The Language of the Holy Spirit - Tongues
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 The disciples tarried, waiting for a power that superseded that which they had already been given. They knew that the Holy Ghost, who would take the place of Jesus, would come and lead them and be their teacher, but they had no idea about the language that He was going to use to communicate with them.
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 24:49, 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. They had heard from Jesus that the life of God would be expressed through them with the thunderous roar of rivers, but little could have anyone imaged that the great miracle and divine expression would have been this supernatural utterance (John 7:37-39). The Holy Ghost was 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 His witness, was heard and seen when they were filled with the Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. 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, His glory, and His power. We have been granted the divine ability to fully and accurately represent our Lord Christ Jesus 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 witnessed 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 that we have the rivers of God’s life in us, 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 a man, its first effect is heard from his tongue and lips (Acts 1:5, 2:3). These tongues of fire fill every dimension of a person’s being and every spoken syllable has its effect. The fire of God produces utterances from the heart that teach men to speak out of the Spirit instead of the intellect, and brings forth every divine utterance that will profit men (1 Corinthians 14:6). It is viewed as a kind of New Testament prophecy, as explained by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13-18). This 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 servant to do great exploits, and builds them up in the ability to yield to God in every way. The flow of these rivers take on diverse expressions and will also distill into an utterance of prophecy, revelation, knowledge, teachings and interpretation of tongues. These utterances that everyone can understand come as unknown to the speaker and as absent from his intellect as the tongues itself. 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 is predominant among other gifts. If its value and purpose in the church is to be properly realized, then it is in this 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 by making it synonymous with spiritual. It is in this expression that 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 also previously used by Paul to describe the words that we are taught by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13). The “spiritual” is that which a person should be so zealous to have that they cannot live without it. We ought to be jealous over the expression that declares that Jesus’ heavenly ministry has begun. It is with this intensity of need and dedication to the things of the Spirit that Paul introduces tongues and how it is to function in the church. The Greek word used to express this intense desire is ‘ζηλóω’ and may be simply translated as “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. It finds its supreme position among the gifts of the Spirit as the single-most important and dominant gift expressed on the day of Pentecost. As it has already been said, tongues was the gift that was at center-stage in testifying of 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 described 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 would highlight 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 tongues are to be used in speaking directly to the Father, excelling in the manifestation of the Spirit, prayer, singing, and interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:2, 5, 12, 14-18, 27).
Tongues Belong in Church
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 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, 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 speak with tongues. 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. What’s worse is that intelligent and sincere people listen to their meaningless and contradictory arguments and accept them as truth. These Bible interpreters pretend to be an expert 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 educational processes of men. We cannot learn from men how to preach the gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus and His disciples taught it, 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, and guide, so we are to learn to live, walk, and be led by Him. He began His teaching program by teaching us how to speak His language from which all divine utterances spring forth. Through tongues He introduced the unlimited dimensions of the power of God which has been given to us without measure (Acts 2:4, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 14:21). There are those who may argue that it was not so in the Old Testament, which is true, but we are in a New Covenant with a far greater glory.
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 a 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. Afterward, he reveals its function in prayer, singing, and giving of thanks before he ever moves into the unique application of tongues of giving a message to the church that needs to be interpreted.
Paul develops two categories of how the gift of tongues functions. The first category is in contrast to prophecy. (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 – he is rather emphasizing the need for the church to be focused on those who are visitors and unlearned also receiving instruction from the Lord. You certainly 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 prophecy are Holy Ghost utterances: one serves 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 focus also on flowing in the gifts of the Spirit that can be used to instruct others, it is not an attempt to discredit tongues as many would try 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 (1 Corinthians 12:28). 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 (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 should participate with the manifestation of the Spirit in the context of the meeting (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 14:1, 24, 26, 31). So it would be very hypocritical to rail against tongues in any dimension, and yet not demand that prophecy be taking place as Paul described it. He was driving the point home by saying that 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 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 sung 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 the proper place to the Holy Spirit as leader and guide to each of our lives? Will we continue to delight in man-made 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 do not 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. For anyone to argue 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 come all of the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power – in our lives individually, and especially in our church meetings (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:5, 8, 2:3-4, 10:46, 19:6). If we refuse Christ Jesus’ heavenly ministry and do not desire to live in the baptism of the Spirit, then the 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 ‘θέλω’ should be translated as “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 prophecy? 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 prophecy, he is referring to something that is different from that of the gift of interpretation of tongues. Paul is certainly arguing that everyone should be prophesying, but he is absolutely not in any way demoting tongues or discouraging tongues, but he is promoting prophecy. Furthermore, to say that Paul is demanding that every expression of tongues be interpreted, or else 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 prophecy. Once again, tongues are a resident expression of the Holy Ghost in the church (Acts 2:4, 10:45-46, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:27).
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 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 – that witness was the tongues of fire that first rested on each one and then settled down into their innermost 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 a whole lot more! Tongues were the expression that the Holy Spirit had come, and was now in charge of the church to 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 to excel into 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, held tightly in the realms of love where we learn to move in the faith of signs and wonders as well as an ever-increasing communion with God (Jude 1:20-21, 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 (Acts 19:2) should also be ours today: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” 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 that 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, which 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 8:12-17). 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 were 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 set precedence 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 that 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 that was 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, Acts 2:33). 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 spoke with tongues and prophesied, but 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 ever 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 that anyone would want to relegate it to an optional experience. The floodgates 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 that it 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 only 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 that the tongues witness to 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 16:17-18, 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 14:12, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 31, 14:1,12, 24-26).
Praying and Singing in the Spirit
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 that was being expressed through the tongues that the whole assembly was speaking simultaneously. Yet also keep in mind that 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, 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, with giving thanks to God. First it must be noted that 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 an equality between the two expressions (Acts 2:4). Being filled is pictured in Ephesians as 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 5:20). While it might be argued that the present passive imperative ‘πληροῦσθε’ may not definitely denote 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 are the spiritual songs. Paul’s definition for spiritual has already being 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 (and verse 12). The word is ‘πνευματικαῖς,’ which means “spiritual” and by application in First Corinthians 14, “tongues.” He again uses the same word in his address to the Colossians and further equates being filled with the Spirit to the Word of Christ being richly supplied in the saints. Both produce 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 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.
Paul also admonishes us not only to sing in tongues, but also 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 you must understand is that it’s 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 6:17, 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 1:20). We certainly can’t 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 our 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.
