I think that before I begin my teaching, I need to give some background information so that it doesn’t appear as though I’m beginning in the middle of something.
I was 26 years old when I started dating Kay. I came across a book that someone had given her titled “They Speak in Other Tongues”. The title sparked my interest so I asked what it was about. She indicated that she wasn’t sure, that someone at church had given it to her and that there were some couples that were interested in the subject.
That book had a profound impact on my life, and began a two-year journey that resulted in two amazing revelations:
1. God still moves in supernatural ways in people’s lives; and more importantly:
2. He would do for me what He did for them!
(Therefore, He will do for you what He did for me!)
That journey culminated in my salvation and my supernatural experience of being filled (baptized into the Holy Spirit) with the evidence of speaking in a heavenly language (speaking in tongues).
This is where I want to begin this teaching.
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Note: Three out of the seven things that God hates have to do with words that come out of our mouth!
Let me take this a step further:
James 3:2-6; 8
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell!
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Note: James is writing to believers!
It should come as no surprise then that the member of the body that the Holy Spirit wants us to surrender to Him is our TONGUE!
Likewise, it should be obvious that our enemy (our own soulish nature) would do everything in its power to bring division and confusion over the issue of tongues.
Which brings me to the focus of this teaching. My goal is:
1. To shed light on the issue of tongues;
2. To bring clarity and reduce the confusion surrounding tongues;
3. To expound on the benefits of tongues.
I do not claim to have all knowledge of all the aspects of speaking in tongues; however, I will share what I have seen and heard and experienced through 50 years of walking in the Spirit.
We will briefly look at:
Our main focus will be 1 Corinthians 14
In order to properly understand Paul’s teaching, you have to determine his purpose for writing. (Remember the 5 W’s of information gathering.)
The Church at Corinth was a mess!
There was contention and division, confusion, and sexual immorality, even while they were filled with the Holy Spirit and zealous for spiritual gifts. Their meetings were chaotic. People were speaking in tongues and prophesying randomly. Paul refers to them as babies in their understanding of the purpose of Spiritual Gifts.
It is in this setting that he writes the 12th, 13th, and 14th chapter of First Corinthians.
Having spent several years of my early Christian experience in charismatic meetings, I can vividly identify with the church at Corinth and understand the purpose of and need for Paul’s instructions.
It’s noteworthy to mention that Paul never rebukes them for their desire for spiritual gifts; rather, he encourages them to seek the best gifts.
He never suggests that they should cease from speaking in tongues or prophesying, but that the use of spiritual gifts would be handled maturely and would be used for the edification of the church and as a sign to unbelievers, and therefore were to be conducted decently and in order.
I would like to present an overview of the purpose of tongues as I have come to understand them.
My motive is not to convict you, to judge you, or to cause you to feel inferior in any way.
I would hope to awaken you to the revelation that God still moves in tangible ways in people’s lives today, and it doesn’t matter where you are now or what you have done with your life thus far – it only really matters in what you do from here and how far you are willing to go!
Tongues for public use:
1. Tongues for the unbeliever
a. Pentecost. Known languages to the hearer but not to the speaker
(does not need to be interpreted). Acts 2:6-8
b. 1 Corinthians 14:21-22a
In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”
says the Lord. 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who
believe but to unbelievers;
c. My experience
2. Tongues for believers
a. 1 Corinthians 14:13 and 27 (needs to be interpreted).
Tongues for private use:
1. Tongues for our personal edification
a. Jude 20
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Spirit …
b. 1 Corinthians 14:14
If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays …
2. Tongues for intercession
a. Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know
what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
What are the benefits of tongues?
– We can enter into His rest and refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12)
– We can intercede according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27)
– We speak to God (1 Corinthians 14:2)
– We can edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:3, 5 – edification, exhortation, and comfort)
– We edify ourselves (1 Corinthians 14:4)
– My spirit prays (1 Corinthians 14:14)
– A sign to unbelievers that can lead to salvation. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
– We build up our faith (Jude 20)
My personal conviction
1. It’s God’s will that every person be saved.
2. It’s God’s will for every person that is saved to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
3. It’s God’s will for every person that is baptized with the Holy Spirit to have the tangible evidence of speaking in tongues.