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Power From On High

Studies in 1 Cor. 12-15, Power From On High:

Study #8: Power From On High

Thank you so much for staying with us during this long and complex study of 1 Corinthians chapters 12-15. As You have seen, even a cursory yet accurate understanding entails so much more than these few chapters. You need a familiarity with what was given to the Church after Jesus ascended and sent the Comforter.

Indeed, we have barely scratched the surface of what the early Church knew it had.

Yet while trying to get to the intended meaning of this section, we have found that once we get to the bottom, the entire section is simple and fits together. It makes sense from the first verse to the last, and contains a single train of subject matter and logic.

Bear with us one more time.

In our recent studies of 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 15, we have found that these chapters deal extensively with spiritual matters as they take place in the gathering of believers.

Some of the spiritual matters we are not to be ignorant of involve gifts from God, administrations  or ministries within the Body, and ways spirit operates.

But we find that these chapters concentrate on what is called "manifestation of spirit."

1 Cor. 12:7-11: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

"To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

"To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

"But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. "

"Manifestation" means evidence.

Whenever spirit interacts with the material world, something takes place in the material realm that can either be seen, or heard, or smelled, or felt, even tasted, or various combinations of the above.

For example, when the blind were healed in the Gospels, they could see the difference. Others, too, could see that the men were no longer poking along blindly. The way spirit pushed around the molecules that made up the eyes or optic nerves of those men might have been felt as the healing took place.

Who knows, maybe a little "pop" happened when matter was rearranged?

Revelation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirit might be heard, or in the case of a Babylonian king who saw writing on the wall, seen.

When a believer speaks in tongues, that can be heard. The operation of the spirit makes a measurable change that is manifested in the senses realm.

Speaking in tongues? What is that?

Mark 16:14-19: "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

Much of the last things Jesus said before he was taken up entailed something called "power from on high" and "the gift of the holy spirit."

Here Jesus listed casting out devils, speaking in tongues, immunity from toxins and poisons and gifts of healings. These are all lumped as "manifestation" of spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7.

Acts 2:1-4: "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 Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

This day of Pentecost was fifty days after the resurrection, perhaps ten days after the ascension.

These apostles were told to wait for the gift, but now it has been given. We do not have to wait any more.

Acts 10:44-46b: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

"And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

"For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

You see, in the early years of the Church, speaking in tongues was the normal thing to do in the Church. People who don't want to believe deny it and say these evidences of the spirit, this "power from on high," ceased with the apostles.

But as late as 177 AD, this was said of the Christians in "Against Heresies:"

"Christians still heal the blind, deaf, and chase away all sorts of demons. Occasionally the dead are raised...

"Some Christians do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe in Christ, and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. The Church does not perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord...

"Those who are "perfect" are those who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he, Himself, used also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms "spiritual," they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit, and seek spiritual understanding to become purely spiritual..." 

Irenaeus, 177, Against Heresies

The dead are raised and remain many years? This is nearly a hundred years after the last of the original apostles and Paul have passed. But we see that the power from on high did not stop either with the apostles, or with the Book of Revelation, as many today claim.

Those who claim the finished Bible or the deaths of the Apostles signaled the ends of these things are liars.

Maybe their intentions are good, but they are in error, just as Paul was when he was persecuting the Church. They perpetuate a great lie.

In these studies, we have dealt with the verses that appear to say that speaking in tongues is wrong or at best, unnecessary. We have seen that there is nothing wrong with the speaking in tongues, it is us using them at the wrong time or not out of a good motivation.

We are told that when this happens, we are to change the way we speak in tongues or the motivation, not that we do it in the first place.

Luke 24:49: "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."

Again, much of what Jesus said just before he ascended dealt with receiving this power from on high, this gift.

On the Day of Pentecost which was the "birth" of the new Church, Peter's sermon tells the people who heard the initial outpouring this:

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call." Acts 2:38-39 

This promise, this same gift of "pnuema hagion" as it is called in the text, is to all who are called.

Have you been called? Are you responding to the whispering voice of your Lord, Jesus Christ

Then this gift is yours.

Confess Jesus as Lord, believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, and you shall be saved.

That is the promise.

And if you are saved, you can speak in tongues at will, you can interpret what you have just said, you can prophesy to the edifying of the Church.

Are you less saved if you decide not to do these things?


Confess Jesus as Lord, believe God raised him, saved, that is the promise.

You might park your shiny new Lincoln in the garage and show up to your executive meeting in the barely-running, rusty Ford Galaxy that was the first car Mommy and Daddy gave you while you were starting college way back when.

Why would you want to?

You can speak in tongues, interpret, prophesy.

You can receive word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirit.

You can act on spiritual faith, work miracles, minister gifts of healings.

You can do these things, if you are born again.

Faith as a manifestation is seen when one of the promises of God comes to pass, that could have no logical natural explanation.

Faith is not dead. While it does not come from works, it will result in them. Jesus said, "These signs shall follow them that believe."

James said "Faith without works is dead," and brethren, how we of the Church have been robbed by the thief of so much we have available.

"Lord, I believe, help me my unbelief."

That is faith filling the gap, a spirit-based trust and expectation of the promises of God.

Miracles and gifts of healing are not magic.

You do not "cast a spell" and get what you want.

Exodus 14-13-15: "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

"The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:"

Look at Moses. His idea was, Israel, stand still, the Lord will fight for you."

Well, that seems like his only option, and sure he was trusting in Jehovah.

But the LORD said, "Wherefore criest after me?" Where did you, Moses, get the idea that was what I was going to do?

Obviously, Moses put his own words in his mouth and tried to get God to honor them, like a magic spell.

God was literally sarcastic.

Hint: He is God and knows what He plans on doing; We are NOT God and don't know what WE plan on doing half the time.

