"He" has come to alleviate the energy crisis that is in the American Church. The power is available, but we cut back, spiritually speaking, because we are, perhaps, afraid, knowing that something may happen that is unfamiliar. So in this little bock we are dealing with this crisis that is hitting the American Church and indicating what some Churches around the entire world are doing about the crisis.
We come to a very particular segment in the list of Spiritual Gifts. I have chosen to present the message from questions which have been given to me in the past, questions that I, myself, have heard. "Pastor, would you please, please tell me about tongues. I have heard so much about then, and I want to know what it is all about."
I open my Bible and read in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, "Wars concerning the spiritual gifts, the special endowments of supernatural energy, I want you to be misinformed." When we continue in this chapter, we turn to verse 10, and In the listing of the gifts, many of which we have already discussed, he says to another various kinds of unknown tongues, and to another the ability to interpret such tongues. Verse 28, "God has appointed some in the Church for His own use, first apostles, special messengers, second prophets who are inspired teachers and expounders, third teachers, then wonder workers, then those with ability to heal the sick, helpers, administrators, speakers in different or unknown tongues." He goes on to say, "Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing or do all speak with tongues, or do all interpret? Desire earnestly and zealously cultivate the greatest and best, the higher gifts, the choicest graces and yet I will show you still a more excellent way, one that is better by far and the highest of them all, love, "If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels and have not love, that reasoning, intentional spiritual devotion, such as inspired by God's love in us all, then He says, "I am as a noisy gong or a clanging symbol."
Please tell me, Pastor, about tongues. I will. I will tell you what I feel about tongues, and I speak for myself, not for any Church or group. I speak for myself as to what I feel about tongues.
We go back to Acts chapter 2, where an account occurred, and if you will follow very closely, just for a few minutes when I speak about dates. An account occurred about the year 33 A.D. at the death of our Lord. The account refers to a Pentecostal experience wherein we read in Acts 2:4:"They were all filled, diffused thoroughly their souls with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other different languages, as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression, and each tongue in appropriate words."
This occurred about the year 33 A.D. The book of Acts, written by an M.D. was written some 30 years later, around 65 A.D.
When we turn to the two accounts in the New Testament that refer to tongues, we have to obviously turn to I Corinthians and the Book of Acts basically. Acts, written in the 65 A.D., give or take a few years, the words in I Corinthians written in the 56 or 59. So Corinthians was written first, and it was written because the people at the Church at Corinth, (and Corinth is located in the country of Greece,) had become obsessed with tongues to the extent that they were saying, "It is the ultimate in becoming a Christian." In fact, as I understand it, they were going around saying, 'to you speak in tongues? I speak in tongues." And this had caused a decisive factor in the Church, the Community Church of Corinth.
So Paul was asked to give saint pastoral advice, which he does in I Corinthians chapter 12, 13 and, as we have divided it, chapter 14. What I an saying is, glossalalia, or the speaking in tongues, was something that happened in Acts in the year 33. He is now, sane 30 years later, writing to a Church that has been affected by the glossalalia, or the speaking in tongues.
You will see, especially in the King James version, the word "unknown" is listed in italics. What does that mean? It simply mess that as all words in the King James version in italics have been put there for the interpretation or clarification of the reading of the Scripture. The words are not in the original, but the words are put there to make it read smoother. There is nothing wrong with the word 'unknown" because in what other way could you describe it if I start speaking in a tongue that you don't know? You have to say it is unknown, so that is why the word "unknown" is used there.
But the gift was there, and it was disturbing the people. Paul says, "I an not condemning tongues, I am saying that they are valueless without love. Love is the supreme! Love is the theme and that is the most important, that it is the standard of judgment and value, having it made quite clear to the people that this supreme gift of the spirit, love, is available to all; then he turns to the delicate task of speaking to the Church members regarding the gifts, notably the gift of tongues. I have consolidated all the questions I have been asked into four questions.
