What Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We will not ask you to turn to one certain passage of Scripture for the beginning of our discussion because we will not read one certain passage, but we will be looking at a number of them as we discuss with you how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer.

If you are familiar with the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, you might say to yourself, “How could we possibly think about that in the little time we have?” We can't think about it in detail. All that we are going to do is give you the basic outline of what the Holy Spirit does in relation to the individual person and the individual believer. The reason for that is that we have been asked to add another question to the series of questions which we have been bringing to you for quite some time. Those of you who are with us regularly will recall that we have been thinking along the theme, Simple Questions Often Asked . We have considered a great many things. Last Sunday we considered some of the questions which are asked about Heaven, and we thought that that would be a logical place to bring the discussion to a conclusion because there is no better way to stop thinking about any subject and about the climax of it which certainly does result in Heaven.

We have been asked to answer the question, “What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?” We do not think that we could adequately answer that question without refreshing your minds to the operation of the Holy Spirit in the individual's life. I say, “refresh your minds,” because these are truths over which we have been numerous times, and yet it may not be a refreshing for some of you because some of the things we are going to say today may be rather new to some of you. If for whatever reason you have not had the opportunity of hearing these things emphasized from the Word of God, as an aid to your memory, I want to give you four words which we are going to use to describe the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to the individual. Let me run over them for you first. That might help you to remember some of the things that I say.

Let me suggest to you first that the Holy Spirit convicts the individual. The Holy Spirit converts the individual. The Holy Spirit claims the individual. The Holy Spirit controls the individual. These four words should fix some of these things in your mind. He convicts, He converts, He claims, and He controls.

Another Comforter

Turn in your Bibles, please, with me to the gospel of John, chapter 16. While you are turning there, may I remind you that this is a portion of the so-called Upper Room Discourse , the message which the Lord Jesus Christ left with His disciples just before He left this earth. They didn't want to see Him go. They were going to miss Him. He said to them, “I have to go. All of the sorrow that you have related to My going will not keep Me from going; I must go. It is part of God's plan. But I will tell you this: After I am gone away, I will send you another Comforter Who will be just like I am. He will be in you, He will be with you, and He will abide with you forever.” That Comforter we learned is the Holy Spirit.

He described a number of the things which the Holy Spirit would do when He came into the earth. We are interested for the purposes of immediate discussion in what is found in verse 8 of John, chapter 16:

John 16:

8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The Holy Spirit Convicts

Go back with me to verse 8 and look at the word reprove . This word comes from the Greek word elegco , which maybe translated by the word “reprove.” It may also be translated by the word “convinced,” by the word “convict,” or by the word “rebuke.” When we speak of what the Holy Spirit does in the world, we can say that the Holy Spirit convicts men of sin. He rebukes men in relation to sin. He tells men what is wrong with them in relation to sin. This is the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to the individual. That is the reason we use the word convict . The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

Let me say without elaboration that no individual can be saved without the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He convicts of sin. What kind of sin? Murder, thievery, lying—all of those things may be brought to the attention of the individual in the course of his life as being inconsistent with the will of God. But that is not the sin of which the Holy Spirit primarily convicts because those things do not make you a sinner. You do those things because you are a sinner. Those things will not send you to an eternal Hell. There is only one thing which will send you to an eternal Hell and that is sin—not sins. The SIN of which the Holy Spirit convicts according to verse 9, is “because they believe not on me.”

If you are in our midst today and a sinner, you are in our midst today a person who has never made a definite decision about Jesus Christ. You might ask, “But suppose I am here and a liar?” You could be here a Christian and a liar because in Ephesians, chapter 4, the Bible plainly emphasizes that Christians ought to stop their lying. So when I speak of sinners, I speak of men who have never become conscious of their need of Christ, and because they have not become conscious of their need of Christ, they have never received Him as Savior. The Holy Spirit convicts men of the sin that they believe not on the Lord Jesus Christ. If I were to close my Bible at the moment and stop this discussion, and you were a sinner, you wouldn't have been helped very much. All that you would know is that you are a sinner. The Holy Spirit never stops short of the finished task. That's the reason that in this paragraph it is emphasized that the Holy Spirit also convicts or convinces men of righteousness.

In what manner does He convince men of righteousness? Well, He convinces men that righteousness has been fulfilled and is available for all who receive it. That is what is meant by verse 10, where you read:

John 16:

10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

If the Lord Jesus Christ had died on the Cross, our salvation would not have been accomplished. It was when the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead and went back to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God and is not seen by the mortal eye of men that the righteous work of Christ is finished and the Holy Spirit convinces men that the work is done.

That is the reason that I can say to you that you can receive the Lord Jesus Christ right where you sit. If I said otherwise, then I would be attaching conditions to God's salvation that God Himself does not attach.

