Let’s bow in a word of prayer. Father, we thank You tonight for amazing grace – for the simple message of that song and oh, Lord how great it is to know that we haven’t even begun to experience what You’ve prepared for us. For all eternity we’ll live and bask in the glory of full grace. Thank you, Lord for all that You mean to us. And Lord, as we look at the Word tonight may we speak as one who speaks the oracles of God. May our hearts be sensitive and may we be led by the Spirit of God. May He be our teacher and we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
First Corinthians, chapter 12 – tonight’s message is the third message in the subject of The Gifts of the Body. We are in a series – a series which has not been planned, but which has just kept happening week by week. One of those unplanned things that obviously the Lord had planned all along. We are in the third message on The Gifts of the Body. We’ve talked about the Body of Christ, the witness of the Body and the gifts of the Body.
We’ve been studying the Body of Christ and how it is to function in unity and love and those are the two key words to understanding the Body of Christ – in unity and in love. And that if it functions in unity and love it will be built up. It will be matured. It will be edified. And by the Body of Christ we mean all Christians – loving and serving one another are built up and when we are built up into that kind oneness and that kind of love, then our witness to the world will be effective.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “I pray that they may be one that the world may know that the Father has sent me.” Our witness depends upon unity and love. Now in order for the Body to be built up that it might witness, God has given the Body certain things. First of all, He has given certain gifted men – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. He has also not only given certain gifted men, but He has given certain grace gifts or spiritual gifts to every one of the believers and we’ve been talking about these gifts. And through these gifts to every believer the Holy Spirit manifests Himself to the whole Body.
Now, if you’re getting in on the tail end, I would encourage you to get the tapes and the sheets that we’ve passing out in past weeks so you know where we are because this is an absolutely critical subject. Now we’ve been talking then about the gifts through which the Spirit ministers to the Body, so God has given two things to the Body of Christ - gifted men, specially called to be apostles, prophets – they were foundational ministries and have ceased - then followed by evangelist, teacher and preacher. Not only gifted men, but gifts and each of the believers have certain gifts by which they minister to the other believers to bring a full maturity to the entire Body.
Now we have been studying these gifts and we’ve also been studying the principles by which the gifts function. We have seen clearly how these gifts complement each other and how they result in a Body that is edified. We have also seen that each of these gifts was complete and full in Christ Himself and that we as a Body are to be the continuation of the life of Christ, so that God has given us every basic gift that Christ Himself had in order that we might be fully the continuation of the life of Christ.
Now, for a healthy oneness then – which means a healthy witness – for a real unity of love – for a real positive ministry, we must then minister our gifts to one another that we might be built up. If we do not minister the Body is maimed, the Body is crippled. Some members are not functioning and the others have to compensate and the whole Body of Christ limps along. And incidentally, that’s exactly what the case is now and as a result of a maimed, crippled, disjointed, disconnected Body we stand amidst the ruins of a broken testimony in the world.
The world cannot see our testimony, because our unity is the criterion and our love. And since unity and love isn’t obvious in the Body of Christ, the world has not the correct standards by which to judge us. Now we have tried in previous messages then consequently to say three things. Number one, the Body needs to be one and to love. Number two, gifts make it so. Number three, find your gift and use it. That’s basically what we’ve been saying. In order for the Body to function, there has to be unity and love. Gifts make unity and love possible. Find your gift. Discover it by prayer and the filling of the Holy Spirit and use your gift. When all of us operate our gifts in the energy of the Spirit, then we build up each other to full maturity. The whole Body becomes mature and our witness and testimony is powerful.
Now specifically we have begun to enumerate the gifts that are listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and also in Romans 12. Last time we talked about the permanent gifts. We said there are two categories of gifts: permanent and temporary. The permanent gifts were to build up the Body and still are to build up the Body. The temporary gifts were to confirm the word of the apostles and prophets and have ceased with the ceasing of apostles and prophets. Now since last week we covered all of the permanent gifts, that leaves for us to cover tonight the temporary gifts, which were not designed for the edification of the Body, as we shall see, but they were designed for confirming the testimony of the apostles and prophets that indeed and in fact they were declaring the Word of God.
Now there are four of these gifts listed in Scripture. They have no continuing role in the Body. They existed for the apostolic era and were designed for unbelievers, not believers in order that unbelievers might be convinced by these miracles that indeed the Word of God was being spoken by the mouths of the apostles and the prophets of the early church.
The point is obvious. If you had a whole lot of people speaking and no standard to judge them, nobody would know what to believe. And so along with the truth speakers, along with the true apostles and true prophets, there were certain miracles in order that people might be convinced that they in fact did speak the very Word of God.
Now I want to review this concept with you for just a moment and if you will, look at Mark chapter 16. That’s the last chapter in the book of Mark and I’m not going to go into a critical study of whether this belongs. Let’s assume that it does. And incidentally, there is new evidence in the basis of two new thesis that have just been written with new manuscript evidence that the last part of Mark does belong in the text. In case you don’t know it didn’t use to belong or some people didn’t think it did. Don’t worry about it.
That’s the problem for others, but we notice in verse 17—and He’s talking here to the 11 disciples—He says, “And these signs shall follow those who believe and in my name shall they cast out demons, speak with new tongues, take up serpents. If they drink any deadly thing it will not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” Now there you have some miracles that are going to attend the initial preaching of the apostles and the people who respond to the apostles in that initial phase of the church are going to see miracles happen.
Now you come down to verse 19. “So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them” – that is to the 11 – “He was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God.” That’s the ascension. Verse 20 – “And they went forth” – that’s the early apostles – “and preached everywhere - the Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following.” Miracles then accompanied the apostles for the purpose of confirming what? The Word. That’s what they were for.
Now look at 2 Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 12. Says this – now here’s a very important verse. “Truly the signs of an apostle” – now notice, signs are specifically belonging to apostles - “The signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, wonders and mighty deeds.” Dunamis. Dynamite deeds. Now you’ll notice there that signs belong to whom? Apostles. “Signs of an apostle.” That is a specific designation for miracles.
One other verse – Hebrews chapter 2. Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 3. Hebrews 2:3 says this - now this again is very important. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” Now listen to what happens after that. “Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.” Wasn’t the message of salvation initially spoken by Christ Himself? Of course it was. “And was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” And who would that be? Apostles. “God also bearing them witness.” Who does them refer to? The apostles. “Both with signs and wonders and diverse miracles and” – here’s the key – “gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
Now there you have it, friends. Apostles did miracles to confirm the Word. The miracles actually belonged to apostles and here it says, “Certain gifts of the Spirit were for the apostles.” Now when you come to 1 Corinthians 12 and you see the miraculous gifts, you know then that those are the gifts spoken of as the signs and wonders and mighty deeds that belong to the apostles for the purpose of confirming the Word and establishing its veracity in the minds of people who had no other standard. And you see, this is in effect what Nicodemus meant when he came to Jesus and he said, “I know you come from God, because no man can” - what? – “do the things you do except God be Him.”