We are to seek those things belonging to the kingdom of God, and prayer is one of the foremost ways that we do that. Prayer is to be the result of the Spirit of the Lord acting upon our lives. It is one of the primary responsibilities in the kingdom of Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the One who gives us the ability to know how to effectively do it. The prayer of the Holy Spirit activates faith – mountain-moving, nation-changing, soul-winning, heaven-revealing, miracle faith (John 11:41-44, Matthew 14:19-21, Luke 9:28-29, Mark 11:23-24, 1 Corinthians 12:9, Galatians 5:22, Jude 1:20, Matthew 7:7-11). These things pertaining to the kingdom of God and the working of the Holy Spirit are supposed to be taught to us and modeled in church. Unfortunately, in many places, prayer is a very small part of the activities of the “house of prayer.” Just as the church began in the books of Acts with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so it should be in every service. Yet rarely will you find anyone who yields the meetings to the Holy Spirit in such a way. If each service was a day of Pentecost repeated, the Holy Spirit would have control, and our results and impact would be far greater. There certainly would not only be praying in the Holy Spirit, but also singing in the Holy Spirit. Instead, we find many who persecute the move of God and want to argue about form and style. The doctrines of men have set themselves against the prayer and praise of the Spirit in the church, calling it out of order. They argue that there needs to be an interpreter, and that it is offensive and a stumbling block. Yet, they have no similitude of the order of which they speak. These so-called defenders of the faith do not have two or three messages in tongues, and neither do they want us to have them. We hear much about man-made order and an interpreter, but very little about someone praying in the Holy Ghost and praying with the understanding also. In so doing, many church services end up with very little manifestation of the Spirit or the kingdom of God in their meetings. Men so grieve the Holy Spirit with their hardness of heart that they have no tongue, no interpreter, and no manifestation of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The order of the church has been man-made order for so long that the order of the Holy Ghost is not even recognized, and even worse, is despised and called “out of order.”
It is high time that we repent of our sensual and self-serving doctrines, and turn back to God. We must allow the fires of the Holy Spirit to burn brightly once again in the assembly of the saints. We must throw down the idols of self-will, and allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives individually – and as a result, our church meetings as well. Then our obscurity and defeat will be driven back, and the light and life of Jesus will once again shine bright in a world of sin and darkness. Then once again we will see a small but powerful church turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
There must also be a place given for people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in every meeting just as they were on the day of Pentecost, or at the house of Cornelius, or at Ephesus. The manifestation of talking to God through praying in tongues and worshiping through singing in tongues must be promoted. Giving place for people to grow and excel through tongues so that they may also function in prophecy and interpretation of tongues must be given place. Everyone may speak in tongues at the same time as they did on the day of Pentecost and those events that followed (Acts 2:4, 10:46, 19:6). Everyone may pray in tongues at the same time, just as we do when we pray with the understanding. Everyone may sing in tongues at the same time, as we all sing any other song together. These conclusions do not contradict what Paul has to say in the rules of 1 Corinthians 14. It is Paul’s desire that everyone speaks with tongues as well as prophesy. The primary points that Paul makes regarding the interpretation of tongues is concerning a message in tongues and its place in delivering a divine message and instruction to the people (1 Corinthians 14: 19, 27-32).
While the spiritual prayer and song are the giving forth of praise in an excellent or perfect way, those who are unlearned cannot profit from it. Yet at the same time, that does not mean that it should not be done, for as Paul said “you give thanks well” (1 Corinthians 14:17). As was already stated, the prayer and the song in tongues should distill into a divine utterance that everyone can profit from. The expression of tongues should turn into speech that can be understood by all. This is especially true if it is an individual praying or singing in the meeting. Peter shows us how quickly tongues will result in the revealing the secrets of the scripture that had never before been understood (Acts 2:14-21).
Praying in tongues will lead into praying with the understanding also. Even though we may pray in tongues for an hour before the understanding is quickened, the results will be that which the Holy Spirit has to say. It is a wonderful blessing to sing in tongues, which then turns into a song of the understanding that the church can join along singing, and sometimes continue to sing for years. Paul has no intention of squelching the flow of tongues in the church service. He simply makes a call for each one to have increase through the activity of the gift and excel to those utterances that can be understood. The limits that he placed on tongues are only with respect to delivering a message (1 Corinthians 14:27-28).
Tongues Is a Language that No Man Understands
There are some who would try to explain away the language of the Holy Spirit as only being needed for those who do not have the ability to speak the language of the people that they are sent to. Well this certainly would not explain the Apostle Paul’s need for the language of the Spirit. Furthermore, such a notion is not supplied to us with respect to the many references to tongues. First of all, Paul was a Roman that was trained in the best schools of his time, and most certainly spoke the languages that were commonly used. Yet more essential to this issue than anything else was Paul’s explanation of tongues as a language that no man understands, “For he that speaks in tongues does not speak to men, but unto God: for no man understands him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). Paul made this point over and again as he contrasted tongues in the form of speaking, praying, or singing in the Spirit with the utterances that could be understood. If tongues were only to communicate to people in a language that the speaker did not understand, then nothing that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14 makes any sense.
It has been argued that when men speak in tongues, they speak in the languages of men and angels as a proof that tongues are a means by which the speaker can speak the languages known to other men (1 Corinthians 13:1). However, 1 Corinthians 13:1 can be understood in exactly the same way that Paul explains it in the next chapter. Certainly, there are no contradictions between what Paul said in chapter thirteen and what he repeated over and again in chapter fourteen. Speaking in the tongues of men and angels can simply be another way to express the difference between speaking with the understanding in contrast to speaking a spiritual language, which “no man understands.”
One of the signs of the believer is to speak with “new tongues.” Once again, this can be understood as speaking a language that has never been heard before, which ‘καινός’ (“new,” “unused”) can infer (Mark 16:17). This is certainly the proper way to understand this word in view of the Holy Spirit bringing us the spiritual language that had never been heard until the day of Pentecost. It is only the Holy Spirit who could teach this language, which Paul strongly contrasted when highlighting the differences between tongues and the languages that could be understood by men. Tongues are undeniably the expressions of the Holy Spirit by which mysteries (‘μυστήρια’) are being uttered to God. These are secret or hidden things that only God can understand. By definition, they would be unknown to anyone other than God, unless He chose to reveal them. That which is being spoken in tongues is concealed to men unless there is one who makes it known through an interpretation given by the Holy Spirit.
