We live in a day of confusion regarding the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of these studies will be to ask and answer some important questions from the Scriptures so that we will all be informed and be able to live a spirit filled life to the glory of God.
1. IS THE HOLY SPIRIT A PERSON OR AN INFLUENCE?
The answer is seen in the following verses which show that the Holy Spirit possesses the component parts of personality; namely intellect, emotion, will.
Moreover the Holy Spirit can be:
You cannot do these things to a mere influence. Because the Holy Spirit is a personality, we should never insult Him by referring to Him as "IT". Please let this sink in. You would not like to be called "IT" - neither does He!
2. IS HE GOD?
(a) HE IS CALLED GOD.
Compare: 2 Cor. 3 v. 17 - "The Lord that Spirit."
Matthew 3 v. 16 - "The Spirit of God."
Acts 5 v. 3, 4 - "Lied unto God."
(b) HE POSSESSES THE ATTRIBUTES OF DEITY:
i. ETERNITY: Hebrews 9 v. 14 - This belongs to God alone.
ii. LIFE: Romans 8 v. 2; TRUTH: John 16 v. 13; HOLINESS: 1 Thess. 4 v. 8.
iii. OMNIPRESENCE: Present everywhere - Psalm 139 v. 7-13. John 14 v. 16-17 - He will be with all the Lord's people, simultaneously.
iv. OMNISCIENCE: All knowledge - 1 Cor. 2 v. 10.
v. OMNIPOTENCE: All Power - Genesis 1 v. 2, Luke 1 v. 35, Romans 15 v. 19.
(c) HE IS EQUAL WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON, and is joined with them in these verses: Matthew 28 v. 19; 2 Cor. 13 v. 14.
(d) HE DOES THE THINGS THAT ONLY GOD CAN DO:
(1) Creates - Job 33 v. 4.
(2) Regenerates - John 3 v. 5, Titus 3 v. 5.
(e) BLASPHEMY AGAINST HIM can never be forgiven: Matthew 12 v. 32.
3. WHAT ARE SOME OF HIS NAMES?
They are many and indicate His character and the nature of His work, e.g.
4. WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT DO?
1. IN RELATION TO THE SCRIPTURES:
(a) He is the author. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1 v. 20, 21.
The Scriptures came by the inbreathing of God. 2 Tim. 3 v. 16.
(b) He is the Interpreter. 1 Cor. 2 v. 9 -14; John 16 v. 14, 15.
2. IN RELATION TO CHRIST:
(a) He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1 v. 18.
(b) He was led by the Spirit. Matthew 4 v. 1.
(c) He was anointed by the Spirit for service. Acts 10 v. 38.
(d) He was crucified in the power of the Spirit. Hebrews 9 v. 14.
(e) He was raised by the power of the Spirit. Romans 8 v. 11.
3. IN RELATION TO THE WORLD:
Convicts of sin. John 16 v. 8-11.
4. IN RELATION TO THE BELIEVER:
(a) REGENERATES: John 3 v. 3-5.
(b) INDWELLS: 1 Cor. 6 v. 19. True of every believer however weak or imperfect. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Romans 8 v. 9.
(c) SEALS: Eph. 1 v. 13, 14; Eph. 4 v. 30. This sealing stands for three things: A finished transaction, ownership and likeness to Christ! 2 Tim. 2 v. 19-21.
(d) INFILLS: Acts 2 v. 4; 4 v. 31; Eph. 5 v. 18. More about this later in our studies.
(e) EMPOWERS for service. Romans 8 v. 2.
(f) GUIDES: Acts 8 v. 26-29; 16 v. 6; 13 v. 2-4.
(g) ANOINTS - for knowledge and teaching. 1 John 2 v. 20, 27; 1 Cor. 2 v. 9-14; John 14 v. 26.
Note the anointing is spoken of as an accomplished fact to be enjoyed rather than something to be sought in Prayer.
5. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE TERM "THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT"?
Actually the Scriptures never use this term. Look it up in a concordance and see! Neither has anyone ever been commanded or expected to seek any such baptism. This is truly amazing in view of the abuse given to the subject today. What the Bible does teach is a baptism "with the Spirit" or more correctly "in the Spirit". (The Greek "EN" is translated "IN" 1863 times in the N.T.)
