Speaking in Tongues
This phrase has caused many issues in the body of Christ
The mere mention of speaking in tongues scares some in the body of Christ and they would rather keep it and the topic at arms lengths
Scholars are divided on the subject whether it is still in operation today or whether it ceased when the time of the original apostles or the closing of the canon of scripture
But as we conclude our question series for the month of October there was a question submitted concerning speaking in tongues
For those who are not familiar with our church or are new to our church we believe that speaking in tongues is alive and well in the body of Christ
I personally spend much time praying in the Spirit throughout the course of my day
I learned as a teenagers that one of the secrets of the apostle Paul’s life was praying in the Spirit often
He even told the believers in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 14:18 18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all;
Because of the tone of his letter in 1 Corinthians and especially the way he was bringing correction to the topic of tongues, it may have seemed like he was speaking against it or stood against it
But Paul understood the value of speaking in tongues
For He says in verse five 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
Paul also wrote in verse 39 39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
Paul was called to be an apostle
He was chosen by Jesus Christ to be an apostle
Paul didn’t sign up to be an apostle nor asked God to be an apostle
Paul was arrested by the Lord Himself on the road to Damascus
The apostles were given authority by Jesus himself and part of that authority included writing scripture
The apostle Paul in the letter to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians was a letter of correction
In many ways they were doing things out of order
In the fourteenth chapter alone Paul focuses on the two spiritual gifts of prophecy and giving a public message in tongues
I believe he dedicated an entire chapter to this because of issues these gifts can cause in a corporate setting when done out of order
These are public speaking gifts and because of this can cause incredible disorder if not done through the leading of the Holy Spirit
Paul even says in 1 Corinthians 14:40 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
The purpose of the operation of spiritual gifts in the corporate setting is for the common good of all believers
So all believers will be strengthened and continue to grow in their relationship with God
But if things are done out of order instead of bringing edification to the body, it can cause many issues
The question submitted was: how is speaking in tongues today different from when the believers first spoke in tongues on the day of pentecost?
When we examine Acts chapter 2 we find that all of the believers were together in the upper room
As they waited ten days as they were praying and worshiping the Lord a mighty rushing wind filled the room
Tongues of fire came to rest on each of their heads
Those outside heard them praising God in their own tongue
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
Some today will claim that when a person speaks in tongues it is exactly like the first occurance
they speak in known languages
Some have even interpreted this to say that God gave speaking in other languages so the gospel could be preached in other lands
But the purpose on the day of Pentecost and speaking in other tongues was for the purpose to show that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the believers
As they were enabled by the Holy Spirit they spoke in other tongues
In the book of Acts we have two more accounts in which speaking in tongues is mentioned
In chapter 10 Cornelius who is a gentile has an encounter with an angel
He is told this in Acts 10:1-6
Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,
a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.
About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!”
And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
“Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter;
he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.”
We are told that Cornelious was a devout man and feared God
Peter at the same time has an encounter with the Lord in which Peter has a vision and three times a sheet is rolled out to him that contains animals that are unclean
God tells him this in Acts 10:13-16
A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”
But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”
Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
God did this three times to drive this truth home
What the Lord has cleansed, could no longer be considered unholy
God was preparing Peter to go to the home of a gentile
At Cornelius home this is what took place
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update Chapter 10
34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
36 “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—
37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered,
47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”
48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
In both of these instances when the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers they spoke in other tongues
It was an outward sign to the apostles that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given
Even in Acts 19:1-6
It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.
He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.
When Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they not only spoke in tongues but they also prophesied
It was simply a manifestation outwardly what the Holy Spirit was doing internally
Now there has been much debate in the body of Christ
Some have even said that speaking in tongues is an outward sign of being saved
I believe that is indeed wrong and has caused great confusion and division in the body of Christ
But I do believe that Holy Spirit has given us a pattern in the book of Acts that when the Holy Spirit fell upon believers they spoke in tongues
But the question is does every time a person speaks in tongues is it a known human language
I believe the answer to that is no because in 1 Corinthians 13:1
1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Paul speaks of speaking with the tongues of men and of angels
Now I also believe there is a distinction between our private prayer language when it comes to praying in tongues and a public message in tongues
Paul writes this is 1 Corinthians 14:14-15
1 Corinthians 14:14–15
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
Paul in the fourteenth chapter is covering giving a message publically in tongues
Paul speaks about the need of an interpreter because without an interpreter those who are in the corporate assembly will not know what is being said
If a person speaks in an unknown tongue without an interpreter those standing by will not understand, will not be edified, and it will bring much confusion
It is also important to see in the fourteenth chapter that Paul uses the word interpreter and not translater
It is the Holy Spirit who gives the revelation to be spoken in the known tongue of the assembly
Again the purpose of spiritual gifts is for the common good of all believers
But I believe when Paul speaks of praying in the spirit and our understanding Paul is speaking about praying in tongues and the language we understand
This word mind in the Greek means mind, understanding. Signifies the faculty of thinking and the results thereof; may reflect an attitude.
When Paul says I pray with the mind he is talking about his mind and praying in the language he usually speaks
The language I speak on a daily basis is english
When I pray in my understanding I will pray in english
My understanding is limited, but my prayers are lifted up to the Lord
But when we pray in the Spirit it is the Holy Spirit who gives us utterance
Paul tells us this in Romans 8:26-27
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Praying in the Spirit is a wonderful gift of the Spirit
It is enabled by the Holy Spirit
The Lord knows our understanding is indeed limited
The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and the perfect will of God the Father
When we pray in the Spirit, guided by the Spirit, it is a powerful weapon for the believer on the earth
Paul on his section in Ephesians about the armor of God says this in Ephesians 6:18
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
Paul again speaks of praying in the Spirit
Do I believe that praying in the spirit is available to all believers, I do
Do I believe that every member in the body of Christ is empowered to give a public message in tongues? I don’t
I personally speak in tongues and pray in tongues often, but have never felt led or been able to give a public message in tongues
I believe because of misunderstanding and confusion when people have spoken of people speaking in tongues as an outward sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit I believe they think that we claim all will speak in tongues in a public message.
I believe that the Holy Spirit wants us to have everything that is available to us
But to receive from the Lord we must come with a heart that is willing and surrendered
What I believe hinders the work of the Holy Spirit when it comes to spiritual gifts is that we often want to fully understand before we can receive
But to receive it is not based on us fully understanding, but being fully surrendered
Does the ability to speak in tongues elevate one Christian over another
The answer is no
This is the exact issue that Paul was dealing with in Corinth
Can God us someone powerfully for the Lord if they don’t speak in tongues?
Yes three examples that come to mind are Billy Graham, David Jeremiah, and Francis Chan
All of these men I greatly respect in ministry
I simply know from personal experience the wonderful gift in praying in the Spirit
Do I desire as a pastor to see all the gifts of the Spirit operating in The Father’s Heart?
But what I am more concerned with is intimacy with the Lord
I believe in all my heart when we walk intimately with our Father in Heaven every gift He has for us will be manifested in our lives
I believe every question we have will be answered.
Those who speak in tongues today speak Heavenly languages
Paul writes this in 1 Corinthians 14:2-4
2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.
4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.
My prayer and hope for everyone who is apart of The Father’s Heart is that they will want and desire everything the Lord has for them