Posts Tagged ‘speaking in tongues’

What Makes Us Different

May 10, 2017

A few years ago I was asked by someone what makes our church different from other churches.

I gave the wrong answer.

I said that it was our music that made us different.  Now, it was true, at that time, that we were the only church in town that routinely used guitars, drums, and percussion, along with a keyboard or piano, but that really isn’t the most important difference.

The most important difference is our view towards the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today.

Now, all Christians recognize that the Holy Spirit plays an important role in the church.  This message is not an in-depth study of the role of the Holy Spirit, that would take far more time than what we have today.  This message is about one of the cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God.  This message is about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

I.  The Promise of the Father: Acts 1:4-8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

A.  Receive the Spirit: John 20:22

 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

A person is not a Christian unless he has been born again. (John 3)  A person is born again when the Spirit of Christ, or the Holy Spirit, comes into our heart as a result of our faith in Christ.  Here in John, the Holy Spirit is first given to the disciples.  It is what makes us a part of the kingdom of God.

B.  Baptized in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit was already a part of their lives as we saw in John.  This baptism in the Holy Spirit is something different.  It is a new event.

C.  The Purpose of the Power:  The baptism of the Holy Spirit will provide power to be witnesses.

II.  The Promise is Fulfilled:  Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In this initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit there was a sound of a rushing mighty wind, tongues of fire that appeared and they spoke in tongues.  Today when we talk about the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we only speak about speaking in tongues.  That is because in the two other incidents in Acts where the Holy Spirit is poured out, the wind and the tongues of fire do not appear.

A.  Acts 10:44-46

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

B.  Acts 19:6

 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Assemblies of God was started by people who had been asked to leave their churches after experiencing for themselves this particular manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  They became known as Pentecostals because of their emphasis on this particular experience.

Today  most Christian denominations acknowledge the authenticity of this experience, but they are not necessarily comfortable with it, or able to provide guidance to a person who may be seeking to experience this for themselves.

III.  The Promise is for All:  Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Here we are, almost two thousand years later, and thousands of miles away.  Clearly we fall under the category of ‘all who are afar off’.

Some people say that this gift was only for the apostolic age, but we believe that it is still for today.  We still need the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the world.

A.  Prayer:  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.

There are different forms of speaking in tongues, but by far the most common is for individual prayer.  A person who prays in tongues is being guided by the Holy Spirit in what is prayed.  It is a powerful experience.

B.  A Good Gift:  Luke 11:11-13

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Some people believe that speaking in tongues is a demonic manifestation.  However, it is clearly listed as a Biblical experience.  When a Christian asks God for the Holy Spirit, I do not believe that God will allow a demon to come into His children when they are asking for the Holy Spirit.

C.  Use the Gift:  I Corinthians 14:14-15

 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 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.

This gift from God is meant to be used.  It is not a one-time experience.  We are to use it as a regular part of our devotional life.  We should pray in tongues regularly.

Singing in the spirit is also a wonderful gift.  If you have never sung in the spirit, I can assure you that it is a powerful experience.

So what sets us apart?  There may be several things, but clearly the most important is our belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is available today.  At this church, at any service you could request prayer to experience this for yourself.

The power of the Holy Spirit is available today to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 5/7/17.  All quotes are from the New King James version.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Pour Out Your Spirit

June 23, 2014

A while back I was asked what made our church different from other churches in the area.  I wish that I could take back the answer that I gave on that day.  On that day, I said that our contemporary worship style set us apart.  Although it is true that our worship is different, what truly sets us apart is our belief in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

I.  Pour Out My Spirit  Joel 2:28-32

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
32 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

Peter quoted this portion of scripture in the message that he gave on the day of Pentecost.  That day was the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit that included a new phenomena, speaking in tongues.  Speaking in tongues was an important part of the apostolic age.  After the apostolic age it was a long time until there was a renewal of interest, and participation in the practice of speaking in tongues.  The modern pentecostal movement began in the late nineteenth century.  In the second half of the twentieth century it expanded into the mainline denominations with the charismatic renewal movement.  Today there are many people who accept the pentecostal experience as their own.

II.  More Than Tongues:  I Corinthians 12:7-11

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

The word of wisdom is when we are faced with a situation that human wisdom is not enough to know what to do.  God can give us wisdom to know what needs to be done.  A friend of mine is an engineer.  One day he was dealing with a design problem that he could not decipher.  He believes that the answer came to him, not because of his own wisdom, but as a gift from God.

The word of knowledge is when God reveals something to us that we do not know through human means.  For example; a friend of mine was at a service arguing with God about his call to the ministry.  In his mind, he told God that if God really wanted him to be a pastor he would have the speaker that night tell him.  In the middle of the service, the speaker stopped in his message, pointed at my friend, and told him to stop arguing with God, God had called him into the ministry.  Thirty years later, my friend is still serving in the ministry.  He never again doubted his call.