There are seven references to the Baptism in the N.T. Four of them are parallel statements in the Gospels. (See Matthew 3 v. 11, Mark 1 v. 8, Luke 3 v. 16, John 1 v. 33). They refer to the prediction of John the Baptist concerning the promised Messiah and the fact that He would one day baptise believers in the Holy Spirit, e.g. MATTHEW 3 v. 11 "I indeed baptise you with (or in) water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I . . . He shall baptise you witht (in) the Holy Ghost".
NOTE, the baptiser is the Lord Jesus. The element into which He baptises is the Holy Spirit. In the case of John the Baptist, he was the baptiser and the element into which he baptised was water. Baptism in water, fire or the Spirit always requires four parts - a subject, an object, an element and a purpose. John was the subject, the people of Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about Jordon were the objects. The River Jordan was the element - the purpose was repentance.
With regard to the Holy Spirit Baptism, the subject is "Christ" - "He shall baptise", the object is "You", the element is the Holy Spirit, the purpose is the placing of believers in the one Body (the Church). 1 Cor. 12 v. 13: By (in) one Spirit have we all been baptised (IMMERSED) into one Body.
The baptism in the Spirit therefore has primarily to do with unity. The fullness which we shall discuss later, has to do with power - fruit in character, Galatians 5 v. 22, and fruit in service, Acts 1 v. 8.
6. WHEN DID THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT TAKE PLACE?
Following the announcement above by John the Baptist, the Messiah appeared but at no time during His life did He fulfill John's prophecy about the promised baptism, nor did He do so during His post-resurrection stay on the earth. However He did confirm the words of John and gave the promise of the "Comforter whom I will send unto you from the Father." John 15 v. 26. "He dwelleth with you and shall be in you." John 14 v. 16, 17. See also John 7 v. 37-39. ". . . thus spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should (in the future) receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because, that Jesus was not yet glorified."
The Holy Spirit was not yet given - Christ had not ascended - been glorified. It was therefore expedient for them that He go away, otherwise the Holy Spirit would not have come. JOHN 16 v. 7.
In the O.T. and right until the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people for certain work, e.g. Samson - JUDGES 14 v. 6 - but He had not come to dwell within believers and certainly the Church or "one body", 1 Cor. 12 v. 13, had not been formed. The Church was future when Christ spoke in MATTHEW 16 v. 18 - "Upon this Rock I will build my Church" - not I have built or I am building.
Joel prophesied "It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh."
Leaving the four references to the baptism, in the Gospels mentioned above, we come now to the 5th MENTION in Acts 1 v. 5. Read verses 1-9. Compare Luke 24 v. 45-53. Ten days later, on the day of Pentecost, the promise was fulfilled and the baptism took place. Acts 2 v. 1-4 (Note verses 16 and 17, Peter quoting from Joel's prophecy). This is the only day upon which the Holy Spirit could be given because it had been thus decreed as far back as Leviticus 23, where we find the meaning of "PENTECOST". In that chapter instructions are given regarding the seven annual festivals occurring at three times of the years. The first is the PASSOVER on 14 Abib, the first month of the Sacred Year. On this day the lamb was slain and on this day the crucifixion of Christ took place - it could occur on no other! Then followed the Feast of Unleavened Bread on 15 Abib (This represents obedience to God) - putting sin out of our lives - communion with Christ - a holy walk. The third feast was that of First Fruits, verses 10-14, typifying the Resurrection. The next feast of the Wave loaves was observed on the 50th day - Pentecost - for that is what the word 50th means. So when the Lord said, on the day of His ascension, "Ye shall be baptised in the Holy Ghost not many days hence", He meant in 10 days' time - 50 days after His resurrection. It could occur on no other, and it could never be repeated.
The SIXTH mention of the baptism is in Acts 11 v. 16. Here Peter quotes Christ's words of Acts 1 v. 5 and relates them to what happened at the conversion of Cornelius. He says (v. 15) the Holy Ghost fell on them (the Gentiles) as on us (the Jews) at the beginning. So this event had brought the Gentiles as well as the Jews into the Church. Read again 1 Cor. 12 v. 13. For by (in) one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.
The SEVENTH reference to the Baptism is 1 Cor. 12 v. 13, 14. This time we will quote the R.V. and note a number of things. "For in one Spirit were (past tense) we all baptised into one body (carnal and spiritual) whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), whether bond (slaves) or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit, for the body is not one member but many." Paul did not tell the carnal, sinful troublesome members of this church - nor us - to "seek" a baptism in the Spirit or to "tarry" for same. Rather does he put this event in the past as Historical Fact.
Dr Graham Scroggie in referring to the above seven references to the baptism, points out that they may be grouped as follows:
Another has put it this way. Baptism is the HISTORICAL EVENT. Filling is the HUMAN EXPERIENCE. On the day of Pentecost, both took place simultaneously. In present day experience it can be the same or the fullness may follow the placing of the convert into the one body at conversion.
Our Christian faith rests on two historical facts, namely the atoning work of Christ on the Passover day and the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. These were foreshadowed in type (Lev 23), foretold in prophecy (Isaiah 53, Joel 2 v. 28, Matthew 3 v. 11), fulfilled in the N.T. (1 Peter 1 v. 18-20, 1 Cor. 12 v 13). They can never be repeated, Romans 6 v. 3, 4 teaches that every believer was united with Christ in His death on Calvary. It does not need the Crucifixion to be repeated for each believer to say "I have been crucified with Christ", Galatians 2 v. 20. Likewise each believer was potentially baptised into the body of Christ on the day of Pentecost. 1 Cor. 12 v. 13. It does not need the baptism to be repeated for the individual believer to affirm "I have been baptised into the one body of Christ". This leads us on to the next question.
7. IS IT SCRIPTURAL TO SEEK A BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT TODAY?
Search where you will in the Acts or the Epistles and you will never find an exhortation or command to be baptised in the Spirit subsequent to conversion. Nor do the Scriptures anywhere make a distinction between believers who have the baptism and those who have not the baptism.
Before leaving this section we will make brief reference to the four groups in the Acts, who participated in the baptism. NOTE the baptism was always associated with groups and not individuals.
(1) The Jewish believers at Pentecost, Acts 2.
(2) The Gentile believers in the house of Cornelius, Acts 10. Because of the prejudice against the Gentiles on the part of the Jews, who regarded them as "dogs", God in His sovereignty bestowed on the Gentiles the same hallowed gift as the Jews had received at Pentecost, causing Peter to exclaim, "As I began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us, at the beginning . . . For as much as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us . . . What was I that I could withstand God." Acts 11 v. 15-18. This was one of the great mysteries entrusted to Paul for explanation - that henceforth the Gentiles would be fellow heirs with the Jews. Ephesians 3 v. 1-11.
(3) The Samaritan believers in Acts 8. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. They held them in contempt. The only way to show that the old enmity was gone, and that they enjoyed equal standing in the Church with the Jews, was for the Apostles themselves to approve them. They did this by the laying on of hands (identification) whereupon "they received the Holy Ghost".
(4) John's Disciples, Acts 19 v. 1-7. They knew only the baptism of John - were not on Christian ground - had never heard of the Holy Spirit. They were disciples of John. Certainly their condition was different from the average Christian believer today and cannot be accepted as the pattern for us in regard to the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Paul had to tell them about believing in Christ Jesus, about being baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus and about the coming of the Holy Ghost. When Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them and they were incorporated into the "one body" of Christ.
These four classes embrace all the human race - there can be no others. They are unique and none matches believers today. Our experience is not that of those who lived in the transitional period of the Acts, but of those who lived later - who received Christ as we do, after the Holy Spirit was given. None of these received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, tarrying, or praying for the Spirit, but "having believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise", Ephesians 1 v. 13 R.V.; "Born of the Spirit", John 3 v. 5; "You hath He quickened, who were dead", Eph. 2 v. 1; "It is the Spirit who quickeneth", John 6 v. 63; "Now He which . . . hath anointed us is God, who hath also sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit", 1 Cor. 1 v. 21, 22.
In addition the believer is indwelt by the Spirit, 1 Cor. 6 v. 19; baptised in the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12 v. 13. Note also, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His", Romans 8 v. 9.
The above is what Paul taught his converts - even the carnal Corinthians - and this is his teaching for us today.
8. WHAT IS THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT?
The word "baptism" and "filling" are opposite in meaning. By the baptism we are put into the element. By the filling the element is put into us. On the day of Pentecost, God "poured out" or gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to the 120 and later to the 3,000. The result of this baptism was that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 v. 4. The baptism is what the Lord did, the fullness is what they received. The baptism was unique and initiatory, the fullness was intended to be the continuing permanent result - normal Christian experience. It is for this reason that the command "to be filled with the Spirit", Ephesians 5 v. 18, is written in the imperative, present continuous tense, and may be translated this way, "Be ye constantly being filled with the Spirit". It is imperative - a command or obligation. We have no option in the matter.