Moral: Wait for God telling you what He plans on doing before you say He's going to do it.

Of course, God covered for Moses, not to embarrass him, as He was the One Who got Moses involved in the first place. You start waiting for God to tell you the plan, you'll find a lot of grace too.

Just remember that God decides when He speaks.

Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discerning of spirit.

There are actually different operations that might result in this.

God may send an angel as He did with the burning bush or the speaking ass.

Surely much of our wisdom and understanding of Scripture is the "still, small voice" of the Comforter.

Jesus discerned devil spirits quite often as a foul smell. God knows what He wants to say, and how He can best say it.

All these different operations are "manifest" in a way described by 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. Some of these manifest after operations we trigger by our actions, because we ourselves operate the mechanics of tongues, interpretation of tongues and prophesy.

The rest are like this event in Exodus, all subject to God deciding what He wants to do. Moses has a plan of his own, but God corrects him.

Here, Moses hears God audibly.

"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:"

Knowledge can best be described as "the facts."

Wisdom can best be described as "what action to take according to the facts."

The Lord has not revealed why Moses is to tell Israel to go forward, when there is a huge sea standing between them and the closest dry land in that direction, miles away.

It is "Word of wisdom," which is revelation.

The best any man can tell you about "manifesting" revelation is serve God, obey His Word, act on what you know to do, and when He has something to say to you, you'll be the first to know.

Revelation is not a conjuring up. The power of God is not magic. It is you being on the receiving end of a two-way conversation with the Almighty.

Just don't push Him. Don't worry. Keep ministering via a walk in the spirit, you'll be in situations where your only way through is for God to tell you what you don't know. Like Moses, who had just told Israel to stand and wait for the Egyptian army, who had the express purpose of severely shortening their freedom and their lives.

Word of wisdom first. In other situations, word of wisdom may not be the first thing God tells you, but often it is. Once you recognize His voice, you should know you can trust it no matter how badly you seem trapped by the world.

Ex. 14:16-18: "But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

"And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

"And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen."

Moses may have started arguing with God as soon as the Lord told him to tell Israel to march into the sea.

But by now, Moses had learned to trust God.

If we were smart enough to figure these things out, God would not have to tell us things.

Moses heard revelation, first what to do, which is "word of wisdom." When God offers a suggested course of action, do yourself a favor. Consider it a command, and just do it.

Then he was told the facts about this course of action, including some foretelling. This was word of knowledge.

There are no percentage rules that tell you exactly what to do to receive these things, only that you need to learn to act. As you minister in faith, these things shall be provided as necessary.

God will be what He needs to be, remember?

Act, walk in faith.

Notice what happens AFTER Moses acts on the word of wisdom:

Ex. 14:22: "And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided."

You see, whether miracles or gifts of healings (which are just miracles when another's faith is as involved as yours is,) first you find out the promise of God, then you act on it.

The promise of God to Moses was deliverance, the command to get deliverance was "tell them to go forth."

Moses acted, and God did the hard part.

Acts 3:11-12: "And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

"And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?"

See? Even the worship of tongues, interpretation and prophesy that we control is available through the gift of God. The word of knowledge, of wisdom, the discerning of spirit is simply God, of His own volition, conversing with us.

(Of course, God sends messenger spirits as well, at which times the spirit interacting with the material realm is the angel, and the spirit which is manifest is the angel.

 The realm of darkness works the same way, but that is beyond the scope of this study.)

Then God acts on His promises when we obey what we are told to do to receive them.

How simple is that?

But in this day, we have been given holy spirit, we have been given power from on high.

Rom. 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Brothers and sisters, we do not HAVE to speak in tongues, interpret or prophesy. These things are done as we will.

And the genuine manifestations are subject to our will, not that they will happen, but "if."

If a man or woman seeks to not manifest spirit, why, God will honor that when it comes to revelation and power as much as with worship.

Look at this:

Jude 1:17-21: "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

"How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

"These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

Of course, remember, we are to keep ourselves in the love of God.

But those who walk after their own lusts, after their own desires, are those who have not the spirit.

Without the spirit, without the gift, how can they manifest it? They cannot.

And so such as these have spent eighteen hundred years trying to convince us it CANNOT be manifest.

The Word of God says it can be, and that we should.

Remember that "Holy Ghost" is "pnuema hagion"

The text reads "en pneumati agio proseuchomenoi" which is literally, "in spirit holy praying."

We are not told to build ourselves by praying for holy spirit to come, we already have the gift.

We build up ourselves by prayer via holy spirit. And what does the Word of God say prayer in holy spirit is?

Speaking in tongues.

If you want to build big beefy biceps, you pump dumbbells.

If you want to excercise your mind, you read, you do puzzles, you solve problems.

If you want to build yourself up spiritually, you speak in tongues. Then, in fellowship meetings, you speak in tongues and interpret what you have prayed.

You "in holy spirit, pray."

Speaking in tongues is prayer, and it is what you can do to "exercise" the gift of God, the new spirit life that is in you.

God indeed answers prayers, even those we can't understand.

Then, as you seek to minister to the Body of Christ and to the carnal men and women lost in this world, get ready.

You are a spirit-filled creation, seeking to do their Father's will, and when God needs miracles, when He needs someone to do His will, who's He gonna call?


We hope this series has helped you.

We pray that you think about all that God has made available to you.

We know that God wants to fellowship with you as you with Him. That is a two-way street.

We know that Jesus Christ, Head of the Body, needs you to be his hands and feet to minister to his people, those who have pledged fealty to him.

And we know that there is a dying world out there that needs the life that is in you.

Manifest that spirit life, shine it forth, for we are only here for a short while. The harvest is great, and the laborers few.

God bless you and keep you, above all, God be with you as you serve Him and obey His Will.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.



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