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Daily Bread - February 28, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 09:02
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: Praying and Singing in the Spirit - Part 2

Paul also admonishes us not only to sing in tongues, but to pray in tongues
as well. He calls us to pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit
(Ephesians 6:18). Praying in the Spirit cannot be limited to praying with
the understanding when Paul made it clear what he meant by praying in the
Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14:15. Just as he described singing in the Spirit
in contrast to singing in the understanding the same application is given
for prayer.

Some will say that their translation does not capitalize the word for
'Spirit' in 1 Corinthians 14:15, as it does in Ephesians 6:18. However,
what one must understand is that it is a subjective option for the
translator because only the context can imply it. If a translator does not
believe that praying in the Spirit is referring to God praying through us
in 1 Corinthians 14:15, then they are going to translate it as though it is
our spirit that prays somehow apart from the Holy Spirit. However, our
spirits have been joined unto the Holy Spirit, and therefore when our
spirit prays, it is under His leadership and guidance (1 Corinthians
14:14). These are not the things that our spirit is inventing, but the
direct utterances of the Holy Spirit praying through us (Acts 2:4; 1
Corinthians 12:10).

As previously mentioned, Jude also instructed us to build up ourselves in
our most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20). We certainly
cannot exclude praying in tongues when we refer to praying in the Holy
Ghost. Praying in the Holy Ghost is unique to the New Testament, and there
is no reason to believe that a different meaning is being implied.
Certainly, praying in the Spirit is equivalent to praying in the Holy
Ghost. This is a different kind of prayer than is typically heard coming
from many whose prayers are of their own thoughts and knowledge. Praying in
the Holy Ghost is God Himself praying through us. One of the many beautiful
things about praying in tongues is that we learn to yield to God the Holy
Ghost in a way that bypasses our thoughts and knowledge. As we learn to
yield to what the Holy Ghost is saying in tongues, we are taught to more
effectively yield to Him with our understanding also. So by practical
application, if you asked anyone who does not believe in tongues to pray in
the Holy Ghost, they would be at a total loss of what to do.

Praying in the Holy Ghost is a wonderful part of the new creation. The Holy
Spirit Himself makes intercession through us as He prays concerning the
things that we need, according to the will of the Father and the mind of
Christ (Romans 8:26-27). Allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of those
things that we pray for with all prayer and supplication is an amazing gift
(Ephesians 6:18). Through this wonderful activity of God that infuses us
with divine speech, we find ourselves operating in the mind of Christ
rather than in our own limited understanding.

The heavenly and supernatural activity of the Holy Ghost praying through us
will quiet our lives and still everything around us, causing us to more
deeply yield ourselves to Him. Praying by the Spirit will impact every
dimension of our lives because through it we learn to yield every part of
or being to Him. We are not only influenced in our thinking and ability to
communicate, but also in our emotions, passions, and attitudes. Once again,
the prayer of the Holy Spirit has two expressions: one is the language that
no man understands, and the other is the prayer that is in our own tongue
(1 Corinthians 14:2, 15). These two expressions of prayer should always
accompany one another in those who have allowed the Holy Spirit to mature
their prayer life.
 
Daily Bread - February 27, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 27 February 2017 10:40
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: Praying and Singing in the Spirit - Part 1

It is important to emphasize that there is a difference between operating
in tongues for the sake of prayer and worship versus delivering a message
(1 Corinthians 14:2, 15, 27). On the day of Pentecost, there were those who
supernaturally heard in their own language the worship being expressed
through the tongues that the whole assembly was speaking simultaneously.
Yet, also keep in mind there were those who did not have the same
supernatural experience. All they could hear and see was a group of people
speaking in other tongues, and they mocked them (Acts 2:13). The same
religious mockers are here today. They think that the expression of tongues
is the product of reproachful men. What all these men need to hear, both
then and now, is this: we are not drunk or carried away with some excess or
demonic power, but this is what was prophesied by Joel. We are in the last
days and God has poured out His Spirit, and this is what it looks like
(Acts 2:15-16). This is the heavenly ministry of our resurrected Savior,
Who is the One Who Baptizes in the Holy Ghost and power. This is the proof
that He has received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and
poured out this that can be seen and heard; yet, mistaken by the religious
as excess and debauchery (Acts 2:33).