Whilst the baptism cannot be lost and is never repeated, the fullness can be lost and needs repeating. One baptism but many fillings is the teaching of Scripture. Thus we read of Peter being again filled in Acts 4 v. 8 following the experience of Acts 2 v. 4 and in Acts 4 v. 31 the whole company being again filled. Paul had similar experiences in Acts 9 v. 17, 13 v. 9. The fullness can be lost if we "grieve" the Spirit by unjudged sin in the life. Eph. 4 v. 30. Things like disobedience, telling lies, Eph. 4 v. 25, anger v. 26, stealing v. 28, bad language or careless use of slang v. 29, evil speaking, bitterness, wrath v. 31 - in fact anything of the flesh as mentioned in Galatians 5 v. 19-21 - immorality and uncleanness in thought and deed, drunkeness (including its seeds, moderate drinking), revellings and such like.
Again we are warned "Quench not the Spirit". 1 Thess. 5 v. 19. The thought is that of "putting out a fire". It is used this way in other connections. See Matt. 12 v. 20. Mark 9 v. 48. He is called the Spirit of Burning in Isaiah 4 v. 4. To quench the Spirit means to put out the Divine flame in our hearts, to grow cold - plain lukewarmness. This sin affects not only ourselves but others with whom we worship or do service. The opposite is Godly enthusiasm which is also contagious. The corporate actions of an Assembly through criticisms, divisions, formalism, worldly methods, can easily quench the Holy Spirit.
9. WHAT IS THE WAY BACK TO A SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE?
(a) CONFESSION of sin - what I or we know to be wrong. 1 John 1 v. 7-9. When this is done in honesty and sincerity, sin is cleansed, forgiven and forgotten. The Holy Spirit fills the life with His presence and power - fellowship with God is restored and the joy of the Lord is experienced. See Psalm 51 v. 3, 4, 10-13.
(b) COMMITMENT to Christ as Lord. Romans 12 v. 1, 2; 1 Cor. 6 v. 19; 1 Peter 3 v. 15; John 20 v. 28.
(i) Lord of my heart or the unseen part of me. Intellect - my thinking and reading. Emotion - my moods, feelings, loving, hating, etc. Will - my choices and decisions. Is He Lord of these realms?
(ii) Lord of my body or the seen part of me. Eyes - what I look at. Hearing - what I listen to. Lips - what I say. Hands - what I do. Feet - where I go. Is He Lord of these? Is He Lord of my friendships, my habits, my time, my career, my money? Is there a rival to His Lordship?
(c) CLAIM the promises of His Word. 1 John 5 v. 14, 15.
The Christian life is the life of faith and faith is simply taking God at His Word. If I have honestly met God's conditions for a Spirit-filled life, the responsibility rests not with me but with God. I can with confidence rest on Him to do what He has promised.
W. P. Nicholson, the Irish Evangelist, tells how he once went for special electrical treatment. He was asked to sit on a chair while the Practitioner read the paper. After a while Mr Nicholson asked for the treatment to begin and was told he was being treated at that moment. He said he felt nothing, whereupon the doctor took a board with electric bulbs and placed it on Mr Nicholson's chest. Immediately the bulbs glowed with light and the doctor stated that there was enough power passing through Mr Nicholson's body to run a tram car on the street.
When using this story by way of illustration, the Evangelist would say, "You have all the power of God's Spirit in you but are unconscious of it, until a need arises and then it will be manifest for it is there all right."
That is why Paul was able to say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." It is right and proper to seek His power and infilling for special tasks, crises and service. Acts 4 v. 31, 33; Acts 7 v. 55-60.
10. WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF A SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE?
In the context of Eph. 5 v. 18 where we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit is seen a very practical Godly life, namely . . .
Melody in the Heart: V. 19, 20. Read it. If you are disgruntled and complaining you are not living the spirit-filled life. On the other hand the experience of this verse does not indicate the surrender of self-control and the indulgence of unintelligible rhapsodies.
Melody in the Church: V. 21. Submitting yourselves one to another.
Melody in the Home: V. 24, 25. Submissive wives and loving husbands. Obedient children, Eph. 6 v. 1; wise parents, Eph. 6 v. 4.
Melody in the Business: Obedient, loyal servants, Eph. 6 v. 5; considerate masters, Eph. 6 v. 9.
