Jesus Christ as stated in 1 Corinthians 2:16. When you are regularly and consistently involved in the intake and application of Bible truth, you think His thoughts after Him and you have victory in your thought life. To be a winner, you have to be a winner in your motivation and how you think. This gives you that gung-ho attitude toward life. Sure, you'll have times when you're disappointed. It’s normal to be down or "bummed out" at times. It is NOT normal to stay there. You have to keep going in your spiritual life to get over those things. You should not be constantly discouraged or disillusioned in life. You are to have the attitude of a winner! God permits many things in our lives to test us and to make us grow spiritually. You only become a winner when you’re a winner in your motivation, your thoughts, your priorities and in your scale of values. That is where it all begins.

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is the seventh temporary spiritual gift and was a special gift used before the New Testament was completed. A believer with the gift of faith demonstrated faith in a group which was being persecuted or was under great adversity. While other believers would be complaining about some situation or circumstance, this believer would exercise great faith in the deliverance of God and encourage that group to depend on the Lord. This person would exercise his gift of faith on behalf of the group, either to comfort them with promises and doctrine, or to announce that a deliverance was about to come. This was a temporary spiritual gift and was the faith that removes mountains of 1 Corinthians 13:2. This was a companion gift to the gifts of miracles and healings. This temporary spiritual gift is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9.

And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, (1 Corinthians 12:9)

The gift of faith is not synonymous with faith for believing such as faith alone in Christ alone for salvation. It is not synonymous with faith as a non-meritorious system of perception as we use for believing and applying Bible doctrine to life’s situations. We already have that faith as believers in the Church Age. We are born with the ability to express faith. It's not the same as the faith-rest life. It is not synonymous with knowing and claiming the promises or the doctrines of God. This is not knowing the faith-rest rationales, utilizing them and arriving at doctrinal conclusions and taking control of any situation. This is not the faith which is a component of the Christian way of life. We are talking here about the gift of faith, a temporary spiritual companion gift to the gifts of miracles and healing.

This is not the faith-rest life that has always functioned and been a part of spiritual function throughout the Old Testament times and the entire Church Age. When you are filled with and controlled by God the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to be involved in the faith-rest life. You trust the Lord and claim promises, and believe the Word of God and apply it to any situation of heartache or disaster in life. From this act of faith, you gain great peace, power, and blessing. This faith has been for all believers from Adam right on down to us today.

An example of the gift of faith was the apostles to Israel during the days of our Lord who weren't very far along in their spiritual lives. They could have called them the 12 dunderheads instead of the 12 apostles. Many times they failed to understand what the Lord was teaching. He taught them over and over again about why He was the Messiah and was sent by the Father to be the Savior of all mankind. They tended to block that message out and wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman Empire as the Son of David and establish the Davidic Kingdom. They kept confusing the first and second advents of Jesus Christ. It was the women, like Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ and the other Mary along with other women, who provided for our Lord's sustaining blessings. They took care of Him, providing food, transportation, shelter, and clothing. They were the ones who really caught on with the Word.

Many times, the apostles would exercise the gifts of healings and miracles, but they were such dunderheads that God had to give them the "faith" to believe. He gave them this special spiritual gift so that they would believe that they really could do these miracles, signs, wonders and healings. They could see that people were being healed. They would raise people from the dead and cast out demons. They were so lacking in spiritual development that they needed a special temporary spiritual gift - the gift of faith.

Remember, the apostles to Israel were men who were born again, but they didn't express very strong positive signals to the teaching ministry of our Lord. For the most part, they were really dragging their feet in their personal spiritual growth. The women did very well, however. They really tied in and had maximum positive volition to the teaching ministry of our Lord. They had normal spiritual growth and didn’t need the gift of faith. The Lord said something would happen and they believed it. The apostles, in order to believe their miracles would work, had to have a special gift of faith. This was the ability to believe their gift would operate. If theirs was the gift of healing, they had the gift to believe that God would heal. It was a spiritual gift because of their weak personal faith.

Remember that our Lord told Peter, in Luke 22:31-32, that Satan wanted to sift him as wheat. He said I prayed for you. It if wasn't for the intercession of our Lord, the disciples would have been much worse off than they were, spiritually speaking. God just undertook, supported them and provided for them, sustaining them in a wonderful way. They really didn't have the faith to believe that the Lord would work for them. They were always questioning the plan and purpose of God, so God gave them a special gift of faith which does not exist today.

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

Peter, in healing the lame man in Acts 3:6-9, is an illustration of the gift of faith. The lame man was out begging at the entrance of the temple door. Peter told him that he had nothing to give him, but told him to get up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ. That man was healed and Peter had the faith to believe that he would be. It was a temporary spiritual gift that the apostles needed to believe that their miracle gifts would function. The apostles had these three gifts for as long as it was necessary to establish their authority. When this authority was established, no more spiritual gifts of healing, miracles or having the faith to believe your gift would function.

But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-- walk!" And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. And with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God; (Acts 3:6-9)

Remember that the gift of faith is not synonymous with our personal faith in the Lord. We begin by faith. We are saved by faith. We are to live by faith. We are to die by faith. Our total reliance and trust is to be in God with His provision, protection, and His empowerment. The spiritual gift of faith, however, was a special temporary spiritual gift. It was the gift that the apostles and others of the apostolic period had that allowed them to believe that their other spiritual gifts would work. It allowed them to believe that when they told people to be healed, they would be healed. When they said some supernatural occurrence was to take place, it would take place.


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