Let's pray, and I just want you to pray briefly that the Lord will speak to you. Father, we thank You for what we have received, and for what we're about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
I want you to turn with me to 1 Corinthians 12. We're going to read quite a long passage of Scripture, it's necessary as we look today at "Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues". So, we're going to read chapter 12 verse 10, and then we're going to drop down to verse 27. OK, so 12:10: "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". Down to verse 27 then: "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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way".
Then you've got this passage on love, the more excellent way. Chapter 14, now we're going to read the whole chapter, OK? So hang in there with me! Chapter 14 verse 1: "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 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. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? 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. Otherwise, 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? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. 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. Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. In the law it is written: 'With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me' says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. How is it then, brethren? 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. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints". We go down now to verse 36: "Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore", and these are Paul's closing words on this matter of spiritual gifts, "brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order".
Let me just give you a quote before we go on any further. In the midst of everything that God is doing regarding spiritual gifts, this is one I came across by R. Loren Sandford during the week, and I think it's apt: "If the goal is to be supernatural, you will end up shipwrecked; but if the goal is intimacy with Jesus, you will end up supernatural". I think that's marvellous. It summarizes some of what I said in my first week. If you're just joining us for the first this week, there's going to be an awful lot of concentration on tongues interpretation, but it'd be good for you to hear that introduction - just so everything can be in the context of pursuit of Jesus. It's all about Jesus. Let's, in the midst of what God is pouring out among you here in The Journey [Church], not miss the Giver for focusing on the gifts. Alright?
Now, this is how we have sort of categorized these gifts, it's not perfect - I've explained why previously, I'll not do that just now. There's overlap with all these gifts, but we have tried to categorize them into vocal gifts, revelation gifts, power gifts. Last week I was with you, we looked at power gifts, the week before revelation gifts. The power gifts being: faith, healing, miracles; revelation gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits. But these next two weeks, we're looking at the vocal gifts - specifically this week: tongues and interpretation of tongues; and next week: prophecy. This is the point - and again, this was a foundation that I laid on our first introductory week, that the gifts of the Spirit are all about edification. We find this word repeated over and over again in these three chapters, particularly 12 and 14.
To 'edify' means 'to build up'. If gifts are happening in the church, as they were in Corinth, but people were not benefiting from them, that's not the purpose of them and why the Holy Spirit gives them. This week in particular, we're seeing that edification comes from mutual understanding. Specifically in the area of tongues, if people don't understand anything that's being said in a public capacity, they can't be built up. So edification comes from mutual understanding - and whilst a person, if you look at verse 4 of chapter 14, can edify themselves speaking in tongues; look at the verse: 'He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself', the purpose of the gifts being used publicly - that's an important emphasis, as we'll see later - the importance of the gift of tongues being used publicly, and any gift in the church publicly used, is to edify, corporate edification.
So look at verse 28 of chapter 14: 'If there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God'. Verse 16, look at verses 16 and 17: 'Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit', so that's speaking in tongues, '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? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified'. So, in a public capacity, if there is tongue-speaking as a message to the church, but no interpreter, it's useless - it's a waste of time, because understanding is necessary for edification. Keep that principle in mind.
So edification doesn't happen, if everybody's doing their own thing. So what Paul is doing in this passage is, he's teaching order and procedure. You've got to appreciate that these Corinthians were highly charismatic and also, because of that, they knew what tongues and interpretation and prophecy were. So we have to play catch-up a little bit, and ask some more basic questions. So, in the time we have, I want to go into depth into this portion of Scripture, and hopefully it will be a help to you. First of all, we're looking at the gift of speaking in tongues or kinds of tongues, various tongues.
Now in biblical history, if we go right back to the book of Genesis, we find in chapter 11 that the whole earth was one and they were of one speech. Then, you know what happened, they exalted themselves and wanted to become like gods and reach heaven. They built the Tower of Babel, and in Genesis 11:6-7 we read that the Lord saw that the people were one, their language was one, and they began to do things and would not be restrained. And the Lord said, 'I'm going to come down, and confound or confuse their language that they may not understand one another's speech'.