There is a difference in the tongues we read about in Acts 2 and the tongues we read about in 1 Corinthians. One, I feel, in Acts 2 is a language, a real language that was heard by foreigners and used to evangelize and save people. The language used in I Corinthians, by and large is an unknown type tongue with a language to God. large, I think there is a difference and we should distinguish between the two. The first question, in passing, is this: It is a very important question. It regards Pentecost and the Holy Spirit. "Does everybody, Pastor, who is filled with the Spirit speak in tongues?" Many will say very definitely that if you are filled with the Spirit, then you will speak in tongues. There are many others who will say definitely, no, that there is strong reason to disbelieve this. I personally feel that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit and not speak with tongues. But you may.
When Jesus was questioned about this and about what they should do to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, He replied, "You shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has cane upon you. You shall be witnesses, and you shall receive paer." This is the evidence, I feel, of being filled with the Holy Spirit. One may say, "Pastor, I know if you turn to the book of Acts you will find all the accLmlulative evidence that people were filled with the Holy Spirit and then they spoke with tongues." Well, I'm glad that ccnnent was made in the book of Acts because that is true. Many cases are recorded. We have Acts 2, Acts 10 and chapter 19 of Acts where people were filled with the Holy Spirit, and my friend, they spoke with tongues.
Chapter 2 is of the disciples at Pentecost, chapter 10 tells of Cornelius and his household and chapter 19 was when twelve men were filled with the Holy Spirit. One took place in the year 33, and took place in the year 41 and one in the year 54.
You can speak in tongues and people are given the gift. So the second question is this: "What is the gift of tongues? You acknowledge, Pastor, that one can speak in tongues." Yes, you can speak in tongues. I speak in tongues. God has given me a prayer language and a language of praise. When we turn to I Corinthians 12 we are reading about times when God supernaturally energized people to speak in tongues when a person just "decides" to speak in tongues. I would say there are different types of tongues.
Paul says that if you are going to speak in an unknown tongue, in the congregation, let it be a tongue that can have an interpreter so that it would edify the Church. You see, this was one of the prerequisites that the Church be edified by this. Let me ask you a question. If you believe in God, if you believe that God is yesterday as He is today and tomorrow, if you believe that around 59 A.D. people were given the gifts of tongues, why could it not be possible today?
I say there are several kinds of tongues, language which is a gift given to an individual to speak in a foreign language with or without an interpretation, and the other is a devotional tongue. Let us take them separately.
This can also be classified the tongue for a sign (1 Corinthians 14:22): 1. A. miracle (foreign) tongues. There have been occasions where people have been possessed by God's Spirit and have spoken in a foreign language. They, themselves, did not know the language, but they were used by God. So a tongue in a foreign language, is for the purpose of unbelievers.
A few years ago in Oregon, I heard of a young man had brought to America his Japanese wife. She went with him to his Church and at that particular Church, there was a time when they could come and pray together. So they started praying. She was a Buddhist and believed it with all her heart. He as a Christian and believed that with all his heart.
She came with him to the service. When they cane and knelt and started praying together, a person kneeling beside the Japanese girl began praying in a foreign language. It was Japanese. This young Buddhist clutched the arm of her husband and she said, 'Honey, she is praying in Temple Japanese. It is a different type of dialect than regular Japanese and I can understand it." Here was a common person speaking in fluent Temple Japanese. And further, as she held her husband's arm, she exclaimed, "She has spoken out loud my full name, which. even you knee, because it is my long, heritage name." This was used immediately for her conversion.
This was a gift of tongues, one of the nine Spiritual Gifts, of the nine listed in I Corinthians given to an individual, someone just like yourself. This one had so identified with God's Spirit that God's Spirit was able to be used. There are many other instances that we could pass on, but this is a good example. God's Holy Spirit directs in language.
Now, are you wondering why missionaries have to go to language school? Why can't they just go out and open their mouths and start talking? Well, God doesn't do everything the way we want Him to do it. In fact, most of the time we don't do what God wants us to do. But there have been occasions where missionaries have just said, want to communicate with this person, but I cannot speak," and God's Spirit has come upon that person and they have been able to speak in a language that they have never before spoken. Now, I say that this is a gift, a supernatural energizing, endued by God.
