WHY SPEAK IN TONGUES?
A footsoldier can be in the army, have his uniform, and be zealous to go into battle. If he goes into battle without his battle gear, weapons, and without his walkie talkie, he is not as effective as he could have been had he been fully equipped. Tongues is a soldier’s walkie talkie that puts you in direct contact with your Commander, spirit-to-spirit.
In the Old Testament, when the Isralites were walking with God, they would never lose a battle. So much more do we have more-than-conqueror grace available to us today. But we must receive that grace. We must receive that equipment and use it constantly, if we want to walk in total victory all the time. God has provided it, but He will not force it on you.
Many are called to be mighty soldiers in God’s Army. Few are chosen for those key positions because few choose to receive all that God has for them. It doesn’t “just happen to you”. God doesn’t operate like a gambling casino or like some heathen deity. God operates by love. It is those who choose to receive all that God has for them, who are those God can entrust to those key positions in His kingdom. These are positions of great fruitfulness to the glory of God.
All may have a key position. A key position is that place of knowing Christ so intimately that all His virtue and power can flow through you freely with no hindrance, in order to benefit others in an unlimited way. Faith in His Word is how we know Him. Faith is hearing, receiving, speaking, and acting upon the Word regardless of what we see, feel, think, or know intellectually. Faith is trusting the person of Jesus Himself with all our life, disregarding all doubts, fears, and failures of our own and of others.
Knowing the person of Christ and His unlimited power in your life for the benefit of others today, is the highest position that God has designed for you personally. You can have this key position--if you will. It is your choice.
Tongues is simply a means of grace to help bring you into this intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ here and now.
Why speak in tongues?
1. There is tremendous power in the tongue. Genesis 11. 1-9 tells how God saw the people were of one speech. He saw that “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (vs.6). He confused their language so they could not understand each other. Proverbs 18. 21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” There’s a lot of power in the words that come out of your mouth. God con-fused the earth by governing the tongue. His purpose was to stop evil. Now, He will in-fuse the earth, again, by governing the tongue. Now, His purpose is to establish righteousness.
2. Isaiah 28. 11, 12 prophesies that tongues would be a means of rest and refreshing. Paul quoted this passage in 1 Corinthians 14. 21. Interestingly enough, in this passage it was even prophesied that people would not regard the supernatural sign that God would give.
3. In Mark 16. 17, Jesus taught that believers would have signs following them, one of which is, “they shall speak with new tongues”. The Amplified Bible says, “they will speak in new languages”.
4. In Acts 2. 4 they were all filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. In Acts 10. 46, Peter, and the Jews with him, knew that Cornelius’ household had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” The Word of God clearly teaches that when believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, they will speak with tongues. The Apostle Peter and the Jews with him accepted this as a God-given sign of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is in harmony with the Isaiah prophecy and with what Jesus taught. Let God’s Word be true and every man a liar.
5. In 1 Corinthians 1. 4-8, Paul is thanking God for the grace that was given to the Corinthians by Jesus Christ; so that in everything they were enriched by Him IN ALL UTTERANCE, and in all knowledge, so that they came behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord. Paul praised God for the gifts of the Spirit and the richness of utterance that was in the Corinthian church. The utterance gifts are a rich means of grace to the believer.
Grace is the unlimited life, power, gifts, abilities, and nature of God imparted to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the complete righteousness and the finished sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, because of His love for us and His mercy toward us, to enable us to do all the will of God on earth here and now, with a victorious spirit of excellence, praise, worship, and thanksgiving unto God, thereby overcoming all things, in order to go, and make disciples of all nations. 2 Cor.12.9,10; 2 Tim.3.11; 4.17,18
Tongues for personal edification (strengthening and building up), tongues and interpretation and prophecy for corporate edification, and words of wisdom and knowledge are all gifts of utterance that imparts this grace to the hearers. Also, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs impart grace to the hearers (Colossians 3. 16). Such is the power of words that we speak or sing .
6. 1 Corinthians 14. 1 instructs us to desire spiritual gifts, and to desire to be able to prophesy. The apostle Paul is speaking of tongues when he mentions spiritual gifts here, because he goes right on and explains how the person who speaks in tongues is speaking things hidden to the natural man. He explains that tongues is speaking in the realm of the spirit of man and not the mind of man. In verse 4 he explains that speaking in tongues edifies, strengthens, or builds up the inner man–“himself”. He is contrasting this with how prophecy edifies the corporate body.
7. In verse 5, Paul is desiring that all speak with tongues for personal edification, but he wants all to prophesy for the edification of the church. Every believer should be using tongues for their personal upbuilding and using prophecy for the upbuilding of the church. When these gifts are not exercised, we personally, and the church as a whole, are missing a tremendous means of grace to our lives.
