Tag Archives: Christianity

Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? – Pt. 2

Although I diverted a few times since I introduced this topic, I decided it was time to revisit it.  I introduced a subject I’ve been wanting to talk about is who Jesus really was.  Not who we “think” he was or who people make Him out to be, but who the Jesus of the Bible was and what He actually did and said.  I personally use this approach for everything I believe and teach.  If there’s something I believe and it doesn’t line up with the Bible, then I must be wrong.  You shouldn’t lower the Bible to match what you believe or have experienced, nor base what you believe on what someone else has experience..  We must believe God to raise our experiences to match the Bible.

Maybe this should be a separate topic, but I think there’s something that needs to be established before we really hit this hard.  The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, also known as the Gospels, were all written after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven.  However, those books were recording accounts BEFORE Jesus died, rose and ascended.  What I mean is that we often read the words and works of Jesus as if they were New Testament things.  They weren’t!  Jesus lived under the Old Testament law, spoke in regards to Old Testament promises, yet at the same time revealed things that were going to change as a result of his pending death and resurrection.  With those thoughts in mind, we really need to be careful of how we interpret what Jesus spoke.  Not all of what Jesus said is applicable to Christians today.  Yes, I just said not everything Jesus said should be applied to us today.

Now, before you call me the anit-Christ, you really need to re-read what I just got done explaining.  Jesus spoke as one under the “law”, the old covenant, that was based on performance.  We are under a different covenant that is based upon grace – the finished work of Jesus.  Once Jesus had died, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, the new covenant was then in effect, negating the old covenant or the “law” as many call it.  That being stated, if we are no longer under that covenant, then things spoke up under that convent are not necessarily applicable to us who are under a DIFFERENT covenant.  Can we glean truth, instruction, correction and guidance from things spoke under the Old Convenant?  Of course, and we should.  We just have to be careful not to apply certain things to our lives since we are not living under the same laws.  Clear as mud?  I’ll probably elaborate on that in the near future, but I really need to get back to the topic at hand.

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to a world view of Jesus, is that people will try to say that Jesus preached “love and acceptance”.  OK, let me rant here for just a minute.  We really need to watch out for and correct those who claim to know what Jesus taught, yet they never step foot in a church or have read a Bible consistently.  How could you possible know who Jesus was or what he talked about if you’ve never met him?  Simple…you can’t.  So suffice it to say, Jesus never preached love and acceptance.

Matthew 4:17          •Matthew 4:23          •Matthew 9:35          •Mark 1:14-15          •Luke 5:31-32          •Luke 24:46-47

So after reading those scriptures, would you say Jesus preached love and acceptance?  No, and those were just a few examples.  In fact, out of 154 times the word Kingdom is used in the New Testament, 121 of those times it appears in the Gospels.  The vast majority of those times Jesus is referring to the Kingdom of Heaven typically in a parable.  Why were these issues so prevalent in his teachings?  Glad you asked…

The first time that Jesus is recorded using the word “repent” is in Matthew 4:17.  In the Greek, it simply means to “change one’s mind”.  In other words, Jesus said, “Change your way of thinking because the Kingdom of Heaven has come to join you.”  For thousands of years, Israel had thought a certain way.  They had been trained to think about the Kingdom in a particular manner, in a literal sense.  That the Messiah was going come and establish the Kingdom literally and overthrow the Roman government.  Jesus came to tell them they were wrong.  How they had interpreted things were wrong.  That wasn’t very popular at the time.  In fact, it’s not popular now…to tell people how they have been thinking is wrong will not win you any friends in this day and age; especially if we talked to them how Jesus talked to some of the most “religious” leader of his day.  He branded those leaders as “hypocrites” and he said the were like white-washed graves that appeared nice on the outside, but inside were full of decay and deceit.  He said they were the blind leading blind and they both would fall into a pit.  Needless to say, Jesus was not pleased how the “leaders” of his day were representing the Kingdom.  All the more important for Jesus to introduce a new way to think about Kingdom.  (I cannot do it justice here or can I do as it as thorough as necessary, so I would encourage you to look into the book series that Miles Munroe has written that called Kingdom Principles and others titled similar to it.)

People will also use the incident with the woman caught in the act of adultery as an example of Jesus accepting people and probably to justify themselves in what they are doing wrong.  I wouldn’t say that he accepted her for who she was, but rather didn’t condemn her for who she was or what she had done.  Even when Jesus sent her away, he specifically said to her, “Go and sin no more.”  He in no way shape or form approved or accepted her lifestyle.  In fact the opposite was true: he told here to stop doing it.  Those who are living a sinful lifestyle today will do so under the guise that Jesus is OK with how they choose to live and who they choose to love.  He is most certainly not.  In fact, he would do today as he did back then…tell them to stop.  Would he condemn them?  No.  Should we?  No.  However at the same time, we don’t have to accept what they do as right and if we are branded as bigots or anything else they choose to brand us, then we are in good company because if they call us a bigot then they are calling Jesus a bigot.