There are other important points that Paul makes with regard to praying and
singing in the Spirit. Paul tells the church at Ephesus not to be drunk
with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The impact of
being filled with the Spirit is to speak out psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs -the giving of thanks to God. First, take note there is no
difference between being filled with the Spirit and being baptized with the
Spirit. The last statement that Jesus made before He ascended up into
heaven was that "just as John had baptized in water, they would be baptized
in the Holy Ghost" (Acts 1:5). When they were baptized, the Scripture
refers to it as being filled, and thus draws out and equality between the
two expressions (Acts 2:4). Being filled is pictured in Ephesians a
continuous and ongoing interaction between us and the Holy Spirit. We are
to be continually filled as much as we are to continually sing and make
melody in our heart (Ephesians 5:19-20). While it might be argued that the
present passive imperative πληροuσθε denotes a continuous act of being
filled, we can be certain that it is continuous because of what it produces
-praise and thanksgiving. The praise and thanksgiving has many expressions
of which three categories are given here: psalms, hymns, and spiritual
songs. Of most interest to us now is the spiritual songs. Paul's definition
for spiritual has already been supplied in First Corinthians. While others
may want to impose their definition for 'spiritual', it is of little
importance for truth seekers. We do not look outside of the Scripture for
the meaning and intent of God's revelation, but wholly rely on God's Word.
Paul uses the same word here as he did in the opening statement of 1
Corinthians 14:1 (also verse 12). The word is πνευματικαiς, which means
'spiritual' and by application in First Corinthians 14, 'tongues.' He again
uses the same word in his address to the Colossians, and in so doing,
equates being filled with the Spirit to the Word of Christ being richly
supplied in the saints as well, both producing the same results -psalms,
hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16). Paul's definition of spiritual
songs is singing in the Spirit, which is singing in tongues (1 Corinthians
14:15). Paul made it clear that praying in the Spirit was praying in
tongues because it was in direct contrast to praying with the
understanding, or the language that could not be understood in the context
of human languages (1 Corinthians 14:14, 16-18). Therefore, we have a
command by the Apostle Paul that not only should there be psalms and hymns,
but there should also be songs in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians
5:19; Colossians 3:16). Singing in tongues is part of the divine order of
the church, they do not need to be interpreted, but generally are. Singing
in tongues will lead those who do it into the inspiration of singing the
new song by the Spirit. Now those who really know nothing about the
operation of the baptism of the Spirit may say that this is not their
experience. However, if you are unwilling to have tongues in the church,
how could there ever be room for the spiritual songs? Many have been
imprisoned by culture and denominational bias and have not known the
liberty of the Spirit brought to us by the Word of God. God the Holy Ghost
is not going to make us do anything. If we are going to have the riches of
His blessings, then we are going to earnestly desire them. We will not have
any dimension of the Kingdom of God that we are not hungry and thirsty for
(Matthew 5:6; 1 Corinthians 14:1, 12).
 
Daily Bread - February 25, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 25 February 2017 11:06
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: Baptism in the Holy Ghost Manifested by Tongues

