"THE GIFT OF TONGUES"
1. Due to the interest expressed by a number of you on the subject of the spiritual gift of tongues, Iím going to teach you how to speak in tongues. That is, Iím going to tell you what you have to do if you want to be someone who speaks in tongues.
2. Iím going to assume that you are a Christian who reads his or her Bible. This is because we will be dealing with a variety of different passages in the New Testament, as well as some in the Old Testament, which you really ought to be familiar with to some degree if you have been saved for more than a year. The reason for this assumption is so that I can move as quickly through this material as I am able.
3. Second, I will trust that you will write down the Scripture verses so that you can ask intelligent questions after you have had opportunity to study the passages I will teach on. Asking me questions about tongues after this sermon is delivered without studying the passages I will give you is just plain insulting. Study the passages and then ask any question you want to ask.
4. Six points that I want to share with you in message from Godís Word on the spiritual gift of tongues. Then Iíll tell you what you have to do to speak in tongues.
1A. First, THE REVIEW OF TONGUES
This will be enough of a review of the gift of tongues that even those among you who are quite unfamiliar with the controversy that rages in Christendom over this gift will become familiar enough with the subject that this sermon will be profitable even for you.
1B. First, its initiation in the New Testament
1C. By way of first mention, the gift of tongues was first initiated into the New Testament scheme of things by the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in Markís account of the Great Commission, in Mark 16.15-17, that He said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues . . . ."
Note: If, according to Matthew 7.22, casting out demons can be faked, is there any reason why we should not think that tongues cannot be faked, as well?
2C. By way of first use, tongues was a part of the great Pentecostal spectacle which resulted from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon only those 120 believers who had tarried as Jesus had commanded them. Acts 2.1-4 reads, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they (the 120) were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they (the 120) were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them (the 120). And they (the 120) were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them (the 120) utterance."
3C. This, then, is how the gift of tongues came on the scene of Biblical Christianity. First, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of it shortly before He ascended into heaven. Then, just a few days later, along with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, tongues came on the scene through the lives and the ministries of the 120 believers who were in Jerusalem.
4C. Though this is by no means the initiation of tongues in the Word of God, it is the initiation of tongues into Christianity and in the New Testament.
2B. Now letís see if we can determine the importance of tongues in the New Testament
Just how important was the gift of tongues during New Testament times? We think we know very well. As a matter of fact, we think the entire matter is so obvious that we hesitate to examine the Bible, but instead we just assume we know the answer. But do we? Why donít we just decide right now to allow the Word of God to affect our opinion regarding the importance of the spiritual gift of tongues? Letís determine the importance of the gift of tongues during the first 35 years of Christianity, or from the time Christ was crucified until the time the apostle Paul was martyred. There are two ways in which the importance of tongues during this period of time can be ascertained:
1C. First, we will attempt to determine the importance of tongues by the frequency with which the gift is known to have occurred. I think the results of this determination will surprise some of you.
1D. On the day of Pentecost, Acts 2.4, we know for sure that men and women spoke in tongues at what turned into an outdoor evangelistic service in which 3000 men were saved. However, reading the passage will show that only those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit could have spoken in tongues, as many as 120 people. That is one occurrence of tongues, at one time, in one place. There is no evidence that any who were saved on that day were baptized in the Holy Ghost or spoke in tongues. Just the 120.
2D. The next occurrence of tongues is recorded in Acts 10.46, some 10 or so years later than the Pentecostal occurrence: "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." This occurrence, in the house of one Cornelius, a Roman centurion, is the second occurrence, at a second time, at a second location.
3D. The third Scriptural reference to tongues is found in Acts 19.6: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." This is the third occurrence, at a third time, at a third location.
4D. The fourth reference to the gift of tongues is found in First Corinthians chapters 12, 13 and 14. This long passage refers to tongues in a fourth location, Corinth, but without any clue as to how many more times tongues was spoken.
5D. Now, donít get me wrong. I believe that tongues quite frequently occurred during this 35 year period of time in early Church history which was covered by the book of Acts and Paulís first Corinthian letter.
