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The Doctrine of Christ - Contents
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    LESSON SEVENTY-EIGHT Spiritual Gifts

    1. When Jesus ascended to heaven after overcoming the world (John 16:33), he shared the fruits of his victory with those still left upon the earth by bestowing upon them rich gifts. Ephesians 4:7, 8.TDOC 239.2

    2. These gifts were in the nature of special experiences of service which would be ministered unto them. Ephesians 4:11, 12; Romans 12:6-8.TDOC 239.3

    3. The relative importance of these gifts to the church seems to be indicated by the order in which they are mentioned. 1 Corinthians 12:28.TDOC 239.4

    4. All the gifts are the manifestation of the working of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, in the different members of the church. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.TDOC 239.5

    5. These gifts must be exercised in that love which is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, in order that the service may be acceptable to God. 1 Corinthians 13:1, 2; Romans 5:5.TDOC 239.6

    6. All the gifts are to be desired, but especially the privilege of speaking for God. 1 Corinthians 14:1.TDOC 239.7

    7. It is more profitable for the church that one should speak in a tongue which all can understand. 1 Corinthians 14:2-5.TDOC 240.1

    8. If one speaks in a tongue not understood by all, he should seek to be able to interpret his instruction to the people. 1 Corinthians 14:8-13, 18, 19.TDOC 240.2

    9. The gift of tongues and the gift of prophesying are for different purposes. 1 Corinthians 14:22-25.TDOC 240.3

    10. In the exercise of all these gifts care should be taken to avoid anything like confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:26, 31-33, 39, 40.TDOC 240.4


    The measure of the gifts

    “The three short clauses of the citation [Ephesians 4:8] supply, in effect, a threefold measure of the gifts of Christ to his church. They are gifts of the ascended Savior. They are gifts bestowed from the fruit of his victory. And they are gifts to men. Measure them, first, by the height to which he has risen from what a depth! Measure them, again, by the spoils he has already won. Measure them, once more, by the wants of mankind, by the need he has undertaken to supply. As he is, so he gives; as he has, so he gives; as he has given, so will he give till we are filled unto all the fullness of God.”TDOC 240.5

    The equipment for ministry

    “He gave gifts to men-he gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, with a view to the full equipment of the saints for work of ministration, for building up of the body of Christ. Yes, and some martyrs, some missionaries, some church rulers and Christian statesmen, some poets, some deep thinkers and theologians, some leaders of philanthropy and helpers of the poor; all given for the same end-to minister to the life of his church, to furnish it with the means for carrying on its mission, and to enable every saint to contribute his part to the commonwealth of Christ according to the measure of Christ’s gift to each.”TDOC 240.6

    Duty to be learned from the Scriptures

    “The gifts of the Spirit have been manifested in the rise and development of the threefold message proclaimed by Seventh-day Adventists, and from its early beginnings the instruction given through the spirit of prophecy has guided the movement. This gift has been instrumental, under the blessing of God, in preserving the spirit of unity, in warning against specious errors, in fostering the spiritual life of the church, and in inspiring courage to undertake and vigorously, to press a world-wide work. The NOTES in this book selected from the instruction derived from this gift are an emphatic testimony to its practical and spiritual value.TDOC 240.7

    “The gifts of the Spirit should all have their proper places. The Bible is an everlasting rock. It is our rule of faith and practice. In it the man of God is ‘thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ If every member of the church of Christ were holy, harmless and separate from sinners, and searched the Holy Scriptures diligently and with much prayer for duty, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we think, they would be able to learn their whole duty in ‘all good works.’ Thus ‘the man of God may be perfect.’ But as the reverse exists, and ever has existed, God in much mercy has pitied the weakness of his people, and has set the gifts in the gospel church to correct our errors, and to lead us to his living Word. Paul says that they are for the ‘perfecting of the saints,’ ‘till we all come in the unity of the faith.’ The extreme necessity of the church in its imperfect state is God’s opportunity to manifest the gifts of the Spirit.TDOC 241.1

    “Every Christian is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. The Word should be in front, and the eye of the church should be placed upon it, as the rule to walk by, and the fountain of wisdom, from which to learn duty in ‘all good works.’ But if a portion of the church err from the truths of the Bible and become weak and sickly, and the flock become scattered, so that it seems necessary for God to employ the gifts of the Spirit to correct, revive, and heal the erring, we should let him work. Yea more, we should pray for him to work, and plead earnestly that he would work by the Spirit’s power, and bring the scattered sheep to his fold.”-James White, in the The Review and Herald, April 21, 1851.TDOC 241.2

    The design and the importance of the gifts

    “When the design of the gifts is clearly seen, then the importance of this subject will be understood. They were given for the perfecting of the church of Christ. When the apostolic church was pure and holy, having just learned the gospel from the great Head. of the church, and having been baptized with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, the gifts of the Spirit were given to them, for their edification and profit. And we have no Scripture evidence that they were designed for a limited portion of the gospel age, to be taken away from the church in a few years; but the proof is abundant that they were designed to exist in the church as long as the saints in their mortal state needed the teaching of the Bible and the Holy Spirit.TDOC 241.3

