Worshipping God Or Worshipping The Gifts?

Worshipping God Or Worshipping The Gifts? February 28, 2018

Does it seem that more and more attention is being focused on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and less and less on the fruits of the Spirit?

New Apostolic Reformation

The New Apostolic Reformation that is sweeping across the world has made many people re-think the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There is suddenly a new focus on gifts and it’s moved from God dispensing gifts as He purposes, to trying to acquire these gifts either by baptism, the laying on of hands, or even learning how to use their gift in a class. The most troubling part however is the latter…where there are classes that teach you how to receive the gift of divine healing, and this, despite the fact that God does the healing and He chooses whom to heal and whom He will work through. Of course, God still does use people as a means to heal some, but it not by their power but by God’s Spirit, and it must not be in accordance to the will of man as they suppose; it must be according the will of God. Instead, what we see is they’re trying to heal everyone that they come in contact with, whether they believe or not. There is no mention that I’ve seen where people are told they must repent and believe, which is the very gospel Jesus brought (Mark 1:14-15). Rather, they are praying for man’s will to be done on earth and in heaven, rather than praying and working for God’s will to be done on earth as it already is being done in heaven (Matt 6:10). Prayer is not trying to get our will done on earth, but God’s will done on earth. Our wills are marred by sin; God’s will is always perfect and best for us (Rom 8:28).

The Giver

Over the years, I’ve had some very interesting conversations with believers who speak about their gifts of the Holy Spirit as evidence that they are saved, but a select few have become almost obsessed with their gifts, almost flaunting them before others, but this was one of the problems with the church at Corinth. Members were ranking themselves over others because they were coveting the “best gifts” and felt superior to others because they had been given certain gifts that others hadn’t, but the point is they didn’t acquire these gifts so they had no reason to boast. The Bible teaches that “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor 12:11), so it’s not up to the individual to boast that they have such and such a gift, but they ought to give glory to God Who gave these gifts at it pleased Him and not them. Not long ago, one man asked if I had been baptized in the Spirit and spoke in tongues, adding, “If you have not spoken in tongues you have never been saved.” I asked the man for chapter and verse to back up his statement but he never did answer me back. Besides, God alone knows the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

Fruits of the Spirit

Jesus once said that they will know you by your fruits (Matt 7:15-20). Never did Jesus or any of the other apostles indicate we will know them by their gifts. Even Satan can bring certain powers of darkness but that doesn’t mean he’s “filled with the Spirit,” so why the emphasis on gifts and not fruits? Because gifts can bring attention and draw large numbers of people (i.e. the Last Reformation), but this is just the opposite of the way Jesus’ ministry worked. After healing someone, Jesus would often say, “Tell no man” (Matt 8:4, Mark 7:36). I doubt He’d have taken a selfie of Himself and the patient and then post it YouTube. Sadly, many who are charismatic don’t understand that “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Cor 12:18), and not what they chose. God decides who receives certain gifts of the Holy Spirit, not us! One example is the Last Reformation which teaches or trains students how to heal, but can we be trained to heal or does God choose to heal whom He wills? On one website, they offer classes for healing as they “provide instruction and practical training in healing the sick” [1], however this is contrary to Scripture and the way God works by His Spirit, as it says, “God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul” (Acts 19:11), and not as some claim that they are the ones doing the extraordinary miracles. When they attend these classes and focus on the gift of healing, it’s as if Jesus rebukes them from over 2,000 years ago, saying, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah” (Matt 6:14). It wasn’t the apostles who actually did the healing, and never once did they attend a healing class (or a kick start). They understood that “God had done through them among the Gentiles” (Acts 15:12), and not them by themselves.

An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign.

Confusion

Years ago I went to one church that was charismatic and the entire service was nothing but the preacher trying to preach while about a dozen or more spoke in tongues. There was no one to interpret, so it was a mass of confusion trying to hear the preacher. As I sat there, it almost appeared that they were worshiping the gifts more than the Gift Giver, and instead of worshiping God, they were worshipping the tongue…their tongue! I thought, “Why don’t they just erect a giant tongue and place that on the altar?” We know that God is not the author of confusion, so it was hard to tell whether God was even present. I couldn’t tell whether His Spirit was there or not. There was so much activity and speaking that it was like attending a sporting event. Dozens were speaking at the same time so nothing could be understood, and why didn’t they ever mention Jesus or preach out of the Bible?

