What is the Gift of Tongues?

1Co 12:1-14 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Who gave the gift of tongues and why?

Mar 16:17-20 Jesus says, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

1Co 12:7 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1Co 14:12 “…for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”

Not everyone is going to speak in tongues.

The manifestation of the Spirit is give to all, but the gifts manifested in each through the Spirit vary, “for to one is given….wisdom” “to another…[is given] tongues.” 1 Cor 12:7-8

If we tried to all have the same spiritual gift, we would not function properly.

1Co 12:16-18 “And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” (Note this passage comes directly out of Paul’s commentary on Spiritual Gifts)

Are tongues still being used today? Or have tongues ceased?

If tongues were not meant for us today, then are the other gifts in this list also not meant for today? I think we would have a lot of trouble functioning as a church today if all of these things were no longer meant for us to have and use today.
1 Co 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

What is the gift of tongues actually used for?
How does using tongues actually work?

1Co 14:2 “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

1Co 14:4 “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…”

1Co 14:14 “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

1Co 14:15 “…I will pray with the spirit…I will sing with the spirit…”

1Co 14:16 “…if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” (You can bless and give thanks in tongues with the spirit, but this blessing and giving of thanks are only understood by other’s if there is an interpretation of what is said.)

1Co 14:22 “…tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers

How do we use tongues correctly?

1Co 12:31-13:3
“But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have…all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Paul says, “Earnestly desire the best gifts,” and then he says: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1Co 13:13
Pauls says after this is, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts…” 1Co 14:1

So if we are using spiritual gifts (no matter which gift) we need to make sure we are using it with love.

How do we use tongues correctly in church?

Paul says, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” 1Co 14:18-19 (Notice, he says, “in the church.” Outside the church, Paul thanks God for the gift of tongues he has through the Spirt.)

1Co 14:13-15 “…let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret….I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

1Co 14:26-28 “…Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”
1Co 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
1Co 14:39-40 “…do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Can the gift of tongues be abused?
Yes, just like any other spiritual gift, tongues can be abused. I believe this is exactly why Paul included the statements above about how tongues need to be used decently and in order. Don’t rob the church of the blessing of tongues and interpretation in fear of them, but use them the right way through the Spirit.

Just like a true Christian should reflect the nature of Christ.
True tongues given by the Spirit should reflect the nature of the Spirit.

If tongues are not matching who the Spirit is, then either they have not been given by the Spirt of Christ, or they are not being used according to the way Scripture says to use them. Both are an abuse of this gift.

1Jo 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

2Th 3:13-15 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

Believer’s receiving the gift of tongues

Act 10:43-46 “‘To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.’ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.”

Act 19:1-6 “And it happened…Paul…came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’… when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

Challenge: 1Co 12:1-14 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant (Agnoeō)”
1. to be ignorant, not to know
2. not to understand, unknown
3. to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong

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What does the Bible say about Darkness vs. Light?

Saul’s conversion is an interesting story in Scripture, because Saul describes the moment himself in Act 22:6-8 this way: “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus…suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I…heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’”

Here’s the interesting thing, Saul, who was a Pharisees, would have known these verses.

Isa 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.”

Psa 27:1 “…The LORD is my light and my salvation…”
Psa 104:1-2 “…O LORD my God…Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment…”
Psa 118:27 “God is the LORD, and He has given us light…”

Hab 3:3-4 “God came from Teman…His brightness was like the light…”

Saul knew God was Light, but suddenly Jesus, who Saul thought was a false teacher, is the one talking to him as the Light–something Jesus had already said about Himself and which several of His disciples had already witnessed.

Jhn 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke…saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”

Jhn 9:3-5 Jesus answered, “… I am the light of the world.”

Jhn 12:44-46 “Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘…I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.’”

Mat 17:1-2 “…Jesus…was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”

Saul did not get to see Jesus transfigured here on earth, and yet Saul saw a great light, and notice what Saul (now Paul) later says in Ephesians in encouragement to the believers:

Eph 1:15-21 “Therefore I also…do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…that you may know what is the hope of His calling…according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

Eph 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

Light vs. Darkness

For interest sake, without even looking at what Light means in direct relation to God, but simply looking at a Biblical comparisons of light versus darkness, let’s see what we know.

