Warfare against the Spirit of Offense & tongues by Pastor Don
Pastor Don summarized some of last Friday’s and Wednesday’s Bible study for those who were not there those days. You can read the notes here, here and here. I am including the short summary because it is a good review, I find I learn more when I go over the material more than once.
He talked about the Spirit of Offense, and how God said there would be woe unto someone who caused offense. But it also matters how we receive offense. Often our response is due to personal experiences. We need to know how to get relief from this.
Pastor Don then said, “What does a Spirit of Offense cause? How does it enter into lives? What does it quench?
When offended, how do we do spiritual warfare against the Spirit of Offense?
Pastor Don reminded us that Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. is the most misunderstood and misquoted Scripture in the Bible. It is not a verse that tells us that everything will work together for good – it won’t work together for good if we are not doing God’s will and purpose. Not ALL things work together for good. If Pastor Don gets run over by a bus, we can’t go out to him and say, “All things work together for good.” It isn’t good to be run over by a bus.
We all end up in situations of strife and offense. Romans 8:28 is not saying everything that happens to you will work out for your good – that is not Biblical or Scriptural. That kind of belief is what Kenneth Hagin would say is ignorance gone to seed.
We take a Scripture out of its setting in order to pacify our own error and ignorance. When we do “stupid” it doesn’t always work out for the good. Contention and strife will not always work out for the good. High blood pressure and heart disease can be the results of contention and strife, and that is not for the good.
Not everyone LOVES GOD. While many know God, that doesn’t mean we are in love with God. And the last part of the verse is “called according to His purpose.” Not everyone is doing God’s purpose. Pastor Don asked us how many of us are called to a mission in Manila? No one raised their hands. Then Pastor Don said that if we went to Manila on our own, and got sick, we might ask “Why? I am doing God’s work in Manila.” But was it doing God’s Will? Sometimes we do things in our will for God, but it is not God’s will for us. He does not have to bless what we do outside of His will for us. We can’t use Scriptures to defend our own stupidity or self-will. We can love God and end up in Manila, but not be in God’s will.
Then Pastor Don reviewed Paul in Macedonia, pointing out that several times Paul wanted to go there, but the Holy Spirit did not permit it. Then, when Paul was given permission to go there, he went IN GOD’S WILL, and Lydia came and gave him housing and food. Ultimately he went to jail, and God turned that to good because of Paul’s being in God’s will – and the jailer and his family were saved.
When the Evil one wants to disrupt the will of God, he has to bring us into a spirit of offense and contention to get the person off track. We want to say, “When stuff is going wrong, the devil is beating me up.” Unfortunately that is not always true, but if we say that and believe that, it is like putting out a welcome mat for the devil to beat us up.
Mark 11:22-23 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whosoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
You WILL have what YOU say. If you are sick, poor, attacked, beat up by sins, open to strife and contention, it is most of the time because of what comes out of your mouth. It can start in the flesh, and then become demonic as satan adds his attack to what you say.
The spiritual secret for warfare is to build ourselves up so we are not easily offended.
We then looked at the “Love” Chapter – 1 Corinthians 13, which talks about love and also about spiritual gifts, including tongues. Another chapter in the Bible that is misread by so many.
(Heather’s note, remember they did not have chapter and verses in the early manuscripts, so Chapter 13 flows from Chapter 12 which tells us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts.)
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
The 2nd half of the sentence in this verse does NOT NEGATE the first half. He does not regret speaking in tongues, just that tongues must be spoken in love. A lack of love short circuits power. Praying in tongues is a spiritual gift that edifies and activates power in us, but it is no asset of great power without love. But at the same time, without the power that comes from praying in our spiritual tongue, we won’t have the power to be very effective with our love.
Pastor Don said you can have a great car, but without spark plugs the car will not go. You can also have spark plugs, but without a great car to put them in you will not go. What you need is to combine both of them.
