Summary: Why do we take the cessationist position on the sign gifts?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is very concerned that false teaching be acknowledged and corrected.
In our last message, we began to look a Christ’s corrective teaching on prayer.
During that study, I made a short reference to the subject of speaking in tongues.
I noted in that message that I was planning to go further regarding the question of speaking in tongues, and that is what we are doing today.
We are going to do so by simply asking a very basic question:
WHY DON’T WE SPEAK IN TONGUES?
READ: Matthew 6:7
In our previous message, I described the definition of this phrase which Jesus uses in our text today, but to ensure we all remember allow me to repeat myself.
When Jesus says, “Do not heap up empty phrases” or in the KJV “vain repetition”, what we have is a prohibition against believers engaging in mindless repetitive words in prayer.
The Greek term “Battalogeo” comes from battus, which means to stutter or repeat words tediously.
This is clearly a rebuke against those who chant or repeat themselves mindlessly in prayer, without engaging their minds in what is being said.
As I noted previously, much of what is referred to in the modern church as “speaking in tongues” certainly fits this description.
It is often just mindless chatter filled with indiscernible sounds.
Now, for those of you who may not be familiar with this issue, I want to give a short overview of the divide which exists within the modern church.
Churches are normally designated as “Pentecostal” or not, sometimes as “Charismatic” or not.
Pentecost is referencing the day in Church history when the Holy Spirit fell on the church and miracles came as a result.
Charismatic refers to the “charis” or grace gifts which God the Holy Spirit gives to the church.
Probably the more accurate distinction is made in the terms “cessationist” and “continuationist”.
Cessationist - Belief that certain gifts were meant to be signs to affirm the apostolic age only and were never intended to continue on.
Continuationist - Belief that all of the gifts of the early church were meant to continue until the return of Christ.
The continuationist makes a distinction between the “sign” gifts which are designated as those which were meant to accompany and affirm the teachings of the apostles in the early church.
These “sign gifts” would include divine healing, the gift of speaking prophetic revelation, and the gift of tongues.
It is noteworthy that the one gift that tends to get the most attention is the gift of tongues.
It has been pointed out that “Tongues” is likely the most popular charismatic gift because it is the easiest to fabricate.
Prophecy which is specific is more difficult (which is why the vast majority of prophecy today is very non-specific).
Healing is also hard to fake, which is why we see them healing non-verifiable disease like back pain and ear ringing, not broken bones and amputated limbs.
Recently I saw a post which said the reason why faith healers don’t work in hospitals is the same reason psychics don’t win the lottery. (i.e. Its because they are frauds!)
Interesting Note: No one could deny the miracles of Christ, not even his detractors. They said He did his miracles by the power of Satan, but they didn’t say He was not doing miracles. This much was obvious! Even they had to admit the did things He did which were miraculous.
But modern miracle workers are recognized as frauds by everyone who is not their followers, because their miracles are not-verifiable.
As we go through the lesson today, we will reference certain aspects of these other gifts, but we will focus on this issue of the tongues.
The question today is, “Why don’t we speak in tongues?”
I mean “we” as a church. Sovereign Grace Family Church does not endorse the practicing of these gifts within the church body, and we would rebuke someone who came into the fellowship and tried to interrupt our worship with them.
This message is intended to help us as a church understand why we worship and pray the way we do, and why we do not worship and pray in the way another group does.
There is a great charismatic dividing line within the church today, and we should know why we stand on one side and not the other.
Why Don’t We Speak in Tongues?
I. The genuine gift of tongues was a real discernible language and not unstructured repetitive sounds.
It is very important to note that the gift of tongues is not mentioned much in the pages of the bible.
It is possibly eluded to by Christ in Mark 16 (though this passage is debatable in regard to a textual variant.)
It is spoken of by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians.