No matter how many people desire the powers given to the kingdom apostles and early church, the Bible rightly divided teaches that the Spirit has stopped giving these spiritual gifts of supernatural ability.
A failure to rightly divide is the reason many still pursue the power of spiritual gifts disregarding the more excellent things God is doing today.
Below are five reasons from Paul’s ministry why spiritual gifts have stopped.
1. No More Ministry of Israel’s Kingdom
According to prophecies there would be no blind, deaf, lame, or sick in Israel’s kingdom. The power of God was given to the apostles at Pentecost as a sign of Israel’s kingdom come.
“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” – Luke 10:9
As long as God the Spirit was ministering Israel’s prophetic kingdom, miracles and powers needed to continue, but his ministry changed when he revealed the mystery of Christ to Paul for the church (1 Cor 2:10, Eph 3:5).
Whereas Spirit filled Peter preached Jesus according to prophecy (Acts 3:19-24), the Spirit gave Paul the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the mystery (Rom 16:25).
Israel’s kingdom required the presence of supernatural healings and powers. The mystery message of the church, revealed to Paul, had no such prophetic necessity.
2. No More Signs to Israel
The ministry change by the Spirit is what inevitably caused the spiritual gifts to stop. However, Paul and the Gentiles of the early church were also given power from the Spirit, why?
The spiritual gifts given to the early church were signs to Israel that God was doing a new work through Paul and the Gentiles to build a new thing (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 3:2-5).
Tongues were said to be a sign for those that did not believe God was working through them (1 Cor 14:22). Paul’s miracles were the signs of his special apostleship from the Lord (2 Cor 12:12, Gal 2:7).
Without the supernatural signs neither Peter, the Jerusalem saints, nor any other unbelieving Israelite would been assured that God had told Paul to send salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15, Acts 22:21).
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” – Acts 15:12
When Paul manifested his apostolic signs and those wonders among the Gentiles to every Jew from Jerusalem to Rome, there was no more need for the signs to Israel.
Acts 28 is the clear stopping point of Paul’s ministry to unbelieving Israel. As a result, the spiritual gifts given to Paul for a sign stopped as well.
“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” – Acts 28:28
When considering this reason, it is important to remember just because the powers of the Spirit stopped at Acts 28 does not mean anything new started there.
3. No More Israel
Signs and powers were promised to God’s earthly nation, Israel. Miracles peppered their history as God operated by their covenants of promise.
When Israel stumbled at the cross, and fell by rejecting the means of forgiveness preached by the twelve apostles, Israel lost its spiritual standing with God in part. They were blinded (Rom 11:7-10).
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” – Romans 11:25
Without Israel to display the glory of God in their earthly kingdom for all to see, God started working through the church by a message of faith not sight (2 Cor 5:7), spiritual blessing not physical (Eph 1:3), and in heaven not in the earth (Phil 3:20).
Till their Messiah returns to reestablish the nation with miracles and wonders, the world is offered the gospel according to things they cannot see.
4. No More Children
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – 1 Cor 13:11
When under the law, God counted his heirs as children. Miracles were God’s provision for his dispensational children, but as we are no longer under the law, the church is counted as full grown sons walking by the knowledge of Christ, and not by what they see of the Spirit’s manifestations and power (Rom 6:14, Gal 4:5, Eph 4:13).
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Cor 12:9
The manifold wisdom of God revealed to the church explained God’s purpose to make us “complete in Christ” (Col 2:10) and “no more children” (Eph 4:14). To operate as such, it required that we continue not in the things of children, but in the things more excellent (1 Cor 12:31, 1 Cor 13:13).
5. No More Scripture
Without the spiritual gifts, the inspired scriptures could not have been written and identified by the early church.
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”- 1 Cor 14:37
While many supernatural powers had stopped before the Bible was complete, such as healing (2 Tim 4:20), the Spirit still supernaturally moved men to write the rest of the Bible (2 Tim 3:16).
Once all scripture was complete and the canon was fully revealed, the need for further supernatural manifestations of the Spirit goes away.
Where the completed canon of the scripture is questioned, the desire for spiritual gifts will abound. Where the sufficiency and inerrancy of scripture is upheld, men will be equipped with God’s word rightly divided, instead of false hopes of the Spirit’s manifested powers.
Conclusion: No more Spiritual Gifts
After the dispensational change from prophecy to mystery, Paul knew that the spiritual gifts would not last and began immediately preparing the churches for the time when they would vanish.
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” – 1 Cor 13:8
Failing to rightly divide prophecy from mystery, leaves people thinking that the miracles performed by the apostles and early church is our pattern. It is presumed that what the Spirit did before, he must continue until the Lord returns.
Rather than proving the continuation of spiritual gifts, the Spirit’s ministry through Paul contains at least these five reasons why spiritual gifts stopped.
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Go to our section on spiritual gifts to read more about this controversial subject.