BY DON BANTUM
Another requirement some people want to add to Jesus is "tongues." This is often prevalent with charismatic groups and denominations, who teach if you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, such will be manifested by your being "slain in the spirit" and/or by "tongues of fire." What are people thinking? Jesus didn't come to slay anybody, we were already dead; he came that we might have LIFE and have it to the full. This isn't in the Bible, it's been added by men hoping to deceive, and distort the gospel.
I'm not a young man anymore, yet I have never witnessed anybody ever speaking in tongues as described in the New Testament. I've witnessed people babbling gibberish, falling down on the floor, drawing attention to themselves, but that is hardly a gift from God. God isn't the author of confusion, and he doesn't grab people and throw them about the room, knocking them to the floor, causing them to roll about uncontrollably, while speaking who knows what? That's just more of man's deception, hoping to appearing more spiritual or more holy, puffing themselves up to be something they're not. If anybody is slaying people, or tossing them about, or causing them to speak unknown babbling, it's the devil, not God. God provides gifts, not plagues or curses. A gift is something you can use when it is needed; like a special ability to do something, a talent you can use to glorify God. How does one expect to bring glory to God by falling over backwards and smashing their heads on the seat behind them, taking their hands and throwing their dresses over their heads? I have seen such acts many times in the past. Gifts are something controlled by the one who has the gift, and if you can't control it, you didn't receive it from a God of love, and guess what, it's not a gift, it's a curse.
Jesus came to heal the sick and give sight to the blind, and there isn't anything much worse than spiritual blindness; yet everybody who does not have the indwelling Spirit of God is blind and understands nothing, say's the Scriptures. But Jesus has the cure for that too, it's call Spiritual LIFE. Amen?
If you want to know the true evidence of gifts provided by the Holy Spirit from God, they are identified throughout the Bible. They are also evidenced by these:
Galatians 5: 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is LOVE, and produces God's love in his children, as they die to self and allow God to work in and through them. If you want to see how you're doing in this area of your life, take this little test. Just place the words "I AM ALWAYS" in front of each of the following comments, and you'll readily see what a great job you're not doing. Why is that? It's because this is a description of God, not us. We can not produce any of these qualities without God himself doing it.
1 Corinthians 13:4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10. but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
So, how did you do in the love department? Not very well? Neither did I. Only Jesus can produce love in man. We are incapable of doing any of that on our own. Now if somebody has taught himself to babble or others have taught him to speak gibberish, and to throw themselves on the floor, that my friends is not being produced by the spirit of God. Every good gift comes from God. I hope we can see the difference between what God is producing and that which man produces. If you want to know what true tongues are, consider the following:
Acts 2: 1. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit enabled them.
5. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8. Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9. Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10. Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11. (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12. Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
13. Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."
14. Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16. No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17. “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
21. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
22. "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
40. With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41. Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Now this is true Biblical tongues, not vain babbling nobody can understand, including the folks doing the babbling. The gift of tongues was given so that by speaking to people in their own language, they might hear and understand the wonders of God, and come to faith in Jesus Christ, and be saved. Perhaps somebody can show me, how babbling can produce the kind of results speaking in a known language produced in that example. Tongues are a sign, the Bible tells us, not for believers, but for unbelievers. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
Many people have been deceived by the cunning of man. Usually another deceptive doctrine that accompanies tongues, and being slain in the spirit, is the "Prosperity Gospel," which advocates that godliness is a means to financial gain. You give them $100 dollars and God will give you $1,000 dollars. Let's see what St. Paul has to say about such claims:
1 Timothy 6: 3. If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4. he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5. and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
Paul calls them false teachers who have been robbed of the truth and understand nothing. I hope if you're looking for a place to worship, you seek a place where the leadership is teaching Biblical truth, and not fables devised by man; deceiving and being deceived, and all for financial gain. If this is the kind of thing going on where you attend, find some place else to go. And you might want to consider having a Bible study, either by yourself and God, or with a few others who love God and truth, and are willing to allow the Spirit of God to renew their minds with his truth.
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