How about the this incident in John 5:1-14?  Did he seriously just say what I think he said?  Oh, no he didn’t!  Oh, yes he did!  He basically told that man, his infirmity was a result of his sinning and if he continued to do so, he would suffer something worse.  Can you imagine the backlash if we told someone with some type of debilitating disease that it was their sin that caused it?  I really think they might legalize stoning for that!  Yet, I’m supposed to believe Jesus preached love and acceptance?  I NEVER read Jesus telling anyone to “do what makes them happy” or any type coddling response to peoples sin.

Jesus did not accept sinful lifestyles.  Did he love those who sinned?  Absolutely.  Was he OK with their lifestyles?  No.  Should we love those who sin?  Absolutely.  Should we be OK with those lifestyles?  No, nor do we have to accept other people’s or “society’s” standard of what is right and wrong.  We have an absolute standard from the Word of God and that’s the one I’ll accept even if it’s inconvenient.  At the same time, it does not absolve us of our duties to love others as Jesus did.  Jesus never shoved his finger in someone’s face and spewed “SINNER!” all over them.  He did, however, correct those that were in need of correction and said what needed to be said regardless of who it would offend.

Don’t accept anyone version of Jesus if it does not line up with only true one.





Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? – Pt. 1

Yes, once again, it’s time for a series.  I think it’s nearly impossible to coverany particular topic in one post, yet at the same time too much can be a bad thing as well.  What I mean is overload.  Take general college classes for example, of which I am taking a few.  I can only read in one text-book on one subject for so long before I have to change my focus.  I think the same thing is true when it comes to blog posts.  Yes, I did six posts on speaking in tongues, but that didn’t nearly cover everything there is to say on that topic, nor am I completely finished.  It was enough to chew on for now and now it’s time to chew on something different.

There is a big misconception amongst Christians and non-Christians alike as to who Jesus was, along with what he actually did and taught.   There is a very skewed perception on Jesus that needs to be straightened out.  Let’s not look at my opinion or anyone else’s.  I think it’s time to actually look at the definitive source for all things Jesus…THE BIBLE!

There are a lot of things that people claim Jesus did that’s not in the Bible.  There’s a lot of misquotation surrounding what He said.  Much of what people get right when they quote Him is taken out of context.  Call me picky, but if I’m going to affirm or rebuke someone or myself, I want to make sure I have the correct scriptures taken in the right context to back me up.  Although there is a TON of scriptures that are misused and abused, I’m going to focus specifically on Jesus for now.

You see, the world (and many Christians) want to make Jesus out to be someone He wasn’t.  They want to make Him out to be someone who fits their lifestyles and choices.  They tailor Him to meet whatever they need Him to be so they can tell Christians that we need to be more like Him.  They are right about one thing.  We need to be more like Jesus.  We just need to be more like the REAL Jesus.

Christians are doing the same.  They are changing who He was to fit their agendas.  We so easily neglect that many of the people Jesus rebuked were the most religious people of His time.  We can’t pick and choose who we make Jesus out to be.  He is who He was and the Bible is very clear on that.  We can’t make Jesus to be someone He wasn’t.  Well, I guess we can if we so choose, but to do so would be an affront to the LORD.

Just so I’m clear, I will be pointing the finger at “sinner” and “saint” alike.  In fact for that reason, I’ll be pointing the finger at us first.  After all, He did say to take the beam out of our own eye before trying to remove the spec from our brother’s eye.  Yes, that was taken in context.

Well, this turned out to be more of an introduction than anything.  At least for those of you who read, you’ll know what’s coming up.  I do invite comments if there’s anything in particular that you feel has been an area where Jesus has been misrepresented.  It’s time for the real Jesus to be known.

Judging Others

I read something someone wrote the other day on a blog.  (I’m not going to link to the blog nor mention their name because neither of which are of any intrinsic value to what I’m writing about today.)  In it, was a quote that I’ve seen going around lately.  Here it is:

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” – Harlan Ellison

I’m figuring they got the quote off of Facebook, because that’s where I’ve seen it plastered the most.  The person that posted it had something to say concerning the quote.  They said, “No one is entitled to tell someone else what they are entitled to or to determine the level of someone else’s ignorance. Humans are not created to be judges. Not even of themselves.”  The last two sentences really got my theological juices flowing.  Is that true?  Are we not supposed to judge others or ourselves?

It’s real easy to jump on the bandwagon of “who are you to judge” or “how dare you judge me” or “you’re not my judge” or “what gives you the right to judge me“…  Do I need to continue?  As Christians, generally we will concede that God is the true Judge and that we have no business judging others.  But is that really what the Bible tells us?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” – Matthew 7:1-2 NLT

That was a quote from Jesus.  So that should clear things up, right?  Well, I’m not quite convinced yet.  Let’s look at some other scriptures and see.