There was one other thing which the Holy Spirit convicts men of and that is judgment. Sometimes we read this verse carelessly, and we read it of judgment to come, but that isn't what it says. He convinces me of judgment. Notice in verse 11 that the prince of this world is judged. Since we are dealing with this matter only in skeleton fashion, let me me suggest to you that that emphasizes two things. One, it is emphasized that the devil has no more claim upon you because the prince of this world is the devil. When the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the Cross, the prince of the world was judged, and all claims that the devil had on the individuals were broken. So you don't need to go about saying, “I would like to do what I know I ought to do, but the devil is too much for me.” You are letting him be too much for you. The Lord Jesus Christ defeated him, and he has no more claim upon you. Now, don't misunderstand me. He is powerful, and he is a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour. He will make every kind of attack imaginable upon you, but he has no real control over you. You can claim the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and victory will be yours.

It would be well to emphasize that the Holy Spirit convinces men that the prince of this world is judged also in order to remind us that there is judgment awaiting every individual who does not make a definite decision concerning Jesus Christ for the Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die and after that, the judgment. There is only one Person Who can revoke that sentence, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. If you receive Him as your Savior, then you can rest upon the promise of the Word of God, “There is therefore now no judgment to them who are in Christ Jesus.”

I emphasize that the Holy Spirit must convict men of their lost condition if ever they are saved. That is the reason when you share the gospel with certain individuals, it seems to fall on deaf ears. That's the reason you can go out for an afternoon of witnessing and have absolutely no results. That's the reason you can preach message after message and nobody will respond. Now, don't blame yourself. Don't ask God why you don't have soul-winning power. Don't ask God why you have displeased Him in some way that He won't honor your ministry with the response of salvation of souls. Recognize that you can be in the very center of God's will. Recognize today that you can be walking in the Spirit. You can witness and there will be no results because the Holy Spirit, for any number of reasons too numerous for us to go into at the moment, has not finished His convicting power. When we talk about the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the individual, let us say that He convicts men of sin because they believe not on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Converts

The second word: He not only convicts men of sin, He converts. We use this word for the sake of alliteration as an aid to your memory in place of the word regeneration or in place of the phrase, born of the Spirit , or born again . This is not a liberty which we are taking. It is consistent with the Word of God. The word from which this English word comes is the Greek word strepo or eppie strepo , for the sake of intensity of feeling. It means “to turn about,” or “to turn around.” So we would suggest to you that the Holy Spirit not only convicts men of their need of Christ, but by His supernatural power, He turns them about. By His supernatural power, He turns them around.

Turn with me, please, to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3. As you turn there, recall that this is a sermon that Peter preached upon the healing of the lame man. Individuals wanted to know why he did what he did. He gave glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicted their hearts and they wanted to know what was expected of them. In verse 19, he said:

Acts 3:

19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Notice the word converted . It is the word which we are thinking about today. It is necessary for you to be turned about. It is necessary for you to be turned around.

You will recall in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking on this very same subject. What is necessary for a man to enter the kingdom of Heaven? What is necessary for a man to be saved? What is necessary for a man to be born again? In Matthew, chapter 18, verse 3, the Lord Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 18:

3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

You will notice the word converted. Except ye be turned about, turned around, and become as little children in the sense that you are not working things out for yourself, but you are willing to trust Another with them, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Turn with me, please, to the gospel of John, chapter 3, the story of Nicodemus, who came to the Lord Jesus Christ by night and asked Him the question which we are dealing with at the moment. You will recall that the Lord Jesus Christ emphasized to Nicodemus that the conversion of which we speak is not the work of man; it is the work of the Holy Spirit. We will not take the time to read the entire chapter, but notice with us verse 5:

John 3:

5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [that is naturally] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

A man must be born twice before he can enter the kingdom of God, and the Holy Spirit is the agency in that birth. Notice verse 6:

John 3:

6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

This phrase, which is born of the flesh , compares with the phrase of the previous verse, that which is born of water . “That born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” So the second time the emphasis of the Holy Spirit is brought to our attention. Notice verse 8:

John 3:

8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The emphasis is placed upon the fact that the individuals who are converted are converted by the power of the Holy Spirit. This lifts your decision, Friend, out of the realm of an intellectual assent to a given truth into the realm of a spiritual reality. This makes the difference between men who walk down the aisle and join the church. This makes the difference between men who reform. This makes the difference between men who turn over a new leaf. I repeat for emphasis, the work of the Spirit makes the difference between the man who walks down the aisle and joins the church, the man who reforms, the man who turns over a new leaf, and the individual who has been regenerated, genuinely born again.

The Holy Spirit Claims

Now my third word. I said the Holy Spirit convicts and he converts. Yes, every individual who He convicts of their need of Christ, He will save. No one has ever come to Christ recognizing their need of a Savior and asking God to save them but what God saves them. Never has God said, “Nay,” to any person seeking the Lord. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But the Holy Spirit's work is not finished for who He converts, He claims. That is the third word, He claims. He gives irrefutable proof that the individual who He has converted belongs to God. We are using this word claim to describe various things taught in the Scripture which happened to the individual immediately upon his conversion. Now the very nature of our discussion demands that we think about these things individually and so we will be thinking about them one, two, three, four, or whatever. There is no other way to present it. We should not be interpreted as teaching that any one of these things happened necessarily before the other things happened. I think it would be more accurate and more consistent with the Word of God to say that all of these things happen simultaneously in the believer's life.

