The Gift of Tongues, No. 3
This is segment number 3 of the gift
of tongues. We have been looking at what
the Bible has to say concerning the spiritual gift of being able to talk in foreign
languages—what it connoted, what it evidenced. It is
important that you understand something about the nature of the tongues
movement around you. Some of the people
that you know who are the most devoted Christians have edges of doubt
that eat away at their souls concerning the reality of speaking in tongues. They have reservations of looking at a famous
personality like Oral Roberts who is commended by Billy Graham’s
association with him. Christians who have a
hesitancy about looking at somebody who has that commendation and
prestige and saying Oral Roberts is a fraud. He may
be sincere. He may be true, but he is a
fraud. Anything that he accomplishes in
the reality of healing is a satanic accomplishment.
Now you can’t know that from experience or
feeling. You can only know this from
what the Word of God teaches on these subject.
We want to remember that we have now
moved in our day,
beginning something like twelve years ago, into a contemporary tongues
totally different than the tongues scene that began at the beginning of
century about 1906. The current tongues
scene, you remember, began with the pastor of the St. Mark’s
Church in Van Nuys, California, Dennis Bennett, who one Sunday morning
before his congregation and announced that he had had the gift, the
of speaking in tongues. He is now a very
prominent proponent of the tongues movement, one of their very popular
speakers. He’s no longer at his
church. As always tongues splits the
church. It causes a division.
He is a very prominent leader among Pentecostal
One group that I think you should be
acquainted with to know
about that you will read about, and maybe you have received from them,
group that’s called the Full Gospel Business Men’s
International. We’ll just abbreviate
with these letters, FGBMFI. That’s
they refer to themselves, as the FGBMFI.
I think maybe that’s an appropriate name
because this is a group that
promotes speaking in tongues. This is
not a bad way to begin: “FGBMFI,
FGBMFI.” That’s a pretty good
syllable right there for speaking in tongues.
Anyhow the Full Gospel Business
International is a prime promoter of tongues and the healing gifts. It was founded and led by a man name Demos
Shakarian. Demos Shakarian’s family
100 years has been associated with claims of prophetic revelations,
miracles, visions, and tongues. Oral
Roberts was one of the inspirations to Mr. Shakarian to begin this
Business Men’s association. Mr.
Shakarian is a wealthy California business man, and it is seemingly in
course, and right, that out of California, the land of flowers,
fruits, and nuts, should come this organization for promoting tongues. It is a big organization.
Mr. Shakarian’s family emigrated from Armenia
and they participated at the turn of the century in the Azusa Street
1906 where the modern Pentecost and movement began.
There’s a related organization
that you will also hear
about. That is an organization called
World Missionary Assistance Plan. It’s
abbreviated as World MAP. If you hear
about the World Missionary Assistance Plan, or if you hear about and
called the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International,
you are dealing
with two prime Pentecostal groups who are devoted to promoting
in the established churches. These
organizations publish certain magazines.
One is called Vision. I
of you have received that. Vision is a
magazine that’s geared to youth. Their
prime magazine for business men and adults is called Voice. This magazine is primarily a magazine of
testimony of those who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then they have a quarterly that comes out
called View which is devoted to promoting the charismatic revival.
The Full Gospel Business Men’s
Fellowship International had
devoted itself to a great and fantastic public relations program. It has a program of monthly banquets and
conventions on a regional, national, and international level. These are held in modern hotels and in
conventions centers around the country.
To these banquets and conventions are invited
from the old time denominations. They
are brought in to hear Pentecostal preachers such as Dennis Bennett and
Roberts and so on. In these meetings,
many of these people who come as guests hear the reports of the
Pentecostalists and their claims to supernatural visitations by God,
of them believer. They accept the
Pentecostal point of view and they return to their churches as
This is what happened to John Sherrill
who wrote the little
volume They Speak With other Tongues.
John Sherrill was on the editorial staff of Norman
Guidepost magazine. He went through a
series of associations with Pentecostal groups.
