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Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 1 (When You Have the Spirit, You Experience Spiritual Gifts)

An Ancient Outpouring of the Spirit


In about a month, it'll be Pentecost. It's an important date in Judeo-Christianity. In Judaism, Pentecost commemorates God's giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, 49 days after the Exodus. In Christianity, it's celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, inclusively (i.e., 49 days with the first day counted, seven weeks) -- hence its name, Pentēkostē, or "the fiftieth [day]".

Almost 2,000 years ago, about 120 early Christians (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (including Matthias, Judas' replacement; Acts 1:13, 26), Christ's mother, Mary, and his brothers (Acts 1:14) all gathered in the Upper Room (Luke 22:12-13). What happened next is summarized is in Acts 2:1-6:
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."
As a result, Peter declared that the event was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy in Joel 2:28-29 (Acts 2:17) and that it was the beginning of a continual outpouring of the Spirit that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Yet once all the Apostles were deceased, there was a noticeable decrease of (even a cessation in) manifestations of spiritual gifts. No wonder we call that era "The Dark Ages" or, simply, "The Great Apostasy".

The Link Between the Holy Ghost and Spiritual Gifts


Pentecost was a collective event which demonstrated the inexorable link between the reception of the Holy Ghost and the manifestation of spiritual gifts.

The same holds true for you, too:
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" (Mark 16:17; emphasis mine) 
"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (Acts 19:4-6; emphasis mine)
"Yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel" (2 Ne. 31:13; emphasis mine)
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.
And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.'' (D&C 35:8-9
Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.
And these signs shall follow them that believe
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In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
In my name they shall cast out devils;
In my name they shall heal the sick;
In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;
And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them." (D&C 84:64-72; emphasis mine)
In fact, when Joseph Smith passed through Cincinnati in June 1831, he spoke briefly with Walter Scott, one of the founders of the Campbellites:
"Before the close of our interview, he [Scott] manifested one of the bitterest spirits against the doctrine of the New Testament (that 'these signs shall follow them that believe,' as recorded in Mark the 16th chapter,) that I ever witnessed among men." (Joseph Smith, Jr., HC 1:188)
Brother Joseph also taught,
"No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator" (TPJS, p. 328; emphasis mine)
Later, Elder Orson Pratt echoed this point:
"Whenever the Holy Ghost takes up its residence in a person, it not only cleanses, sanctifies, and purifies him, in proportion as he yields himself to its influence, but also imparts to him some gift, intended for the benefit of himself and others." (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses, p. 539-41; emphasis mine) 
I really like this insight from Apostle Charles W. Penrose, who differentiated between the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the spirit.:
"[The gift of the Holy Ghost's] internal fruits are faith, knowledge, wisdom, joy, peace, patience, temperance, long suffering, brotherly kindness and charity. Its external gifts are manifested in prophecies, visions, discernments, healings, miracles, power over evil spirits, speaking in various tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc." ("Mormon Doctrine, Plain and Simple," p. 17; emphasis mine)
All of this makes a lot of sense to me: When you have truly received the gift of the Holy Ghost, when it is truly residing in you, the "believer", the Holy Ghost will manifest its presence within you through its fruits and gifts.

Does it make sense to you, too?

Good. I'm glad to hear that. We'll continue this conversation in my next post, "A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 2".

2 comments:

  1. Yes! Bring it! Looking forward to Part 2... this sounds good.

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  2. It just amazes me how HF anwers prayers of seeking...seeking answers and understanding of doctrine or mysteries of the kingdom. I've been praying for specific spiritual gifts for specific reasons for awhile now. Then I stumble upon this series and it anwers som critical questions... can women expect to do these great works? Yes! I have felt like I was handcuffed because I don't hold the Priesthood, yet I have faith in the power of Jesus name and believe in his words. I have had many ocassions when I should have been able to bless, heal, or cast out and evil spirit from a loved one and didn't because I felt I as a woman wasn't authorized to do so. I have no priesthood in my home and at times none available to call on but needed the blessing for someone. Now my questions have been answered. Thank you, this has greatly blessed me and given me a boost of faith.

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