It is obvious that when the Holy Spirit, the Teacher, came to lead us and
guide us, that He came speaking in the heavenly language. Tongues are His
language, the language of the Person of the Holy Spirit. To refuse the
obvious connection between the Holy Spirit and the utterance that He gives
is inexcusable. When He came, we entered into the school of the Spirit to
be taught by God. Just as Jesus taught the disciples for over three years
in His earthly ministry, He sent the Holy Spirit to teach us. When the Holy
Spirit came, there was a witness that He was not only with us, but also in
us; and that witness was the tongues of fire that had first rested on each
one, and then settled down into their inner most being. Some say, "Well,
where are the tongues of fire now that appeared on the day of Pentecost?"
The answer is that they are here as well. If the Lord chooses to open your
eyes to the things of the heavenly realm, you will see fire and whole lot
more. Tongues were the expression that the Holy Spirit had come, and was
now in charge of the church, and Guide to all who had received Him (Acts
2:4). When He came, He testified that Jesus was at the right hand of the
Father and exalted with sovereign power over all things (Acts 2:33;
Ephesians 1:20-23). He brought the tongue of the learned to properly praise
the One who purchased our salvation (Acts 2:11). Peter made known through
Mark that tongues is one of the signs that God gave to those who believed
(Mark 16:17). Luke witnessed that it is the testimony that we received the
baptism in the Holy Ghost and Fire (John 7:39; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8).
Thus tongues are a witness to the yielded state of our spirit to be taught
how to function in the realms of divine power and every dimension of those
things belonging to the New Covenant saints. Through the divine activity of
tongues, we are strengthened in our inner being and excel to all the other
expressions that the Holy Spirit has come to teach us. He has brought to us
all that belongs to the Father and to Christ Jesus (John 16:12-15). Through
this flow of the Spirit expressed in tongues, we learn to fully yield
ourselves to Him. We become saturated with His expression in every
dimension of our spirit, soul, and body. As Jude revealed, through it we
are strengthened in our most holy faith, and held tightly in the realms of
love where we learn to move in the faith of signs and wonders as well as
ever increasing communion with God (Jude 20; Ephesians 6:18).

Baptism in the Holy Spirit was how the resurrected Jesus was introduced to
the world (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). It was of chief
importance to Paul, who was the one who started the church at Corinth. When
He met men at Ephesus, his interest for their lives was centered around the
baptism in the Holy Ghost. His question should be ours today, "Did you
receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" (Acts 19:2). He then
laid hands on them; and as soon as they received the Holy Spirit, they
began to speak in tongues (Acts 19:6). The same thing happened to the men
in Ephesus as had happened to the 120 on the day of Pentecost, and to the
house of Cornelius when the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles. This is
most certainly the sign that the Holy Spirit had been poured out and had
been received, these holy tongues of fire. However, to the one under the
influence, it is more than a sign; it is a miracle working power that takes
our emotions, passions, attitudes and abilities into a union with God, and
causes us to function in a New Testament dimension of faith and power. It
is a communion used by God to teach us to both yield and function in the
power of the Spirit. God would teach us through this intimate communication
how to move into a deeper manifestation of His power than any of His saints
of former times.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is distinct from the new birth, as was
demonstrated for us in Samaria. After Philip had preached with great signs
and wonders in Samaria, many believed and were baptized in water; but none
had yet received the baptism in the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:12-13). According to
the Scripture and the practice of most of the churches today, they were:
saved, born again, and made sons and daughters of God when they believed
and were baptized in water. Then, when Peter and John came to visit, they
received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We can be certain that Peter and
John had the same disposition that Paul had, and was earnest to make
certain that those who were born again were also baptized in the Holy Ghost
(Acts 8:15-17). Those who want to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit
without the tongues that are always associated with it, point to this
passage of scripture for justification. However, there is no justification
offered here. First, no one can suddenly eliminate the precedence set by
arguing from silence or the lack of the text specifically mentioning
tongues. It is, however, legitimate to assume that tongues accompanied the
baptism of the Holy Spirit as it did everywhere else this baptism was
mentioned. Secondly, Simon was able to see that the gift of the Holy Ghost
was imparted; and there is no need to guess what he was witnessing when the
Spirit of the Lord came upon those at Samaria (Acts 8:18). It was
definitely the same demonstration of power and glory that came upon anyone
else baptized in the Holy Ghost and power.