8. 1 Corinthians 14. 14, 15 tells us that praying in tongues is giving expression for our spirit to pray. We don’t understand it, but our spirit is praying. So, we are to choose to pray in tongues just like we choose to pray with the understanding, and we are to choose to sing in tongues just like we choose to sing with the understanding. We give the breath in faith, and God gives the utterance. We hear the Word and give ourselves to obey the Word, and it is up to God to give the utterance.
9. One meaning of the word “bless” is “to benefit”. Another meaning is “empowered to prosper”. In verses 16 and 17, Paul tells us that when we pray and sing in tongues, we are blessing (benefitting, prospering) with our spirit. We bless (benefit, prosper) God, we bless (benefit, prosper) ourselves, and if we are blessed (benefitted, prospered), we can be a blessing (benefit, a means of prosperity) to others. We bless God by giving Him thanks in and with our spirit. This is what God is looking for–those who will (who choose to) worship Him in spirit and in truth. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4. 23, 24). These are the ones who can receive benefit and prosper in every realm of life, and be a means to benefit and prosper others in every realm of life.
10. Paul said he spoke in tongues more that all the Corinthians–and they spoke in tongues a lot! So Paul must have spoken in tongues constantly. He taught that we are to pray without ceasing, so he must have prayed in tongues constantly. Then, prayers with understanding came by inspiration to him, for we have several of his prayers recorded in his letters to the churches. He always told the people he wrote to how he was praying for them. And see this now: he told us to follow him as he follows Christ! (1 Corinthians 11. 1). That means every believer is to be speaking and praying in tongues and praying prayers of understanding constantly as a life-style. If we are going to obey the Word and follow Paul in this way, then we must choose to do this in obedience to the Word. Ephsians 6. 18 also tells us to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”. Based on taking all the scriptures together, “all prayer” would include prayer in the spirit with tongues and prayer with the understanding, all energized by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are told to be praying “all kinds of prayer” in the power of the Spirit.
11. Jude 20, 21 tells us that we build up ourselves on our most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, and, this is an aid to keeping ourselves in the love of God. The love of God enables us to be an effective and compassionate witness to others, and causes us to be presented blameless before the presence of the glory of the Lord with exceeding joy (verses 22-25). There is no fear in love. When we are living in the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5. 5), (which is released by praying and worshipping in the Spirit), we can stand blameless in His presence with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
12. Romans 8. 26, 27 tells us that the Spirit helps our weaknesses. We don’t know what we should be praying for, so the Spirit in our hearts, in our spirit, prays with groanings that cannot be uttered. The Amplified Bible says, “the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance” (vs.26). Paul went on to explain that the Spirit prays the will of God for the saints. So if we take all the scriptures together, seeing how Paul prayed with tongues and with understanding constantly, we understand that as we give ourselves to prayer in the spirit (in tongues) and with the understanding, we are cooperating with the Spirit of God to pray the perfect will of God into our lives and into the lives of all the saints who the Spirit of God is praying for through us. The Spirit cannot utter these words of prayer; He can only groan. But, we can utter words and release the words of God into the earth and bring to pass the perfect will of God through our prayers in the power of the Spirit. Awesome! This is absolutely awesome! What power! What a responsibility! No wonder there has been so much controversy over tongues! The devil does not want the saints of God praying in tongues!
Why pray in tongues? God’s Word says to. God won’t force you to. It is just like forgiveness. God said He would forgive you if you entrust your life to Him. You believe that word and you trust Him for that, don’t you. And God keeps His Word. You receive peace.
Jesus said believers would speak with “new languages”. Paul said to desire spiritual gifts, and to pray with all kinds of prayer in the power of the Spirit. It’s your choice. If you offer your life and breath to Him, to have His way in your life completely, as Absolute Lord over all your life, He will keep His Word and give you the fulness of the Holy Spirit with a new prayer and worship language with which to communicate to and receive from Him, spirit-to-spirit. This is not to be confused with the operation of tongues that God sets in the body for the edification of the body through tongues and interpretation. Not everybody has that operation of tongues just like not everybody have the gifts of healing, and not everybody is a teacher, and not everybody is a worker of miracles. But, everybody can have a miracle through faith in the Word, everybody can be healed and minister healing through faith, and everybody can teach, if they will. In the same way, everybody can be filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues if they will. That does not mean you have the operation of that gift as means of directly edifying the body. See 1 Corinthians 12.28-31.
As your loving and generous heavenly Father, He will give you the fulness you desire as you ask and receive in faith. Do not fear. You can trust Him. He will not give you anything false, demonic, or anything of little benefit. God always gives good, beneficial, gifts to those who will receive.“What Father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil-minded as you are, know how to give good gifts–gifts that are to advantage–to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13 Amplified Bible. Why speak in tongues? Why not? The benefits are unlimited.