6D. But the fact that the Holy Spirit specifically records tongues as having occurred only four times in a span of 35 years, and in only two books of the New Testament, makes me wonder if perhaps the importance of tongues back in those days has been somewhat overblown by some who are living now.
7D. Thatís what we come up with when we attempt to determine the importance of tongues by examining how frequently tongues is referred to.
2C. Second, we will attempt to determine the importance of tongues during this period of time by examining the priority attached to the gift of tongues. We will be reading from First Corinthians chapters 12 and 14.
1D. 12.1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." This establishes that a Christian can possess a spiritual gift and still know few, if any, of the Biblical truths related to that gift.
2D. 12.28 "And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Of the gifts listed by Paul, tongues is listed lowest in priority.
3D. 14.1 "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." The spiritual gift that Paul directs the Corinthians to desire is not the gift of tongues, but prophecy. Why is that so hard for some so-called believers to acknowledge?
4D. 14.19 "Yet in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." How unimportant tongues is shown to be in comparison to the gift of prophecy.
5D. Folks, looking at this matter from two entirely different viewpoints, the number of times it is referred to and the value placed upon tongues by the great apostle Paul, the gift of tongues, we clearly see, was not one of the big gun spiritual gifts during the first 35 years of the Christian era.
3B. But what about the importance of tongues in Church history?
I think just a comment or two will suffice.
1C. Throughout the course of Church history the spiritual gift of tongues was not mentioned, not advocated, or not practiced by the following giants of the faith: Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Zwingli, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Dwight L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, and the list goes on.
2C. Who would deny that these anointed men of God, spanning a time of some one thousand and seven hundred years of Church history, were not Spirit-filled men of God? Yet the gift of tongues played no part in their lives or their ministries.
3C. So concludes our brief review of the gift of tongues.
2A. Second, THE REASON FOR TONGUES
Again, there are methods we can employ to discern the reason for tongues:
1B. First, we can attempt to discern the reason for tongues from Biblical observation
This is done by observing what happened when tongues were spoken in the Bible and then drawing our own conclusions concerning why tongues was given. Obviously, this requires a subjective evaluation.
1C. Acts chapter 2. Observations of the gift of tongues and the effects it had on others on the day of Pentecost are quite easy to make, since Luke recorded the events of that day in detail.
1D. The Holy Spirit came, with supernatural signs and evidences, of which the gift of tongues was a part, verses 2-4. The miracles and the signs drew a large crowd of Jewish men who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, an annual observance required by the Law of Moses. Those Jewish men then heard Simon Peterís anointed message and 3000 of them trusted Christ to the saving of their souls.
2D. From a careful observation of this occasion one might draw the conclusion that tongues was good for drawing a crowd of Jewish men, which is quite correct.
2C. The occurrence which took place at the house of Cornelius is more difficult to analyze, since Luke doesnít give us nearly the detail in Acts 10 as he did in chapter 2.
1D. Leaving all of chapter 10 for you to study privately, letís read verses 44-48 together:
44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
2D. If you connect chapter 10, which is Lukeís record of the actual encounter Peter had with Cornelius, with chapter 11, which records Peterís testimony to the home crowd in Jerusalem of what happened in the house of Cornelius, another conclusion can be drawn.
3D. Remembering two things, that Peter had Jewish Christians with him when he traveled to the house of Cornelius, and that Jewish Christians initially doubted whether or not Gentiles were eligible for salvation, the fact that Cornelius and his band of merry new converts spoke in tongues was critical.
4D. Critical because the Jewish Christians back in Jerusalem knew that tongues, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit according to First Corinthians 12.7, could not legitimately be exercised by an individual unless that individual was indwelt by the Spirit of God, Who, by the way, was responsible for giving the gift.
5D. It might be observed, then, that tongues was an evidence that Cornelius was genuinely saved.
3C. Our final opportunity to observe tongues being spoken in New Testament Scripture occurs in Acts chapter 19.1-7:
1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto Johnís baptism.
4Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7And all the men were about twelve.
1D. Paul encountered these men who were not saved. He then preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they were saved, whereupon they were baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues.
2D. This apparently gave the apostle Paul a wonderful opportunity to go into the synagogue and preach to those who had seen the supernatural events take place, for in verse 8 we read, "And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months."
Note: By the way, should you doubt that these men in Acts chapter 19 were lost before Paul dealt with them, ask me to show you during our question and answer time.
3D. Okay, we can surmise all we want from observing the impact tongues had on folks, but observation is never going to show anything of this nature to us in a conclusive way.
2B. Which is why we must turn to Biblical declaration
A much more reliable way to discover the reason for tongues is to simply allow the apostle Paul to tell us. Being more objective, it is more accurate in pin pointing the real reason for tongues.
1C. The apostle tells us that tongues were given for a sign. First Corinthians 14.22 starts off,
"Wherefore tongues are for a sign...." And doesnít this fit in with what our Lord Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16.17? "And these signs shall follow them that believe...they shall speak with new tongues." Therefore, the clear declaration of the Word of God is that tongues are for a sign. I wonder how many people ever bothered to mention that to you. Itís important.
2C. And the reason itís important that tongues are for a sign is because tongues are for a sign.....to Jews only. Thatís right. A couple of verses to show this:
1D. First Corinthians 1.22 "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom." Now, what are tongues declared to be, wisdom or a sign? A sign. But thereís more.
2D. First Corinthians 14.21 "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord." Here Paul refers to Isaiah 28.11-12.
3D. The words that Paul quotes are the words of the prophet Isaiah speaking on behalf of the Lord God, Jehovah. But to whom did the prophet speak? Two phrases are conclusive.
4D. The phase, "In the law it is written" must refer to the children of Israel, since Romans 3.19 teaches us that "whatsoever things the law saith to them that are under the law." Only the children of Israel, which the Jewish people living in the kingdom of Judah most certainly were, were under the Law.
5D. The other phrase is in the middle of the verse. "This people." Who is the "this people" Isaiah referred to? Jewish people.
6D. As Paul explains the purpose of the gift of tongues to the Corinthian Church he points out that tongues are for a sign. But signs are for Jews. Therefore, though Christians possessed the gift of tongues, the gift of tongues possessed by Christians was possessed for Jews. That is, the gift was given to have an impact on Jewish people.
3C. But notice another verse. First Corinthians 14.22 says, "Wherefore, tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not." Wow!
1D. Folks, a manís observations can be tricky. Sometimes we think we observe things correctly and sometimes we draw improper conclusions. But when the Bible states something in the form of a declaration, you can be sure that you are on track....and youíd better make sure that the conclusions drawn from observations conform to the declarations of Scripture. Right?
2D. What does Paul declare? What is the reason for the gift of tongues? What is itís purpose? Simply this...the gift of tongues was given as a sign to Israel, to the unbelieving nation of Israel. Tongues was for unsaved Jews only!
4C. Let me substantiate Paulís declaration with some Old Testament Scripture.
1D. Deuteronomy 28.45-49
45Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
46And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
47Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
48Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
49The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
Read the entire chapter to get the context, but Moses is telling the Israelites that there will come a time that God will tire of their rebellion and will use a sign to warn them of impending judgment. And what is the sign? Tongues.
2D. Isaiah 28.11-12
11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
This is the precise passage quoted by Paul in First Corinthians 14.21. Read the entire chapter yourself and youíll see that the prophet warns the people to repent in the face of judgment. And the sign of judgment? They will be spoken to with stammering lips and another tongue.
3D. Read Jeremiah 5.15: "Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say." See? Same thing. It has always been Godís plan, from the earliest days of dealing with them as a nation, to use foreign tongues as a sign, as a warning if you will, to repent in the face of certain judgment.
5C. Folks, thatís the reason for tongues. To use tongues in any other way and for any other reason doesnít make Biblical sense. Tongues are a sign to unsaved Jews of the coming judgment of God, from which they must be delivered by repenting of their sin.