He had us chuckling as he strummed his air guitar and sang, “All you need is love, all you need is love, love is all you need.” That is what many of the Body of Christ are saying, that we have no need of spiritual gifts, all we need is love. Noooo. He then went on air guitaring to the Beatle’s tune, “I have no funds, I am sick, I am ineffective, but all I need is love, all I need is love. My family is messed up, I am getting a divorce, but all I need is love. There are sick people who need healing but all they need is love…” Periodically throughout the Bible study he broke out into that song. (Heather’s note, I have that song stuck in my head now.) But it is true, we do need love, and give love, but having the power that comes from the Holy Spirit and praying in our private prayer language is also a necessary weapon. (Heather’s note, if you are given an entire set of weaponry, why not use all that is offered, why go out 1/2 armed? And if God has given us these tools and spiritual weapons, He must know something that we don’t, namely that we need them.)
If I have love and am walking in poverty, depression, sickness, and misery, we may have love, but we are fools if we don’t reach out to God for more.
1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. You have a fabulous car (love), but don’t throw out the spark plugs – prophecy, understanding of mysteries, etc.
He said we could go through some of the intervening verses, but we got the picture that we need BOTH spiritual gifts AND love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three but the greatest of these is love.
Galatians 5:6 ….but faith working through love. We build up our faith through tongues, but faith works through love. In our world today, though, we need more than Christian Love, we need Christian gifts and Christian power to help us to reduce strife and the spirit of offense.
1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
Paul continued (Heather’s note, Chapter 13 flows into Chapter 14). notice there is not a period after the word “love” but a conjunction AND which implies doing both. We are to desire spiritual gifts including prophecy.
1 Corinthians 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
When we speak in tongues, who are we speaking to? To God. Some people have never spoken to God. Human words are filled with deception, false pride, human error. Tongues is a perfect prayer – for it is prayed spirit to Spirit.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
When we are speaking in tongues, we are speaking mysteries to God, God looks at our heart and interprets it. The Holy Spirit will not pray amiss.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
There are two different kinds of prophecy, 1. to tell forth which is what Pastor Don did during Bible study – to tell forth the Word of God, and 2. to foretell, which is to tell something that will happen in the future.
Both will edify and build up. And speaking in tongues is a way to edify our spirit. A weight lifter edifies his muscle by exercising. In tongues we exercise our spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.Paul is not saying to NOT speak in tongues, because Paul knows tongues edifies us, but he is talking about order in the church – if there are visitors or others who are not saved in the church if everyone is speaking in tongues it leads to confusion and chaos. God is not a God of confusion and chaos.
1 Corinthians 14:13-14 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. Paul is telling us we need to pray for interpretation of tongues. Praying in tongues is fruitful for our Spirit, but without interpretation, it does not help our understanding. Tongues builds up our spirit, strengthens our inner man. But Paul is not saying don’t speak in tongues.
Why do we speak in tongues? The Holy Spirit is now on earth in every believer, and now through the Spirit, in our spiritual language – tongues – every man can communicate with God. Since Jesus came, every man is a priest and king. Before Jesus, the Holy Spirit only spoke through priests, kings and prophets, now we all can hear from God and speak back to Him.
Jesus tore the veil in the temple so the power of the Holy Spirit came out and filled all of us – there is now no wall of separation. Jesus Christ is the only mediator. He intercedes for us. We do not have to go to a High Priest, we go straight to God. We don’t have to see a prophet or priest to understand God’s plan for our lives, He can show us directly through the Holy Spirit. What we need to do is to increase the power of our receiver and transmitter in the Spirit, and increase our ability to hear. The way God works is by asking us, “Do you have enough faith to do something that you don’t understand, that the Bible says will reward you with power?” (Do you have enough faith to speak tongues?)
One thing that seems to lead to a spirit of offense in the church, that divides congregations, causes contention and strife, and splits churches, is tongues.
The truth is, if you are making intercession against the kingdom of the devil, and you are not built up in the Spirit, satan can counter attack until he wears you out. When the attacks keep coming and coming, without an infilling of the Spirit of God you can get worn out.
