The Letters of Faith
Letter 16: The Service Gifts
“Now there are different of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are
different ministries, but the same Master. And there are different effects,
but the same Elohim works all things in all. But the manifestation of
The Holy Spirit is given to each person for the benefit of all”
(1 Corinthians 12:4-7 ENB).
Greetings of grace and peace! I truly pray that this letter finds you growing in the knowledge and application of your gifts, while you gain even more joy in your heart thru your faithful service to our Master, Messiah and King. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers – they are most coveted. I enjoyed reading your latest letter, and especially enjoyed hearing about the changes taking place within your Ekklesia. Even though some of the events are stressful, the overall growth is exciting. I know Elohim will be glorified… Keep up the good work!
Aren’t the gifts magnificent? The light now shining on what has been hidden and distorted for centuries, will truly glorify our Father in Heaven, as the learned and wise Disciples of Yehoshua acquire the training that has been lacking for so long! And, as you will soon see, the service gifts add to the fullness of our blessings, because they bring tremendous significance and importance to the workings of the body. It should come as no surprise to any of the Brethren to learn that it is these wonderful service gifts that truly do keep all things functioning properly.
And yes, beloved, there are some pastors who come very close to the outline I presented. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for my association with one of these men, I do not think I would have known how to write about the gift of pastor at all.
My friend had pastored in an “institution” for over twenty years before he was “fired”. The reason for his dismissal was wholly related to spiritual warfare, in that he desired intimacy and involvement from, and with, the flock entrusted to him, while the “elders” and “church board members”, desired an intolerable (to him) level of aloofness and apostasy. I did not know this man when I attended his ex-church one Sunday, and it didn’t surprise me when he explained his departure from this institution, because I left their assembly thinking that I had just met with the unfriendliest group of people with whom I had ever assembled!
They cast him aside, just like Yehoseph’s (Joseph’s) brothers cast him aside. But just like Yehoseph, Elohim had a greater plan. Although my friend struggled with his situation, he never lost faith. A group of men and I used to meet at this man’s house regularly for Bible study and fellowship. At the same time, he was meeting with an elderly ladies group on Tuesdays, and with another family group on Thursday evenings. Over the years, this brother came to realize that his twenty-year tenure at the institution was served mainly in the role of a hireling, and he wanted to change that. They objected and fired him. Now though, because of his release, he is free to serve Elohim as a pastor; as a true under shepherd.
The flock that my friend now oversees is smaller than at the institution, but in heart and productivity, they exceed anything he had ever imagined. They meet in homes and gather in small groups, but they are having an impact upon the community; an impact upon lives. And they truly do love one another.
As for your situation, I am not surprised, and neither should you be, that so many within your institution are angered (or is it really fearful?) by a voice of restraint and discipline. Mankind does not like being told what to do, we never have (Genesis 3), but the grace of Elohim has taught discipline, knowledge, wisdom and understanding to His children, and charged them with teaching these things. We cannot deny this truth any more than we can judge those who do not hear Elohim’s Word. Yehoshua said only those who have ears are going to have the ability to hear (Revelation 2 & 3). And the commands issued in Revelation 2 and 3 are such that even we disciples who have ears need to pay much closer attention. As you are now seeing though, the battle is intense, and of necessity our lives must intensify as well. Yehoshua also said that if they persecuted Him, they would persecute those who follow Him (John 15:20). Rejoice in the persecution, and know with certainty that this is only the beginning.
By the way, do you suppose the rebellion you are seeing from a few within the institution, is any greater than yours was when we first began to exchange letters? Or do I need to send you copies of your original questions and arguments? Be patient, my friend, and above all, love them. Let them see Yehoshua residing and abiding within you. He will soften their hearts. Dying to self is painful, or have you forgotten?
Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly believe that we are the Ekklesia of the end time, and the message throughout the Word of Elohim to us in particular, is different than at any other time. Therefore, we must be different. We must be united in the same way the early Ekklesia was united; as Elohim is united. And we must be prepared for the return of our Messiah. Later, we will discuss certain end time issues, so Elohim’s Word can comfort our hearts, but this whole process of discipleship is essential today, because the harvest is ripe and we need to know how to work in the fields. We need to be dressed with the proper attire, and armed with the appropriate tools, so our labor will be efficient and productive. The surgical teams must be assembled, before the fat of apostasy can be removed from the deceived and deceiving church, and from humanity as a whole. Only the faithful discipled children of Elohim will qualify for those surgical teams.
It is nonsense to think we will not see the period of tribulation, because all of history has waited upon these days. Every resource within the Ekklesia will be required to tend the fields, or maintain those who toil there. Elohim promised we would never experience His wrath, but He never said we would not experience tribulation. Our hearts must be prepared to suffer persecution, and our inner person must be strengthened for the task at hand. We must toughen our skills now though, or else our blistered souls will falter as we toil later on.
As you know, I was fortunate to have served with a very unique fighting unit when I was in Vietnam. The war in Vietnam was as diverse a battle zone as can be imagined. Fighting in the Delta area of that country was completely different than the battles fought in the cities, and the war waged in the Central Highlands required different strategies altogether. The fighting by the Headquarters and supply units was unlike anything that had confronted our military before, and convoys were always in enemy territory. The air battles; whether jet, bomber, helicopter, rescue, spotter or supply, and the units that supported those air teams, were always in danger. Nothing was secure, and nothing was easy. Intense sea battles, intense patrols, intense shelling, intense re-supply and intense living conditions were commonplace. There was no front line or rear area, because the battle zone was everywhere, and nobody knew exactly who the enemy was until they opened fire upon us. Amid the mess were a few units that adapted to the conditions, regardless of where they were sent, and I was blessed to be in one of those units.
The 5th Special Forces Group adapted a guerrilla warfare fighting mentality, while a great number of our countrymen were stuck fighting with tactics from World War II. Typical of all Special Ops groups, we traveled light, struck fast and fought hard, and because of this, our casualty rates were considerably less than other units.
The spiritual battles raging about us today are very similar to what we experienced in Vietnam, but with one remarkable difference. The similarities include the fact that this is a diverse battle zone – and there are no secure areas. The fighting in Vietnam raged in the cities, mountains and delta’s, but the difference between Vietnam and this spiritual battle is, WE HAVE ALREADY WON! Our orders are, “go and make disciples… Baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Spirit… Teaching” (Matthew 28:19-20 ENB). Nowhere does He say, “retreat”. Also like Vietnam though, is the fact that in many instances we do not know who the enemy is, until they open fire. The gifts to be discussed in this letter include the spotters and tacticians who help identify the enemy, and who help chart the course of our attacks.
Like a Special Forces “A” Team, I think we too are supposed to travel light and fight hard, but when we fight, we are to fight in the power of love. The Government of Elohim has already given us, in the name of Yehoshua, all of the firepower we will ever need to gain the victory, but like a Special Forces “A” Team, everybody must perform their assigned duties in order to be victorious. The gifts discussed in this letter are integral to the battle, because these are the people in logistics and supply; these are the medics, nurses and doctors. In totality, these gifts unite the body.
The gifts of The Holy Spirit, used with His guidance, are the firepower we have been given to use for the glory of Yehoshua. Although many want to deny what is available to us, or might want to distort and dishonor the purity and clarity of the gifts, we must never defile what He says He has given us, and we must never blaspheme The Holy Spirit. Tread lightly as you discover what He has bestowed upon you, my friend. Satan has placed booby traps and snares everywhere, and desires to foil your walk of faith. Guard what you know, and guard that which Elohim has given to you. Defer to no person or spirit of evil, because you have already been given the victory in Yehoshua. Praise to His Name!
The service gifts comprise the frame, backbone and skin of the Ekklesia. While the sign gifts appear as the bombs exploding and bullets flying, and the support gifts can be likened to the pilots, bombardiers, cavalry and other front-line troops, the service gifts allow the body to function properly; they keep everybody else in the fight. Lift up those so gifted, beloved, because while they may appear less essential in the eyes of the world, they are in fact, more important. This is explained quite beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 by The Holy Spirit, and any attitude in defiance of this Word is not of Elohim.
The service gifts, once again, are: Governments (Administration) Authority / Leadership Discernment (distinguishing of spirits) Exhortation Faith Giving
Helps / Service Mercy Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom.
