Sunday, 19 July 2020

Restoring the Gifts

In November of 2008 one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance by the artist Raphael…. no not that one! Yes, him! One of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance was restored to its original splendour and returned to its home at the world-renowned gallery in Florence. The Madonna del Cardellino was painted by Raphael in 1505 for the wedding of his friend, a wealthy Florence merchant. It portrays Jesus Christ's mother, Mary, with two children who are playing with a bird. The children symbolized John the Baptist and his young cousin Jesus. The gold finch bird that feeds among thorns is interpreted as representing Christ's future suffering.

But something happened to this painting. It was painted in 1505. Forty years after it was created, there was an earthquake in the house in which this painting was kept, and the painting was shattered into 17 different pieces. The wood was all smashed up into bits. So, another artist took long iron nails and tried to patch the pieces together. And then he tried to paint over it to conceal the breaks and make it look whole again. But over the years, there were so many layers of paint added and so much dust and grime over this painting that the original colours, the original art, was completely obscured.

The contemporary restoration project fixed the shattered areas and removed layers of paint and dirt to get the colours back. It was a team effort. It took fifty people ten years of working on this painting, and the result is stunning. The cracks are gone. Centuries of brown film and grime are gone. The dulling veneers and patches have been stripped away, and the finished product glows with all the deep colours: the reds, and blues, and golds of the original work of art. Given how badly it was damaged, the restoration of Raphael's painting is arguably even more amazing than the painting itself. The original was splendid, but the miracle of restoration compounds the beauty. Knowing the drama of the whole story, you can only look at it in wonder.

There is a contemporary restoration project that is happening in and through the Church today. God’s true colours are being restored so that people’s lives can recover from earthquakes of sin and brokenness. People often try to mend the brokenness with the world’s methods, but true restoration can only come by the Spirit, and He has equipped His people with His supernatural gifts to accomplish this miracle.

The Manifestation gifts are the colour palette of the spiritual artist. These gifts are different to other ones mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, that is why the word ‘but’ opens this section – “but the manifestation of the Spirit”.

Let us read the context from 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”

Here we see there are at least three categories of Spiritual Gifts. The first are the ministry gifts, probably referring to Ephesians 4:12 gifts called the “fivefold ministries” of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. These are the artist’s clothing or uniform. The second category is referred to here as “diversity of activities” probably referring to the Romans 12:6-8 gifts, often called the motivational gifts as they are the basic motivations released in us at new birth. These are the gifts of prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and mercy. These are the artist’s paint brushes. However, the third and last category is what I want to look at, called the “manifestation of the Spirit”, what I call the manifestation gifts. These are the colours the artist uses.

They are supernatural manifestations of the Spirit’s power and are released with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that is why they are also called the Empowering gifts. We may see them like a toolbox that we can dip into as the Lord wills. According to our artist’s “uniform” (that is our main spiritual ministry) and “brushes” (that is our main spiritual motivation) each of these manifestations will take a slightly different form; a different spectrum of colours as this diagram shows.

We will use more of certain colours with certain Motivational gifts than with others. They are the Empowering gifts that take the Ministerial and Motivational gifts to another level. Each Motivational gift can be likened to a prism through which white light (The Holy Spirit) shines. Each of these gifts will shine forth the Manifestation Gifts to give different spectrums and light patterns, containing all nine colours of the Manifestation gifts, but in different intensities.

The following diagram adapts the picture by putting the Prism as the Motivational Gift of Teaching. The Holy Spirit shines through the believer with this gift to shine forth Manifestation gifts. Look at the diagram to see the kinds of manifestations you are likely to see through this gift.

Having the Motivational gifts of Teaching and Prophecy I notice that at some time or other I have moved in all the nine Manifestation Gifts. As my Teaching and Prophetic gifts develop so the Manifestation gifts tailor themselves to fit into what is needed in these motivations.
The strongest Manifestation gifts I move in are Words of Knowledge and Wisdom, Discerning of Spirits and Prophecy.

For my Teaching gift I find that the Gift of Tongues is useful to birth teaching ideas as the Lord interprets mysteries I speak in Tongues, even as I am studying God’s word. Words of Knowledge come as to topics and themes and specific teachings I should bring forth to different groups of people, and Words of Wisdom come as to how I present these in creative ways.

As a Teacher I often can discern the spirits behind other Teachers and Preachers and very quickly pick up heresy or wrong spirits. Of course, the gift of Faith is needed to deliver the words of revelation I get and often the gift of Healing operates as people receive healing (particularly emotional and inner healing) as I deliver His Word. I also see miracles in that the Lord miraculously provides books or materials or even printing ink at exactly the right moment to prepare for teachings that He is prompting me to do.
As for my Prophetic gifts of Worship leading and Prophetic song, I regularly find the gift of Tongues empowers me to move prophetically and then I will sing in Tongues that leads to singing in English as the Interpretation of Tongues, singing forth a prophecy to edify the people. In ministry times I am sometimes prompted to sing or speak prophecies over individuals, many quite specific, and the people often confirm that the words were spot on.
As a worship leader I regularly get Words of Wisdom as to the topic of a worship session and what songs to use. Specific Words of Knowledge concerning people’s needs will come in times of worship that I then speak out. I always need the Gift of Faith to launch out in Prophetic song or word and many times, when the Word of Knowledge for someone’s healing or miracle comes, I need this gift to operate in the gift of Healing or Miracles.

Some important points about the nine Manifestation gifts:
a.   These nine gifts are supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit working through a believer. They are manifested through the person's daily walk and every believer can potentially move in all these gifts according to the need.
b.   These are not spiritual fruit as they are not linked to spiritual maturity. They can be abused (Matthew 7:22-23) and must operate with love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
c.   These gifts are given when the believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit. The role of the Holy Spirit is to inspire and anoint, the role of the believer is to yield and surrender.
d.   These gifts are given by grace and operate through faith.
e.   They are given not for the person who acts as the channel, but for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 12:7).
f.     These gifts are released as God wills in any ministry situation and are the tools of our ministry/motivational gifts. At any time, the best gift is the one most needed at that particular moment (1 Corinthians 14:1-3)
g.   The purpose of the gifts vary with the gift but in general we can say that they include building up the church, exhortation of believers, comfort, warning, confirmation of the word, ministry to needs, demonstration of the reality of God to unbelievers, revealing facts or situations not known to the natural mind and/or power to deal with evil spirits.

Differences between the Engaging and Empowering Gifts

There are Three Categories of Manifestation Gifts

In 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 Paul writes, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In 1 Peter 4:11 Peter writes,“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

From the above passages we see that there are gifts of knowing (‘all knowledge’), gifts of speaking (‘all utterance’, ‘speak as the oracles of God’) and gifts of doing (‘if anyone ministers’). All of these are to be used ‘with the ability which God supplies’. The nine Manifestation gifts fit the bill exactly on all accounts here, as they can be divided into these three areas and are the manifestations of His supplied power.

The nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit are generally categorized in three groups:

The Revelation Gifts are the gifts of knowing, the Vocal Gifts are the gifts of speaking and the Power Gifts are the gifts of doing. We will look at each category in my following messages.

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