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“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts…” (Part 6 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 7, 2021 4:00 am

“Now Concerning Spiritual Gifts…” (Part 6 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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August 7, 2021 4:00 am

Spiritual gifting is often a controversial topic—especially with gifts like speaking in tongues. It’s a subject that raises many questions. So what does the Bible have to say? Join us as we take a closer look on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Subject of spiritual gifts can be controversial, especially when you get to the topic of speaking in tongues subject that often raises a lot of questions today on Truth for Life weekend. Alastair beg addresses this issue by examining what the Bible has to say.

Our study continues in first Corinthians 12 verse seven of the prophetic message is not far it's in its content now makes plenty.

If you come to me for award of counsel right and you, you share your life with me and tell me what you're involved, it would be possible for me. Having listened to just say, dear friend, I want to give you prophetic word just for you before you go select bow in prayer and let me get it to and then in the first person singular. I can speak to you and tell you that I believe that this is what God has to say to you at this moment in your circumstances present word from God for your present situation. I could take my knowledge of the Scriptures and frame it in such a way as to make you feel or believe that I am speaking in some kind of ex cathedra fashion. As a result of being on the receiving end of a previously unknowable truth that is coming directly to me and threw me for you and I can say something like this, I say to you, my sister, that if you only find your joy and your delight in following after me, and in listening to my word, I will give to you all, that your heart desires you could draw the door and say it's unbelievable the guys going to read telephone up there. It really freaked me out.

He had a thing.

He said, and he just came right through. I don't know what happened to Kim right through and it came right to me. Or was it Sam.

37 verse four. Delight yourself also in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

That is why for many of my dear friends who are involved in this kind of prophetic ministry and charismatic service. I don't get upset with them and they don't get upset with me because I tell them I said Frank if you want to turn. Romans 12 into a kind of divine transactional statement for me that's okay, but I know what you're doing. Frank you're just courting Romans 12 because I know Romans 12 to and Frank if you ever pull one of these stunts in my house where you don't quote something from the Bible. I want to throw the other door so fast you won't even imagine because if there is something that is supplemental to the Bible we know to throw it out. In any case, and if what it is is simply a restatement of the Bible. What in the world are we going through. For the first place.

The gift of New Testament prophecy is the application of God's given work to God's given people in a given moment in time.

Search the Scriptures to see if these things are, so let's go on, let's try one or two more distinguishing between spirits, the gift of distinguishing between spirits is simply the gift of discernment.

John Wright 71 John 41 dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if there from God, and we find in apostolic times that there were some specific instances where this became particularly apparent. For example, in acts chapter 16 we have the record of one who was speaking true words but Paul detects in this girl something that is actually evil once they were going to the place of prayer, acts 1616.

We were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which he predicted the future.

She earned a great deal of money for owners by fortune-telling and the girl follows Paul around you shouting these men of the servants of the most high God and she keeps it up day after day. And finally, Paul became so troubled that he turned round and said to the spirit in the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of four and in that moment the spirit left her. Paul was given a unique gift in that moment to discriminate between what was going on in that individual to some, is given a unique ability to recognize lying spirits.

If you think about it is a particularly important gift before the New Testament canon was completed. One commentator says the Holy Spirit's discerner's where the churches protectors John on writing of this said that God give a special gift of discerning spirits to contend against courts.

The mischief done in the church because at that time. With an abundance of spiritual gifts in operation and the ease with which they could be counterfeited.

It was absolutely necessary that they would know what was true and what was false and while all are given a measure of discrimination between the spirits.

It would appear that the Psalm that is given special insight into its meaning into its application into the matter all that in a way that is definitely similar in kind to what is mentioned here and express the next 16 if not so immediate in terms of degree. Now what was going to say to you again that you have to think these things out for yourselves. I don't believe that my purpose in going through this is to browbeat you into some kind of position on spiritual gifts. I will teach you as best as I understand the Bible, but your sensible people. You need to examine the Scriptures you need to test your life you will experience your encounters against the word of God okay from discriminating between the spirits to speaking in tongues distinguishing being the spirits to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. Now intended to go right by this because we come to it in its fullness.

In chapter 14, I don't think that I should because I sense in these early weeks.

The idea great interest in this. Let me make one or two general observations. For now, which will have to suffice. At the end of chapter 12 verse 29 and 30 were surely going to agree together that the expected answer to each of these questions is no. Okay are all apostles, no are all prophets no are all teachers know do all work miracles know do all of gifts of healing, no do all speak in tongues. No. Do all interpret no joy going to assume, I hope that that the answer to that is realistically no traditional Pentecostalism. For those of you come out of that background, or understand it. Traditional Pentecostalism wrestling with this distinguishes between the spirit, the acts to expedience of God spirit where they were all baptized and all spoke in tongues.