In other words, the signs and miracles in Christ’s life attested to the fact that He was speaking from God. Same thing was true of the early apostles. They had no other standard. There was no written Word of God. There was not yet the accumulated standard of The New Testament, so signs became the confirmation of the Word. They were to ratify or establish the truth.
Now in the early church this was a necessary adjunct to the preaching and teaching of the apostles and the early prophets and incidentally these gifts were evidently often passed on from the apostles to other prophets of the early church by the laying on of hands. There is no indication anywhere in The New Testament that anybody had these gifts other than by the laying on of the hands of the apostles.
So, it was a direct ministry geared to the apostles and the initial prophets of the early church. Warfield, one of the most brilliant Biblical scholars who ever lived says this, “These miraculous gifts were part of the credentials of the apostles as the authoritative agents of God and founding the church. Their function thus confined them to distinctly the apostolic church and they necessarily passed away with it.”
Now certain passages specifically associate these miraculous gifts of the Spirit with the work of apostles, and I’ll give you a couple of illustrations. One is in the 14th chapter of Acts. Don’t look it up. Just write it down. Acts 14 verse 3. In Acts 14:3 – “A long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord who gave testimony under the Word of His Grace.” Now here are some prophets and they’re speaking the Word of the Lord. Now, here’s the key. “And the Lord gave testimony unto the Word of His Grace.”
What was the Lord then doing? Confirming the Word, right? How did He give testimony? He granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. You see? In other words, the way that the Lord attested to the veracity of their word was by granting them signs and wonders. Now these words incidentally describe the activity of Paul and Barnabas when they went to the city of Iconium during Paul’s first missionary journey. And at that point, signs and wonders were granted to them – as apostles and prophets – to proclaim the truth of God and have it verified. God literally verified it by giving them the ability to do miracles.
There’s one other verse that tells us the same thing and that’s Romans 15:15. Again, I’ll just read it to you. “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort as putting you in mind because of the grace that is given to me of God. That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ of the Gentiles ministering the Gospel of God that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I have therefore that of which I may glory in Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things, which Christ hath not wrought by me.”
In other words, “I am only speaking what Christ tells me to speak,” Paul says. Now watch this. “I will not dare speak any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me to make the Gentiles obedient” – watch this – “to make them obedient by word and deed” – here’s the key – “through mighty signs and wonders.”
In other words, Paul says, “My ministry is verified by signs and wonders.” This whole area of miracles had nothing to do with believers. It had to confirm the Word to unbelievers. The whole point. All right, so from those passages we learn that the purpose and function of the special, miraculous gifts of the Spirit was to authenticate the apostles as true messengers from the true God and thus confirm the gospel of salvation in the mind of unbelievers. Incidentally, as a satellite, it also helped the believing ones to have more faith when they saw these same miracles.
Now, may I add very hastily that the church today no longer needs this kind of confirmation? We do not need miracles as a standard by which we verify somebody’s declaration. We don’t need somebody to stand up and preach and then do a miracle so we know he’s telling the truth. We have another standard and what is it? The Word of God. When somebody stands up to preach we don’t have to have a miracle, we merely match him to the Word of God. If he matches the Word of God, that is the standard. If he does not, then we know that he is not a true teacher, but a false teacher. We do not need confirming miracles. Here is our confirmation right here. We judge by the Word of God.
I’m reminded of Luke chapter 16, verse 31 when the words says, “If they hear not, Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” If the Word of God as a standard isn’t good enough, miracles aren’t going to do it. Now that the Scripture is complete and you can’t take away from it and you can’t add to it. It’s complete and total as God designed it to be. It’s our standard. We don’t need confirming miracles. They’re irrelevant, immaterial and extraneous.
Now, let me add a footnote. In the gifted men in the church – you know, there were gifts and there were gifted men - the teacher, evangelist and pastor, which are the still existing ones – the apostles and prophets and we saw last week were foundation, right? And you don’t put the foundation on the 20th floor, so they don’t belong in our century. But in the gifted men, there is today the continuing ministry that builds the Body and there is no miraculous confirming gift ever mentioned in Ephesians 4 where the gifted men are mentioned. Nowhere in all of Paul’s letters from Corinthians on – Corinthians is the only one that mentions these – in no other of Paul’s letters does he say that pastors, evangelists or teachers should have any of these kinds of gifts.
Now friend, if those gifts were the confirming gifts of the Word and we still needed them, then they would belong to the men who preached the Word wouldn’t they? What would be the point of giving confirming gifts to people who weren’t preachers? It’d be pointless. If in fact these gifts still exist, then they should belong to the greatest preachers and teachers in the world, because they are the men who are speaking and they are the men whose message has to be confirmed.
Is that not true? And so if these gifts still exist, they would belong to gifted Bible teachers, not to people who are way out in left field, conducting strange emotionalism under a tent. And you can look the world across and you will not find a single really gifted Bible teacher in the mainstream of dispensational, pre-millennial theology who has anything to do with any of these kind of gifts. There are none. In fact, there is total unanimity of agreement that these gifts do not belong to our day. They were always confirming gifts for unbelievers to verify the Word. Consequently, if they were today existing they wouldn’t belong to women in the first place, because women are supposed to keep silence in the church. And that’s in 1 Corinthians 14 and refers to tongues and, friends, if that took place, 95 percent of them would end.
And so the confirming gifts then, if they were legitimate gifts would belong to great Bible teachers. On the contrary, they do not. They are not the ones who are self-styled healers or miracle workers. Not at all. So, to conclude our introduction, we’ve seen that the signed gifts were for the apostolic era and when the apostles and prophets used them, they were to confirm the Word. And when the apostles and prophets passed away so did the need for confirmation, because the Bible then became the standard. Those gifts were never designed anytime to belong to the edification of the Body. They aren’t a part of it at all.
All right, now let’s look at the four specific temporary signed gifts and they’re for us in verse 10 and some repeated in verse 28. You can look at them. Number one is the gift of miracles. Verse 10 to another – the working of miracles. Now, what is the gift of miracles? We want to talk about it for just a moment. To say that miracles have ceased would be untrue and I want to hasten to say that.
