31st August 2016
The nature of true worship involves the overflow of the heart to God and this overflow is primarily expressed through our mouths. The cry of David’s heart was “his praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1). Of course this is easier said than done! Perhaps this is the very reason that God chose something so unexpected and unusual as speaking in tongues to be the first miracle of the early church.
Speaking in tongues was a brand new form of praising God. When the people in Jerusalem saw and heard this miracle, they exclaimed: “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! (Acts 2:11).” God was releasing a new form of worship, prayer and prophetic speech in the earth. Tongues, prophecy and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit show God’s desire to place a supernatural miracle in the mouths of his people.
Tongues caused quite a stir of questions and confusion in ancient times and things have not changed much today. Speaking in tongues is still a controversial topic but the Bible has a lot to say about the value of this gift and how it impacts us and those around us. Below is a brief summary of Paul’s instruction to the believers at Corinth about the use of tongues in public worship.
Main points of I Cor 14:
- Those who speak in tongues are speaking to God (v.2)
- Speaking in tongues edifies (builds up/strengthens) the speaker (v.4)
- Paul desired for all to speak in tongues and to prophesy (v.5)
- When gathered, use gifts for benefit of the whole body (v. 12)
- Tongues can be used in: Speaking, Praying and Praising (vv.13-17) but it will not strengthen others without interpretation
- Tongues is a sign for unbelievers and prophecy is for believers (v. 22)
- In gatherings, if everyone speaks in tongues, it confuses (v. 23)
- In gatherings, prophecy will convict unbelievers that God is real (v.24)
- Tongues with interpretation has the same effect as prophecy (v.27)
The Bible has a lot to say about tongues and the other gifts of the Spirit and this should challenge us. Are we experiencing everything God has for us? The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is distinct from Baptism into Christ (which happens at salvation when the Holy Spirit baptises us into Jesus and His body (I Cor 12:13), or water baptism when a fellow believer baptises us in water following salvation (Matt 3:11). We need the third baptism as well which takes place when Jesus baptises us with the Holy Spirit and we are filled with the same love and power that He had while on earth (Acts 1:8).
In the book of Acts, the baptism with the Holy Spirit was accompanied with supernatural speech and there is no reason to believe that anything has changed today. God is freely pouring out His Spirit on all who will receive.
Get into the overflow of the Spirit. Receive the amazing gift of God and watch how God will release supernatural words from your mouth, words that will bring lasting impact. We still need this peculiar miracle in our mouths!
Have you received?