Victory in the Battle: Eph. 6 v. 10- 18. Note the armour I must take (not make) and the things I must put on and do. The fruit of the Spirit is nine fold. Galatians 5 v. 22.
The spirit-filled life is one that is prayerful, practical, powerful. It can be mine IF I really want it, go in for it and meet with God's conditions.
11. TONGUES - ARE THEY FOR TODAY?
NOTE THESE FACTS
(1) In 2 Timothy 2 v. 15 we are exhorted to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
(2) God has divided time into seven periods or dispensations. In each He deals in a special way with people for a special purpose. Usually there is an overlapping as the dispensations change.
(3) In the case before us, we must distinguish between the Apostolic period and the Post-Apostolic period. The apostolic period is not the norm for Christian experience today, e.g. the dead were raised to life, prison doors miraculously opened, the shadow of an apostle falling on the sick healed them. These things do not happen today. Why not? Because the dispensation like previous ones was ushered in by miraculous but temporary signs. When the Canon of Holy Writ was completed, the need for Apostles, Prophets and miraculous attestations to the prophetic utterances ceased. The silence of the Epistles to same, proves this to be the case. Ephesians 2 v. 20 makes the definite statement that the Apostles and Prophets were in the Foundation of the Church - not in its superstructure. No foundation doctrine remained to be added.
(4) Miraculous signs were:
(a) Promised in Mark 16.
(b) Fulfilled and historically recorded in the Acts, and in Mark 16 v. 20.
(c) Regulated in 1 Corinthians.
(d) Not mentioned in the later Epistles.
(5) The signs or miracles of Mark 16, Acts and 1 Corinthians, all apply to the Apostolic period, as the dates of writings show.
(6) In 1 Corinthians at least five miraculous spectacular sign gifts were in operation; namely prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues.
(7) In contrast to the above we have in Ephesians 4 God's complete provision for the Post-Apostolic period of the last 1900 years. These are:
(a) The inspired record of all the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets as contained in the Scriptures.
(b) Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers - the permanent gifts. With the Ministry of the Apostles and Prophets in the foundation of the Church completed and preserved for us in the N.T. they were no longer necessary and therefore passed away. There have been no Apostles or Prophets in the N.T. sense, since its completion (except false ones - see Rev. 2 v. 2).
The Apostles of Christ had to have these credentials:
(a) Be a witness to the resurrection to give first hand evidence of same. Acts 1 v. 22; Acts 10 v. 39-41; 1 Cor. 15 v. 7-10.
(b) Be able to work miracles to show Christ had sent them. 2 Cor. 12 v. 12.
(c) Be directly chosen by the Lord Himself as the 12 were. Luke 6 v. 13. No modern Apostle can possibly have these qualifications. The words of the Apostles were authoritative and binding upon the Church for all time. See 2 Peter 3 v. 1-2, 1 Thess. 4 v. 8. All that was communicated to them by direct revelation and through their oral testimony in the Churches during their life was recorded in the written Word of God. No further legislation is required, no fuller instructions need be given - the Church is completely furnished till He come. It is fitting that ere the last Apostle (John) passed off the scene, the final message (the Book of Revelation) was given through him to the Churches of Christ, and how fitting his warning not to "add unto these things or take away from the words of this Book". Rev. 22 v. 18, 19.
A Prophet was one who received direct revelation of truth apart from the written word of Scripture. The solemn warning of Revelation 22 v. 18 shows God has revealed in the Scriptures all He will give in this dispensation. Every generation of Christians since the Apostles and Prophets has been given by the Risen Head of the Church, Evangelists to preach the Gospel, Pastors to shepherd the flock, Teachers to expound the word. These are the permanent gifts to the Church. Apostles and Prophets, in the "foundation", were temporary and belonged only to a limited period of Church history.
(8) The five references to tongues all occur in the Apostolic period, namely Acts 2, Acts 10, Acts 19, Mark 16, 1 Cor. 14, written A.D. 59. (Their purpose was to confirm the spoken word and claims of the Apostles. Read Heb. 2 v. 3, 4, Mark 16 v. 20. Note the word "confirming".) They do not occur in the great Doctrinal Epistles written later, Romans A.D. 60, Ephesians A.D. 64, Hebrews A.D. 64. Paul in his instruction to Timothy and Titus concerning the formation and function of the Churches, never mentions the gift, neither does he mention it as a provision for the "last days" in the same epistles.