When I say the gift of miracles has ceased, I do not mean God doesn’t do miracles. God is a God of miracles. God is doing miracles today all over the place. I don’t think one day goes by that we don’t see God working a miracle in our own lives. Miracles are happening all around us. The greatest miracle God ever did was take a degenerate, debased, sin-sick soul on its way to hell and turn it around and recreate it so that it becomes a citizen of heaven. That’s the greatest miracle God ever did and He does it constantly. There are other miracles. All kinds of miracles that God does. That is not to say that the gift of miracles still exists. It is not a gift through a person anymore. God still does miracles by His own sovereign design and as a result of prayer. But it is not the same as the apostolic gift of miracles.
Now our Lord – and let me talk about this for a minute – our Lord did many different kinds of miracles, including raising the dead. And these were proofs of His deity. They were to verify His messiahship. They were to corroborate His claim that He was the Son of God. For example, as we saw this morning. He’d say, “I am the bread of life,” and then He’d make bread. He’d say, “I am the living water,” and then He would talk about a water that He could give that was like no other water. He would say, “I am the light of the world,” and give sight to blind eyes and light to blind souls. He would say, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and them raise somebody from the dead physically and spiritually.
He was verifying His claims by miracles. Our Lord did them, but it’s interesting for us to note I think that they had a very limited effect, didn’t they? I mean He did the miracles constantly in front of Israel and they didn’t believe it. Finally, they concluded that He did His miracles by whose power? Beelzebub – Satan. So, they had a very limited effect. Not only did they have a limited effect with Christ, but they also had a limited effect with the apostles and the prophets – very limited.
The casting of the evil spirit out of the soothsayer was the direct cause of all the trouble in Philippi. When that miracle happened, that made such chaos in Philippi that you know what happened ultimately. The restoration of the lame person at Lystra by Paul seemed to have a great effect on the people. It did for a little while. That’s in Acts chapter 14. It looked like the restoration of that lame person was really going to have a great effect, but soon after that they stoned Paul and left him for dead. That’s a rather minimal effect.
After Philippi for a period of two years there is no mention of any miracle wrought by Paul. They were very limited. Very limited. There is no record of miracles ever happening at Antioch, at Corinth, at Thessaloniki, at Derbe, at Berea. This was a very minimal, limited ministry. And Paul puts no emphasis upon the working of miracles. Nothing. He continually stresses the need for faith. In all his lists, his requirements for a bishop, for an elder, for a deacon – there’s never anything about miracles. All through the whole epistles and all those that he writes, there is nothing about people working miracles. James doesn’t say anything about it. John doesn’t say anything about it. Jude doesn’t say anything about it. Nobody does outside of the book of Acts and certain other Scriptures alluding to those ministries.
There is no emphasis in the Bible on working miracles, because it was obvious to Paul and to every other writer that that belonged to an apostolic era and when it closed that was over and it had no continuing place in the ministry of the church. We don’t need the gift of miracles today. Paul says we need the manifestation of the Spirit-filled life, right? We need to live in the energy of the Spirit. Now I’m not depreciating miracles. They have a place, but not through the gift of miracles, which was apostolic. They not only had a limited effect, but they had a limited purpose. They were for an infant stage of the church to verify the gospel. They were the signs and wonders and mighty deeds just for the beginning.
Now, one other thought. They had a limited time and I want to illustrate this. Now think very importantly for just a moment. In order to understand how God has used miracles, you must observe different periods in Scripture where miracles occur. There were four miraculous periods of miracles in the Bible and they happened and they ended and they happened and they ended and there’s great sweeping periods of history where there are no miracles recorded.
The first of period of miracles was Moses’ day. The second period of miracles was the time of Elijah and Elisha. The third period of miracles was the life of Christ. And friends, between the time of Elisha and Elijah and Christ, there just aren’t any. The fourth period of miracles was right following the life of Christ after Pentecost in the early church.
Now miracles have their place. To attest to God’s truth at a specific time and they are always limited by time. First of all, recall the first period of miracles, which is a time of Moses. You don’t read about miracles in the patriarch’s time, do you? Apart from God’s creative miracles and things like the flood, in terms of men doing miracles, you don’t read about them in Genesis. Moses initiated the first period of miracles and his miracles were performed in reference to the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, weren’t they?
In Exodus 7:3, it says, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” Notice whose wonders they are - not man’s, but God’s. And God says, “I’ll do it in reference to Egypt.” And it was important, because how would Pharaoh really know that God was working in Israel unless there was something to attest to it, right? And he got a good dose of attestation. And not only that, how would the Israelites know that God was working there unless there was some miracles to verify it?
And so in the time of Moses, there were miracles. It was the first great period of miracles. And the signs substantiated Moses as God’s appointed ruler. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule. There are some points during the other periods in between where God would do a miraculous thing, but where specifically through an individual miracles were wrought, they were pretty well limited to this period.
The following period would them be the period of Elijah and Elisha and of all the prophets, they were the ones who did the miracles. And again, the reason was because Israel really needed to know who God was because they were messing around with Baal, right? And they needed to hear the Word of God and they needed to see a miracle to know that God was indeed talking and it worked. It was to authenticate the authority of God. In 1 Kings 18:36 it says, “Let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel and that I am thy servant.” That’s what Elijah said. And how did God let it be known? By a miracle.
And so it was to authenticate the authority of God and Elijah as God’s appointed representative and they also continued through Elijah. Then you have a great period of years and years – centuries go by where miracles don’t even have a part of anything and all of a sudden they reappear in the person of Christ, the third stage of miracles. Christ and his apostles – Luke 11:20 – Christ said, “And if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
In other words, Christ wanted men to know that He had arrived to offer the kingdom and He brought along some miracles to prove that this was indeed from God. The miracles that Christ did substantiated His person and authenticated the offer of the kingdom. And the miracles, of course, of the apostles authenticated that Jesus was indeed their Messiah.
Then you had the fourth period of miracles, the apostles of the early church. And that again, to corroborate to unbelievers the testimony of God. Now in each case it was to unbelief. Israel and Egypt – unbelieving. God needed to attest a miracle, right? In Egypt, Pharaoh also didn’t believe in God. Miracles to verify God’s existence. The second period under Elijah and Elisha – again, Israel in unbelief and Baal worship - miracles came to attest to God’s Word to unbelief. In the life of Christ, He came, did miracles to attest to His deity in front of the unbelief of Israel.
In the early church, the apostles and prophets did miracles to verify to the world that indeed they were speaking the oracles of God. Always in every one of those four periods, miracles were to verify that God was involved,that God was speaking and the verification was aimed directly at unbelievers.
And of course as a sidelight, obviously it would strengthen the faith of a believer, but the purpose was for unbelievers. And so in every case of the four periods of miracles, the miracles were worked against a background of unbelief and designed to be a sign to unbelievers, whether it was unbelieving Pharaoh, unbelieving Egyptians or unbelieving Jews or unbelieving Gentiles.
