What is the gift of tongues? Let’s look at what the Bible has to say and how it applies to us personally and collectively as the Church.
Well, last week we studied the events of Pentecost in Acts to verses 1 through 13, the day the Holy Spirit regenerated the first believers, making them born again and joining them covet together as the Church. This week we want to circle back to verse four because it touches on an issue that to this day causes confusion and controversy within the Church.
The greater Church, not this Church.
Specifically, in verse four we read then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them. The question at hand today is what.
Exactly are these different tongues and what.
Do they look like today if they exist today? Verse four makes a few things clear.
Right off the bat.
Firstly, tongues comes from the Holy Spirit. It says they began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them. The second thing we noticed right away is that tongues is the believer being super, naturally empowered by the Holy Spirit.
To speak a language unknown to them.
The original word translated throughout the book of Acts as tongues is the Greek word for languages. Now, the most popular explanations offered for the gift of tongues are firstly, it's the supernatural ability to speak in an earthly foreign language that you don't know. For example, I'm in Japan, the Holy Spirit supernaturally comes upon me and I'm suddenly able to praise God in Japanese.
Most people who hold this view are.
Known as cessationists regarding the gift of tongues. They believe the gift of tongues actually.
Ceased at a certain point in history.
Generally held to be with the death.
Of the final uppercase a Apostles which occurred would he end of the first century Ad.
Those who have this view believe that tongues was a special miraculous gift that God gave to the early Church primarily to enable cross cultural Ministry.
So Philip could go somewhere like India.
And he could speak Hindi or whatever.
Version of Hindi they were speaking back at the end of the first century. That's what some people believe about the gift of tongues.
Another second popular view on tongues within.
The evangelical Church sounds something like this.
Tongues is not an earthly language, but a heavenly supernatural language.
And if you come from a charismatic or a Pentecostal Church background as I.
Do, you'll be familiar with this. It's the belief that when God gives a person the gift of tongues, they can pray and speak in a language that no one on Earth can understand on their own.
Because it's a language from the heavenly realms.
The only way a person other than the speaker can understand it is if God provides the complimentary gift of the interpretation of tongues, then the person with the gift of interpretation can tell everyone.
Else present what the person with the.
Gift of tongues was saying.
If you've never heard of the whole heavenly language idea, then you're thinking what.
Kind of Church did I just walk.
Into and I just want to reassure.
You that we've locked the doors, so there's no point trying to make a getaway. Now, you might as well just listen to the rest of the message. Okay.
But really do hang with us because we're going to do our best to bring some clarity to the somewhat strange issue of tongues. This is not going to be the.
Authoritative message on the gift of tongues. This is not going to be the final word on the subject of the gift of tongues.
No message should be viewed that way on any subject.
My hope is always that we can.
Bring some clarity to some confusing parts of Scripture and that we can all.
Leave having taken a significant leap forward in our understanding of the Scriptures and how the Lord desires to work in this specific way.
When BJ and I were preparing to.
Get into Acts Chapter Two and study.
The Book of Acts, we knew that.
This study was going to hit on.
A whole bunch of issues around which there is much confusion in the Church.
We're talking about stuff like the baptism.
Of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues, spiritual gifts being filled with the Spirit, all that stuff. And we really wanted to approach the Book of Acts by stripping everything down.
To the studs and asking questions like.
Where do my beliefs come from on these issues? Do they come from the Bible? Do they come from my upbringing and my Church tradition? Does the Bible support what I currently.
Believe about these kinds of issues?
Or am I elevating my personal opinions, Church traditions and experiences above Scripture? These are the most critical kinds of.
Questions to ask when you're searching for the truth.
If we believe something that the Bible doesn't teach, that's a problem. We need to have logical and scriptural reasons for what we believe, because Newsflash, our emotions lie to us all the time.
All the time.
Side Note My prayer for every Christian is that if someone ever says to you, Why are you a Christian?
That you have more to offer them.
By way of an answer than, Well, I just knew I went to Church and I just had this overwhelming, tingly feeling, and I just knew that God was real. And the reason I say this is because people in other religions have that testimony too.
You know that the Buddhist says the same thing.
The First Nations person could say the same thing. The Muslim could say the same thing.
The person who goes to a concert who knows how to arrange music and.
Use lights and visuals can say the same thing.
My prayer for all of us is.
That we grow in our knowledge and understanding and reasoning skills so that we can offer people a better answer than I just know that we can offer them the best answer, which is, I'm a Christian because it's true.
That's why I'm a Christian, and here's how I know it's true.
And this was a very scary proposition.
For me going into this study, asking these kinds of difficult questions because I believe tongues is a heavenly language. I believe I have the gift of.
Tongues and that I've been practicing it for 25 years. So as I started studying for this message, I had to be willing to face the question, what if I've been wrong for 25 years? What if I've just been ending myself and I've been over here praying, boom, Shakalaka, over and over again for over two decades.
If you believe you have the gift of tongues, the nervousness that you're currently feeling is a small part of what I felt going into this study. But I hope we all understand that the truth of God's Word always takes precedent over everything. It's even more important than my personal embarrassment or yours.
And now you're even more nervous. Don't be.
Let's get into this.
The Book of Acts is, by definition, extraordinary. It is extraordinary. It documents the birth and the early years of the Church. It records the Jews and the Gentiles being brought together to create a new people of God. It captures the Ministry of the Apostles who spread the Gospel across the world with supernatural empowerment that was by any.
Measure not duplicated outside of the first century.