Gen 1:4 “…God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Job 30:26 “But when I looked for good, evil came to me;
and when I waited for light, then came darkness.”

Ecc 2:13 “Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.”

Isa 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness…”

Act 26:17-18 “…in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…”

Light is: good, wisdom, and God.
Darkness is: evil, folly, and Satan.

2Co 4:6 “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Challenge: Declare the message. 1Jo 1:5 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

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What does the Bible say about Apologizing?

Interesting fact: you won’t find the word “apology,” “apologize,” or “apologizing” in the Bible.

So….? What does this mean for our concept of apologizing? Well, actually, I hope it changes it. And here’s why, because we need to get rid of this idea of apologizing and instead return to what we’re supposed to be doing and that’s repenting.

What are the differences between these two words and why does God say repent (a lot!) and does not say apologize?

What does “Apology” mean?
(Merrian-Webster Dictionary) Apology: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret
(Google’s Dictionary) Apology: a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure

Now let’s look at the meaning of Repent—a word which actually is in the Bible.

What does “Repent” mean?
(The Merrian-Webster dictionary)
Repent: 1 to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2 a. to feel regret or contrition b. to change one’s mind
(What does “amend” mean? 1. to put right… 2 a.to change or modify (something) for the better)

Blue Letter Bible Greek Lexicon:  (Metanoeō is used 34x)
Repent: Metanoeō
1. to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
2. to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

Remember what amend means? TO PUT RIGHT!

Blue Letter Bible Hebrew Lexicon (Shuwb is used 1,066x)
Repent: Shuwb
1. to return, turn back

Repenting isn’t just expressing remorse or saying “sorry.”

Repenting is actually setting right, amending, changing, turning away from that which you have done, said, or been a part of that was wrong!

An “apology” is saying: “Yes, I made this mess, and I regret it.”

Repenting is saying: “I regret making this mess. I will clean up this mess. And in the future I will not make this mess again.” And then doing it!

Challenge: Don’t just apologize. Actually do what God says—repent!

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Practical Application of Worldview: Bearing One Another’s Burdens

What does it mean to bear one another’s burdens? “Bearing” comes from the concept of carrying a burden.
Do you ever feel like you are burdened by something? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a physical or emotional burden you were carrying? Guess what, you’re not alone. In fact, two of the most well-known Spiritual leaders in the Bible also struggled with this feeling of being over burdened.

Num 11:11-14 “So Moses said to the LORD…“I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me….
Num 11:16-17 “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel…I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.’”

Psa 38:1 “A Psalm of David….my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me….I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly….my strength fails me.… and my relatives stand afar offin You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God….I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong. And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied.… Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

David later says this in another Psalm

Psa 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

And Jesus says in Mat 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls….”

Now, if we are to be an example of Christ to others…how should we be responding to one another’s burdens?

Gal 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

And Gal 6:9-10 says, “…let us not grow weary while doing good…Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Why especially to the household of the faith?

Our brothers and sisters in Christ should be the easiest people to love in this way. Helping to bear the burden of a dear brother or sister should be a joy. We should be excited to stand along side each other, encouraging and supporting one another. So why do we seem to have such reservations, such fears, such disregard for the burdens of other Christians?

Who, if they saw a fellow Christian trying to carry a huge box alone, would walk past and not pause to help them? In the same way, who, when seeing an emotional or spiritual burden weighing them down, would not pause to help them? Surely, to leave them carry that burden alone, would not be love.

Mat 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The epitome to how God feels about how we should respond to other’s heavily burdened, is that God even cares about the animals of our enemies who are too heavily burdened and tells His people how they should respond. Exo 23:5 “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.”

How much more so should we be responding to people who are heavily burdened?

Challenge: Bear one another’s burdens, especially those who are of the household of the faith.

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P A of W: Do We Need God All The Time?