Please keep in mind that the importance of every gift has motivated Satan to infiltrate our ranks with false teachings. Every gift is permeated with misunderstanding and misapplication, and every gift has been diluted. It should not surprise us, therefore, that every gift is being abused today. I will attempt to show where and how some of the abuses occur though, so these elementary errors can be halted immediately.
Additionally, all of the gifts have a practical and a spiritual application. The questions that lead a disciple to investigate a particular gift are usually based upon the practical application. This is so, because our senses have become so dull, that most are unable to discern the moving of The Holy Spirit in their life. As we mature though, and as we draw nearer unto Elohim, I am confident that The Holy Spirit will direct your thoughts to the deeper spiritual implication of your gifts, and your life.
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we are told that Elohim appointed, “governments” or “administration”. In the Greek, the word is KUBERNESIS, and it primarily means: to steer, to direct, as in government. Scripturally, in the context of the passage, The Holy Spirit is speaking of governing within the Ekklesia.
Elsewhere in the Bible we are told of official offices that were established within the local Ekklesia’s, and those offices are overseers and deacons (Philippians 1:1 for example). While both overseers and deacons must meet certain requirements in order to fully qualify for the position, it must also be acknowledged that The Holy Spirit powerfully provides certain gifts to those individuals, in order for them to successfully perform their duties. In all likelihood, administration is one of those gifts provided to overseers and deacons. And, seeing as the office of overseer is directly linked with shepherding the flock (Acts 20:28), a responsibility which primarily falls upon those with the pastoral gift, of necessity, therefore, one gifted as a pastor will also have certain administrative abilities.
The obvious trademarks of an effective administrator: acute ability to deal with logistics and problems, speed, accuracy, pleasure in interacting one-on-one with people, are all part of this ability. Don’t forget though, The Holy Spirit gives as He wills, and no two are gifted exactly the same.
Some administrators may be reclusive, but great pains must be taken by the elders, pastors, overseers and deacons to insure that all reclusive members of the body are included in every aspect of praise and worship. I know of salesmen (evangelists) and managers (overseers, deacons and pastors) who totally ignore their secretaries and assistants back at the office, or totally disregard them when some neat perk comes down the road. The reclusive secretary or assistant is left behind in the office whenever an exciting lunch, golf outing or plant tour is in the offing, without any thought by many salesmen or managers. And how many managers leave early on Friday (every Friday) in order to beat the traffic – or any other such nonsense, but never consider sending the assistant home early once in a while? The appointed leaders of the body, who are led by The Holy Spirit, must not overlook others within the ministry, because those others are too important.
This gift of administrations will also allow an individual to be trustworthy with people’s secrets, trustworthy with the finances of the body, and wise investors of time, money and energy. As soon as we begin to include people and money though, you can easily see where abuses can occur. If a counterfeit administrator happens to work in an outreach ministry involving counseling, a door is immediately open to gossip and slander. If a false administrator happens to work with money, a door is always open to misappropriation or misdirection of funds, or outright theft. While we are not perfect, an administrator led by The Holy Spirit will have a remarkable track record of honesty and integrity.
Additionally, the gifted administrator may also be a shrewd steward in the direction and time management of others within the body, as regards to the full utilization of their gifts. Overseers and deacons are not supposed to do all of the work, just as the paid clergy of this age is not supposed to do all of the work. Faithful administrators will openly admit their personal weaknesses, while also acknowledging and uplifting the strengths of others within the body. Pride convinces people they can be all things to all people; The Holy Spirit, testifying in His Word, tells us we cannot. Administrators are normally shrewd with their personal time, and are therefore covetous of other brethren’s time as well. They are normally a punctual group, and when a deadline approaches, they can fly!
AUTHORITY & LEADERSHIP:
In Matthew 10:1 we read, “Having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits; to cast them out, and to heal every sickness and every disease” (ENB). The Greek word used here for authority is EXOUSIA, and it means: the right to act in an official capacity – the right to command and enforce obedience.
In Romans 12:8, we are told that “those who lead”, are to do so “with diligence”, and the Greek word for lead is PROISTEMI, and it means, to preside, rule, lead.
I am consolidating these two words here because one of them, to “lead”, is a gift, and the other one, “authority”, is an authorization given by Elohim. Permit me to explain:
Authority is the authorization to act in an official capacity. The authority to utilize the gift (s) bestowed by The Holy Spirit, accompany the empowering of that gift. In other words, the authority to utilize a gift comes with the gift itself. Have you ever had a job where it was your responsibility to perform a particular task, but your boss had to approve every move you made? You may have had responsibility, but you had no authority. While we are to submit unto Elohim in everything we do, and while a sincerely humble servant will always pray before exercising their gift, authority has already been given to us in the use of our gifts. It is not necessary for us to “get approval”, as such, every time we speak or act on behalf of the Gospel.
Yehoshua gave authority to the Disciples so they could fulfill the responsibilities of their assigned tasks. We must remember one major point, though, because when Yehoshua sent out the Disciples, The Holy Spirit had not yet come; they had not received their “official” gifts. He is now present with us, however, and we have received our gifts – and along with those gifts come the authority to act in accord with His leading. And that truth is carried out throughout the Bible.
Whenever Elohim assigns a task, the individual or individuals so assigned have total authority to complete that task. Moses, Yehoshuwah (Joshua), Gideon and the Prophets all had the authority to complete their assignments. In 2 Corinthians 10:8 & 13:10, the Apostle Paul speaks of the authority given to him, while in Titus 2:15, Titus is reminded of the authority that he has already received to “speak and exhort and convict with all authority” (ENB). We have forgotten our mandate to, “Go… Make disciples… Baptize… Teach” (Matthew 28:19-20) and we have certainly forgotten Yehoshua’s Words in Matthew 28:18, which immediately precede our orders. In totality Yehoshua said: “All authority is given Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age“ (Mathew 28:18-20 ENB). We not only have Yehoshua’s authority to apply and utilize our gifts, we are expected to use them. If this were not so, the parable of the talents would have absolutely no meaning whatsoever (Matthew 25:14-30).
Authority is the permission we have already received to exercise every ounce of power at our disposal in this battle for the salvation of the children of Elohim. But authority is to be respected as well. Consider the Word of Elohim located in Jude 1:9, where we are told, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil in dispute about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘YEHOWAH rebuke you'” (ENB)! We must heed this advice as well, because although Michael certainly has tremendous power and authority, he also acknowledged Satan’s authority. We must be mindful of these things.
So then, while authority accompanies the gifting, leadership, on the other hand, is a gift in and of itself, and this particular gift always accompanies another gift. In Romans 12:8, Paul was telling us that if anybody was a leader, they needed to be diligent in their leadership role. But, we need to ask, leading in what?
Simply put, in the fulfillment and proper utilization of a primary gift, it will be necessary for someone to lead and others to follow. Regardless of the task, someone is usually called upon to lead a group of like gifted individuals. While the abuse in this area is potentially monumental, a leader in submission unto Elohim is a blessing.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, leadership is linked to the overseer and teacher, and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 also ties leadership to the overseer. Elsewhere, deacons are blessed with leadership (1 Timothy 3:12), elders are shown to possess the gift (1 Timothy 5:17), and in Titus 3:8, pastors are said to be leaders. Note how leadership is always linked to another capacity within the body though. The purpose for this is simple: Yehoshua is the Head of the body; He is our Leader in all things. No man or woman can assume that position of responsibility, and any who attempt to do so are not under the leadership of Yehoshua. If we acknowledge that our gifts are from Him, then we will follow the leading of Elohim in the use of those gifts. And, as we follow the leading of Elohim, He may ask us to guide others.
In Titus 3:14 Paul said, “And let those also learn to practice (do) good works to meet necessary needs, so that they will not be unfruitful” (ENB). The phrase interpreted as, “practice”, is PROISTEMI; and through this passage we are told two things about leadership: First, we are told that leadership can be learned or acquired. Second, we are told that leadership is not limited to those “offices” which we usually perceive as leaders. Elohim says that all of the people can engage in leadership – within their areas of responsibility. Seeing as we have been instructed to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1), it must also be acceptable to seek the gift of leadership, when we desire to lead in a reverent and faithful manner.
