Thursday, June 23, 2011

True Tongues a Spiritual Gift

Is the gift of tongues of the mind or a gift of the Spirit? Is this gift cognitional or personally experiential? Tongues was first openly heard in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Was it also heard when Phillip, Peter, and John ministered in Samaria? 

Variety of Tongues Like Rays of Light”

(Variety of Tongues from the same Spirit,
like Rays of Light from the same Sun.
Photo by Bill Hunt © 2011.)

When I don't know what or how to pray, the gift of tongues becomes a treasure working in my spirit (Rom 8:26). The Holy Spirit prays within me according to the mind of God.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than
all of you” (1 Cor 14:18 NIV), said the Apostle Paul.

Telling someone about a gift of the Holy Spirit who has not experienced it is really like trying to tell someone about true love. Love is not first cognitional, of the mind, although it involves the intellect. Primarily, it is experiential, or we could say, of the heart. Love must first be experienced to be understood!

When your listener first hears of love, he will accept it on faith, reject it for lack of experience, or misinterpret it with his own limited knowledge. He could even build a defense of religious doctrine about himself to protect his unbelief. But man’s doctrine never rules God’s reality.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and
today and forever (Heb 13:8 NIV).”

That is one reason God’s supreme command of love must first be lived by the believing disciple who attempts to witness the gospel. Conviction, faith, and experience are the works of the Holy Spirit. The believing disciple has no place to condemn another for his ignorance, but for the grace of God he would be in the same condition.

The witness must exercise patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So it is with attempting to witness the true manifestations of the Holy Spirit, for, as disciples, we are indeed called to witness truth.

But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what
we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 NIV).

In JERUSALEM, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit poured himself on the church in tongues of fire to each of the 120 disciples assembled in earnest prayer.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4 NKJV).”

The initial baptism of the Holy Spirit is often marked by a foreign languages not known to the speaker or by glossolalia (spiritual sounds). In my case, as a linguist I recognized Indonesian, although it was not otherwise spoken by me. One thing I know, the true gift of tongues is not taught by men, but a spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit.

A similar outpouring happened again to the Jerusalem believers a few days later.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 NKJV).

Missionaries told of a Japanese prayer group praying in tongues regularly followed by healings and miracles. Years ago, I prayed in a home prayer group with Tulsa Christian Fellowship, where starting in tongues was regularly followed by answered prayers.

As the church began to spread, Peter and John followed Phillip into SAMARIA to minister this baptism of the Holy Spirit to the new converts there.

Then they laid hands on them, and they
received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17 NKJV).

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal 6:8 NKJV).

As scripture theologians report, the amazing thing was the original language of the Bible implies Simon heard some kind of utterance that caused him enthusiastically and mistakenly to want to buy this gift with money.

Peter rebuked Simon.

At the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Samaritans, Simon, himself, enthusiastically responded when he heard this utterance coming from his fellow new believers. In fact, he was so intrigued by it, he was mistakenly ready to buy it.

You have neither part nor portion in this matter ((utterance)), for your heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:21 NKJV).

The word for “matter” is the Greek “logos” meaning “word” or “kind of speaking” or “kind of utterance.” So Simon’s hearing of this “speaking” at the baptism of the Holy Spirit caused an enthusiastic response in this now former “clever wizard,” highly regarded in the region. And Simon, as a result, repented of his mercenary response.

We fault Simon, but the truth appears, people today hear tongues or see healings or miracles or other manifestations of the Holy Spirit and are far more reluctant to believe or to obtain them!

Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:39-40 NKJV).

--Bill Hunt

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Starry Dawn said...

Hi Bill,
Great post!! Superb food for thoughts and water for the soul for our spiritual nourishment.
Thank you for sharing, Bill!!
God bless you and those you love!!
Love in Christ,
Poet Starry Dawn.

BILL said...

Thank you,

There is great meaning when Paul says he thanks God for speaking in tongues more than anyone. He is really trying to suggest its importance.

Love, Bill