What if God didn’t do anything for a day? What if we were on our own?

There’s this mindset that develops in us, this idea that most of the time we’ve got this life thing handled. It’s only when things go wrong, it’s only when our life get’s crazy and out of control, that we need God. And in those moments that’s when we run to Him and are like, “Hey, God, I actually need Your help today.”

But otherwise, when things are going well, we act like we’ve got it and God can just chill, because we don’t need His aid or intervention at that moment.

Its like, we have this mistaken perspective that God’s hands are only needed on the wheel when we ask them to be, and, that the rest of the time, we can and are actually doing just find driving on are own.

So let’s picture it: It’s a sunny Fall day, we’re behind the wheel, heading to visit a friend. We’re cruising at 65mph, sipping our chai latte, and jamming to some tunes. Do we need God in this moment? What is God actually doing for us right at this moment? Aren’t we basically doing great on our own?
Who is God exactly? (Note: I’m not asking, who is He to you. No, I’m asking: Who is God?)

Let’s pause, go back, and ask ourselves our earlier question: What if for a day God stopped doing what God does?

What if, in that moment while you’re going 65 and drinking your latte, God no longer kept the earth spinning or gravity working? What if God ceased giving the sun its light or keeping your heart pumping? What if He stopped holding your body together and quit keeping atoms united? What if… what if for a single moment God stopped doing what God does?

Jer 31:35 “…Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night…(The LORD of hosts is His name)…”

Col 1:17 “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NIV)

Job 38:1-41 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:…“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements?…
“Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’
Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth… Have you entered the springs of the sea?… Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail…By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth?
Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt… Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen.
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings…
“Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?…”

Challenge: Next time your tempted to think you’ve got this life thing handled on your own, remember Who’s really holding everything together. God is truly good all the time! And all the time, God is needed!

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P A of W: Why is Prophecy Such a Big Deal?

God used prophets to communicate with His people, and God does not lie. Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

The problem is, unlike God, man will lie. When God’s speaks, we know it will be the truth. But when God communicates through a prophet it get’s tricky because man will lie. This is why prophecy is such a bid deal.

God does not like lies or people messing with His name and what He has to say. He makes this statement in Lev 19:11-12 “You shall not…deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.”

Now this may sound like God’s making a statement or suggestion, but actually when God says, “you shall not,” it’s really more like a WARNING, particularly when it comes to prophets. God does not tolerate prophets who lie.

Deu 18:14-22 “…the LORD said to me: ‘…I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
“And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Apply above verse “that prophet, who presumes to speak in God’s name whom God did not command, shall die”)

Jer 14:14-15 And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed!’”

God clarifies to His people how they are to know which prophets are His and which aren’t so there is no confusion about who speaks on His behalf. Why is prophecy such a big deal? It’s so important, because God not only use prophets and prophecy to communicate with His people, He also used them to predict the manifestation of Himself.

2Pe 1:16-21 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Challenge: God is not a man that He should lie. Everything He promises takes place. He is worthy of your devotion. He is worthy of your trust. Do you believe this? Do you live it?

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P A of Worldview: Prophets Do What? (Part 3)

How does God communicate with His prophets?
Who were some of the first people actually called God’s prophets?

(I would argue that Noah was a type of prophet and so was Joseph, but let’s focus on those actually first called “prophet”)

Exo 7:1 “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet (nabiy).'” (This is the second use of the word “prophet” in the Bible, the first is in Gen 20:7 and is speaking of Abraham)

(The first use of the word “naba’”) Num 11:14-25 “‘I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me…’ So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel…I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you….’ So Moses went out… and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people… Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon [Moses], and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied (naba’), although they never did so again.”

(Ways God communicates with His prophets) Num 12:5-8 “Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, ‘Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD.’”

(Moses was also considered a prophet, and next after him Joshua) Deu 34:9-10 “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face…”
(Note: This is from Deuteronomy, before the time of Elijah and John the Baptist)

Challenge: What have you learned so far about prophecy and prophets that you didn’t know? Or what have been some of your thoughts while reading about prophesy and prophets?

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