    “It is universally admitted that a portion of the gifts exist in the church at this day, such as ‘the word of wisdom,’ and ‘the word of knowledge,’ and no one denies that ‘pastor s’ and ‘teachers’ were to be in the church until its perfection. Then, if a portion of the gifts were to remain in the church, why not all of them remain? Why should the professed church of Christ pick out from that catalogue of gifts, so freely bestowed by the great Head of the church, those that suit them best, and trample the others in the dust? It is sometimes asserted, by those who oppose the operations of the Spirit of God, that the gifts were designed for the apostles alone: but if this is true, then the church of Christ has been destitute of ‘the word of wisdom,’ ‘the word of knowledge,’ and the, gift of ‘faith’ for about 1800 years, and those who have professed to be ‘teachers’ and ‘pastors’ have assumed a calling which ceased to exist at the death of the apostles. It is therefore very evident that all the gifts run parallel with each other, none of them ending before the rest, and that they were to extend quite through the gospel age.TDOC 241.4

    “The gifts were given for ‘the perfecting of the saints,’ and as the church is in an imperfect state, they are all needed. They were to be employed for this purpose ‘till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ The church has never yet reached this state of unity, knowledge, fullness, and perfection; therefore the gifts should not be dismissed, until the object for which they were given is gained.”-Ibid.TDOC 242.1

    A rational conclusion

    “As God has ever distributed his spiritual blessings according to the necessities of his people, it is rational and right to conclude that the abundant manifestations of the Holy Spirit, mentioned by the prophet Joel and the apostle Peter, were designed for the ‘remnant,’ just before they enter the ‘time of trouble, such as never was,’ the ‘great and terrible day of the Lord.’ Before the world was drowned with the flood, God interposed, and Noah was instructed to prepare the ark. The divine power moved upon the beasts, cattle, fowls, and creeping things, and they two by two moved along into the ark with Noah and his family, land the Lord shut them in.’ Just before fire and brimstone was rained upon Sodom. and Gomorrah, two angels were sent to hasten Lot in his escape. God showed signs and wonders to his people in Egypt, through Moses and Aaron. He also parted the Red Sea before them. When the powers of earth and hell were arrayed against Christ and his apostles, the covenant was confirmed by signs and wonders and mighty deeds of the Holy Ghost. And can we believe that the saints are to pass through the perils of the last days, the ‘time of trouble, such as never was,’ unaided by the power of the Spirit? Certainly we cannot. He whose ways are equal and who knows our wants, will pour out his Spirit, according to the prophet Joel, and will impart strength to the meek, to enable them to ‘stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.”-Ibid.TDOC 242.2

    For the last days

    “The Jewish age, notwithstanding its apostasies, opened and closed with special manifestations of the Spirit of God. And it is not reasonable to suppose that the Christian age, the light of which, compared with the former dispensation, is as the light of the sun to the feeble rays of the Moon, should commence in glory and close in obscurity. And since a special work of the Spirit was necessary to prepare a people for the first advent of Christ, how much more so for his Second Advent!TDOC 242.3

    “God has never manifested his power to his people simply for their gratification; but according to their necessities has he wrought for them. Then we may safely conclude that as his people are passing through the perils of the last days in the final struggle with the aroused powers of darkness, when false prophets were to have power to show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect, our gracious God will bless and strengthen his fainting people with the gifts, as well as the graces, of the Holy Spirit.”-Id., January 25, 1870.TDOC 243.1

    The gifts to be revived

    “Since the great apostasy these gifts have rarely been manifested; and for this reason professed Christians generally suppose that they were designed to be limited to the period of the primitive church. But from the time of the primitive Christians to the present there have been manifestations among the most devoted followers of Jesus, which have been recognized by nearly all of the leading denominations as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Then should not the errors and the unbelief of the church be assigned as a reason why these manifestations have been so seldom, rather than that God has taken these blessings from the church? When the people of God attain to primitive faith and practice, as they most certainly will under the last message, the latter rain will be poured out, and all the gifts will be revived. The former rain was given at the commencement of the Christian age, in the time of the sowing of the gospel seed, to cause it to germinate and take good root. Then the church enjoyed the gifts. And when the latter rain shall be poured out at the close of the dispensation, to ripen the golden harvest for the garner of God, then will the gifts of the Holy Spirit be manifested in all their fullness.”-Ibid.TDOC 243.2

    The latter rain

    “We say, then, that one great reason why the gifts of the Spirit are no more manifest among us, is because the church is not humble enough to bear them. Will the Lord trust those whose affections are still attached to this world, and who have a large share of pride left, with the gifts of the Spirit? If he should, it would be very likely to build them up in their errors, and ruin them. This he will not do. The latter rain is coming, and God is waiting to be gracious. The refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord, and it should be our concern to be ready for it, so as to share it largely.”-Id., April 21, 1851TDOC 243.3

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