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. Super intellectual people have a hard time with spiritual gifts. Sometimes our brains get in our way, we are so smart God has to give us something that seems stupid to do, so we can turn our minds over to God’s will and purpose, without our limited logic getting in the way.
We need supernatural power to operate in the supernatural, or else we will not overcome the flesh. Tongues is within the believer’s control, it is not possession where the spirit takes over. In order to speak in tongues, the believer has to open their mouths and make a sound. The disciples in Acts 1 had to assemble in Jerusalem and wait on God. They came into one accord through prayer, but even that would not have caused tongues, they had to open their mouths and speak. Getting past the control of their minds.
There are many wonderful saints of God who do not speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues does not make a person better than someone who doesn’t speak in tongues, it just helps them to be better equipped. Some get the power of the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues that one time, and then put the gift on the shelf and don’t use it. Some speak in tongues a little, but do not apply the power they acquire from yielding to the Spirit to combat the spirit of offense or their situation.
Speaking in tongues does not guarantee holiness. Pastor Don has gone to churches where people speak in tongues during church services, but outside of the church they cuss you out. Speaking in tongues does not sanctify you, the blood of Jesus sanctifies you.Tongues only gives you edification.
Pastor Don gave another car example. He said if you take a 458 horsepower engine and put it into a Volkswagen car, the bigger engine might run the car quicker, but it may also be too powerful for the car frame and wear down the parts. So as we edify ourselves, we also need to be building up our flesh, resisting the devil so he flees, etc.
We can speak in tongues out loud, sing in tongues out loud, pray in tongues out loud, we can also do it very quietly, under our breath. Pastor Don prayed in tongues singing to the tune of “All you need is love….”
1 Corinthians 14:27 If someone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. This is a different kind of tongues from the private prayer language, this is tongues for prophecy in the Body of Christ. In church we can all pray in tongues quietly under our breath, but if we make an announcement in tongues, disrupt the service by tongues, or make a prophecy by tongues there is a right order to do so. If tongues is given, an interpretation must follow. If you do not have the interpretation, someone in the church should have the interpretation, or else the tongues are spoken out of order. This is to keep order in the church, so chaos does not reign.Tongues, with interpretation is prophecy which is different from tongues mentioned in the first part of 1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. There is tongues to edify our own spirit, and then there is tongues for prophecy that edifies the church.
Pastor Don says if you are speaking tongues in church to stop the service, you need to have an interpretation or someone else in the church has to have an interpretation for what you spoke in tongues, or you are out of order.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. It would depend on the circumstances and the direction of the service.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. Tongues for one’s own edification does not edify another person, only with understanding will they be edified by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank my God that I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. Paul spoke in tongues lots, but also made sure that, when he needed to reach people, he did it with his understanding. His goal was not just personal edification, but reaching souls.
Paul doesn’t say one is better than the other, just that you have to consider the circumstances.
Pastor Don then said sometimes not speaking in tongues is unyieldness, other times we are very self-conscious so do not want to appear foolish, some people speak out in church every week with tongues, but they are speaking in the flesh. Others might have a tongue once in a blue moon, but when they do, it is valid. In a church situation, 2 – 3 speaking in tongues with interpretation is in order.
Pastor Don said God wrote 66 books over a period of 6,000 years. God does not waste words. If he is like that with the Bible, He also will not waste words with tongues and prophecy. Usually the first few lines of a prophecy are the meat of the prophecy, then the person in their flesh tries to elaborate and embellish the prophecy. God does not speak page after page after page.
If one person is praying in tongues given by the Spirit, what will usually follow is the interpretation.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
An example was given by one of our members about having to meet a person that usually gives them a problem, and they prayed in tongues and asked God what they should say and how to say it. The meeting went well, far better than the usual meetings, because the Holy Spirit helped the member not to get offended.
Tongues give us a sense of God inside. It is harder to offend the Holy Spirit if you have God inside. What gives us a heightened sense of God is that our minds are not distracted by thoughts of the day. Sometimes when we are stressed or harried, we have a hard time shutting down our mind to settle it for prayer. At times we have to rest in the Spirit and the best way to do that is by praying in tongues.