Matthew 24:45-51 is perhaps the clearest teaching about leadership within the body, and we need to apply Elohim’s Word to our understanding of these things today. In Matthew 24, Yehoshua is speaking about His second coming, and is warning us to be alert, because we do not know when the day will be. He then asks a question and makes a statement, which are wholly relevant to this discussion on leadership. Yehoshua said, “Who then are the believing and wise servants, whom their Master has appointed over His household to give them meat in season? Blessed are those servants, whom when their Master comes, shall find so doing” (ENB).
Yehoshua is not only talking about teachers, prophets, evangelists and pastors in Matthew 24, He is talking about every servant whom He “put in charge” of doing any task entrusted to them. He is talking about every member of the body performing and functioning properly, regardless of the task and regardless of our estimate of the task’s value. Elohim wants every assignment performed with due diligence by His faithful children. Elohim wants our disciplined obedience.
Elohim has endowed us with powerful gifts, “for the edifying of the body of Messiah” (Ephesians 4:12 ENB), and He has given us the authority to use those gifts. We need to lovingly and submissively follow the guidance of The Holy Spirit and, if a leader is needed in the completion of a task for which we have been gifted, we need ask for the gift of leadership, and learn to lead with humility.
Throughout my career I have watched people in positions of authority “lord” their positions over those in their charge. Too good to roll up their sleeves and “get into the trenches”, they dominate and generally make life miserable for the people reporting to them. Throughout my career I have witnessed petty jealousies tear at a leader’s authority, because they did not have the strength or courage to acknowledge another persons ideas or abilities; always claiming these things as their own instead. Throughout my career I have seen people with proven talent and ability passed over for promotions because they would not assert their talent, allowing others to claim credit for their efforts. And I have watched as others have risen within the corporate structure, walking over any who might get in their way. None of these individuals possessed one iota of true leadership ability. Sadly, in the corporate world, what frequently rises to the top is not the cream, and if you are in a position of leadership, examine your history carefully, repent where repentance is called for, and use the opportunity Elohim has given you for His glory.
The track record of a leader gifted by Elohim will consistently demonstrate the fruit of Galatians 5:22-23. Continual recognition of others, as well as the consistent display of love, joy, peace, patience and understanding will be manifest in the life of an anointed leader. Additionally, the leader gifted by Elohim will always be submissive unto Elohim, and will display an ability to lead others similar to the way Yehoshua led His Disciples.
The leader anointed by Elohim will also be an effective and decisive leader, because Elohim will be their Mentor and Guide. Employees and customers will be prayed for, because work and family situations will all be brought before the throne of Elohim.
Study Daniel, and look at his leadership abilities. Consider the frequency of his prayers. Daniel, David, Yehoseph and many others really understood Who was in charge, and their successes are directly attributable to their submission to, and anointing from, Elohim.
As the Ekklesia enters reformation, I believe we will see new leaders emerge; leaders with reverent and faithful motives and ambitions. The world of industry will be lost to these saints, because industry cannot comprehend submissive leadership. The Ekklesia will be re-established under the guidance of these faithful brethren though, because their sole desire will be to follow and glorify Master Yehoshua. The new leaders will be helper’s, server’s, givers, prophets, pastors and exhorters, as well as administers of mercy and every other gift. They will be the empowered children of Elohim, who will lead the Ekklesia throughout the approaching period of tribulation.
Above all, true leaders within the Ekklesia will be broken before Elohim. Leadership is not legalism, nor is it anything like authoritarianism. True, reverent and faithful leadership percolates with the liberty of Yehoshua. The leader anointed by The Holy Spirit, who is abiding in Yehoshua, will follow His example and encourage, disciple, teach and send out. Pray for the leaders, and pray for integrity to return to our leaders.
DISCERNMENT (DISTINGUISHING OF SPIRITS):
In 1 Corinthians 12:10, the Greek phrase DIAKRESIS PNEUMA is used to describe another one of the gifts. PNEUMA is the basic New Covenant word for spirit, and DIAKRESIS means, to have the power of discerning clearly. Combined, the phrase means: the power to clearly discern between spirits. And, from what I have learned and seen, the heart of those blessed with this ability will be extremely disciplined with regard to judgmentalism, because in the flesh, it is very easy to point a finger too quickly.
Any military unit walking into unsecured territory sends out scouts, in front of and astride the main column, in order to avoid walking into an ambush. Those blessed with the gift of Discernment of spirits are the “scouts” that help us avoid the ambush. Yet even though scouts need to sound an alarm when the enemy is spotted, love must always be the standard by which those alarms are sounded. Of necessity then, those blessed with discernment will also be loving individuals. And this is perhaps the easiest way to spot the counterfeit and abusive discerner, because counterfeit gifts are usually administered without love.
Perhaps the greatest single endowment of discernment given to any human, other than Yehoshua during His walk, was the fullness of the gift bestowed upon King Solomon (1 Kings 3: 6-14). It would be helpful for every Disciple possessing this gift to study the life of King Solomon though, because through his life you will find the humility that initially found favor with Elohim, as well as the debauchery that caused Solomon to fall away from the teaching of his Elohim. Solomon’s “wisdom”, as the world wants to call it, was actually his ability to discern – look at 1 Kings 3:16-28.
Psalms 119, 139 and 140 speak of discernment, and Malachi 3:16-18 tells us that Elohim is the true Master in this area. In Mark 13, while Yehoshua is answering the Disciples’ questions about the end times, He said, “False messiah’s and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22 ENB). The brethren gifted with the ability to distinguish the false messiah’s and false prophets will be among the loudest voices crying out to the Ekklesia in the last days. We must listen to them!
The working of this gift in the assembly is to alarm the body whenever an evil spirit is present. Like all of the gifts though, this one grows stronger with maturity, and appears to be greatly encouraged by time and use (Hebrews 5:12-14).
The abuse of this gift usually comes from an exceptionally critical spirit, which will pass unfavorable judgments upon everybody and everything. Be aware of those which are constantly critical of what otherwise appear to be acceptable circumstances or individuals, because they may very well be intentionally misleading the body. True Discernment frequently points to sweet spirits and situations though, and acknowledges their presence as well. Be conscious of these blessings too…
I know brethren, who upon meeting people; know deep in their hearts whether that person has a hidden agenda. These same people can listen to someone talk for a very short while and know if truth or lies are spewing forth. Individuals truly gifted with discernment of spirits will know, thru their gift, as led by The Holy Spirit, whether a newcomer is sincere – or not; faithful – or not, dedicated unto Yehoshua or dedicated to Satan. The value of this ability within the body is immense, and those so gifted must be looked to for guidance and direction in all matters, including financial.
To ignore any brethren gifted with the ability to distinguish between spirits, would show a genuine lack of discernment and presence of pride, on our part, because in the counsel of many is wisdom (Proverbs 12:15, 13:10).
The responsibilities of an exhorter within the body are excitingly multi-faceted, as well as difficult. The gift is mentioned in Romans 12:6-8, and the Greek word for exhortation is PARAKALEO, which means to urge, advise, caution, appeal, argue, encourage and admonish. Whereas some versions of the Bible want to speak of this gift as an encourager, the true gift, and the complete ability given, greatly surpasses the weak ‘encourager’ interpretation. In Matthew 18:15-18, we are advised to reprove a brother who is sinning. The spiritual guidelines and instructions for following through with such reproof are found in Galatians 6:1. This is important!
Even though the world is panting for Elohim today (Psalms 42), the religious institutions openly chastise the exhorters whenever they speak out. Nobody wants to be told they are doing anything wrong, and nobody wants to be disciplined. But, when correction is required, the mature children of Elohim must pay attention as the exhorter speaks. Sadly, many false exhorters have entered the fray, and constantly show themselves as ear tickling encouragers, and it is these who are openly accepted within the institutions. The same institutions, though, will normally shun those brethren who are spiritually blessed with this gift though, because the negative tone of their message, especially in light of our current faithlessness, will be upsetting to the multitudes.