The language of the Spirit is unique to the New Covenant. Keep in mind that
the Holy Spirit was not given to men until after redemption was purchased
and Jesus was glorified (John 7:39, 14:17). All the other gifts, except the
interpretation of tongues, were observed in the Old Testament. When the
Spirit came upon the people in the Old Testament, they prophesied; but, in
the New Testament they speak with tongues and prophesied, however the
tongues came first. This gift belongs solely to the New Testament church
because it testifies of: the ascension of Jesus; the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit upon all who will receive; the personal mentorship of the Teacher,
the Holy Spirit; and the union of the redeemed with God (John 14:20,
17:22-23). There is no argument from Scripture that can every overthrow the
truth that, when the saints received power, they spoke with tongues.
Subsequently, it was then through the tongues that a release of the
demonstration of power was witnessed through their lives by the Holy Spirit.

It is remarkable that, having been given the opportunity to participate so
intimately and specifically with God the Holy Ghost, anyone would want to
relegate it to an optional experience. The flood gates of Heaven have been
opened, and the Holy Spirit desires to sweep us away with His divine
guidance. He would give to us more than we could possibly contain. That
which God has supplied through Christ Jesus is available to us on such a
scale as can only be likened to rivers of living water flowing out of the
depths of our being. How could we ever justify reducing such riches and
exceeding great and precious promises to religious expressions that bear
little fruit? We cannot just say, "And of His fullness have all we
received," and be content with the announcement (John 1:16). We cannot call
ourselves Pentecostal, or Full Gospel people, just because we speak by the
Spirit with these heavenly tongues. The baptism, which the tongues witness
and promote, must result in the increase of the works of Jesus that are
expressed in mighty signs and wonders (Acts 1:8, 6:8, 8:6-7, 19:11-12).
Just as those in the first century church fully preached the gospel with
mighty signs and wonders and the power of the Holy Ghost, so must we
(Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Mark 16:17; John
14:12). If we limit the opportunity of being filled with all of the
fullness of God to some kind of Sunday Night expression, then the will of
the Father will not be done. If we refuse to press in and excel and covet
the demonstrations of power given to provide proof of the Lordship of
Jesus, there will be little increase (John 14:19; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11,
31, 14:1, 12, 24-26).
 
Daily Bread - February 24, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 24 February 2017 09:15
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: The Language of the Holy Spirit. (Part 2)

When God poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit, He gave to us the ability
to access all the splendor and glory of the heavenly life. Father gave to
us that which was His very best, so that we could represent with power the
resurrection of His Only Begotten Son and testify to the glory of the new
creation. The things of the Spirit are so wonderful and glorious that
anyone who is aware of them is going to do nothing less than want them more
than anything else. Yet, today many regard that which is wonderful as an
embarrassment, and even foolishness. They argue against the manifestation
of the gifts of the Spirit, and especially tongues. They regard that which
Father used to announce the resurrection of His Son and the birth of the
church as something reproachful and even demonic. They not only forbid men
to speak with tongues, contrary to the scripture, but persecute those who
do. They would rather have that which man can do without the Holy Spirit
than those things that are purely heavenly. Many commentaries will simply
gloss over Paul's intense emotion expressed in "earnestly desiring the
spiritual", and move right on to prophecy. They will then reduce prophecy
to good insightful preaching that has been properly prepared through
applied hermeneutical and exegetical processes. Even worse, intelligent and
sincere people listen to their meaningless and contradictory arguments and
accept them as truth. These Bible interpreters pretend to be experts on
something that they not only refuse to believe in, but even despise. They
fail to realize that they are speaking against the Holy Spirit and argue
that they can learn from men what only God can teach. There is no one that
can learn to move in the power of the Holy Ghost or prophesy through the
education process of men. We cannot learn from men how to preach the gospel
of the Kingdom as Jesus and His disciples taught it, or cast out devils, do
miracles, or raise the dead through the theological ideology of religious
teachers. God the Holy Spirit has come to be our teacher, leader, guide;
and we are to learn to live, walk, and be led by Him. Just as all other
divine expressions, the utterance of the spiritual, which finds its first
expression in tongues, can only be taught by the Holy Spirit; and through
it He introduces the unlimited dimensions of the power of God which have
been given to us without measure (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 21, 28).

As with all things spiritual, the language of the Spirit comes from the
Holy Ghost - not from men. It is a divine utterance supplied by the Holy
Spirit, not to be controlled by man. It serves to strengthen those who flow
in it to function in other divine expressions and special supernatural
abilities of God. Tongues is also shown to be part of worship as much as
prayer and singing, and is the expression of giving thanks excellently (1
Corinthians 14:15-17). The language of the Spirit also extends beyond
worship and opens up into the utterances of God that are given in a
language that everyone can understand. There is no way that anyone can
learn these tongues from men any more than they were learned on the day of
Pentecost. Tongues are the utterance of the Holy Ghost, both then and now.
Finally, to make tongues only for a message is a violation of not only 1
Corinthians 14, but of all the witnesses in scripture that describe them.
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul opens up with the reality that those who speak in
tongues speak not to men but unto God, as they speak unknown things in the
Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2). Thus, before Paul reveals anything else about
tongues, He establishes that it is spiritual ability to speak in a
spiritual way to God. He then establishes that it is for the purpose of
strengthening a person in the things belonging to life in the Spirit.
Afterwards, he reveals its function in prayer, singing, and giving of
thanks before he ever moves into the unique application of tongues that are
used to give a message to the church which needs to be interpreted.

Paul will develop two categories of how the gift of tongues will function.
The first category was in contrast to prophesy. (It is important to note
that when Paul refers to prophesying, it is not the same as interpretation
of tongues - they are two separate gifts of the Spirit.) In this first
category, the individual person who is speaking in tongues is speaking to
God and not men; and they are being built up in God instead of building up
the entire assembly. Paul is not condemning this activity, nor calling for
it to cease; rather, he is emphasizing the need for the church to be
focused on those who are visitors and unlearned receiving instruction from
the Lord. You cannot tell someone how to be saved and live a life pleasing
unto the Lord in a language that they cannot understand.

There is no way that Paul was attempting to demote tongues from the
elevated status that he had already given it. It was to be earnestly
desired in his opening statement and will retain that status throughout.
Both tongues and prophesy were Holy Ghost utterances: one served to
strengthen the individual, and the other the entire assembly. Whether it is
the utterance of the language or the utterance of prophecy, both take place
by the Holy Spirit. Both are legitimate and necessary expressions in the
context of the church, and Paul never implied otherwise. What goes on in
the church is supposed to be by the control and direction of the Holy
Spirit. The Holy Spirit should be given total control of the church meeting
so that whether it is tongues, or any other utterance, it is by Him. Just
because Paul is making everyone more sensitive to be focused also on
flowing in the gifts of the Spirit so all can be instructed is not an
attempt to discredit tongues, as many would attempt to make it.

Once again, tongues were placed in the church by God; and men have no right
to remove them (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 14:26; Ephesians
5:18-20). They are as much a part of the church as pastors, teachers,
governments, or any other thing that God has placed in the church. Its
prominent position and priority in the church is witnessed by the fact that
it was the first manifestation of the Spirit in the church, and that
precedence may have set the order of how all church services started in the
first century church (Acts 2:4; 10:45-46). Before any one starts setting
down regulations about how tongues are to function in the church, they must
do it in view of Paul's desire for everyone to speak with tongues (1
Corinthians 14:5). It was clearly Paul's teaching that everyone
participated with the manifestation of the Spirit in the context of the
meeting (1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 14:1, 24, 26, 31). Therefore, it would be
very hypocritical to rail against tongues in any dimension, and yet, not
demand that prophesy be taking place as Paul described it. He was driving
the point home by saying everyone should prophesy one by one, so that the
impact would be felt on the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). For a
person to demand that every tongue be interpreted without demanding
everyone to prophesy is far from fair and balanced, and shows a great lack
of understanding about what Paul is saying in the first place.