  • Romans 14:3 – Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
  • Romans 14:13 – Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:5 – Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

So there is a few more that tell us not to judge.  However, what are the context of those scriptures?  Romans 14:3 is Paul is talking about those who think that eating certain foods is wrong, not about moral or social behavior.  He is still referencing the incident in verse 13.  apparently there was some debate surrounding what was ok to eat and what wasn’t.  That’s not surprising considering the strict dietary laws the Jews followed then and many still do today.

The reference in 1 Corinthians Paul is talking about whether or not he’s or anyone else has been a good steward over the things the LORD has entrusted him with.  He’s basically saying that we have no idea the motives behind what people do, so it’s difficult for us to decide whether or not things are being done with good intentions.

There are some other scriptures that mention judging but in a slightly different way.  Let’s look at those.  The first is in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 3:

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed

Whoa!  Hold up.  Did Paul just say he judged someone for something they did?!?  Oh no he didn’t!  Oh, yes he did!  What the heck Paul, don’t you remember what Jesus said?  So what gives?

First off, this is a pretty strong statement.  But what prompted it?  A man, who was supposed to be a Christian, was having an illicit affair with his father’s wife!  Paul even says this is not even heard of among the unbelievers in the area.  It was nothing to be proud of for sure, so Paul instructs them to not only  kick the man out of the church, but to ostracize him.  Look for yourself.  This is out of the New Living Translation because I think it really captures the heart of what Paul is saying.

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.  But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.  I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believeryet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. – 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

Now that’s harsh!  It also spits in the face of many Christians and “churches”.  Paul flat-out says DO NOT associate with Christians that indulge in those things.  Boot ’em out and lock the door!  (Not permanently of course.)  Listen to what he says in verse 12:

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.  God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

Would you look at that!  Paul instructs Christians to JUDGE other Christians inside the church.  Listen to what else the Paul says to Christians about judging.  1 Corinthians 6:2-3 NLT:

Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves?  Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.

Paul’s instructions were for them to bring their disputes before the church NOT in a “secular” court.  What’s even more surprising is that he likens that to judging the world AND angels!  I admit that I don’t know exactly what “judging angels” means, but it would seem to me that if we are unfit to judge disputes here on earth between believers, we are going to be unfit to judge the angels.

It would seem that those statements contradicts what Jesus said in Matthew 7, but it doesn’t.  Jesus isn’t saying not to judge.  He is saying that we need to be very aware of how we judge since how lenient we are with others is how lenient they will be with us.  It is not a command not to judge.  It can’t be or else Paul was contradicting Jesus.

Even in the OT testament, Moses was a judge over the people.  In fact, the Hebrew word for God, ‘elohiym, means rulers or judges.  Were we not created in the image of God and in that were we not given the power of dominion (to rule) over the earth?  Is that not what rulers do, is to judge?  If we were created in the image of God, then we were created to judge.  That takes us back to the comments I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post.  The comment, “Humans are not created to be judges. Not even of themselves,” is itself contradictory to the word of God.  We were created gto

Paul even tells us to judge ourselves.  When he was instructing the Corinthians on the proper way to partake of communion, he told them:

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. – 1 Corinthians 11:27-32

If we are to judge ourselves in such an important thing as communion, then surely we are not to leave the lesser things un-judged.  In closing, let me remind us all of something Peter said:

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? – 1 Peter 4:17 – NLT

Once again, we Christians have missed it.  We’ve been guilty of what Paul said in Romans 2:1 NLT:

You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

We, Christians, are called to a higher standard of living.  Yet we act like we’re still lost.  If we would hold each other to the standards that Paul, through the Spirit of God, gave us, perhaps the world would have less evidence to judge us as hypocrites.  No wonder the world doesn’t want to be like us.  We act worse than them.

Our directives on judgement doesn’t absolve us of our requirements to show compassion, mercy and forgiveness.  It’s just the opposite.  The more we step up and begin to correctly judge things, it will also increase the amount of mercy, compassion and forgiveness we’ll need to administer as well.

The Truth About Speaking In Tongues – Pt. 6 – You Do The Speaking

Ok, so I know I said I wasn’t going to do a post about busting some of the myths surrounding praying in tongues, but there is one in particular that needs to be addressed.  I won’t touch on the myth about tongues being “of the devil” or “passed away” since I think the last five posts cleared those up.  However, there remains one that seems to plague those who do believe that speaking in tongues is for us today.

There is a wide-spread belief that the Holy Spirit “makes” you speak in tongues.  I heard one person say that they don’t want to be the one doing it; that when they finally speak in tongues, it will be the Holy Spirit and not them.  Well, I have news for you if you think that way.  You will never speak in tongues.  Speaking in tongues is an act of your will.