This gift is often confused with that of the prophet, but the prophet deals more in matters of Scripture, revelation and the future. Even though a prophet can be given insight into a person’s life, an exhorter will have personal insights on a regular, and often frequent, basis. Proverbs 9:7-12 clearly teaches that the exhorter will know which of Elohim’s children will heed their words, and which ones will not listen at all. A prophet, on the other hand, will not usually be concerned with whether an individual listens or not. A prophet’s primary concern will be the message, while the exhorter is concerned with the recipient of the message. Proverbs 9 also provides a direct connection between an exhorters ability to discern between the spirits, which indicates that discernment will normally accompany this gift.
We need exhorters today, my friend. We need brothers and sisters who are blessed and moved by The Holy Spirit; who will fearlessly contend with the brethren for purity of faith (Jude 1:3). We need faithful men, women and children who will humbly approach their brothers and sisters in Yehoshua, and speak out against sin. What the Ekklesia does not realize, however, but what the Ekklesia must acknowledge for true revival, is that this gift is always used for the purpose of strengthening and establishing. We need that today! The exhorter also brings spiritual and mental healing (Proverbs 13:17), and we certainly do need that healing throughout the body.
Power and authority accompany this gift to such a degree that the spirits of unrepentant men everywhere will shudder upon its release. And they will shudder very soon! Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 displays the power of the exhorter in delivering a sinning brother to Satan, “for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit might be saved” (v 5:5 ENB). (See 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 for the outcome of this delivering). Reverent and faithful power, working in love to bring about humble repentance, is really what this is all about, isn’t it?
All authority has been given us through Yehoshua. He said, “Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19 ENB), and we must lovingly administer that authority. The body of Yehoshua cannot accomplish its assigned task unless every member functions properly, and exhortation is vital to that process. Conceivably, many with this gift will be involved in counseling ministries, but I know of gifted pastors who have absolutely no ability to counsel. The exhorter will have the capacity to be gentle and mild, or harsh and abrasive, but love will always be the motivation behind a Spirit let exhorter, and the results will always bring healing to the Ekklesia.
I have a habit that drives my wife and daughter insane at times, and it only surfaces when someone is physically bruised. I attribute this characteristic to my youth, when I played football, baseball and basketball, and to the numerous sprains, bumps and bruises my body suffered. Unless we are talking about a bleeding type of injury, I have the habit of rubbing the sore area! (You don’t rub bleeding bruises)…
When my daughter was young – my loving child would come running to me for aid whenever she bruised herself. I would locate the sore spot, gently inspect and move any joint involved, to see if anything was broken, and then I would gingerly rub the bruise. When she got older, she went to her mother!
The exhorter is one who rubs bruises. Although it might momentarily heighten the pain, the increased circulation that massaging always brought to me, ultimately diminished the pain and helped the healing process. Like my wife and daughter though, many within the Ekklesia do not want to experience any heightened pain, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
Whether this particular gift is in your arsenal or not (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT), heed the Word of Elohim in Galatians 6:1 before approaching anyone about sin. It is not necessary to be an exhorter in situations where brethren are caught in a trespass, but grace and humility are. The spiritual battle is raging while the service gifts are being abused, so we must be on guard in all things.
The exhorter who is always negative should be watched cautiously too, by the way, because those so gifted also have an incredible ability to uplift. I have seen exhorters encourage someone, and then realized that I had never seen either person as happy. O, how glorious is the peace and joy of our Messiah. If you are blessed as an exhorter, please remember to extend an uplifting hand as rapidly as you might admonish. We need that too!
The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews is a detailed outline telling us what faith is. Therein we are told what it produces (11:1-12), what faith requires (11:17-31), what it can accomplish (11:32-35), and also what faith is capable of enduring (11:36-40). Frequently, when a battle rages for a long time, the body and mind tire and loose energy, and we all eventually need a boost. The gift of faith given by The Holy Spirit to members of the Ekklesia, unlike faith in general, is that boost of energy. This is so because the faith of Hebrews 11 is basic to all of Elohim’s children, and is freely distributed, proportionately, throughout the body (Romans 12:3-5). The gift of faith though, exceeds this basic allotment.
There are four words in Hebrews 11:1 which, in the Greek language, allow us to see clearly what The Holy Spirit wants us to know and understand about faith. These words are:
faith, assurance, hope and conviction. With these words in mind, therefore, let us see what we can piece together to expand our comprehension of what faith is, and specifically, what the Gift of Faith is all about:
The Greek word for faith is PISTIS, and subjectively the word means “firm persuasion”. But the word PISTIS is both subjective and objective. Objectively, then, PISTIS refers to whatever it is that is believed, as in doctrine. Hebrews 10:39 says that, “we are not of those who shrink back unto perdition; but of those who believe unto the saving of the soul” (ENB), and then v 11:1 goes on to tell us exactly what it is that preserves our souls: “Now faith is…”
So then, that which preserves our soul, by Elohim’s definition, is both subjective and objective. In the case of the faith of a true Disciple, the subject is Messiah Yehoshua, and the object is the Word of Elohim (which fascinatingly enough, is also Yehoshua – John.1:1).
Preserving faith, therefore, is based upon Yehoshua,
as set forth in the Word of Elohim.
The Greek word for assurance is HUPOSTASIS, and this word generally speaks about that which is bedrock. In regard to faith, HUPOSTASIS is speaking of the guarantee of our confidence itself. What is our hope based upon? Whatever the foundation is, that foundation is our bedrock!
Added to what we already know then, we discover that both the subject and object of a true Disciple’s faith are based upon a bedrock guarantee – a firm foundation: The Rock. Yehoshua is the subject of our faith and the Word of Elohim is our object. The guarantee is found in His life, crucifixion and resurrection. His crucifixion for our deliverance, and His resurrection as our guarantee unto eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-19). Therefore,
Yehoshua is the subject, His Word is the object, and His life,
crucifixion and (especially) His resurrection are the guarantee.
The next word is hope, and the Greek word in this instance is ELPIZO, which simply means to expect with desire. The intensity of ELPIZO, however, is magnified by the degree that we desire to see something unfold.
is expectation magnified!
Adding to our other discoveries then, preserving faith is subjectively and objectively oriented, based upon a bedrock guarantee – with high and eager expectations.
He is the subject, the object and the guarantee, and
in Him we expectantly await the fulfillment
of every promise and every desire.
Finally, the Greek word for conviction is ELEGCHOS; which speaks of the actual doing of the truth, the actual doing of belief in that foundation. ELEGCHOS is the light shining because of the electricity. Whether seen or unseen, the results of conviction are unswerving. ELEGCHOS is the rubber hitting the road! ELEGCHOS is walking the walk! ELEGCHOS is faith in action! ELEGCHOS is obedience!
Therefore, preserving faith, subjectively and objectively, is based upon a bedrock guarantee with desirous expectation, and the conviction is unswerving throughout the daily walk, whether we see it or not.
He is the subject, the object and the guarantee,
and in Him we expectantly await the fulfillment
of every promise and every desire.
Our conviction in Him is such that we walk, live, breathe, seek and find, and in Him we, “Fight the good fight of faith.” He is our fulfillment!
Paraphrased, Hebrews 11:1 is saying:
“YEHOSHUA is the guarantee of our expectations,
and the evidence of things not seen.”
If Yehoshua is everything He says He is, and if He is everything Scripture proclaims Him to be, then all these things become part of that foundation which we say is our conviction. When we read the Bible, and acknowledge that Yehoshua endorses every command, promise or assurance, we must believe and react upon those commands, promises and assurances, because they are all a part of our faith; they become a part of our conviction in Him. According to Hebrews 11, 2 Peter 1:1 and numerous other references, every believer has that faith given to them.
The children of Elohim given the Gift of Faith, however, are charged with uplifting and fortifying those brethren who may be lagging in the application of their basic faith. The exercise of the gift of faith will occasionally resolve otherwise impossible situations. This is so, because the gift of faith is a supercharger within the Ekklesia. While faith increases for every obedient Disciple in the passage of time, simply by Elohim strengthening us through His discipline and teaching, the gift of faith is an ability that surpasses the learning process.
In denying the gifts and their use, the Nicolaitans have turned the brethren away from seeking what the Word of Elohim tells them is available. But in James 1:5 the Ekklesia is told to ask for more, not abide with less, and those children of Elohim empowered with the gift of faith must get this bandwagon rolling.