When tongues are being uttered, they are not being spoken to men, but to God. This is one of the more important points that cannot be over emphasized (1 Corinthians 14:2, 14-16, 28). This is a communion with God, not a communication with others, which further solidifies its place in church without any need for interpretation. In fact, there is no argument given by Paul that they should not be spoken and heard in the meeting – instead the opposite is true! It has been reported from the experience of men on many different occasions that when they spoke in a tongue unknown to themselves, it was understood at least in part to some who spoke other languages. While this miraculous event is certainly not excluded, it is not what the scripture reveals about the primary nature of the language of the Spirit. Those baptized in the Holy Spirit speak divine mysteries in the Spirit directly to God. The nature of tongues then by themselves are not intended to be revelation. It is only when there is an interpretation that makes them known that they can become revelation to the hearers, which is entirely secondary to their original function.
Tongues are not inspired by the thoughts of men. Is not personally inspired or belonging to any personal faculty of men. It is the language of the Spirit, spoken as the Holy Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4). It is profitable to the speaker and not to the hearer (1 Corinthians 14:2, 4, Jude 1:20). It is the intercessions of the Holy Ghost under His control, and the speaker is only a yielded vessel by which this divine communion takes place. Someone might say that tongues is a gift, so it belongs to the individual – as though the individual becomes the administrator of the gift. However, this is not true of any of the gifts! It is only by being yielded to the Holy Spirit that any of His manifestations will function through our lives. Just as one works miracles by the Spirit, even so one speaks in the heavenly language by the Spirit (Galatians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Our spirits, which are joined unto the Holy Spirit, become the instrument through which the Holy Spirit expresses His thoughts (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Interpretation of Tongues
Distinct from praying, singing, and giving of thanks in the language of the Spirit, is a message in tongues. Just as prophecy delivers a message to the church, even so there is a message that can be delivered through tongues, which is accompanied by a distinct gift that works alongside of it called the interpretation of tongues. Yet it must be emphasized that this is not the same expression of tongues that falls on everyone for prayer and singing. Anyone who has operated in the gift of tongues will recognize that there are diversities of tongues which are expressed in different ways (1 Corinthians 12:28). The diversity of tongues which is translated from the Greek ‘γένος γλῶσσα’ may be translated also as “natures” or “families” of tongues. In some instances, the moving of the Spirit touches everyone at the same time, as in Acts chapters 2, 10, and 19. This does not necessarily happen once, but can take place throughout the meeting. There can also be as it were waves of this Holy Ghost manifestation in which one person after another will speak in a tongue that is for a message. At other times the utterance will fall strongly upon only one person, which could either be the preacher or a person in the congregation. When a message in tongues is given it needs to be interpreted, and of course must be done one at a time so everyone can hear what is being said by the Holy Spirit. When there is a tongue given for a message, it has a unique expression that those who are discerning recognize – context will reveal it as well. If someone is preaching and a person starts to speak in tongues, then that must be interpreted. So long as it is interpreted, it is never out of order.
What Paul is instructing for us to do in the church makes perfect sense for those who are constantly engaged in the moving of the Spirit. When everyone is praying or singing in tongues, it does not create any kind of distraction at all, but is glorious and inspiring. However, when someone wants to speak in tongues over the preacher or the one prophesying, then that creates a disruption. If multiple people were taken by the gift of tongues and then spoke at the same time while someone began to interpret over that, then there would be confusion. The gift itself can activate the gift in those who are sensitive to the operation of the Holy Ghost, so there must be a sensitivity and respect with regards to delivering the message. The interpretation of tongues is to be delivered like any other exhortation or sermon. It is ridiculous for those who know nothing about the practical application of the gift to suppose that they can understand all that Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 14, especially verses 27-28. Furthermore, when their rules and regulations bring an end to the flow of tongues in the church, then it is obvious that they have stepped outside of the bounds set forth in scripture, and their misunderstanding is further emphasized.
There has been much confusion about the utterance of the language of the Spirit. Many good folks have some interesting preconceived ideas as to what an interpretation is supposed to look and sound like. Many believe that there has to be a little space of silence, then suddenly someone starts shouting, “Thus saith the Lord” like the prophets of old. It does not have to work like that. When we define interpretation of tongues, it may extend beyond many people’s definitions, so everyone needs to just be a little more flexible and develop a sensitivity to what God is doing. The interpretation of tongues, which is different from prophecy, functions specifically from the inspiration invoked by the “message tongues.” The Greek word that is used for this gift is ‘διερμηνεύω.’ The usage of this word by Josephus and Philo conveys a meaning different from just providing a translation by interpreting one language into another. The word ‘διερμηνεύω’ may be understood as “to put into words,” or “bring to articulate expressions” (The Anchor Bible Dictionary – Gift of Tongues). The first indication of the interpretation of tongues observed in Acts 2:7-8 was a miracle, not something given by a human interpreter. Those who heard what the disciples were saying in their own language did so in the context of 120 people swept away with the utterance of tongues, which in any other circumstance would have been impossible. The interpretation was by the assistance of a divine interpreter. The “divine interpreter” is also suggested to us by the text as well with the use of the word “hear" instead of “speak.” Although the disciples were speaking in the tongues of the Spirit, many of the people who were present heard what they were saying in their own language. Thus the miracle of interpretation rested in the hearing and not in the speaking: “Amazed and astonished they asked, ‘Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear each in our own native language?’” Keep in mind that 120 people are speaking in tongues, and more than 3,000 people are listening – that’s a miracle no matter how you approach the situation! In this event, there were also those who spoke the same languages but only heard the utterance of stammering lips and other tongues, who mocked saying, “They are filled with new wine” (Acts 2:13). If, as some suggest, the tongues of the Spirit were simply the languages of men given to the disciples supernaturally, then there would have been no group of people who thought that the tongues were the babblings of those drunk on wine. If the 120 were speaking one by one in tongues, then that was followed by an interpretation, the text would have said so – but as it stands, it reveals that they all spoke with tongues all at the same time. As they spoke, 14 different dialects were being heard by a massive audience, which is nothing short of miraculous.