IS TONGUES FOR ALL?
There are basically three types of beliefs regarding tongues. Some say:
1. Tongues have passed away, and any manifestation of them today is heresy and is of the devil.
2. Tongues is valid, but not everybody is given that gift.
3. Tongues is for all who will believe and yield their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They are the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Many of you want all that God has for you, and you sincerely believe that speaking in other tongues is for some but not for all. This is largely based on 1 Cor. 12.28-31, esp vs. 30: “do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”.
If you are truly hungry and thirsty for all that God has for you, consider the following references on the subject, then we will look at the above scripture.
1. Isa. 28.11,12. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” This is referring to tongues, as quoted by Paul in 1 Cor. 14.21. Tongues is a means of spiritual rest and refreshing. Interestingly enough, in the same prophecy we see that it was prophesied that there would be some who would not (who would choose not to) receive this means of rest and refreshing that God had provided.
2. Mk. 16.17. Jesus taught that believers would speak with new tongues.
3. Ac. 2.4. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost. Peter said this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2.28-32.
4. Ac. 10.44. The Holy Ghost fell on all that heard the Word in Cornelius’ household. How did Peter, and the Jews with him, know they received the Spirit? Because they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God just as the 120 had received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost.
5. Ac. 19.6,7. The elders spoke with tongues and prophesied at Ephesus when the Holy Spirit came on them through the prayer and hands of Paul.
6. Ac. 8.15-18; Ac. 9.17; Ac.18.8. These are three instances that do not specifically say the people spoke in tongues. It can be inferred that the Samaritans spoke in tongues like everybody else because Simon “saw” something when they received the Spirit. We know Paul spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 14.18). We know the Corinthians spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 14). The Corinthians were enriched in all the utterance gifts and came behind in no gift. Paul praised God for the operation of the gifts in the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1.4-8).
7. 1 Cor. 11.1. Paul said for us to follow him as he followed Christ. He spoke with tongues “more than ye all”. He taught that we should pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5.17). He said “I will pray with the spirit…I will sing with the spirit” (1 Cor. 14.15). So if we are going to follow Paul as he follows Christ, we will be choosing to pray and sing with the spirit. (We will be choosing to use our tongues language).
8. 1 Cor. 14.1. We are told to “desire spiritual gifts”, making love supreme in our lives, as we operate in these gifts. The Amplified Bible says, “Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love–make it your aim, your great quest; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments”. Love and the gifts should go together.
9. 1 Cor. 14.4. Tongues is a means of personal edification (building up of and encouraging oneself), while prophecy and tongues with interpretation is a means of corporate edification (building up of and encouraging the Body of Christ, the Church).
10. Eph. 6.18. We are told to be praying always with all [kinds of] prayer and supplication in [the power of] the Spirit. Tongues is one kind of prayer.
11. Jude 20,21. Praying in the Spirit is a means to build yourself up on your most holy faith and to keep yourself in [the flow of] the love of God. This corresponds with 1 Cor. 14.4 and Rom. 5.5.
12. Ac. 10.34. When Peter went to Cornelius, the first thing he had to realize was that God was no respecter of persons. God’s salvation, and all the gifts that come along with that salvation, is free to all, with no respect of persons. This was a pivotal revelation that opened up the power of God to all (although Jesus had taught this years earlier in the Great Commission of Matt. 28.18-20).
13. Matt. 9.27-31. Jesus asked two blind men, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” They said yes, and He touched them saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.” This applies to healing and all good things that God wants to give you, such as tongues. As you are built up through the Spirit, you can build up others through the Spirit.
14. Lk. 11.13; Jas. 1.17. God is consistent to give good and perfect gifts to His children if they will but ask Him with the faith that yields to Him.
15. Matt. 21.22. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” [except He won’t give tongues to some]. Did it say that? No. God wants to give His children all good things that will benefit them.
16. Mk. 9.23. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” If there was no other scripture, this one should do it for those who desire all the good things that God has for them.
Now, we will look at 1 Cor. 12. 28-31.
Paul starts his discourse on the spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12. 1. He does not want us to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. He explains that there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of ministries and operations, but it is the same Lord God who works in all. This gives the overall picture, then he addresses what God does in each person.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” Regardless of what gifts, ministries, and operations we are involved in, the Spirit will manifest Himself in every man for the good of all. Then he lists nine ways the Spirit will manifest through every man as the Spirit wills (12.7,11).
Notice “manifestation” is singular. The One Holy Spirit who is in every believer will manifest Himself in at least nine different ways for the profit or good of all as those believers yield to the Spirit. These different ways will operate as the Spirit wills.
Notice in this manifestation of the Spirit that different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues go together (12.10). Notice then in verse 30, that again tongues and interpretation go together.