It was at a convention in the East that he finally,
as an Episcopalian
and a total indifferent personality, found himself being drawn and
these claims until finally he discovered himself speaking in tongues in
as he was surrounded by these business men whooping and hollering and
him on until finally (it happened). And
if you read that description in his book, it’s a beautiful
self-hypnosis which is so often characteristic of speaking in tongues,
just step-by-step you can just see how he lost control of his center up
the brain, and his control center of the solar plexus took over and he
describes it in that way. And out (came)
the flow of gibberish called tongues.
So much of the outbreak and popularity
of tongues is due to
this group here, and that’s why I want you to be acquainted with
them. This is the moving force today among
churches, among business people, among prominent people in order to
Pentecostal movement. So if you get a
magazine called Voice, if you get an invitation to a banquet by the
Business Men’s Fellowship International, if you’re asked to
World MAP missionary activity, understand that it’s a Pentecostal
Now usually, very frequently, these
de-emphasize that because they want general public support, but
they’re all in
that same tradition. Pentecostal
colleges today are also seeking status through accreditation in order
enhance their appeal. Oral Roberts
University was begun in Tulsa in 1965, along with its graduate school
theology where Mr. Graham appeared to dedicate this school for Oral
Roberts. This institution was begun
specifically to give dignity now to the Pentecostal movement. It has moved out of the common masses, so to
speak, and it has moved up into very cultured old-time denominational
Christian Life Magazine, some of you
may be taking
this. It’s edited by Robert Walker. Christian Life Magazine is devoted to the
charismatic revival. Almost any issue of
Christian Life Magazine will promote some phase of Pentecostalism.
There are some very great
personalities in the tongues
movement. Some of you have read the book
concerning Peter Marshall who was a chaplain in the United States
Man Called Peter. His wife has since
remarried, Catherine Marshall Lesourd. She
has now entered the Pentecostal movement.
Colleen Townsend Evans, an ex-Hollywood actress who
is the wife of the
Presbyterian minister Louis Evans has entered the Pentecostal movement
many show people like Pat Boone, for example, who is now a leading
light in the
promotion of the tongues movement.
Pentecostalism now appeals very much
to the ecumenical
groups as well as to conservatives. As a
matter of fact it is now becoming seemingly evident that Pentecostalism
tongues movement is going to provide the cohesive force, of all things,
ecumenical movement, because liberals are drawn to the tongue speaking
some conservatives. The result is that
here the ecumenical movement is seemingly finally discovering something
which it can rally. This is very
interesting because Satan has to bring churches together.
Tongues is of Satan. Satan
is providing perhaps this means of the
rallying together for the ecumenical movement in order to prepare for
church dominated by the antichrist and the false prophet.
It used to be that you could say when
you spoke about people
who were in the Pentecostal tradition that they were naïve,
gullible, on the
low IQ side, and low-income people. This
can no longer be said because Pentecostalism now includes, on a wide
wealthy, the cultured, the educated, the professors, the doctors, the
the writers, and the ministers. It has
old-line denominations, and in these denominations Pentecostalism is
subdued. It doesn’t have the
so it has brought a new dignity to the realm of the Holy Rollers. However, there is still certain phenomena even
among these churches and among these elite, so to speak, areas of
these upper-crust areas of society. (And
you know what upper-crust is—it’s just a bunch of crumbs
held together with
their own dough very frequently.) But
in this upper-crust area of society that Pentecostalism has moved into,
are still these certain phenomena that accompany the tongue-speaking.
As you read about these people’s
experiences in Voice
magazine, you will often read about this.
“I’m lying in my bed.
there at the foot of my bed I see a glowing light, and there is a
his hand extended to me and I recognize him as Jesus Christ. And I rise up in my bed and I touch him and a
million volts of electricity jolts through my body and my hair stands
end. I lie in my room and suddenly I
hear a mighty rushing wind, and I see flames of fire leaping
around.” You almost think
you’re in a séance. Do you
think the same company creating these
illusions—Satan, and Hades Illusions Incorporated?