Now, when we come to the fourth period – the book of Acts – we find they were for the same purpose exactly. And in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul says, “Tongues,” as an illustration, “are a sign for the unbeliever.” Obvious. All the others were, too. So the miracles have always been temporary in any age and with the completion of the New Testament Scripture, their time ended.
The authentication of any minister ceases to be the miracles and becomes the Word of God. And if a man adheres to the Word of God, then he is authenticated, isn’t he? Now may I quickly say, God is still doing miracles today? But not to authenticate His Word. He’s doing them apart from any gift of any man, but in response to faith and prayer and His own sovereign design.
Second miraculous gift is the gift of healing. If you’ll notice down in verse 29 – pardon me – verse 30, it talks about the gift of healing. The gift of healing was the ability to heal whenever the opportunity presented itself. A man actually had the gift to heal people. Now it wasn’t his own power. You remember Peter and John said, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth,” – what? - “rise up and walk. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” It never was their own power, but they had the ability to call on the power of Christ at any time for healing. This was the gift of healing and it was always done to verify the Word. It was always a confirming gift for an unbeliever.
Now, I’m not saying that healing has ceased. That would be idiotic to say that. Healing is still going on, isn’t it? God is healing. People are miracles of God’s grace and healing. You know, we’ve prayed for people and God has healed them of diseases when they were passed the point of medical aid. Of course God still heals, but the gift of healing ceased. The apostolic era. Today God heals in His sovereign will and response to the prayer of faith, doesn’t He?
And incidentally, I think there is a gift that brings about healing and it’s not the gift of healing. You know what it is? It’s the gift of faith. The gift of faith is the same as the gift of prayer and I think that’s a gift that really results in healing because God hears and answers prayer.
And as I said before, if the gift of healing still existed it would belong to people who are teachers of the Word. But instead, the people who claim the gift of healing today don’t know A from B about the Bible. They have the most mixed up, confused theology. They’re sort of self-styled super salesmen operating on a performance basis and were you to confront them with some sound doctrine, they probably wouldn’t be able to digest it.
Now you say, “What about such-and-such a person? I’ve seen them and somebody obviously got healed.” Well, I wouldn’t deny somebody’s healing. Maybe that person thinks they have the gift of healing and what they really have is the gift of faith and God’s responding to their prayer, not their power. And not their gift. But I don’t have any problem explaining the cases. All I want to do is orient the theology and I’ll let God worry about what happens in each individual case. That’s not for me to judge.
All I want to do is have my theology straight. And as I said earlier, if there was a gift of healing it would belong to the Bible teachers, wouldn’t it? To confirm their teaching and their preaching, but instead it belongs supposedly to people who are so ignorant of the Word of God it’s a shame – who go round and around in a kind of emotionalism that doesn’t have any more depth than a bird bath.
But the apostolic gift of healing has ceased. And I want to show you something about that. The New Testament writers knew it. They knew it was coming to an end. Even in the later years of the apostle’s ministry this gift begins to disappear. And you know, even in the later years of the apostles’ ministry the people who are sick stayed sick. God refused to heal Paul. Paul - Timothy was sick. He probably had an ulcer. You know what Paul said? “Go find the one who has the gift of healing.” No. He said, “Take a little wine for your ulcer.” What does that mean? That means that medicine’s on its way in.
And the gift of healing’s on its way out. And then 2 Timothy 4:20 – there was a guy named Trophimus who was sick at Miletus. Being at Miletus had nothing to do with being sick, but that just happened to be where he was.
And when Paul left there, Paul left him sick. Well, if Paul had the gift of healing and he had healed previously, but if the gift of healing was still such a big thing would he have not exercised it in the behalf of Trophimus? Did they lack faith? No, they didn’t lack faith. Somebody always says, “Well, I know somebody that was healed. Praise the Lord!” I know some people that were healed too, but it wasn’t any man that did it, it was God’s design. Now let me lay this one on you. First I think there’s some – somebody said, “What about all the healing supposedly that go on?”
First of all, let me say that I’d say that a whole lot of them were fake. Now I say that very honestly. When I was in seminary, I did a full study of this and I really went into it and I found out all about this card system. Listen, if you’ve only got one arm or if you have a missing limb, you don’t make it into the line, folks. They can’t handle those. It’s always an internal problem that’s invisible to anybody else. And if you think about the fact that Mayo Clinic some years ago made the statement that 85 percent of all sick people are sick because they think they’re sick, then you’ve got an awful lot of people to work with. Eighty-five percent or better of illnesses psychosomatically related. And that’s no miracle, but it’s nice that somebody can convince them they’re not sick.
Thirdly, let me put this in front of you. I believe Satan. Satan provides many so called healings and I say this, “If a man has the gift of healing, what’s he doing in a tent? Why isn’t he in a hospital? If he really had the gift of healing, why doesn’t he just go down the corridor and heal?” Well, the offerings aren’t any good in the hospital.
Now sometimes there may be a real cure because God has answered prayer. And I’m not throwing everybody into the same bag incidentally. I remember reading a story about a man named Cole, who a little boy came to him and this was when I was studying at – it happened in Florida - and little boy was paraplegic and he had braces on his legs and he was about ten years old and went through this drama of pushing him in the head and saying all these things and people were yelling and he said to the mother – he said, “Take the braces off his legs.” And the mother of course in the frenzy of all the emotionalism took the braces off and the little kid actually took three steps and everybody went into hysteria. Oh, it was just the process of mind over matter.
He said, “Don’t ever put those braces back on the boy’s legs. In two weeks gangrene had set in. Took the little boy to the hospital and the doctor said, “If you’ve came a day later, we’d have cut off both his legs.” Well, more fraud came out and the man was eventually put in jail. When there is healing, friends, it’s not because some man did it, it’s because God designed to do it in His sovereignty in response to the prayer of faith.
Now, do you say – do you believe all healers are in it for the money and phonies? No, I think perhaps there are some of them who really believe – who really believe – they have themselves convinced that it’s for real. Then I think there’s some others who think they’re healers, but they really have the gift of faith. And things really do happen because they have the power of prayer. But it’s not the gift of healing, they just don’t understand their theology. The idea that you can heal people in an assembly line is ridiculous. Even the disciples couldn’t do that. In Matthew 17 they came to Jesus and said, “What’s wrong? We can’t do it.” God in response to believing prayer works miracles.
Thirdly – and we’ll couple these two gifts together. Verse 10 – third and fourth gift – various kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Now, I want to consider several questions. I’m not going to belabor this point, but I know this is an issue. And may I say at the very outset in talking about tongues that I have a great love in my heart for those in the Body of Christ? I don’t care whether they speak in tongues or don’t speak in tongues and I’m not saying this to be patronizing. I’m saying it to be very honest. I have some very dear friends that I love very much and believe know Jesus Christ in a vital and real way that I believe are actually operating successfully in a ministry that God is blessing who are in error at this point. And friends, there are many errors more serious than this and perhaps gossip is a good one, since that’s linked with murder and other things in some of the catalogs of The New Testament.