Someone said they saw research on people who were praying in the Spirit, and when brain monitors were put on the person’s head, areas that are usually not stimulated were stimulated when the person began to pray in their private prayer language. The flesh shuts down.
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:31-32 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Pastor Don also told us that if someone says that they can’t stop speaking in tongues, that tongues takes over them, they are not doing so from God and it might be demonic possession. The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. We can start and stop at will. God will not possess you against your will, you have to permit Him to use you.
1 Corinthians 14:39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
We don’t want to forbid tongues. God would not give us a spiritual gift that wasn’t necessary. Spiritual gifts are to be used to edify the saints, for healings, anointings, etc. God wants the saint to be so built up, edified, that the spirit of offence which can short circuit the Body of Christ cannot touch the saint. So that there will be no anxiety, strife, or contention.
Offenses will come, and satan will make the most of it. If we do not take offense, it prevents satan from having a handhold in our lives.
We then looked at some Scriptures regarding the spirit of offense.
Proverbs 3:30 Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.
Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. The church needs to learn it is okay to disagree, without spitting in the other’s face, it is okay to disagree, but not to fight.
Proverbs 20:3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.
Someone asked about striving to reach souls. That is a different kind of striving. But even with that, when it becomes apparent a person is set on rejecting the Gospel, move on to a new fishing ground. We are not to cast pearls (and the Word of God is a precious pearl) before swine. We are to cast out our net and catch all within the net, but remember not every fish we catch is edible.
2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. There are great arguments in the Body of Christ, some of these arguments are a waste of time. Some argue vehemently about when the end times occurs and the order of the events. It is more important to do what God tells us to do, and realize He will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it. He deliberately did not tell us the times or the seasons, so we just keep doing His will now. We have to realize a person is not bad because they disagree with you.
Sometimes a person can be quietly right. They don’t have to loudly pronounce their rightness in a situation. Sometimes the more boisterous arguments are done by people who believe if they are louder they will be perceived as right.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Some people just love to be in opposition, and that opens a person to be snared by the devil. Strife and contention put churches into opposition with each other.
My church is going to heaven – your’s to hell.
These kinds of judgments do not build unity in Christ.
James 3:14-18 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Pastor Don said that at times, when a person is so contentious and persists in their behavior, just say OK and move on. Or say I don’t agree with you, but let’s keep peace. Or let’s agree to disagree. With unreasonable people, just leave the scene peaceably.
Genesis 13:8-9 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
Abram realized God would take care of him. He did not have to strive with Lot. He was willing to make peace at all costs, for families were involved. It wasn’t just you and me, but mine and yours.
This should be a message to the whole church. Some churches refuse to fellowship with people over theological differences. They refuse to get to the main point. Is Jesus Lord? A church that speaks in tongues should be able to put up with a church that doesn’t. Often though, other denominations that do not agree to signs and wonders and speaking in tongues do not want to have any dealings with a charismatic church.
Habakkuk 1:3-4 Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
As people of God, we have to be careful about focusing on other people’s faults, to be judging others. When we have a Spirit of offense, it comes out in a false righteous manner. It can easily turn the judgment to gossip, and sow more seeds of offense. Sometimes a person will hear an offense when no offense was intended.
Pastor Don gave an example. If he tells another member that Joe sure eats a lot. That kind of judgmental comment, not intentionally, ended up hurting Joe’s feelings. Then Joe may come to Pastor Don upset with him because of the situation that ensued and come up to Pastor Don and point out that he is short. Joe was offended by Pastor Don’s comment, and comes back with a comment geared to hurt Pastor Don’s feelings. We have to watch our tongues.
If we build ourselves up in the Spirit, then we can’t get offended. Then those who are trying to offend us don’t have anything to contend with.
Pastor Don had more verses for us, but decided to save them for next Friday.
Stay tuned (she says smiling).
Have a blessed day.
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