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I’m sure you have heard the term “evidence of the Holy Ghost with speaking in tongues.” It’s a well-known teaching in the church. But, as always, people can be (and often are) wrong. So if we want to have a firm grasp and foundation on the subject we will want to know what the Bible teaches.
What is the evidence of the Holy Ghost? How do we know when we have received Him? How will others know?
There are a lot of questions we need answers to. But, it all begins with an understanding of the differences between gifts and fruits.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
Here we find a list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. They include the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
That in itself is quite a long list. But is it everything?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
At first, we may look at this and think “OK, it’s talking about the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.” But that isn’t everything it is talking about! Let’s look at another verse which explains in even greater detail what the good things are.
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
So the Holy Spirit HIMSELF is a gift! If there were a question about this then here are a few more verses that make this even more clear:
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
So let’s think about this. The Bible says the Holy Ghost HIMSELF is a gift. That means the Holy Ghost has given HIMSELF to you, if you are His. Doesn’t that also mean that everything which belongs to Him is yours also? YES, it does!
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Inheritance is a word used to say that what once belonged only to another now belongs to you! The Holy Spirit Himself is the gift of God, given to the Christian, and everything the Holy Spirit has comes with that gift.
He truly is the gift that keeps on giving!
So if you are a Christian I want you to ask yourself this question: If the Holy Spirit, which is God Himself, belongs to you what else belongs to you? What belongs to God?
2 Corinthians 9:15
15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Now, let me ask you this also: Do you have the gifts of healing, tongues, prophecy, and so on? If they belong to God then the answer is yes.
WAIT! How can I say that every Christian has these gifts? Does the Bible actually say that?!
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
1 Corinthians 12:29-30
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1 Corinthians 12:29-30 is a rhetorical question. The answer is an obvious no. So here is another question: How can all believers have all that belongs to God, yet not all of us operate in them? Not all of us are apostles, prophets, or teachers. Not all of us work miracles, heal, speak with tongues, or interpret.
What is the answer to the question?
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Here is the answer. We all have the same Lord, and the same Spirit. We do not all operate in the same way, though. Gifts (manifestation of the Spirit) are given for the purpose of benefiting the church. God has given different people different tasks to perform in the church.
1 Corinthians 12:13-20
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
The hand doesn’t speak in tongues, but it does reach out to heal. The foot doesn’t reach out to heal, but it does carry the body with its hands to where they can be used. This is why God has given each believer certain manifestations of the Spirit.
In this we can see why even though we all have the Holy Ghost, and therefore we all have every gift of the Spirit, we still do not operate in each one individually. We need each other as members of the same body. We all work together.
With that said, it is important to remember that should the need arise, God can and will give us the ability to operate in a different gift (manifestation) of the Spirit. But, it is not by our choice. He alone places us where He wants us and grants to us what He wants to grant. Every manifestation that He grants is for the sole purpose of the benefit of the church as a whole.
So yes, we all have the gifts, no we do not all use them.
Before we move on to answer the questions on the mind of most people (what is the evidence of the Holy Ghost) we need to know the real difference between the fruits and the gifts. A gift is something given to you to use. A fruit is something that you produce.
Let me explain it this way, when you want a plant to bear fruit you prune it, water it, and fertilize it. YOU are the one in control of that. The plant can’t GIVE those things to itself. But at the same time, you can’t produce the fruit FOR the plant.
This is the major difference between the fruits and gifts. The gifts are GIVEN to us when we need them BY the Holy Spirit. The fruits are PRODUCED by US as we make use of what God has given to us.
Take the fruit of peace for example. How do we give peace to ourselves? We don’t, but we DO produce it from what GOD has given us.
Let me explain. You’re in the middle of a storm and full of fear. Jesus comes along and says, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Now, HE just gave you what you needed, … but what happens if you ignore Him? You stay in fear. But if YOU take what HE gave then YOU can believe it and that will produce the fruit of peace.
He gave the gift of His word and you take it and apply it to your life to produce fruit.
When a bride gets married does she need anything to prove to her that she has a husband? I would hope that the only evidence she would need is that He is in her life and has married her. Sure, it is nice to have a ring, but does she really need that to prove to herself that she has a husband?
So what evidence do you think we need, to know when we have the Holy Ghost? Do we need Him to give us gifts, or do we need Him to be in our life? I would hope that even in this there would be no need for a gift in order for us to know.
But here is a good question, … how can others know when you have the Spirit of God in you? If you have been reading along in this course then you may already know. The Holy Ghost is God, God is life, and when you are filled with God then you are filled with life. What does that life do? It produces fruit!
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The evidence of the Holy Spirit is the fruit that you produce in your life due to Him being with you. It is by your fruit that you will give evidence that the Spirit of the living God is in you. It is not by the gifts. As you see in the verses above, there are people who will do many things with the gifts, but Jesus will say He never knew them.
And here is why knowing the difference is so important. A demon can speak with tongues, do miracles, and give prophesy. But a demon can not produce the fruit of life.
We place too much emphasis on the gifts. They are not evidence of anything, other than that you were given a gift. It doesn’t give evidence that you have the life of God in you! That evidence comes from the fruit! The gifts are just tools to be used to help build the church up.
In our next unit, we will go into more detail on the subject, because we need to speak specifically about what many call, “the evidence of speaking in tongues.”
September 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm | | 1 comment