In many instances, the lives of those who possess the gift of faith will be placed in burdensome situations. Many will be sequestered in jail cells, be confined to beds or their homes, or be persecuted for their beliefs. And quite frequently, these brethren will be unable to fellowship regularly with the body. The entire body is responsible for maintaining the lines of communication and support with these shut-in and disabled souls, however, because being shut-in may very well be a function of their gift. They live daily in faith, expectantly seeking Elohim, and they spend much time in prayer – alone.
For those brethren with the gift of faith who are mobile, their responsibility includes being attentive to the pain and grief being suffered as they fellowship within the Ekklesia. The exercise of this gift, whether shut-in or mobile, however, is to assist in the reduction of needless suffering, as well as to energize the war weary soldiers.
The exercise of this gift also glorifies Elohim immensely, just as abuse debases Him. But, you might ask, how can this gift be abused? Perhaps the most damaging abuse comes when someone proclaims monumental promises from Elohim, “in faith”, and those promises are never fulfilled. In a word, they are lying. It is not very uplifting to have expectations repeatedly raised and then dashed. False messengers have the capacity to raise and dash hope! The true gift of faith always comes in love and power though, and our duty, as always, is to test the spirits.
Another more subtle abuse comes from neglecting the gift itself. The distractions of the twenty first century are immense, to say the least, and the abuse inflicted upon those possessing this gift by Satan, in the form of these varied distractions, is causing tremendous harm. When the prayer warriors within the body neglect their duties, the entire body suffers. We are being distracted by television, radio and other modern conveniences, which occupy our time in such a way we no longer concentrate on the wonders of Elohim. Furthermore, as the Body is distracted by these things, we are neglecting to encourage our prayer warriors to maintain their vigil. We are all being distracted in a spiritual warfare that desires to silence our prayers, causing failure throughout the Ekklesia, and in our preoccupation with these other matters, the forces of evil are marching along unhindered.
The gift of faith has not ceased. The sad truth is that we have ceased expecting great things from a Great Elohim. We must once again lift our eyes unto a forgiving and glorious Father who loves us, and we must faithfully seek every advantage at our disposal. If you are blessed with this gift, seek the will of Elohim in your life. Seek to please Him by abiding in His commands. Seek the destruction of those fortresses that stand against His holiness, righteousness and truth. Seek the empowering of His body once again. Seek a greater anointing of His Holy Spirit – for us all. And seek great things – that His Name would be glorified and magnified throughout the world. Our Elohim will not disappoint His children.
More often than not, when the gift of giving is “preached”, the purpose motivating the sermon is that tithing is down, or expenses are up. Now this tithing issue is a real kick, because the tithe, as part of the Old Covenant law, does not apply to the Gentile of the New Covenant (Acts 15:22-29). Nonetheless, the institutional religious organizations that mainly teach the tithe are comprised primarily of Gentile converts, not Jews. The fact that the “law regarding the tithe” does not apply to the Gentile though, does not mean we are no longer responsible to Elohim with regard to our finances. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we have in Yehoshua far exceeds the Old Covenant tithe, and the gift of giving exceeds even that. Look how the brethren shared everything throughout the book of Acts, and you will get a glimpse of faithful giving.
Therefore, while you will not find the word “tithe” in the New Covenant, you will find numerous discussions on giving and sharing, and this is where our discussion is grounded.
When we look into the lives of Yehoshua’s apostles, we are confronted with the striking realization that these men, and many had families, walked away from their trades in order to administer the Word of Elohim. Their support and livelihood, and the livelihood of their families, was totally dependent upon sharing by the body. The clergy of the religious institutions have totally abused this fact, however, and in so doing have caused the body a tremendous disservice and harm. The Ekklesia must support the laborer (1 Timothy 5:18; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14), but the Ekklesia is also supposed to share with those in need (Ephesians 4:28). If, for sake of argument, ten families share one tenth of their gross income to provide for a pastor, then that pastor would be earning the average salary of his flock. It should therefore be expected that the eleventh and twelfth families sharing a tenth also, would see those finances utilized for something other than a pastoral salary. Sadly, this is not true today!
Whereas in earlier times, Yehoshua and His Disciples lived meagerly, gave to the poor, and instructed the faithful in the true administration and utilization of their gifts, the institutions that thrive in our society are paying excessive salaries to staffs of individuals whose sole purpose is to relieve the congregation from realizing their full potential in Yehoshua. The poor are remembered at Thanksgiving and Christmas! The work of Paul, Barnabas, Luke and the rest of the apostles and disciples would have failed without the support of the body (2 Corinthians 11:7-9) and we are to be responsible stewards in our contribution to the work that must be done today (Galatians 6:6-10; 2 Timothy 2:6-7; 3 John 1:5-8). But today, if ten percent of a congregations’ giving is dedicated to the poor, the widow, the orphaned or the needy within the body, that congregation feels pride in their accomplishment. In reality, however, the majority of funding that pays for buildings and staff should be dedicated to glorifying Elohim, while the remainder should pay for the conveniences. The individual blessed with the gift of giving knows this truth, and provides accordingly.
One example of a giver is provided in Luke 21:1-4, and Yehoshua Himself acknowledges the impact, intensity and beauty – literally and spiritually – that accompanies faithful giving. In this passage from Luke, we are shown where a poor widow gave two small copper coins, perhaps equivalent to a penny, and Yehoshua declared her gift more valuable than anything else offered that day. Why? Because she gave sacrificially! Where others were giving from their abundance – for show – this poor widow gave all she had. The gift of giving enables one to give sacrificially.
In applauding this poor widow, Yehoshua also knew her heart was cheerful as she gave. Ours should be too, regardless of our gift (s) (2 Corinthians 9:7). Anyone blessed with the gift of giving, therefore, will be cheerful in the faithful administration of their gift, while the counterfeit givers will draw attention to their acts, or moan about the burden they carry.
The Greek word used in Romans 12:6-8, where the gift is introduced, is METADIDOMI, and curiously enough, METADIDOMI speaks of an alms distributor; a caretaker.
Frequently, individuals with this gift will learn of a need, pray for the fulfillment of that need, and miraculously be provided with whatever was sought – for faithful distribution. Therefore, trustworthiness will accompany this gift. Elohim knows that the personal circumstances of a giver will never interfere with the faithful distribution of a gift. And this fact exposes another form of abuse to this gift, because the workers of iniquity will proclaim themselves caretakers and distributors, while in fact they are thieves and wolves in lambs clothing. The spirits must always be tested!
As caretakers, brethren with this gift are occasionally quite wealthy. They do not boast in their wealth though, but instead, allow their work to go unnoticed – usually at great pain and additional expense. A caretaker shares generously, and the need within the body for this ability is tremendous.
Profound truth, as revealed in the Bible, produces profound realizations. About giving and sharing, the New Covenant has much to say. Consider 2 Corinthians 8 (all); Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-37 and Ephesians 4:28. Further profound realization about giving, though, can also be found in Philippians 4:10-20 where we are informed that giving brings, “Profit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17 ENB).
Although I have found numerous passages within the Old Covenant Book of Numbers to have tremendous significance, the purpose for the Book itself – the extensive accounting of people and things, eluded my grasp for a long time. (The repeated outpouring of Elohim’s loving call to His children throughout this Book eluded me even longer, and if you have not seen this part of the Book, I encourage you to read Numbers again, and discover how many times our Father calls out to His children in love. It’s amazing!) Nonetheless, I prayed for understanding about this book for a long time. Then, some years back, I read the book again, and The Holy Spirit showed me that through the telling of such extensive details, Elohim is showing us that He knows who we are, He knows what we have given, and He knows what we have done. (And He loves us in spite of our many failings). Philippians 4:17 adds to the realization of accountability too, because Elohim tells us we have accounts in heaven to which we can add, underlying the truth behind what Yehoshua said about the poor widow giving more than any other – because her account in heaven was credited magnificently.
Giving and sharing are the responsibility of every member of the body, and providing for those whom The Holy Spirit sets apart, sends out and anoints, falls upon each of us (1 Corinthians 9:7-14). Our duties though, also include caring for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned and the needy of society, and that is especially true when we apply this to the Ekklesia itself.