The gift of faith is different from saving faith.  We all must have  a measure of faith or we would be lost in our sins.  The gift of faith is when we are able to go beyond I believe that God can do something, to God will do something.  Faith helps us to move forward and attempt great things for God.

God gives gifts of healings.  Notice that it is gifts of healings, not the gift of healing.  A person is not able to simply go down a line of people healing everyone in that line.  God heals some, and does not heal others.  Sometimes we are able to discern possible reasons, but other times we must simply recognize that gifts of healings are given as the Spirit wills, not necessarily as we will.  I recommend that if we have a physical need for healing that we first pray, then if the symptoms persist, we should see a doctor, and then we should pray again.  We should repeat this process as often as necessary.

Miracles still occur today.  They can take various forms.  I remember one time when I was traveling with a group called the Christian Life Singers.  We were somewhere in far northern Minnesota.  We had arrived at our destination with our old school bus gas gage on empty.  We conducted the service, had a long prayer time and headed out probably close to midnight.  Our leader told the driver to head for home and stop at the first gas station.  Then everyone but the driver fell asleep.  We woke up in the early morning and asked where he had stopped for gas.  He hadn’t.  He had not come across an open gas station.  He drove for at least five hours with the gage on empty.

Prophecy is when God speaks to us through another person.  It may be a word of encouragement, rebuke or prediction.  It is not studied, or planned out, but is shared in the moment by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The discerning of spirits is when God allows us to recognize something in the spiritual realm that we cannot see in the physical realm.

There are three different gifts of tongues.  The most common is a prayer language where we are able to speak to God in a heavenly language.  The next most common is similar to prophecy in that God inspires us to speak out in a gathering of believers.  It is necessary that someone then give an interpretation of tongues, which is a separate gift,  A third form of tongues is a sign to unbelievers.  This is when a person speaks out in a human language that they do not know, but someone who hears them does understand.

All of these gifts are given to individuals, not for the glory of that individual, but for the profit of all.  God uses this gifts to build His church.  They are given, not as we may desire, but as the Spirit wills.

What sets us apart?  We believe that the gifts of the Spirit are meant to be a part of normal Christian experience.  We desire to see the Spirit of God poured out in our midst, with the gifts functioning on a regular basis, as the Spirit wills.

These are the sermon notes from 6/22/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Speaking in Tongues

July 18, 2013

We are approaching the beginning of our centennial year as a fellowship.  The Assemblies of God was begun by a group of men and women who had experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, receiving the gift of speaking in tongues.  To this day, our churches are distinguished from other evangelicals by our emphasis on the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in contemporary society.

I.  Baptized in the Holy Spirit:  Acts 1:4,5 & 8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The primary purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to give us power to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yes, there are other effects, such as a heightened awareness of God’s presence, a greater fervency in worship, and an opening of understanding of God’s Word, but the primary purpose is the proclamation of the gospel.

II.  Speaking in Tongues: Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In the Assemblies of God we recognize speaking in tongues as the initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  There are three types of speaking in tongues.

1. A sign to unbelievers:  I Corinthians 14:22

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.

This form of tongues is when an individual speaks in a human language that is unknown to them, but that is known by the person’s hearing the message.  It is a powerful sign to unbelievers.  Sadly, it is not a very common occurrence, although I have heard contemporary testimonies of it occurring.

2.  A word to believers:  I Corinthians 14:26-28

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

This form of tongues happens much more frequently.  Someone will give a message in tongues by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and then someone will give an interpretation of that message.  These are two separate gifts of the Spirit: a message in tongues and an interpretation of tongues.  These gifts are meant for the edification of God’s people as they are gathered together.

3.  The individual believer:  I Corinthians 14: 2, 4

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.

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

This is the most common form of speaking in tongues.  It is the individual praying without the barrier of human language.  We are able to pour out our hearts to God, and it is a powerful experience for the individual.  I strongly encourage people who have received this gift to use it regularly in their private devotions.  It is also acceptable during certain portions of corporate worship to use our tongues to praise or to pray, speaking out loud, but quietly, to the Lord.

III.  Offered to All:  Acts 2: 38-39

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Obviously, we are among those who are “afar off”.  Yet, I believe that, although not all Christians speak in tongues, that all Christians could speak in tongues.  It is a gift that is offered to all.

IV.  To the Gentiles:  Acts 10:44-48

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

In this second recording of the gift of tongues being manifested on a new group of believers: there are no tongues of flame, no rushing mighty wind, but the gift of the Holy Spirit of speaking in tongues is again manifested.  The way that people receive this gift may vary, but the evidence of speaking in tongues is a common thread.

