What Everyone Should Know About the Holy Spirit – Part 4 – 1 Corinthians 12:11-13

What Everyone Should Know About the Holy Spirit – Part 4 – 1 Corinthians 12:11-13

January 15, 2020 17 By William Hollis


Let’s get started in the Word of
God. On Sunday mornings we’re going through 1st Corinthians chapter by chapter verse by
verse and today our text will be chapter 12 verses 11 through 13. You can turn there
at this time and once you find your way there if you’re able I’ll have you stand. You can
follow along as I read. We’re going to begin in verse 8 for the sake of context.
The Apostle Paul by the Spirit of God writes verse 8, to one there is given
through the Spirit a message of wisdom; to another a message of knowledge by
means of the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit to another
gifts of healing by that one Spirit; to another miraculous powers; to another
prophecy to another distinguishing between spirits for the discerning of
spirits; to another speaking in different kinds of tongues; and to still another
the interpretation of tongues. All these verse 11 are the work of one and the
same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one just as He determines. Just as a
body, verse 12, the one has many parts but all its many parts form one body so it
is with Christ. For we, verse 13, were all baptized by one spirit so as to form one
body whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free, and we were all given the one
Spirit to drink. If you would join with me in prayer we’ll ask God’s blessing on
our understanding. Loving Heavenly Father we’re with anticipation today posturing ourselves before you.
Needing for you to baptize us afresh and fill us anew and Lord as you do would you
speak very clearly into our lives in through your word this morning. Lord
we’re looking forward in the time that we have together in your word to what
you have for us, what you’re going to minister to us. So Lord speak. Your servants are listening. In Jesus name, Amen. You can be seated. Thank you. Today’s teaching is part 4 of the series
I’ve titled “What Everyone Should Know About the Holy Spirit.” As I had mentioned
last week we’re today going to tackle the very touchy topic of speaking in
tongues. The reason being is that much of the controversy and even confusion
surrounding this topic is due to Christians for the most part and in
large part being ignorant when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And these
are not my words these are the words of the Apostle Paul and this is what Paul
says in verses 1 through 3 which is the first thing everyone should know
about the Holy Spirit, and that’s that Christians can be ignorant when it comes
to especially the gifts of the Spirit. Here Paul tells them that he doesn’t
want them to be ignorant about the gifts of the Holy Spirit nor does he want for
them to let the past, their past experience with the supernatural have
undue influence when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a
believer and that was the first one. The second one we looked at was in verses 4 through 7 and that’s that there are different kinds of gifts and service as
well. Here Paul describes the different gifts as being given by the same Spirit,
and the different ministries that they’re from the same Lord, and that the
different workings are from the same God. We have woven into the fabric of verses 4
through 7, the Trinity, the triune nature of God. God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Holy Spirit. Last week we looked at our third one in verses 8
through 10 which is that there are specific gifts for specific purposes. Paul lists the gifts individually. He starts
with the word of wisdom, then the gift of the word of knowledge, the gift of faith,
gift of healing, gift of miracles, gift of prophecy, gift of discerning of spirits
and then the gift of tongues and with it, the gift of the interpretation of
tongues. We looked at these gifts individually last week and today we’re
gonna focus our attention on the gift of tongues and this because of our texts
today in verses 11 through 13 where we see our fourth one. Which is that
spiritual gifts, and this is so important, are not a sign of spiritual maturity.
Now in verse 11, Paul emphasizes that gifts are the work of one and the same Spirit as God
distributes them to each one as He determines; and he says in verse 12 that
just as a body, the one has many parts all of its many parts form one body and
so too is this true with Christ. And in verse 13, he goes on
to say that we’re all baptized by one Spirit whether Jews or Gentile, slave or free; and this to
form one body as we’re given the one spirit to drink. Ok I want to point
something out here right at the start that is so interesting and so important.
It has to do with how Paul is not really, if you think about it and look at it, emphasizing each specific gift as much
as he’s actually emphasizing the source of each specific gift coming from God. In other words
the emphasis is not on the gifts per se rather the emphasis is on where the
gifts come from. That the gifts come though different, we’re all different parts of
the same body, the gifts come from the same Spirit because they’re all
different gifts; and here’s the problem some had some of the gifts and some had
other of the gifts; and there was this notion with the Corinthian church at
that time that some who had other gifts were better than the others who didn’t.
