I hear this question a lot—and the good news is that God wants you to know the answer!
As 1 Corinthians 12:1 says, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.”
There are not many things in Scripture about which God specifically says, “I don’t want you to be ignorant.” This is clearly an important topic! He wants you to understand the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit!
Let’s begin in Hebrews.
The writer says that the gospel message was at first “spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit…” (Hebrews 2:3–4).
Similarly, in Romans 15:18–19, Paul says that his ministry to the Gentiles was marked by “mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that…I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
Two things for you to note.
First, God bears witness to the preaching of the gospel with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And second, Paul counted his preaching to be “full” when it was accompanied by a manifestation of the Spirit’s power.
So in New Testament terms, the proclamation of the good news wasn’t just a matter of sound doctrine or of simply preaching a message, but a matter of the Holy Spirit working in supernatural ways.
That shouldn’t surprise you. After all, concerning His Great Commission, Jesus says…
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15–18)
It’s important to note the context of all three of these Scriptures. They all refer to the proclamation of the gospel to the lost.
It’s crucial you and I grasp this, because I believe we can unconsciously create a culture where we expect the wonderful gifts and manifestations of the Spirit to be exclusively for us believers within the Church.
But if we’re going to be true to the Scriptural pattern, we need to expect that the gifts of the Spirit are more for ministry outside the four walls of our church buildings!
In short, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are predominantly to be manifested as we take the gospel to a lost and dying world.
When I was a new believer, I had a burning zeal to share Jesus with everyone I met. One day, I met a maintenance guy in a park—so I began to share my faith. He started to mock me with snide remarks.
At that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart saying, “This man is deaf in his left ear.” So I spoke up and said, “You’re deaf in your left ear.”
“How did you know that?” he asked, his eyes wide. “God just told me,” I replied. “Can I pray for you?”
The man didn’t take me up on my offer, and I don’t know what became of him. But I do know that the Holy Spirit worked supernaturally to give him an encounter he could never dismiss!
Friend, this is a primary purpose of the gifts of the Holy Spirit—to demonstrate the love, grace, and power of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. So lift your eyes to the harvest field, and pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through you as you take the good news to the lost!
There’s so much more for you to know about the power and the purpose of the gifts of the Holy Spirit working in and through your life. That’s why Bayless wants you to have his brand-new series called “The Holy Spirit and His Gifts.” This 3-message series comes as thanks for your support to help proclaim the living Jesus to a dying world—so please request your copy when you give today.