This entry is part of 50 in the series article 26

(Acts 8:5-25; 19:1-12) 

A CAREFUL study of the New Testament will give 
us a thorough knowledge of the workings of the 
Holy Spirit. We must study this subject as a whole 
in order to arrive at the truth. We have otherwise 
discussed the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the oper- 
ation of the Holy Spirit. In this sermon we shall 
study the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let 
us build this sermon from point to point, like the steps 
in a stairway, until we arrive at the portal of clear 

1. God gives the Spirit by measure unto men (John 
3 : 34). Jesus Christ alone possessed the Spirit without 
measure, or limitation (Col. 1:19). 

2. The greatest measure of the Holy Spirit was the 
baptism of the Holy Spirit. This measure was admin- 
istered by Jesus Christ only, as the fulfillment of prom- 
ise (John 14:16, 17; 16:7; Acts 1:4, 5). It occurred 
only twice in the divine record: on the day of Pente- 
cost (Acts 2), and at the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 
10:44-46). In each case it was a special miracle for 
a special purpose. Peter's account of the matter (Acts 
11 : 15-18) makes it very clear that no such a manifes- 
tation had occurred since the beginning — or Pentecost 
— up to that time. And there is no such manifestation 
recorded afterwards. 

3. There was another measure of the Holy Spirit 
which was accompanied by miraculous gifts. 

a. The language of Jesus regarding believers (Mark 

b. This prophecy fulfilled (Acts 8:7, 8; 19:11, 12; 
28: 3-10). These signs did follow all that believed. 

c. What were these gifts of the Spirit? (1 Cor. 

d. How was this measure of the Spirit conferred? 
(Acts 8:17.) By the laying on of the hands of the 
apostles. Philip was not an apostle, but an evangelist 
(Acts 21:8), and one of the seven deacons that had 
been chosen at Jerusalem (Acts 6:3-5). The power 
to perform miracles had been given him by the laying 
on of the apostles' hands (Acts 6:6), but he could not 
transfer this power to others, as he was not an apostle. 
Hence it was necessary that Peter and John be sent 
down from Jerusalem to confer this power (Acts 8: 
14). Simon saw how the power was given (Acts 8: 
18), and tried to buy it with money, for which he was 
severely rebuked by Peter (Acts 8:20-23). The apos- 
tles could not confer this power by prayer; but per- 
sonally by the laying on of hands, as is evidenced from 
the fact that they came all the way from Jerusalem to 
Samaria for this purpose (Acts 8:14-17). 

Consider also Acts 19 : 1-12. Paul finds a band of 
disciples at Ephesus. Since the validity of John's bap- 
tism ceased with the institution of Christian baptism, 
these disciples were baptized into Christ, becoming 
Christians. The same measure of the Spirit is con- 
ferred upon them by the laying on of Paul's hands 
(Acts 19: 6). 

We note that this measure was not conferred upon 
any but those who had believed and obeyed the gospel; 
and that it was conferred only by the apostles by the 
laying on of their hands. 

e. For what purposes were these gifts conferred? 
To confirm the preached "Word (Mark 16 : 20; Heb. 2 : 
3, 4). God bore witness to the testimony of the apos- 
tles by these demonstrations. They were also for the 
purpose of establishing the churches firmly in the faith 
(Rom. 1:11; 1 Cor. 2:1-5). 

f. Under what circumstances could these miracles 
be performed? (Acts 28:3-10.) Paul could heal the 
sick. Why, then, did he leave Trophimus sick at 
Miletus? (2 Tim. 4:20.) Evidently because even the 
apostles were limited in their possession of this measure 
of the Spirit, and could exercise it only for the pur- 
pose of exhibiting the glory of God. 

g. How long did this power last? Since it was con- 
ferred by the laying on of the apostles' hands, we can 
readily see that the power of conferring this measure 
of the Spirit passed away with them, and that the 
miraculous gifts themselves ceased with the death of 
those upon whom the apostles had laid their hands (1 
Cor. 13:8). While the church depended upon oral 
instruction in its infancy, God attended it with signs 
and miracles. But when the church became a per- 
fected body (Eph. 4: 13), such miracles were no longer 
necessary (1 Cor. 13:9-12). 

4. There is the ordinary measure of the Spirit which 
is given to every baptized believer of the gospel. This 
measure is received by the hearing of faith (Rom. 
10:8; Gal. 3:2). It is received after repentance and 
baptism (Acts 2:38). The Spirit dwells in the heart 
of every Christian by faith (Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 6: 
19; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; Gal. 4:6; 5:22-25). 

5. These three measures of the Spirit are spoken of 
as gifts. The baptism called a "gift" (Acts 11:17). 
The extraordinary measure conferred by the laying on 
of hands manifests itself in "gifts" (Heb. 2:4; Rom. 
1:11). The ordinary measure spoken of as a gift 
(Acts 2:38). Hence, though there is but one Spirit 
(Eph. 4:4), there are diversities of gifts, differences 
of administrations and diversities of operations (1 
Cor. 12:4-6). 

"We conclude with an exposition of Eph. 4 : 7-16 : 
"But unto every one of us is given grace according 
to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he 
saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity cap- 
tive, and gave gifts unto men." What were these 
gifts? By or through one Spirit, who came at Pente- 
cost to abide with us forever, "he gave some to be 
apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; 
and some, pastors and teachers." For what purpose? 
"For the perfecting of saints, unto the work of the 
ministry, unto the edifying of the body of Christ." 
And how long would these gifts last? "Till we all 
attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man" (that is, an 
established or perfected body), "unto the measure of 
the stature of the fulness of Christ." 

So all spiritual gifts came to an end when the 
church was fully established (1 Cor. 13). Now abides 
the more excellent way of love.
Series Navigation

Printer-ready version

Spread God's love