Desire Spiritual Gifts (Part 2)

Yesterday we looked at two important reasons why we should desire spiritual gifts (namely, because the gifts of the Spirit point to the Lordship of Christ, and because the gifts bear witness to the Gospel). Today, let's have a look at a third reason to earnestly desire the gifts.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit build up believers. The sixth Tenet of the Apostolic Church states that we believe in 'The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.' We don't just believe in the gifts, but we also believe that they've been given for a specific purpose; and that purpose is the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Body of Christ. Where does the Bible teach this? Well, in 1 Cor. 14:3 these three purposes are specifically attached to the gift of prophecy. However, prophecy is clearly not the only gift given for our edification: 1 Cor. 14:26 says that everything that's done in a church service is to 'be done for edification.' The immediate context mentions the gifts of tongues and interpretation, as well as the more general term revelation, but this isn't an exhaustive list. Any of the gifts used in a church service must be for edification. Finally, 1 Cor. 12:7 teaches that the gifts are the Spirit are given 'for the profit of all.' That means that the gifts are not given to individuals for their own personal blessing, but rather, for the benefit of others. If I'm used in a gift, it's not primarily for my own personal edification, but for the edification of the church. The gifts are given in the context of the church.

Now, hopefully we'll all agree that edification, exhortation and comfort are all necessary for Christians. And that again highlights the necessity of the gifts. God doesn't give the gifts to bring an optional extra personal blessing, but rather, to bring something that the church has great need of: edification, exhortation, and comfort.

But, what do we actually mean by edification, exhortation and comfort? Well, edification is to do with building up and strengthening. Edification speaks of taking us toward maturity in Christ and preparing us for our role in the Body. Exhortation means pointing us in the right direction. Sometimes we need to be told what we should be doing. Sometimes this comes in the form of encouraging us to act, and sometimes it comes in the form of correction. Comfort speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit pointing us away form our trials and difficulties to gaze on the greatness of the grace and glory of Jesus Christ. Each of these three is needed.

And so, again, we see that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are necessary. We need edification, exhortation and comfort, and our Lord has promised to supply these needs, in part through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So, we should earnestly desire the gifts!