Prayer and tongues Part 3 by Pastor Don
Pastor Don then brought us to 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
To prophesy is to speak forth the Word of God and it is a spiritual gift.
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 a person speaks in tongues that is prophesying, but there are various types of tongues, some for personal edification and others for the edification of the Body of Christ, the Church. In the Greco Roman times man was very logical, and tongues without understanding did not fit that category. Most people are more comfortable with logic and analysis. The Bible is written in that way to help those who seek logic, expressing God’s truth the way that those who studied Plato and Socrates could comprehend. We can examine thoughts within a passage, but not be connected to it – but can study it from an analytical distance. Verse 2 speaks of prophesying, when we are speaking in a spirit language (tongues) we are not speaking to man but to God, and no one can understand what is being said in tongues, for we are speaking mysteries. People hearing tongues can think all a person is doing is talking gibberish, but really it is the spirit of the person speaking with the Spirit of God.
When this is done in a church setting and there are those who do not understand about tongues, or who do not have that spiritual language, that can cause confusion. God is not about confusion – He is orderly. So Paul will set out some guidelines for the speaking of tongues in a congregational setting to avoid confusion. When all are worshipping in tongues we are speaking to God.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.
We are speaking mysteries to God. Presenting our case to God. Our spirit speaks mysteries to God. And we are open and ready to go in any direction that God desires.
1 Corinthians 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
When we prophesy it is to edify men, when we speak to God in tongues God understands. Is there any good in speaking in tongues when we don’t comprehend it? Let’s see verse 4.
1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
Yes, when we speak in tongues it does edify ourselves, but when we are in church we are seeking to edify the church, the Body of Christ, and that is where tongues in prophecy sets in. Edify – building up the edifice, to strengthen something. Personal tongues edifies and builds up our inner man. Our intellect can only bring us so far, but our spirit man is necessary for us to go the distance. Remember, our Spirit man is stronger than our flesh man, If we edify and feed our spirit man by speaking in tongues, than our spirit man can bring our flesh under control. If we do not feed our spirit man with the Word of God and praying in tongues, then our flesh will continue to seek becoming dominant and we will stay in bondage in those areas we are struggling with. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Remember when Jesus was asked to heal the demon possessed son of a man, and Jesus asked him if he could believe, and the man said, “I believe, help my unbelief.” When we stay around Jesus something is bound to change, but often we do not stay around Jesus long enough.
The only way the scriptures tells us that we can build up our inner man is through tongues, and it is mentioned in more than one place in the Scriptures. For example,
Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
Jesus’ brother is telling us the same thing Paul tells us, that we need to pray in the Spirit to build up our faith.
We don’t build up our faith by praying memorized prayers, eating crackers, wearing things on our heads or nothing on our heads, doing things, service projects. But praying in the Spirit is what helps our faith to grow and edify our spirit.
If we focus solely on the intellect and logic our spirit man is not growing. The spirit man has to grow along with our knowledge. You can’t build a building with bricks alone, you need the mortar to hold them together. It is similar to our spirit and intellect growing together.
God will not ask you to bench press 400 pounds until he can help you learn to bench press 20 pounds.
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.
If we are praying in tongues, in the Spirit, we can ask God to help us interpret our tongues. God likes it when we ask for wisdom and interpretation and understanding.
When we first begin to pray in tongues we are doing it with our logical mind and making sounds in obedience with our lips and voice, as time goes on, our logical mind shuts down and then our spirit speaks with God’s spirit. What often happens in church is people want to talk ABOUT prayer, but they don’t want to pray. God wants us to learn to pray with everything we can – to pray with understanding, and in the Holy Spirit. Ask for God to give you the interpretation and believe in faith that He will. Pray in faith until you have a sense of completion, that the Spirit of God is done. Once the Spirit man is built up, our spirit can carry more stuff. We can’t walk into ministries until we are able to deal with attacks.
In the United States 22,000 people in ministry leave their ministries every year.
Preaching is not listed as one of the five-fold ministries or in spiritual gifts.