To start things off, you need the Holy Spirit in order to have the ability to speak in tongues.  This is not the experience when you receive Jesus.  That’s being born of the spirit, or being “born again” as many refer to.  You do receive the Holy Spirit at that time, but not in the way you need to in order to receive the ability to speak in tongues.  On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were already born again.  They received that experience after Jesus resurrection, but before his ascension up to heaven.  If there is not another experience with the Holy Spirit, as many would claim, than Jesus would not have told his disciples in Luke 24:49 (NLT):

And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.

It is that experience that enable us with the ability to speak in tongues.  A re-read of Acts 2:1-4 (NLT) reminds us.

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.  And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

That was the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  No where has God taken it back, nor does He need to pour it out again.  It’s already been done and it was done right the first time.  Jesus isn’t going to come back and die for our sins again and breath on us to receive the Holy Spirit for the purpose of being born again.  It’s been done and we simply believe that He did and receive that by faith.  It is no different with being filled with the Holy Spirit.  You receive it by faith as well.

So now what?  Say you’ve received the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.  How do you go about speaking in tongues?  Glad you asked.

Open your mouth.  Start talking.

What’s that?  It can’t be that simple, you say?  Well, it is.  Make no mistake: the Holy Spirit will give you the words to speak, but you have to do the talking.  It’s really that simple.  The Holy Spirit is not going to force you to say anything.  The disciples, on the day of Pentecost, chose to speak.  Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  They began to speak, but the unction came from the Holy Spirit.  Listen to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:15:

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

This is in the middle of Paul speaking to the Christians at Corinth about speaking in tongues.  Paul says he will sing and pray with the spirit.  It’s his choice to do so.  He even goes on to claim in verse 18 that he speaks with tongues more than all of them!  He also tells them, in verse 28 that if there is no interpreter to keep quiet.  It has to be your choice to speak or not to speak.  God is not into confusion and disorder.  It would be quite chaotic of Christians were walking around spontaneously speaking in tongues.

Have you ever been angry at someone and had things you wanted to say, but didn’t?  Of course.  We all have.  Maybe we did say those things.  Either way, we chose to speak or we chose to keep our mouths shut.  Sometimes we miss the supernatural because we are looking for the spectacular.

2 Kings 5:1-14 chronicles an event in the life of Elisha the prophet.  You can click on the link for the full story, but here’s what happened.  Naaman, a captain of the Syrian army, was suffering from leprosy.  His wife was telling a servant girl, an Israelite, that she wishes her husband was with the prophet in Samaria so he could be healed.  Word gets back to the King of Israel that Naaman is coming to him to be healed.  The King has a slight hissy fit and word gets to Elisha about the incident.  So Elisha tells the King to send Naaman to him instead.  When Naaman arrives, Elisha sends a messenger to tell him that he should go wash in the Jordan seven times and that will get rid of his leprosy.

Well, that angered Naaman.  He was expecting Elisha to show up, call on the name of the LORD, wave his hands around and BOOM!  HEALING!  In his rage, Naaman goes to leave the area, when a servant appeals to him by saying, “Sir,if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it?  So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured! (NLT)”  Naaman concedes, does as directed and get the desired results.  Naaman almost missed the supernatural because he wanted the spectacular.

Not to say that the spectacular can’t happen, but since there’s no reason for the Holy Spirit to be poured out again, it’s unlikely cloven tongues of fire will fall on those receiving it.  Of course it’s possible, but unlikely.

When I received the in-filling of the Holy Spirit, I didn’t initially speak in tongues.  I admit that it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget, but I walked away feeling robbed, because I didn’t understand that I had a part to play.

Going back to my two-step instructions, I did leave something out on purpose.  You see, when you begin to speak, it can’t be in your native tongue.  This is where faith comes into play.  You have to bypass your understanding.  Your mind will try to tell you it’s impossible to speak in another language.  Fortunately, this isn’t about your mind or your understanding.  If it were, it wouldn’t work.

People often say that they didn’t get the gift of speaking in tongues when they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  That’s simply not true.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit and buying shoes are the same thing: they both come with tongues!  I totally stole that from Andrew Wommack, but it’s true none-the-less.  You get the ability to speak in tongues when you get filled with the Holy Spirit.  Tongues are not a’ la carte.

Notice I keep using the word ability.  According to dictionary.com it means, “power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.”  When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have the capacity to speak in another language other than your own.  It doesn’t mean you automatically will.

I have the ability to pay my bills.  I have the mental capacity to sit down, fill out the check and mail it to the proper creditor.  I also have the capacity to ensure the funds are available for the check to clear.  However, unless I physically do those things as an act of my will, it won’t happen.  It doesn’t matter that I have the money to pay the bills, if I don’t do something with that money, the bill goes unpaid.  The ability lies dormant.

Our ability to speak in tongues lies dormant if we don’t do something.  Even if all you can do is utter a few syllables before you allow your mind to take over and convince you otherwise, at least you will have, for a brief moment, spoken in tongues.

Don’t miss out on what God has for you because you’re waiting for a mighty rushing wind from heaven.  Open your window next time it’s breezy outside.  You’ll have all the wind you need.

