by Eric Landstrom
Would you agree the following is truth? A single denomination, ministry, group, or individual no matter how blessed by God above does not have the whole truth. God has set up a system of reliance upon others. Beginning from Himself to an individual, out to a family, then a neighborhood, into a city, and finally onto whole nations. That is what the Body of Christ is in effect. I might be the mouth, you may be the hand, others are the mind, still others may be the ears, eyes, and feet. No part less important or necessary than another part. For if it where not so, Jesus would have not separated seven churches in Revelation, nor discussed the separate parts of the body through His Apostles in the cannon of Scripture.
I encourage you to skip out of your local church some Sunday and check out what another part of the body is up to. Talk to the elders you find there--as there is much to be learned.
Because not one of us has the whole truth, you will have to rely on God's Word to guide you in such an effort. Beyond a doubt each church will have truth and certain "untruths" for a lack of a better word. The untruths will generally be the traditions of men. Keep what fits and toss the garbage, always staying in the Word. Never subtracting from it, or adding onto it.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Many people worship our Father in Spirit. Even the unsaved know that. But about this truth? The truth is in the Word itself. Worshiping the Father in the Spirit within the very clear boundaries of the Word.
It is not my intent to tear down, only to build up. So lets discuss this for the sake of revealing truth. I'm going to build to a point about talking in tongues, you tell me if this is what your understanding is as well at the end. Bear with me and lets look at some Scripture because there is a truth that will be revealed here.
God Knows all things
Psalms 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
God knows all of our thoughts, no matter what language we speak to him in.
Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
God knows exactly what we need and will add on what we need if we abide in his will.
1John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
We are blessed by God and all of us do have according to our talents some measure of discernment.
I believe we can agree on what I've said on these scriptures so far, but don't believe me, read the surrounding text of each verse to get the correct context.
Work on the cross
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
This is deep theology here, a book can be written on just this verse to cover everything it means; but I'm going to narrow the scope a bit.
As I do graciously accept that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I accept His forgiveness by His divine grace. I will disagree with all those whom emphasize old covenant law, professing to be Christians. It is my understanding that they should review exactly what got nailed to the cross along with Christ. Another words, unlike the Levite high priest whom jumped through hoops to enter in the Holy of Holies once a year, I can walk right up to the mercy seat anytime I wish and repent because Jesus Himself is my Sabbath -not feast days, Saturdays, or Sundays (see Colossians chapter 2, Hebrews chapter 4). I am free of the law at last! I will love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind! I will love my neighbor as myself (Mat. 22:36-40) and be a witness unto him! Forgiveness is at the heart of the work on the cross. Now I do dwell in that secret place that the Song of Moses teaches us (Deut 32; Ps 90&91). Now I do sing the song of the Lamb (Gospel), for Christ Himself is my Passover! (Rev. 15:3; 1 Cor 5:7)
If any of this is not your understanding, then let me know. Because we should discuss Salvation further before continuing on with the point I'm building to.
In the case of firstfruits, again a large volume could (and should be) be reviewed to fully understand the means that God assigns to this word. In our case we will narrow our focus again to the firstfruits of the spirit. Lets look to the Word to do that.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
This is interesting isn't it? I'm about to be very liberal with the following explanation. This is the promise of what the fruit of Spirit is to those who put their faith in Christ. Verse 25 teaches us to not only talk the talk, but to live it in the flesh as well -followed by a warning not to pursue worldly (merit-less) glory, or bringing each other to wrath, or wishing another's gifts or possessions.
Romans 8:23 And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.
In this instance, we are the firstfruits of the Spirit (God). We have faith that we have been saved, but as we are still flesh and have a rebellious nature, all of us sin. So we ask forgiveness of our transgressions before God, and thus are in a state of being saved. Because we are still part of a flawed creation, we still await to be conformed to the very image of Christ. Our faith is that we will indeed be saved. Thus the saying, you have been saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved. You make want to look at Galatians 2:20 for a little more insight on this truth as well.
1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
God knows exactly what is going on to us and in us. He knows before we do. He knows what is in our hearts and on our minds. You may want to review Romans 8:28-30 to understand more on predestination and freewill.
Speaking in Tongues
Now lets dive into the meat of my point. Lets focus our attention to the day of Pentecost as taught in Acts chapter 2:1-16
1 è And when the day of Pentecost
was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 è And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 è But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Joel 2:28-30)
The word "tongue" in the Greek is "dialektos" which means a dialect of language, or tongue. It is the word which derived "dialect" in English.
The word "tongues" in the Greek is "glossa" which means a language.