Part of our responsibility as faithful sharers and givers, therefore, is to know exactly where our giving is going, and that it is being used properly and with accountability. Brethren blessed with the gift of giving will always be certain that the need is in fact legitimate, before they even ask Elohim.
All too often in the industrialized nations, and especially in the United States, an organization will advertise and promote itself into the national limelight, and donations will pour in. The disgrace behind many of these organizations though, is that upward of seventy percent, or eighty percent, of every dollar raised, is used to pay for “administrative expenses” and the advertising required to maintain the flow of funding. A mere pittance of the donated monies somehow makes it into the hands of the “intended”. Every giver is responsible for learning about the organization (s) they are supporting, therefore, and the brethren given this gift will always take the time to investigate properly.
Many “disciples” would be horrified to learn that The United Way, for example, provides financing to Planned Parenthood – for abortions. Many others would be terrified to learn that at least one Baptist denomination has supported Planned Parenthood as well. (Maybe they still do, I am not certain). So, being honest with yourself, do you really know where the money you give to certain organizations is really going, or do you care? Brethren blessed with the gift of giving care deeply, and they know. Thank Elohim for the giver who is sincerely providing for the needs, and not merely puffing their chest with their “tithes of abundance”.
The initial statement I am compelled to make about the gift of mercy, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with sympathy. According to Webster’s Dictionary, mercy is:
“The act of treating an offender with less severity than he deserves.”
“The act of relieving suffering, or the disposition to relieve it; compassion.”
Sympathy, on the other hand, is:
“The quality of being affected by the state of another with feelings corresponding in kind; a fellow feeling; a mutual affinity or susceptibility.”
“A feeling of compassion for another’s sufferings; pity; commiseration.”
While mercy deals with compassion, sympathy leans toward pity. People do not need pity; they need evidence of the compassionate Elohim of heaven. Those so gifted with mercy will be able to show the world the mercy of Elohim.
The Greek word used in Romans 12:6-8 for mercy, ELEEO, speaks directly of compassion, not pity. Compassion, in the context of the Bible, is referring to the desire to relieve a person in unhappy circumstances. While those with the gift of mercy find themselves dealing primarily with the poor and/or ill of our society, we must remember that spiritually downtrodden brethren exist regardless of their monetary circumstance or station; regardless of their health.
Mercy also extends help in the area of consequence. When punishment for an offense is due, the brethren with the gift of mercy will treat those who offend Elohim with a severity appropriate to the offense, but will do so with compassion and understanding. And, in the outpouring of reverent and faithful mercy, souls will be touched for Elohim’s glory. Mercy does not speak toward justifying a liberalism that allows the guilty to go unpunished, nor does it defy the punishments declared appropriate by Elohim. Justice must be tempered, but justice will never suffer at the hands of one gifted with the mercy of Elohim.
The gift of mercy allows some to approach the unapproachable; accept the unacceptable; smell as fragrant the stench of filth and excrement upon the human body; and see torn clothes as an opportunity – instead of an offense. This gift allows the recipient to be Yehoshua with skin on in areas otherwise considered repugnant to our society.
The gift of mercy provides one so blessed with an ability to approach the sinner, accept the blasphemer, smell the sweetness of the soul that dwells beneath the stench and decay of a life filled with filth, rottenness and sin, and see the torn heart afflicted with grief, pain and anguish. This gift enables the recipient to represent Elohim in a manner of compassion and love, when the rest of the world may be too busy judging the offender or downtrodden. This gift of mercy is vitally important in our society today, because many of Elohim’s unsaved children are trapped within the seeming outcast portion of society.
False prophets, false teachers, false evangelists and false apostles have strewn the landscape of humanity with deception and lies, in the name of Jesus, and in that name have judged, mocked, ridiculed and chastised the weak and helpless of society. These false representatives teach that suffering is brought about only because of personal sin; that pain and poverty are to be repented from; and that tribulation is only for the fallen sinner.
Therefore, in the name of Yehoshua, mankind needs to see Elohim’s mercy in its purest form once again.
It is quite likely that the Ekklesia, with regard to spiritual and monetary support, is forgetting the brethren involved in ministry to the downtrodden. We have a responsibility to every member of the body though, to insure that the needs of the body are met. Spiritually, many other gifts can be brought to bear in assistance to the mercy giver, and those so gifted must pitch in physically, spiritually and financially, as needed and as led. Monetarily, we also need to be aware that those ministering to a flock unable to support and maintain the minister, must receive their support elsewhere. Let the buildings fall in decay if need be… One soul is worth much more than all of the buildings and programs in the world.
SERVICE & HELPS:
In Romans 12:6-8 we are given the gift of service, and in 1 Corinthians 12:28 the gift of helps is introduced. Inasmuch as one (helps) is given to compliment the other (service), it is important for us to consolidate them here under one heading.
The Greek word used in Romans 12:7 for service is DIAKONIA, and it means, attending to others. The root of this word is the word we interpret as deacon, and in other instances throughout the New Covenant, it might be interpreted as minister, ministry, server or servant. In Acts 6:1-6 we are given our first view of deacons within the body, and their sole purpose was to attend to the needs of others. Simply put, they served.
It is interesting to note, however, that where the deacon is gifted to help, the elder is gifted to govern / administrate. And while many acknowledge the office of a deacon, they do not consider the ability to deacon to be a gift. That is wrong, and that is why many “elected” deacons fail in their duties.
When one has the gift of prophesy, they become a prophet. The words uttered by the prophet are called prophecy or prophesy. When one has the gift of DIAKONIA (service), they become a DIAKONOS (servant), and the work they perform is their DIAKONEO (ministry).
A primary passage dealing with DIAKONOS (servant) deacons, 1 Timothy 3:8-13, clearly teaches that men alone are to hold this position. Support for this truth is found in the appointment of the initial deacons in Acts 6, and while the office of a deacon is restrictive by gender, we cannot discount the abilities of the ones anointed with ANTILEPSIS, which is the gift of “helps” discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:28.
In Genesis 2:18 we find a spiritual truth that places tremendous light on these two gifts, because Elohim said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helpmate for him” (ENB). The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 12:28, which we interpret as “helps” is ANTILEPSIS, and it literally deals with assistance / help. In context, the 1 Corinthian verse speaks of duty toward the poor and sick; duty toward those in need.
We can get tied-up in semantics at this point, but that would be utterly futile and disruptive. Simply put, on their worst day, some women are better servers than many men on their best day. While the qualifications of a deacon remain constant, because we cannot compromise the Word of Elohim, DIAKONOS and ANTILEPSIS are primarily the same. These gifts deal in good, old fashioned, loving, service. DIAKONOS is the gift issued to men, and ANTILEPSIS is the same gift issued to women. If we consider the husband and wife relationship, we learn that while the husband is the ultimate authority, whenever a stalemate is reached, the marriage is a partnership. Decisions are jointly made, and each partner holds responsibilities; and each is accountable. So it is with these gifts. This is Elohim’s way.
While every Disciple is a servant, and every child of Elohim is designed to serve both Elohim and the body, the gifts of helps and service are mainly directed at caring for the body. Those members of the Ekklesia, who are appointed to interact with the world in reaching out to the lost children of Elohim, need all the help they can get, and it is the server / helper who will assist them in their ministry. The helper / server gifts, therefore, indirectly minister to the outside world. This is upheld in Ephesians 4:11-13, where we are told that He gave, “For the work of service” (ENB). As each individual part of the body functions within the parameters of their gifts, certain parts speak out, other parts touch or see or hear, or continually assist in the processes of these things. And when the body functions as a whole, Yehoshua is glorified.
If you are blessed as a server / helper, the Ekklesia will recognize your calling by the manner in which you desire to please them. The helpers / servers always want to insure that the assembly is perfect; every need provided for – so the worship experience is heightened. Primarily, the server / helper will be found working behind the scenes, insuring that the more notable gifts within the Ekklesia are able to get their tasks completed without worry or concern for the small – and ever significant – matters that are involved in a successful assembly.
We must acknowledge the successful involvement of our servers / helpers at every opportunity, beloved, because without them, even the greatest Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers will toil with difficulty. Elohim has designed it so!