So, fast forward into the New Testament Church, and there's this gift of tongues - and surely it's redemptive, as a sign of the reversal of everything that happened at the Tower of Babel. Going right forward from this day into the book of Revelation, we see what will happen when every tongue, every tribe, and every nation will come together to worship the Lamb in Heaven. It's a foretaste, is it not, of the unity of language in Heaven. Yet here on Earth, at this particular time - we saw this principle, 'Now and not yet', that's the kingdom of God - so we don't get perfect healing now, but there's little deposits, foretastes of it now that God gives when His Kingdom comes to earth. In the same sense, the gift of tongues is not perfect; at certain times it's given in partial ways. All the gifts, as we saw from chapter 13 verse 9: we know in part, we prophesy in part, they're all imperfect - and they're all imperfectly exercised. This is even a two-step process, this gift of tongues: the speaking has to be interpreted, but it's still an improvement on Babel, isn't it? It still gives us a kind of touch of what it's going to be one day in the consummation of the Kingdom of God in Heaven.
The first time we find tongues in the New Testament is in Acts chapter 2 - you might want to turn there for a moment - on the day of Pentecost. We read there in verse 4: 'And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance'. Now the miracle was the speaking in tongues, it wasn't the hearing, as some people say. If you look at verse 11, you see that there were various people - verse 9 through 10 and 11, and it says, 'We hear', these different nations all there for Pentecost Feast, they're all Jews but from different areas, 'We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God'. The miracle was not that they heard their own language, the miracle was that the other people were speaking it.
They heard the mighty works of God in their own language. Now surely this is symbolic, at the very beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, of how the gospel is going to be taken to the four corners of the world. In fact, this is what begins to unfold in Acts chapter 8 - you find Holy Spirit, chapter 2, is poured out on the Jews; chapter 8, on the Samaritans; chapter 10, upon the Gentiles in Cornelius' house; and chapter 19, upon the Ephesians, a group of Gentiles who were a little bit left behind - but on all those occasions of the baptism of the Spirit in Acts chapters 2, 8, 10 and 19, there was speaking of tongues, except in chapter 8. OK, so speaking tongues in chapter 2 among the Jews, chapter 10 among the Gentiles, chapter 19 among the Ephesian Gentiles; and in chapter 8 tongues isn't mentioned, but something took place that impressed Simon the Magician when the Holy Spirit came after the laying on of the hands of the apostles - so there was some demonstrative evidence that the Holy Spirit had come upon these people, that Simon wanted and he was prepared to give money for. So I suggest to you that it probably was tongues, although we don't have explicit evidence for that. So that's where we have to be very careful about making rules about the gifts of the Spirit. Laying on of hands happened on two of those occasions of those four baptisms of the Spirit; but on two of the occasions the Spirit sovereignly came. It's like the healings that have been here over the weeks: some people received it after laying on hands, with some people it was sovereign. So let's not make too many rules.
On the basis of Acts chapter 2, some people say tongues must always be known languages. The reason why they say that is, the Greek word for tongues is 'glossa', and it essentially means 'languages', and that's how the reader would have understood that word 'glossa'. 'Tongues' is a wee bit more of a strange term, isn't it? It's literally 'languages', but I ask you the question: what other word would Paul have used for this phenomena? Other material indicates that this is often - it can be ordinary languages as it was in Acts 2, but often, more often perhaps, it's something more than mere languages. Look at chapter 14 verse 2 quickly: 'He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him'. At times, in tongue-speaking, no-one understands except God.
So, this seems to be, in verse 2 of chapter 14, more about prayer, rather than preaching the mighty works of God. When you think about it, it would probably be very rare in the New Testament early church for unbelievers of other nationalities to be in the gathering. Of course, think about what Paul has already said in our reading, Paul actually discourages people from speaking in tongues without interpretation when unbelievers are there. So if it was the case - and follow with me, I know I'm going quick, but try and stick in there - if tongues was to be in ordinary world languages, so that foreign people would understand, why is Paul saying: 'Don't speak in it when there are unbelievers there, even foreigners, and you always need an interpreter'? It appears to be a contradiction, but it's not, of course. It's probably showing a distinction in certain kinds - remember the plural is there in the gift, kinds of tongues speaking.