Prophesying has a component of speaking forth the Word of God. You can give a good sermon and never be called into the office of prophet. You can pastor a church and get by as an intellectual, but get fried for you have not built up your spirit. There is no way to build up a pastor’s spirit except by edifying one’s self by praying in the spirit. Praying in the Holy Ghost is no guarantee that you won’t have pressures that seek to crush you, but if you stop and pray in the Holy Ghost you can better face those pressures. Think of Jesus, He often went off by Himself to pray, and build Himself up. He did not make errors, dealt with many people’s issues, and did not suffer burnout. He knew that if He built Himself up, that He could deal with what came His way.
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
Our spirit is edified but our understanding is unfruitful.
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.
Paul’s conclusion is not to throw the baby out with the bath water, but to DO BOTH. To edify his spirit by private prayer language, and also to pray with understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
If you are blessing with the spirit, you are blessing yourself, but that does not help the others.
Pastor Don shared about a time when he and his wife, when they were newly saved, had gone to a church where the people all spoke in tongues. The Pastor of that church told the people to begin speaking in their holy language. The whole church, except Pastor Don and Cynthia were speaking in tongues. No one noticed Pastor Don and Cynthia and how uncomfortable they were, no one came over and explained what was going on, no one taught about tongues, and while they were doing this, Pastor Don and Cynthia put on their coats and left the building – no one noticed. This church was out of order. It is ok for everyone to praise God in the Spirit, but if there is an uninformed person in the church, then it is important to cue them in on what is happening, or else that person is left out of the praise and worship. It does not edify the uninformed person, and that person is unable to join in, so there is no prayer of agreement, either.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
All who are at a service should be able to be edified.
1 Corinthians 14:18-22 I thank my God 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. Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. In the law it is written: “ With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
Paul is not saying don’t speak in tongues. Verse 18 shows that he speaks in tongues – he says he speaks in tongues more than most. He does edify himself with tongues, but in Church the purpose of Church is to build up believers, but an uninformed person in church needs interpretation of tongues, so in a corporate body there needs to be order in how tongues are used. Tongues in this case are for the unbeliever – for if an unbeliever hears a word of prophecy in tongues that is interpreted, and it applies to the person or the prophecy occurs, then the unbeliever will see the sign and wonder, and that will help them to believe.
1 Corinthians 14:23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
Without interpretation, the uninformed will think you are out of our mind. That is why in those situations interpretation of tongues is necessary. The Jews look for a sign, and tongues can provide that. As long as the Church is alive in the world, there is no way that the need for tongues will cease.
1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.
Unbelievers can be touched mightily by prophecy and interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:27-29 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
In a realistic setting of a church service, you can have your private prayer life under your breath, quietly, but if you are speaking in tongues in a voice that impacts the whole congregation, there must be an interpretation. If no one is interpreting the tongues, than the person is out of order. Pastor Don has been in church services where many, many people have spoken out in tongues, but there was no connection. One might interpret a tongue, “God is love, let us love one another.” another then speaks “God’s wrath is going to come on the face of the earth.” And another says, “God is going to bring financial prosperity to believers.” These may be true messages for the individual, but there is no cohesiveness in the message, and when there are more and more individual prophesies that is out of order. In a service 2 or 3 with interpretation is in order, and notice that the others are to judge the message. See, not all messages are for the whole body, some are for individual believers, and some are not even messages from God. Does the prophesy in tongues match the Word of God? Is it accurate. We need to be like Bereans and judge the word that is spoken. Remember God will not contradict Himself.
If there is a service and people are praising and worshipping, and someone gets up and prophesies in tongues, there had better be an interpretation or else it is just the person edifying themselves. The purpose of the interpretation of a prophecy is to edify ALL. God doesn’t need 20 people prophesying in tongues – 2 or 3 in agreement are enough. The elders are to judge. God does not have to speak in excess and He doesn’t contradict Himself.
We are not to stop the service just to edify ourselves. We need to judge the Word spoken and the interpretation. But no where does it say that we are FORBIDDEN to speak in tongues, just that when it is spoken in the assembly it needs to be judged.
The answer is in 1 Corinthians 39-40 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.
Decently and in order.
Praying your day is blessed.
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