3A. Third, THE RESPONSE TO TONGUES
Understanding what tongues are for goes a long way toward determining what a personís response is to the gift of tongues. You see, if you use tongues for what tongues are for you may get a favorable response. But if you use tongues improperly the response will certainly be quite unfavorable. To illustrate this, letís examine the response to tongues of four different kinds of people.
1B. Group #1 Is The Earliest Believers
1C. Remember, beginning with the day of Pentecost and continuing forward for several decades, virtually every believer was a Jewish believer. And before you write that off as unimportant, remember that Jewish believers normally had a lifetime of Bible teaching in the synagogues under their belts before they were saved. Therefore, they both knew the purpose of tongues and the proper response to tongues before they knew Christ.
2C. We know the 120 used tongues correctly on the day of Pentecost. Not only was it likely from the fact that they were Jewish believers who knew substantial amounts of Old Testament truth, but also because they were able, with Godís help, to draw at least 3000 Jewish men to Simon Peter with the use of their newly acquired spiritual gift.
3C. And if Paulís instructions to the Corinthians is any indication, then when tongues were spoken in the house of Cornelius, and when tongues were spoken in Acts chapter 19 by the newly saved disciples of John, in all likelihood, unsaved Jewish people were close enough by in both instances that the tongues were spoken in a way that would have substantial impact on them.
4C. So, the response of early Jewish believers to tongues was good, since they apparently used the gift properly and with at least some fruitful results.
2B. Group #2 Would Be Unsaved Jewish People
1C. It is quite obvious that the early response to tongues, by Israelites, was good. Three thousand men were saved on Pentecost and many thousands more were saved in the short months that followed. But what was the long term response of the Jewish people to the gift of tongues?
2C. Our only reliable source of information on that is the Word of God. First Corinthians 14.21 is the verse I read from: "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord."
3C. My friends, the Lord God of Israel Himself, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, predicted that the Jewish people would not respond to tongues properly, that is, with repentance.
4C. That means, except for what we saw happen on the day of Pentecost and perhaps on just a few other occasions, tongues is seen to have been an ineffective tool for evangelizing Jews. But thatís what itís for! That means it is a mostly ineffective gift, if effectiveness is measured by how tongues was responded to.
3B. Group #3 Would Be Unsaved Gentiles
1C. Well, if tongues is mostly ineffective for reaching unsaved Jews, perhaps it could be used in a way God did not intend to reach unsaved Gentiles.
2C. Would that it were possible. Unfortunately, Scripture is very clear concerning the normal and typical reaction of an unsaved Gentile who hears tongues.
3C. First Corinthians 14.23 reads, "If therefore the whole Church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned (that is unlearned in the Old Testament, which can only refer to a Gentile), or unbelievers (that is, unsaved, but having been taught some Old Testament truth, again referring to a Gentile), will they not say that ye are mad?"
4C. Notice, if you will, that the typical reaction to be expected from an unsaved Gentile who was rather versed in Old Testament, perhaps having attended a synagogue from time to time, is exactly the same reaction expected from one who was totally ignorant of Scriptural truth . . . negative.
5C. Why would Gentiles have a negative reaction? Why would they think those speaking in tongues were stark raving mad? Why shouldnít they? That gift was never intended to be used for their benefit in the first place. Gentiles would only rarely have had opportunity to hear the gift of tongues exercised, and then under controlled circumstances.
6C. Is God bound to bless the use of a spiritual gift in a manner never intended by Him to be used? No, He is not.
7C. And folks, donít think the reaction of people nowadays isnít exactly the same as it was then, by and large. When an unsaved person hears someone supposedly speaking tongues, unless he has been coached into thinking itís a wonderful thing, he does not like it. My observation on numerous occasions has been that the so-called speaking in tongues initially either makes him afraid or makes him mad.