The topical concordance will enhance your understanding of the server / helper’s heart and purpose. Please recognize, however, that an abusive spirit can exist in this area too, which can be disruptive instead of productive. These abusive spirits are constantly making too much noise, constantly diverting attention to themselves in unusual ways, or constantly “forgetting” to perform an agreed upon duty. An occasional error is one thing, but the exhorters, pastors and prophets must lovingly approach any who constantly abuse any gift.
Now, with regard to deacons: The wording within 1 Timothy 3:8-13 has been distorted by some, and I wish to make a few points for clarity:
First, within many institutions, it is taught that deacons must be married. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 does not teach that deacons must be married. The passage says that if a deacon is married, they should be a “one woman man”. Paul’s advice, that people should remain single, would automatically eliminate any man who decided to follow a single lifestyle, from being a server, IF, in fact, a deacon had to be married.
Will we ever stop denying The Holy Spirit?
If a man is married to an unchaste woman, and according to the allowances provided by Yehoshua, divorces that woman – and then marries another, he is not disqualified from being a deacon. This man is still a “one woman man”. He should not be punished for the sins of an unchaste wife. A man is a “one woman man” when his nature is such that he devotes his life to the woman given him by Elohim. When that woman is removed, he will in all probability find another woman, and remain faithful to her.
We must keep in mind that all divorces need to be according to the requirements of Scripture. Otherwise, men could divorce and remarry numerous times, for whatever reason, and believe themselves worthy of this position.
Finally, the qualification for the women in verse 11 does not say that deacons’ wives are supposed to do the same work as their husbands. Many institutions would have you believe otherwise, and this is wrong! It is unfair for any mate to manipulate their spouse into joining them in the use of their gift, when that helpmate is not gifted by The Holy Spirit to do so. My helpmate is usually at my side, and I attempt to be at her side too, whenever either of us has spiritual work to do. Neither of us has ever demanded participation from the other though, because that would be tremendously unfair. I personally believe this sort of manipulation grieves The Holy Spirit.
In our desire to interact with the Ekklesia, my wife and I have been elected to positions of deacon and “deaconess”, but an interesting thing happened to us in the deacon board setting. We both hated it! She is gifted as a helper, and as long as she is allowed to utilize her gift freely, she loves it. As soon as man appointed the duties though, the grace of Elohim disappeared and drudgery set in. Even though I am not gifted as a deacon, I enjoy helping my mate in the performance of her gifts. I am an elder, however, and whenever I have a task to perform, which requires ANTILEPSIS, she always supports me. We do not expect or demand participation from each other, but we are always overjoyed to have each others help.
I believe that verse 11 speaks of the qualifications needed for those women who serve with ANTILEPSIS. It seems inconsistent to me, however, that Elohim would set standards for His male servants, but not for His female servants. This is my opinion.
If male servants are to be, “Honorable, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for illicit gain, but holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Timothy 3:8&9 ENB), then why shouldn’t we expect the female servants blessed with ANTILEPSIS, to be, “Honorable, not slanderers, but sober, faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:11 ENB)?
May the server/helper’s be uplifted within the Ekklesia, and may Yehoshua be glorified and magnified through the faithful use of these gifts…
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE & WORD OF WISDOM:
These two gifts are an amazing addition to an already marvelous array of abilities. So many problems are solved and situations avoided simply because Elohim gives one of His servants a “word of knowledge” or a “word of wisdom”, to pass along to another servant. The power of these gifts within the body is immense, and the faithful and diligent dispatch of the “word” given is essential. I am consolidating the gifts in this teaching, because, while the content of the message will probably be different, the manner in which they are used within the Ekklesia is similar.
Looking at the Greek wording again, the phrase for “word of knowledge” is LOGOS GNOSIS, and the phrase for “word of wisdom” is LOGOS SOPHIA. Both gifts are revealed in 1 Corinthians 12:8. LOGOS simply means “word”, and in John 1:1, the Word (LOGOS) is Yehoshua. The phrase LOGOS GNOSIS, speaks of the “word of Gnosis”, Gnosis referring to present or fragmentary knowledge. Knowledge in this case, is the knowledge of Yehoshua – His Word, His Teachings and His Ekklesia.
Greek is an amazing language. While we have learned that in many instances the translation from Hebrew to Greek was not always outstanding, the Greek language is interesting nonetheless, because in its use, one can express variations and degrees about the same topic without any difficulty. Where English uses one word, the Greek language might have five or six words to allow for intensity. While in English we speak of love, the Greek language allows for degrees of love. While we talk of knowledge, the Greek language permits for variations of knowledge. For example: OIDA refers to intuitive or instinctive knowledge, GINOSKO speaks of absolute knowledge, comprehension and understanding, GNOSIS is present or fragmentary knowledge, and EPIGNOSIS is more intense than GNOSIS, because it expresses a more thorough participation in acquiring the knowledge on the part of the learner.
The knowledge that you have gained as a result of your intense study of Elohim’s Word would be referred to as GNOSIS. The knowledge you gain as a result of your life experiences would be EPIGNOSIS. Maybe the combination of what we learn and what we experience would be referred to as GINOSKO, because that would speak of the sum of our knowledge on any given issue. That is, if we couple it with our instinctive knowledge. As you can see though, the Greek language does allow for degrees and variations. The difference between GNOSIS and EPIGNOSIS, therefore, is in the living.
Where GNOSIS is book knowledge, EPIGNOSIS is experiential. LOGOS GNOSIS, therefore, speaks of learned knowledge, and in the utilization of the “Word of Knowledge” gift, the knowledge needed is gained only from the Word of Elohim. The “word of knowledge” gift, therefore, is used whenever a situation arises which calls for the one gifted, to pass along a specific passage to a particular individual or group. The Word is always direct and purposeful.
While the one so gifted may not know exactly who they are speaking to, or why, the Word of Elohim that they are moved to pass along will have an impact on the one (s) being addressed. In a gathering or assembly, if a “word of knowledge” is given to one of the brethren, and they do not know the intended recipient, they are to proclaim the word and permit The Holy Spirit to arouse the recipient. If they know who the word is for, however, they should, in all likelihood, share it privately.
When I was preparing the study notes for these letters, one of the brethren that I met with regularly came to visit me. As we sat down together for a few moments, he told me he had been given a “word of knowledge” for me. He made absolutely no judgment whether the word was to be an encouragement and motivator, or a chastisement for an erroneous area in my life – and I didn’t ask. After we prayed that my heart would receive whatever it was he had been given to tell me, he turned to Ephesians 3 and began to read the entire chapter to me.
Often, as I have read this chapter, I have said an amen to the words uttered by Paul, where he prays for the Ekklesia, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Holy Spirit in the inner person, so that Messiah may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Messiah, which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of Elohim” (Ephesians 3:16-19 ENB). This prayer follows an incredibly intense portion of Elohim’s Word dealing with Paul’s calling and purpose – his calling to make disciples. Ephesians 3 also includes Elohim’s instructions that Paul should handle properly the administration of the mystery of Elohim, which had been hidden for ages.
The “word”, read for my edification and encouragement, deeply moved, humbled and motivated me in my work. The faithful use of the “word of knowledge” gift was tremendously important to me, because I had grown discouraged. Satan was throwing immense roadblocks in front of me, and I was having difficulty concentrating. We were going to have to move, finances were beginning to get very tight, and — I needed exactly what Elohim had moved my brother to give me. Praises be!!!
If our brother would have delayed in his delivery of Elohim’s “word” for me, only Elohim knows where the battle would have gone. But with the encouraging Word of Elohim in my heart, the work continued faithfully and the forces of evil were defeated in another skirmish.
Where the “word of knowledge” deals with application, and is primarily presented through the use of Scripture, the gift of the “word of wisdom” deals with the discernment between right and wrong, and focuses on practical judgment and common sense. While wisdom is gained in the Word of Elohim, the message given by someone with the “word of wisdom” gift is not always a quotation from the Bible.
The Greek word for wisdom is SOPHIA, and the phrase LOGOS SOPHIA means, “word of skill; tact, practice, wise and sound judgment, good sense, natural and moral insight.” SOPHIA deals with enlightened application, insight and sense.
