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COME HOLY SPIRIT, BUT WHY TONGUES?

by Delbert Young

Scriptures: Acts 19:1-2, Acts 19:3-6, Mark 16:17, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 14:38-40, 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, 1 Corinthians 14:18, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:11-13, John 7:37-39

(video audio page)

Why tongues?

Are you ready for the Word of God? This lesson will help many of us in many areas. It will refresh some of us. It will inform some of us. And, it will challenge some of us. What I want to talk to you today about is "Tongues." I know many of you have never heard me talk about tongues and many of you come from a background never biblically, scripture by scripture, teaching you about tongues.

Christians frequently forget the importance of the Holy Spirit. We know the Holy Spirit is there, but don't know exactly why. In the Book of Acts, actually Acts of the Holy Spirit, when we find people receiving the Holy Spirit, interestingly, we find them speaking in tongues. In the scriptures and first century church, speaking in tongues is as common as praying the sinner's prayer is today and much more biblical.

Acts 19:1-2 ...Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. THERE HE FOUND SOME DISCIPLES and asked them, "DID YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN YOU BELIEVED?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."

I find it this way today. Disciples - believers - simply don't know about the Holy Spirit. Has anyone ever asked you, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" This isn't a question we ask people today. Let's fix that right now. I'm asking you. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? I hope I didn't insult you by asking. In our religious world today, God's a "package," but obviously he's not. Obviously a person can believe, but not receive the Holy Spirit. Please notice. The Apostle Paul lets us know initial believing (we call it being saved) is a separate experience from receiving the Holy Spirit. Next verse.

Acts 19:3-6 So Paul asked, "THEN WHAT BAPTISM DID YOU RECEIVE?" "John's baptism," they replied. Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were BAPTIZED INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and THEY SPOKE IN TONGUES AND PROPHESIED.

What's the question here? "Then what BAPTISM did you receive?" That's another strange question we don't ask today. Paul baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus - not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul corrected their water baptism. Then what did Paul do? Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and THEY SPOKE IN TONGUES, and prophesied. That's what Paul wanted to see and hear.

Some people and denominations say tongues have ceased. I say either we believe the Bible, or we don't. If you are going to believe the Bible, you've got to deal with speaking in tongues. If you refuse to deal with tongues, you compromise the Holy Spirit.

So, what's the importance of tongues? Of all the things God could have done to show the presence of the Holy Spirit and his coming on the Day of Pentecost God showed the Holy Spirit's coming through tongues. If tongues are that important to Father God, to the Lord Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, and to God's plan showing the Holy Spirit's coming, then speaking in tongues is far more important than any of us realize. So, what is the importance of tongues?

1. SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS A SIGN.

Mark 16:17 And THESE SIGNS WILL ACCOMPANY THOSE WHO BELIEVE: In my name they will drive out demons; THEY WILL SPEAK IN NEW TONGUES

How important is this? We will later talk about the gift of tongues taught in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Here, tongues is a sign - NOT PROOF, but a sign that will accompany those who believe. I want to make certain you understand I am not saying a person is not saved unless they speak in tongues. I am saying if you speak in tongues, I don't have to ask, "Do you believe?" I don't have to ask, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed." I don't have to ask, "What baptism you were baptized into?" You may as well be wearing a sign on your chest and back saying, "I am a believer of Jesus Christ!" You've already given me the sign. The passage in Mark 16 goes on to talk about the sign of laying hands on the sick and their recovery, taking up serpents, and drinking deadly things. The point is speaking in tongues brings a supernatural aspect of power and protection to your life. Speaking in tongues is a sign. No other religion does this. This is a New Testament sign.

2. SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS A GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1 Corinthians 12:10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another SPEAKING IN DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES, and to still another the INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES.

In a church service when the gift of tongues happens, it's something like this... (do it). Afterward, the interpretation comes... (do it). When done correctly it will edify, exhort, and comfort (1Co 14:3, 13). When done incorrectly, people think you're crazy (1Co 14:23). Though gifts, especially tongues and prophecy, can get out of hand, Paul never compromised concerning them.

1 Corinthians 14:38-40 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, AND FORBID NOT TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES. Let all things be done decently and in order.

Though the gift of tongues and all spiritual gifts can get out of hand, Paul said don't forbid it. But, what's happened today. It's frequently forbidden. Tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit.

3. SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS AN AMAZINGLY POWERFUL WAY TO PRAY AND PRAISE. Here is how the apostle Paul personally prayed and sang.