Well, we so often think that if somebody is in the error of speaking in tongues that they’re a gross heretic. That may not be so at all. If there are degrees, there are things infinitely more serious than that. And so I am not trying to chastise those people. I feel that there’s a doctrinal position that we must hold from the Word of God. It is so clear and all we want to do is declare where we are. We are not saying we don’t love. We are only saying we want to be faithful of the Word of God.
All right, now what was the gift of tongues and what was its use? It was a Holy Spirit given ability – watch this – to speak a foreign language to declare the wonderful works of God as a miracle of verification. Look at Acts Chapter 2. Verse 1 – “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all of one accord and one place and suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire and it sat upon each of them.”
And this is the disciples who were waiting – 120 of them probably. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues” - and the word is glōssa – languages – languages - “as the Spirit gave them utterance and they were dwelling at – they were dwelling at Jerusalem – Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.”
The reason was because it was the Feast of Pentecost and all the devout Jews came to Jerusalem – perfect time to declare the wonderful works of God at the birth of the church. What better time when you had all the foreigners there? You could tell them the truths and they could take it back to their own country. So they spoke with these languages. Verse 6 – “When this was noise abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded because every man heard them speak in his own language.”
Listen, there wasn’t time to go through linguistics school. And God provided a miracle by which they could speak to every man in his own language and declare the wonderful works of God. And what was the most wonderful work that God ever did? Sent Jesus Christ to die and be resurrected and I’m sure that was the content of what they declared.
And the miracle in the way they did it attested to its truth, didn’t it? And they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans?” In other words, Galileans – since when are Galileans linguists? They were kind of the hay seeds up there in Galilee.
“And how here we every man in own tongue where we were born? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya, Cyrene, Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretans, Arabians. We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” Now they knew what they were saying didn’t they? The wonderful works of God. They were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What meaneth this?” Others mocking said, “These men are full of new wine.” They’re drunk. Out of their heads. And here was the gift of tongues, friends.
All it was was a declaration of the wonderful works of God. Glorious works of God. Mark it, it did not substitute for preaching, because right after the tongues experience came the sermon of Peter. Wasn’t that right? Tongues were not necessarily to preach the gospel and they were not to convict of sin. They were merely to attest that God was going to speak. And the wonderful works of God were declared and then came the preaching. It never supplanted preaching.
Now you say, “Yeah. But if tongues happened elsewhere in Acts, was it always the same – exactly the same – always, without fail?” Look at chapter 8, verse 15. And it doesn’t even necessarily mention it specifically here, but I believe it happened. Eight, fifteen – now the gospel’s moving out, right? It happened at Jerusalem. All right, now it’s going to move to Samaria. And you know how the Jews felt about the Samaritans, don’t you? There wasn’t really a whole lot of love between the two of them. The Jews hated the Samaritans – just despised them, because they were a mixed race.
Verse 15 – “Who when they were come down prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit for as yet He was fallen upon none of them and they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” Now, I believe at that point they spoke in tongues. It doesn’t say that, but I believe they did. And the reason I believe it is because of this—it’s obvious here is that what’s happening is this—the church began in Jerusalem and the Spirit came.
Now, when they moved to Samaria and the church began there, they not only believed, but they received the Holy Spirit with the same miracles taking place. You say, “Why?” Because it would have been very easy for the Jews to say, “Well, you Samaritans, wow! We’re not getting together with you on any common ground,” right?
Christ said the church would be one, didn’t he? Neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female – one, one, one – break down the wall or partition, right? Now, you know that if something happened to the Jews, the same thing better happen to the Samaritans or the Jews are never going to accept the Samaritans into their fellowship. So the reason the same thing had to happen to the Samaritans was for the sake of the Jews that they might know that in fact this thing was to be one. You see the importance of it then?
And if that’s not all, go to chapter 10. Moving out further past Samaria, you move into the Gentile world and you run into Cornelius. Chapter 10, verse 44 – “While Peter yet spoke these words the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the Word. They had the circumcision who believed were astonished.” Now, who’s the circumcision? Jews. They were astonished. You know why they were astonished? It tells you. “As many as came with Peter because on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit for they heard them speak with tongues.”
See? They were shocked that the Gentiles had the same experience that they had. Now do you see how important it was for them to have that? In order that the Jew might know that Christ was starting an organism where everybody was equal. Whether Jew, Samaritan or Gentile they were one in Christ and so the same miracle happened at every point.
Then you go to chapter 19 and you meet a little handful of leftovers from The Old Testament. Here’s some wandering Old Testament saints who don’t know the New Testament’s arrived and they were saved under the old economy. They went down and repented and were baptized by John the Baptist – went back to their home and didn’t even know Jesus had arrived. Paul here’s in Ephesus – “And when it came to pass while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper border came to Ephesus and he found certain disciples.”
And these were really godly people, but they were Old Testament saints – didn’t know anything about what was going on. Said to them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” And they said, “We haven’t even heard of the Holy Spirit? What is all this?”
And he said unto them unto them, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “John’s baptism. You know, we went down there,” and they would have died. They would have gone to glory had they died. They were Old Testament saints still. This little transition period here.
And Paul said – then said Paul, “John verily baptized the baptism of repentance saying under the people that they should believe on Him who should could after Him on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They said, “Oh, did Christ come? Good.”
You know, and they believed and they were baptized in verse 6 and when they had laid – when Paul had laid hands on him, the Holy Spirit came on him and they spoke with tongues. See? Why did they speak with tongues, too? Because, they needed to have the same miracle that occurred with the Jews, so that all of them would be one. There would be no levels of inequality. You see how important this is? Really critical. That’s why it occurs all those four times in Acts to bring everybody into the one fold. And it was always the same thing.
Now, very quickly, keep this in mind. In the New Testament, in the apostolic era here’s a key point. Every time tongues occurred legitimately, it was always a known language. Oh, that is so important. Friends, it was never gibberish. Never. It was always a known foreign language, though the speaker did not know it.
Say, “How do you know that?” Well, because in Acts chapter 2 it said all those languages, didn’t it? Because the word glōssa means language. Because in Acts 10, which we just read it says, “They were glorifying God.” How did they know they were glorifying God unless they were talking in a language they understood? It was always a known language.
Acts 11 and two verses. Let me just read them to you. Verse 15 and 17 – I’ll read them backwards starting at verse 17. Acts 11:17 – “For as much then as God gave them the same gift as He did unto us.” Hmmm. Peter’s reporting in about his Gentile experience with Cornelius and he says, “Do you know something? Do you know that those Gentiles got the same gift we got?”
