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March 28, 2022 8:00 am
The gift of tongues was not a spiritual free-for-all. God carefully prescribed the proper use of tongues in the church so that it would be channeled in the proper direction rather than creating chaos amongst the people of God, welcome you again to the truth pulpit with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio high on bill right today. Don continues teaching God's people. God's word as he takes us further into a series titled the Holy Spirit today and part two of a message called a look at tongues last time Don spoke about the nature of biblical tongue. We learned that it was the supernatural ability to speak in real foreign languages that the speaker had not previously learned. In contrast to some indecipherable utterance.
No one could understand today.
Our teacher will look at certain limitations. The word places on the gift will also examine what set about its duration.
So have your Bible open as we join Pastor Don green now of point number two that I want to talk to about today is the limitation of biblical tongues or the limits on biblical tongues. You could say the limits on biblical tongues wire we hire we approaching it like this.
I was hoping you could tell me know how wasn't it was rhetorical, not a request for information were approaching it from this perspective to help you see something really important that the gift of tongues that God gave to the church during this transitional time was not a spiritual free-for-all. It was not. It was not a random occurrence that everybody was just going to go out and speak in tongues however and whenever they wanted to and that that we'd all just get together and talk in tongues.
However, we wanted to God carefully in detail prescribed the proper use of tongues in the church so that it would be channeled in the proper direction rather than creating chaos amongst the people of God, and you find these limits largely stated in the book of first Corinthians in chapter 12, 13 and 14 and there's like five or six limitations that I want to point out to you from this text.
Now, as most of you know spiritual gifts are the focus of first Corinthians 12 through 14 and it is a very difficult passage to deal with many issues await the interpreter in first Corinthians 12 to 14 to just give you one measure of the complexity of these three chapters, John MacArthur's commentary on first Corinthians has 118 pages of explanation of chapters 12, 13 and 14 and so there is a lot there and were not going to try to cover everything were not going to try to go verse by verse through these three chapters. Rather, what we want to do is to just lay down some markers that are obvious to set context for your understanding of the gift of tongues and what were trying to do here is to set context from the whole counsel of God's word. You know it.
I think I can say this without fear of legitimate contradiction. The challenge in dealing with those who teach charismatic theology is a love the pick one or two verses out of context and just run with that and and and import all of their presuppositions and assumptions into one verse, as if there one verse was proving everything that they said and using blinders and ignoring what God's word says elsewhere. We don't want to do that. The whole counsel of the word of God should inform what we think about these things and that's what were going to try to do here on the list out five limits on the gift of tongues for you to consider here. First of all I want you to. I want you to consider built their limit in the Canon their limit in the Canon now when you talk to charismatics Manville beeline for first Corinthians 12 1314 if I were them I would to build go to the book of acts, but you know what they won't discuss. You know what they won't tell you.
You know what they may not even be aware of themselves is that with the exception of one disputed passage in the gospel of Mark acts in first Corinthians are the only places were tongues is talked about in the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote 12 other letters besides first Corinthians. He doesn't mention tongues in any of them is apostolic swan song is found in the pastoral epistles of first and second Timothy and Titus, where he is making provision for the church and its leadership after his imminent passing. He knows his time has come. You would think that if tongues were central to the functioning of the Christian church after his departure, he make a big issue of it because it was so important and critical for everybody to get right.
Nary a word, not a word about that when Jesus in the book of Revelation addresses the seven churches in the last word of God's revelation. He speaks to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and three. Not a word about tongues that should impact you if you've never thought about it and say that when that's interesting that's that's almost kinda weird because I'm told by some that everybody ought to speak in tongues. If this is just a critical aspect of Christian experience and why do so much of the New Testament not say anything about it. Why, when Jesus gives his last words to the churches in Revelation not say anything about it. Why does the apostle Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. Not say anything about it. Well, we need to realize that that kind of silence is inexplicable if speaking in tongues was central to the functioning of the church you will find all kinds of instruction about the spirit to find all kinds of instruction about the one another's will find all kinds of instruction about loving one another within the body of Christ because that is central that is true in the annual find that emphasizes a common theme throughout all of the epistles, the emphasis on the word in sound doctrine and teaching riddled throughout the pages of the New Testament tongues. By contrast, the absence is glaring by comparison. And so there is a limit in the Canon that cautions us against placing just speaking in very very general terms that that cautions us against placing too great of an emphasis on tongues a balanced consideration of the fullness of the New Testament giving equal weight to all the parts of the New Testament would never take you there never.
