The Mystery of Pentecostal ‘Tongues’

No mystery really to those baptised in – filled with – the Holy Spirit as described Acts 2!
This Acts 2 infilling, followed immediately by worshipping God in ‘tongues’ (unlearned languages), is regarded by Pentecostals as the initial evidence of having been baptised by the Spirit.
Such an infilling results in believers being fired up and supernaturally enabled to follow and serve Jesus. We also discover being aware of the ability and opportunity to move in the supernatural power of the Spirit… just as Jesus did (Acts 10:38).
Praising God and serving God
But even many Pentecostals still don’t understand that the initial worship tongues of Acts 2 do not require any interpretation as do the operational tongues gifts of 1 Corinthians 12.
Gods amazing gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit himself is granted every time someone accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16). He enters into us, lives within, and is our friend.
(Incidentally… a good reason why Christians shouldn’t contaminate their bodies with drugs, excessive drinking and food, moral rubbish, cigarettes and such! See 1 Cor. 6:19 and 2 Cor. 6:16. Best to obey these scriptures else we offend God who gave us this blessings!)
Discrete from salvation is Jesus’ filling us full with his Spirit and our becoming enabled with the operational power of the manifestation gifts described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12.
When we receive gifts from friends and family, it’s a delight to say, ‘Thank you!’ in appreciating the gift. How foolish it would be to ignore and neglect God’s free gift of the Holy Spirit. Especially when Jesus asked Father God odo ensure that this free gift was given to us.
Our role is to accept it, to welcome the Holy Spirit in all his fulness. Unfortunately due to a lack of church teaching and denominational believing, many Christians have been robbed of this incredible deeper experience of living each day as Jesus did…with the knowledge and assurance of spiritual power within to do God’s will and work (Acts 10:38).
This powerful infilling is evidenced by the Acts 2 gift of speaking in tongues. It’s an enabling to worship God and often it leads to singing in a tongue melody. It is a time of personally honouring and glorifying God – as was observed by the visitors from 15 nations who overheard what was going on the now noisy upper room of Acts 2!
As worship our singing rises up to God and doesn’t need to be interpreted. Otherwise some churches wouldn’t finish until 5pm because so much interpretation would be needed!
What is needed is more Spirit-filled Christians – especially leaders – exercising their gift of worshipping tongues. Otherwise Pauls’ urging of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 aren’t being heeded. Such opportunities in church worship times can result in a spiritual, therapeutical strengthening within!
Gateway to demonstrating God’s supernatural
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul lists nine spiritual gifts available to every Christian. These have been called the ‘manifestation gifts’ as ‘manifest’ relates to ‘demonstration’ or ‘showing forth’ or ‘revelation.’ These are all operational gifts and communication gifts…God communicating his love, power and direction to us.
The tongues mentioned in this list – spoken, sometimes sung – naturally need interpretation to challenge us to move on in God. Hence these tongues and the accompanying gift of interpretation are often called ‘twin gifts’ and, as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 14, are equal to prophecy.
Some people try to get out of accepting the worship gift of tongues (and therefore don’t enter through the gateway to minister in power – the manifestation gifts – to those in need) by foolishly saying, ‘Oh, I’ll worship God when he causes me to speak in tongues.’
No, he won’t! God won’t force or make us do anything! But he does want us to hunger and thirst for this infilling just like the early church did.
And we know too the other big excuse for not moving in Holy Spirit ways: ‘Why would God operate this way?’
Hey…God is God, he’s the boss, he has his strange ways as Moses, Noah and many others discovered! Can you image Moses querying ‘Why did you turn my rod into a snake, Lord, and my hand to leprosy?’ or Noah querying God with a mocking laugh as he choked and spluttered on, ‘An ark, God? Rain, a flood? What’s an ark? What a flood, what’s rain?’
Rather it’s incredible that God is willing to use any of us humans with all our wrong attitudes, personal agendas and faults, even if it’s to worship in a way where our normally uncontrollable tongue is under his control!
‘Why?’ is not the question! Rather the question should be ‘Can I receive right now, Lord?’ Or ‘Can I be used right now, Lord?’ Or ‘You want to speak (in tongues, even interpret right now, Lord? Okay!’
As for worshipping in tongues…it should happen automatically – we should want to worship God in a deeper more personal way! Moving in any of the operational gifts of the Spirit happens similarly. We sense an opportunity and we take it, boldly believing that because we have the Spirit within, we have something to share that will bless.
Recent example
Here’s an up-to-date example. Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, that special day when worldwide churches of different denominations celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in their own denominational way.
We happen to be ministering at a growing Baptist church where they really love the Lord and are moving ahead in touching their community. As usual when we finish preaching we delight to pray with people. I (Robert) led by the Holy Spirit, sensed that he wanted to bless by healing someone that had pain and trouble in a particular part of their hip.
Believing that I had clearly heard from him and had something to offer (that is: my prayer as I laid hands on the afflicted person would bring a response from heaven), I boldly indicated the exact area of the hip.
Several people responded and Maureen and I simply did what Jesus would – we ministered caringly and in love, and also in the prophetic and words of knowledge. People were so blessed as release came, as did a few tears and thanks.
Pentecost? It’s about more than speaking in tongues – it’s about being changed, charged and commissioned: Gods’s 3C plan!

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