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SPIRITUAL GIFTS: The Movement of the Spirit In Historical Context

Pastor Gary Nelson
Spiritual Gifts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:14
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In order to lay a solid foundation for the study of the gifts, it's helpful to have an understanding of more recent movements of God's Spirit. This morning we briefly consider Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and the Third Wave, and note how God used and continues to use these movements even in the midst of some associated errors.

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Memorial Drive 10/20/19 SPIRITUAL GIFTS: Movements of God’s Spirit In Historical Context Various Texts Intro – Why gifts? Especially since they’ve caused more than a little confusion and even division in some churches? (Review of Six Biblical Reasons to Study the Gifts) … CURRENT LANDSCAPE Perhaps a wide range of feelings as we come to a study of the spiritual gifts! This Morning: Getting an idea of “the board” upon which the “pieces” are arrayed! … HISTORICAL BACKDROP • PENTECOSTALS “… a PROTESTANT Christian movement that emphasises DIRECT PERSONAL EXPERIENCE of God through a BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.” (Wiki) The “soon to be called Pentecostals” believed that God was going to spiritually renew the church by bringing about the restoration of the spiritual gifts that had seemed to lie dormant, that these gifts were what Scripture calls the baptism of the Spirit that every Christian should seek, and that world-wide evangelization would occur. Further, based upon the event of Pentecost (giving of the Spirit) in Acts 2 they believed that speaking in tongues was THE biblical evidence of the baptism of the Spirit. It has been labeled by some as “the First Wave” of the Spirit in more modern times. Why did Pentecostalism spread so rapidly around the world? Theologian Gordon Fee points to “1) the dissatisfaction of many with the lethargy and lifelessness of their own Christian experience and that of the church corporately. The coldness, cowardice, and routine of religion sparked in them a passion, thirst, and hunger for more of God, for more of what they saw of New Testament Christians experience. 2) This in turn evoked a desire for a deeper and transformative experience. Many were undeniably touched by the presence of God. A life-changing encounter with God brought new power, renewed commitment, a zealous rededication to holiness of life, and deepened love for God. 3) This experience was clearly subsequent to salvation (often years after their salvation) Therefore it was something different from the new birth, or justification, or anything else associated with their initial saving encounter with Christ. 4) As has often been said, these were a people with an EXPERIENCE IN SEARCH OF A THEOLOGY. Turning to the Bible to identify and justify what had occurred, they found what they believed was a 3-fold precedent for what had happened to them. The final step was to identify what happened to them as “the baptism of the Spirit.” (Summarized in Language of Heaven, Storms, 47-48) Two Key Points About Pentecostalism … ◦ Two Wrong Conclusions The “baptism of the Spirit” was only for those who sought it after salvation as a “Second Blessing”. It created a “Two-Tier” view of Christianity. Acts 2 and related “Spirit” events (Ch. 8, 10, 19) is a pattern (as above) for all Christians and receiving the Spirit will be evidenced by tongues. Repeated “filling” by the Spirit is available and commanded of Christians but is not evidenced by tongues, though it is possible that a Christian might receive that gift while experiencing a fresh filling of God’s Spirit. (I Cor. 12:13, Eph. 5:18). Acts 2 does not form a pattern for Christians because the disciples reception of the Spirit COULDN’T happen at THEIR salvation because the Spirit had not yet been given! Acts 2 and related Acts events were historically and biblically unique! ◦ Though they “got it wrong” in some ways, who can argue against the desire of their hearts for “a life-changing encounter with God that brought new power, renewed commitment, a zealous rededication to holiness of life, and a deepened love for God.” • CHARISMATICS “The Charismatic Movement is the international trend of historically MAINSTREAM CHRISTIAN CONGREGATIONS adopting beliefs and practices SIMILAR TO PENTECOSTALISM. Fundamental to the movement is the use of SPIRITUAL GIFTS. Among Protestants, the movement began around 1960. Among Roman Catholics, it originated around 1967.” (Wikipedia) The primary difference is that this “Second Wave” of the Spirit impacted mainline churches and even Catholicism. • THIRD WAVE (of the Holy Spirit in more modern days) “… a gradual opening of … evangelical churches to the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit without the participants becoming either Pentecostals or Charismatics." (Prof. C. Peter Wagner, Fuller School of Missions) Two Key Characteristics … ◦ Passion Purified The Spirit of God took the passion that ignited the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements but connected it to significant corrections of some of the misunderstanding and abuses of those previous movements. ◦ Evangelism Empowered “Seminary courses and reports of signs and wonders from the Third World softened my heart considerably toward the Holy Spirit and the charismatic gifts, especially as they related to evangelism. At Fuller (seminary) I met many pastors from the Third World who reported dramatic instances of signs and wonders and church growth. At first the pastors were quiet about it, but as I probed they opened up with remarkable stories. I realized that the power of God was working in the Third World in ways I didn’t think possible today. Their experiences made my earlier unexplained evangelistic encounters pale in comparison. At this point I felt compelled to re-examine Scripture, looking more carefully at the relationship between spiritual gifts and evangelism.” (What Is the Spirit Saying to the Churches?, Wimber, 124) Questions To Ask … • What is God saying in these texts? • How do these verses relate to one other? • Is it possible to connect some “spiritual dots” in these texts? • How do they relate to the gifts entrusted to the church? • What does God want us to take from them? Texts To Ponder And Pray Over … ◦ A PROPHETIC WORD FROM JOEL (Joel 2:28-29) ◦ A MISSION STATEMENT FROM CHRIST (Luke 4:17-19) ◦ AN EMPOWERMENT UPON CHRIST (Matthew 3:16-17) ◦ A COMMAND FROM CHRIST (Luke 24:49) ◦ A FULFILLMENT AND EMPOWERMENT FOR THE CHURCH (Acts 2:16-18) ◦ A GLIMPSE INTO MINISTRY (Luke 10:1, 8-9, 17-20) ◦ A COMMISSION FOR THE CHURCH (Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:21) If we accept the six clear, biblical instructions about the importance and place of spiritual gifts, we can hardly do less than honor God with open minds, open hearts, and eyes that are open to seeing what God is saying about the gifts given by HIS Spirit for HIS church to accomplish HIS purposes! … TEXTS TO PONDER AND PRAY OVER … • A PROPHETIC WORD FROM JOEL “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29) • A MISSION STATEMENT FROM CHRIST “And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.’” (Luke 4:17-19) • AN EMPOWERMENT UPON CHRIST “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’" (Matt. 3:16-17) • A COMMAND FROM CHRIST "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father (the Spirit) upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49) • A FULFILLMENT AND EMPOWERMENT FOR THE CHURCH “… THIS IS WHAT WAS SPOKEN OF through the prophet Joel: 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY.” (Acts 2:16-18) • A GLIMPSE INTO MINISTRY “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come …Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ … The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I HAVE GIVEN YOU AUTHORITY to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luke 10:1, 8-9, 17-20) • A COMMISSION FOR THE CHURCH “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt 28:18-20) "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (John 20:21) If we accept the six clear, biblical instructions about the importance and place of spiritual gifts, we can hardly do less than honor God with open minds, open hearts, and eyes that are open to seeing what God is saying about the gifts given by HIS Spirit for HIS church to accomplish HIS purposes!
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