Flowing in the gift of tongues is wonderful, but it cannot occupy the whole church service. If everyone were only speaking in tongues throughout the whole church service, it would be viewed by the visitor as a mad house! This is the point that Paul is driving home – tongues cannot occupy the entire service without an utterance that can be understood. In other words, the service cannot go from people praying and singing in tongues to individuals shouting out messages in tongues over each other. If someone attempted to give an interpretation while others were speaking in tongues, then the interpretation would not be heard. Someone trying to interpret over others speaking in tongues would not only be confusing, but simply out of order. Each person in the context of preaching, exhorting, or prophesying should be committed to speaking words by the Holy Spirit so that everyone can understand them. Also, Paul is not limiting the number of occurrences of this manifestation, for he has already made room for everyone to participate in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. When Paul said “two or at most three,” the Greek implies “on each occasion.” Just as Paul is not limiting the number of those who can prophesy in the meeting, neither is he limiting the number of messages that can be given by tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:31). When a message is given in tongues, the most optimal order would be to have one message in tongues, immediately followed by the interpretation. However, Paul did allow for up to 2 to 3 messages in tongues before an interpretation. Once an interpretation was given, then there could be up to 2 to 3 additional messages given, and once again an interpretation. Paul did not place a limitation on how long this could go on – he rather praised the church because everyone had a tongue and an interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:26). There certainly is no reason to believe that the tongues and interpretation of tongues, which are equal to prophecy, could not be practiced by everyone in the meeting.
The church service is not only about worshiping the Lord Jesus, but it is also about establishing the saints in the things of God and reaching the lost. Paul placed an emphasis on reaching the lost in the meeting, and therefore placed those words spoken by the understanding as far superior to those spoken in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). Although Paul would come speaking in tongues, he would be devoted to speaking by the Spirit those words that all could understand as well (1 Corinthians 14:6). Although tongues had a place of supreme importance in Paul’s life, he emphasized the importance of teaching others on a scale of speaking five words that could be understood instead of 10,000 words in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:19). There certainly is no shortage of the words that men can understand in our church meetings today, but are we hearing that message brought by the Holy Spirit through revelation knowledge, prophecy, and teachings (1 Corinthians 14:6)? The first thing that Paul would ask many in the church today is, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” There should be no one who would want things any other way than Paul described them in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28. Surely, there is no one that wants confusion. Where many go beyond what Paul said is when they start condemning those who pray in tongues during prayer time and sing in tongues during worship. There are absolutely no restrictions placed on praying in tongues all at the same time. Once again, this is an utterance of prayer that is not addressing men, but God (1 Corinthians 14:2, Acts 2:11, 10:46). If we cannot all pray in tongues at the same time, then we should not be allowed to all pray with the understanding either. In either case, it is not for those who are listening, but for God. Who can understand what a group of people are praying in either case?
According to verse 13, the one who speaks in an unknown tongue should pray that he may also interpret. Paul would not leave anyone to an expression that did not result in them excelling in the gifts. The person who is speaking in a tongue should allow the manifestation to develop to the point that the divine speech is put into a divine message, such that the whole church can spiritually benefit and mature through it. We should note that the miraculous speech turned into a miraculous message for Peter on the day of Pentecost, and this should be the same result for us today. Likewise, those who are functioning in the spiritual (tongues) should seek to excel or abound in those gifts of the Spirit that would edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:12). Those gifts include more than prophecy as Paul has previously mentioned, also including revelation, knowledge, and teachings – to which we can add the word of wisdom (1 Corinthians 14:6, 1 Corinthians 12:8). However, if the people of the God are not allowed to operate in the spiritual, how will they ever have the opportunity to excel? Tongues is a miracle as much as healings and all the other wonders are. These are the manifestations of the Spirit, not the manifestations of men, and they should be reverenced and appreciated as such. When we pray in the Spirit under the influence of the Holy Ghost, many divine expressions can follow. For example, praying in the Holy Ghost can then elevate into a message in tongues. There is a divine hook-up in the gift of tongues, as was exemplified on the day of Pentecost, and out of that flows the things that the Holy Spirit inspires us with. This moving of the Holy Spirit is the opportunity for everyone to learn how to enter into Spirit knowledge that only few in the Old Testament times had access to, but has now been poured out on all flesh. Through the activity of the Spirit, we are strengthened and built up to move in signs, wonders, and miracles. All tongues should excel to these revelatory expressions so everyone can be edified by what God says, and not what men say.
The Need For Tongues
The language of the Spirit was a new kind of prophecy for the New Testament believer, which would mature into an understanding of how to participate with the Holy Ghost in an unlimited divine ability. This special gift was placed front and center in terms of what God now purposed to do in the midst of His church. Tongues belong in the church – they were placed there by the Lord Jesus and function as the utterance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 14:1, 26,39, Mark 16:17). In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul gives 16 reasons why we should speak in tongues in the church:
1 – We are to desire the spiritual, and tongues exemplify the spiritual (1 Corinthians 14:1, 12).
2 – He that speaks in tongues speaks to God in a direct way that allows for the mysteries of God to be spoken. There would be no way for Paul to give tongues a higher status than to refer to it as the activity of our spirit speaking directly to God by the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 14:2).
3 – When we speak in tongues, we strengthen ourselves in the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:4).
4 – It was Paul's desire that we all speak with tongues, and no one knew better what was needed in the church (1 Corinthians 14:5).
5 – Tongues will excel to the interpretation of tongues. Therefore, if there are no tongues then we will be deprived of a special realm of prophecy: the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:12-13, 27).
6 – When we pray in tongues, our spirits are engaged in prayer to God (1 Corinthians 14:14).
7 – Without tongues we would not be able to pray in the Spirit, which leads to praying in the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15).
8 – Without tongues we would not be able to sing in the Spirit, which then leads to singing in the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15).
9 – When we speak with tongues, we bless with the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:16).
10 – When we speak with tongues, we give thanks (1 Corinthians 14:16).
11 – When we speak with tongues, we give thanks excellently (1 Corinthians 14:17).
12 – Paul, an example that we should all follow, spoke in tongues more than everyone. (1 Corinthians 14:18)
13 – Speaking in tongues is the fulfillment of prophecy, which revealed that God would speak through His people in a special way (1 Corinthians 14:21).
14 – Speaking in tongues is a sign for the unbeliever: it is a revelation that the New Covenant has begun (1 Corinthians 14:22, Acts 2:33).
15 – When we assemble in the church, everyone should have the expression of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:26).