4B. Weíve looked at early Christians, unsaved Jewish people, and unsaved Gentiles. With each group we have been able to see clear evidence in Godís Word of each groupís reaction to the gift of tongues. Our final group is Christians living later in the first century, when most believers were saved Gentiles.
1C. Remember, this is the situation we live in today. The vast majority of believers are come from Gentile backgrounds, with little Bible training before salvation, and having none of the perspective the early Jewish believers had.
2C. What kind of response to tongues can be expected from Christians like us? Well, what kind of response did Christians like us have in the later half of the first century? The answer is so obvious that many people look right past it. First Corinthians chapters 12, 13 and 14 tell us.
3C. That Church, composed almost exclusively of Gentile believers, knew almost nothing about spiritual gifts in general and the gift of tongues specifically. Had they known Paul would not have needed to instruct them so thoroughly, after having told them that they didnít even know what they didnít know.
4C. It was this tremendous and harmful ignorance, just like the ignorance that exists in the minds of Christians today, which caused the Corinthians to think that tongues was a gift for self edification rather than a gift for Jewish evangelism.
5C. Additionally, such ignorance caused then, and causes Christians now, to think that tongues is a very prominent gift, rather than an unimportant gift in a Gentile Christian congregation, and caused then, and causes Christians now, to think that tongues is an enduring gift rather than one which was to have only limited usefulness in history, according to First Corinthians 13.8: "whether there be tongues, they shall cease.".
6C. So, of the four groups that weíve examined, Jewish believers early on, unsaved Jews, unsaved Gentiles, and later on Gentile believers, we could rightly say that only one group responded properly to the gift of tongues, understood where it ought to be placed in Godís framework, and was profited by itís use . . . the Jewish believers in the first three or four decades of Christianity.
4A. Fourth, THE REALITY OF TONGUES
What about this thing called the gift of tongues? Is it a heavenly prayer language? Is it foreign languages? And either way, is it for today or was it given for just a brief period in the past?
1B. As To Language
We will address the question of whether or not the gift of tongues is one which involves the ability to speak in a heavenly worship language or if it involves the ability to speak a foreign language never previously learned. Or was the gift of tongues both?
1C. Consider the possibilities
1D. Of the four occurrences of tongues speaking in the New Testament, only on Pentecost and at Corinth is it possible to examine the nature of tongues and to determine whether tongues was a foreign language capability or a heavenly language capability in each instance.
2D. Some believers hold that in one instance tongues was a foreign language ability but was a heavenly language ability in the other. We will conclusively see.
2C. Consider the passages
1D. Acts 2.4-11 is very clear. "and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which Speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"
2D. Do I need to read on? It is quite clear that on the day of Pentecost tongues was quite simply the supernatural ability to speak a foreign language the speaker had never previously known or learned, but which the Jewish listener heard and understood. The "other tongues" were foreign languages. The amazing thing for the listeners was that Galileans, not known for their intellect or education, were speaking in languages they could not possibly have learned. Though they did not understand the full implications until Peter preached to them, they did know that this was a work of God.
3D. How about Corinthian tongues? A number of people have maintained that Pentecostal tongues were indeed foreign languages, but Corinthian tongues was a prayer language, to be used to edify yourself and for praying in the Spirit. Folks, the only thing wrong with that assertion is it isnít made by Scripture.
4D. In First Corinthians 14.21, when explaining the gift of tongues to ignorant Corinthians who, themselves, possessed the gift but knew not what they possessed, Paul quoted from Isaiah 28.11-12. But can anyone deny that the stammering lips and unknown tongue to which the prophet Isaiah was referring to was the language of the Assyrians and the language of the Babylonians? No.
5D. Hey, if the unknown tongue in Isaiah 28.11-12 was the Assyrian language or the Babylonian language, a foreign language if you will, then it must be a foreign language to which Paul was referring in First Corinthians 14. And in Mark 16.17 as well.
3C. Consider the problem
1D. Our minds are so confused by what people says is tongues today, and what people say tongues are for today, that it is very difficult for us to imagine the way the gift usually operated in a Church service in Paulís day.