Traditional Pentecostalism says this.

Every believer must be baptized in the Holy Spirit as opposed conversion experience and as a result of their baptism in the Holy Spirit, they will involuntarily speak in tongues having done so. Traditional Pentecostalism says they may not, however, continue to have the gift of tongues as per our first Corinthians 12, and 14 as cogent as that appears to be it seems to me to be touch with more than a little sophistry second general statement or question. Can we equate what Paul describes here and in chapter 14 that is this public expression of truth in these other languages with the largely private structured language which are charismatic brothers and sisters give testimony to words is what they are talking about and what the New Testament here is talking about one and the same thing with and examine this in detail in chapter 14, but it seems to me that what Paul is talking about is something very different than the expression of someone who with all sincerity may claim to possess a courts private prayer language. Now some of you wondered because I answer the question out there in the open air.

During the summer. Someone said do you believe that the gift of tongues is still present in the church man's that was yes I do.

The real question is what is this what is it that is present in the church here, where the question is what people give testimony to what Paul is addressing here in first Corinthians 1214 I actually don't think it's once again an area of study where undue dogmatism is really unhelpful and where spiritual sensitivity is vital you can take some of your favorite theologians lay them into anyone reach a conclusion.

For example Charles Hart regarding both the Pentecostal IED asked to tongues and the Corinthian tongues as the same. A gift of other languages. Abram Kuyper regarded both as the altering of unintelligible sounds.

He said that it was probably the language that we're going to speak in heaven, so that the gift in that case, the miracle was one of both hearing and speaking the people spoke when they did no one people I really couldn't understand far out Calvin and many who followed Calvin think that the Pentecostal tongues were languages and the Corinthian tongues were not so you doing filling real clear on this.

Charles Hodge, I carry systematic theology around like this. This guys bright. He says are both languages. Here comes Kuyper. He says they're both in unintelligible sounds, here comes Calvin is essay writing one's 191's the other what you think like a month is quite a name says it seems difficult if not impossible to make a final judgment on the matter of thank you, but what is your experience been your experiences being the cause of a great desire for black-and-white and no grays in life.

Your experiences being you gotta come down on one side of the other.

Here, and as soon as you do. Some are not. Are you going to defensive shell to fight off anybody wouldn't believe what you believe or you on the antagonistic route to try and bring everybody who hasn't got what you got into the experience that you have remember this love ones.

The main things in the plain things in the plain things of the main thing distancing real plain visit, or should that talents should tell is that anytime we exult something that there is an amazing clarity on in the Bible to a position of undue significance were probably getting really out of line. Let me give you the wisdom of JI Packer on this if I may, for a moment he gives six areas of agreement among present-day investigators into this phenomena and here he says are the areas of agreement in terms of honest research on the part of people both involved and observing number one tongues speaking is expressed today is not language in the ordinary sense. It is not language in the ordinary sense, forget for a minute. The stories that you heard about Mr. so-and-so in the missionary thing and he was trying to explain John's Gospel and all of a sudden he found himself speaking and the people started to listen to them because he was speaking in their language that is a separate issue for now were talking about going to the average charismatic church where when you finish singing the song everybody keeps saying and then they start singing in glossolalia or in terms okay that is not intelligible language. What is it is what Packer sets in his meanness in a pejorative way. It is a will and welcomed the local event in which, in a context of attention to religious realities, the tongue operates with one's mood, but apart from one's mind in a way comparable to the fantasy languages of children. The scats singing of the late Louis Armstrong yodeling in the Alps and warbling under the shower or in the bath. For those of you believe that God is giving you a private prayer language only that unsettle you in any way that is an explanation is almost like a medical explanation of physiological explanation of what is happening when you do what you do, no matter what the religious overtone accommodation we may put on it because after all, we know that this same phenomenon is present in calls.

It is present in other countries it is present in other environments and it is present in other religions. Okay secondly, though this sometimes start spontaneously in a person's life. That is, with or without some kind of attendant emotional excitement. Tongues speaking is regularly taught and some of guys wearing were told how we could do it with instructions like this loosen your jaw on your tong speaking nonsense syllables are to read as praise to God. The first sounds that come into your head and so forth. As a result of that before you know where you are. You will be able to do what other people around you are doing is not identical, it can be learned. It is not something hard. If you want to do. Thirdly, many if not most people who speak in tongues are folks of unlike what people have said that that the only people who would engage in this are folks who you know fell off buildings or are emotionally unstable lore, or are theirs and they got something wrong with them know he says many if not most tongue speakers or persons of at least average psychological health who have found that glossolalia tong speaking is for. Then I kind of exalted fund before the Lord's font like spiritually and shoot. Fourthly, glossolalia are tongue speaking is sought and used as part of a quest for closer communion with God and regularly proves beneficial at a conscious level. Those of us who have sought to speak in tongues or have spoken in tongues know that this is actually true. It is been part of our spiritual quest for a closer walk with God.