One group talked about being in a
meeting and suddenly smelling
a fragrant perfume and incense permeating the room which they concluded
odor of the beauty of the saints gathered there. There
was shaking and convulsions, rigidness
and falling on the ground. There is
dancing, clapping, shouting, and running.
There is seeing, hearing, and touching Christ. All of these still are the elements that have
always accompanied Pentecostalism and the claims to the supernatural
exactly what you find among demon-oriented societies and activities.
There are vast claims made for the
current tongues movement
and this is what’s confusing to Christians such as yourselves. You will meet people who will say something
like this to you once they’ve gotten into tongues.
They will claim greater spiritual fruitfulness.
They are more fruitful for the Lord now that they are talking in
tongues. They are more active and more
involved. Their church members attend more
and they are nicer to one another. They
are more active in witnessing and more zealous in giving.
They claim that their emotion al problems
have been stabilized. They have forsaken
sins. They have conquered alcoholism. Marriages have been repaired.
They read their Bible regularly.
They experience mental and physical
healings. Catholics who are in the
Pentecostal movement find themselves to their religious practices. They pray to Mary more frequently. They admire the Pope. They
honor the saints more. They go to Mass
more regularly. They make confession of
sin. They do their penance to work out of
Now these commendable results are all
what somebody says is happening to themselves.
The question is, what caused these changes? Was it a movement of God or was it a movement
of Satan in the realm of religion. It’s
a question of whether God or Satan is moving, and Satan doesn’t
mind a little
bit of religion at all. The results
form the test whether a thing is of God and whether the experience is
genuine. The interpretation of the cause
and the meaning of an experience may be all wrong.
You have to judge this by the doctrine of the
Word. The end does not justify, or
reveal, the means. So when people come
to you with these great and wonderful experiences of how improved they
are as Christians
now that they are talking in tongues, recognize that all of this can be
accomplished by Satan through religion, and he does it all the time.
Now the contemporary movement of
tongues is not spontaneous
by and large. In the New Testament
church, as you saw last Sunday as we looked through the incidents in
these people were not looking to speak in tongues.
It was a sovereign movement of the spirit of
God and suddenly they spoke in a foreign language.
But the tongues movement of today is not like
that. It is a deliberately planned
program for people to speak in tongues.
The Full Gospel Business Men’s
Fellowship Incorporated is
promoting that sort of training. Harald
Bredesen who is one of the leaders in the contemporary Pentecostal
gave instructions to a group of students at Yale University on how to
tongues. Here’s an example of the
of training that people received who want to secure this gift.
He says: “1)
visually and concretely rather than abstractly.
For example, try to visualize Jesus as a person. 2) Consciously to yield their voices and
organs of speech to the Holy Spirit. 3)
To repeat certain elementary sounds which he told them such as
“ba ba ba ba” or
something similar. He then laid his
hands of the head of each seeker, prayed for him, and the seeker did
speak in tongues.” This is
of the guidelines for seeking in tongues.
To give you a syllable to repeat.
To tell you to empty yourself consciously as much as
possible. To just let yourself go so the
back here at the back of your head is released and the control center
solar plexus takes over and you have a complete reversal so that you
yourself, outside of yourself, and you let go.
Now this is obviously not the thing
that took place within
the New Testament experience. People
were not deliberately letting themselves go.
People were not even praying for tongues. They were sitting there probably listening to
someone explaining the Word of God.
Usually when they prayed, they either knelt or they
stood, and they were
sitting when the spirit of God came upon them on the day of Pentecost.
John Miles gives five reasons why this
is so popular. One is the rejection of
teaching on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The distinction of the work of the Holy Spirit from
the Old Testament
(with) what He does today. The
understanding that all are baptized into the body of Christ. This is what happens at salvation. Therefore no preacher, and every Pentecostal
preacher that does this is an ignorant fraud in the pulpit to stand up
people in the service, “How many of you want to be baptized with
Spirit? Now will you raise your hand,
come forward, or line up here. We’ll
proceed to get you baptized with the Holy Spirit, the sign of which
will be you’ll
break out speaking in tongues.”
