Spiritual Gift Series Introduction

These talks aim to sort out the whole fraught subject of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Their nature and practice are thoroughly examined with careful consideration being given to the rules in the Bible which, if heeded, would greatly reduce the risk of error or abuse.

Things are going on in the so-called charismatic movement today which are not only extremely unhelpful but are actually pure demonic deception, and this is because of widespread ignorance of what scripture actually does and doesn’t teach about the subject, and the complete failure to follow the ground rules laid down. For this reason the context of Paul’s teaching about the gifts is fully examined showing clearly the importance placed on corporate fellowship and biblically based church life, mutual accountability and love, and the dangers which arise from the use of the gifts without these safety mechanisms firmly in place. This series is, in effect, an exposition of 1 Corinthians 12 – 14, and should be considered as complementary to the ‘Church Life Series’, being incomplete, and even potentially unbalanced, without it.

Introduction SG 1

In this introduction the place of spiritual gifts in the life of the believer is explained, and their nature made clear. Their relationship to the Trinity is also shown along with the reason why Paul, in his introductory remarks on the subject, parallels them with dumb idols. Beresford explains too why the actual term spiritual gifts can be misleading and demonstrates that they are far from being the big deal some seem to make of them. They are actually quite ordinary and not special at all. You therefore don’t have to be a special person to use them – any ordinary old believer will do.

Tongues and Interpretation SG 2

There are some Christians for whom speaking in tongues is a bit of a taboo subject and best not mentioned at all, whilst for others it seems to be about the most important thing in their lives. Balance is needed as the essential ingredient here and, whilst keeping tongues carefully in its scriptural place, Beresford demonstrates just how important it actually is, and what a source of blessing it can be. The difference between the private and personal ministries of tongues is also explained, along with the rules for its public use and the subsequent interpretations which should follow. The question as to whether or not all believers should speak in tongues is tackled head on, and practical advice for moving out in this gift is given.

Interpretation and Prophecy SG 3

Many people are confused as to whether or not an interpreted tongue is the same thing as a prophecy, and although the standard approach is to say that it is Beresford clearly shows that this view is actually incorrect. There is a profound and fundamental difference between the two things, and the failure to realise this can actually lead to the true gift of public tongues, with its subsequent interpretation, becoming practically non-existent. A severe diminution in the true gift of prophecy is also shown to stem from this. Corporate worship and sharing together among God’s people can never be quite as the Lord truly desires until these wonderful, yet misunderstood, gifts are flowing freely in our churches.

The Gift of Prophecy SG 4

Paul the apostle rated this gift rather highly, and his reason for doing so is here explained, as is the unique blessing it brings with it. The uses of prophecy are also demonstrated along with the rules which must be observed when it is being used. Once again practical points of advice are given to enable people to step out in faith and to actually begin exercising this most valuable of gifts which the Lord has made available to us.

The ‘Thought’ and ‘Deed’ Gifts SG 5

This talk covers the remaining six gifts dealt with by Paul in his Corinthian letter, and the word of wisdom may especially hold a surprise or two in store for you in that it has applications which most believers are not particularly aware of. The Lord has truly called us to live miraculous lives, and this study will help you to realise the kind of things that we should be expecting to happen.

Hindrances to Using the Gifts SG 6

When we eventually realise the means by which Satan holds us back in the use of the gifts of the Spirit then more can be done to enable us to be set free and to really get motoring. Beresford therefore outlines the strategy the devil uses, and the weaknesses and sin in us which actually enable him to be successful. He also points out how we can learn even by our mistakes, and how we therefore need the freedom to be able to make them. He provides some hilarious, to say nothing of embarrassing, examples from his own experience regarding the gifts, and how he has learned through trial and error and by dropping just about every clanger in the book. Indeed, even greater clangers are just waiting to be dropped.

The ‘Difficult Bits’ in 1 Corinthians 14 SG 7

Paul writes two passages in 1 Corinthians 14 which do appear to be quite problematic. The first difficulty arises when, in the space of just four verses, he seems to completely contradict himself over what he says about prophecy and tongues being a sign. The second is his statement that “…women should keep silence in the churches.” Beresford deals with these passages in a clear and simple way and explains what Paul was actually saying.