For this reason, we must be cautious in understanding the difference between descriptive texts and prescriptive texts. This is a core principle of Bible interpretation of understanding the Bible, rightly discerning the difference between descriptive texts that Chronicle history. In other words, they describe what happened and prescriptive texts in the Bible that are commands, prescriptions, instructions, or models of what we as followers of Jesus are called to follow. For example, in the case of Pentecost, in Act Acts chapter two, we do not have to meet in an upper room to be born again, regenerated and receive the Holy Spirit. It doesn't have to be the Day of Pentecost, and when we're born again, there doesn't have to be the sound of a violent rushing wind and or the appearance of something like a flame of fire above our head. All of those elements of the text are descriptive.
If you read the Old Testament, it.
Talks about someone having more than one wife. Not prescriptive. Descriptive when it talks about somebody murdering their enemy. Descriptive, not prescriptive.
Let the record show that we teach that here at Gospel City Church.
However, we do as they did in Acts chapter two receive the Holy Spirit when we are regenerated and born again. And like them, we do have access to the power of God through his Spirit, and we are now part of his Church as they were made part of his Church. Those elements of the text are prescriptive. In the Book of Acts, we see the gift of tongues appear in four extraordinary, extraordinary cases, three times explicitly and once implicitly. This is all on your outline in Acts chapter two. On the day of Pentecost, the first Jewish believers are regenerated and they speak in tongues. In Acts chapter eight, the first Samaritans, the first half Jews are regenerated and.
The text implies that they spoke in tongues.
In Acts chapter ten the first Gentiles are regenerated and speak in tongues. In Acts 19 verse is through seven disciples of John the Baptist are regenerated and speak in tongues after Paul shares with them about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. These are the only four places the gift of tongues appears in the book of Acts and they are all extraordinary in the upper room. The purpose of tongues was to make it clear to those 1st 120 believers that the same thing was happening to each of them. The same Holy Spirit was being equally distributed to all who believed. The Lord also used the gift of tongues to attract a crowd who Peter will preach the gospel to beginning in Acts chapter 214. When Peter and John traveled to Samaria in Acts chapter eight, the Wording and Simon's reaction imply that they witnessed the first Samaritan speaking in tongues because God wanted to make it clear that he wasn't only giving Salvation and his Spirit.
To Jews, he was also giving it to the Samaritans.
And so the Lord reproduced the sign of tongues to make it clear that he would do the same thing for Samaritans that he did for Jews on.
The day of Pentecost.
They too were part of the Church, the household of Cornelius in Acts chapter ten are the first Gentiles to speak.
In tongues because God wanted to make.
It clear to the disciples that he was not only giving Salvation and his Spirit to Jews and Samaritans, he was giving it to the Gentiles, he was actually giving it to anyone who wanted it. Everyone was invited to be part of the Church. And then in Acts chapter 19 we find the followers of John the Baptist. They had responded to his preaching repented and been baptized in preparation and expectation of the coming Messiah that John preached. But they were not regenerated until they.
Heard the gospel of Jesus preached to them by Paul, making it clear that there cannot be regeneration apart from the gospel.
Even today some people have never heard the gospel and yet they're saved because they responded to the revelation that they have received. They've responded to the general revelation of God in creation and they've recognized there must be a Creator and the Creator.
Is not anything that I can carve out of wood.
And they've responded to their internal moral.
Conscience given to them by God. They recognize that things are inherently right.
And wrong and that they should do what is right and yet they are not regenerated because they have not yet.
Heard and received the gospel.
We see this clear pattern across these four extraordinary instances of the Gospel, reaching out further and further ethnically, culturally and geographically, Jewish believers in Jerusalem, Samaritans in Samaria, Gentile believers in Caesaria, and disciples of John in Ephesus. Each of these situations, I think, is clearly extraordinary, and for that reason we should be very cautious about what we call descriptive and prescriptive regarding the gift.
Of tongues in the Book of Acts.
Write this down.
This is what I'm going to suggest to you.
The primary purpose of tongues in the Book of Acts is to establish doctrine. The Holy Spirit is given equally to all who believe upon regeneration. Acts, chapter two. The Holy Spirit is given equally to Samaritans and Jews.
Acts, chapter eight.
The Holy Spirit is given equally to Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles.
Acts, chapter Ten.
The Holy Spirit is given where people.
Respond to the Gospel. Acts, chapter 19.
I believe the purpose of tongues in the Book of Acts is to establish.
Doctrine in the early Church. Jesus is making a point about how regeneration and his Spirit work in every single one of these instances.
If all were going on is the.
Book of Acts, we need to acknowledge.
That there would seem to be no purpose, no reason for tongues to continue.
Once those doctrines have been established in the Church.
Furthermore, if you study the four places.
Where tongues are documented in the Book.
Of Acts, you will discover that the evidence for tongues being foreign earthly languages that are foreign to the speaker is far more robust than the evidence for it being a heavenly language. In fact, any evidence for tongues being.
A heavenly language is almost nonexistent in.
The Book of Acts. That's just the truth of what the text says. And before we go any further, I.
Just want to remind those who believe they have the gift of tongues to relax their shoulders, unclench their jaws, take a deep breath.
You're okay? We're all going to be okay.
Hang with me. The gift of tongues is talked about.
Extensively in one other place in the Bible, the Apostle Paul's first letter to.
The Church in Corinth. That letter was written about two decades after the events documented in the Book of Acts.
And that's significant because while the Book.
