Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. - Irenaeus

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Speaking in Tongues

by Dale Brown

When Paul asked those at Ephesus this, their response was, "No we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit" (Acts. 19:2). Paul then laid his hands upon them and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Jesus, after the resurrection, breathed on the disciples and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit," (John 20:22) yet about the same time He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which He said, "for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Then, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be a witness to the remotest part of the earth" (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4,5 & 8). We can see that at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon them they spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:3 & 4). Later, at the house of Cornelius we see that as Peter was speaking (notice, no one laid their hands on them) the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message... and they began speaking in tongues and exalting God (Acts 10:44&46). They were then baptized in water.

It is reasonable why some are lead to believe that we receive all that is necessary of the Holy Spirit when we believe and are baptized because of Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 and because of the perfect pattern established by Jesus when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and came upon Him after His baptism (Matt. 3:16). A problem arises however, when we read the story of Philip’s ministry at Samaria. We see that a number believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and they were being baptized, men and women alike, but we read that later, Peter and John came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, "For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them and they were receiving the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:12, 14-17). At this point some may say, "Well of course, only the apostles could impart the Holy Spirit." What about Ananias who laid his hands upon Saul? He wasn’t an apostle (Acts 9:17).

Now some may be asking, "Do I have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit?" Apostle Paul writing to the church of Corinth asked this rhetorical question, "All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts" (1 Cor 12:30 & 31). It stands to reason that one does not have to speak in tongues but Paul later writes, "I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all." "Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophecy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues" (1 Cor. 14:18 & 39).
Some may quote Paul and say greater is one who prophesies than the one who speaks in tongues. That may be true, but if you cannot believe God for a lesser gift, how are you going to believe Him for prophesy or interpretation of an unknown tongue, which Paul seems to indicate as being a greater gift. The greatest gift is the one needed at the moment.

I have heard it said that tongues are of the devil. I challenge you to go your nearest bar or strip joint and see how many of the devil’s children there are speaking in tongues. Though it may be argued that the devil may be able to imitate the gift of tongues, counterfeit is the sincerest form of flattery.
Paul wrote that one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. Do you ever need self edification? "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). Do you ever feel a need to build yourself up? "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful" (1 Cor. 14:14). Paul makes the point that we do not always 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 know what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26 727). Ask the Lord to give you words that can take you beyond your intellect. Set your spirit free that you might worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Paul used an Old Testament story to illustrate a point. "I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1 & 2). So then, the passing through the Red Sea was a type of the New Testament water baptism and the passing through the cloud was a type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16). Both are equally important.
If you have the attitude that it is fine for others but you don’t really think it is for you, I would remind you that Paul told the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit to all the fullness (Eph. 3:19, 5:18). Apostle Paul was not only filled with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 9:17) but scripture tells us that he longed to see the Romans that he might impart some spiritual gift to them, that they may be established; and that in return they might be able to encourage him (Rom. 1:11 & 12). Jesus spoke of ten virgins, five of which weren’t too concerned with having any oil for their lamps and they were rejected (Matt. 25). Do you have enough oil in your lamp?

Have you ever wondered why several days after the day of Pentecost, when Peter and John were praying for more boldness, and for the Lord to perform healing and signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, it says that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 4:29-31). They had just been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and now they had to be filled all over again. Do you suppose they leaked?
You cannot get by on yesterday’s spiritual blessings! Paul talked of dying daily. Jesus said, "Be on your guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come upon you like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).
If you are not sure whether you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to seek it without fear for Jesus is not about to give you a snake if you ask Him for a fish. He addressed the people of His day with these words, "If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13).
It was Paul who said, "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts. . ." (1 Cor. 14:1)

"Ask, and it shall be given to you;
Seek, and you shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened to you."

It is suggested by some that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were dispensational and ceased after the apostolic age. If that were true there should be no record of them in operation during the church age after the apostles died. In fact, it seems reasonable the church fathers would have made mention of such a loss to the church, however the opposite is true. It appears that these manifestations of the Holy Spirit were under attack during the early church and continue to the present time.

It may be a stretch to say tongues are "the" sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it is surely "a" sign.

1 comment:

  1. It's a sign of fucking mental illness. You're bat shit crazy Dale