V.  Ask God, Trust God  Luke 11:11-13

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

I firmly believe that if we ask God for this gift, that we will not receive a substitute.  God gives good gifts to His children and certainly the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is a good gift.  This can take place at a service or in the privacy of our own homes.  Seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given to you.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

March 5, 2012

Here are the notes from the sermon Sunday, March 4, 2012.

I.  Acts 3:19 Repentance

A,  The first and primary form of repentance is to turn away from sin and towards God through faith in Jesus.  Our initial salvation, being born again, is where we need to start.

B.  As we grow in the Lord, God will reveal areas in our life that we need to change.  As the Holy Spirit reveals things to us, we should repent, and change our behavior.  This is an ongoing process of the Word of God, and the Spirit of God in our lives.

C.  There are times when we are serving God faithfully, but we need the strength of the Lord to renew us in our innermost beings. We turn away from the cares and concerns of the world and focus our eyes on Jesus.

All of these times of repentance can be wonderful times of refreshing and renewal.  If we are in need of additional strength and power to live out our Christian lives, there is another avenue available to us.

II.  Acts 1:4-8  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The disciples are promised that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.  The purpose of the power is the proclamation of the gospel.

III.  Acts 2:1-4  The Initial Outpouring

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit is poured out.  There is the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, cloven tongues of fire, and they all begin to speak in tongues as the Spirit gives them utterance.

IV.  Acts 2:5-11 A Sign to Unbelievers.

On the day of initial outpouring, some of the disciples are speaking in foreign human languages that are understood by those who are in the vicinity.  This is a powerful sign to unbelievers of the power of God.

V.  Acts 2:38-41  The Promise is to All

Peter preaches a message and over three thousand are saved. He mentions that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all.

VI.  Additional Accounts

A.  Acts 10: 44-48:  As the gospel is preached by Peter to the Gentiles for the very first time, the Holy Spirit is poured out and they speak in tongues even as Peter is still speaking.

B.  Acts 19:1-6:  Twelve men speak in tongues and prophecy after Paul tells them about faith in Jesus, lays hands on them and prays.

In these accounts there is no mention of either wind, or tongues of fire.

VII.  I Corinthians 14:1-5  Comparison of Tongues and Prophecy

Our focus today is on the gift of tongues.  There are three distinct gifts of tongues.  One is when a person speaks in a human language that they do not know, but is known by the people who hear the message.  This is a sign to unbelievers.  The second is when a message is given in tongues, and then an interpretation is also given.  This is for the strengthening of the faith of believers.  The third and most common is when we use the gift of tongues as a prayer language.  We speak to God without the barrier of human language.  The Holy Spirit prays with us, and through us.  This form is for the strengthening of the individual. People who have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit should use their prayer language regularly. It is given to us to use, for our benefit. So that we may be strengthened to serve.

VIII.  Luke 11:9-13  Our Confidence is in our Heavenly Father

If we ask God for the Holy Spirit, He will not give us something that is bad instead.  We can trust that the experience is real, and from God.

You do not have to have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to be saved.  No one will make you ask God for this gift.  It is not a requirement, but an opportunity, that is presented to all believers.  If you desire to seek this gift, you can ask your heavenly Father.  People receive this gift in a number of ways.  The experience of individuals seeking the gift may vary.  It may happen quickly, or it may tarry, but if we are open to the power of God, we too, may receive this gift.

Speaking in Tongues

September 20, 2010

There are three different purposes for the gift of speaking in tongues.  The gift can be a sign to unbelievers,  used for the edification of a group of believers, or for individual edification.  Edification basically means to strengthen our faith.

The sign to unbelievers is when an individual is given a message in a human language that the speaker does not known, but the listener, does know.  This is a powerful sign of God’s working.  It does not happen often, but there are still stories of it occurring from time to time.  (Acts 2:5-11)

The edification of a group of believers is when the gift of tongues is manifested in a group setting.  One person gives a message in tongues, then the same person, or someone else, gives a message in the common language, that is the interpretation of the tongues.  This is effectively two separate gifts, the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.  This gift is far more common than the first gift, but its frequency varies from group to group. (I Corinthians 14:26-28)

The edification of the individual is the most common form of this gift.  Although not all Christians do speak in tongues, I believe that it is a gift that is available to all who desire to receive it.  It is basically used as a prayer language, where we have the opportunity to pray with, or in, the Holy Spirit.   (I Corinthians 14:4)

Speaking in tongues is a wonderful gift of God that is still experienced by believers today even as it was in New Testament times.