Holy Spirit Manifestation (Part 1)

1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

We’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about what the scriptures teach about various ways the Holy Spirit is manifest, or made evident. But the key point I want us to understand as we begin today is that the Holy Spirit operates in our lives and in the church so that we may benefit.

Verse 7 of the passage we just read from the NIV says that the Holy Spirit is manifest for “the common good.” The King James Version says that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is “given to every man to profit withal.” So here’s an important Biblical basis for the operation of the Holy Spirit; He is present for our good and for the good of Christ’s Kingdom.

The Holy Spirit does the spectacular but is not to be a spectacle.

The Holy Spirit operates in power but not to make us personally powerful.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter but is not concerned with making us comfortable.

The Holy Spirit reveals truth but does not wield truth as a weapon of destruction.

The Holy Spirit is our friend but not our buddy.

The Holy Spirit operates spiritual gifts through us but does not invest them specifically with any individual (we do not possess His gifts).

As we will see in coming weeks the Holy Spirit is present, personal, and powerful. He manifests the power and mind of Christ in the church and in our lives. That is why He has been given to us. We need God’s presence with us and in us and we need His power to overcome and defeat the powers of evil and sin in this world.

I think it appropriate to remind us that much of how we do what we call “church” is the product of our experience, habits, traditions, observations, and teachings. But as we embark on this journey of exploration with regard to the Holy Spirit, we should be careful not to put Him in a box of our choosing. He is the Spirit of God and, therefore, far beyond our comprehension and control. But we can limit His influence in our lives by simply holding an unscriptural bias toward how He can and should operate.

Here’s a simple example. Most of the time when we pray in church, we do so individually. This is often good and beneficial but it’s not the only way to pray. There are times when it’s appropriate for all of us to pray individually — but at the same time. God has no problem discerning our many separate prayers when prayed at the same time. And in praying together there is the opportunity for us to personally encounter God and possibly place ourselves in a position for His Holy Spirit to be manifest among us in ways which would not happen as we politely let someone else pray on our behalf.

Recently, a young lady was in our service for the first time in quite a while. As we began to sing and spend time in worship and prayer and even during the ministering of the Word, she sat there weeping. I have no doubt that God’s Holy Spirit was working in her heart that day to cleanse her and draw her back to Him. She probably heard little that was said during the service as God’s Spirit moved in her heart and that is perfectly fine. She didn’t need our ministrations; she needed to be ministered to directly by God.

So as we open our hearts and our church to the working and power of the Holy Spirit, we need to realize that He may not conform to our expectations but that He may move among us in powerful, yet, seemingly strange ways.

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