The Truth About Speaking In Tongues – Pt. 5 – Personal Tongues

After a brief pause, I’ve decided to continue on in my tongues series.  So far we’ve looked at what tongues are and we’ve looked at two of the three different types of speaking in tongues.  If you haven’t read the previous posts on this topic, I encourage you to go back and do so.  It will be to your benefit since I am jumping right in.

The last post centered on the proper use and benefits of speaking in tongues in a church setting.  Today, I want to look at the personal benefits of speaking in tongues.

There are different names that Christians will call speaking in tongues when they are by themselves or in prayer.  Some will call it praying in the Spirit, praying in the Holy Ghost or some call it their prayer language.  All three are referring to the same thing, but I personally like “prayer language” since this particular type of speaking in tongues is meant for just that.  Prayer.

The first time outside of the book of Acts that the personal tongues are mentioned is in Romans 8:26.  This is from the New Living Translation.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Paul is referring to speaking in tongues here.  When we know we need to pray about something, but either we don’t know what or how, we can begin to speak in tongues and the Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak.  Wow!  What a huge advantage.  I know that I’ve needed to pray about something but I wasn’t sure exactly what words to use and it’s comforting to know the Holy Spirit will make sure you use the right ones.  That’s revealed to us in the next verse.

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believersin harmony with God’s own will.

So not only will the words be the right ones, they will be the EXACT words needed!  How awesome is that!  When we pray in tongues, we pray out the perfect will of God concerning that situation.  I can’t think of a better way to pray about something than right in line with God’s will.

I touched on this before, but this type of speaking in tongues is not necessarily intended to be spoken around others.  1 Corinthians 14:2 says, “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him…”  Remember, the only time that speaking in tongues requires interpretation is during a church setting.  It doesn’t mean you or someone else won’t interpret, but it’s unlikely.  Why would you need to?  If you are praying the will of God, to God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, then you can have faith that it’s all good.

Verse 4 of 1 Corinthians 14 says, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…”  Jude also reiterates this benefit in verse 20 of his letter.

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost… – KJV

Edification is another benefit when you use your prayer language.  I mentioned in the last post about the word edification.  The following are the definitions according to Strong’s Concordance.

  • to build a house, erect a building
  • to build (up from the foundation)
  • to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
  • to found, establish
  • to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
  • to grow in wisdom and piety

Jude uses a different word that is translated “building up” and it also means to build up.  Either way, those are some tremendous benefits to speaking in tongues.  Who doesn’t need to make their faith stronger?  Who doesn’t need to grow in wisdom, grace and virtue?  I know I do.  I’ll take all the help I can get.

That’s just it.  It’s help.  The Holy Spirit was given to us to help us in every area of our lives.  Here’s how Jesus described the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 out of the Amplified Bible.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever…

That’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what the Holy Spirit is for.  Here’s the definition of the Greek word paraklētos which is what is translated comforter.  These are some of the definitions directly from Strong’s concordance:

  • summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid
  • one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate
  • one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor
  • in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant
  • of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom

What more can I say that’s not already been said?  The benefits to speaking in tongues for your own personal use is immeasurable.

I was going to do a post busting some of the myths about speaking in tongues.  I’m not sure it’s necessary at this point.  Personally, I was already convinced before I wrote about this topic, but now I’ve got to say I’m even more confident that speaking in tongues is from God and it is for us believers today.

However, if after (prayerfully and carefully) reading everything I’ve posted about speaking in tongues, if you still think they are “of the devil” or “passed away“, then I will pray for you…in tongues.

Call Me A Bigot

I’d be in good company if you did.  It’s not that I’m aiming to be marked as one, but due to my unwavering beliefs, I’d be classified as one.  A bigot, according to www.dictionary.com is a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.  According to the world, since I’m pro-traditional marriage, pro-life or simply pro-Bible, I must be a bigot.  Do you know who else was?  Paul.  That’s right Paul from the BIBLE!  Paul was a bigot.

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.  You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.  Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. – Gal. 1:6-9

Paul had previously entered the area of Galatia and preached Christ to them.  Some time afterward, he found out that they had begun to stray from what he preached.  He is shocked to find this out and says that anyone who preaches any other gospel should be cursed!  Can you believe it?  He actually said it twice!  It would seem to me that Paul had a “zero tolerance policy” when it came to any other gospel.  By today’s standards, he would be accused of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and intolerance.  Yet people want us to follow the Bible?  I think the people who want us Christians to do so, haven’t read their Bible.

Paul also says in 3:1 –

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. – NLT

Here he pretty much calls them stupid for believing something else other than what he taught them.  In fact, the entire letter to the Galatians is a rebuke of sorts!  Paul also realizes that he runs the risk of them turning on him for saying these things.  Look what he says in verse 16, “Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?”  He realizes that his statements may not be met with open arms, but that didn’t stop him.  He knew what he was called to do and say despite the consequences.