16 – Tongues is the first expression of the Holy Spirit in the church, and no one has the right to forbid it (1 Corinthians 14:39, Acts 2:3-4).
Those groups who refuse to have tongues, or who suppress the utterance of tongues in their meetings, don't have much prophecy either, and rarely is there an interpretation of tongues under such man-enforced regulation. In large part, where the flow of tongues is not allowed there is a lack of signs, wonders, and miracles. They say that they want everything to be decent and in order, but the question is what order are they looking for: divine order or human order? In reality, anything that goes on in a church service that is not under the direction of the Holy Spirit is out of order. If the order of the service does not result in the manifestation of the Spirit, then there is an order problem (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Everyone should be more concerned about what they don’t have that God demands rather than a few expressions that they don’t understand. There is no limitation to how much prophecy can take place in a meeting, as everyone may prophesy one by one (1 Corinthians 14:31). There is no limit as to how many can flow in tongues, because everyone should have the language of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:28). Neither is there a limit to any of the other manifestations of the Spirit. We are not limited to 2 or 3 healings per service, or 2 or 3 miracles per service. Our meetings need to be changed from man-made order to being filled with the expressions of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is not in charge and the manifestation of the Spirit excluded, then it is not church, and there is no manifestation of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-28).
Paul is encouraging the saints to understand the importance of all that is available in the utterances of the Spirit so that they may be enriched with the interpretation of tongues and prophecy. Paul was pressing the church in 1 Corinthians 14 to go into a deeper realm of all that tongues will produce. Now do as Paul commanded: earnestly desire the spiritual, and pray that you might prophesy so that others might be built up also (1 Corinthians 14:1, 3-5, 12-13, 22, 24, 26, 31, 39).
There are those who adamantly argue that tongues should be done in a private place, and that they serve no public good. However, this could not be further from the truth. It was this manifestation, above all others, that the Holy Spirit baptized the church community in on the day of Pentecost. Therefore by precedence it is for the church assembly. Also Paul is addressing the manifestation in the assembly, and is not forbidding it, but only putting into place certain regulations for the good of the assembly. Furthermore, the manifestation was demonstrated by the Holy Spirit before the eyes of the general public in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and described by Paul as a sign for the unbeliever. If this is something that a saint is to do in the privacy of their own lives, then all of these scriptures and examples are meaningless (Mark 16:17, Acts 2:6-13, 10:46, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 14:5, 15, 22, 26, 27, 39).
Come Let Us Reason Together
Have you ever wondered why it is not okay if people pray, sing, and speak in the heavenly language in church, but it is okay if we do not prophesy, do not cast out devils, and do not minister healing and miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 14:26, John 14:12, Mark 16:17)? What if we took every dimension of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and display of the power of God out of the life of Jesus – what would His ministry look like? He would have been a preacher who described the glory and splendor of heaven, but could have never displayed it. He would have talked about how much God loves everyone, but would have never been able to demonstrate it on any significant level. When the centurion would have come to Jesus regarding his dying servant, Jesus would have said: “Put your trust in God.” When the lepers came crying out to be cleansed, they would have heard, “Rejoice in your affliction.” When Jairus came desiring Jesus to heal his daughter and then discovered that she was dead, the message would have been, “It's not always God's will to heal, we must trust in providence.”
How long will we play games with God and His church? How long will we thrust forward, blind and unwilling to turn from the pride of our own biased opinions? Can we be right with God while we oppose the doctrine of the Lord Jesus as it is revealed in the New Testament? Is it more important to us to justify ourselves rather than to get desperate and hungry to have what God has described in His Word? Must we continue to seek to vindicate our own experiences rather than seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Is it right to preach the gospel and attempt to be the witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus without the power of the Holy Ghost? Who will step up and say, “No more!”? If you want what God wants, then you will have to start imitating Jesus and doing those things that He commanded for us to do. If you have not been baptized in the Holy Ghost, then you have not been qualified by God as a witness, so get baptized! Everyone must move beyond the limitations of their own abilities and fears, and follow Jesus in order to do what He did. Start laying hands on the sick and proclaiming liberty to the captives. Take hold of the power from on high that has been freely given through the ministry of Jesus, and flow in the Holy Ghost.
The leadership and ministry of the Holy Spirit must have first place in our life. If we will begin to recognize those things that He does, then we will quickly learn to honor Him. It was the work of the Holy Spirt that was placed front and center in the incarnation of God into human flesh (Matthew 1:18, 20, Luke 1:35). John the Baptist recognized when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, and it was by the manifestation of the Holy Ghost that Jesus would be identified (John 1:33, Luke 3:22). John the Baptist also revealed that baptism into the Holy Spirit would be as central to the ministry of Jesus as water baptism had been to his own ministry (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33). Luke noted that when Jesus began His ministry, He came in the power of the Holy Ghost (Luke 4:1). Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit was upon Him and had empowered Him to preach the gospel (Luke 4:18). He credited the Holy Spirit with the ability to cast our devils and reveal the power of the kingdom of God (Matthew 12:28). Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would change a person into a new creation (John 3:3-6). Jesus taught that those who would receive the gift of God would be identified through the expressions of the Holy Spirit which would come like rivers (John 7:38-39). It would be the Holy Spirit who would come to lead us and guide us, and to glorify Jesus (John 14:26, 16:13-15, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). It was through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the revelation was given that Father is in Christ Jesus and that Jesus is in us (John 14:20).
If we are ever going to be led by the Holy Spirit, then we must not resist Him and grieve Him. We must remain deeply desirous for His work to be revealed in the midst of our lives and our assemblies. We cannot lead a cause against any manifestation of the Holy Spirit. If we are going to follow Jesus, then we must learn how to be submitted to the work of the Holy Spirit even as Jesus was. We must begin to recognize the deceptive tactics that Satan has used to shut down the working of the Holy Spirit, which usually comes cloaked as some pious act of honoring God. If we are going to mind the things of the Spirit and yield ourselves to His leadership, we cannot walk in our own imaginations of what that looks like. The Bible fully describes what the Holy Spirit has done, is doing, and wants to do in the midst of the church and through the lives of all those who have been filled with His presence.
