Friday, May 9, 2008
1. The gift of tongues is for every Believer. Why?
a. "All" 120 people spoke in the book of Acts. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).
b. The same is true in all but one recorded case in Acts. ("All" are implied in "they") "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money" (Acts 8:17-18). "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God...." (Acts 10:46). Luke records what seems to be the norm, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6). Bold Speech is also a sign of being Spirit-Filled.
c. Speaking in tongues is the only gift specifically mentioned for self-edification.
"He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20). The other gifts or manifestations are primarily for body edification.
d. Paul's desire is that "all" speak in tongues. "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying" (I Corinthians 14:5).
e. The general exhortation is given to all Believers in Jude 1:20. "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20).
f. The general prophecy is given to all Believers. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17).
2. Spiritual power is needed to operate the spiritual gift.
Example: A new car needs gas to run. As the husband would buy and give a new car to his wife, Jesus has received spiritual gifts from the father and given them to the church. "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men" (Ephesians 4:8). However, Believers need the POWER of the Holy Spirit to operate or "work" these gifts. Fire is a symbol of the power of the Spirit of God. The pillar of fire which guided the children of Israel out of Egypt was a symbol of the power of the Spirit of God. "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night" (Exodus 13:21). On the day of Pentecost the pillar of fire is broken into tongues of fire that came upon each of the 120 Believers. "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:3-4). The word "cloven" means divided into individual flames. This occurred that the Believers might be empowered. (See Ephesians 3:16-21). The first result of the tongue of fire that came upon each of them was that power was given to them to speak in a different tongue other than their own. The manifestation of tongues of fire is never again recorded in the New Testament. However, the RESULTS of the tongues are repeated over and over again. As people receive the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, it is normal that they speak in tongues. See: Motivated From Within.
3. When you pray in tongues, please follow the guidelines of the Word.
We are to do everything in LOVE. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1). Once again, this article is not meant to condemn anyone, but to encourage you, the reader, to discover the power of the Holy Spirit and practice praying in tongues. If you a Believer, praying in the Holy Spirit is one of the benefits of the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, it can be of benefit to the local church body when done properly, in order, and with interpretation.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Many think the word repent means "to get your act together" or to "get religion" or "fly straight"; as if we could. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at it God's way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift. When we do, certain outcomes are promised. If we don't, or we "turn back", alternate outcomes are promised.
Look And Live
Numbers 21:8-9 (NIV) The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." ...Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
Let's imagine ourselves in this situation. Poisonous snakes have bitten everyone, and while we are not dead yet, the prospects do not look good. Suddenly a voice yells out: "We must do something. We must save ourselves!" But how? Various ideas surface such as: "If you run around in frantic activity it will work out the poison!" A few people try this, and die trying. Others, by staring at their bites, go totally berserk into a frenzy of panic. Alternately, some try to convince themselves that they are not bitten, or that the snakes were not poisonous, and form little groups to delude each other while dying. And here's a person selling "snake oil" which purports to be an antitoxin, but makes people even worse.
Enter Moses who says, "If you look at the bronze snake that has been lifted up on this pole, you will live. If you do not, no matter what else you do, you will die." Now let's really picture how we might react, having been given this revelation. "He must be kidding," we would think. "Do nothing? Just look? How insulting a solution! What part do we play in it?" Moses responds, "Cease your activities. Just look, and live!" Really now, if you had been there, would you have believed it? Do you believe God's solution today?
John 3:14 (NIV) [Jesus:] "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up."
We all have been bitten, and sin is coursing through our veins. It will most certainly lead to death. There is only one solution, but it is an offense to our ability to save ourselves.
John 6:40a (NIV) "For my father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life."
John 6:29 (NIV) Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."