Summary: Tongues & Prophecy Part 1 - – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). Tongues & Prophecy – Two Views:

• Cessationism

• Charismatic

(2). Some Introductory Remarks:

• We are studying 1st Corinthians, not just tongues and prophesy

• The main subject of chapters 12-14 is spiritual gifts

• Paul addresses chapter 14 to a local church, not an individual

• The apostle Paul is primarily writing to correct a problem

(3). Tongues and Prophecy a Definition:

• What do we mean by tongues?

• What do we mean by prophecy?



• Two local Churches of differing denominations;

• Were located only a few streets from each other in a small community.

• So they thought it might be better if they would merge;

• And this way become one united body, larger and more effective,

• Rather than two small struggling churches.

• Good idea ... but both were too petty to pull it off.

• The problem? They couldn't agree on how they would recite the Lord's Prayer.

• One group wanted "forgive us our trespasses"

• While the other group demanded "forgive us our debts."

• Sadly news of this failed merger reached the local newspaper;

• And the news­paper reported the story saying;

• That “one church went back to its trespasses while the other returned to its debts!”

• TRANSITION: Now as silly as this story seems,

• It's a classic case of majoring on the minors.

• There are certain truths which are essential,

• The fundamentals of the Christian faith;

• i.e. Jesus is the Son of God.

• i.e. The substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.

• i.e. The physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

• With these truths there is no compromise, they are not for negotiation!

• Deny these truths and you cannot be a Christian;

• They are core to the Christian faith.

But there are other issues which are secondary:

• That means that Christians can and will disagree on certain issues;

• Their understanding and therefore practices will be different.

• i.e. Differences over forms and styles of church leadership.

• (Should you have Elders, a Vicar, a Pastor or a leadership Team?)

• i.e. Differences over patterns of worship?

• (Liturgical and ‘non-liturgical’; traditional and modern; restrained and extrovert)

• Into this secondary group I would add;

• Particular emphases about the gifts of the Holy Spirit including tongues and prophecy

• It is secondary because it does not affect your salvation and key beliefs:

• i.e. you can be a charismatic Christian or a cessationist Christian.

• And you will still be a Christian! And still be a godly Christian!

As with any of the different gifts mentioned in the New Testament:

• We noted in previous studies;

• There are at least 28 spiritual gifts which have their definition revealed to us in the Bible;

• And they fall into three natural categories:

• Support gifts (e.g. Evangelist, teacher, pastor)

• Foundational gifts that provided direction & leadership for the Church.

• Service gifts (e.g. Administration, giving, helping, serving).

• Gifts that work ‘behind the scene’ building up the body of Christ.

• Sign gifts (e.g. Miracles, tongues, word of knowledge).

• Supernatural gifts that manifested the Holy Spirit’s power,

• Now a Church can function and go on and grow without any one of those 28 gifts!

• Because no one gift is in itself essential to a local Church functioning.

• So a Church can grow without some of these gifts being present;

• Not every Church will have every gift.

• Although I want to say and emphasise;

• That a Church will operate better the more gifts that it has;

• When those gifts are used correctly.

Quote: The term ‘spiritual gift’ simply means:

"A skill or ability that enables each Christian to perform a function in the body of Christ with ease and effectiveness".


• The Detroit News carried a story about the American comedian Bill Cosby's aged mother;

• The story illustrates how useless gifts are unless they are used.

• She had been raised in poverty, and the family had very little money.

• As a result, she never had modern conveniences;

• And had gotten accustomed to doing things the hard way.

• When the children were old enough to get jobs,

• They often gave their mother electrical appliances as Christmas gifts;

• Thinking it would make her life easier - but she wouldn't use them.

• Bill especially remembered that after a while his mother had two or three toasters.

• But she left them in their boxes and put them on top of the refrigerator.

• At breakfast she would still do the toast in the oven.

• If the boys protested, she would say,

• "Leave them on the refrigerator. I'm used to doing it the old way."

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