(9) To understand why God ever gave the gift of Tongues, one must read carefully Isaiah 28 v. 11, "With men of other (R.V. STRANGE) tongues and other lips will I speak unto 'this people' (the Jews) and yet, for all that, will they not hear me, saith the Lord." Also Isaiah 6 v. 9, 10, and 1 Cor. 1 v. 22, "The Jews require a sign."
When Christ claimed to be the Messiah they asked for signs. John 6 v. 30, Matthew 12 v. 38-41. Signs were given them in the O.T. - they rejected God. Signs were given them in the Gospels - they rejected Christ. Signs (tongues and healing) were given them in the Acts - they rejected the Holy Spirit. God confirmed the Word with signs and wonders until Acts 28 A.D. 63, when finally He turned to the Gentiles (read Acts 28 v. 25-29 where Isaiah 6 v. 9, 10, is quoted). Prior to this the message was "to the Jew first", e.g. Romans 1 v. 17 written A.D. 60, but after Acts 28, A.D. 63, Jew and Gentile were treated alike and believers from both had been baptised into the one body.
1 Corinthians was written prior to Acts 28 and it was for the sake of the unbelieving Jews who visited that seaport city (Corinth), that tongues were given.
NOTE 1 Cor. 14 v. 21, 22 where Isaiah 28 v. 11, 12 is quoted as an explanation of tongues, "In the law it is written, with men of other tongues (STRANGE TONGUES R.V.) and other lips will I speak unto this people and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord, wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe but to them that believe not" (the Jew). Today the "tongues" movement has reversed God's order and treats what they think is the gift of tongues as a sign to believers and urge believers to seek same!
The purpose of signs in the case of both Christ and His Apostles was always to confirm the spoken word or claims made. See Mark 2 v. 5-12. NOTE the claim was to forgive sins v. 5 and 10, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, He saith to the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, arise..."
Now read again Hebrews 2 v. 3, 4, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation which at the first (note when) began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him, God, also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders and with divers (many) miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will" (Sovereignty). Mark 16 v. 20. "And they (the eleven, see v. 14) went forth and preached everywhere (past tense), the Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following ('By the signs that followed' R.V.). This is an historical record of what happened there and then in A.D. 33 to fulfill the Divine Plan and promise to "this people" Israel.
Are we to suppose now, that when an R.C. Priest speaks in tongues that God is confirming his doctrine (prayers to Mary, the Mass, a fresh sacrifice for sins, purgatory, penance, priest craft, etc.) - or when the Modernist speaks in tongues must we believe God is confirming his disbelief of the Virgin Birth, Blood Atonement, Bodily Resurrection and Bible Inspiration? RIDICULOUS! Surely this is proof that the whole thing is a delusion.
(10) Tongues are not the sign of a Spirit-filled life. They are not mentioned in those passages where the Spirit-filled life is described. Gal 5 v. 22, Eph. 5 v. 18, 6 v. 20. The Corinthians who had the gift were "carnal" - not spiritual! 1 Cor. 3 v. 3.
(11) We have shown above that tongues are not for today, but even in Apostolic times they had very limited use, e.g.
(a) They were the last and least of the gifts.
(b) Given to a limited number of people as is implied in Paul's question "Do all speak with tongues?" 1 Cor. 12 v. 30. Note the significant omissions. The 3,000 filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost - No Mention. The 5,000 later added to the Church, Stephen, Barnabas, the Lord Jesus Himself, John the Baptist.
(c) Given by the sovereign act of God, "dividing to every man (gifts) severally as He will." 1 Cor. 12 v. 11. At Pentecost the giving of the gift had nothing to do with the subjective attitude of the disciples, but had all to do with the sovereignty of God.
(d) The tongue used on the day of Pentecost was a known language intelligent, understandable, translatable - not a meaningless repetition of sounds and noises; c.f. Acts 2 v. 4 with verses 6, 8, 11 where the words "tongue" and "language" are used interchangeably. At least 15 nationalities were represented and said, "We do hear them speak in our own tongues (languages), the wonderful works of God. In the House of Cornelius the tongue was exactly the same as at Pentecost because Peter who was present on both occasions said so. Acts 10:44, 45. "The Holy Ghost fell on them (Gentiles) as on us (Jews) . . . God gave them the like gift as He did unto us." Acts 11:15, 17. The same language is also used to describe the tongue used by John's Disciples. c.f. Acts 19:6 with Acts 10:44, 45. In every case it was a language readily identified - a clear form of communication.