Verse 6 sheds some light on what is going on here. Imagine if I were to have the Spirit come over me, and I was to speak in tongues. My audience is a Chinese man, a Frenchman, and a German. None of which know my native English language. The Chinese man would hear me speaking in his native dialect of Chinese. The Frenchman would here me speak to him in his native language of French. And finally the German would hear me speaking to him in his native language of German. As we have regional dialects of English in our own country of the United States, my audience would hear me speaking to them in the regional dialect of their language. Now if this happened, this truly would be a miracle! This is confirmed by what verse 8 teaches us. Look it all over very carefully. Take apart the verses in the Greek. Prove me right, or prove me wrong.
Now lets examine "speaking in tongues" as taught by some Pentecostal churches. The Pentecostal movement tends to emphasize the gifts of the Spirit. The most prominent of these gifts is the speaking of tongues. They focus on experience. They lean on a trial and error method of trying to reach out to God. This way seems to work better than that way. This is known as circular reasoning. Think about the miracle described in Acts 2. Can you "teach" this to others? No I think not.
But you can teach a person whom is sincerely trying to seek truth a prayer language. Now I personally have no problem with whatever language you choose to speak to God in, because have studied the Scriptures I know there are no secrets from God. God knows EVERYTHING that is on your mind, and in your heart whether you want Him to know or not.
Here is the problem. Imagine for a moment that I talk to God. Often and everyday I do. I ask for wisdom and understanding of His Word on a regular basis. God does answer these prayers of mine, blessing me continually with a surprising number of sources as mundane as my speaking to an unsaved person to as spectacular as high theology conversations with a dean of a Bible collage, to genuine Spirit given understandings. However as often as I have been "bathed in the Spirit" as obvious to me that some of my understanding of the Word has come directly from the Spirit, I could never claim to be a prophet, as I never heard the Lord speak to me other than by the ears of the heart. Thus I can never say, "Thus saith the Lord..." If I were to say that, I would expose myself as a false prophet and a form of an antichrist. In my heart of hearts (which God knows all too well) I would know I am speaking falsely -even if I spoke the truth.
So how does this tie into speaking in tongues? Tongues as taught (as if you can teach a blessing from God) teaches the believer to deceive themselves into believing that a gibberish language that parrots the language handed down from their (the believer's) teacher. It counterfeits a genuine miracle by placing mans wisdom ahead of God. It goes against the Word of God, by diverting the believers attention from the very Word they profess to love, into anything else. It goes against the Word of God by emphasizing miracles and the chasing after them ahead of the very thing we love, which is to say Lord Jesus Christ.
My point is that a blessing from the Holy Spirit is not something that can be taught. It is a blessing that is derived from your personal level of faith and nothing else. If a miracle is something that can be taught, then whether you know it or not you are taking on mysticism with Christian sounding names. We are told many times throughout the bible not to do that! The Pharisees as a group prayed longingly for the Messiah to come, but because they had perverted the understanding of Scripture and taken on mysticism they didn't recognize the Anointed One when he did appear. I personally think that many churches are setting up their congregations to fall into the same trap; only this time they will think the false messiah is the Son of God in their ignorance.
From my studies I could say that I could predict the very year that the second advent occurs. I could spend all kinds of time researching our Lord's prophetic time clock, Sabbaths, Jubilee years, years of generations and what not all to come to a reasonable and completely Biblical time that Jesus comes again. But for me to do so would mean for me to error. Beyond the fact that it is for no man to know the time or the hour, I would error because I took my attention from God and started placing it on my own understanding. God has a word for people whom do this, He calls them Fools. (Remember Proverbs 3:5-7)
But in regards to tongues consider the following verses. In fact consider the whole chapter. Further consider the whole chapter of every verse I've brought up thus far! Prove me wrong, your study will delight both the Lord and myself, especially if I am wrong, as then I'll learn something!
1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an [unknown]
tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth
[him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
The True Spiritual Gifts
No more commentary. As commentary by it's very nature is a short cut to understanding (similar to what Satan offered Eve in Genesis 3, but that is another subject), and God wants us all thinking for ourselves. Anyone whom has been studying for six hours a day, I know seeks truth.
I pray that all of this doesn't fall on deaf ears. I will leave you with a thought before leading you into 1 Corinthians 12, is to consider that the remnant of believers during the end times has only two qualifications. They keep the commandments, and they have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17). They are not recognized by their ability to do miracles or speak in tongues, but by obedience to the Lord's eternal law.
Forgive my long windiness, If you see anything wrong here please let me know, but do keep the teachings of man out of it!
1 Corinthians Chapter 12
concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 è For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?
20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 è Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
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