A Brief Review
The gift of tongues spoken about in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is used differently than when it manifests in Acts 2. Corinthian tongues need an interpretation. They are of the spirit of man and not the mind. Paul speaks in this way of angels as well.
But, he would prefer the gift of prophecy to be exercised in a church setting. Any angelic tongues spoken must have an interpretation. Without that interpretation, speak them to yourself.
I Corinthians 14
28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.
The gift of prophecy means hearing from God and speaking His truth. If you believe that the bible is God’s Holy Word then you believe in the gift of prophecy, and you exercise this gift every time you read His word.
You can also hear God’s word outside of the bible. This is done through prayer. Both are forms of prophecy and both are practiced by Christians today.
Even cessationists hear from God outside of His bible. This is shown through church liturgy, in hymnals, in books of prayer, and in personal prayers. All of it must be in accordance with God’s word. All of it must bring glory to God.
Do We Still Need Faith?
If the cessationist is correct and all of the gifts of the Spirit are gone, does this include the gift of faith? Does the completed bible negate the gift of Faith by the Spirit?
Was martyrdom finished then, every Christian living in cushy first world countries and no longer doubting?
So, maybe only some of the gifts of the Spirit are gone. Well, the bible is the established Word of God and anyone speaking from it is saying God’s word… as a prophet does.
Tongues! Well that’s too strange so we don’t need that one.
Who picks and chooses what gifts remain and what gifts should go? The bible doesn’t say anything about that.
Maybe it’s a new type of faith. The gift of faith is gone and now we receive it in a new way.
Who gives it to us then? Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He left us a Helper which is revealed to be the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-14).
We once had the gift of faith, but now that all of the spiritual gifts have passed on… The Spirit just gives us faith.
Gift of faith…
Gives us faith…
Brother, the gifts of the Spirit have not passed on. There are still martyrs who need this gift very much. Even in our cushy first-world countries, we face many doubts. We all need the gift of faith.
But what is this gift? First we need to understand what it isn’t.
What Isn’t This Gift?
When I was knee deep in the hyper grace movement, I was also courting the word of faith movement, which basically means, “Speak your requests in faith and you shall receive! Oh, and don’t forget to plant a seed in order to reap a harvest! But be cheerful about it now.”
My house group believed in half of that. To their credit, they didn’t push the pay money for your miracles hogwash most word of faith movements teach. Oh, wait, did I say pay them money? I meant, plant a seed and receive your harvest!
Even without wringing my wallet dry, the hyper grace and word of faith movements are very evil.
This is best covered I think in the fantastic documentary American Gospel.
What broke me away from these teachings… well it began as a nudging from the Holy Spirit. I felt the Lord telling me to leave the house group. I talked with the leader of this group about it and I was gone for a time. But he had a charisma about him, and he spoke with such confidence that I eventually returned.
Think about this: his charisma had more effect on me than the Spirit’s nudging to leave.
Rightly did John Calvin call our hearts an idol factory!
I stayed in the house group for two more years (such a stubborn fool). What eventually moved me away was my depression. It broke me.
These false teachings just couldn’t handle it.
You see, the word of faith movement preaches this idea that if you are sick or hurting inside, pretend that you aren’t. Just stand on God’s righteous truth that all are destined to be made well. Then by your faith you are healed and better!
They call this, pretending, faith… A better name for the movement would be word of pretend, or better yet, word of lies.
Faith is not lying to yourself.
What is Faith Then?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Faith is a substance. It is something that will be tangibly reached one day. We do not see or taste it yet, but it is what we hope for. And the hope of the Lord does not disappoint.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Faith is evidence of things not seen. God is real and His truth is evident through the unseen belief that we have. We have to wait for it!
Let’s continue exploring the faith chapter.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
Abel was the first martyr, the first one to die for the sake of his faith in God.
Some would say that he planted a seed of faith and it lead to an abundant worldly life!
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
How many worldly things will I receive for seeking Him? According to the word of faith movement, I can purchase, I mean plant a seed, God’s blessings. So faith is about money, right?
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
So faith protects us from harm! In this we can always stay safe. Faith never moves us out of our comfort zone!
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
The Kingdom of God is at hand! This means we all get mansions today! Just plant enough seeds and be ready for that harvest!
11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
The more seeds you plant, the faster God’s blessing will come! No need to wait and trust in His goodness! God is our eternal microwave. Give us money and instant blessings will follow.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
The word of faith movement is a scam. Faith is a very hard thing. Sometimes when we pray for it… God’s answer is simple:
Mustard Seed Faith
I will end with this mandate and parable that Jesus begins in Luke 17:
3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
I love this response. How many times have we asked the Lord for help in this way? Give me more faith, Lord and I will do the thing that you are asking me to do! In this case, they are asking for enough faith to forgive another who has repented.
6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Jesus is saying… “It isn’t about the amount. Even a very little faith is very powerful.”
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
It just seems so unfair. In the case of the disciples who wished for faith to help them forgive… well, forgiveness means you don’t hold anything against the person who hurt you.
You can’t call the Avengers for help against a repentant enemy. Thor is a false idol. Captain America is of a nation that will one day pass away. Iron Man is pride incarnate. Their sense of justice is warped. Seeking revenge or “justice” without faith and love… it leads to bitter paths.
Jesus, who had far more power than any superhero, used these powers to heal. And on the cross, when injustice was running rampant, he forgave them.
Forgiveness is what changes this world, not justice.
And you must have faith believing that your obedience to God will one day reap a harvest in that far off land, that city of the Lord all who believed will see in that sweet bye and bye.