It is common for one gifted with the “word of wisdom” to be a leader, or in a position of authority within the Ekklesia. Whether the individual is an authority within the world or not, is irrelevant. By nature, people simply will not listen to a “word” given unless they respect the giver, though, and this issue of respect is important, because without a proper grounding in faith and humility, pride can easily overtake the one so gifted. Therefore, because respect is essential to the administration of the “word”, respect itself then becomes a pitfall that can accompany this gift. For that reason, the “word of wisdom gift” does not normally show itself until the gifted disciple has reached a mature stage in their walk with Elohim.
A “word of wisdom” can deal with any facet of life. We are restricted in our finite minds in every area, but Elohim is infinite. Whatever the trouble, whatever the decision, whatever the situation, Elohim is approachable. Frequently, when we are confronted with situations requiring tough decisions, we pray and seek guidance – and we read the Bible. While answers to a great many questions can be found in His Holy Word, Elohim has a plan that enables one or more of our brethren to speak directly toward any dilemma. If we have a confounding problem, and faithfully seek an answer from our Father in heaven, we should expect an answer from Him in some form or another, because His Word says, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7 ENB). The gift of “word of wisdom” is one of the means whereby Elohim may answer our questions.
When we humbly approach our Master, seeking wisdom or knowledge from Him, He will not deny us. His answer might not be what we want to hear, but He always answers. While He may say no to some personal requests, He always gives us those things that are according to His will! To that end, we need to know that this gift will show itself within the Ekklesia in the same way as the “word of knowledge”, with the difference being that private exchanges are much more common. This is so, because of the personal nature of the “word” to be given. Our impatience today, however, coupled with an ever increasing aloofness toward others, often prohibits us from waiting for Elohim’s answers, and even more often prohibits us from recognizing Elohim’s messengers.
The “word of wisdom” gift is one that normally is proven to us over a course of time. Right decisions are not based upon one or two remarks. The Old Covenant prophets were correct 100% of the time, and a true “word” from Elohim will carry that same rate of accuracy. This does not mean we should approach one so gifted and expect them to tell us which stocks to purchase, or where to best invest our money, because that would be abusive (unless you are also given the gift of giving and you are seeking for the benefit for a need appointed by Elohim). Nonetheless, the abuses here are not only obvious, they can be devastating. And because of the potential devastation, our command to “test the spirits” must ring in our hearts at all times.
Sage advice that turns souls away from Elohim is poor advice indeed, and that is why it is essential for every Disciple to compare every word taught or spoken, against the Word of Elohim. And that, beloved, is a “word of knowledge”.
These service gifts, as you can easily see, carry tremendous responsibility, power and authority within the Ekklesia. The ramifications behind their faithful use are monumental, and their abuses are potentially lethal. It is easy to see why Satan does not want these gifts to be utilized in the warfare that rages, and why he sets his minions in the midst of our assemblies to confuse and discourage their proper use. (Check out the parable of the wheat and the tares, Matthew 13:24-40). It is also easy to see why Elohim wants His children to be fully armed, with all the power of Elohim, to withstand the arrows of the enemy.
In the discovery and utilization of your gifts, do not forget to walk humbly with your Elohim. Know His love, know His peace, and know His joy. Know His power and authority as well. Know that you are His child, and that He cares for you, and that He will protect you. Know also, dear friend, that my prayers and thoughts are for you.
I remain faithfully your servant in Yehoshua our Messiah and Master,
Letter 16 Topical Concordance:
Old Covenant: Study the scribes in the Old Covenant:. Ezra is a good example.
New Covenant: Matthew 24:24-51; Acts 20:17-35; 1 Corinthians 12:5,28; 2 Corinthians 8:19-20, 9:12; Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 4:1-6; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14-16.
New Covenant: Matthew 10:1; Romans 13:1; 2 Corinthians 10:8, 13:10; Titus 2:15.
Discernment (Distinguishing of spirits):
Old Covenant: 2 Samuel 19:35; 1 Kings 3; Psalms 119,139,140; Proverbs (all) 12:15,13:10; Malachi 3:18.
New Covenant: Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23, 13:22-23; Acts 5:1-11, 10:20, 11:12; Romans 4:20; 1 Corinthians 6:1-7, 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; Hebrews 5:12-14; James 1:6.
Old Covenant: Psalms 39 (all), 42 (all), 43 (all); Proverbs 9:7-12, 13:17.
New Covenant: Matthew 18:15-18; Luke 17:3-4; Acts 4:31, 24:12; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, 2:5-12, 7:4-13; Galatians 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-5, 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:2-4; Titus 2:10-15, 3:8-11; James 5:19-20; Jude 1:3.
Old Covenant: Genesis 15:6, 22(all), 24(all); 1 Samuel 2:30, 14:6-15, 17:20-58; Psalms 89:14, 107 (all); Daniel 3:17; Habakkuk 3:17-19.
New Covenant: Matthew 17:20-21; Mark 9:23, 10:52, 11:22-26; Luke 17:6-10, 18:7-8; Acts 18:27, 26:18; Romans 1:5,17, 9:30-32, 10:17, 12:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:5, 13:1-3, 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:12, 13:5; Galatians 2:16-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 5:12; Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 2:16; 11 (all); James 1:2-8, 1:27, 5:13-16; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 20.
Old Covenant: (While many Old Covenant: verses refer to the tithe, meaning the tenth or ten percent, the Word of Elohim is speaking about all our possessions. Our time, talent and ability all belong to Him.) Leviticus 27:30; 1 Chronicles 22:13; Psalms 37:21, 96:7-8, 112 (all); Proverbs 3:27, 19:17, 28:27; Ecclesiastes (all) – see 5:13-17; Hosea 6:6; Amos 4:4-5; Zechariyeh 7:8-14; Malachi 3:6-12.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:41-42, 6:1-4, 6:19-24, 10:8, 23:23; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 6:30-38, 8:3, 10:7, 11:41, 12:15, 12:33-34, 14:12-14, 14:33, 16:9-17, 18:29-30, 21:1-4; John 3:27; Acts 2:44-47, 4:32-37, 5:1-11, 11:27-30; Romans 12:6-8,12:13, 15:26-27; 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8&9 (all), 11:7-9; Galatians 6:6-10; Ephesians 4:28; Philippians 4:15-18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:6-7; 3 John 1:5-8.
New Covenant: Matthew 24:45-51; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 3:12, 5:17; Titus 3:8, 3:14.
Old Covenant: 2 Samuel 22:26, 24:14; Psalms 18:25, 37:25; Proverbs 3:3, 11:17, 12:10, 14:21,31, 21:21; Isaiyeh 55:3; Micah 6:8.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:7, 18:33, 23:23; Luke 6:36; Romans 9:15-18, 11:30-32, 12:1, 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 2 Corinthians 4:1; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; Philippians 2:27; 1 Timothy 1:13-16; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 4:16; James 2:13, 5:11; 1 Peter 1:3, 2:10; Jude 1:21-23.
Helps / Service:
Old Covenant: Proverbs 17:2, 25:13; Malachi 1:6
New Covenant: Matthew 20:22-28, 24:45-51; Mark 9:33-35, 10:42-45; Luke 12:35-48, 22:25-30; Acts 6:1-6; Romans 11:13, 12:6-8, 15:30-31; 1 Corinthians 4:2, 12:7-11, 12:28, 16:15; 2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 4:1, 5:18, 6:3, 9:1, 12-13; Ephesians 4:11-13, 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25, 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:12, 6:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:11; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 4:11.
Word of Knowledge / Word of Wisdom:
Old Covenant: 1 Kings 3:10-14; Job 12:12, 28:12-28; Psalms 25:8-15, 32:8-9, 119(all); Proverbs (all), 13:17, 18:17, 23:9; Ecclesiastes 1:18; Hosea 14:9, Malachi 2:7.
New Covenant: Matthew 13:24-40; John 14:26, 16:13-15; Acts 4:13, 4:31; 1 Corinthians 1:19-30, 2:1-13, 8:1-11, 12:8, 14:6; 2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:6, 6:6, 8:7, 10:5, 11:6; James 1:5.
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Lawrence T. Vosen
All Scripture quotations are taken from The Exalted Name Bible™
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD. Used with permission.