Summary: In the church today there is tremendous tension and polarization over the issue of sign gifts, particularly tongues. Divisions and church splits over the charismatic movement have become all too common. Conditions in some of the churches today hardly diff
THE VALUE OF TONGUES
Keeping Perspective In The Church
INTRODUCTION: in the church today there is tremendous tension and polarization over the issue of sign gifts, particularly tongues. Divisions and church splits over the charismatic movement have become all too common. Conditions in some of the churches today hardly differ from those in the Corinthian church of centuries ago. Because of this polarization, few Christians are without strong feelings on this issue. Yet, it is important to lay out a foundation, a biblical foundation about what the Scripture does say regarding the gift of tongues.
I am often asked what denomination I am. And to this question, I answer, quite freely, that I am a Baptist. “if you cut me, I bleed Baptist blue!” But I am not a Baptist for the sake of being a Baptist. In fact, my home church was Presbyterian. My family has always been Presbyterian. Glasses were involved in the founding of the Presbyterian Church I grew up in, and there was even a sect of the Presbyterian Church known as the Glassittes in Scotland and Ireland. I did not become a Baptist till college. I became a Baptist, not to be a Baptist, but because I believe that the baptistic approach to Scripture is the most consistent to the Word of God. So, what I am really saying is that I am a Biblicist first, and for the most part being a Biblicist does not conflict with my being a Baptist!
I GOD’S COMMUNICATION IS MEANT TO ENCOURAGE US – 14:1-6
A GOD’S MAJOR CONCERN IS COMMUNICATION
1 Paul begins this passage by encouraging the readers to keep the value of spiritual gifts in perspective
a Spiritual gifts – and hence their usage must be preceded with love.
b Spiritual gifts, no matter what the gift should never be used apart from biblical love
2 Paul encourages us to desire spiritual gifts
a Especially prophecy
b Every gift in one form or another has as its purpose communication of God’s message to people
1 Some gifts deal directly with the message
2 Some gifts deal with the clarity of the message
3 Some gifts deal with the correctness of the message
4 Some gifts deal with the illustration of the message
5 Every gift deals with the communication of God’s message to man!
3 Prophecy (the proclamation of truth) edifies the church – 14:4
a Prophecy stands alone as a spiritual gift
b Tongues cannot communicate to the church apart from the presence of another gift
1 Corinthians were exercising the gift of tongues apart from the gift of interpretation – and not edifying the church
2 The goal is church edification – building up the church
B THE GIFT OF TONGUES WAS CAUSING CONCERN
1 Tongues by their nature were a gift that is directed primarily towards God – 14:2
2 No one understands the person speaking in tongues
a Whether a known language
b Or an unknown language
3 The issue is not the type of language, but the lack of communication
4 The use of the gift of tongues in the Corinthian church was causing disorder
a It was being used as a sign of superiority
b It was being used in a way unbeneficial to the church as a whole