Perhaps those who had the gift of tongues may have been inclined to think
that they were somehow superior to those who did not. I remember early on in my
Christian walk, I knew nothing of the gifts, especially
the gift of tongues and I met and got to know a pentecostal brother in Christ; and
as you might imagine I got acquainted with the gift of tongues very fast. He
assured me that the gift of tongues was for every believer; and he also assured
me that he indeed had the gift of tongues; but whether he realized it or
not I felt inferior because I didn’t have the gift of tongues, and he did; and that’s not fair Lord and I
want the gift of tongues, and he has the gift of tongues. Just ask him he’ll
tell you, like he was you know taking pride in the fact that he had the gift
of tongues; and somehow that made him a more mature Christian; and nothing could be
further from the truth. If you’re here this morning and you do not have this
particular gift take heart, you are in no way inferior to those of us who do. Ok?
I’m going to approach this teaching today by answering what I believe are the most
often asked questions concerning the gift of tongues; and I want to start with
this first one which is is the gift of tongues only given to mature believers.
In other words those who have arrived at this place of spiritual maturity and as
such God deems it fit to give them this gift as if somehow the gift of tongues
is of paramount importance. I don’t want to understate the importance of the gift
but I think that we also on the other side of that can overstate the
importance of this particular gift. Well, the answer is no, simply put. The Spirit gives to each one
of us individually as He wills, which is what Paul says in our text this morning,
and the specific purpose of tongues is to both glorify God and to edify the
believer. Not exalt the believer over other believers but to edify the
believer and to glorify God. Now here’s the thing, and this is sad, and i’ve seen it:
some churches, in their emphasis on the gifts have used the gifts of the Spirit
as a litmus test of sorts to determine who it is that
they should put into positions of leadership. The gifts of the Spirit is
not the litmus test, the fruit of the Spirit is. The fruit of the Spirit, love,
joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, kindness meekness, and self-control (I hate that one), and patience
(and I don’t particularly like that one either), but the fruit of the Spirit
should be the gauge; and here’s why, fruit grows, ripens if you will as it
matures over a period of time, where as gifts are given. Gifts are not
the gauge if you please by which to measure someone’s spiritual
maturity; and in fact it can actually be may be evidence of someone’s immaturity,
and I’ll explain how I get there. Do we not give gifts especially at this time
of year to those, and those gifts that we give are gifts that are needed? This is an area
of lack. They need this, this would be a good gift that’s why it’s so hard to find a
gift for that one who seemingly has everything they need. Whereas conversely
we’re prone to give a gift to someone, it’s something they could use in their lives;
and so too is this true with the Lord. He’ll give us a gift that he knows we
need. That will help us and benefit us, be a blessing to us; and when someone is lacking,
someone is in need in the spiritual arena, God will give them that gift. Gifts
should never be the gauge, only the fruit of the Holy Spirit which
is predominantly love. Let’s move to our second question which is basically this:
What is the gift of tongues anyway? I remember when my kids first asked me about
this and asked their mom about it. It was really foreign to them, it was kinda
freaky to them, and we just had to explain to them that it’s a prayer
language. Tongue is a language. It’s an unknown tongue, an unknown prayer language that’s
given by God to believers whereby we can communicate to God in prayer. It’s a heavenly language; and praying in
tongues enables us to glorify God in ways that we’re just unable to in our
earthly language; and while we’re unable to understand what it is that
we’re saying when we pray, the Holy Spirit in us, as we pray in the Spirit, is
praying in a way that God understands, and in a way that God is glorified. When
we get to 1st Corinthians 14 Paul’s gonna go into more detail as is
the case in verses 14 and 15, where he says for if I pray in a tongue my spirit
prays but my mind is untruthful so what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit
but I will also pray with my understanding. In other words I’m going to do both. There are those times in my Christian
experience where I find it necessary to pray in the spirit because I know not
how to pray; and so I pray in the spirit because the Holy Spirit makes intercession
and the Holy Spirit knows exactly what it is and how it is that I need to pray;
and Paul goes on to say, I was sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my