Here, Paul is talking about how the manifestation of the Spirit in each person is for the profit or good of all, for the corporate Body, the Church.
Notice in verse 18 that God sets members in the Body as it pleases Him. Now notice in verse 28 that God sets some in the Church, then he lists what God sets in the Church. Tongues and interpretation is one of those things that God sets in the Church, just like He sets apostles, prophets, etc. Are all set in the Church as apostles? No. Are all set in the church as prophets? No. Are all set in the Church as one who gives out tongues for interpretation? No. Are all set in the Church as one who interprets tongues? No.
Then Paul instructs believers to desire the best gifts.
He interjects the importance of love in the use of all giftings, ministries, operations, administrations, and in the manifestation of the Spirit (Chapter 13).
After that he again instructs believers to desire spiritual gifts, and he explains how the personal prayer language of tongues is for personal benefit, whereas tongues and interpretation and prophesy is for the benefit of the whole Church (Chapter 14). Paul desires that all believers have and use this personal prayer language for self edification (14.5), but for the benefit of the Church as a whole, prophesy is more valuable, unless there is interpretation to the tongues.
A believer is to pray for interpretation of a tongue spoken to the Church, so the whole Body can benefit from the utterance (14. 12,13).
A believer can freely pray, prophesy, and sing with the spirit, just as one can freely pray and sing with the understanding. But just as disorderly prayer and singing with the understanding would cause confusion, so does disorderly prayer, prophesying, and singing with the spirit cause confusion (14.14-33).
Finally, he sums it all up by again encouraging the believers to move in the spiritual gifts, telling them to covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
God has made available a personal means of rest and refreshing to every believer, with no respect of persons, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 28. 11,12). It is a supernatural communion with God that magnifies the person of Jesus Christ in your spirit man.
By faith, any believer can enter into this “rest” and “refreshing” through receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. It is a matter of you yielding your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ by faith in His name, regardless of any objections that come to mind. The only reason why you would not receive this, is that you choose not to receive and act upon God’s Word from the heart: “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear”
(Isa. 28. 11,12). “They would not hear”–it’s a matter of the will.
There are three kinds of tongues.
One is for utterance to the Church, which edifies the Church when there is interpretation. This is the same as prophecy, which builds up, encourages, and comforts. God sets those in the Body who move in these giftings. These operate as the Spirit wills.
Another type of tongue is for personal prayer and worship. This tongue can be used at one’s own will for personal edification–“I will pray with the spirit…I will sing with the spirit” (1 Cor. 14.15).
Believers are exhorted by the Word three times, to desire spiritual gifts. The Word would not encourage us to desire these gifts, if God did not want to give them to us. God will not force them on you. He makes them available for you to receive by faith. He will fill or baptize you with His Holy Spirit by your asking Him in faith, and as you step out in faith, giving breath to speak, He will give you supernatural utterance .
The third type of tongue was manifested on the day of Pentecost. Actually, this was the first manifestation of tongues. It was languages spoken or understood in the various languages of the people gathered at Jerusalem from many different parts of the know world. This tongue was given to speak the gospel in the languages of other nations. We need to believe for and expect this type of tongue to manifest as we take the gospel to the nations.
This is something you receive and act on with a child-like faith. You just do it, based solely on what the Word of God says, regardless of all pride, fears, reasonings, and religious doctrines, and regardless of your own past experiences or the experiences of others.
Not all people will be saved, but God has made it available to all. Not all will receive God’s supernatural weapons of warfare through the gifts of the Spirit, but God has made them available to all. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is simply the first step into the realm of the supernatural power of God to make us more effective witnesses of Jesus through faith in His Name.
We don’t receive because for whatever reason, we simply choose not to receive. We entertain some pride, fear, reasoning, or religious doctrine, or we look at our own past experience, or we look at somebody else’s fault, hypocrisy, or their bad experience, and so refuse to yield our all to Him.
Many people look at those who God has used or is using who do not move in the gifts of the Spirit, and excuse themselves based on these people’s lives. How much more could God use these vessels if they did obey the Word in this area! Peter, who was baptized with the Spirit spoke with tongues and moved in the realm of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, spoke healing into one man, and the Bible says two whole towns turned to the Lord (Ac. 9.32-25). That’s effective evangelism! And this is the purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues–to be more effective witnesses of Jesus Christ. We all need to be moving in all God has for us for the most effectiveness in our lives and ministries.
Let us look to Jesus alone, and to the Word of God alone, to determine God’s will for our lives and ministries. Otherwise, we limit God.
Yes, tongues, prophecy, and the full manifestation of the Spirit is available to all who will yield their lives unreservedly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
This is the rest and the refreshing that is available to all those who will believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
“What Father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for a egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil-minded as you are, know how to give good gifts–gifts that are to advantage–to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” Luke 11. 11-13 Amplified Bible.