Each person in the church who has been born of God carries a responsibility to function in the realms of the Spirit so that the Kingdom of God can be revealed to those who do not believe or do not understand the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, John 16:12-15, Ephesians 1:13). We must yield to the Holy Ghost, who has baptized us all into one body to function with one heart and one mind (1 Corinthians 12:13). If we are unwilling to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, then Christ Jesus will not be revealed (John 16:14). For it is only in the context of the manifestation of the Spirit that the body of Christ is revealed (1 Corinthians 12:7-28). Each person in the church is to be so full of the Spirit so that the words of life and revelation can proceed from their mouths revealing the secrets of the hearts of men (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). The example that Paul gave was similar to what happened when Nathaniel encountered Jesus. Jesus revealed the secrets of Nathaniel’s heart, and Nathaniel became a believer and worshiped Jesus (John 1:46-49).
We must realize that we were not called to live a mere “Christian life” – we were called to live the life of Jesus! God has given every person a special anointing to live in Christ (1 John 2:27, John 15:1-5, Phillipians 1:21, John 17:21-23). The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every person so that each may function in the authority of the kingdom and reveal the ministry of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:7, John 7:38-39, Luke 24:49, Acts 2:4,16-18, 39). God is not looking for orators or performers, He is looking for yielded vessels that He can fill with His Spirit who will speak the words of life and bring the gospel of salvation to all mankind (1 Corinthians 2:4, 13, 14:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Every person who has been born of the Spirit of God has a responsibility to walk in the Spirit. We are responsible above all other things to come into the assembly of the saints filled with the Spirit. Unfortunately, many of God’s people return time and time again to the church with the same burdens, cares, and afflictions when they should be shining with the glory of Jesus and functioning in the authority and power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:19, Isaiah 60:1, 1 Corinthians 12:7, John 14:12, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Too much time is devoted to suffering, complaining babies in Christ who should be living epistles walking in the glory of the fruits of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:3, Galatians 5:22-25). It time to take up our responsibility in Christ and walk in the light as He is in the light, and show forth the praises of the One who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 John 1:7, 1 Peter 2:9). We have been empowered by Him to live this life, but we must submit to the Holy Ghost who alone can teach us how.
There is a powerful impact on the unbeliever and the unlearned when the people of God flow in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14: 24-25). If the church is going to be an assembly where everyone has the overflow of the Spirit in their lives, then each person is going to have to learn how to receive from God. Jesus said that if we would drink of the spiritual water that He supplies, it would produce the expressions of the Holy Spirit flowing out of us like the rushing of rivers flowing together (John 7:37-39). Surely our hearts should respond, “Oh God, evermore give me this water to drink!”
If Christ Jesus is going to be revealed in our lives, then we need to lay hold on the resources that He gave to us to live His life. We are to be a light unto the world a city set upon a hill in our conduct and behavior (Matthew 5:14). We are those who are to lead the world into the Kingdom of God by our deeds, but if we do not allow the Word of God to govern our actions, how will this ever be a reality? All of the good things of God are expressed through a relationship with God in the Holy Ghost. If we are neglectful of this relationship, then we are going to forfeit all the good things of God that have been made available to us. We will be stuck in the world of human effort and ritual, and all that the world around us will see is religion instead of the glory of God manifested by the working of the Word and the Spirit of God. If we will allow God to teach us to be conformed to His Word and His Spirit, then those things that we speak will be filled with the power and authority of God, and the things that we do will be the expressions of His nature and glory.
The 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians ends in much the same way as it began. There are a number of things that church order demands the saints to be aware of, but not at the expense of the manifestation of the Spirit. The bottom line is that every saint of God should earnestly desire the spiritual, and they should earnestly desire to prophesy. Every saint should recognize that we are living in the last days, and as God has promised, He has poured out His Spirit on all flesh so that Heaven might be revealed through our lives (Acts 2:14-18). When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church, the only vocal gift that was heard was the utterances of tongues. Tongues led Peter into a realm, just as it did Paul, where he functioned in the word of knowledge (Acts 2:14, 1 Corinthians 14:6), in revelation and teaching (Acts 2:14-32, 34-38), and in prophecy (Acts 2:33, 39-40). Tongues was the first expression of the Holy Spirit, and the evidence that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2:3-4). In this Epistle, Paul indeed gives it the highest ranking – for what could be more important than the individual speaking directly to God (1 Corinthians 14:2)? What could be more important than the manifestation of the fire of God (Acts 2:3)? Is there any greater activity than worshiping and giving thanks well unto God (1 Corinthians 14:17)? What could be more important in our meetings than to have a sign of the presence of God to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22)? Paul instructs the whole church to prophesy as well as speak with tongues. Through tongues the saint will be built up, and through prophecy the whole church will be instructed in the Word of the Lord, and the lost will be saved (1 Corinthians 14:22-24). For the church to shine with the radiant splendor of the life of Jesus, then each person must know how to yield to and function in the manifestation of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Every member in the body of Christ should have a hymn, a revelation, a tongue, and an interpretation so that the whole church can be edified. There should be the baptismal glory of the Holy Ghost from which each one is filled, speaking to themselves in songs and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-19). The overflow of joy unspeakable and full of glory and the love of Christ which fills us with all God’s fullness must reign in our lives (1 Peter 1:8, Ephesians 3:19). Therefore let no one forbid anyone else to speak with tongues. When Paul told the Thessalonians not to quench the Spirit, we can be certain that tongues was at least in part what he was referring to, if not the very focus of the statement (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Paul uses a word specific to putting out fire: “quench” (‘σβέννυμι’). Thus Paul warns that the fire of God can be diminished or even put out if the Holy Spirit is resisted. In fact, even if you consider someone to be wrong and out of order, to forbid them to speak with tongues is as if you threw cold water on the fire of God. “To quench the Spirit was to suppress or restrain the Spirit from manifesting itself in charismatic activities like speaking in tongues and uttering prophecy within the life of the community” (See F. Lang, TDNT VII, 168). The tongues of fire should fill the tongues of every person, and we should desire as Paul did to flow in this glorious language of the Spirit more than them all.
We received this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and until we will step out in faith and obey, maturity will languish. We were baptized with the presence of the living God to be witnesses of the life-giving power supplied through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Religion will try to stop you and kill you as it did James. The Satanic powers of darkness will fight against you and attempt to turn the truth of God into a lie, but you must stand! Every evil thing will try to kill the working of the Spirit of God and persecute the anointing. Out of weakness you will be made strong, and through the great fight of faith you will grow and mature into all the fullness of the ministry of Jesus (Ephesians 4:12-13). The cost will be laying down your life and pursuing the heavenly vision at the expense of all other things.
