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Have the Miraculous Gifts of the Spirit Ceased?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
November 18, 2020 1:00 am

Have the Miraculous Gifts of the Spirit Ceased?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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November 18, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 578 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

1. When can I be a witness for Jesus and evangelize, do I have to wait until the Spirit descends on me and anoints me?

2. What does the Bible say about fasting? Is it just about giving up food for awhile to draw closer to God? Is it something we can do to unlock some form of holy power like the apostles did in the New Testament? I hear about it on Instagram a good bit but I just don’t fully understand it.

3. Me and my friend were talking about if miraculous signs, wonders, and spiritual gifts have ceased. He said “there’s no way a person can read through the entire New Testament and come to that conclusion.” So, is there a way?

4. I have become more conscious of trying not to shame and alienate others for their faults, especially in this contentious year, but I have gotten pushback by others saying that no matter how kind I am my belief that we are all inherently sinners means that I am teaching others to hate themselves, especially those who have experienced abuse or trauma who already struggle with self-hatred and feeling ashamed. How can I answer these responses and tell people that even though they are sinners that God loves them?

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Have the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased for today. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer, along with my good friend Pastor Israel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 also email us at questions at core, first step today we have a good news story to share with you when 95-year-old World War II veteran Johnny Dimas lost his full-time caregiver and wife of 67 years. There didn't seem to be many options other than to move them out of his house and into a nursing home, but instead his grandson Roger devised a plan. He moved grandpa Johnny from Illinois to live with him and his wife Joe in Sedona, Arizona. Last year they decided to embark on an epic journey around the USA in their motorhome visiting all the places on their grandfathers bucket list. They explored and experienced as much as they could together for Mardi Gras to Las Vegas. Most importantly, they got to visit several World War II museums where they say grandpa Johnny was treated like a rock star. Wow that is so cool men the to think, just think about that loving self sacrificial move from his grandson to say you know what I don't want grandpa to be in one of those facilities. I want to bring them to live without and then to treat them to that right around the country. What a cool yeah. What an adventure.

I hope that my grandkids did the same thing for me.

Someday I hope I can still walk when I'm 95 yeah let's get to our first question of the day. This is a call that came in from Gaylene. I want to know you know in my old Silva came the little mole and you know I just want to know about a publishing battle walking is creating keep walking. Please give me an answer back. Thanks.

Hey Gaylene, I really appreciate that question and what an important question is for each of us as followers of Jesus Christ to be able to answer what does it mean to walk in the spirit and at what point can I be a witness for Jesus Christ ready to wait on some sort of special blessing that the Holy Spirit is going to give me and then I can go and testify to what Jesus is done.

One thing that you did say that is is 100% true is that we can't do it in and of ourselves. The grace of God is this what we desperately need and the boldness of the Holy Spirit. I think even after the day of Pentecost on the spirit of God falling upon the disciples and Peter preach this powerful sermon really yell under the influence of the Holy Spirit and then just a couple chapters later in acts chapter 4, the disciples once again are gathered together they been facing persecution and yet again they pray that God would give them boldness so that they could testify to the realities that Jesus Christ brought about the gospel were told in chapter 4 that the place where they were praying with was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to preach the word of God, or to continue to preach the word of God with boldness and so we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit for boldness.

I think even just for that guidance to be able to testify clearly of the grace of God, but you don't need to wait on any sort of special blessing.

Sometimes, you know, people refer to this is the second blessing or something like that. If you believe in Jesus Christ, Gaylene, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, in the sense of the Spirit of God lives in you and Paul told the Corinthians that no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit, and so if you confess Jesus Christ as Lord, the spirit of God lives in you.

Paul also told the Corinthians that by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, and so you can be confident brother the spirit of God lives in you by faith in Jesus Christ, but they like like the disciples did we all ought to pray that the Lord will give us opportunities that the Lord would give us boldness that the Lord will guide us so that we might faithfully testify of what Jesus has done just one last thing I want to say is a lot of times when we think about being witnesses for Jesus. I think too often in the church today the focus is on us. On my personal story and here's how Jesus changed my life and that's a wonderful thing. That's a beautiful thing a good thing.

