Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith
There are three “lists” of spiritual “gifts” in scripture. Romans 12 names Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Encouragement, Giving, Leadership, and Mercy (7). 1 Corinthians 12 adds Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miraculous Powers, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in Tongues, and Interpreting Tongues (9). Ephesians 4 names specific gifts of ministry to the church: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. (5). These add up to 21. But many other gifts are also mentioned in scripture: gifts of Administration, Leadership, Craftsmanship, Music, Celibacy, Hospitality, Missionary, and even one which the recipient can only exercise once: Martyrdom! Over the next three days I will focus on just those gifts included in my message text this past Sunday (1 Cor.12-14).
Word of Wisdom
[1 Cor. 12:7-11; James 3:13-18; 2 Chron. 1:7-11; Acts 6:3-10 ; 1 Cor. 2:6-13; James 1:5-8; 1 Kings 3:16-28 ]
Sometimes God gifts a person with a certain ability of insight that allows them to perceive deep underlying issues in a person’s heart, to ask questions seemingly odd in the context of the current conversation, yet precisely pointing to the real matters, the true source of pain, of guilt, of need.
With it God often gives insightful solutions which will benefit best the individual, the Church, or wider kingdom of God. Knowledge may give information, but Wisdom reveals how to use it. It is a special ability to know the mind of the Holy Spirit.
“…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17).
“…’Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16 / Isa. 40:13).
Word of Knowledge
[1 Cor. 12:7-11; 2 Chron. 1:7-12; Col. 2:2-3; 2 Cor. 11:6; Dan. 2:20-21; Prov. 2:6; 9:10; Ps. 119:66; Jer. 3:15]
Have you ever just “known” that a loved one needed a call from you, right NOW, then discover that indeed they did? Have you ever awakened in the night with a great urge to pray for someone then later find they had survived some dire situation at exactly that same hour?
The Word of Knowledge is a gift whereby the Holy Spirit provides an awareness or understanding apart from having learned it. One may also perceive how a biblical truth should be applied to specific individuals or situations in the church. At times the Spirit may even reveal an inner matter of concern in another’s heart or physical body.
“For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.” (Acts 8:23)
“And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.” (Acts 27:10).
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10-11).
[1 Cor. 12:7-11; Mark 5:25-34; Acts 27:21-25; Heb. 11; Rom. 4:18-21]
All Christians are called to “walk by faith” and it is by faith that a person must come to Christ in the first place. Indeed, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6).
But the gift of Faith is something more than most Christians experience. The gift of Faith is such a confidence that God will act that all contrary circumstances and obstacles does not shake it. It is the unwavering belief that God will fulfill his purposes.
George Müller (1805-1898) was an outstanding example of a saint gifted with great Faith. Müller was director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. During his lifetime Müller provided care to some 10,024 orphans and established 117 schools providing Christian education to more than 120,000.
The story is often told how, having no food at all in the orphanage the children were nonetheless seated and a prayer of thanksgiving was given. Just then, a knock on the door. A milk truck had broken down outside the orphanage and rather than see it sour it was given for the children right on time for their breakfast!
The believer with the gift of Faith will ask God for what is needed and trust completely in His provision.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20).
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