But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
The Holy Spirit And His Gifts
The building blocks of the early church are made up of the necessary ingredients for the expansion and growth of the church. Jesus gave the apostles the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel of Christ. Considering the magnitude of their work, the twelve men could not have accomplished much without divine help. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus spoke to eleven of His apostles about a Helper He would send to guide them and instruct them concerning the kingdom of God. These words were hollow at first, as the eleven could not imagine what would happen to Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the eleven and spent forty days with them. During that time, He gave them the Holy Spirit to forgive sins. On the day of Pentecost, after a twelfth apostle was chosen, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles with manifold power from on high. It was so unusual; it startled the thousands of people assembled as they witnessed the power of God on twelve men from Galilee.
Early church growth was necessary for the survival of the church. God did not leave the twelve without the power to spread the gospel quickly from Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. Paul would later declare in his letter to Colosse the gospel had gone into all the world. This was not by accident or chance. It was the work of the Holy Spirit through the agency of disciples. The tools at the disposal of the early church prolificated the message of salvation to Jews and Gentiles. What is remarkable about the gifts of the Holy Spirit is how effectively the signs, wonders, and miracles confirmed the word, which in turn helped lost souls find Christ.
Jesus sent the disciples to teach the word, and through the accompanying signs, the word would be confirmed that it was from God. The signs were to accompany those who believed, and the Lord worked with them, confirming the word. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the special gifts were given to men to possess knowledge, wisdom, and faith. Healings of all kinds (without limitation) would be shown through the hands of those given the gifts. Miracles accompanied the word showing the speaker was declaring the divine truth. Prophecies and discerning of spirits helped to mold and confirmed the word.
One of the significant challenges facing twelve Jewish men was to carry the gospel to a world filled with many different languages. On the day of Pentecost, there were people from Parthia, including the Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs. Twelve Jewish preachers could not possess the knowledge or ability to speak in so many languages. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Matthew could speak any language he came upon. Imagine the ability to spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire unhindered by the many national languages the disciples would face.
The Holy Spirit gave gifts to the early church as scaffolding is used to build a building. When the church matured with the complete revelation of God’s will in written form, there was no need for the spiritual gifts. Paul reminded the saints at Corinth that the work of the Holy Spirit was limited. When the fully revealed word of God was given, the gifts of the Holy Spirit would cease. There was no longer a need for signs, wonders, and miracles. The Bible is now the perfect gift of the Holy Spirit that any person in any language can read and understand the fellowship of the mystery now revealed by the Father. God revealed Himself as the prominent part of the Godhead in the Old Testament. Jesus fully revealed Himself in the gospels declaring His deity. Finally, the Holy Spirit imprinted His image on the hearts of the early church through the pages of the epistles and John’s revelation. The Holy Spirit moved and shaped the course of the church as we know it today.