What about the devotional use, that we mentioned? In chapter 14 of I Corinthians we can read verses which say to us that in our devotional life one may speak in tongues to God. We are edified within our own self. Let me share several of the verses. In chapter 14 of I Corinthians, verses 14 and 15, "If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit by the Holy Spirit helps me pray. My mind is unproductive, bears no fruit and helps nobody. He is speaking about his devotional prayer that he, himself, is thus edified. "What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit by the Holy Spirit that is within me, but I will also pray intelligently with my mind and understanding. I will sing with my spirit, by the Holy Spirit that is within me."
Jude 20, "But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying IN THE SPIRIT Praying in tongues edifies and it builds up. It is charging our spiritual battery. It provides a way to pray for things we don't know about.
This is the edification that comes from within an individual when we pray to God in an unknown tongue. Now, speaking in tongues has nothing to do with emotion, though it has for many people become emotional. We have associated tongue-speaking with emotionalism which is not necessarily true.
Praying with tongues is so valuable, and doing away with it - as most churches have - has weakened God's people and God's work. We have tongues to assist us in praying and in worshiping God. Paul said, "I WILL speak in tongues."
Often, God will speak through an individual (who is willing to be used) to a congregation or group. This utterance is in Spirit Language because God is spirit. For us in that group to know what the Father has spoken to His children, we will need an interpretation. There must Se an Interpretation of the Spirit language to the language of our group - in this case English. Usually after waiting for a moment someone, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, will give the interpretation. There are times when perhaps only an "understanding" will be voiced, not the direct interpretation. Still, sometimes two people will take part in the interpretation. One giving port of it and the other carrying it on farther or amplifying it.
If tongues are given and there is no interpretation, then one of several things has happened. There was an interpretation to an individual, but that one refused to move under the Holy Spirit and just willed to refuse taking part. Or, "if a regular interpreter" (by that I mean one who usually interprets) is not present, then someone else who has never done this before is timid or just hesitant to participate does not give what is going through their mind.
Another possibility is that the one originally speaking while speaking in the spirit, was in his "flesh" speaking. They were speaking in tongues, but the tongues were originating in their spirit, not God's spirit.
"Pastor, what about the tongues in America today. If it is true in Church history, not much is said about it." To me this just says that there was not much happening then. What about today? If the Lord is no longer giving the gifts, what is occurring in Neo Pentecostalism today in America? We can not deny that the New Testament glossalalia and yet refuse to face up to what is happening in America, from shore to shore and border to border, maybe in your home, too. What can we say then? Is the charismatic revival in the 20th century strengthening our country? Is it giving unity, is it giving purity? Do those who claim to speak in tongues demonstrate power in testimony and are they demonstrating power with a high degree of Christianity and spirituality?
Let me answer. The answer is predicated upon my knowing people personally and my reading of them. I would have to say the answer is yes. It is making for unity in the American churches. It is building up the Body of Christ. Yet, upon the surface and in human vision there seems to be a contradiction. It is edifying the Church, and we cannot say it is not happening.
Especially since 1900 in a Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this has started mushrooming, and then later in Los Angeles God dropped His Spirit on a group. People in all "brand name" Churches are experiencing some things that are changing their lives. They are not waiting for "the Baptism of the Holy Spirit" to come. It is just like, for example, friends of yours from out of town who are here right now. Suppose they had come by plane, and yet I would go tomorrow to the terminal to wait for them. Wouldn't that be rather ridiculous? They have been here for four weeks already. They are already here. The Holy Spirit is already within you. If you are a Christian, then you have Jesus in your heart, and He is right there, you don't have to wait for Him. He is already there, but He is, in turn, waiting for you to open up and let Him do something.
I am saying that we have something that we are not using. It is speaking in tongues, whether devotional or "God originated" through our spirit. We are not using the God-available potential that is available right here in our own community. We are not using it. While the nation cuts back a certain percentage of energy, let the Church double up its energy spiritually speaking.