Paul had no respect for anyone who preached another gospel.  If there are things that are going on in this world that is contrary to what we believe to be right, then we don’t have to tolerate those things.  We don’t have to have respect to what we believe to be sin.  Want to know something else about Paul?  Did you know that he was not pro-choice?

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.  Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Cor. 6:18-20 NLT

This definitely spits in the face of many Christians.  You see, the world (and many well-meaning Christians) don’t understand something: if you call yourself a Christian, you don’t get to pick and choose what you believe.  I know that’s a strong statement, so I’ll say it again.  If Jesus is your Lord, which is what makes you a Christian, then you don’t get to pick what you belive and what you don’t.  What Paul instructed Christians to do then is applicable to us now.  We don’t get to say that his instructions, or the other writers of the Bible for that matter, are outdated.  Or I should say, we don’t get to pick what is outdated and what is not, which is what the world and many Christians are doing.

The world wants to pick through the Bible and throw scriptures at us that they think we need to follow, all the mean while ignoring the ones that contradict and rebuke the very way they live their lives.  Then Christians, in a misguided attempt to love others, begin to become complacent and cave in on what they are supposed to stand up for.  We weren’t called to become friends with the world.  We were called to show them the way.  In fact, it should be no surprise that the world doesn’t like us.

  • Matthew 24:9 – Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. – KJV
  • Luke 6:22 – Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. – KJV
  • John 15:18-19 – If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. – KJV

Those statements were all made by Jesus.  The very person the world wants us to emulate.  Unfortunately the world has a skewed view as to who Jesus was.  They have made him into someone who accepts their ways.  Does he love them?  He sure does, but he doesn’t love their ways.  They mistake love for acceptance and tolerance.  Here are a few other things Jesus said:

  • John 3:35-36 – The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.  And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment. – NLT
  • John 12:44-45 – Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.  And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. – KJV
  • John 14:6 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Those sound like statements that contain no wiggle room.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Sounds to me like Jesus was pretty closed-minded on the topic of eternal life.  Sounds to me like Jesus had no tolerance for another opinion, belief or creed.  Uh, oh.  Sounds like Jesus fit the description of a bigot.

But here’s the flip side:

Does that give us a license to treat people with disdain, hatred,mockery and discrimination?  God forbid!  It’s just the opposite.  We should show love and compassion on those we disagree with.  However, people think that love and tolerance go hand in hand.  They are wrong.  You can love someone without tolerating their lifestyle or beliefs.  It’s the concept of “love the sinner, hate the sin” which is not in scripture, but still a noble concept.

Where we (as Christians) have utterly gone wrong, is that we’ve stood for what we believe without doing it in love.  We’ve gone after the outward actions all the mean while neglecting the heart.  See, if we want to change how people live, we must change the heart.  Outward actions are a fruit of an inward belief.  No amount of protesting and changing of laws are going to change how people act.  Change the heart and you change the outward actions.

What sucks is that many Christians today would get rebuked from the very one they call Lord.  That’s right, Jesus would rebuke many of us just like he did then.  I call to your remembrance Matthew 23:25-27 KJV:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

This is what Jesus said to the very people who claimed to love God and his commands.  The people who claimed to be the most religious.  Yet this is exactly what we demand of the world today.  We want them to clean up their act, but we leave their heart untouched.

The same God we claim is intolerant to sin, the same God we claim is not pleased with our society’s ways, the same God we claim will bring judgement upon this nation (I for one don’t believe that He will), is the same God who sent His only Son to die for them.  Jesus became sin for us.  Jesus became sin for them too…maybe they just don’t know it yet.  And if we continue to present Him like we are, they never will.

It doesn’t mean that we ignore the scriptures I listed above.  But maybe there’s one thing you didn’t notice.  The letters in the New Testament were written to CHRISTIANS!  Those letters, in which the scriptures were taken from, were written AFTER those people in Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, etc., received Jesus.  They were written AFTER they both heard and believed the gospel.

We are trying to shove scripture down the throat of those who have not believed on Jesus.  We are trying to shove scriptures down the throats of those who don’t have a heart towards God.  It’s like I said before, we are trying change symptoms instead of treating the cause.  Maybe it’s time we start working the soil before we attempt to plant seeds.  Of course that may mean we get our hands dirty.  We sure don’t like that sometimes.

 Don’t get me wrong.  Just because they aren’t Christians doesn’t mean those scriptures aren’t applicable to them.  They are.  God’s word is true regardless of one’s personal beliefs.  However, it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  It’s frustrating and eventually you’ll give up.

Jesus said in Matthew 23:26 – First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.  Change the heart first and the actions will follow.  Jesus never preached “turn or burn”.  Let’s not either.  They are already hurting inside.  Let’s not make it worse.

We may need to tweak our approach, but it doesn’t mean we give up.  I still plan on standing up for what I believe is right despite the consequences.  I know others will as well…on both sides.

