Summary: Why the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is important in the church today.
January 25, 2009
Subject: The Pentecostal Church
Title: Why Tongues?
I am thrilled to see the growth in our church. I have been told by a number of people that because of our location and the decreased population base in the area that we should never expect too much to happen in this church. But we see steady growth. One of the reasons for the growth rests on the backs of prayer warriors. Alice and Frances are here every Friday morning at 8:00 AM to pray for those in the church and those who will come into the church. They pray for every need. They pray for the sick. They pray for the lost. They pray for other churches. I believe with all my heart that the growth we are seeing now is a direct result of their prayer.
But I believe that there is another reason for the growth that we are seeing. And I also believe that even greater growth is about to come and I believe it is going to come quickly. I believe that the other reason for growth is that we are a church, and are becoming more so, that depends on the moving of the Holy Spirit of God to take us where we should be and make us what God wants us to be. That is what it means to be a Pentecostal.
Now, you all know my church background, and I know most of your backgrounds. Some are former Catholics. Some were Baptists. There are Methodists, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ. There are some who grew up in this church and some who never went to church. But I want to say this to all of you – even those who are lifetime members of this body – it is not this church or our “denomination (we are not a denomination but a fellowship) that makes us Pentecostal. It is our conscious decision to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything we do that makes us who we are. And I want to go beyond that. It is the wonderful salvation by grace that makes us Christians, but it is the wonderful experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives the utterance that is drawing people to the church and keeping them. So many have had “religious” upbringings but have had no tangible experience in a relationship with the Father that would keep them in their dead churches. But in this church the Holy Spirit is alive and manifesting Himself in ways where people can have only one explanation – God is real and is being experienced in a deeper way through that baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I want to talk to you today about the Holy Spirit and what He is wanting to do in your lives today.
Let’s start by looking a little bit of the background from the first letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. The entire letter was written to correct problems in the church and to answer questions that had arisen. One of the problems was that the spiritual gifts were very active but the church there had placed a premium on the gift of tongues. Paul devoted a whole chapter to the problem and that is chapter 14. He laid down guidelines for the use of tongues in the church. He prefaced what he had to say in chapter 14 with a chapter about love in chapter 13. It is that kind of love that must be the motive behind all the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of tongues.