This dispensational understanding of
what the Holy Spirit
came to do in this age of grace relative to the church forming the body
is one reason that Pentecostalism is on the contemporary scene in such
force. People don’t understand what
Bible teaches about God the Holy Spirit—the rejection of the
nature of the book of Acts. The book of
Acts is not a book that tells us how things are going to be all the way
the church age. It tells us certain
things that are changing over.
Understand that we began with the dispensation of
the Old Testament, the
dispensation of the Jews with all the legalistic orders and all the
Law. Now we come to the age of grace
with all the freedoms and all the liberties and all that constitutes
of Christ—two totally different things.
In between here you have a gray area where you have
Old Testament saints
who were believers, like the people we looked at last week who were
of John. They were 100% Old Testament
believers. They were 100% born again,
but they were not in the body of Christ.
They had not made the transition over into the new
Supposing they had died before Paul
came to them and explained
to them that God the Holy Spirit has come, the dispensational order has
changed. What would have happened to
them? Well they would have been saved
but they would have been on Old Testament grounds.
They would not have been in the privileged
group of eternity of being part of the body of Christ.
But when Paul explained that to them, these
twelve men who were in this gray area moved out of this relationship of
Testament saints and they moved over to the order of the church age and
became New Testament saints.
Now the book of Acts is constantly
giving you this
changeover, and gradually, as you come to the epistles, you have the
course of the age. That’s why
people spoke with tongues like they did in Cornelius’s household
word. When Peter gets to the point where
he tells them how to be saved, trusting in Christ as savior, you can
Cornelius and everybody sitting there listening, the minute Peter says
they say, “I believe it.” In
moment, when Peter hardly has the words out of his mouth, they believe
the Holy Spirit moves in and baptizes them into the body of Christ and
start speaking in tongues.
Up in Samaria, it took the laying on
of the hands for them
to speak in tongues. It changes back and
forth. There’s never a regular order
until you come to the epistles. So
because they don’t understand that the book of Acts is a
Pentecostalists go to ask and they say, “Do you see how this
happened? Here’s how it happened
here. This is what God intends to
do.” On the day of Pentecost, they
with the Holy Spirit and they spoke in tongues, and they put the two
together. And they don’t understand
it’s a transitional book and gradually the epistles tell us how
the thing is in
its normal order.
Well, secondly, liberal churches are
starves for the Word of
God and yet they want the supernatural, so they’ve been promoting
gospel and they’ve been neglecting the message of the cross. And when we say “social gospel” I
understand that we are not simply saying improvement of society, but
improvement of society as a means of salvation.
Even Christians who emphasize the message of
salvation through Jesus
Christ are interested in improving society and always have. They’ve been in the forefront of works
mercy, and for social improvement. But
the World Council of Churches which represents the liberal point of
nothing supernatural about it. It has
rejected the Word of God, so people who are in the World Council of
are desperate for something supernatural.
Along comes the Pentecostal and they’re drawn
to it. Fundamental churches on the other
often dead with the ministry of inspiration instead of instruction.
In the fourth place, many people seek
a spiritual experience
because they’ve got problems and they want to solve them, and
they feel if they
could just have this experience, everything would straighten out. And many people want a physical expression of
the supernatural in order to confirm their beliefs.
Last week we looked at the nature of
tongues as it was
practiced in the book of Acts. Tongues
in Acts, we found, was clearly in known languages of the day, but it
foreign to the speaker. It was never an
ecstatic gibberish. It was a language
which was understood by those who spoke that language as their native
speech. The miracle was in the speaking,
not in the
hearing, because the disciples spoke in the foreign language before the
multitude gathered to hear them. If you
go back and read this in the book of Acts chapter 2, you’ll
discover that the
Bible says they were speaking in a foreign language before there was
around them. And this was the twelve
apostles who were speaking in a foreign language. The
men were speaking in a foreign
language. The women did not speak in
tongues which is another mark against the Pentecostalists today. But the miracle was in effect before the
people gathered who did hear their languages spoken.
Now the key word, we told you, for
tongues is the Greek word
“glossa.” This word
“glossa” is used 50
times in the New Testament of an act of speech.