There is also a difference between collectively speaking in the language
and speaking one by one in the context of giving a message (1 Corinthians
14:15-16, 27-28). However, this difference will not begin to be defined
until later in the chapter. Generally, collectively speaking in tongues
belongs to the first category mentioned above, and does not need to be
interpreted. When it comes to praying in the spirit and singing in the
spirit, there is no limitation set by Paul. When we let the precedence that
has already been defined in the Bible guide us, we know that the
congregation of God prays all at once and sings all at once. When the Holy
Ghost was poured out on the day of Pentecost, divine order was most
certainly established and "they all spoke with tongues as the Holy Ghost
gave them utterance". This was most certainly a collective utterance in
which they were all speaking in tongues at the same time. To suggest that
Paul was subverting or altering this precedence is simply not true.
Furthermore, to believe that on the day of Pentecost they all did this one
by one is both impractical and a departure from what was revealed. Paul
never demanded that each person in the church pray one by one, or sing one
by one. In the church that Paul started, everyone should have a psalm and a
tongue. The practical nature of each person praying or singing in tongues
one by one would once again be entirely unprecedented, and in fact,
ridiculous. Once again, Paul did not place any such restriction on the
expression of praying, singing, or giving of thanks.

What should we do then in the church? We should do what Paul said he was
going to do. He prayed with the Spirit (tongues) and with the understanding
also. He would sing with the Spirit (tongues) and also with the
understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). Why should we want to do it any
differently? He did not put a restriction of how many prayers or songs
could be song in tongues before there was an interpretation because such a
regulation does not belong to this category. Unfortunately, this ministry
and flow of the Spirit is almost entirely lost to most churches today. This
is not something that just one or two people should be doing; but that the
whole congregation should do (Acts 2:4, 10:45-46; Ephesians 5:18-20; Romans
15:6). In many places, the only thing that the whole congregation does in
unison is something that they read out of a book; whether it is a prayer
that someone else wrote, or a song that someone else received. Well, how
about the song of the Spirit and the prayer of the Spirit? Will we refuse
to give place to the Holy Ghost? Will we continue to delight in manmade
programs and human control at the expense of the heavenly expressions that
gave birth to the church? The church at Corinth may have devoted more time
to speaking in tongues than they should have, but one thing is for certain:
they had the other gifts as well. Unfortunately, many churches neither have
the tongues, nor any other manifestations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:
8-10, 28-29, 14:26). It can be certainly understood why they lost all the
other manifestations of the Spirit because they refused the tongues. Christ
Jesus knows what is best for His church. He is the one who baptizes in the
Holy Ghost. Why should we refuse what He desires to do? If we are going to
have the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, then we are going to have tongues.
Arguing for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit without the expression of
tongues is to defy the revelation of Scripture. The baptism in the Spirit
is something that we should continually be receiving as we are continually
filled with the Spirit. With the tongues in the New Testament church comes
all of the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit's power both in our
lives individually, but especially in our meetings (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5,
8, 2:3-4, 10:46, 19:6). If a church refuses Christ Jesus' heavenly ministry
and does not desire to live in the Baptism of the Spirit, then that church
will never be what Christ Jesus established.

Once again, it was Paul's desire that everyone speak in tongues. In fact,
one may argue that the Greek word 'thelo' should be translated 'I take
pleasure in'. In this case the verse would read, "I take pleasure in you
all speaking with tongues..." (1 Corinthians 14:5). This certainly should
not surprise anyone seeing that Paul will say that he spoke in tongues more
than anyone (1 Corinthians 14:18). Is it Paul's desire, and of course God's
desire, that every person excel to prophesy? Absolutely! Paul makes it
clear over and again that prophesying is greater and of more value for the
assembly of the church than tongues. Yet, at the same time when Paul speaks
of prophesy, that is unique from the gift of interpretation of tongues.
Paul is certainly arguing that everyone should be prophesying; but he is
absolutely not, in any way, demoting or discouraging tongues - he is
promoting prophesy. To somehow believe that he started out promoting
tongues at the highest level, but now he is somehow discouraging its use in
the church, would be entirely incorrect. Furthermore, to say that Paul is
demanding that these expressions of tongues be interpreted, or not used in
the church, is also incorrect. In fact, he has not begun yet to promote the
interpretation of tongues other than to say, in so many words, that the
interpretation of tongues would be equivalent to prophesy. Once again,
tongues are a resident expression in the church (Acts 2:4, 10:45; 1
Corinthians 12:28, 14:28).
 