2D. Let us remember that tongues were for unsaved Jews, that tongues were not to be spoken by women in Church, according to First Corinthians 14.34, and that tongues is not to be spoken in Church unless one who can interpret is present, First Corinthians 14.28.
3D. With that in mind, allow me to describe a scenario in which the gift tongues was properly used by those who understood its function and design. Letís pretend it is long ago.
4D. One Sunday morning Brian Spicer brings a friend to Church. Itís just before the services are to begin and Brian has just enough time to introduce him to me and to Lee Moyer and to Monica Quintero. When introducing his friend, Moishe Rosen, Brian informs us that his friend is Jewish and normally attends Temple Beth Shalom in Van Nuys.
5D. As the services are about to begin, Monica, excited that a Jewish person is in attendance, tells Elizabeth Estrada and her husband Ernie. As the service progresses Monica suddenly feels a strong impulse to speak in tongues. However, knowing that Paul forbids the speaking in tongues by women in the Church, she sits quietly, praying that God will give her opportunity to use her sign gift after Church.
6D. Ernie, on the other hand, who also has the gift of tongues, waits for an opportunity to stand and speak in tongues without disrupting the preaching, and looks around for someone who has the gift of interpretation. He sees Julie Carlsberg. She has the gift of interpretation, but it would be improper for her to use her gift of interpretation in Church. So Ernie continues to look around, knowing that he should not exercise his gift unless . . . oh yes, Michael DiGiovanna!
7D. Making eye contact with Michael so he will be sure to stay in the auditorium and not step outside to tend to any duties like he did this morning, Ernie waits.
8D. Being a nice guy, I pause and Ernie Estrada stands and begins to speak to Moishe Rosen in an unknown tongue. Moishe, sitting there next to Brian and Dali, is flabbergasted. How in the world does this dark fellow, raised in southern California, know how to speak Yiddish, the language he used to speak in Poland when he was just a little child on his motherís knee? As Ernie continues to speak, Moishe remembers the Rabbi telling him of Isaiah 28.11-12. And Moishe becomes convicted of sin.
9D. Meanwhile, most of us are wondering in amazement at what is going on. Another visitor, a Gentile, Bert, is getting a little scared at this weird stuff going on. At about that time Michael DiGiovanna stands up, moves over to the center of the auditorium and says, "Folks, Mr. Spicerís friend Moishe is Jewish and Ernie is telling him, through the gift of tongues, how angry God is with him, but also how much the Messiah loves him, and how the Messiah died for him, and that he needs to trust in the Messiah to be delivered from sin and to be reconciled to God." The interpretation really blesses our hearts because now we know whatís going on. And the Gentile visitor, Bert, is calming down a bit.
10D. When heís finished with his short message Ernie sits down. A brief moment later, when Michael finishes, he returns to his seat. Then, I deliver my message or finish my message and two people get hopefully converted.
11D. Moishe got saved because of two things: First, the gift of tongues was a sign from God that he needed to repent of his sin. So he, second, paid attention to the message which followed. When he heard the Gospel message that was preached, he trusted Jesus, his Messiah.
12D. The other visitor, Bert, the Gentile, was saved, not because of anything related to Ernieís tongues speaking, but as a result of the Holy Spirit using the Bible preaching in a language he could understand to deal with him about his estrangement from God.
13D. Both men were saved as a result of hearing the Gospel, but the Jewish manís attention was guaranteed by the gift of tongues. Thatís the way tongues is supposed to work.
14D. Folks, the problem with tongues nowadays is, it never happens that way. And the reason it canít happen that way, aside from peopleís general ignorance, is because what passes for tongues today is not a foreign language . . . and it ought to be if itís Biblical tongues.
2B. As To Longevity
1C. It was the ignorance of the Corinthians which allowed them to think that their precious but misunderstood gift of tongues would last forever. But in First Corinthians 13.8 Paul wrote, "whether there be tongues, they shall cease...." And the verb translated "cease" means to just abruptly stop.