The Holy Spirit Takes Up Residence

Go back with me to John, chapter 14, and notice something which the Holy Spirit does in order to mark His claim upon the individual whom He converts. In John, chapter 14, notice verse 16, where the Lord Jesus Christ said:

John 14:

16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Pause there for a moment. The new information in this verse is found in the last phrase, “that he may abide with you for ever.” Old Testament saints knew the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit never did abide with any individual or group of individuals before the Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth or while He was here on the earth. After He came, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “He will come to stay.” Now notice even the more definite personal application in verse 17:

John 14:

17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

I suggest to you that the first mark of the Holy Spirit's claim upon your life is that He takes up residence within you. Turn to the book of Romans, chapter 8, as I make a further assertion, and that is unless the Holy spirit is dwelling within you, you have not been born again. Will you get that, please: Unless the Holy Spirit is dwelling within you, you have not been born again. In Romans, chapter 8, notice verse 6:

Romans 8:

6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Let me emphasize, reemphasize, and doubly reemphasize, that the claim the Holy Spirit makes on you to prove that you belong to God is represented in the Holy Spirit's taking up residence in your life the very moment that you believe.

The Holy Spirit Seals

Turn with me, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 1, because closely related to the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He claims you in the sealing of the Holy Spirit, so closely related is the sealing to the indwelling that they occur simultaneously and the one is the proof of the other. Notice verse 21:

II Corinthians 1:

21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

The anointing referred to us in verse 21 is the same as the indwelling, and the sealing is related, I repeat, to that indwelling for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit becomes the earnest, the guarantee, of the purchased redemption. This is made more definitely clear in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Turn to Ephesians, chapter 1, and notice in verse 13:

Ephesians 1:

13In 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,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

I believe in the security of the believer. There is no question in my mind that I am going to Heaven. Someone asks, “You mean you are that good? Well, I don't think I would be bragging about it.” No, I don't mean I am that good, and I wouldn't even think about bragging about it. The reason that I know that I am going to Heaven is the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in my heart. The very moment that He took up residence in my heart, He stamped His seal on me and defies any creature in Heaven, in Hell, or any creature that will ever be created, to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, my Lord. A seal is a sign of ownership, and the Holy Spirit seals by virtue of His indwelling.

The Holy Spirit Baptizes

There is something else that He does to indicate His claim. If you will go back to I Corinthians, chapter 12, you will notice that the Holy Spirit baptizes the believer. That is, the Holy Spirit is the individual who baptizes the believer.

I Corinthians 12:

13For 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.

The Holy Spirit, the very moment we believe, simultaneously indwells us, seals us, and baptizes us into the Body of Christ. Keep in mind that we have emphasized to you that the word baptize is not a translated word. It is a transliterated word. It is a Greek word spelled with English letters and the simplest meaning of it is the idea of placing one thing into another thing. If I were to place my hand into my Bible, I could say that I have baptized my hand in the Bible. I put my hand in the Bible. That's all it means. Here we are told that the Holy Spirit places every believer into the Body of Christ so that we are all related to one another. Now, Beloved, that's the ecumenical movement that is taught in the Bible. That's the unity of the Scripture. It is the unity of the believers that is emphasized in the Scripture.

You may worship at a Methodist Church, a Church of Christ, you may worship at any of 250 different denominational places and still be a member of the Body of Christ because individual born-again believers are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and once again the Holy Spirit, I say that reverently, has staked His claim upon us.

The Holy Spirit Convicts Of Sin

The last thing that the Holy Spirit does is He convicts of sin. The moment He convicts of sin, He converts. The moment He converts, He claims. I am going to be bold to say, because I believe the possibility is there that the moment that He claims, He controls, for the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life is for the purpose of controlling. I am using the word control for the sake of alliteration. Actually you will not find it in the Scripture as far as our English text is concerned. You will find instead the words “fill,” “filling,” or “filled” used some 14 times in our New Testament. They all come from the Greek word plarooh , plareze , or playose , which are all the same word. They indicate absolute control, and so the English text uses the word filled . We emphasize the truth of filling in connection with the word control . The Holy Spirit is able to control the life of every believer if the believer will permit Him to do it. The reason that I am saying that if the believer will permit Him to do it is that we are instructed that it is our responsibility to see to it that the Holy Spirit does control us. When the Holy Spirit came to earth on the day of Pentecost, as is recorded in Acts, chapter 2, He filled everybody in that Upper Room. That filling did not last, for only two chapters over you will find that these individuals needed to be filled again. Further on in the book of Acts, you will find that they needed to be filled again, and again and the commandment given in the Word of God for us today is found in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 18. It is a familiar verse:

Ephesians 5:

18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

The construction of the verse indicates that it should be a continuous experience. The construction of the verse indicates as well that the responsibility rests solely upon you and upon me. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the individual. He convicts, He converts, He claims, He controls, just as long as you let Him control. It is entirely up to you.

If you will keep these things in mind when we meet together again, the Lord willing, we will be able to discuss with you what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are. Because the purpose of the control of the Holy Spirit is usefulness and He gives you all of the tools that you need for that usefulness, those tools are described as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We will learn what they are and perchance we will be more useful to our Lord as a result.


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