Daily Bread - February 23, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:41
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: The Language of the Holy Spirit. (Part 1)

Tongues, which is the language of the Holy Spirit, finds its supreme
position as the sign and wonder that was used by God to introduce the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Yet, it is more than that because so much of
what God promised to do in the New Covenant was realized on the day of
Pentecost. While those in the upper room sat in expectation of the Spirit
of God being poured out upon all flesh, the invasion of Heaven came as the
divine expression of tongues. The disciples had tarried there waiting for a
power that superseded what they had already been given. They knew that the
Holy Ghost, Who would take the place of Jesus, would come and would lead
them and be their Teacher; but they had no idea the language that He was
going to use to communicate with them.

On the day that the church was born and the promise of the Father given, it
was with tongues, the language of the Spirit, that God announced this great
event (Luke 24:48; Acts 2:4). The testimonies of God concerning His Spirit
being poured out upon all flesh came with a sound from the belly that had
never been heard before: new tongues. The expectation of power from On High
found its crescendo in the utterance of this Holy Ghost language. The
disciples had heard from Jesus that the life of God would be expressed
through them with the thunderous roar of rivers; but little could anyone
have imaged that the great miracle and divine expression would have been
this supernatural utterance (John 7:37-39). The Holy Ghost was going to be
given as a proof that Jesus had been exalted to the right of God, but the
announcement of that event could have never been imagined (Acts 2:33). The
promise of the Father, divine power to be a witness, was heard and seen
when they were all filled with the Spirit and began to speak with other
tongues (Acts 2:4). Christ Jesus, the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, poured
out His anointing without measure and gave the mantle of His power. This
was one of the first acts of His heavenly ministry - so sacred, so divine,
so precious, the speech of Heaven. The sound of the Holy Ghost given and
residing in those endued with power was more than could be thought of or
asked (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 19:4).

Tongues is the witness that we have received power to walk in the power and
authority of God. We refer to tongues as the initial evidence of this
Baptism into God the Holy Ghost that grows and matures in its expression as
we yield to God. We have been given the opportunity to learn to function in
the Baptism of His Presence, of His glory and His power. We have been
granted the divine ability to fully and accurately represent Christ Jesus
our Lord and His kingdom. As we yield to God the Holy Spirit, and give
ourselves to the operation of His power in our lives, the divine
expressions of God will grow and mature. The measure that we have received
of the Spirit is that of Christ Jesus. It is unlimited in scope and works.
Unlike that which was given to Elisha or the prophets of old, we have
received the ability to do the works of Christ Jesus and greater works than
these (John 14:12). The tongues that witness of all these things cannot be
separated from how they will be revealed and function in our lives. To make
tongues a moment of ecstasy in God, and not the very means by which the
Holy Ghost will train us, is a mistake.

The gift of tongues is the first utterance of the Holy Spirit that
witnesses of us having the rivers of God's life in us, and which also
trains us to more fully operate in these rivers of His glory (John 7:38-39;
Acts 2:4, 33). When the fire of God comes upon the life of man, its first
effect is heard in his tongue and lips (Acts 1:5, 2:3-4). These tongues of
fire fill every dimension of a person's being, and every syllable spoken
has its affect. The fire of God produces utterances from the heart that
teach men to speak out of the Spirit instead of the intellect, and bring
forth every divine utterance that will profit men (1 Corinthians 14:6).
Tongues is viewed as a kind of New Testament prophesy as explained by Peter
on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13-19). Tongues is also a unique kind of
prayer that allows us to speak mysteries in the Spirit (1 Corinthians
14:2). It is an expression of the Spirit that strengthens God's servants to
do great exploits and builds them up in the ability to yield to God in
every way. The flow of these rivers takes on diverse expressions and will
also distill into utterances of prophecy, revelation, knowledge, doctrine,
and interpretation of tongues. These utterances that everyone can
understand come just as the tongues do -unknown to the speaker and as
absent from the intellect as the tongues themselves. However, the utterance
of tongues must remain the primary event; all these other utterances are
secondary.