Now, if it was known languages in Acts 2 when the Jews received it and the Gentiles got the same gift, what was it when they received it? Known languages. Same gift. In Acts 19:6 it’s the same thing with the disciples of John. It says the same words again. Let me give you another reason. If you’re in 1 Corinthians 12 you’ll notice that in verse 10 it says, “Various kinds of tongues.”
Do you see that there? Various kinds? The word kind is the word genos, from which we get our word genus. Genos and here it’s genē glōssōn. A different form, but it’s the same word, genos. Do you know what genos means? It means a nation or a race or a kind. Do you know what that means when it says, “kinds of tongues”? It means specific, national languages – races of languages. Genos has to mean kind. It doesn’t mean gobbledygook, cause gobbledygook doesn’t have certain kinds. It’s just all gobbledygook.
You couldn’t say, “All different kinds of gibberish.” Gibberish is gibberish. There’s no kinds of it. Genē glōssōn means specific nations of languages. I’ll tell you something else about that same verse. You’ll notice that the companion gift – the interpretation of tongues – the word interpretation is the word hermēneia. You know what it means in Greek literally? Translation. That’s exactly what it means and you can’t translate gibberish. If somebody had the gift of speaking true languages, somebody else had the gift of translating them. You can’t translate gibberish.
You’ll notice also in all of the occasions wherein in 1 Corinthians 14 – you have the work unknown – that it’s always in italics. Somebody put it in there thinking they were helping. They weren’t. You’ll notice also in 1 Corinthians 14:7 that Paul says, “Any kind of tongues would have to have grammatical structure and even things without life giving sound whether flute or harp, except they have – they give a distinction in the sounds, how so it be known what is piped or harped?”
You know what the Corinthians were doing? Speaking gibberish. They were exercising a fleshy counterfeit of gibberish and Paul says, “When even a guy plays a flute, he plays distinct notes.” And a language has grammatical structure and all they were doing was repeating gibberish.
Verse 11, Paul says, “Therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice. If it’s just a repetition of sounds, I shall be unto him that speaketh a Barbarian and he that speaketh shall be a Barbarian unto me, standing there speaking gibberish.” And over in verse 21 it says of chapter 14, in the law it is written and here’s a direct quote out of Isaiah 28. “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people, yet for all that they will not hear Me,” sayeth the Lord. And in the Old Testament, Isaiah said that in reference to the Assyrian language. It was a known language.
There’s no question about it, friends. Every occasion in the entire occurrence of legitimate tongues, it was always a known language and that in itself would eliminate 99.44 – 100 percent of the modern movement, because it is not a known language. According to linguists – and I was reading recently an article – the modern movement is composed of unknown sounds with no distinct vocabulary or grammar and simulated foreign features.
Now, of course you must keep in mind too that in Corinth it was abused like everything else. The sad thing is that people take Corinthians as their pattern for tongues and the Corinthians were the most messed up people in existence in Christianity. They had perverted everything. Everything there was to pervert, they did it.
You say, “Well, what problems did they have?” Gromacki in his books said, “Here are some of the problems in Corinth that we learn from the book: division, carnality, wrong concepts of the gospel ministry, sexual perversion, lawsuits between Christians, moral abuses of believers’ bodies, ignorance of marriage relationships and the purpose of virginity, violations of Christian liberty, insubordination of women, abuses of the Lord’s Supper, ignorance of spiritual gifts and denial of the resurrection of the body.” Now that’s a mess.
And then when you take them as your example for tongues you’re really in hot water, because they abused that just like they abused everything else. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t have spiritual gifts. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:7, I think it is – “You come behind in no gift.” You’re not lacking.
Problem is they abused them. And I think they probably had a little problem because in that part of the world there was a prevalence of ecstatic speech among the frenzied priests and priestesses of the Greek oracles. And because they also spoke in tongues and it was the pagan religion that the Corinthians had been saved out of – they dragged some of this pagan, ecstatic speech into their Christian experience and it counterfeited so well the true tongues of Acts that it just kind of fit in.
And Paul spends chapter 12, chapter 13, and chapter 14 trying to correct the Corinthian abuses of tongues. And isn’t it interesting that even when the gift did exist it was abused and today when it doesn’t exist it’s still abused?
You say, “Well, what does Paul tell them about it?” Well, first of all, in chapter 14, verses 1 to 12, he says, “It’s inferior.” In chapter 14, verse 20, he says, “It should never happen.” No, it’s not verse 20. It’s – well, anyway – I forget exactly the verse it is – well, it’s twice in the chapter.
He says, “It should never happen without an interpreter.” Further down in the chapter he talks about the fact that it should be always subordinate to preaching – that preaching is always the most important thing. Twenty-two, verse 22 – “Tongues are for a sign” – what? - “not to them that believe.” There’s no point in the edification of the Body. “But to them that believe not, but preaching serves not for them that believe – not for them who believe.” Priority of preaching.
Verse 23 – “If the whole church came together into one place and all speak with tongues and there come in those that are unlearned or unbelievers, will they not say they’re mad?” They’re going to say, “These people are out of their minds.”
“But if all preach and there come in one that believeth not or one unlearned, he is convicted of all. He is judged of all.” The priority of preaching. Then he goes on to say that it ought to be done decently and in order and they had it all messed up.
Of course it had to be done by the Holy Spirit’s direction and it was always a known language and it was always for an unbeliever to communicate to them the wonderful works of God. They had perverted the whole thing – made it a carnal abuse of the believer’s experience.
Then it was never to be done by more than two or three – verse 27 – and always in order and never to be done without an interpreter – the same verse. And verse 34 and 35, women were never to do it. And as I said, that would eliminate it. And in chapter 13, verses 1 to 3 - in chapter 13, verses 1 to 3 – “It was always to be done in love.”
And friends, that’s not the case. So many tines people who’ve had this gift, don’t look at others in love. They look at others with a critical spirit. And so often when this thing comes into a church, instead of creating an atmosphere of love, it creates an atmosphere of friction and division and divisiveness that fractures the church.
Now I’ll tell you something very simple. Any legitimate gift of the Spirit that is operated in the energy of the Spirit brings unity. This one doesn’t. It brings discord. So you see, even in apostolic times when the gift existed, it was counterfeited for the glory of the flesh. And today it is a counterfeit.
You say, “Well, do you mean that God still can’t do a miracle?” I do not mean that. If God designed on some field somewhere to give a man the ability at a given point to speak a language he didn’t know to communicate the wonderful works of God, God could do that today and I’ll never limit Him by saying He can’t. In fact, I’ve heard accounts where God has given that ability miraculously, but that would be an infant stage of the knowledge of the Word of God where someone didn’t have the tools.