The gift of tongues is among the most controversial subjects in the Bible. There are those who say it is a gift that has passed away. Others believe that the gift is ours, but rarely function in it. Still others believe that it is something that should be active in church, but should not be allowed except under strictly defined parameters. But what does the Bible really say? What was Paul’s true intent? What compelled him to devote such a lengthy exhortation to a single gift? One thing we may be certain of is that Paul not only spoke in tongues (a language that could not be understood by men), but he also promoted the activity of it along with all of the other gifts. All these things can only point to one thing – its importance in the developing and maturing into the power and manifestation of the ministry of Christ Jesus.
Tongues was first in the manifestation of the Spirit. Tongues was first in the birth of the church. Tongues was first in the heart of Paul, and it should be first in our hearts as well. Its precedence and outworking in the New Testament church is unimpeachable. If you want to move in the power of the Holy Spirit like the Apostle Paul did, then you should participate with the Holy Spirit as He did. Tongues in the New Testament is one of the miraclous signs that earmarks the believers (Mark 16:17). The gift of the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh – on anyone who will believe (Acts 2:17-18, Joel 2:28-29). There is no legitimate reason for anyone to refuse a special gift that allows us to speak to God after the manner of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2). We may be certain that Paul believed that tongues was a unique gift placed in the church by God, and that he also expected the gift to be exercised in various ways by all (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 1 Corinthians 14:5, 26, 39).
God has given His people a rest and the refreshing through the language of the Holy Ghost (Isaiah 28:11-12). What is misunderstood more than anything else is the powerful function of this miraculous utterance of the Holy Spirit. These utterances are supernatural, which supply a supernatural strength to the believer, and are a springboard for every manifestation of the Spirit. They are a witness that the Holy Spirit has come to reside in you with all the power of Heaven.
Paul makes a contrast between tongues and prophecy through the entire chapter, beginning with the very first verse in 1 Corinthians 14. One of the most important points that must be understood is that He desired everyone in the church to participate with both tongues and prophecy, which he repeats over and again. He not only addresses all of the individuals in the church, but distinguishes different groups from one another, such as all the individuals in the church in contrast to the prophets that are in the church, and also a group of women. He also addresses different categories from praying in tongues, singing in tongues, speaking a message in tongues, everyone prophesying, prophets prophesying, and the unique category of women learning. Throughout this instruction, it is important to separate out the various things that Paul says that apply to the individual categories and groups, and not intermingle them.
God promised to pour out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, and of course that is anyone who will receive. On the day of Pentecost, the roar of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was so loud that people had gathered around the upper room. Peter announced to this great crowd of people that what was taking place was prophesied by the prophet Joel:
“’And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, and also upon My men-servants, and upon My maid-servants. In those days, I will pour out My Spirit, and they shall prophesy, and I will give wonders in the heaven above, and signs upon the earth beneath — blood and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the coming of the day of the Lord — the great and illustrious, and it shall be, every one, whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:17-21).
While Peter reports that this is the event that Joel is referring to, it certainly included more than what was happening right at that moment. Although they were all speaking with tongues as the Holy Spirit spoke through them, these tongues could be regarded in part as a kind of New Testament prophecy, especially for those who heard the interpretation. Yet at the same time, we must recognize that these tongues, which are spiritual and also aid in training a person in the spiritual, would serve the purpose of ushering in the manifestation of the spirit of prophecy upon everyone.
Classically speaking, prophecy is the utterance of the Spirit of the Lord speaking through the mouth of men and making known what He desires to reveal. Prophecies are the inspirations of the Holy Spirit that reveal and make known who God is. Some of the great examples of prophecy are those witnessed in the proclamations of Moses and the beautiful psalms of David. The prophecy that brought forth the Word of God – as it is only expressed in the Bible – is of course in a category all its own. It is unequivocally established by God as the absolute and final authority in the church. All other prophecy is going to support what has been revealed, and also be judged by that revelation.
When we look back at the school of the prophets that was established as a help to Moses, we can learn much about the purpose of such an office, as well as the function of prophecy. Moses needed help to teach and instruct all the people in Israel in the ways of the Lord. Therefore, the Lord commanded Moses to appoint seventy men to receive of the Spirit that was given to Him, so that they would be able to both teach and preach the judgments of the Lord (Numbers 11:16, Numbers 11:24-26). Unlike those who had previously been appointed for judicial and administrative tasks, the seventy were to bear the responsibility for spiritual leadership (Exodus 18:25-26). Therefore, it was essential that they speak by the Spirit of the Lord, and thus the gift of prophecy was given to others besides Moses as they stood at the door of the tabernacle: the place of sacrifice and revelation (Exodus 33:9-11, Leviticus 1:1-3).
Now the New Testament church could not begin until the Holy Spirit who was to preside over the church came. When the Holy Spirit came to the church, His Spirit was poured out upon the whole congregation, and a special ability was given to them to function in a baptismal anointing. That day, the New Testament church was born with the ability to operate in the anointing of Jesus. When the Holy Spirit was poured out, they all began to speak with a new kind of divine utterance never heard before, the tongues of fire. One of the attributes of these tongues was revealed in the interpretation as it was discovered to be worship and adoration of God (Acts 2:11). It might be said that they were giving thanks excellently (1 Corinthians 14:17). Of course, the specific application of prophecy in worship was not new. When Miriam the sister of Moses prophesied, she took a tambourine in hand and began to sing out the song of the Lord as she prophesied (Exodus 15:20-21). Just like in the life of David, the divine utterance revealed who God is in words of praise. Singing and prophecy was taught by David to the priests (1 Chronicles 25:1-3). The same was observed in the school of the prophets started by Samuel. When Saul met the company of prophets worshiping and prophesying, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied (1 Samuel 10:5-7, 10).
Paul wanted the whole church to prophesy one by one so that the Holy Spirit could specifically address every unbeliever in the house (1 Corinthians 14:24). Prophecy in this application might be thought of as the word of knowledge that makes known the secrets of the heart (1 Corinthians 14:25). Both the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge (along with prophecy) should be common in the church (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Prophecy is also given to make known the Word of God. As the Word of God is unveiled, the hearts of the hearers are revealed. The Word of God is like a sword which divides and discerns the thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Therefore when one prophesies by the Spirit, the Word of God (which is written in the Bible) is being preached with revelation and power. Of course, if a person does not speak according to the Word, then it is because there is no light of truth in them (Isaiah 8:20, Galatians 1:8-9).
