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The First Gift

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Thanks to the Testimony of the Holy Spirit which sets out clearly the order that Jesus spoke and taught, I repent for all the times that I have taught that the gift of tongues was the first gift that the Holy Spirit used to manifest His presence in Acts 2.

Although this is true – that the gift of tongues was the first gift that did manifest as a sign that the Holy Spirit had come upon them, followed by the gift of interpretation as Jews from all over the region understood what was being said in their own languages – that is not what was intended.

The truth is, on the first night that Jesus was with them after He had risen from the dead, He had already said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, as He commanded them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit.

POWER was meant to be the first of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be given to the disciples, not the gift of tongues.  Just as a new born baby needs power in his diaphragmatic muscle to move before he can breath and cry out, so the church was meant to be given power first and then tongues, followed by interpretation of tongues, just as a baby goes from babbling to speaking words that carry meaning.  So the intended order of gifts was power, tongues and interpretation, and with growth, message of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, discernment, faith and healing.

That is why when Jesus spoke of the signs of the believers, driving out demons is the first sign, followed by tongues.  It takes power, not faith, to drive out enemies.  It takes power to drive out demons.  The demons were fearful of Jesus because He had the power to torment them.

However, who would trust you with power when you are disobedient?  They did not wait in Jerusalem as Jesus commanded, but went back to Galilee instead.  So when the Holy Spirit finally did come on the day of Pentecost, He did not entrust to them the power first, just the ability to speak.  And that is why they came out of the upper room babbling, but there were no miracles that day.  No blind person saw, no lame walked and so on.  And the message of Peter was an appeal, rather than a triumphant declaration of the arrival of the Kingdom of God.  He was not able to declare that Jesus is the King, not of Israel but of His own kingdom, because he had no power.  It was just a message like an envoy.  Envoys have no power except to speak and negotiate.  Peter’s preach was a negotiation with the Jews to repent.  However, soldiers with power can negotiate and also enforce the will of their king because they have power.

Power then is given to those who believe, obey and are loyal.  And logically, in increasing increments, that is, the more you believe the Lord, the more you obey and the more you are loyal, the greater the degree of power entrusted to you.  Having said that, the manifestation of power to some degree is not indicative of a person’s obedience or loyalty either, for many still betrayed the Lord even when they were apostles like Judas, or denied the Lord like Peter, or disobeyed the Lord like the four who went fishing.  And yet there was some power available in their ministries.  And I say some because not one of them was able to do all that Jesus did in their midst.  Just enough to get the church going and keep it going.

So, why is there so little miraculous power available to the church?  It is not because the Holy Spirit has left, as some would teach.  It is not because it is no longer needed because the church has started and we have the technology of science.  Try telling that to the Christians in the third world country who cannot afford the medicines, that the reason there is no need for the healing gift is because we now have doctors.  It is simply because we cannot be trusted with the power, because we do not believe, we do not obey and we are not loyal.

As such, the rectification of our present state of powerlessness begins with repentance of our unbelief, our disobedience and our disloyalty.  If our repentance is acceptable, then the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Grace, will make His presence known by His power, and to those who can be trusted, impart the power that Jesus said would be ours to testify for Him.  The Holy Spirit knows we need the power.  It is just that He also knows whether we can be trusted with it.

You can tell how much a king trusts a lord by the amount of power the king gives him.  Likewise, you can also tell how much a man is trusted by the Holy Spirit by the amount of power, miraculous power, given to him.  By this measure, you can tell how much the Holy Spirit trusts Jesus.

Now a man cannot give what he has not received.  So, a minister who does not have the power because he cannot be trusted with it, cannot give the power to another.  Indeed, the genuineness of a repentant can be tested immediately by the degree of gifts the Holy Spirit is prepared to give them.  The 120 were trusted with the gift of tongues to speak, but not with the power to do miracles in Acts 2.  As such, those of us who do have the gift of miraculous power and the gift of tongues can lay hands on the new repentants and believers, and by the manifestations of the gifts, see the sincerity of their confession and their trustworthiness.

As such, all who repent and are baptised should be given the opportunity to manifest the gift of miraculous power, followed by the gift of tongues, for Jesus has commanded that we be His witnesses with power.  It is then obvious that those who are able to manifest miraculous power have been considered trustworthy to be witnesses of Jesus by the Holy Spirit Himself.  Others who through study and vocation, preach and yet are without power, are obviously not trusted enough to bear witness, but only to report on the news like a reporter.

By using this much stricter criteria, we will be able to see quickly who are the witnesses and who are the reporters of Jesus Christ.  Remember, the Jews of Jerusalem sent the Sadducees and Pharisees to observe and to report back to them about Jesus.  So, just because you report the news about Jesus does not make you a person trusted by the Holy Spirit to be a witness.  So learn to recognise that a preacher without power is merely a reporter and not a witness.  The man who is the false prophet is given power because he can be trusted.  Like Judas, he can be trusted to make an alliance with Satan for his authority by raising the image of the beast to life, and to use his power to do signs and wonders to deceive the very elect if that were possible.

As such, although a man with miraculous power from the Lord is a sign that the Lord trusts him, each of us should always ask what does He trust us for.  We forget that Judas was chosen by the Lord.  So just because we are chosen by the Lord, it is wise to ask what He has chosen us for.

However, those who love Him, who work unceasingly to see Him glorified, to see that He gets justice, has this assurance:  If anyone who gives one of His disciples a cup of cold water will receive a reward he cannot lose, then how much more will the Father honour those who honour His Son and His Spirit?

So then, the first intended gift to the disciples was miraculous power.  Do not hesitate to ask for that for all your people, and let them show that they have received it.  For the ability of a fellow disciple to do signs, wonders and miracles is a sign of how much God trusts him.

So, for those of us who are members of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop, let us change our practice.  Instead of letting the gift of tongues manifest first as the sign that the Holy Spirit has been baptised into the new believers, let us show them the gift of miraculous power, and let them demonstrate it before we let them speak in tongues.

As for those who would scoff, continue your scoffing, for by and by, you will wish you had been entrusted with the gift of miraculous power, for the days of distress are at our doorsteps and they seek to consume us.  But we can overcome them because of the power of the Holy Spirit given to us.

Hr. Ed Kwan, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop


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