1 Corinthians 14:14-15 For IF I PRAY IN A TONGUE, MY SPIRIT PRAYS, but MY MIND IS UNFRUITFUL. So what shall I do? I WILL PRAY WITH MY SPIRIT, but I will also pray with my mind; I will SING WITH MY SPIRIT, but I will also sing with my mind.

Paul said "a tongue" not "tongues." This was his tongue or his prayer language. By praying in tongues, Paul removed his mind from his prayer and prayed the perfect will of God. Paul didn't understand what he was saying. He didn't understand his tongue. His mind was unfruitful. Praying in tongues is to pray with my spirit. Singing in tongues is singing with my spirit. The mind's purpose is to reason and make logic. Tongues simply do not reason logically to the mind. Therein is the problem people experience. They can't get past their mind. Paul did. He'd bypassed his mind (understanding KJV) and pray with my spirit using his tongue - prayer language. Then Paul said this,

1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I SPEAK WITH TONGUES MORE THAN YE ALL

The apostle was giving his summation on the issue of tongues. Speaking in tongues is to be seen as an honor and a desire for the believer. Paul thanked his God he spoke in tongues. How about you? Have you ever thanked God you spoke in tongues? Have you ever thanked God you spoke in tongues as a sign, or as a gift of tongues, or you interpreted tongues, or prayed in tongues, or sang in tongues? I have, and I probably speak in tongues more than you all. Tongues are for prayer and praise.

4. SPEAKING IN TONGUES DECLARES THE WONDERS OF GOD NOT INSANITY OF MAN.

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. ALL OF THEM WERE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT and BEGAN TO SPEAK IN OTHER TONGUES as the SPIRIT ENABLED THEM.

How would you like to have been there? The Spirit enabled them, but they - all of them - began to speak in other tongues. The point is the Holy Spirit didn't force them to speak in tongues. The Holy Spirit will never "force" you to do anything.

People have different responses mostly based on how they've been taught. It's not the Holy Spirit "making" them act strange or "forcing" them to do weird things. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. As Jesus was calm and collected, so is the Holy Spirit calm and collected. Jesus never lost control of himself. Neither does the Holy Spirit. When I see something happening weird called the Holy Spirit, I question its authenticity. Remember, Jesus did do some strange things. Strange doesn't mean it's not God, but when something doesn't sit right with my spirit especially in a church meeting where I am the leader, I must question it.

They went out on the streets of Jerusalem speaking in tongues. They were not ashamed of their tongues. The Bible lists all the different nations/languages in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Then we read,

Acts 2:11-13 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them DECLARING THE WONDERS OF GOD in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

When I speak in tongues, I don't know what language I'm speaking. It can be any language of men or the language of angels (1Co 13:1). The point is I'm speaking and declaring the wonders of God. The Holy Spirit speaks of the wonderful works of God (KJV).

When you speak the wonderful works of God, you will be edified. Your spirit is built up. Your soul is built up. Your body receives healing. Your mind is washed. You cannot speak in tongues and not feel built up and edified. People do all sorts of things today to calm and de-stress themselves - deep breathing, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, positive thinking, etc. God gave us tongues to do this. How many here who speak in tongues find when you pray in tongues for any length of time, you find a peace, calmness, and inner strength come upon you?

John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, OUT OF HIS BELLY shall flow rivers of living water. (BUT THIS SPAKE HE OF THE SPIRIT, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Why did Jesus use belly? The Spirit's coming is associated with Christ's being glorified. The Spirit is available as a river of living water to each of us. Living water is moving water. The word belly is koilia {koy-lee'-ah} - the whole belly, the entire cavity; the womb, the place where the fetus is conceived and nourished until birth; of the uterus; the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling, choice. It's the same word used describing John the Baptist leaping in his mother's womb (Luk 1:41). Why did Jesus use belly? Receiving the Spirit and flowing with the Spirit cleanses and brings forth life and productivity. From your spirit births your purpose, your genius, your peace, your joy, and your life.

When tongues become a part of your spiritual walk, nearly everything about your life will change. It is like tossing a stick of dynamite into your life. Everything will be somewhat rearranged. Here are some things you can expect to happen when you speak in tongues:

You will no longer fit with your old friends. You will no longer fit in traditional churches. Jesus said you can't put new wine in old wineskins. You're stretching to accommodate the Holy Spirit. Others are not.

You will experience a new hunger for God's word. Likely you've never read the entire Bible. After receiving the Holy Spirit you likely will for first time. The Spirit will give you a new light and understanding.

Your faith level will increase. God somehow seems closer. It's easier to believe God for the miraculous.

I'll end by asking what the Apostle Paul asked, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?"

 

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