There is a quote that I’ve found to be true, especially during my time in youth ministry: “People don’t care how much you know if they don’t know how much you care.”  In this case, the world doesn’t care what we know, because it doesn’t yet know how much we care.  More importantly, it doesn’t yet know how much He cares.

The Truth About Speaking In Tongues – Pt. 4 – Church Tongues

I don’t know how typical this is for a blog to have so many parts to one subject.  However, this is a controversial subject and it may take some time to really dig into.  To be honest, I’d prefer to preach this rather than type it, but alas, I don’t have the “platform” for that yet, so I must make do.

I’m going to dive right in, so if you haven’t read the previous posts about tongues or aren’t familiar with this subject, this will definitely throw you a curve ball.  So I encourage you to go back and read at least a couple of the posts before continuing.

I want to compare and contrast the church and personal use of speaking in tongues.  I would use the terms public and private, but I think those are too general of terms.  Public makes it sound like you are walking down the street or shopping in the mall and you start speaking in tongues and private makes it sound like you are trying to keep it a secret.  Neither of which are very accurate.

After the book of Acts, speaking in tongues is not mentioned in great detail until 1 Corinthians.  In chapter 12 verses 1-11 talks about “spiritual gifts” and in verse 10 specifically mentions tongues and interpretation of tongues.  These gifts, which I won’t go into great detail here, are also widely debated amongst Christians.  I believe that not any one person has a certain gift but that the gifts are manifested at the proper times in church settings.  That’s not to say that there aren’t certain people who excel in one particular gift or the other, but I don’t believe that those gifts are limited in that way.  I believe that any person who is baptized in the Holy Spirit has the ability to operate in any of those particular gifts if needed, but those aren’t anything we can “make” happen.

Now, real quick, don’t let my use of the terms “church or church setting” throw you off.  The “church” is the entire body of Christ.  Every single Christian is a part of the “church”.  You don’t have to be in a building with a Pastor preaching to be in a church setting.  Jesus talked in Matthew chapter 18 about this new thing called the “church” and verse 20 he said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  I personally believe that it takes no more than two or three people to be gathered together to constitute a church setting.  Moving on…

I believe the Christians at Corinth didn’t fully understand the different types of speaking in tongues so Paul had to devote an entire portion of his letter to them explaining the proper uses.  I want to also note here that in the King James Version, only the word “unknown” is in italics. That means it wasn’t in the original text but was added by the translators.  Let’s begin:

1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

  • This is the beginning of Paul’s explanation of tongues.  He starts by saying this because the Corinthians were using tongues out-of-order.  Prophesy should be sought after more than tongues in a church setting if there is no interpretation, which we read Paul mentions this specifically later on.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

  • Here Paul is saying that the most common use of speaking in tongues is simply communication with God.  Prayer.  That’s why you hear Christians refer to speaking in tongues as their “prayer language”.  That’s what used for.  Don’t be thrown of by “speaking mysteries”.  That word mystery means something that is not obvious to the understanding.  This type of tongue is not to be spoken to people.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

  • The purpose or benefit of prophesy in a church setting is explained.   To build up, encourage and comfort those who hear.  Who couldn’t use some of that?

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

  • Here we get another benefit of the personal use of tongues.  You build yourself up.  It’s intresting…the first definition of edify,according to Strong’s, is “to build a house”.  Prophesy by contrast is utterance in a known language (no need for an interpreter).  So it’s better for a church setting so that many will be built up not just yourself.

I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

  • This definitely shows the importance of speaking in another language, however, again, not in a church setting.  Paul is speaking to the church, or the gathering of believers, in Corinth.  So his instructions, especially in this section of the letter, are directed at believers gathered together.

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

  • The obvious answer here is that it wouldn’t do them any good.  Again, he’s talking about his personal use of tongues.  If he came to them speaking in another language with no interpretation, it would be of no use to them.  So he contrasts that by saying in a church setting, speaking by inspiration in a known language is definitely more beneficial.

And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

  • Here Paul compares using the personal side to speaking in tongues to something in the natural.  At that time, it was common place for a city to use a trumpet as a warning signal to the city that there was something wrong.  If the person whose job it was to sound the alarm made an unfamiliar melody, it would be confusing to the whole city.  Likewise when someone speaking in tongues that is reserved for personal use in a public setting, it’s going to be confusing to everyone around them.

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

  • I think a great way to put this in our vernacular would be “you will be blowing smoke.”