If you look at verse 18 of chapter 14: 'I thank my God', Paul says, 'I speak with tongues more than you all'. Why would Paul be speaking known languages in private where there's no one to listen or to receive it? Listen: just because tongues is known languages once in the Bible in Acts chapter 2, it doesn't mean it always is a known language. Some people use Acts chapter 2 as a blueprint for tongues-speaking - but I have to warn you about that, because there's certain unique things that happened in Acts 2 that never happened again. Tongues of fire came upon their heads. We don't know of that ever happening again. I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm just saying that it happened in Acts 2, but, as far as we know, never again when the people were speaking in tongues. They were all speaking together at once. Yet, Paul says in Corinthians 'only two or three at the most, and then there has to be quietness' - but they were speaking in unison. That may allow us in praise and in various prayer contexts to speak in tongues together without interpretation - when it's not a message to the church.
The instruction in Corinth is: not as many can speak at once, but only two or three. Acts is also an historic record of the first account of speaking in tongues, whereas Corinthians is an explicit teaching: how it was to be exercised in the church many years after Acts chapter 2. So I give you a question: should Acts 2 regulate tongue-speaking in the church today, or should Corinthians 12 and 14? Which should be regulative? Now think about this for a moment: in Corinth, Paul actually says the opposite of what happened at Pentecost. Paul says, 'This is what should happen in a church, all should not speak, and the people should know what is said - but if they don't have an interpreter, they won't know what it said'. Whereas, in Acts 2 it says, 'All spoke, and everybody knew what was being said'.
Now don't get me wrong, tongues can certainly be human languages, but there's more to it than that. As I've said, the gift is kinds, various, diverse tongues. It's the same word we get 'genus' from, so the different genres of tongues is a hint to us. Also verse 1 of chapter 13, this love passage, Paul says, 'Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels' - I think that's a nod and a wink to the fact that there are global tongues, known languages, but there are also these angelic type of spiritual tongues that only God understands.
So what are we saying? Verse 2 of chapter 14 says that certain tongue-speaking is speaking to God and not to men, and we speak mysteries - that's what it says - that no-one understands. Verses 11 and 14 talk about the spirit praying without understanding, the spirit animated by the Holy Spirit. Look at verse 14 of chapter 14: 'For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful' - that actually, when you're speaking in tongues, it bypasses, the Holy Spirit bypasses your understanding and your mind. Can I say: that is absolutely, utterly absurd to intellectually-driven Christianity! They just can't get that because, as far as they're concerned, everything must filter through the brain. But you see, tongue-speaking and all the gifts of the Spirit produce humility in those who will receive them.
So what we're talking about in certain tongues, if it's not speaking known languages, it is essentially a form of praise or prayer spoken in syllables not understood by the speaker. Did you get that? A form of praise or prayer spoken in syllables not understood by the speaker. It can be exhortation, but if it's public in the body as a word of exhortation, it has to be interpreted. Now let me ask a couple of questions and seek to answer them.
Is there a difference between public and private tongue-speaking? I've alluded to this already. If you look at chapter 12 and verse 10, it talks about all these gifts of the Spirit, and at the end it speaks of tongues and interpretation of tongues. You look at verse 28, it talks about various gifted people and it ends with variety of tongues. There seems to be an order of importance there. So, Paul is teaching that in public, there are different kinds of ministry to the assembly in public. Look at these, what are often seen as problem verses, verse 29, chapter 12, verses 29 to 30: 'Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?'. The inference there is 'No, they don't all' - so many have concluded that not everyone can have the gift of tongues or have these other gifts. But the strange thing is in verse 5 of chapter 14, Paul says, 'I wish you all spoke with tongues'. Strange, isn't it? If not all do it? Look at verse 23, this may give us a clue to this conundrum: 'Therefore, if the whole church comes together in one place and all speak with tongues', was this happening? 'And there come in those who are uninformed, unbelievers, etc, and they don't understand what you're saying' - but he's saying, 'If this happens, where you all speak with tongues', look at verse 26, 'How is it then, brethren, whenever you come together, each of you has a Psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, each of you has a tongue, a revelation and interpretation?'.
So what's going on? I think chapter 12, those latter verses, are telling us what should not be happening. Certainly not all are prophets, etc, but with regard to tongues - because he says, 'I wish you all spoke with tongues', and this is actually what's happening, and what shouldn't happen, there should be two or three speaking, not all of you. Rather Paul is saying: 'In public - private is one thing, speak in tongues to your heart's content and it will edify you, that's what I do', Paul says, 'but when you're in public, there should be only two or three at the most, and then there has to be interpretation' - but he's not saying that only certain people can have this gift, that's my opinion.
