Derek Prince - Why Exercise the Gifts of the Spirit?
If you come into this experience and you walk in it, it will bring you into a new dimension of personal communication with God. I spoke to you yesterday about finding your place. I think I challenged some of you to seek God for your calling. This is one of the ways that God can begin to direct you into your place. I have seen people’s eyes fill with tears of gratitude when God through interpretation that they received themselves gave them words of direction for their life. It kind of made God that much more real to them. It made the whole spiritual life much more real. I want to begin by just giving you some scriptural encouragements to exercise the gift generally. That’s step number one.
The first Scripture is in 1 Corinthians 12:7 and 11. Introducing this list of the nine spiritual gifts Paul says: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. Notice the gifts are manifestations of the Spirit. The Spirit dwelling within you is not visible, cannot be perceived by human senses. But the gifts that proceed out impact human senses. It brings the Holy Spirit in you into relationship to human senses. Though it’s given to an individual, notice it’s given for the profit of all. In other words, if God gives you, let’s say, a prophecy and you’re too fainthearted to give it out, not only have you cheated yourself but you’ve cheated the other members of the body of Christ.
You see? It’s a stewardship, it’s not something that you just use if you feel like it, for yourself. Your responsible. God may want to speak to your neighbor through you. He may want to speak to the whole assembly. He may want to speak the preacher. So, don’t have the attitude, "If I don’t feel like it, I don’t think I’ll do it". Because, that’s not responsible. It’s given to each one for the profit of all, for the benefit of all. And it’s each one. Again, at the end in verse 11 of the same chapter: But one and the same Spirit works all these things distributing to each one individually as He wills. All right?
Notice it begins and ends with each one. Paul’s attitude is each believer is entitled to his manifestation of the Spirit. But the Spirit decides what manifestation each one of us will have. And then at the end of that chapter, verse 31: For earnestly desire the best gifts, and yet I show you a more excellent way... Which is, of course, the way of love in the next chapter. Well, a lot of people use that Scripture as a stick to beat Pentecostals with. "Well, love is the more excellent way". But that ignores the fact that Paul tells us to covet earnestly the best gifts. Love is not a gift, love is a way, love is fruit. So, if we don’t covet earnestly the best gifts, what are we doing? We’re disobeying Scripture, see? Scripture tells us to do it.
Let me say what I said yesterday. The gifts are not toys, they’re tools. You need them to do the job. And if you refuse God’s equipment and can’t do the job, you’re going to be answerable to God for the job you didn’t do. Then in chapter 14, verse 1: Pursue love... A lot of people stop there but it doesn’t stop there. Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. It doesn’t say pursue love or desire spiritual gifts. They’re not options or alternatives. It’s pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but particularly that you may prophesy.
Are you particularly desiring this morning to prophesy? If not, you’re not obeying Scripture. And then verse 26 says: How is it then brethren, whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation? When God’s people come together, we should not come each of us merely to receive, we should come each of us with something to contribute. One of the main ways we can contribute is out of the gifts of the Spirit.
See, that’s God’s equalizer. Some people are naturally gifted, they’re intelligent, they’re educated, they’re articulate, they’re not embarrassed, they can stand up and often speak too long! But, there are a lot of others who are kind of mousey and they don’t have much and say, "What can I do"?
Well, if it rested on your natural ability, that might be so. The truth of the matter is God gives you supernatural ability. Paul says He gives it to the part that needs it most. You have two people in a church. One is a doctor, the other is what we call in Britain a char lady. You wouldn’t know what that is, but a cleaning woman. In the average non spiritual church the doctor becomes a deacon, the char lady just sits in a pew. Everybody knows that’s her place. But when the Holy Spirit moves, the doctor is still a deacon but the char lady becomes a prophetess. See? That’s God’s wisdom, that’s God justice. If we refuse the supernatural, we just tie ourselves down to our own limitations.