Of Acts documents tongues in extraordinary circumstances.
One Corinthians was written to a local Church, and it consists of Paul giving them teaching and instruction on how the gift of tongues is to function in their personal lives and their corporate gatherings.
Here's what I'm suggesting.
The Book of Acts addresses tongues in.
A primarily descriptive manner.
First, Corinthians addresses tongues in a primarily prescriptive manner.
That's why the Lord had Paul write to a local Church about the issue. It's why these sections of one Corinthians are in our Bible. They're instructive for us the local Church outside of the extraordinary events in the Book of Acts. So if we want to learn what.
Tongues is and how it's intended by.
God to work, we should primarily study first Corinthians.
So write this down.
The Book of Acts deals with tongues.
In a primarily descriptive manner, while first.
Corinthians deals with it in a primarily prescriptive manner.
Another reason I hold that view is because when you study one Corinthians, it becomes clear that the gift of tongues was functioning differently in the local Church 20 years later than it was in.
The extraordinary circumstances and events in the Book of Acts. To Telegraph where we're going, I'm going.
To tell you the two significant differences and then we'll unpack them. The first difference is this. The gift of tongue seems to refer to earthly languages in the Book of Acts and a heavenly language in one Corinthians. The second big difference is that there is no interpretation of tongues needed or.
Mentioned in the Book of Acts.
In one Corinthians, the interpretation of tongues is listed as a manifestation of the Spirit alongside tongues. Let's get into some of the scriptural.
Reasons why I believe that tongues is a heavenly language in one Corinthians.
One, two, seven to ten.
All these are going to be on your outlines.
To follow along, Paul writes, a manifestation.
Of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good, to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit to another, faith by the same Spirit to another.
Gifts of healing by the one Spirit.
To another, the performing of miracles to.
Another, prophecy to another, distinguishing between spirits to another, different kinds of tongues to another interpretation of tongues and all of.
Those things are considered gifts of the Spirit. And we're going to study all of them in a couple of weeks, by the way.
But notice the first five words of verse seven. God's Word declares that all of these things are manifestations of the Spirit. In other words, they are supernatural in their origin and nature. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the gift of tongues is the.
Ability to speak in a foreign language.
That you don't know.
You come up to me during the.
Worship time and you say Jeff, I believe the Holy Spirit has given me a message for the Church in tongues. And I say just give me 1 second to open Google Translate on my phone. I take out my phone, open Google Translate, hold it out to you.
You miraculously speak to God in an earthly foreign language unknown to you. Google Translate decodes it and I read the translation to the Church. Here's my problem. I don't think it's logical to hold.
A view that would allow my phone.
To function as a manifestation of the Spirit. If Brother Samsung can do it, then it's not exactly miraculous or supernatural, right? Therefore, it doesn't make logical sense that the gift of tongues outside the Book.
Of Acts would involve earthly foreign languages.
If it's a gift of the Spirit.
Your phone can't do it.
When Paul writes one Corinthians, the Church in Corinth is a mess. Their Church was full of new Gentile believers who had come from backgrounds of hedonistic paganism. There was a ton of selfishness, wrong thinking and carnality that the Holy Spirit was working to sanctify. In Corinth, many of the pagan religions of the day included practices of ecstatic speech. They would generally be alcohol or other substances involved, and they would chant and dance themselves into a frenzy where they would then begin to just speak out and gibberish. And they considered this to be a form of communing with the gods. If you want a modern day equivalent, just go to a rave where people are popping e and dancing themselves into a frenzy and then they begin to.
Feel that they're having a supernatural spiritual experience.
The only difference is you begin to.
Speak out nonsense, but you're like, this.
Is the language of the gods and.
You'Re just high out of your mind and you've been dancing for 7 hours and you're dehydrated that's all that's gone.
You're going to see a lot of.
Stuff when you put yourself in that situation, I guarantee it.
And so the problem was that in Corinth, many of the believers came from those sort of pagan cults and so they were treating the gift of tongues as a means to get high with God. They were working themselves into this frenzy and then they would just be shouting out over each other and pursuing a transcendent experience with selfish motives. And it was just absolute chaos like in the Church. And all they cared about was themselves and their personal experience. In addition to their theological errors in Corinthians, Paul addressed the deeper issue that was manifesting in all kinds of areas of their Church. An overriding lack of love. They were not acting in or out.
Of Christ like love for one another.
One Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter. It's the one that even nonbelievers love.
To use at ending as they delusionally.
Pretend that they're actually capable of loving each other as God loves us.
It's the chapter that says things like.
Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, you know, the one.
But in the context of the surrounding.
Chapters, one Corinthians 13 is very interesting.
Remember that when all the books of the Bible were written originally, they weren't.
Written with verse, numbers, or chapters. Paul's letter to the Corinthians was just a letter nonstop.
He addresses gifts of the Spirit in chapter twelve. He gives instruction on the proper use of tongues in chapter 14, and in between them is chapter 13 where he.
Describes agape love, the love of God.
And chapter 13 begins with this verse, If I speak human or angelic tongues.
But do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.
Paul then continues and references other gifts of the Spirit from the previous chapter, writing, If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge. And if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do.
Not have love, I am nothing.
So notice One Corinthians 13 Paul mentions.
The gifts of prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, and faith.
So what is he almost certainly referring.
To in verse is where he refers.
To human or angelic tongues. The other gifts in the list from.
The previous chapter, Tongues and the Interpretation.
Of Tons, and he calls it angelic tongues.