Second question: is tongue-speaking something that happens to you out of your own control? Some people say that it's a kind of ecstatic experience, where God zaps you, and you're kind of forced to speak in this unknown language. Well, even the disciples, on the day of Pentecost, were able to stop their tongue-speaking when Peter began to preach. In verses 27 and 28 of chapter 14, you see Paul says, 'Two or three speak, and if someone else starts speaking, the first person needs to stop'. Now if you're to speak in turn, how could that happen if it's not under your control? Look at verse 32 of chapter 14, Paul says: 'The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets' - now, I know that's about prophecy, but there's a principle here. It seems to indicate that we have the ability to restrain the moving of the Spirit in our spirit. After all, one of the fruit of the Spirit is what? Self-control.
The other six gifts of the Spirit, other than the vocal gifts, the initiative appears to belong more with God, OK? The gifts we've been looking at, God dispenses the gift - but, even in that, the human will has to cooperate. Didn't we see that? There has to be faith, there has to be a risk, there has to be stepping out with miracles. Even with knowledge and wisdom, we have to speak it out and be faithful to what God has imparted. But, especially in the vocal gifts, tongues, interpretation and prophecy, we seem to be more in control of those. God gives the intuition. God gives the animation, but we must speak it out.
Another question many people have out of fear is: what about demonic counterfeits? What if it's not from God, this tongue? What if it's from the devil? What if it's a divided tongue, a serpent's tongue? There's no doubt, there are demonic tongues - but the enemy always counterfeits the true. Do you remember I taught you that? By the way, the Corinthians, they had been big into idolatry in their past, there was demonization among them. You can see that in chapter 10 and verse 20. Some of them were sitting at the table of demons and the table of the Lord. Yet Paul says to them in verse 5 of chapter 14, 'I wish that you all spoke with tongues', so he wasn't worried about them getting something that wasn't from God. There are demonic counterfeits of God's gifts. Yes, some people's gifting can take them further than their character - that's why Jesus said in Matthew 7 and verse 22: 'Many will say to Me on that day, 'Did we not prophesy in Your name, cast out demons and do miracles?'' - and the Lord will say, 'I never knew you', because they practice lawlessness. That's a whole subject on its own. But that does not discount the genuine nature of the gifts that God gives.
The regulation of these gifts is what we found in chapter 12 and verse 3: 'Therefore I make known to you that 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'. In other words, it's the fruit of a person's life. If the Lordship of Jesus is there, that determines whether their gifting is genuinely of God. But I'll tell you this: fear never motivated Paul in teaching on the gifts of the Spirit, so why should it motivate us?
In a pagan context, where there were abuses of these charismatic gifts, Paul did not use fear and ever say, 'Be careful what your lives are like, be careful what gifts you receive, because it might be from demons'. He never did that, because his confidence was in God - even when these Corinthian Christians were behaving in immoral ways because, 1 John 4:4 says 'Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world'. Luke 11 teaches us that if we come to God and ask Him for good gifts, He doesn't give us serpents and scorpions and stones that will harm us; He gives us the things that will nourish us and cause us to thrive. He's a better Father than we are.
Let's move on to interpretation of tongues. Verse 5 of chapter 14, Paul says in the second half of the verse: 'For he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification'. So, think about this: tongues is valueless in a public capacity, when there's a message being given in tongues, unless there is interpretation - but many people say, tongues is the least of the gifts. I don't like people saying that, because tongues with interpretation in the public forum is equivalent to prophecy - that's why it's so important that it's interpreted. You can edify yourself if you speak in tongues personally, but in a public capacity, when it's interpreted, it's like prophecy. That's why we ought to pray for the gift of interpretation.
If you look at verse 2 of chapter 14, you will see that this might indicate a different use of tongues: 'For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him'. There needs to be this interpretation, it's not a known language, an unknown language.
In verses 18 and 19 Paul says, look at it, chapter 14: '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'. So, now think about this for a moment - I know I'm covering a lot of ground here, you can listen to the recording afterwards and dissect it all - but Paul must have spoken in tongues a lot in private. How do we know that? Well, listen: the Corinthians went off the deep-end with tongue-speaking, it was completely out of control, that's why he had to come in to regulate it, and yet he says to them: 'Listen guys, I speak in tongues more than the whole lot you put together'.