It is used of the physical organ, the tongue itself. It is used of the content of speech. It is used of language, foreign
languages. It is used as the results of
speaking. In the New Testament, this
word “glossa” is always used only of a known language on
earth. In Greek literature, this word is
used of ecstatic babblings and gibberish such as the priest and
the pagan religions perform. But in the
New Testament, it is never used except of known languages.
We have it used interchangeably in Acts 2 of
that other word “dialektos.” “Dialektos”
means only a foreign language, either in Greek literature or in the New
Testament usage. The fact that these two
words are used interchangeably explains to us how God the Holy Spirit
for us to interpret this word. It is
never used in the sense of gibberish.
The Pentecostalists have to agree, if
they know anything at
all. They say, “Yes, in the book of
these were foreign languages. That’s
what they taught. There is no doubt
about it. But when you get to the book to
the Corinthians church, there is a different kind of heavenly ecstatic
and that’s a different language than the book of Acts.” That’s what we’re going to look at
that’s not true. It’s the same
and it’s the same operation, and Paul connects it with the same
this is a delusion that Pentecostalism imposes upon the book of
Corinthians. So here’s the key word,
“glossa.” It is a foreign
language and it never meant
anything else in the New Testament.
Now (for) the conclusion of linguistic
scholars who listen
to the modern tongues practices. Many of
them will take tapes. I have been trying
to get a good tape that I could let you hear so that some of you who
heard tongue speaking could hear it. But
anyhow, the conclusion of linguistic scholars who do listen to the
tapes. They listen to these tapes. These are men who know languages.
This is supposedly a language which is being
spoken. They listen to these and their
conclusions are that there is no distinguishing vocabulary, there are
grammatical features, there is a simulated foreign sound to it, but it
language characteristics whatsoever. One
outstanding authority, William Welms of the University of California at
Angeles made a study and this is his report:
“And I must report,” he
says, “without reservation that my
sample does not sound like a language structurally.
There can be no more than two contrasting
vowel sounds and a most peculiarly restricted set of consonant sounds. These combine into a very few syllable
clusters which recur many times in various orders.
The consonants and the vowels do not all
sound like English, the glossolalic’s native language, but the
patterns are so completely American English that the total effect is a
Another scholar, Eugene Nida, who is a
linguist at the
American Bible Society has also made a study of tapes of people
tongues. Here is his conclusion: “The types of inventory and
would indicate clearly that this recording bears no resemblance to any
languages which has ever been treated by linguistics.
If then it is not a human language, what is
it? One can only say that it is a form
of ecstatic speech. On the basis of what
I have learned about this type of phenomena of tongues in other parts
world, apparently there is the same tendency to employ one’s own
sounds in nonsense combinations but with simulated foreign features. At least in West Africa and Latin America,
the types of glossolalia employed seem to fit into this description. So what the linguists tell us is that it is
plain gibberish, it has no relationship to language, and it is a fraud
an academic level.
Now tongues authenticated the
reception of the Holy Spirit
by the individual and by certain ethnic groups.
Remember we showed how it began.
went to the Jews, and that Jews were part of the body of Christ was
by speaking in tongues. They went to the
Samaritans. They were part of the body
of Christ. They spoke in tongues. They went to Cornelius and the Gentiles. They spoke in tongues, and it was evidenced
that that ethnic group was also part of the body of Christ and that
been baptized with the baptism of the Holy Spirit into that body. That’s why there was always an apostle
present on each of those occasions in Acts to authenticate and verify
report back to the church at Jerusalem (that) this group was in.
Now the tongues as a miracle also
authenticated God’s new Christian
movement as a replacement for Judaism.
From the time of Abraham to Pentecost, God had
spoken through the Jewish
theocracy. Now God is speaking and
working apart from the Jewish nation.
How is he going to prove that this is for real? He did it through the miracle of
tongues. Tongues always affected the
whole group. They all began speaking in
tongues, that is, all of the men. Some
were not left out to tarry and to seek such as we’re told in
today to tarry and to seek for tongues.