Once again, it is God’s desire that the whole church prophesy. Prophesying is not limited to prophets, but the activity of the Holy Spirit is supplied to everyone (1 Corinthians 14:1, 5,:24-25, 31). After all, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church so that among other things we all may receive the gift of prophecy and speak by the Spirit of God (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28). Paul made known the will of God on these matters, desiring that everyone be enriched with all utterance, and that no one come behind in any of the gifts (1 Corinthians 1:5, 7). Of course prophecy like this can be a challenging gift when everyone in the church is not only allowed to do it, but encouraged to do it as God has commanded. If we had these kind of services, there would be just as much of an uproar and persecution as there is with everybody speaking in tongues.
Paul also identified those who were the prophesying prophets (‘προφήτης’) in the church and gave instruction to them as well (1 Corinthians 14:29). All of these different groups and categories must be separated out. If the instruction that Paul gave concerning the different manifestations and to the various groups are all blended together, then there is not going to be a proper understanding of his intent. Paul highlighted this office of the prophet on several different occasions, but most notably in Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. Paul desired that two or three prophets speak, and then for it to be evaluated. When anything is being examined as right or wrong, two or three witnesses are needed – Paul looked to those who functioned in the office of the prophets to fulfill this role (Matthew 18:16, John 8:17-18, 2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Corinthians 14:29).
There are too many people running around appointing themselves to the ministry, and appointing others to do this thing and that thing – without any witnesses. The worst thing is that far too many of God’s people allow these things contrary to divine order to exist. We all must recognize that things must be submitted so that others can judge. When Peter had preached to the Gentiles and those at Cornelius’ house, they were saved and baptized in the Holy Ghost, but Peter still submitted it to the church for them to judge (Acts 11:1-18). Paul also allowed himself to be examined by the leadership of the church, so that he would not run or labor in vain (Galatians 2:2). When Paul was ready to be sent out by the church, the Scripture says that the Holy Spirit said: “Separate unto me Paul and Barnabas for the work that I have called them unto. Then after they fasted and prayed, they laid hands on them and sent them out” (Acts 13:2-3). The very nature of Christ is submissive and humble (Matthew 11:29). We must be transparent and recognize that God has called us to be submitted one to another as we walk out this glorious and divine purpose of God for His church (1 Corinthians 16:16, Philippians 2:3, Ephesians 5:21).
God’s order is as different from man’s order as the Kingdom of God is from the kingdom of men. It is the Word of God and the Spirit of God that teach us to walk in divine order, not the various cultures of men. We cannot take the Word of God and then interpret it through the lens of our own cultures or other cultures, it must be understood from the perspective of Heaven not Earth. When the Spirit of the Lord begins to move upon someone, we begin to get a picture of Heaven. It does not matter whether it was in the Old Testament or the New. It should be obvious that when a person moves under the influence of Heaven, it’s going to appear strange and different from Earth. When David danced before the Lord with all of his might, even his wife Michal despised his behavior, though he did so by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14-16). We can hardly imagine the way worship takes place in Heaven as the seraphim fly with two wings and shout out praises to the Most-High (Isaiah 6:2-3). The excessive joy, the overwhelming love, and the childlike behavior brought by the Holy Spirit is never going to be impressive to men who are imprisoned in the world of their own ideas. The things of the Spirit of the Lord are foolishness to men and their natural minds are never going to understand or agree with what the Spirit of the Lord is doing (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).
The things of the Spirit are never going to operate under the control and governorship of men. If anyone believes that they can orchestrate the things of the Spirit, they are mistaken. All we can do is earnestly desire what the Holy Spirit wants to do in the midst of the church. We can be certain that if we hunger and thirst for these things belonging to the Kingdom of God, we will have them. It is Father’s good pleasure to give us the Holy Spirit, which includes the manifestation of the Spirit. We have to learn to trust God and get out of the way! If we make the meeting about our own personal preferences, then all we will have is a meeting after our own likeness. It is not an abdication of leadership in the household of faith to let the Holy Spirit be in charge and His manifestations be the rule. There must be an awesome reverence for God and a recognition that this is the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood. God the Holy Spirit must be allowed to be our leader and teacher as much as Jesus was to His apostles.
There is no justifiable reason for anyone who is a Christian to oppose those things that are plainly revealed in the scriptures. The language of the Spirit takes a prominent place as the first gift manifested with respect to the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church, and the heavenly ministry of Jesus. The chief description of Jesus as the Savior was that He would be the One who would baptize those who would receive in the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33). The Holy Ghost was given to bring to pass the miracle of salvation and also to impart the power to do the works of Jesus. Tongues testify that the power to be witnesses of His resurrection have been received, and that the recipient has been supplied with the New Testament signs and wonders to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Acts 6:8, 8:6-7, Romans 15:19).
Many confuse the baptism of the Holy Ghost with salvation. However, these are to be understood as two different gifts: the gift of salvation, and the gift of power from on High. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is all about a flow and operation of the power of God in our lives to function in the works of Jesus and greater works (John 14:12). The Holy Spirit is the Teacher, and as we yield to Him He teaches us how to function in the heavenly realm that is far superior to the natural realm.
Jesus is not only your Savior, but also the One who wants to baptize you in the Holy Ghost. It is as simple as asking and then receiving what He has already given. God is no respecter of persons. The Spirit has been poured out for both salvation and the enduing of power. Hunger for the heavenly – the things of the Spirit – is the way into all that God has for you. You can receive right now while you are reading these closing statements to this book. Just as on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to give power to the church, He will give you the same power, and out of your innermost being will flow rivers of the Holy Ghost (John 7:38-39, Acts 2:33).
If you are not in a church that believes that the Holy Spirit is in charge, then you need to get in one (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Be around others who are in love with the heavenly more than the earthly. Fellowship with those who realize that we are to have both the life and ministry of Jesus (John 3:34, John 14:12, 20:21). Be a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 16:24). Walk and live in the Spirit (Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:25). Imitate God (1 Corinthians 11:1, 3 John 1:11). It is in having all that God has purposed for you – both the gift of salvation and being endued with power from on high – that you will find all the fullness of communion with God that has been granted to us through His unspeakable gift! Let the Holy Spirit declare the “wonders of God” through you (Acts 2:11)!