The entire chapter of One Corinthians 14.
Is devoted to the subject of tongues.
And in chapter 14, verses two, Paul seems to again refer to tongues as.
A non earthly language, writing, the person.
Who speaks in a tongue is not speaking to people but to God.
Since no one understands him, he speaks mysteries in the Spirit or mysteries in his Spirit.
That same verse also affirms that tongues was not an earthly language in the Church. At Corinth, Paul says, no one understands.
The man speaking in tongues, not the.
Local or the foreigner.
No one. Clearly this type of tongues that was.
Taking place in the Church in Corinth is not the same type of tongues that was appearing in the Book of Acts.
When you put these Scriptures together, I.
Believe a compelling case emerges for the gift of tongues being a heavenly rather than an earthly language in the Church today.
As I mentioned, the gift of interpretation of tongues shows up for the first time in First Corinthians, and Paul lists.
It as one of the manifestations of the Spirit in chapter twelve.
The idea behind this gift is that if someone with the gift of tongues speaks out in tongues in the corporate gathering as we're in right now, God will enable the person with the gift of interpretation to understand what was spoken in tongues and share it with the.
Church in the local language in our context.
English Wherever Paul addresses spiritual gifts and or manifestations of the Spirit, he is Crystal clear that their purpose is to.
Build, strengthen, and encourage the body of Christ, the Church.
When we gather as the people of.
God, it's all about the we, not the me.
And so when it comes to tongues, Paul says in One Corinthians 14, it doesn't do anybody any good. If you speak out in tongues and nobody else understands anything you're saying. There needs to be an interpretation so.
That the body of Christ can be.
Built up and encouraged.
Paul says in One Corinthians one four.
If you praise with the Spirit, how.
Will the outsider say Amen at your giving of thanks?
Since he doesn't know what you're saying, for you may well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. Jumping back to verse 13, Paul writes, Therefore, the person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he can interpret. So apparently it's possible for a person.
To be given the gift of tongues.
And the Gift of interpretation, then Paul instructs how tongues are to function when.
The Church gathers together one Corinthians 1427.
He says, if anyone speaks in a tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three each in turn and let someone interpret. But if there's no interpreter, that person.
Is to keep silent in the Church.
And speak to himself and God. And then Paul concludes chapter 14 by writing, do not forbid speaking in tongues.
But everything is to be done decently and in order.
And Scripture gives us further clarity regarding the content of tongues, describing the kinds of things a person legitimately praying in tongues says, earlier, we read in one Corinthians 14 two, the person who speaks.
In a tongue is not speaking to.
People but to God.
This is huge to God.
So write this down. The gift of tongues is the Holy Spirit supernaturally empowering a person to speak to God to God. It's not God speaking to man. Tongues are man speaking to God. The direction of the communication is upward. In verses 16 and 17, Paul says that praying in tongues is giving thanks to God.
And in this instance, the book of.
Acts is consistent with one Corinthians on Pentecost. The crowd that gathered around the upper room said, we hear them declaring the.
Magnificent Acts of God in our own tongues.
And when the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentile household of Cornelius in Acts ten, we are told the disciples heard them speaking in tongues and declaring the greatness of God. They were praising God. Here's what we can discern then. If the legitimate gift of tons and the legitimate gift of interpretation are being.
Exercised, the message will be man speaking.
To God, praising him for his greatness and for his mighty works. It will not be this is huge. Those of you who come from a charismatic background, tongues, if it's legitimate, will not be anything that begins with the words thus, saith the Lord. Or God, says, it will not be a word or a message for the Church. Paul is explicit on this point, and in one Corinthians 14 three, he even says, on the other hand, the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation according to the word of God. When the Church gathers the gift of tongues is man speaking to God. The gift of prophecy is God speaking to man. And we'll talk more about the gift.
Of prophecy when we study all the gifts in a couple of weeks.
And I just want to point out to something practical while we're there, because.
I was talking with a brother this weekend, laughing because I've had the same experience.
If you've ever been in a Church before and someone speaks in tongues and someone brings the interpretation, you just need to know Jesus doesn't speak King James English. Okay, this is a thing in like Pentecostal churches. Usually every Pentecostal Church has this one older Saint, male or female, someone prays in tongues, and that person always begins with, thus saith the Lord, though thou walketh through a darkest time, my light shall abideth with thee. And you're like, what's up with this? God could keep pace with English and earthly languages, but then around the 1500, he just sort of ran out of steam and he hasn't been able to keep up with the developments in our language since that time. God doesn't speak King James English. Okay. He doesn't do it. It doesn't make your interpretation more legit.
Not at all.
Just wanted to get that out there.
All this stuff we've been talking about is hugely helpful because when we put it all together, it paints a detailed picture of what the gift of tongues should look like. When the Church gathers, someone would speak out in tongues during a quiet moment of worship loud enough for the congregation to hear. They would not interrupt a song. They would not interrupt the sermon. They would not even inerrant an announcement.
Because when the Holy Spirit is legitimately.
Moving, all things are done, as Paul.
Said, decently and in order.
Let me clarify this. The person sharing a tongue when the Church is together doesn't do so simply because they can.
They don't do so because they have.
The gift of tongues and they could.
Say something in tongues.
They do so because the Holy Spirit is stirring their heart and compelling them to share this with the Church. It's a compulsion so intense you feel as though you would be in sin if you did not speak out and obey God. It's a conviction so firm that you are confident the Lord will provide an interpretation. They or someone else would then share an interpretation of that tongue again, loud enough for the congregation to hear, perhaps on a microphone, possibly after sharing the.