An important thing, but that's not the main thing when it comes to testifying of the grace of God, we focus not on ourselves, not even on on my changed life. That's not the focus. The focus is on Jesus and the reason that's important is because I think sometimes when we when we share our testimonies. We can draw so much attention to ourselves and other people think wow that's really wonderful for you that that happened to you that you experience that, but what does that have to do with me and that's all we have to focus on the message of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ascension of Jesus because that's an objective reality. That's not just about me personally doesn't just affect me personally it relates to the whole world. So Gaylene, if you've been forgiven if you know Jesus you've embraced the gospel the Spirit lives in you and you can talk to others about what God has done in his son Jesus to redeem them as well so that they might experience the same grace that you've experienced brother and may the Lord bless you as you seek to be faithful to Jesus, thanks for the great clarification on that issue. Israel this is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez and here's an Instagram question that came in from Chandler, he says, what does the Bible say about fasting is a just about giving up food for a while to draw closer to God or is it something we can do to unlock some form of holy power. Like the apostles did in the New Testament. I read about it on Instagram a lot but I just don't fully understand it, so fasting is something that you see in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

Usually it was associated with times of great difficulty for the people of God to think of you know there surrounded by an invading army or there is the plague in the latter that kind within the people would come together and they would fast and they would call on the name of the Lord. It's praying, it's setting aside food for the period of time in order to fix our attention upon the Lord and to pray and to call upon his name, but usually it is associated with these times of great difficulty and even sorrow that one point, you know that the disciples of Jesus are rebuked because they don't fast like others in Jesus today. The bridegroom is with them right now. This is the time of celebration.

This is a time of joy and so fasting is Chandler associated with oftentimes sorrow. I think it it is something that we as followers of Jesus can do today and there are and there are circumstances where it is a good thing to do. Although you couple stories when our church initially was renting a space for worship and we we outgrew that space. After about a year and we needed to find another place to gather together what we did is is a translucent look, let's let's call upon the name of the Lord together. Let's invite people to fast. It wasn't something that we were saying you have to do this if you're a part of our church but were saying hey we want to as the elders of the church call the fast and encourage you for a day to pray and to seek the Lord and to ask that God would would guide us and was kinda neat after a day of fasting. We all got together that night. We didn't even tell people you know you have to fast breakfast and lunch is that hey if you want to set aside a meal or just just spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord to guide us as we think about this big decision for our church do that and has a lot of people there in the early days of our church fasted and prayed for that day and then once the evening came, we all gathered together in my house and we broke fast. We had a great big potluck if it was a lot of fun and it was just the sweetest time of prayer and calling on the name of the Lord.

And so it's something I think Chandler that that we can do that we ought to do in certain circumstances and situations in the life of the church today, but I think it can also be something that makes people feel really guilty. We have to be careful with that. I think that there are some Christians think I just should do this and so they force themselves to fast and they don't even really know what they're focusing on her praying for, but they just think this is an important discipline for me to have and it doesn't go so I'm ever talking to a guy this is sort of a funny story some years ago and he was saying. I just felt like I needed to fast so I said I'm gonna fast for a week and I'm only going to have smoothies by the end of the week. I was so starving and he is totally serious. He said I made lasagna and I blended the list and I added milk it for the lasagna will liquefy up is that your dad. I drank this lasagna, smoothing that it was the most delicious thing I'd ever had with this article we both laughed about it, but I think that you note, you can bite off more than you can choose. No pun intended. So you have to be careful. I think it is something that you know you do, together with the body of Christ in certain situations.

Right now you think of everything going on with the coronavirus a minute might be a good time for us to come together with other believers and to call on the name of the Lord and say God be merciful to our nation.

Be merciful to our churches that are really struggling right now. God have mercy upon us, and so one passage of Scripture Chandler that you can go to minutes. One of that the text that I often go to what I think about faster I'm asked about fasting is Isaiah chapter 58 and it really highlights the kind of fasting that is pleasing to the Lord. Verse six is this is not this the fast that I choose to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh then shall your light break forth like the dawn, in your healing shall spring up speedily. Your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you will call in the Lord will answer you shall cry and he will say here I am really the focus. There is not just fasting as a ritual you like. Let me do this to get God's attention that kind of thing is sort of legalistic, humbling ourselves before the Lord directing our attention to him.