Paul devoted an entire chapter of the New Testament to one gift of the
Spirit whose status among other gifts takes a predominate place (1
Corinthians 14). If its value and purpose in the church is to be properly
realized, then this is the context that it must be understood. Although all
the gifts, which are manifestations of the Holy Spirit, may be regarded as
"spiritual", Paul elevates tongues to the status of making it a synonym for
spiritual. In this expression, we find a key to walking in the unlimited
power vested in us by the Holy Spirit to do the works of Christ. Tongues is
more than an "utterance" gift; it has in its very expression the Baptism of
power.

The Greek word used by Paul to describe tongues is 'πνευματικά' which
simply means 'spiritual.' Translators added the word 'gift' which does not
appear in any Greek manuscript. The same word was used previously by Paul
to describe the words that we are taught by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians
2:13). The spiritual should be that which a person is so zealous to have
that they cannot live without it. We are supposed to be jealous over the
expression that declares that Jesus heavenly ministry has begun. With this
intensity of need and dedication to the things of the Spirit, Paul
introduces tongues, and how it is to function in the church. The Greek word
used to express this intense desire is 'zeloo' and may be translated
simply, 'earnestly desire'. Yet, there is more to the meaning of the word
than just a strong desire. There should be such a hunger and devotion to
having the manifestation of this Pentecostal glory in our life that we
ourselves become intensely devoted to the spiritual. Surely, nothing could
make us more effective soul-winners than the divine ability to look into
people's lives and speak directly by the Spirit to their need (1
Corinthians 14:24-25; John 1:47-49). If we are going to do this, then we
must know how to receive those things that are freely given to us by the
Spirit and be devoted to His teaching and instruction (1 Corinthians
2:4-13). We will not be properly yielded to the Holy Spirit to receive from
Him unless we have the deep emotion and commitment implied by the word
'zeloo'. Now, if we have such a deep desire for something, we are going to
certainly devote ourselves to obtaining it. The kingdom of God will not be
expressed without the manifestation of the Spirit; for the gospel must be
preached with the demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4;
1 Thessalonians 1:5; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:19).

Although we should regard 'the spiritual' as referring to the vast
diversity of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit expressed through our
lives, still there is sufficient reason to believe that Paul uses 'the
spiritual' (especially in First Corinthians) to refer to the utterance of
tongues. There is no question that Paul takes the nine gifts of the Spirit
mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and gives a preeminence to the gift of
tongues by devoting an entire chapter to explaining its function and
diversity. Tongues finds its supreme position among the gifts of the Spirit
as the most important signal and the dominate gift expressed on the day of
Pentecost. As it has already been said, tongues was the gift that was at
center stage in testifying to the promise of the Father and the rivers of
living water given to empower the church to be the witnesses of the
resurrection. There is one thing for certain: no one has the right to
exclude the gift of tongues from its central role in the birth of the
church and the activity of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ. When Paul
describes its function in the church, he began with a command that it be
earnestly desired and concludes with a command that no one prohibit tongues
in any way. Along the way, he highlights the importance of the gift in his
own life proclaiming that he spoke in tongues more than anyone. Throughout
the chapter, Paul instructs the church about the diverse operation of
tongues, and how that tongues are to be used in: speaking directly to the
Father, excelling in the manifestation of the Spirit, prayer, singing, and
interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:5, 14-18, 27).
 
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