Interpretation with an elder who can verify it. As we start to do this at.
Gospel City in the weeks to come, we're going to have things routed through.
BJ or myself just to try and have some safety measures so that no one can come up and say, thus.
Saith the Lord, Ukraine is going to win the war against Russia, resist propaganda.
We don't want anything like that to happen in the Church.
Okay? So we're going to probably run some of these things through elders just to.
Make sure there's nothing unbiblical going on.
The content of that interpretation, as we've.
Said, must be man speaking to God, not God speaking to man. And if the tongue is indeed a.
Supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, it.
Should be evident here's what that means.
The interpretation should be glorious and magnificent and powerful praise of God. The interpretation, if this is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, is not going to be someone coming up saying, God has given me the interpretation. This is what was prayed. God, you're so good.
Really good, great. Even if it's a legitimate move of.
God, it's going to be apparent. It's going to be powerful and glorious. It's probably going to be something that when the person shares that you're like.
Where did that come from?
I've heard that person talk.
They don't talk like that.
What is going on there?
Now, if there is no interpretation or if the interpretation offered does not align with Scripture, the person who shared the.
Tongue is to keep silent.
It's not like baseball.
It's not like, well, strike one, but let me give it another go.
That's not it. One time. There's no interpretation. Paul says, just sort of shut it down.
Bg or myself in the Church context would say, okay, guys, thank you for sharing that. We're just not going to have any more words and tongues for this evening because there wasn't an interpretation brought.
And either way, this is to happen with no more than two or three.
People in a gathering in order, whether it's a prayer meeting, a home group.
Or a Church service. Okay, so we've got a pretty good idea of what tongue should look like.
When it's exercised in a Church gathering.
But what about when you're on your own fellowshipping with the Lord in private? Perhaps some of you have heard things like tongues is a private prayer language.
Is there any biblical evidence for that?
Yes, there is in one Corinthians.
14 Beginning in verses 14, Paul says, If I pray in a tongue, my.
Spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What then?
I will pray with the Spirit and I will pray with my understanding. I will sing praise with the Spirit, and I will also sing praise with my understanding.
Otherwise, if you pray with the Spirit, how will the outsider say, Amen at your giving of thanks since he does not know what you are saying, for you may very well be giving thanks.
But the other person is not being built up.
Get this now, Paul says, I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
Yet in the Church, I would rather.
Speak five words with my understanding in order to teach others also than 10,000.
Words in a tongue.
Paul says, Listen, when I pray or sing in the Spirit, in tongues, my Spirit is built up, but nobody else's is because they have no idea what I'm saying. I'm having a great time them.
They're just like, I'm glad he's having a great time.
And the solution that Paul offers is not ceasing to sing or pray in tongues. He says, when you're with your Church.
Family, it's better to focus on exercising the gifts of the Spirit that benefit.
Everybody, like prophecy and teaching. But when you're on your own, tongues.
Are a wonderful gift that can build.
You up in your faith.
In fact, I speak in tongues more.
Than all of you, and that's why.
In verse is he says, I wish.
All of you spoke in tongues, but.
Even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in tongues unless.
He interprets so that the Church may be built up.
So tongues is a beautiful gift from the Holy Spirit, primarily to help build up an individual's faith. But when we gather together as the Church, it's better to be focused on.
The other gifts that better build up the body. Remember, it's about the we, not the me when we get together as the Church.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul instructed believers to pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the Saints. Paul refers to praying in a very particular way. He intentionally refers to praying not in the regular sense, but in the Spirit, apparently referencing praying in tongues. And it fits the model of One Corinthians 14 where Paul told us that.
Tongues is man speaking to God.
When you have the gift of tongues.
You can use it privately on command.
To praise God, to share your request.
With God, and to intercede to pray to God for others. The gift of tongues is helpful when you're praising or praying privately and you find the words hard to put together, you want to spend some extended time praising or praying God, but the only words you can come up with are God, you're so good.
I mean, you mean it, but you.
Don'T want to just repeat it 100 times over, right? And you're like, I don't know, 100 different ways to say, God, you're so good.
The gift of tongues can help.
Likewise, when you're interceding for someone or.
You'Re sharing your needs with the Lord, or you just have a heavy heart.
And you don't know how to express.
It to God, you can think about the Lord as you praise him, or think about the issue that you're praying for, and the Holy Spirit will give.
You words to pray in a heavenly language.
Paul said in One Corinthians 14, one.
Five, I will pray with the Spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding.
I will sing praise with the Spirit.
And I will also sing praise with my understanding.
In other words, tongues is not a switch for us to flick where we can just turn our minds off and.
Go into a babbling trance and think we're doing something profound.
The private use of tongues is a.
Heavenly language that helps us praise and.
Pray freely without having to put everything into words. With our minds focused on a simple thought, we can praise or pray for.
An extended period through the power of the Holy Spirit. A few quick points about tongues that really didn't fit into the flow of.
This study, but I wanted to make.
Sure that I shared them.
Firstly, Scripture clarifies that if the gift of tongues is exercised in a Church.
Gathering like this, the word will be.
From man to God, and it will.
Also benefit the entire congregation.
And specifically, it seems to be praise.
That is spoken in tongues when the Church gathers. That seems to be the theme we.
See prayer requests and intercession when a.
Believer is praying in tongues privately.
But in the corporate gathering, the theme.