Repenting of our sins, turning from our sins. Even the sins of not caring for those who are in need and calling upon the name of the Lord. It really is associated with repentance, even in so we we ought to at times in our lives, and with the body of Christ fast to call upon the name of the Lord to to direct our attention to him in this fixed way and I think he blesses us when we when we do when there is that promise in Scripture where God says he is near to all those who call upon him in truth and that when we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. God bless you Chandler your listing to core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez and a lot of voices in today's world claim that either God isn't all-powerful, or he isn't truly good and today were offering a great resource that explains why he's actually both of those things is God great and good. That's the name of the Bible study that were offering today and you can download it for a donation of any amount. Today's a great study to go through with the group of friends or by yourself, especially in in days like these. To me this year 2020 has been a rough year for so many people and a lot of us are asking that very question. Is God great and good all the studies and it did a dive into the Scriptures and and help you to start navigate the difficult questions that people are asking and enter provide biblical answers to so head over to core to download is God great and good. You can also call us for that offer or any one of our offers at 833-843-2673.

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So we, people just like you to keep us on the air when here's another question that came in from one of our listeners and he says me and my friend were discussing whether miraculous signs wonders and spiritual gifts have ceased. He said there's no way a person can read through the entire New Testament and come to that conclusion. How would you respond to that really good question and one that is hotly debated among Christians. You know, there are some people who believe that those gifts the gifts that are mentioned in places like first Corinthians 12 and 13 and 14 and in other places in the New Testament the sign gifts and of the gift of tongues.

The gift of prophecy that there still around for today and there are others who argue no those those gifts ceased with the apostles, the technical term for that theologically is cessation is so you have secessionist and you have people say no, those gifts are still around you who are referred to as continuation us well one thing. Historically, we can say that that these gifts really did sort of fall out of use in the life of the church in the ordinary life of the church and that's just the historical reality. Many of the early church fathers write about this and there were different people who had differences of opinions about why it was that that happen. There were some who argued that the church was basically turning away from God and that things were so bad that those signs those miraculous signs were no longer happening anymore. There was even really heretical group known as the Montanists, who argued this and who said we really have to recover these miraculous no sign gifts and essentially they were. I mean cut off from the Orthodox Church from the true followers of Jesus because they were engaged in all sorts of false teachings and there were others. Just a note that the reason that these things began to sort of fall out of use in the life of the church is because we have the Scriptures and ordinarily in the life of the church. These gifts work going to continue to function in the way that they did in the apostolic era. Now one verse that people will often point to in order to to prove that the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts like tongues and prophecy ceased is in first Corinthians 13 effect. This is one of the primary verses that is often appealed to its what Paul said in verse eight love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away. As for tongues, they will cease. As for knowledge, it will pass away before we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away, and there were some more recently who argue that the perfect there is a reference to the Bible the canonization of holy Scripture. And I think that's a really difficult argument to make because just doesn't seem like it's in the context that all their really the perfect in first Corinthians 13 is probably a reference to being in the presence of the Lord. Ultimately, you know that this the second coming of our Lord Jesus, that final day. That's when that's when love is going to endure but were not going to need these spiritual gifts or any spiritual gifts anymore because were going to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity. But that doesn't necessarily mean I think that these sign gifts were meant to function in an ordinary way in the life of the church for its entire existence.

There is some evidence of this throughout the New Testament, so I would disagree with with what your friend says actually one think about what Paul says in first Timothy three and Titus chapter 1, when he talks about the ordinary officers in the life of the church elders and deacons. He gives all these qualifications for you know how elder should be how Deacon should be because there's a strong sense of this is what the life of the church ordinarily is going to look like you can have elders and deacons caring for the body of Christ say anything about profits and ideas. This seems to me like in the mind of the apostle Paul profits the office of the prophet was going to be this enduring office in the life of the church. Otherwise, he probably would have given the churches some guidance as it relates to that. Especially because there's so much danger with people say I'm a prophet, called of the Lord, you need to listen to what I'm saying now it seems like ordinarily in the life of the church. The expectation was that the word of God was going to be faithfully preached and that the people of God were going to be cared for by elders who were called and ordained.

According to first Timothy three and deacons were serving the body of Christ that seems to be the ordinary makeup of the church and actually there. There is some evidence in other places that the New Testament like in Hebrews chapter 2 that these gifts really were primarily associated with the advancement of the gospel at that early stage, so Hebrews chapter 2 says this, verse three how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation, it was declared at first by the Lord and it was attested to by those who heard while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will see even there in the book of Hebrews at this very early stage. It's as if the author the Hebrews is writing to this church is talking about the signs and wonders in the sign gifts the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit in the past tense is something that God did.

