My point is that the gifts are given until something happens. And that something is not the second coming of Jesus. Because we know that when Jesus comes we’re going to be given the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When he comes, we get the gifts of the Spirit. So, whether you like my idea or not about the completed Bible as that which is complete, (or perfect or mature or finished), the fact is that at some stage between the first century and the second coming, the gifts are going to be taken away. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that, “Once you’ve got all scripture it enabled the man of God to be perfect (or mature). So then once all scripture was completed, the church was equipped, or as Weymouth puts it “was fully equipped”, for the ministry. They were no longer a bunch of fishermen out there to convert the world. They had a Spirit-given book, the New Testament, behind them, confirming what they were preaching.
And so we come to this question of, “Well, how is the Spirit operating today?”. I’ve said the gifts of the Holy Spirit did exist, the Bible said they would be taken away, they have been taken away; and they will be given again when the Lord Jesus comes. And I said that the claims that are made as to the possession of the Spirit do not match up today…do not match up with the experience of the first-century church. The Lord Jesus said that if you have the Comforter (which is the Holy Spirit) greater works than these shall ye do. Greater Works. And I’m not asking anyone to do a miracle tonight…I am simply making the point that anyone who has got the Comforter will do greater works. Not might do, but will do greater works. And anyone who’s got these gifts will not just be displaying them in some back-street church, they will be displayed as the gifts were in the first-century in the eyes of the unbeliever, to the cynic (maybe include me as a cynic if you want). They will be displayed to their eyes and those who see them will not be able to deny them.
However, that may all sound very negative – but we believe definitely that God is working in our lives. That God is definitely at work; that the Spirit of God, of course it exists. The power of God is at work. And so where is the mind of God? Where is the Spirit of God? Where is the power of God? The gospel, Paul says, is the power of God under salvation to all those who believe. So therefore, the Spirit of God is there in the gospel, it is there in the Word of God. And I want to draw your attention to the fact that the Bible is written by what Paul calls “in-spirit-ation”. The Spirit of God was there in those words. The Bible that you have is not just like any other book, it is not just print on white paper. Here you have the Spirit of God written down. Here you have the Spirit of God speaking to you from those words. And just see all the links there are between the Spirit and the Word. “The words that I speak”, Jesus said, “they are spirit” (Jn. 6:63). We are born again by the Spirit, we are born again by the Word of God. The Old Testament prophets spoke “the words which the Lord of Hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the prophets”. “I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you”. The Spirit and the Word are connected.
Now this isn’t just a couple of passages. “My Spirit that is upon thee and my words which I put into thy mouth”, “for thy word’s sake and according to thine own heart” (your own spirit, your own mind) “I’ll put my spirit within you…I will put my law; my word in their hearts”. So then God is at work today, through His Word. And not only through His word, but He is at work today. What we’re saying is that those miraculous Holy Spirit gifts that were given to enable specific things, by their very nature do not now exist, because they were to do something specific. The job was done. The spoken word was confirmed and written down, by the Spirit, in the New Testament. So that which was from parts (that which was partial knowledge) the ministry of the Spirit gift of prophecy, the miraculous ministry from the Spirit was ended when that which is complete (that is the completed prophecy of God) in the New Testament, was written and completed.
So…I rest my case.