Of tongues seems to be praise to God declaring his mighty works, thanking him.
For who he is so that people can say, Amen to that.
Paul's writings also seem to clarify that.
There'S a difference between having the gift of tongues for personal use and exercising it in a Church gathering. In one Corinthians 1228, Paul writes, God.
Has appointed these in the Church. First, Apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, ending.
Various kinds of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues?
Do all interpret but desire the greater gifts? And I will show you an even better way.
When Paul says in the Church, he's.
Referring to these gifts being used in a corporate setting like a Church service.
And the answer to his rhetorical questions is clearly intended to be, no, not everyone receives the gift of tongues, and not everyone receives the gift of interpretation for use in the Church for use when the Church gathers. Having the gift of tongues doesn't mean you can just speak it over the Church body whenever you want.
Doesn't mean you can just come to Church and say, I've been really craving attention this week. Fortunately, I have this gift that I.
Can use to get the attention of the entire Church. It's not that you can use it whenever you wish privately, but in a Church gathering it must only be used if the Holy Spirit is specifically compelling.
You and calling you to speak out in tongues.
And as Paul points out, not everybody in the Church gathering will be called to speak out in tongues ever, just as not everybody will be empowered by the Spirit to operate in the other.
Gifts when the Church gathers. And again, we'll talk about that in.
A couple of weeks.
I'm not going to address cessationism in.
This message again, that's the view that.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit, including tongues, have ceased.
I might address it in a future.
Message, but to be honest, I find the argument for cessationism to be glaringly weak.
It generally rests only upon one part of one verse, and it requires completely.
Ignoring the context of that verse and what the verse is immediately before and after it say so. For now, I don't consider tackling the subject of cessationism to be a good use of teaching time on a Sunday. But if you have a question about that, please feel free to come and talk to me after the service, and.
Then I want to acknowledge just a.
Personal wrestle I have with the concept.
Of tongues in a Church gathering.
When we prep our messages that this.
Is a value for us, it's like we always just want to be honest. When something doesn't make sense, we want to say so.
We also want to be humble enough.
To just admit that we can't figure out everything about whatever we're teaching on in one week. There's stuff we still wrestle with, tons of stuff I still wrestle with. And so I just want to confess one to you.
I get tons.
It makes sense to me for personal and private use, but if I'm honest.
I don't fully understand the practice in.
The context of a Church gathering.
In this sense, I don't understand the reason for the middleman.
If it's a word for the Church, why doesn't the Holy Spirit just give that word to someone in English and have them share it with them? Why give it in tongues and then have it interpreted? Why the middleman? If you know the answer, please tell.
Me after the service. I'd love to know.
So I just wanted to say that out loud in case any of you were wondering the same thing, but also.
To let you know and remind you.
That we do not withhold our obedience.
From the Lord until we have full understanding.
We obey the Lord when we understand.
What he wants us to do. We don't obey the Lord only when.
We understand why he wants us to do it.
We often get the why, but sometimes we don't.
We obey even when we don't yet have the why because we do know the who. We know the Lord, we know his.
Character, we trust Him, and so we trust His Word.
And when it comes to the realm.
Of the supernatural and the Holy Spirit.
We shouldn't be surprised to encounter a.
Little bit of mystery.
The question is, do we understand what.
His Word is calling us to do? And if we do, we do it.
I don't fully understand the why of tongues and an interpretation in the Church gathering, but it seems to be clearly.
Described in God's Word. Therefore, I obey because I know who.
It is that is calling me to obey, and I trust Him. Now I might be the only one again, but I also wondered why it's called tongues plural.
If it's a heavenly language singular. The best explanation I can offer is.
Just that we should not expect a.
Heavenly language to function precisely like an earthly language.
For all we know, a heavenly language.
Might include 50% telepathy or something like that. It might consist of multiple dialects or even multiple languages that can somehow all be understood in heavenly realms. Suffice to say, we have to hold.
Our earthly paradigms very loosely when we begin to discuss the supernatural and the heavenly realms.
And so at this point in the message, you're probably in one of four places.
First place you might be.
Oh my goodness, I'm in a Church.
Full of crazy people. They're going to bring out the snakes next week. I can see where this thing is going.
Whatever they offer you to drink, don't drink it. Right. Is that where you're at? Okay, but let me just remind you.
That God is a supernatural being. Okay? Therefore, those who follow him should not.
Be surprised to learn there are supernatural.
Aspects to being a disciple of Jesus.
Go home, pray about it. But most importantly, search the scriptures for yourself. Don't go to YouTube and just keep.
Looking till you find a video that reaffirms what you would like to believe. Don't go to YouTube and be like, why?
Tongues is a scam.
You'll find something, you'll find something that.
Someone put together in their mother's basement.
Okay, seek an answer to this question.
What does the Bible say?
Ask the Lord to give you insight. And if you're sincerely seeking truth, he.
Will give you insight.
Second place that someone might be right now is you might be thinking, this.
Seems legit, like these are a ton of verses. Seems to be what the Bible is saying.
But I am still super weirded out right now.
Okay, pray and seek the Lord. But as you pray, let them know this. Just make your prayer. Lord.
If there's more of your spirit that.
I could have, I want it, I want it. And then just be open to what.
The Lord might want to do, what he might want to show you.
Third place you might be is I have the gift of tongues.
I'm cool. And if that's you, nice.
Fourth place that you might be, I want the gift of tongues. In acts two, verse four, we were told that the believers spoke in tongues.