But friends, if God still had that confirming gift we wouldn’t need to have all this trouble with translating the New Testament. Do you know that? All we’d need to do was send all the people with the gift of tongues to the mission field and Wycliffe would be out of business.
Because somebody could go in there and just learn how to say the gospel in their language, say it and do some miracles and that would be it to confirm it. But we need the Word as the standard, because those gifts have ceased. Why do you think people spend 10 years of their life learning how to translate a language and another ten years translating it? If it was true that all we needed to confirm the Word was one of these miraculous gifts, people would be wasting their time.
And you say, “Well, how do you know it’s ceased?” Well, I’ve just been trying to answer that for the last – I don’t know. It’s ceased with the apostles. It’s over. Our theology says it ceases.
Look at 13 – 1 Corinthians 13:8 – “Love never faileth, but whether there be prophesies, they shall be done away. Whether there be tongues, they shall cease. Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away for we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
Now some people think you’ve got to throw everything in verse 8 into the same bag. In other words, prophesy, tongues and knowledge all have to cease at the same time. That doesn’t say that. It doesn’t say that at all. It says, “In each individual case, when that which is complete comes, that which is in part passes away.”
And when the Word of God came, there was no longer any need to confirm the Word by tongues. And so tongues passed away. Some day when we go to be with Jesus Christ and we know as we are known, knowledge as such will pass away.
And so you don’t have to put every one of those in the same bag. They are distinct in themselves. Paul adds the thought in verse 11. “When I was a child I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”
In other words when the mature, final thing comes, there’s no need for the infant structure and tongues and all these gifts were for the infant church. But when the church became adult and had as the standard the Word of God all the tools of infancy ceased to be needed. They were to be given to the church in its infancy.
And that’s why I say perhaps in some foreign field where there’s an infant church God may allow miracles that we wouldn’t see in the church as we know it. Pentecost in his book says that any church today that claims the needs for tongues is confessing spiritual infancy and ignorance of the Scripture and Corinth was no different.
First Corinthians chapter 3 – “I brethren could not speak unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal even as unto” – what? - “babies in Christ.”
And here were the babies exercising this counterfeit gift. And do you know that not one other church in the whole New Testament is even an illusion to these gifts? Not only does our theology tell us they’ve ceased, but so does history. If tongues didn’t cease in the apostolic era – now watch this one – if tongues didn’t cease in the apostolic era, they’d still be going on in the next century, right? Ready for that? Think about it again. If tongues are a permanent part of the church and they didn’t cease in the apostolic era, then we would find them historically in the very next century, wouldn’t we?
Only thing is, we don’t. There is none. There are absolutely no genuine cases of tongues recorded in the entire post-apostolic era. From the 100 to 600 – that period of years – in all of the writings of all of the church fathers, there is not a single genuine case of tongues reported and they cover every basic doctrine of the church over and over and over and over. It wasn’t there. The testimony of men like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Chrysostom, and even Augustine don’t even mention this is existing. And incidentally, in the three centuries following the apostolic era, there are only two references to tongues. That’s all.
One occasion when a man named Montanus spoke in tongues. The other occasion was Tertullian and Tertullian was a disciple of Montanus. And in case you want to know what kind of a guy Montanus was, he was regarded by the church as demon possessed, as a heretic and he claimed to be the only mouthpiece through which the Holy Spirit spoke. That’s the only two occasions of tongues in 600 years in the church in all of its recorded writings.
Now, if it was a permanent gift, what did the Lord do? Leave the church to limp for 600 years in its critical growth? I don’t think so. During the Dark Ages tongues became a little more revived and it was revived in the Catholic Church. And then it moved a little further out and we had a group called the Shakers and the Shakers were a communistic sect – they were celibate. It’s interesting they were celibate because their mother – their leader was Mother Ann Lee and she said the second coming was fulfilled in her. Well, because they were celibate they died off rather rapidly.
The seventh article – the seventh Article of Faith in Mormonism states that Mormons are to speak in tongues. So, in the post-apostolic era for 600 years, speaking in tongues ceased. In The Middle Ages in the Reformation Period from about 590 to 1650, the Roman Catholics alleged certain instances of tongues – all connected with the darkness of those Dark Ages, having no relation to a vital experience with Christ.
In the post-Reformation period from 1650 to 1900 a rash of tongues occurred among all kinds of strange, weird sects. Not one of them orthodox. The Shakers of Mother Ann Lee, the Cevenol prophets, the Jansenites, the Irvingites, the Mormons, etcetera, etcetera. And the modern tongues movement as we know it was born in 1914.
For 1800 years there were no tongues. Now what happened? The Bible says they’d ceased. History says they did. The establishment in 1914 of a movement around tongues began what we know today as Pentecostalism. The new Pentecostalism – the Neo Pentecostalism, which we’re seeing in all these denominations that’s really – it’s kind of fading a little bit now, but it was really having its heyday was born in Van Nuys, California on April 3, 1960 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. That began what is known as the Modern Glossolalia, the modern tongues movement.
Now friends, if this is a continuation of the true gift, where has it been for 1800 years? The almost total absence of tongues in the church for 1800 years is hardly compatible with the claim that God intended the gift to be permanent. He did not.
You say, “Well what then is the gift going on today?” Well, I believe people are sincere very often – very often they’re not. I believe some of them really believe it’s something wonderful. I believe that some of them know you’re just putting on a show. I don’t think you can throw any of them into any bag, but I do believe there are three explanations for it – psychological, fraud, and Satanic.
When you begin to examine it and the techniques, it’s just almost – well, let me read you what one says. Christians have been writing, advocating the modern tongues movement says this, “Here’s how to speak in tongues.” And incidentally there’s a little book on – little pamphlet on ten steps to speaking in tongues. “You simply lapse into silence and resolve not to speak a syllable of any language you have ever learned.”
If that’s not a good way to let some demon control your brain, I don’t know what is. Back to the quote. “Your thoughts are focused on Christ and then you simply lift up your voice and speak out in confidence that the Lord will take the sound you give Him and shape it into a language like baby talk.”
In fact, Bredesen in his article says, “To start with it’s good if you repeat bah-bah-bah over and over again very rapidly. Baby talk is a word that occurs several times in this kind of pattern.”
That’s an interesting thing. That’s very interesting because I like what Paul says in 1 Corinthians, 13:11. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child. I understood as a child. I thought as a child. When I became a man I didn’t say, bah-bah-bah.”