It would take you to areas of unity and election and God's work in salvation and sanctification. Secondly, the limitation of biblical tongues. First of all there's a limit in the Canon on it. Secondly, kind working on the outside and were going from the outside big picture into increasingly precise detail. Secondly, the limited in distribution. The limited in distribution and this is what I alluded to earlier, when I got ahead of my notes, the limit in distribution means this. The tongues were never intended for every Christian never go back to that passage that I read earlier just as it will have it fresh in our minds. At this point in the message.
First Corinthians chapter 12 verse 30 we can just touch base on this slightly here. First Corinthians chapter 12 verse 30 says all do not have gifts of healing do they all do not speak with tongues, do they all do not interpret do they the great grammatical construction there expects the answer no, it's a rhetorical device that is designed to make you say no to the question being asked. In other words, do all people speak in tongues in the Christian church know they don't. That's the sense of what Paul is saying here and so we see the tongues were never intended for every Christian. This was not meant to be a universal expression for all time. Of those who truly have the Holy Spirit indwelling of them. What are the fruit of the spirit. In reality what is the fruit of the Spirit in the Christian church. Where do you find that stated in Galatians chapter 5 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law, what we look for now is the mark of the spirit are these character traits in these attitudes that flow from the holy nature of God as being the mark of his presence in a life and that's true for every Christian tongues says not all of them. Not all speak in tongues. There was a limit on the distribution. Even then, and if you if you go back to first Corinthians chapter 12 verse 11 you can see this first Corinthians chapter 12 verse 11 where it says one in the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually. Just as he wills so the spirit gave gifts in different measures in different quantities in different combinations. He gives gifts to different people. As he wills.
Not all of them receive the gift of tongues, even in this time of transition. There was a limit on the distribution and it was the mark of the work of the Spirit of God.
Now some will ask a good question. The say what about Mark chapter 16 what about Mark chapter 16 turn back there with me if you will.
Mark chapter 16. I realize recovering an awfully Lotta ground today. Mark chapter 16 beginning in verse 16 it says he who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.
But he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed. Notice the plural. There these signs will accompany those who have believed in my name they will cast out demons.
They will speak with new tongues. Well, there you have it.
There's the there's the silver bullet that destroys everything I've been trying to say right.
Not so fast.
Not so fast as we stated in the past and is very well known among biblical scholars Mark chapter 16 verses nine through 20 almost certainly was not part of the original text of Scripture. This was a section that was added on subsequently by copyist later on and because that text is disputed. Beloved no one should base an essential doctrine on any disputed text in Scripture, you should be able to find a teaching replicated elsewhere.
Rather than depending on one disputed text to make your whole point, because in every likelihood, this was never part of the original inspired manuscript to begin with. You can find my marginal notes in your Bible to explain that.
But what if what if you do accept Mark 16 is it does everything collapse under that and does this show that everyone is now going to speak in tongues and everything that I've said collapses in the face of the silver bullet argument from a disputed text. No beloved.
Even if you accept Mark 16. Our position is still entirely unchanged.
The apostolic community.
Broadly speaking plural as a community we see that the apostolic community did speak in tongues after Jesus ascension there. There were tongues that were spoken.
We saw that and affirm that from the from acts chapter 2, 10 and 19, but that doesn't mean that every believer in every age will speak in tongues. If you let Scripture interpret Scripture. Even if you accept Mark 16 is an original text is interpreted by the revelation found in first Corinthians, it says not all speak in tongues so you can understand Mark 16 from the sentence says the apostolic community. The early church.
They had those who believe they did speak in tongues. Some of them, but we see as revelation goes on that not all were ever intended to speak in tongues. That was not God's will that is not what happened. Mark 16 does not change the argument at all. Now, so we talked about the limit in the Canon.
The limit in distribution stay with me now as we consider the limit in motivation. The limit in motivation and for that I ask you to go back to first Corinthians chapter 13 first Corinthians chapter 13 as we said, as we said spiritual gifts is the topic of consideration in chapters 12, 13 and 14 in the middle. In chapter 13 between 12 and 14 at the 13th floor of the book you might say you find the famous love chapter. Now I realize that a lot of people will read this and don't read it at their marriage ceremony. That's fine as far as it goes. We'll talk about love generally and what's the nature of love from chapter 13 and that's all okay as far as it goes, but beloved. What you must see is that this love chapter is qualifying the whole nature of the exercise of spiritual gifts in first Corinthians 12 through 14.
This chapter on love is telling us how the spiritual gifts are to be used. The motivation for them why we do what we do with the gifts that the spirit gives to us and in this chapter Paul shows the surpassing importance of love over any other spiritual gift specifically over tongues and prophecy even look at verse one of first Corinthians 13. He says if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal by have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I'm nothing but give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned but do not have love it profits me nothing.