As the Spirit enabled them. I know in the book of Acts.
That was likely foreign languages. And I know we're talking about a heavenly language now, but still the point.
Stands that any manifestation of the Spirit, any gift of the Spirit, is given by the Spirit. He enables you to exercise that gift. Here's what that means.
We got to correct some of our paradigms. If you grew up in charismatic and Pentecostal churches like I did, let's correct.
Some false beliefs we might have. This means that another person cannot teach.
You how to speak in tongues. Okay? It means you shouldn't be learning tongues from someone saying, repeat after me or saying, just start saying whatever sounds come to your head.
Shakalaka shouldn't be that okay. It means nobody should be offering classes.
Or seminars on how to speak in tongues. Why?
Because scripture says the Holy Spirit empowers.
You to do it. All you need to do is pray, ask, and then wait and see what the Lord does. And if he prompts you and prompts your spirit to speak out, obey, obey. But as with anything, if you ask the Lord for anything, you better be prepared to obey Him in that. If you don't even believe in God.
And you ask God to reveal Himself to you, you better be ready to believe in God if he does. If you ask God to give you.
Direction for your life, you better be.
Ready to obey Him if he does. And if you ask the Lord for.
The gift of tongues, you better be ready to speak it out if he.
Gives it to you. If not, why would he? Why would he?
Just so we can disrespect him.
He doesn't play that game. I'm not going to demonstrate tongues for you.
It sounds something like the words.
I should have bought a Kia, but.
I bought a Honda. Spoken really fast, over and over.
Not legitimate tongues.
But it's been said.
It's been said if you're ever in.
A situation in a charismatic or Pentecostal Church where you need to fake tongues because you don't have the gift and things are getting awkward there's, you're out. This is actionable intel from your pastor here, okay? It's not legitimate tongues, though.
Now, I'm not going to demonstrate it for you. I'm not going to have you repeat it after me, because if you want this gift, I actually believe it would be better. It would be ideal if you had no idea what tongue sounds like, because it would stop any chance of mimicry or imitation or psychological pressure like the power of suggestion or anything like that influencing you. It would actually be better if you have no idea what tongue sounds like.
And you go into it asking God.
For the gift of tongues. That would be ideal in my opinion. If you've been a Christian for a.
While, you probably know of some weird.
Churches in the area, wherever you live that are kind of like the Church in Corinth.
When Paul wrote to them, they gather.
Together regularly to try and get high with God.
They're not operating in the gifts of.
The Spirit in a manner consistent with Paul's instructions. In one Corinthians, they're not.
But on the flip side, you probably.
Know of churches that love the Word.
Of God, believe the Word of God.
And believe therefore what Paul wrote in one Corinthians.
And yet you'd never know it because.
They don't actually practice anything related to.
The gifts of the Spirit like tongues. And I have to tell you, as a pastor, I totally get it. In my head, I imagine noticing a.
New family, some first time guests in the congregation right before the service and.
Thinking, Praise God, he's growing his Church.
Drawing people to himself.
And then during the first part of worship, it happens in between the songs.
Somebody prays out, out loud in tongues. And then there's just silence. Everything stops. Bj slowly walks up to the front, fumbles around with his receiver with the switch, because he's totally comfortable with awkward silence, like a psychopath. And he takes his time and I'm over there in the front row and there's just sweat pouring down my face. I'm just dying a thousand deaths. I am, like, fully soaked from head to toe. And BJ's just got his smile on me, happy taking his time not to rush the Holy Spirit or anything like that.
And then BJ says, Is the Lord giving anyone in the room an interpretation for that?
And there's just more silence, 20 seconds that feel like 20 years.
And then BJ says, okay, we're just.
Going to ask everyone then to just keep the gift of tongues to yourself for the rest of the service in accordance with Paul's instructions in one Corinthians 14 and worship team starts up the.
Next song and all I can think of is those people visiting the Church and how I will never see them again in my life.
I understand why churches don't want to touch this thing with a ten foot pole, but.
There are some problems. The Apostle Paul is a problem because he says, do not forbid speaking in tongues. When you examine the context, it is.
Clear he's referring to not forbidding tongues.
When the Church gathers.
And why do I say that? I say it because many Pastor BJ churches try to play games with this.
Text and they say, oh, yes, we believe that.
And we actually have a prayer meeting.
On Thursday nights at 11:30 P.m.
Attended by the same three faithful older.
Female Saints who've been going there for.
Eight years, meeting every week, and we allow tons there. Just like Paul said, we're not forbidding anything. Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. We're a biblical Church.
That's not what Paul is talking about.
And anyone who is honest with the.
Text will reach the same conclusion.
The second big problem with forbidding tongues.
In a Church service is that the.
Church belongs to Jesus. It's his bride.
It was born of the Spirit that he sent. Jesus sets the agenda. Jesus writes the rules, Jesus casts the vision, and he shared it with us in His Word. So when we read an explicit instruction.
To his Church in His Word, we must obey because the Church belongs to.
Him, not to us.
Jesus has told his Church, do not.
Forbid speaking in tongues.
He's also told his Church that they.
Should desire to prophesy rather than speak.
In tongues when they gather and that.
Everything is to be done decently in.
An order, in a spirit of love.
For the purpose of building up the brethren, the Church body.
Therefore, here at Gospel City, we will do our best to obey the will.
And the commands of the Lord Jesus.
Because he is our Lord in Gospel City, Church belongs to him.