And the recipient of the tongues gift did not pray
for the gift
either. It came as a sovereign gift of
The purpose of the gift of tongues was
to warn unbelieving
Jews of the arrival of the fifth stage of the cycle of the national
discipline. The warning was declared
Isaiah 28:9-11. It was declared
historically in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22.
Therefore tongues was exercised in the presence of
because that was the purpose of tongues.
It was to show a Jew that the fifth stage of the
cycle of national
discipline had arrived and the nation was going to go out into national
dispersion among the nations of the world under a foreign dominating
would control the territory of their nation.
So these Jews were able to turn the cursing of their
personal blessing by receiving Christ as savior. That
was the point of the day of
Now once the fifth stage of discipline
began in 70 A.D. for
the Jews, the purpose of tongues has ceased.
That’s why there can’t be any
tongue-speaking today because the purpose
has come to an end, and with the New Testament completed.
Revelations that may have been brought
through tongues ceased and there was no further purpose through that. The New Testament tongues gift is not
functioning today. What is practiced
today is a fraud of Satan. Even if it
were a known language, you want to remember Isaiah 8:19 and 29:4 speak
ventriloquist demons who were able to reproduce languages.
So our interest is in the practice of
tongues now in the
Corinthians church. In Acts it was a
known language. The question is, what
was taking place in the church at Corinth that necessitated the apostle
writing a letter to them and then spending three chapters of that
them instruction about the practice of tongues.
First of all you have to know the
condition of the
Corinthian church. It was established by
the apostle Paul on his second missionary tour (Acts 18:1-18). The apostle Paul spent 18 months there in
Corinth teaching these people. He had a
great deal of opposition. It was the
center of a large Jewish population because Corinth was a metropolitan
economic center. Therefore it attracted
many Jews. Again the practice of the
gift of tongues was very apropos in the city of Corinth because the
tongues was a testimony to unbelieving Jews, not to Gentiles. The purpose of it was to impress Jews that
the time had come for national discipline and to get out and get into
So Paul had lot of opposition from the
population. However, the work did
thrive, and it developed mostly Gentiles.
Paul left after 18 months. In
time he began hearing stories about the church at Corinth.
He got this from one family, the household of
Cloe who told him a great deal about what was taking place back at the
at Corinth. He got a letter of inquiry
from the church concerning certain questions that had arisen, and he
from certain members of the church, and they would tell him what was
back at the church at Corinth.
So when Paul, on his third missionary
tour, arrived at the
city of Ephesus, he had enough information about what was going on in
church at Corinth that he sat down and wrote the letter of 1
Corinthians. By this time he had
discovered that there was
division among the members. He
discovered that there was a fantastic level of carnality.
I once had a Pentecostal leader who told me,
I always say that you’ll find in our Pentecostal churches all of
the things you
find in the church of Corinth that are reflected in 1 Corinthians. Our churches are just another church at
Corinth all over again.” He thought
was something cute to say which was a terrible thing to brand them
because as you go through this list, this was not a very commendable
church. The level of carnality was
fantastic. In general, they were
operating on human viewpoint and consequently they were proud,
asserting their rights as a group. They
were a push crowd and they were carnal as could be.
And yet they were the richest church of all
the New Testament churches in spiritual gifts.
So as you begin reading through the 12th
the book of 1 Corinthians, which we’re just going to summarize
today, verses 1
through 11 give a relationship of the Holy Spirit to the believer. The first three verses call the Corinthians
away from their old idol worship to the spiritual realities to be found
the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized
into the body of Christ at salvation and He has given them spiritual
services. In verses 4 through 6 of
you have the source of spiritual gifts as the triune God.
The Spirit gives the gift, the Son gives the
particular kind of gift, the particular thrust of the gift, and then
Father gives the fruitfulness, the returns on it. In
verses 7 through 11, Paul tells them that
every believer has a spiritual ability of some kind given by the
decision of the Holy Spirit, and it is the relationship of the
Jesus Christ in verses 12 through 13 that enables them to have this
gift. It is because every Christian is
part of the body of Christ. Every
Christian has been baptized into the body of Christ, and every
Christian has a
mission to perform within the body of Christ that nobody else can do. He is baptized into the body of Christ at the
point of salvation.