understanding, and that’s interesting. There’s been occasion in my own personal
experience where I’ve actually, God will just give me this song,
in this unknown tongue, and I will sing in the spirit as you pray in the spirit; and
I got to tell you it is one of the most amazing experiences, and edifying
experiences you could ever imagine; and that’s what Paul is saying here is that
sometimes there’s a melody to it, there’s a song to it, and you pray in the Spirit,
and you sing in the Spirit but you also sing in a known tongue as we just
did here this morning. We pray in a way that we understand. We sing with our
understanding but we can also sing in the spirit as well. Well this third question is perhaps one
of the most misunderstood of all, and we find this issue predominantly in the, what I’ll call
hyper-pentecostal churches. The question is this: Is tongues the only evidence of
the baptism with the Holy Spirit?; and the answer is no. Contrary to what
particularly the pentecostals will say, that the gift of tongues is the only
evidence that you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit; and the problem
with that is is that there are only three accounts in the book of Acts where
speaking in tongues accompany the baptism with the Holy Spirit after the laying
on of hands. There are two other cases where there’s the laying on of hands and
it was not accompanied with the speaking in tongues, and here’s the thing, there
are numerous other accounts also in the book of Acts where there is no mention
of the speaking in tongues when the Spirit came upon someone. Upon, in the
Greek, epi. We studied this, the three different Greek pronouns of being in (in-dwelling), and para (alongside), and epi (upon) a believer; and when the Spirit
came upon them it was not always evidenced by the speaking in tongues. I’ll
again refer to my own personal experience. When I was baptized with the
Holy Spirit, I did receive the gift of tongues; but was what was more pronounced
then, this prayer language that I was given, which I’m so grateful for. I’m
not better than you, if you don’t have it, but I got to say that what was more
pronounced was my boldness. What you find almost without exception
is whenever the Holy Spirit came upon a believer it was accompanied not by
tongues but by boldness. A boldness, what I like to call holy boldness. A
sanctified strength that came by way of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. At the end
of this chapter in 1st Corinthians chapter 12 versus 27 thru 31 Paul says this: now
you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it, and God has
placed in the church first of all, and we’re going to get into this we get to the end of
the chapter: apostles, second – prophets, third – teachers, then miracles, then gifts
of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all
apostles, are all profits, are all teachers, do all work miracles, do all
have gifts of healing, do all speak in tongues, do all interpret? The answer’s no.
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts and yet I will show you the most excellent
way. Because “tongues” is so supernatural in its manifestation it kind of comes
packaged with this aura, if I can say it that way, of mystique, and so Christians
outwardly desire that gift because of that reason and that’s the problem I
think; and I think this was the problem there in the Corinthian church. It was almost like
this competitive dynamic when it came to the the gifts. You know brother so-and-so
has the gift of healing. I know, I heard about that, and sister so-and-so has the gift of tongues. I know.
I wish I did. And so what Paul is saying is do all have gifts? No. Desire the
greater gifts but yet there is a more excellent way, a better way that I want to show you. Well the fourth question is: What’s the
difference between speaking in tongues and praying in tongues? Now when you get into Acts
Chapter two they weren’t really speaking to other
people in an unknown tongue. They were praising God in an unknown tongue. They
were actually praying in tongues, and the people who were there heard it ,and it
was in their tongue, and they understood it; and that has kind of lent itself to
this notion that there’s a difference between the speaking in tongues and the
praying in tongues; and in a way there is in the sense that praying in tongues is
for the edification of the believer individually, privately, whereas speaking
in tongues is for the church corporately; but in either case, it is a glorifying of
God in a prayer language, a heavenly language, an unknown tongue. Now, as we’ll
see again when we get to 1st Corinthians 14 the Apostle Paul lays out very strict
guidelines when it comes to the corporate manifestation of this gift of
tongues; and he says more specifically that whenever the church comes together
everything must be done decently and in order when anyone speaks in tongues. I
gotta share this with you. I wasn’t going to but I’ve got to tell you this story.