Hope – the Way Ahead! SG 8

The questions addressed in this talk are these: “Why have we seen such a decline in recent years in the ministry of the gifts amongst us, and how do we overcome the unbelief which prevents us from moving out in them?” Beresford believes that part of the problem has been wrong teaching that has been unbalanced in its emphasis on faith, and which has consequently left believers just not knowing what else to do in order to believe properly or hard enough. He shows that Paul himself was far from being a faith teacher such as we have among us today in the charismatic movement, but was rather a man who had the revelation from God about biblical hope. Beresford believes that it is this revelation, here explained, that we so badly need.

We Are the Body of Christ SG 9

The Bible’s teaching about the gifts of the Spirit is given in the context of both church life and fellowship, and love, and any use made of them in isolation from these is just asking for trouble. This is the first of two talks therefore on the whole area of corporate fellowship, and the fact that we are called to be the Body of Christ on earth. The nature of this body is examined, along with the implications for us as individuals in being a part of it. Wrong thinking is dealt with and scriptural balance is carefully maintained throughout. This talk is, in effect, a general overview of the subject of the church.

Building the Church SG 10

If the last talk was of a general nature then this one is somewhat more specific. The Body of Christ includes all believers, past, present and future, yet this huge conglomerate body of people is broken down at any one time, and in any one place, into the smaller units of individual churches. And it was this particular manifestation of it to which Jesus referred when He said, “I will build my church.” The nature of such churches is therefore examined, and the term defined according to the Bible as distinct from some usual, but incorrect, Christian definitions. The part we are meant to be playing in a church is explained and the nature of true Christian fellowship outlined. For those who like to have things placed in order of importance, Beresford here goes on record as saying that he believes this is the third most important thing that there is.

Love SG 11

You may not know now what Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians has to do with sandwiches, but you certainly will after listening to this. Beresford explains why, of all the different Greek words for love available to them, the writers of the New Testament chose agape in order to define the love of God which we are called to show both to each other, and to the world. But before defining what this agape love actually is, he gives a somewhat unnerving demonstration as to what it isn’t necessarily. 1 Corinthians 13 is just about one of the best known chapters of the entire Bible, and yet also one of the worst for translation, with it’s true meaning not coming out particularly well in the English language at all. The original Greek is therefore explained in some detail and the full import of what Paul was teaching brought out. There is a wealth of information here that every Christian needs to both know and understand.

Compassion SG 12

Having given a general introduction to the subject of love in the previous talk, Beresford now begins to break it down into some of its component parts, with compassion being one of the most important, yet also least understood, aspects. What has compassion to do with being angry? Why does philosophical romanticism and scepticism need to enter the picture here? Why did Jesus snort like a stallion and then burst into tears? These and other questions are answered to show that compassion is actually what the incarnation of Jesus, and therefore Christianity itself, is all about.

Love God, Neighbour and Yourself SG 13

Taking Jesus’ teaching about the greatest commandment this study demonstrates that without a good and right relationship with ourselves we will never have good relationships with other people. Yet the only way to maintain a good relationship with oneself is by remaining in a good, right and solid on-going relationship with the Lord. The problem, however, is that you can only be in a good relationship with Him in so far as you have a correct understanding of Who He actually is, and therefore of the sort of Person He is as well. Many Christians believe in a God who doesn’t actually exist because they believe things about Him which are simply not true; things, in point of fact, that are quite literally the lies of the devil. These demonic little deceptions are therefore here dealt with in a thorough description of just how lovely, and loveable, to say nothing of absolutely wonderful, the Lord really is. This talk will do you the world of good and should be heard three times a day before meals.

The Fruit of the Spirit SG 14

The series continues with an examination of the fruit of the Spirit as outlined by Paul in his letter to the Galatians, and in the light of the previous talk Beresford shows how it relates to our relationship with the Lord, our relationships with other people, and our relationship with our own selves. Common misconceptions are dealt with and the true nature of this fruit clearly defined. Once again the original Greek is explored, this being the only way to fully understand what Paul was actually meaning. And the truth of this passage is shown to be that it is actually a parallel passage to 1 Corinthians 13, and that in both those places Paul is simply speaking of Jesus and the kind of person that He is, and how He wants to just carry on being Himself in, and through, us as His people. What more could we possibly want?

1 Corinthians 10 – 14: An Exposition! SG 15

The series concludes with this talk which was added at a later date. The whole thing about the gifts of the Spirit is put into its biblical context in this study of the five chapters in which Paul deals with the issue as to how a biblically based church ought to meet and function when it comes together on the Lord’s Day. Beresford brings out some things from these chapters which most believers are completely ignorant of and demonstrates just how wide of the mark most churches are regarding these issues. A fascinating and fitting end to the series!