Verses 14 through 31 lay out the
relationship of believers
to believers. Some parts of the body, he
points out, have a more glamorous role, but all are essential to the
of the body. The nail on your little
finger is not a very glamorous part of your body, but you lose that
nail and you’ll
discover how much you miss it every time you touch the sensitive end of
finger. One sick malfunctioning member
will make the whole body feel bad.
Now there is no part of the body which
is superior to another
because of the role it plays. Some are
more vital than others, but they are not superior in God’s sight
local assembly because of the role we play.
Some of the gifts are more spectacular, so some of
the possessors of
these spectacular gifts viewed themselves as superior.
In the Corinthians church, tongues became the
big thing. And yet you will notice that
there is a list of gifts in verses 8 through 10 and another list in
through 30, and guess what is at the bottom of the list in both cases: The gift of tongues and the interpretation of
tongues. When he gives the order of the
value of the gifts, tongues is the last.
And yet this was the big thing in the Corinthian
church, partly because
like today, the people said, “Oh, if I have the gift of tongues,
it indicates a
status of spirituality.” When all
spiritual gifts, including tongues, are given for service.
It is a travesty for you to go up to some
Christian that has impressed you, or some Christian that has a great
and say, “Oh, great-reputation Christian, tell me your secret of
Now that is the stupidest greatest
travesty that any
Christian can do. Why does that person
have a spiritual success? Because God
gave him the gift and God uses the gift, and he has nothing to do with
all. It isn’t to his credit
whatsoever. In verse 8 you have the
statement, “for to one is given,” and “this is
given” is in the Greek in
instrumentality case. It is done by God
the Holy Spirit and the individual has nothing to do with it. But the image makers love to relate glowingly
their self-crucifixion. You go up to
them and ask them what is the secret of their success, and they say,
“Oh, I get
up every morning and the first thing I do is drink a glass of warm
remember how God has warmed my soul.
Then I stand before the east window and I raise my
hands and I start
praying to God. Then I fall on my face
and I turn over on my back and I pray that way.
Then I cross my eyes and I pray that way. And I do all these things and things have
made me a great spiritual success.” When
they’re nothing but abnormal emotional cases.
Christianity has taken up the public
relations image racket,
the same as the unbelieving world plays.
We tend to treat some prominent religious
personality as having great
pronouncement of authoritative insights.
The secret of anybody’s spiritual success in
the Lord’s work is the
grace of God and our being willing to let him use our spiritual gifts. It’s not that we are so nice and so
so that God rewards us. There isn’t
in the room that has any reason for an inferiority complex relative to
are doing for the Lord or what the Lord is enabling you to do. The only thing you have to be concerned with
is to be positive toward doctrine, receptive to the Word, and open to
His usefulness. He will use your gift in
exactly He has
designed for it to be used. When you get
to heaven you will have fantastic rewards for that.
What appears, I remind you, to be a huge
success by some religious leaders is mostly old sin nature public
cleverness. Many times I’ve notices
the Christians that are admired the most as being great successes are
biggest ignoramuses when it comes to spiritual insights.
These religious leaders of our day who like
to play the image of spirituality to the hilt are doing it to gullible
members. So people today are seeking the
tongues gift because they think this is spiritual status, and it is
Now every Christian did not possess
the gift of tongues, and
I want you to notice in verse 30 of 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul
all the gifts of healing? Do all speak
with tongues?” Now in the Greek
language, the Greek asks a question and then it gives the answer. When the Greek asks a question and it uses
this word “ou,” it means the answer is “yes.”
But when it asks a question and uses this word
“me,” the answer is “no.” And
here when he asks this question, this is
the negative word he uses it. We would
ask it this way: “Everybody
speak in tongues, do they?” And the
answer is “no.” Not everybody
gift of tongues. Yet Pentecostalism
today tells you that, “Everybody should have the gift of tongues. Everybody who has the baptism of the Holy
Spirit will show it by speaking in tongues.”