Conclusion

How will they know we are Jesus’ disciples? Is it by our gifts or our speaking in tongues or being baptized in water? No, Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16a), not by their gifts. You will not know them by their gifts or by their miracles or by their tongues. Jesus said it is by their fruits that you will know them, not by their gifts, but also it will be by our love for one another that others will know we are His disciples (John 13:34-45). For some reason, we want to flaunt the gifts of the Spirit in front of others (or on You Tube) while ignoring the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s almost as if we’re worshipping the gifts and not the Gift Giver. Where is Jesus in all this? Oh that’s right…speaking and teaching about Jesus doesn’t get as many page views or sell as many books as seeking miraculous gifts, but is He not to be the main focus of worship? Why then do we come dangerously close to worshiping the gifts rather than the good God Who dispensed these gifts, and as He sees fit, not we? It’s far too easy to rob glory from God and put the focus on the person with gifts, but that’s not a good thing to do at all because God will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

1.  3-week PTS in Denmark. https://thelastreformation.com/pts-denmark/ (Accessed, Feb 20, 2018).


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    You don’t “worship” an invisible undetectable “god” or any non existent “jesus”….you worship a book! A stupid, inaccurate, false, mythological, stupid, contradictory, absurd, delusional book.

    Everything in your pitiful, deranged, demented world view is predicated on a complete swallowing of the fables and fiction as laid down by stupid goat herders from the Bronze Age. You do not ask the questions and seek the answers, you start from full indoctrination into the cult and struggle daily to fit the facts to your absurd narrative. The exact opposite of what people who value actual truth and reason do.

    You can demonstrate exactly nothing as true and you don’t care. You are a terrified prisoner unable and/or unwilling to critically think about anything. And you make you living lying to children about things you cannot possibly know.

    • Craig Belcourt

      Pud: Maybe you should cut back on the caffeine.
      You are entertaining, But upon reading your frequent shallow and juvenile rants it has become apparent you are desperate to convince yourself that God doesn’t exist. That will never happen because it is a lie. You will not find peace until you acknowledge that prompting of the Holy Spirit you feel inside telling you God loves you, and wants a relationship with you.

      • pud

        So happy that I can offer you entertainment! Too bad you ignore the reason, logic and wisdom I include for no additional cost.

        Demonstrate that some “holy spirit” thing exists…..waiting….

        I’ll wager you $100 that you cannot offer an intelligible definition of “holy spirit” let alone demonstrate that any such absurd nonsense exists.

        If any “god” wants a relationship with me then he can show up in person and ask me….you deluded nut cases and your invisible friends that live only inside your simple minded heads can carry on without me…lol

        • Sean Dattoli

          Pud,

          Why are so angry? Its difficult to provide evidence to something that occurs in the spiritual realm. I can only tell you that many of us have had our consciences awakened to our need and then saw changes in our lives (from the inside out) sometimes after trying to be moralistic, legalistic, religious etc on our own.

          Unlike some “Christians” today who major in external changes but are some of the most angry, legalistic and insufferable people on the planet, there are many of us who become spiritually (internally) driven by love, compassion, service and yes, even internal moral changes that occur without imposing them on others. We find and understand complete forgiveness and unmerited favor….for nothing we can take credit for. We find that our debts had been paid.

          Spend a week on Mercy Ships, and you’ll find your evidence. These aren’t actors or attention-seekers nor is giving up your life for others a natural human tendency.

          As far as the above or the NAR or the selfish, greedy charlatan clowns on TBN/Daystar speaking for real Christians…they don’t and they never have…despite their ridiculous claims. They’re more empty and lost than any pagan but unlike the pagan, the wolves stalk their prey and invent new ways of enriching themselves. You are right in judging them PUD along with legalists – they’re empty vessels.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    I myself and skeptical about the New Apostolic Reformation, but, based upon the little I have learned about them, I would like to provide some explanation which should not be understood as an endorsement.

    I think that the motives of its adherents are good. They believe that Christians today should be like the Christians of the Book of Acts after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They see that the preaching of the Apostles was accompanied by miracles, signs, and wonders. They believe that this is normative: that all evangelization should be so accompanied. They believe that miracles, signs, and wonders attest to the truth of the Gospel, and confirm it. Therefore they want to record on video what they believe to be miracles, signs, and wonders, and post their recordings on the Internet with the hope that all who watch them will be convinced that the Triune God is real and the Gospel is true.