Next week we'll talk about I'm so excited about this. Next week we're going to be talking.
About what it means to be filled.
With the Holy Spirit.
I'll tell you this right now, it's.
Going to be one of the most important Sundays in the history of our Church. That's right.
In all nine months that we've existed.
This is going to be one of.
The most in history of all time. All of it. That's right.
I know I said I was going to get to it this week, but you can see why when I started.
Studying tongues in depth, it really needed its own study.
And so does the subject of being filled with the Spirit. And then the week after that, as I said, we're going to study the gifts of the Spirit and how as a Church, we can obey the instructions.
Of scripture and see the gifts.
See the gifts of the Spirit exercised.
In our lives, personally and corporately. As the Church, we're in a challenging but wonderful period of study of the Holy Spirit and how he desires to work in us.
So be open.
Be open to what the Lord might.
Want to do among us collectively and personally. Because our greatest goal here at Gospel.
City is to please Jesus. And because we love him, it's this simple. We want as much of him as possible.
If we can have more of his.
Spirit, we want it. We want it. And if we can live and Minister.
In greater supernatural power by the Holy.
Spirit, we want to we want more.
Of God's Spirit and more of God's.
Power in our lives, relationships, families and Church.
Amen. Amen. Now in just a moment, I'm going.
To pray for the gift of tongues.
For anyone who wants it. It might happen now. It might happen when you get home.
It might happen to one of your devotional times you have this week. It might happen while you're singing along to worship music in your car. This week will be a little weird if you have an unbeliever with you at that time. So I'll just trust that God will do you a solid and pick the right moment.
But if you want this gift.
Sure that you get alone with God somewhere. You can speak out loud, ask him for this gift and just see what he does. It is a gift enabled by the Holy Spirit. There's no straining on your part in it. It comes from the Holy Spirit. If you want someone to lay hands.
On you and pray for you to receive this gift, BJ is going to be in the front row. He's going to be available right on the side, right over there during this whole time of worship.
And he'd love to pray with you.
He's not going to even pray for anything to happen right now. He's not going to say to you.
Like, do you feel something? Can you do it? Do it. Just do it.
Do it. He's not going to do that. He's going to lay hands on you.
Acknowledge your request to receive this gift, pray for you, and then you're going to go.
And as we said, we're just going to leave the rest up to the.
Lord to choose his timing and just be open.
And if he prompts you at any.
Situation to speak out, just do that. Just do that. It's not meant to be weird.
I can't believe I said that about tongues. I know it's still kind of weird, but it's not meant to be weird. Let's pray. Would you buy your head and close your eyes? Worship team, would you guys come up please?
Lord, thank you so much that you.
Are a supernatural God and we experience.
The benefits of your supernatural nature every day. Jesus, you said you told your disciples.
That it would be better for them.
To have the Holy Spirit than it.
Would be for you to stay on the Earth in one place in a human body because the Holy Spirit is.
With each of us all the time.
And so, Lord, we thank you that because you are a supernatural God, we.
Are supernaturally connected to you and indwelt by you all the time.
So we are so grateful that you.
Are a supernatural God.
And, Lord, we know that you've given gifts to your Church of the Holy Spirit. And Lord, here's our stance.
We just love you so much that if there's more of you we can have, we want it, Lord.
If there is a deeper experience, a.
More intimate fellowship, we want to know it, Lord.
We want to know you as much as we can.
And Lord, if there's a way that.
You can use us to build up.
Our brothers and sisters when we gather, Lord, we want to be available for that too.
Have your way. Do your work.
Let your will be done, Lord.
So I pray for anyone in this.
Room who desires the gift of tongues, that they might more effectively and freely.
Praise and pray to you in their.
Personal walk with you.
I pray right now in the name.
Of Jesus that they would receive the.
Gift of tongues, that Lord, there would be an impartial of your spirit and that they would receive it by faith. And when you prompt them to in.
The right place in the right time.
Of your choosing, Lord, you would give them the faith to speak that out, to speak it out in faith, Lord. So we ask for that, Jesus.
Lord, I also pray for every other.
Need represented in this room, Lord, thank.
You that you introduced the Holy Spirit.
To your disciples as the helper, the comforter, the counselor. And Lord, we know among us, Lord. I know in me, Lord, we need the counselor. We need the comforter. We need the helper. We need you so much, Jesus, every moment, every day. And so I know this message was on tongues, Lord.
But you're God, and you can meet.
Any and every need represented in this room.
So, Holy Spirit, we ask you to do that.
We ask you to do that, Lord and if that's you and you have.
A need, don't you leave this evening.
Without bringing it to the Lord?
We're going to be doing four songs in just a minute. That's ample time to bring your request.
To the Lord bring your burdens bring your hurts bring your needs to the Lord and then Lord we also would.
Just say that we desire the gifts.
Of your spirit to move among us.
That you might be more greatly praised.
That you might be more magnificently glorified.
Among your people Lord that your praises would rise in a magnificent way that.
Your name would be lifted up Lord.
God and so we praise you because you are wonderful There is no one like you God on Earth or in.
Heaven you are unmatched you are unparalleled you are without equal in every sense of the word there is no scale upon which you could be compared to anyone or anything you are so Holy and distinct unlike anything or anyone else else you are completely other you're the.
King of Kings you're the Lord of Lords you're the God who can do anything you're the God who does whatever.
And yet incredibly your will.
Is that we would know and be.
Loved by you that's what you want so thank you for loving us, God we are so grateful in Jesus name we pray Amen.