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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

The Temporary Sign Gifts

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Notes compiled by Marty Zide and Steve McAtee

1. Prophecy

The gift of prophecy included receiving a message directly from God through special revelation. That message may have included information about the future, but it also could have included revelation from God concerning the present.

Rom. 12:6 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.

2. Discerning of Spirits

Discerning spirits is the ability to distinguish between true and false sources of supernatural revelation when it was being given in the oral form. It was a very necessary gift before the Word was written, for there were many who claimed to bring revelation from God who were not true prophets.

1 Cor. 12:10 - ...and to another the distinguishing of spirits...

1 John 4:1 - Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 is not referring to the specific gift, but is something that all believers must do because of the continued increase of false teaching.

Acts 17:10-11 - The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

3 & 4. Healing & Miracles

These gifts provided the ability to perform special signs. These were temporary gifts primarily given to those specifically commissioned by the Lord Jesus (the 70 sent out) and the Apostles. There is no record of the 70 continuing to do what they did when they originally sent out by the Lord Jesus.

The gifts of healing and miracles bore witness to the divine commission of Christ’s Apostles and to His working through them.

Heb. 2:3-4 - ...After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

Acts 2:43 - Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Acts 5:12 - At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people... Acts 19:11 - God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul.

Acts 19:11 - God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul.

2 Cor. 12:12 - The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

God can and does choose to heal and work miracles, but these incidents do not require the possession of these gifts by any particular human being. Although Paul had the gift of healing, it seemed that as his ministry progressed and later towards the end, the ability for this gift to be exercised became limited.

Paul himself was sick Epaphroditus was sick Timothy was sick Trophimus was sick

Gal. 4:13-15 - but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.

Phil. 2:25-30 - But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow... Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

1Tim. 5:23 - No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

2Tim. 4:20 - Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.

Coming Next – Tongues and Interpretation


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