    They also believe that every Christian has, or should have, at least one spiritual gift. They see spiritual gifts as analogous to what one might call “natural gifts”, e.g. the ability to play the violin. As one who has the gift of playing the violin can benefit from taking music lessons in order to exercise that gift well, so, they think, one who has the gift of healing can benefit from taking classes which teach how exercise it well. Granted, we have no record of anyone in the Bible attending such a class–although some believe that the “sons of the prophets” mentioned in the Old Testament were students of a school of prophecy.

    Whether many of these people are prone to self-seeking, or to worship the gifts rather than the giver, or neglect to call people to repentance and faith in Christ, I do not know.

    I had thought that you might cite Matthew 7:21-23, which is a very important passage concerning the working of wonders. It immediately follows the passage about wolves in sheep’s clothing which you have cited with respect to knowing people by their fruits.

    • Jack Wellman

      Matt 7:21-23 is outstanding. I agree. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits…most of them wax fruit.

      • pud

        (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

        As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

        What kind of God approves of murder, rape, and slavery?

        • Craig Belcourt

          Pud: There are many articles/sermons on the internet that address this passage that you should easily find. However, I know your goal is not to find truth but to argue. It’s childish to think you can discuss this unrelated topic on a comment section. Grow up.

          • Doug Barron

            Don’t feed it. You are feeding an empty hole.

          • pud

            Yeah, better to feed absurd delusions

          • Kewl Cat

            My takeaway from that section of scripture is that It is God and God alone who sets the course and He gives and takes away as He determines and accepts no rebellion. I realize this is off putting to those who believe that is their wishes and their interpretations of who God is that matters most. But the truth is that Gods ways are not our ways and there are many things we will not and cannot understand about his will. Be we acknowledge Him as our Creator and believe it is ultimately for good. That is what we call Faith. So yes, sometimes in Scripture God is portrayed as harsh, vicious, even deceptive. But of course it isn’t deceptive because He is announcing to the world that when He enters your life, He will accept no substitutes and when we let him in, he requires our complete and full submission to Him. A man cannot serve two Masters and He tells us freely that He is a jealous God. So I think you can choose to say I will not submit and therefore I am better than God. Or you can trust that even when it is harsh, in the end, God Is, and we, who are the created and not the Creator, submit before Him and let him give us beauty for ashes. This passage is about surrender. May I never misrepresent Christ and Him crucified. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, My Strength and my Redeemer.

          • pud

            LOL

            Demonstrate that any “god” past or present ever existed.

          • Kewl Cat

            He woke me up this morning and started me on my way. I don’t take life for granted. Peace be with you.

          • pud

            Oh you mean many apologetic weasel sites that try to twist the narrative to support your delusional preferences?

    • Doug Barron

      I move in several gifts of Father’s Holy Spirit, but; only as Father allows.
      I may go for some time..even times; and a particular gift will not be manifested.
      Then: bang! There it is!
      Just because we are blessed (burdened?) with a gift does not mean that it will be used daily.
      That is Father’s business.
      One of the gifts that I received was the gift of prophecy.
      This is not a fun gift. This gift will get you dis-owned, and or killed!
      Folks don’t want to hear from a prophet.
      Prophecy is 99.9% last warning of bad news to come, if the hearer does not turn back to Father.
      Differentiated from prophecy is a word.
      A word is spoken, hearing from Father to encourage a fellow believer.
      When Father’s Holy Spirit moves you to give prophecy, be prepared to run..or be stoned!
      Yet; both are gifts!
      Hmm!

  • Carlos Santiago

    Galations 5 tells us: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. I think everything else is just icing on the cake.

    • pud

      Deuteronomy tells us….

      (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

      As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

      What kind of God approves of murder, rape, and slavery?

  • Raymond

    Pastor,
    I was reading a Patheos comment thread recently about how often Christian blogs ban atheist commentators vs Atheist blogs ban Christian commentators – and the level of rudeness either set of commentators may have. I commented on you and your blog and how you show great patience and forbearance toward your personal troll, the appropriately named “pud”. Despite his rudeness and bullying, you have not banned this person from this site, and you have even engaged with him occasionally, with calmness and good will. Not that it changed anything.

    I am not a believer, and I am not part of your target audience, but the way you handle poor pud is greatly to your credit.

    Thank you.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you my friend. I know that we are not one bit better than Pud or any one who does not believe. All should be treated with respect and dignity. Thank you for your kind words sir.

      • Doug Barron

        PUD is an avatar.
        An avatar get’s no attention from me.
        I show my face, name and where I live.
        I stand for Jesus.
        What does the puny avatar srand for?