2C. But what would cause the gift of tongues to abruptly stop? The completion of Godís revelation, the Bible? No. Completion of the Bible, which was the coming of that which was perfect, meant the gradual end of prophesies and the gift of knowledge, according to First Corinthians 13.10, but not tongues.
3C. What about tongues then? Well, if tongues is a sign to the nation of Israel, which it is, it will remain so long as there is a nation of Israel in rebellion against God.
4C. The year was 70 AD. With the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, God set the nation of Israel aside, temporarily, because of her sin, to deal with mankind through the institution of the Church.
5C. When that occurred the need for all of the sign gifts ended. Because when that occurred God suddenly placed Israel on a shelf, where they have been for almost 2000 years. And being judicially blinded and set aside, according to Romans chapter 9, 10 and 11, God now deals with the Jewish people on an individual basis in the same manner as He deals with Gentiles. So, in 70 AD tongues ceased, the legitimate need for their use having passed.
6C. That being the case, what passes for the gift of tongues today simply is not the gift of tongues referred to by Luke in the book of Acts or Paul in First Corinthians. The wrong thing (not a foreign language) used by the wrong people (women in Church) on the wrong people (Christians and unsaved Gentiles, instead of unsaved Jews) at the wrong time (after Israel was set aside by God).
7C. The gift of tongues was a sign gift that God gave to men and women to use in the presence of unsaved Jews to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy. Repent of your sin because judgment is coming. That was the message that the sign of tongues, a foreign language known by someone who could not possibly know it, communicated.
8C. This is why this Baptist Church does not believe that the gift of tongues are for today. This Baptist Church also believes that tongues will be restored in the near future.
5A. Fifth, THE RESTITUTION OF TONGUES
1B. Letís Review Past Happenings
1C. If we examine the design of the gift of tongues we will see that it was a spiritual gift that was given to both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. The gift was to be used in the presence of unsaved Jewish people to warn them that God was growing weary of their continued rebellion and would soon bring judgment upon their nation . . . unless they turned back to God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
2C. It is also likely that the gift of tongues, showing the unsaved Jewish people who observed it that the Gentile Christians who spoke in tongues were obviously saved, was used by God to provoke the Jews to jealously. You see, the Jews had always thought that God was exclusively theirs. So God used the Gentile Christians in this way to provoke the Jews, as Romans 11.11 suggests: "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."
3C. Well, as it was predicted by the prophet Isaiah in the case of the inhabitants of Jerusalem when first they were surrounded by the Assyrian army and then by the Babylonian army, so, too, in Paulís day when God used the tongues of Christians to speak to Jewish people, there was little response.
4C. For over thirty five years believers had been used of God to warn the nation of Israel that judgment was about to fall, but too few listened. And in 70 AD judgment did fall in the form of the Roman juggernaut coming to raze Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people to the four corners of the globe.
5C. And lest you make the mistake of thinking that dispersion ended when the modern state of Israel came into existence, need I remind you that more Jewish people live in the United States than in Israel? The Jewish people remain a dispersed people until after the Rapture.
6C. Another thing to note is the distinction that must be recognized between the nation of Israel and Christians. We are two separate and distinct groups in Godís plan. You see, we Christians are going to be Raptured and then God will return Israel to His center stage of attention and begin dealing with her as a people again.
2B. Which Brings Me To A Preview Of Future Events
1C. I believe that God will restore the gift of tongues for use in the future. That gift will be mightily used to evangelize Jews around the world.
2C. You see, once the Rapture occurs, God will send forth 12,000 young men from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Since this occurs during the tribulation and the false peace established by the antichrist, those 144,000 young evangelists will have access to every part of the globe for three and one half years.
3C. And how will they communicate with the various peoples of the world? No time to learn a language. The gift of tongues, which they will need to exercise to make sure unsaved Jews will listen to them and know that they represent God, will be used to win those Jews. Those Jews will, in turn, win their Gentile neighbors to Christ.