In Mark 16 they are referred to as "new" tongues (i.e. not known before to the speaker). In Acts 2 v. 4 as "other" tongues (i.e. different languages). In 1 Cor. 12 v. 12 as "divers kinds" of tongues and in v. 28 as "diversities of tongues". The use of the word "unknown" throughout Chapter 14 is not in the Greek N.T. nor the R.V. and should be omitted when reading the chapter.
In 1 Cor. 14 v. 19 Paul says, "I had rather speak five words with my understanding than 10,000 words (not gibberish) in a tongue." An interpreter was required. Jamieson, Faucett & Brown say, "Tongues must therefore mean languages, not ecstatic unintelligible rhapsodies." Dr Harry IRONSIDE believes the same in "What's The Answer", pages 102-103. On verse 18 J.F.B. says, "The oldest manuscripts have the singular 'in a tongue' (foreign)."
When God spoke from Heaven at the baptism of Jesus, it was in a language understood by all. He is not the author of confusion.
(e) There is no record of the gift having been given to women in Corinth.
There are prophets, but no prophetess in this Church. In 1 Cor. 14 the chapter that deals with tongues, it states, v. 34, "Let your women keep silence in the Churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak . . . it is a shame for women to speak in the Church."
It is foolish to argue that "speak" here means "chatter". That would suggest that men could chatter but not the women! But try substituting "chatter" for "speak" in verses 6, 18, 21, 23, 27, 28, 29 and you will see how foolish is this contention.
(f) No one was exhorted to seek this gift but they were told to desire other spiritual gifts, V5.
(g) In our day, those who seek the so-called gift of tongues seem to become occupied with it. They speak much of their "experience" and their "feelings". The results are usually subjective and often have very sad endings. Those who go in for the manifestations cannot be said to be more spiritual or more used of God than those who shun the phenomena. The world's greatest Christian leaders have been opposed to this movement which is a staggering thing, if as some say, speaking in tongues is the hallmark of the Spirit's fullness. However the important thing to remember is that "tongues" belonged to the Apostolic, transitional period and have since been withdrawn. Paul said they would cease. 1 Cor. 13 v. 8.
Remember also that certain events in God's calendar can never be repeated, e.g. the Flood, the giving of the Law, the Birth of Christ, His three years of Public Ministry, the Cross, the three days in the Tomb, the 40 days of the Post Resurrection period, the day of Pentecost, the Baptism in the Spirit, tarrying for same; in fact the entire Apostolic period to Acts 28 and the miraculous events that happened therein. It is not that God hasn't the power to repeat these events, but that in His sovereignty He is pleased not to do so, because His plans and purposes for the past era have been fulfilled and those for today are different.
Satan can counterfeit the gift of tongues. The Corinthians in their unsaved days were "swept along by impulses beyond (their) control in the orgies of dumb idols" (1 Cor. 12 v. 2, Way's translation), v. 3 suggests some had said Jesus was "accursed", while speaking in tongues. In order to protect the Church against possible Satanic deception, the Holy Spirit gave to some, in Apostolic times, "the discerning of Spirits" v. 10. John warns of this danger when he said, "Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they are of God." 1 John 4 v. 1. How are we to try them? By the Word of God. "To the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8 v. 19, 20.
Note also the first part of verse 19, "and when they shall say unto you, seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto wizards that peep and that mutter . . ."
Satan has many ministers and they don't all preach modernism. God warns they are "transformed as the ministers of Righteousness". 2 Cor. 11 v. 14, 15.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood (men and women) but against wicked spirits in high places. Hence we are to put on the whole armour of God that we may withstand the wiles of the Devil. Eph. 6 v. 10-18. The armour includes the shield of faith, the sword of the Word of God. Every Spirit is not the Holy Spirit! When "tried" by the Word they are proved false and deceptive. If the Devil's counterfeit was obvious we would require no warning, but because of his wiles (cunning craftiness) we are warned many times to be on our guard. DON'T become one of his dupes!
Let us follow the example of the Church in Ephesus. Rev. 2 v. 2, and we will come to the same conclusion.
To end on a positive note, let us ever remember that the believer has everything now in Christ to enjoy and does not require Satan's counterfeit.
See Col. 2 v. 6, 10; 1 Cor. 1 v. 30, 31; John 16 v. 7; 1 Cor. 6 v. 19; Eph. 5 v. 18. "Jesus Christ is made to me all I need".