        • pud

          You stand for willful ignorance and nothing more. You’re a coward who CAN’T confront me even though your story book orders you to do so

      • I am not a believer, either, if Evangelicalism is the standard. But I commend you for your forbearance and kindness. Kindness is my “religion”, though I sometimes fail miserably. Kindness needs no priests, pastors. rabbis, immans, monks or religious gurus. Just be kind hearted and generous to every one you meet.

        Kindness needs no temples, no mosques, no church buildings for, if God exists, then he does not dwell in temples made by human hands. You can be kind to people whether you attend these buildings or not.

        Kindness needs no holy books though some people find kindness in some portions of their holy books. I find that much of the teaching of Jesus is full of kindness though some parts of the bible seem to have been written by barbaric savages, so I am not a fan of holy books like you seem to be with the bible.

        Of course the NT does witness to Jesus who presents God as compassionate and full of loving kindness even towards the ungrateful and the wicked. He is presented as a God who loves his enemies.

        So Jack, even though we disagree with many things, I want to commend you for your gracious forbearance and the loving kindness that you display towards all of us. You are like the Jesus of peace and compassion.

        • pud

          No he isn’t…he is a fraud and cult leader who makes his living lying to people.

    • pud

      He doesn’t “handle” me…he hides from me.

      • Raymond

        Aren’t you just the cutest thing?

        • pud

          You’re all fundamentally cowards, frauds and delusional dimwits. You cannot go toe to toe with me so you run, cower, hide, dodge or write stupid comments

          • Raymond

            Considering that my initial post commended the pastor for not banning you, allowing you to continue to post your “intelligent” “insights”, I think it’s inaccurate to use the word “cowards”. And considering some of the things YOU say, I’d be more circumspect about the word “stupid”.

            Not that you listen anyway. Love the shoes.

  • Doug Barron

    Overall I am good with this article, Pastor!
    I still,after so many years contemplate the passage in Mark, 6:5.
    Belief of the reciever was aparrently a component in the moving of The Holy Spirit (crudely worded on my part!)

    • Jack Wellman

      I think you’re spot on brother. Even when Jesus did miracles in the temple, before the Jewish religious leaders, they still sought to kill Him. Sad that even a miracle (many in fact!) before their eyes only served to harden their hearts, so disbelief, even in the face of evidence, would dampen anything that God would do supernaturally.

      • pud

        Demonstrate that any suspension of natural laws (miracles) have EVER occurred. It’s a BOOK jack! A STORY BOOK!

  • This is a timely post, Jack.

    The Charismatic movement seems to revel, sometimes, in Charismania. If you go by the NT, as you do, then Paul tells Christians to make love their aim (I Cor.13). This chapter on love is sandwiched between the 2 chapters on Spiritual gifts (Chs. 12 and 14). Although Christians are exhorted to earnestly desire Spiritual gifts, they are told to make love their aim. This is the more excellent way.

    Paul says that the Gifts are sovereignly given by God and they are meant for the benefit of all and are to be exercised in love. If there is no love shown, then the so-called gifts are useless. The fruit of the Spirit should take precedence over the Gifts of the Spirit. Gifts are meant to build up the Body of Christ for the common good, but it is the fruit of loving kindness that produces, joy, peace, etc. as listed in Galatians 5.

    If we read the bible through a Christocentric lens, then the Holy Spirit should be seen as the Spirit of Jesus. He is the Spirit of the lowly Galilean who was a friend of outcasts and sinners. Jesus who stooped down to lift others up. Jesus who came to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to liberate the oppressed and to announce the year of the Jubilee.

    This Jesus did not exalt Spiritual Gifts or healing above loving people.

    I’m not a believer by any Evangelical standards, but I thank you for your post. Many in the New Apostolic Reformation movement are simply deluded. in my opinion.

  • I too have at least some doubt about whether a class in a gift is appropriate, although it seems to me Timothy was told to stir up the gifts he had. Certainly any church that does not stop tongues that are not followed immediately by interpretation is ignoring 1 Corinthians 14. Gifts are a fascinating area for Scripture study, but setting them aside, it seems to me that many churches teach the fruit OF THE SPIRIT as being the product of personal discipline and effort–try to be more loving, etc. It is not only salvation that is by God’s grace–our daily walk is by His grate as well and so many are ready, like the Galatians, to begin in the Spirit but finish in the flesh.