So, where was this speaking in tongues, when he says in verse 19, 'But in public, among you in the church, I'd rather speak five words in a known language than 10,000 in an unknown tongue'? That's the difference between private praying in tongues, that Paul did more than anybody, and public speaking: there has to be interpretation.
If edification to the church is important, it must be interpreted. If there's no interpretation, Paul says in verse 20 that we're acting like children. Look at verse 20: 'Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature'. Then he quotes Isaiah chapter 28 verses 11 and 12. Look at the verse: 'In the law it is written: 'With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me''. Now, what is going on here? Paul takes these verses from Isaiah, where God was warning His rebellious people, Israel, that the next words they would hear would be words of a foreign language, the words of the Assyrian army, and that Assyrian army would be God's executioners of judgment upon them. So Paul is taking this principle and telling these folk: when God speaks to people in a language they can't understand, it is a sign of judgment. That's why you shouldn't be speaking in tongues publicly in a message to the church, if there's not an interpreter - because if an unbeliever comes in, it's a sign of judgment to them. Do you get it?
This was a sign of judgment to Israel, hearing foreign languages, Assyrians - and if you don't interpret the tongue that's being spoken publicly, it confuses the unbeliever, they think you're mad, but it's actually a sign of judgment. So pray for interpretation - for without interpretation, tongues is a sign of judgment to unbelievers. By contrast, prophecy is a sign for believers, a sign of blessing. Look at chapter 14 verses 12 to 13, and I'm nearly finished, chapter 14 verses 12-13: 'Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel'. Just let me pause there for a moment: you are meant to seek to excel in spiritual gifts. 'Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret'
If you speak in tongues, and if you have an urge to speak in tongues publicly in the church, you need to pray for the gift of interpretation - and the church needs to pray for the gift of interpretation in its midst. Ask in faith, like Luke 11 says, and after you ask in faith - faith without works is dead - you know what you then need to do: ask in faith, and then step out in faith and do. Just step out in faith and do. Derek Prince puts it like this: 'How do you know you have the right thing, or the right gift? Again, God guarantees that if you ask for the right thing, you will not get the wrong thing. If you ask for the right thing, you will not get the wrong thing. This is faith. If it is in the revealed will of God for His people both to speak and interpret in tongues, ask for it and believe it'.
Now, let me explain one or two more things before I close. Interpretation of tongues is not the same as translation. That's why sometimes you might hear someone speak in tongues, hear an interpretation, and you think: 'That's not God. Sure, that was only a few seconds long, that interpretation, but that person went on and on and on forever in tongues'. It's not a word-for-word translation, it's an interpretation. It could be an interpretation that renders a general sense - it's not a word-for-word equivalence. People's personality can even come into this. I mean, we see that in the Bible writers, the authors of the books, their personality comes forth. It might be a thought, it might be a picture, or an idea that the interpretation comes as. People might have to put words to it, it might only be one or two words of interpretation that a person gets, but when they have faith to step out and give it - all of a sudden, the rest comes. That can be the same with prophecy, as we'll see next week.
Look at chapter 12 verse 6: 'There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all' - it's God. It's to God we must go for these gifts, it's from God that we receive them. Now let me, as I bring this in to land, give you some practicalities if you want to move in speaking in tongues. The supernatural is often more natural than we imagine. One of the biggest obstacles to the supernatural is the desire for the spectacular. So some people are sitting passively waiting on God to zap them - you know, this 'out-of-control' thing we talked about - when really, actually, what it says in Acts 2 is: 'They heard them speak the mighty works of God'. God didn't speak for them, He animated their spirit, but they did the speaking.
Just like Peter had to put one foot out of the boat to walk on water - Jesus didn't walk for him, He kept him above the water, but Peter had to put one foot in front of the other. You've got to speak, if you want to speak in tongues - it will be you speaking, but you've got to speak. This is my word of advice to you: sometimes when we're worshiping, we're praising God, or are in prayer, you will feel something rising up inside you - that's the Holy Spirit, I believe. If you were to open your mouth at that moment, and if you were not to engage your mind as such, but allow that to bypass your mind and come out of your mouth, you'd probably speak in tongues. it might only be a phrase or two, but as you persist, you will find it will deepen and increase - but you've got to take a step of faith.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Journey Church in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth recording in his The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit series, titled "Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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