Now you tell this to Pentecostalists and what will
he say? They’re not stupid. They know language. I’ll
tell you what they’ll say. They take
you back up to verse 28 and they
say, “And God hath set some in the church apostles, etc.” And what they say is, “What Paul is
that does everybody in the local church when they gather for meetings
tongues? And the answer is
“no.” Everybody doesn’t
speak in tongues. Paul says only two or
three. But everybody does speak privately
tongues,” they say.
Alright, let’s take that logic
and go back to the
verse. That means by the same token that
we have apostles. Is everybody an
apostle in the local assembly? No, but
everybody is privately an apostle, right?
Everybody has full apostolic authority when
he’s in private. Is everybody a
prophet in the local
assembly? Publicly, no, but everybody in
private has direct revelations from God as a prophet, right? Right down the line. Is
everybody a teacher privately? Is
everybody an interpreter in tongues
privately but he’s not publicly? You
the ridiculousness of the argument. But
the apostle Paul is saying that everybody does not have the gift of
tongues. So people who are baptized with
God the Holy Spirit, as 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us that every
do not all speak with tongues.
The strange thing about Pentecostalism
is that most of the
Pentecostalists are seeking the gift of tongues. Yet
the body of Christ, as you read through 1
Corinthians 12, is a balanced body with all the parts.
Pentecostalism is all mouth, all tongue. Here you walk into a Pentecostal meeting and
you’re supposed to see a body with all the parts, and all the
functioning, and all you see is a big mouth sitting there.
That’s all that’s functioning is this
mouth pouring out this babbling. Now is
that the kind of a body that God the Holy Spirit is going to create? Ridiculous.
He’s a god of order and balance.
Paul’s emphasis here is always on maximum
edification for the
Verse 28 says in the New Testament
church the number one
gift was apostle, the number two gift was prophet, and the number three
teacher, in order of value. Now we no
longer have apostles today. They have
died and passed off the scene. We no
longer have prophets giving direct revelation and predicting the future
God. That has passed off the scene. We have the gift of teacher left, and in the
local church the most valuable gift is the gift of teacher. This functions with the pastor as the
pastor-teacher gift because everything of the local church
life is hung and dependent directly to what the local pastor-teacher
out. If he does not deliver an
intelligible understanding knowledge of doctrine, people will be fools,
will be deceived, and they will be incapacitated in their spiritual
lives. The Corinthian church was proud and
and it pursued the gift of tongues and even imitated it because their
viewpoint thought that this was the most valuable thing.
Verse 31 says, “Covet earnestly
the best gifts.” Pentecostalists
will come up to you and say, “Now
do you see that verse. Read it
again. It says, ‘Covet earnestly the
best gifts.’” And what
they’re saying to
you is, “You see, I do have a right to seek the gift of tongues. I do have a right to go to God and pray for a
certain gift because right there Paul says, ‘Covet earnestly the
best gifts.’” Now the best
gifts are these that are at the
top of the list. But I want to tell you
something about the beautiful Greek grammar again.
This word “covet” gives us a clue that
preserves us from that mistake. It could
be “you” singular. You as an
covet. Or it could be “you”
plural. You as a group.
You all covet. And
that’s what he uses. He is using
“you all.” It means you as a
church, you as a
group. If you find yourself missing some
administrative leaders in your church, then you look to God and say,
us some men and women in this church who have the gift of
this area and this area.” If you
yourself lacking in teachers, then look to God and say, “Father,
send us into
this assembly people with the gift of teaching along this certain line,
certain age group.” And it is right
us to pray for these gifts. It is wrong
for you as an individual to try to pray for it.
So don’t get tripped up on that.
Today’s tongues crowd is not
motivated by the Holy
Spirit. It is motivated by Satan. It is seeking glamorous gifts.
It is seeking things from human viewpoint,
and Satan is coming right along and saying, “OK, friend, here it
is.” And he feeds them the fraud. I hope you are horrified by the thought of
So I caution you.
fraud of tongues is the result of people who don’t know. God enables you to know.
John E. Danish, 1971
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