Why for the confirmation of the proclamation of the gospel.

We need to focus on God's word on the Scriptures. I think sometimes people today can trace miracles and signs in a Really Unhealthy Way, God can do whatever he wants, but ordinarily he works through means he's free to work apart from them. If he wants me could be could do miracles today. We do pray that God heals and does miraculous things today, but we recognize that ordinarily the way we grow as Christians is by being a faithful part of a local church by reading the Scriptures by being committed to things like prayer. That's the ordinary Christian life that the meat and potatoes and that's really where sanctification happens and too often I think people are neglecting those things and I'm not a member of the church anywhere. I don't read the Scriptures, but but they're searching for some revelatory experience in their chasing after that and that is very dangerous. We need to be grounded in God's word and as were grounded in the word of God were going to continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ and that's what we have to focus know Israel. There are some Christians and even some churches that would say if you don't speak in tongues. If you don't have the gift of prophecy then you're not really filled with the Holy Spirit.

I'm wondering how you would respond to that. This is not true and Paul makes it absolutely clear at the end of first Corinthians chapter 12 when he says you do all speak in tongues to all prophesy.

It's a rhetorical question that is asking and he expects us to say no. So even if those gifts were still around today and I think that it would be absolutely clear from the teaching of the New Testament that not every Christian had the same gift and that would even make sense. On the basis of what Paul was arguing in first Corinthians 12 because he said there's a diversity of gifts so that we can have balance in the body of Christ to be vegan if the whole body was afoot. 1 foot wouldn't get you very far and wouldn't be able to speak or to see it would be it would be a good thing so so Paul really makes it so that we can't come to that conclusion. In first Corinthians chapter 12 so if you're in a church that teaches that, or if you've been taught that I just want to say no that's not the case. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and here's an email that came in from Billy. He says I become more conscious of trying not to shame and alienate others for their faults, especially in this contentious year I've gotten pushback from some non-Christian saying that no matter how kind I am in my belief that we are all sinners.

It means I'm teaching others to hate themselves, especially those who experienced abuse or trauma, or who already struggle with self-hatred and feeling ashamed.

How can I answer these responses and tell people that even though they are sinners. God loves them that there are couple of things here and first is, and we we've made this distinction on the program before and it's a really important distinction for people to understand the distinction between sinning and being sinned against you can be sinned against and feel shame, even guilt, even though you're not guilty and don't need to be ashamed because you been sinned against. And I think is one of the sad realities. But, especially with things like abuse, sexual abuse, even though there are these feelings associated with, and that's why it's so important to distinguish between being sinned against and sinning. By the way, for situations of abuse. There's this really excellent book by friend name Justin Holcomb called rid of my disgrace in it and it is about abuse in the church it's it's a really heavy book, but I think it's an important book that helps to bring out some of these distinctions and so for people who are experiencing trauma shame because of some kind of abuse because they been sinned against. We point them to Jesus.

If I think it's important for us to understand that now a problem that I see today, though, is that we want to make everyone a victim instead of being willing to own our sins. We excuse them and so that's why we have to embrace the fact that there there such a thing as being sinned against. But we also have to embrace the fact that in some situations. We are sitting we've send.

I befriends a therapist.

She asked me this very question is that how do you deal with people who come to crushed by guilt, your religious are new.

You guys have all these laws and you're always try to get people to obey these laws will I've seen with so many of my patients is that sense of failure is what contributes to their pain. Jesus, he counsels them. She encourages them by saying you probably made the best decision with what you had right in front of you. You could've chosen otherwise and so sort of a way of justifying by saying there was nothing else you could have done given what you had in that moment. And then of course there's that the positive self talk, you know, you sort of do away with that the negative thoughts you give grace to yourself. The problem is sometimes we know ourselves well enough to know that we do do horrible things. We have sinned, and her people and justifying yourself and brushing it under the rug is is just sort of cheap. It doesn't really do the trick. The law crushes.

What if instead of forgiving ourselves and lying to ourselves and pretending like were better than we are. When in reality we know that were not.

What if the lawgiver himself could extend this grace and would extend disgrace. The good news is, God sent his son into the world to fulfill the righteous demands of the law and then to be punished in our place so that we might experience forgiveness so that all that you've ever done might be forgiving cleanse, and you might be accepted as the beloved in Jesus Christ. That's the good news. That's what we cleaned thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer.

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