Chapter 14, verse 15 – “What is it then” – here’s an important verse – “I will pray with the Spirit. I will pray with the understanding also.” You do not talk to God without your brain. Verse 20 – “Brethren, be not children in understanding.” Evidently the Corinthians had the same kind of pattern. That’s a foolish thing. That’s foolishness. For what reason would a man talk baby talk except to experience some fleshly stimulation?
You say, “Well, why do people do this?” Well, I think there are many reasons. Number one is a departure from systematic Bible interpretation. They just don’t know any better and somebody convinces them it’s a thing to do. Second thing, I think people are starved for the supernatural. People who exist in situations where they don’t feed on the Word of God, you see? And they’re Christians and they’re starved for the supernatural. And if they can have it experientially, they’ll grab at it, because their whole situation is structured around emotionalism.
I think that leads to the third reason. People want a physical feeling. They want an emotional experience and that’s a result of a lack of faith. You know that? Whenever you look for a feeling or an emotion, you know what that is? That’s not faith. That’s doubt looking for something to convince itself.
And I think the fourth – one of the – another of the reasons – the fourth one I have that people do it is because they feel it’s a quick way to spirituality. Just do it and you’re spiritual. And you know what happens? It gives people a false sense of security and they just sit down and rest in their tongues experience and they go no further.
And you see, the modern movement has no basis in biblical doctrine. Experience is always its defense, isn’t it? “Well, it happened to me. It must be real.” No, no, no, no. That’s no corroboration. The flesh and Satan can make counterfeit experience, can’t it?
And may I add this? Tongues is also not unique to Christianity. You say, “Well, if you do it, it must be real.” No, that’s not true. In 1100 – 1100 years before Jesus people spoke in tongues. You know that? And the report of Wenamon from Byblos on the coast of Syro-Phoenicia there were occasions of tongue speaking. In 429 to 347 B.C. in the dialogues of Plato you have tongues. From 70 to 19 B.C., Virgil and the Aeneid describes the Sibylline priestesses on the isle of Delos speaking in tongues. The Pythoness of Delphi is recorded by Chrysostom to have spoken in ecstatic utterances.
The Greco-Roman cults – Osiris, Mithra, Eleusinian, Dionysian, Orphic, Delphic, Phrygia, Bacides, Sibyls – all those had records of tongues and in the present day we have it all over the place. Mohammedans speak in tongues. Did you know that? The Dervishes of Persia utter the name of Allah and go into violent trances and shaking and ecstatic speech.
The Eskimos of Greenland engage in tongues. Their religious services are led by a priest – a medicine man called an angakkoq. And the services involved nudity and immoral gross kind of gyrations. Freuchen in his book entitled, Arctic Adventure ran into this and he wrote this very – it was quite an adventure.
He ran into this and this is what he wrote. I’m taking a paragraph from the book. “Suddenly one of the men, Krisuk, went out of his head, unable to control himself to the regular rhythm of the service. He leaped to his feet crying like a raven and howling like a wolf. In ecstasy, he and the girl, Ivaloo, began to yell in a language I could not understand. If there is such a thing as speaking in tongues, I heard it then.”
And Freuchen makes no profession to be a believer. May I add too that Tibetan monks in their ritual dances often speak English? A graduate student from Wheaton wrote a letter to the president of Wheaton and informed him that he had heard Shakespeare and various other quotes from German and French by Tibetan monks – Satanic counterfeit.
Don’t you know demons can speak any languages they want to speak? Did you know a demon can speak through a man? Did you know that? Remember the maniac of Gadera? Jesus talked to him and the demons kept answering. What language do you think those demons are speaking? They’re speaking the language the man spoke. They can speak any language they want.
Listen friends, the modern movement violates all of theology. It confuses the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and you cannot base a true movement on a false doctrine. They say that the coming of tongues is the baptism of the Spirit. That is not! First Corinthians 12:13 says we were all baptized by one Spirit and one Body. That’s what happens at salvation. That’s not a continuous thing. There’s no Scripture to defend that.
And they say, “Well, you don’t have the Holy Spirit until you speak in tongues.” And Romans 8:9 says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Every believer has the Holy Spirit. Theologically it is haywire! First Corinthians chapter 3 in verse 16 – “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirt of God dwells in you.” Every believer has the Spirit. So it misconstrues the entire doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit.
Second thing it does – you know what it does? It subordinates Christ to the Holy Spirit. And that’s a terrible thing, because what is the Spirit’s ministry? To exalt who? Christ. But this reverses it. If you’re just a Christian and all you’ve been is saved, you’re a second class citizen. You don’t get first class until you’ve had the Holy Spirit baptism. That subordinates Christ to the Holy Spirit, friends. And that’s not right.
Then I think it does another thing. It creates two levels of Christians. The pious, spiritual ones and the ones who haven’t arrived and there is no difference. We’re one in the Spirit, aren’t we? And then it creates a false unity. You know, I believe that one of the greatest things that’s leading to the Ecumenical Movement in the one world church of Revelations 17 – and I mean this – we’ll never get together on theology, but just watch it.
We’re getting together on experience and this whole movement is crossing denominational lines 90 miles an hour and people are rallying together under this banner where they could never get together under the banner of Biblical theology. And it’s not a true unity. Not at all.
So the Pentecostalism as we know it abuses theology and it says that the church for 1900 years was without any power, because nobody had the baptism. Can you imagine the church for 1900 years where nobody had the Holy Spirit? That’s not true, friends. Peter said in 2 Peter chapter 1, “You have all things that pertain to” - what? - “life and godliness.”
We don’t lack anything. With these temporary sign gifts, God made provision for the confirming of His Word and the nurturing of the infant church and today instead of seeking these things let’s thank God that we don’t need them anymore, but that we all have the resource of the standard of the Word of God. God authenticates His message today by His Word. And the authenticated Word is our basis! And we seek to minister the edifying permanent grace gifts to one another that the Body may grow to full stature.
Well, I pray that each of us shall seek to know our gifts, to be filled with the Spirit of God and to minister to each other. Father, we thank you. We really covered a lot of territory. Lord, we felt it necessary. We’re just excited because we feel we’ve learned some things tonight. I’ve learned, Lord. Your Spirit’s given me things to say that I didn’t even know I could say. They just weren’t there in my mind. Thank you, Lord, for speaking to us tonight.
While your heads are bowed we’ll close just real quick, but I do want to give you an opportunity to respond if God’s spoken to your heart. As I’ve said, everything I’ve said tonight I’ve said in love. Not mocking, not laughing at anyone, but you know me and you know me well enough to know that I have a hunger that people understand the Word of God and divide it rightly. And my heart goes out to people who don’t understand. God bless, them. I just – my heart breaks, because these people are missing maturity and substituting a counterfeit. And we need to pray for them and love them and show them the study of the Word of God and that is real maturity.
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