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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

Today we are continuing our study the “Gifts of The Holy Spirit.”

It is important to remember that a positive response on our part as believers to the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential if we are to truly be God’s people. 

Today we are discussing The Gift of Tongues.

Text

1 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Scripture Reading

1 Corinthians 14:1-28 (ESV)

Prophecy and Tongues

14 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 

2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 

3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 

4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 

5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 

7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 

8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 

9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 

10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 

11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 

12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 

14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 

15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 

16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 

17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 

19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 

21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 

22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 

23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 

25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Orderly Worship

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 

27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 

28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.

Introduction

Studying the gift of tongues id both fascinating and challenging.

The conclusions we come to are exciting yet soul searching.

Believers must consider the subject humbly and with a receptive heart and mind.

  1. Paul gives specific instructions for the use of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14.
  1. When considered a mark of divine approval, speaking in tongues may arouse jealousy among church members.

Some who have this gift may be tempted to develop a pious attitude  and consider those who don’t exercise the gift as less spiritual, resulting in confusion and disorder in the church.

B. When considered a mark of divine approval, speaking in tongues may result in self display rather than edification of the church.

Communication is essential in worship services.

If we are to build others up, they must be able to understand what we are saying.

As Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 14:2 (ESV)

2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

And 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 (ESV)

4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 

5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

For believers to be edified, there is little room for self importance.

C. When considered a mark of divine approval, speaking in tongues may have an adverse effect on the outside community.

Non Christians should benefit from worship.

1 Corinthians 14:22-25 (ESV)

22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign[a] not for unbelievers but for believers. 

23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 

25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

D. When considered a mark of divine approval, speaking in tongues carries some limitations.

No more than two or three people should speak in tongues at the same time.

No one should speak aloud unless an interpreter is available according to Paul.

2. History records some interesting observations of the gift.

A. Speaking in tongues is a valid experience in the lives of some.

Others should be careful to avoid negative remarks in regard to such experiences.

Speaking in tongues is valid emotionally and psychologically, and this is beneficial.

Different people have different experiences, but no one is ever to disrupt the unity of the church.

B. Subjective experience alone is not adequate concerning the gift.

Obviously a feeling of well being alone is not sufficient to declare any event valid.

Feelings are fickle.

Experiences must be objective as well as subjective.

C. Negative and positive results have been observed in the use of the gift.

Dependance on a charismatic leader rather than Jesus Christ is dangerous.

God does not give direction in a magical way, but In a rational way.

Often the usage of the gift alienates rather than unites.

Conclusion

The criteria that determines the validity of speaking in tongues is whether it is building up the church.

Another way to evaluate the use of tongues is to discover what the fruits of such experiences are, look at Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  

In conclusion my research on the gift of tongues has convinced me that it can be a learned behaviour which can bring a sense of power and well being.

It may also lead to excesses resulting in community disruption.

It is the use of tongues which determines whether or not it is constructive.

Micah said that true religion was to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

If the practice of speaking in tongues produces these fruits, then it looks to me to be a responsible use of the experience.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

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