4C. Though it will be a rough time for all, there will be a great harvest of souls for the Lord during those seven years of tribulation.
6A. Finally, THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CHRISTIANS
In light of the Bible truth presented here today, what kinds of responsibilities ought Christians to face in the world today?
1B. First, Christians Ought To Abandon Pre-Conceived Notions
1C. Most people who believe in tongues for today hold to their position because of something someone else told them or something they first saw someone else do. The rest believe in tongues because of something which has supposedly happened to them.
2C. On the other hand, most Christians who oppose tongues do so for exactly the same kinds of reasons.
3C. Iím here to tell you that both positions are wrong for that kind of faulty logic. We must each reach the point in our Christian lives when we realize what our pre-conceived notions are and what the Biblical realities are . . . and abandon the pre-conceived notions. Discard the subjective opinions.
2B. Second, Christians Ought To Advocate Unbiased Study
1C. Many, many people will not study the Word of God in an unbiased way. Instead, they will look for ways to support what they have already made up their mind they are going to believe. Never mind the facts, they just canít believe they might possibly need to learn something.
2C. Additionally, many folks will not approach someone who holds strongly to one position or another. Youíd rather talk to someone who is "objective." Have you ever thought that an "objective" study of Godís Word will invariably lead one to become strong on certain positions? Itís true. Thereís nothing wrong with dogmatism if the dogmatism is the result of study and doesnít interfere with study.
3C. It simply boggles my mind to consider the number of so-called Christians I know who have been in the dark on the issue of tongues for so long, knowing that I am eager to help them in their personal study of Godís Word. Yet they will not ask even the most simple questions.
4C. But I guess I can understand peopleís reasoning. You just have to know that the apostle Paul didnít know what he was talking about . . . after all, he wasnít on television or radio.
3B. Third, Christians Ought To Appeal To God And His Word
1C. I spoke to a pastor in Riverside one time about a member in his Church. I said, "He really wants to know the Bible, doesnít he?" The pastor said, "No, he doesnít. He just says he does."
2C. He went on to tell me that every person he had ever met who really wanted to learn the Word of God learned it . . . on his own, with his pastor providing guidance and helpful suggestions along the way.
3C. And you know, heís right. If you really want to learn about the gift of tongues, I mean, if you really hunger to learn the Word of God, you will learn it yourself, with help along the way from me. My job is to teach you.
4C. Friend, rather than agree or disagree with me, decide to really study the Word of God yourself on this matter.
4B. Finally, Christians Ought To Admit That Spirituality Is Not Related To Emotions Or Feelings . . . Or Even Gifts
1C. Hey, the Corinthians thought they were spiritual. They werenít. And many so-called believers today think they are spiritual when they are not even converted.
2C. Realize that spirituality is not related to what gift you possess. Further realize that neither you nor I become more pleasing in Godís sight by having a certain gift.
3C. My personal opinion concerning the position folks who believe in the present day existence of tongues take has nothing to do with what I think of those precious people personally. All of them I love, Most of them I enjoy being around.
4C. But folks, as I understand the Word of God, what passes for tongues today bears little resemblance to tongues found in the Bible.
5C. How can that be? Failure to study the Word of God as we ought to. Allowing other Christians, instead of God through His Word, to greatly influence our lives, our beliefs, our behavior.
1. And now itís question and answer time.
2. If you have a statement to make, save it for another time. If you have a question to ask of me, please raise you hand and I will get to you as soon as I can.
3. The questions I want are questions in which you want me to explain a verse or concept.
4. Now, to conclude. What must you do in order to speak in tongues? To genuinely speak in tongues, there is nothing you can do. The gift, when it is given, is given at the time of conversion. So, you either have it or you donít, and if you donít have it you canít learn it.
5. But if you insist on speaking in tongues and youíre not much concerned about truth you need only do two things: First, suspend your beliefs from the Word of God. And second, go to a rousing Pentecostal Church and listen to those women speak in tongues for a long enough period of time to fake it like they do. Do that and youíll fit right in.