2017 1st Quarter
Lesson 8, February 18-24, The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit
Sunday, February 19
The fruit of the Holy Spirit have to do with character. The gifts of the Holy Spirit have to do with ministry. So, while the gifts of the Spirit may not always be evident due to lack of faith, or the unbelief, of those around us, the fruit of the Spirit will always be evident in the life and character of the one unconditionally surrendered to God. Problems arise in the church when men refuse to acknowledge the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of others, and therefore prevent the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit by their unbelief.
“To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” KJV, 1 Corinthians 12:9, emphasis added.
“And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” KJV, Luke 5:17, emphasis added.
“Toward the close of His ministry in Galilee, He again visited the home of His childhood. Since His rejection there, the fame of His preaching and His miracles had filled the land. None now could deny that He possessed more than human power. The people of Nazareth knew that He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. About them were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. The mercy revealed in every act of His life testified to His divine anointing.
“Again as they listened to His words the Nazarenes were moved by the Divine Spirit. But even now they would not admit that this Man, who had been brought up among them, was other or greater than themselves. Still there rankled the bitter memory that while He had claimed for Himself to be the Promised One, He had really denied them a place with Israel; for He had shown them to be less worthy of God’s favor than a heathen man and woman. Hence though they questioned, ‘Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?’ they would not receive Him as the Christ of God. Because of their unbelief, the Saviour could not work many miracles among them. Only a few hearts were open to His blessing, and reluctantly He departed, never to return.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, 241, emphasis added.)
“Much ability has been lost to the cause of God because many in responsible positions were so narrow in their ideas, that they did not discern the increasing responsibilities. They did not have extended vision to see that the work was becoming altogether too large to be carried forward by the workers then engaged in it. The work had outgrown them. Much, very much is now left undone which should have been done, because men have held things in their own finite hands, instead of proportioning the work to a larger number of workers, and trusting that God would help them. They have tried to take all branches of the work upon themselves, fearing others would not prove as efficient. Their wills have therefore controlled in everything, and through some unwise decisions, made because of their inability to grasp all the wants of the cause in its various parts, and as a result great losses have been sustained. The work has been bound about, not from design, but from not discerning the necessity of a different order of things to meet the demands for the time…. God has not wrought as he would, because of surmisings and suspicion, and because there was not discernment and planning to let every man do the work that God is fitting him to perform, in an understanding, intelligent manner. The lesson must be learned that when God appoints means for a certain work, we are not to neglect these means, put them aside, and then pray and expect that he will work miracles to supply our neglect. To every man God has appointed his work, according to his capacities and capabilities. Wise planning is needed to place each one in his proper sphere in the work, in order that he may obtain an experience which will fit him to bear increased responsibility.” (Ellen White, Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 110, emphasis added.)