He speaking hypothetically here he says let's go to the uttermost extreme if there were such a thing as as angels having human language and I spoken them if if I can if I knew everything that there were to know about the mysteries of God, and I could prophesy on them if I gave all my possessions to feed the poor.
If I gave my body to be burned in martyrdom for the sake of Christ. And I didn't have love as I was doing any of those things it would be utterly worthless. It would be meaningless because the point of the gifts is to that they would be exercised in love for fellow believers. And if you extract love and you extract that focus on others in your exercise of the spiritual gifts you have completely lost the reason that they are given in the first place. Look at first Peter chapter 4 with me. Beginning in verse eight he says, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins be hospitable to one another without complaint and in that context of love. He says this in verse 10 as each one has received a special gift employed in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God as God gifted you the newer to understand that he is done that so that you can be of loving service to others in the body of Christ, and that if you remove the motivation of love. You have removed the purpose of the gift. The gifts are not to be exercised apart from love for others in the midst of your exercise of the gifts are to be exercised in love the first question is love, not your giftedness. The first question is others not your giftedness gifts given to be exercised for the benefit of others in the motivation of love. That's the purpose of the gifts that the limit on them. Gifts are not given, so the one man can exalt himself in the presence of others.
Gifts are not given so a man can benefit from it privately. They are given for the benefit of others, to be exercised in love.
Fourthly, the limit in practice times were not to be indiscriminately spoken, but rather there were guidelines placed on the exercise even within the gathered body of the church.
First Corinthians chapter 14 verse 13 says therefore let one who speaks in a tongue. Pray that he may interpret if there is going to be tongues. There must be interpretation. Look at verse 26 what is the outcome. Then, brethren, when you assemble each one has a song has a teaching has a revelation has a tongue has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three and each intern and one must interpret.
In other words, there must be order to the way that this is done speak not at the same time but speak in alternation and there must be interpretation as you do. Verse 28.
If there's no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church, let him speak to himself and to God. Don't be speaking in tongues. If there's not someone to interpret and give edification others by what you are saying don't do that. He says tongues were never given to cause confusion or uncertainty there was to be an order leading to considered intelligent cognitive edification and what was being done not being swept away by emotions not falling over in a silly way just because somebody waved her hand at you. There is to be in order to this the lead to an improvement of the spiritual mind the could be articulated and logical propositional thought they were limited in their practice. Finally, the final limit that I want to dress for today is there limited in duration there limited in duration from the outset, tongues were designed to be temporary. They were designed to be temporary. First Corinthians chapter 13 verse 10 says this I said first Corinthians 10 I needed to take you to verse eight first Corinthians 13 verse eight love never fails. Again, the priority of love here, but if there are gifts of prophecy. They'll be done away if there are times they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away for we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away now that perfect whatever that perfect is it could be the completed Canon. It could be the return of Christ. When were in his presence. That's not so important for the point that were making here today.
What I want you to see is this is that Scripture anticipates the cessation of tongues which tells us that they were never meant to have an enduring priority in the church. The enduring priority of the church was love done for edification to the benefit of others, but tongues were designed to cease what we can say today 2000 years later. From this perspective, is this biblical tongues have ceased. They have ceased the tongues in which a man speaks fluently in a foreign language that he had never's study before you do not see that happening. Instead, what you find is the idea of tongues being reinterpreted into some kind of prayer language that is unknown even to the speaker, something that they can do privately on their own for their own self edification that they get their own joy out of when you start to see a Segway timeout timeout. This is not language.
This is not known, recognize language you're doing this for your own benefit you you you openly state I'm doing.
I pray in tongues in private for my own benefit that has nothing to do that. That contradicts the spirit of the gifts why God gave them in the first place gifted in order to serve others with what we know charismatic speaks in a real language unknown human language that they have not studied there doing something else. What is it that they're doing. What are what are we to think of modern tongues today say that for next time we will address it next time. Board will. The question remains, should believers today be speaking in tongues. Pastor Don Greene will again turn to the Scriptures for the answer next time as he continues her series the Holy Spirit today. Be sure to join us then you're on the truth pulpit right now though your again is done with news of a special resource.
All my friends as we wrap up today's broadcast. I just want to say a quick word about the tremendous pressure that our culture is bringing against biblical morality. Even Christian leaders are starting to waffle on these most basic issues of biblical truth and righteousness. But God's word has not changed and I know that you have your up familiar listener to this broadcast.
You want to stand firm on this issue.
Just like I do what we want to do is put into your hands are series titled the Bible and homosexuality.
It's available by CD or by free download and my friend Bill is going to help you find it right now.
Just visit us at the truth.
Pulpit.com and click on radio offer to learn more. That's the truth. Pulpit.com I feel right will see you next time.
As Don Greene continues teaching God's people.