The Gifts of Tongues and Interpretations
"To another, divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:10)
I. Tongues in the Book of Acts
A. Referred to three times in Acts, tongues
seems to mean a foreign language.
2. At Cornelius' home, Peter called it "the like gift" as came on Pentecost, likely involving foreign languages. (Acts 10:44-47 and 11:15-18)
3. At Ephesus, disciples of John the Baptist came into knowledge about Christ, also spoke in a foreign language. (Acts 19:1-7)
Note: At Pentecost, the language obstacles were removed as each heard in his own language. Modern tongues-speaking does the opposite by setting up a language barrier, which without interpretation cannot be overcome.
B. When the tongue was foreign, interpretation would be the ability to translate by someone who did not know the language.
II. Purpose of the Gift
A. To authenticate the Gospel messengers
2. To the Gentiles at Cornelius' house, tongues were used to convince the skeptical Jewish believers that the Gospel was for Gentiles too. (Acts 10)
3. At Ephesus, the 12 disciples saw the reality of Paul's new message, evidenced by tongues (I Corinthians 14:22)
4. When Tongues were used, Jews were always present. They were a sign to the Jews. (I Corinthians 1:22)
B. Spirit given abilities must be directed
outward, to edify the church.
III. Limitations on Tongues
A. Tongues are not the sign of baptism
in the Spirit.
2. John's saying of Matthew 3:11 came true on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4)
3. The Spirit came at Pentecost without answer to pErnester, or fulfillment of any condition.
4. Nowhere are believers commanded to seek the baptism of the Spirit.
B. Tongues are not biblical method of Christian
2. Tongues are mentioned in only 2 of 27 New Testament books. We are however, encouraged to "grow in grace an in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18)
3. Modern day tongues are found outside of Biblical fundamental circles. (Known among Zulus, Hinduism, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, spiritualists)
C. Tongues are not the sign of maturity
2. The mark of spirituality is not tongues-speaking, but fruit bearing. (Galatians 5:22-23) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy..."
3. Some of God's greatest servants never spoke in tongues; George Muller, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday.
Note: John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said "no one greater had arisen," never spoke in tongues.
D. Tongues are not a church-building gift.
2. Tongues were to be strictly governed lest unbelievers in the service conclude that the people "are mad." (I Corinthians 14:23)
A. The Early Church was not known for their ability to speak in tongues, but rather for turning the world upside down, preaching in understandable words. (Acts 17:6)
B. The gift served its major purpose in apostolic days. (Authenticating the message, and the messenger)
C. Beware of majoring on the minors.
D. Don't interpret the Bible by experience, but interpret experience by the Bible.
E. Paul emphasized a clear presentation of the Word to be superior than incomprehensible, ecstatic speech. (I Corinthians 14:19)
F. Tongues is not mentioned in the qualifications for being a pastor. (I Timothy 3:1-13)
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