Week 16 Principles of Intercession – Class Notes – January 8, 2017
Function of Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Prayer and Intercession – Introduction
I. This first section was not discussed in class but it is pertinent: How did Jesus do all the miracles, healings, deliverances that he did? As God? Or as a human being empowered by the Holy Spirit?
If as God, then no-one else could have done the things Jesus did – but obviously the disciples did, and prophets in the Old Testament did also.
Philippians 2:6-7 “Who (Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Jesus purposely put off his divinity when he came to earth.
Jesus did not begin his public ministry until after being baptized by John the Baptist, after receiving the Holy Spirit, and after being tempted in the desert by Satan. He needed not just the authority his Father God had given him, he needed the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work he came to do. Throughout the gospels you can spot the various gifts (tools, equipment) of the Spirit in use during Jesus’ ministry. There won’t be a footnote saying “This was that gift,” but it was.
Under the mantle of Jesus, the disciples were able to do the same types of things Jesus did. They weren’t God… before Jesus died, they were using his extended power and authority. After Jesus rose from the dead, they were using the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
II. I shared several personal testimonies (my neighbor who died and the vision of him in heaven; Paul not coming home after work and the Lord showing me where his truck was parked, which I ignored but was true; prophetic prayer for a couple in my church that didn’t “stick” in my mind at all).
III. There are three basic categories of Gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in the New Testament: ministry positions, ministry activities / functions, and ministry equipment (“power tools”). Lists can be found in:
Eph. 4:11 – ministry positions, 4 or 5 positions
Romans 12:6-8, 13; I Cor. 12:28; I Peter 4:7-11 – functions or activities
I Cor. 12:7-11 – equipment, God’s power tools
Whether praying for someone in person, or interceding for someone privately, God’s equipment is useful and beneficial. The gifts all originate in God – they are not worked up by the believer. They are given to help the body of Christ as a whole, whether the prayer is targeted to an individual or a group.
Ephesians 4:11 includes ministry positions in the body of Christ, jobs that may be permanent assignments or temporary ones. (The apostle Paul was an evangelist sometimes, a pastor sometimes, an apostle sometimes, a writer sometimes, and a teacher all the time.) Some people believe there are five of these positions, others think pastor and teacher are combined into one – i.e., that a pastor should be able to teach as well as preach. I tend to think they are separate, as some pastors are not good teachers and some excellent teachers are not pastors, but both were called to their position in the body.
Romans 12 includes functions / activities in the body of Christ that God may call you to do, including prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, showing mercy and hospitality. “Who God calls, he equips” – the call to perform a task will include the ability to fulfill that task. Some of these activities may be used in long-term ministry positions, some may be used in temporary assignments.
Another list in I Cor. 12:28 includes apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helping, guidance, and different kinds of tongues. I Peter 4:7-11 includes hospitality along with speaking and ministering (serving). As you see, some of those are ministry positions, the others are equipment or enablements to help you fulfill your current task.
The list of spiritual gifts found in I Cor. 12:7-11 could be called “God’s power tools.” These are not positions, they are equipment given to a believer by the Holy Spirit for a current assignment. They may be given to a person occasionally, frequently, or nearly always – but whatever the need is at the time, the Holy Spirit provides whatever is appropriate to meet that need at that time. And thus they may change for that person from time to time.
Some people will function in one or more gifts on a nearly permanent basis: Oral Roberts and Kathryn Kuhlman and the gifts of healing, for example. Others will operate in different gifts on different occasions, such as pastors or revivalists. Randy Clark operates in the gift of knowledge a great deal, and it is frequently combined with gifts of healing in an unusual way – he “feels” a migraine, or a hip pain, etc., and knows someone in the congregation is suffering from that ailment. As he calls it out, that person responds in faith and healing occurs.
The Holy Spirit makes the gifts available for the body, but he won’t force any of them on anyone. If you want him to use you, ask him. Verse 12:31 tells us to covet (zealously desire) the greatest / best (most useful, advantageous) gifts.
If you are building a house, what would be the most useful – a power saw or a hammer? It depends on what you’re doing. God’s tools are appropriate for the task and available to those who request them. He is building his house and he uses all of the gifts to do it. Note – the builder is God, not the person through whom he uses a gift.
Remember, you are only the delivery system, the gift isn’t for you, it’s for the person you’re ministering to or praying for.