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

  • Barbarian – one whose speech is rude, rough and harsh; one who speaks a foreign or strange language which is not understood by another; used by the Greeks of any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language, whether mental or moral, with the added notion after the Persian war, of rudeness and brutality. The word is used in the N.T. without the idea of reproachfulness.  Those are the three definitions from Strong’s.  So the point of Paul to use that name to describe someone who is using tongues out-of-order was dead on.  I’m sure that’s how we as Christians sound today when we speak in tongues out-of-order…we sound like barbarians.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

  • Just like he pointed out in the previous verses: we should be looking to build others up when we gather together.  We shouldn’t be looking for ways to get attention.  Unfortunately,  speaking in tongues is a way for many people to shout “look at me!”  However, he says that if tongues are spoken, then pray for them to be interpreted.  I believe that the spiritual gift of tongues and interpretation as mentioned in chapter 12 are what God intended us to use in the church.  If you do miss it and speak in tongues out-of-order, then at least, Paul is saying, pray to interpret so that everyone may be encouraged, not just yourself.  Keep in mind that back in verse 5, Paul says that tongues with interpretation is greater than prophesy.  Again, that’s why I believe we were given the gifts of tongues and interpretation.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

  • Remember, back in verse 2 Paul mentioned that speaking in tongues is speaking mysteries.  So your human understanding is not going to be increased at that moment.  However, that’s not to say that it won’t at all.  Remember, the personal use of tongues is another way to pray.  Our understanding doesn’t always benefit when we pray in our native tongue right away either.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

  • I believe Paul is referring to interpretation here.  Just back in verse 13, he says that if you do pray in tongues, pray to interpret.  So he’s saying if he is to pray or sing in the church in tongues he is confident there will be an interpretation.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

  • Again, without interpretation, those that are around don’t’ know what you’re saying, so why would they give an amen (so be it) in agreement if they don’t know what was spoken?  Sure you may give thanks to God in that language, but you’ve not built anyone else up in the process.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

  • That’s a pretty bold statement.  Obviously Paul was a fanatic about speaking in tongues, but he also knew the proper place for them.  He wants to do what is best for everyone.  We should, as Jesus did, look for ways to serve our fellow believers.  So if that meant he didn’t speak in tongues, then so be it.  He would that others benefit rather than himself.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

  • Verse 20: Grow up!  That’s what I gather Paul is saying.  They were like little kids left to themselves…what happens when kids are left with no direction?  Things get out of control real quick.  Verse 21 is Paul giving us the O.T. prophesy concerning this N.T. reality.  Paul is also specifically referring to the tongues that occurred in the book of Acts.  In my previous post, I touched on the fact that there were a specific type of speaking in tongues that were for unbelievers.  That type of tongues don’t need and interpreter because its spoken in languages that the unbelievers will recognize.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

  • This refers back to verse 10 and is apparently what the Corinthians were doing.  Everyone was speaking in tongues in their services and it was not good.  This would also seem to be a contradiction to verse 22, however it’s not.  Verse 22 was speaking about the signs type of tongues and Paul is talking about them speaking in their personal prayer language.  It’s that type of tongues that shouldn’t be used around unbelievers because they will think we are insane.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happened and is why there is so much confusion about speaking in tongues.  I’ve watched “meetings” where everyone is going bonkers speaking in tongues and, yes, I agree with Paul…they appear to be “mad”.

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

  • Here is Paul going back to what he said at the beginning.  Unless you have an interpreter, prophesy should be sought after in a church setting and he even gives a benefit to what can happen when it occurs.

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

  • There was obviously some selfish motives going on there, because not every single person in the church setting is going to have some type of psalm, teaching, tongues or revelation at the same time.  They were zealous of spiritual gifts, yet they were still very new to the things of God and they took it overboard.  Like I mentioned earlier about seeing meetings where everyone was speaking in tongues…that typically happens when people get on fire for the things of God and the moves of the Spirit.  Children have to be taught to control themselves.  We have to be taught the same.

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

  • All throughout this chapter, Paul is not forbidding the use of tongues in a church setting, just ones without an interpretation.  He also refers again to our personal use of tongues, that it is speaking directly to God.

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.  (Yes, I am skipping verses because 34-38 do not specifically pertain to my topic.) 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Those were some great instructions for Paul to end that section with.  So, to sum things up, speaking in tongues in a church setting (where there is preaching and teaching), needs to be followed by interpretation so that everyone may reap the benefits.  It also needs to be done in an orderly manner as well as taking into account the likely hood of unbelievers in the midst.  I’m not suggesting that we never speak in tongues around unbelievers since I’ve shown that there are tongues specific for unbelievers.  However, we need to be sure that if we are about to publicly speak in tongues, that either we pray we will interpret or we must be sure that someone there will interpret, as in the gift of interpretations.

I realize this was a bit lengthy, but this is a very important chapter on the subject of speaking in tongues and I thought it best to approach it in a commentary style.  This didn’t touch too much on the personal benefits of speaking in tongues or what the purpose of that is.  There are other scriptures that go into more detail on that type of tongues and that’s what’s in store for my next installment, but this time I mainly wanted to show the use of the “church tongues” and how it differs from our personal “prayer language”.

If you’ve read all my posts on this topic, thanks for hanging in there.  I sure don’t have it all figured out yet, so if you’ve got any insight or feedback concerning these posts up to this point, it’s most welcome.

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