Someone is said to you know that you can go know God better than you know him now if you are only able to do this and you said yourself. I want to know and so badly if that's what you have to do. That's what I will do. However, I end up doing it. I am going to do it in the doing of it. There is a relief of tension. There is a certain inner acceleration. There is a strengthening sense of the presence of God and of his blessing without doubt, fifthly tong. Speaking represents and focuses and intensifies such awareness of divine reality, as is brought to it.

In other words, the context is very important.

Thus, it becomes a natural means of giving voice to adoration and natural means of giving voice to adoration.

Hence, many people say it is my private prayer language? What is this private prayer language in relationship to what were dealing with here in about a deal with in first Corinthians 14 and are called about private prayer language is he's talking about something that was happening in the church was being spoken out in the church and people were interpreting in the church will not talk about the same thing.

Sixthly, usually tongues speaking is sought and found and used by people who see it or see the tongue speaking community as spiritually special. I do want to be fully involved in its total group experience and since they see their tongue speaking is mainly if not wholly for private use and by their own testimony do not claim to know what they're saying. Okay.

And Paul speaks only of tongues that are for arts rents and for interpretation in public and it would seem, and will get to this that he has some notion that the speaker has some idea of his own meaning.

It is virtually impossible for us to square the two things. So whatever we are talking about over here. We are not talking about what Paul is talking about over here now when we come to the interpretation it's much along the same lines is very perplexing to be in a context and with this I will conclude tonight is very perplexing to be in a context where people speak in tongues supposedly prophetic words. I've been there many many times. Ever since the age of about 16 and once a person has given him not to rinse in unintelligible language in a way that they themselves do not know what they're talking about then it is open. It is up for grabs for somebody then to interpret that in the immediate aftermath of the utterance is the problem so long as what is said by way of interpretation is biblical it statins unchallengeable because it is unshakable okay so somebody says something that normally knows what they're talking about and I immediately give you an interpretation which is true to the Bible, you can challenge it because it is true to the Bible and you can check and empathy with the speaker mood and need plus online well-stocked in Scripture will be sufficient to produce interpretations. Now here's the thing levels when somebody does this, and somebody interprets it may well bring blessing irrespective of the question of reality or not. For this reason that I suppose we've got a well-meaning person who is been led to the conviction that here is the way to really know God and this is the real expression of true spirituality.

And when you are able to do this by divine gift think then you're really close to God and if you do it in our little prayer meeting and your quiet for a moment or two that we somebody else stand up and will interpret it for you when they stand up and interpreted and begin the word of God given spiritual encouragement which is essentially from the Bible you see, without necessarily being a God-given rendering of a God-given language is still going to be encouraging because it is a God-given Bible out of which it came. Now to go beyond that and say that all of my charismatic brothers and sisters are led of the devil are involved in spewing this and counter the satanic antagonism is a leap that I for one, am unprepared to take in one day my brother and my sister and I want to get to heaven and one of us is going to have a red her face and the other because they want to turn around and say hey you thought it was just on the Bible you're wrong or I'm going to see a you thought you had a red telephone was in here all the time is gone.

I can tell by the perplexity on your faces.

You just can't wait for chapter 14 is this confusing and 12.

You can see the great wisdom of the spirit of God to put chapter 13 in the middle of the inventive distal result from fighting with one another and if there is any sense to say a word here to any of my brothers and sisters who come from a charismatic background. If there is any sense in which anything that I have said tonight appears to be either condescending or antagonistic or bombastic in any way than the problem is Almighty. The sin is all mine and I intend none of it where all learners from the one who knows the answers and together we need to seek the mind of Christ. Each one of us needs to exercise spiritual sensitivity from today's final message on spiritual gifts listening to Alastair Begg and this is Truth for Life weekend. If you're a regular Truth for Life listener, you know that our mission here is singular and straightforward.

We believe the Bible is the true word of God.

Our passion is to teach it with clarity and relevance. On this program, we know that when God's word is taught.

Unbelievers will be converted.

Believers will be established.

Local churches will be strengthened. We also love recommending books that will help you grow firmly in your faith. That's why our book selection today is focused on God. It's written to help you learn more about the qualities or attributes he possesses. It's a devotional titled none else.

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These daily readings include Scripture meditation. There's a prayer short biblical study.

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There's also a digging deeper section. If there's a particular topic you'd like to think about further, we invite you to learn more about the devotional book none else.

When you visit us online at Truth for Life.Bob Lapine thanks for joining us today should listen next weekend as Alister explains why we shouldn't let our differences bring unnecessary division to Christchurch Bible teaching of Alastair Begg is furnished by truth or life where the Learning is for Living


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