I was a very young believer and this Pentecostal friend invited me to their church; and now you have to
understand I had already been to Calvary Chapel, and my first experience walking
in to Calvary, this is 1982. Don’t do the math, I was like five, back in 1982. I walked in,
and here’s this guy with long hair, it was during the summer, and he had sandals on
and he’s playing the guitar and just worshiping God and people are just
worshiping God, and I’m like, I’m home. I’m home, this is, this is, this is my church
and I never looked back. All of these years later. Well this friend had said, hey you gotta
come check out my church, and so I made a deal with him, you know, I said ok I’ll check out yours, you got to come to mine. Boy, was he in for a surprise but boy was I in for more of a
surprise. I don’t mean this to be disparaging or be derogatory but I was
just absolutely shocked and freaked out. I think I was traumatized actually,
because I walk in and everybody is speaking in tongues, and nobody’s
interpreting it, and I’m like, I mean I knew what was kind of going on, but I hadn’t read 1st
Corinthians 14 yet, about how it was to be done decently and in order; and they’re
all, it’s just gibberish; and it was chaotic, and it was unsettling, and it was
disconcerting to me, and I didn’t know what to make of it; and I surely wasn’t
worshiping God because I was so distracted by everybody jumping up and down (GLORY), and I said whoa; and well you know that was before I had hearing loss. What? And I mean it was just, it was weird it was, can you imagine bringing an unbeliever to a service like
that? Doubtful they would probably come back. I
mean it was just, it wasn’t in order, and God is a God of order. and
especially when it comes to this particular gift. Let me read 1st
Corinthians 14 beginning of verse 26. What then shall we say brothers and sisters?
when you come together each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.
Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks
in a tongue, and here’s the restrictions, two or at the most three, should speak one at a
time, not a hundred at a time like I experienced; and someone must interpret. There
must be the companion gift of the interpretation of tongues whenever
someone has that gift and use that gift for the edification of the body by
speaking in tongues. He says in verse 28 if there is no interpreter the speaker
should keep quiet in the church, well that’s a novel idea, and speak to himself and to
God. Two or three prophets should speak and the others should weigh carefully what
he said. In other words it needs to be controlled. It needs to be done in an
orderly way. If there is no interpretation, then the one who has the
gift should not speak in that tongue. This brings us to our fifth and final
question which is why, basically. Why is the gift of tongues so controversial and
divisive? Well, there are at least a couple of reasons one of which has to do
with the spiritual pride of being competitive about having spiritual gifts.
Again as if the gifts are a gauge of spiritual maturity, and this has led some
who do not have this gift to feign it, to pretend as if they did have this gift, lest they be seen as
being less spiritual than the ones who do; but it’s this other reason that I’d like
to draw your attention to, and it’s that some have made synonymous the
neglecting of the gifts with the cessation of the gifts throughout church
history, and I want to explain that. There is this teaching known as
cessation-ism by one of the most famous, and you know him,
is John MacArthur. John MacArthur believes that the gifts have ceased,
they are not for today; and I think that is very sad, if I could just be so candid,
to rob believers of the gifts that God has, the gifts of the Spirit, the baptism with
the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe as some that it’s blasphemy of the Holy
Spirit, but I do believe that it does grieve the Holy Spirit to teach and
believe that the gifts have ceased, and I think the enemy has won that battle in large
measure. The gifts are for today and don’t misunderstand the neglecting of
the gifts as being synonymous with the cessation of the gifts. I remember the pastors
conference many years ago, in fact I think it was Ricky Ryan. Mealani
knows pastor Ricky Ryan. He’s on Maui now and this was when he was in Santa Barbara, David Guzik
now is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, but he was talking about
how the Calvary Chapel’s today have kind of gone to the other side of the table,
so to speak, when it comes to the gifts. Now I had shared a while back about how the Calvary Chapels are sort of like “Bapti-Costals.” Is that weird? I’m sorry if it is, but
we’re “Bapti-costals” you know, but what Ricky Ryan said I thought
it was really profound and really ministered to me, I was passing on the
mainland at the time, was that some of the Calvary Chapels are starting to look
a lot more like the Baptist churches, that don’t believe in the gifts, than they
are the Pentecostal churches that do. In other words we have kind of gone, for fear of hyper-
Pentecostalism, we’ve gone to the other extreme, and we’ve kind of, you know, gone
to the other side of the table, and I think we do err greatly when we do that.
The gifts are for today and much of the controversy surrounding the gifts of the
Holy Spirit, particularly the gift of tongues, is because of the abuses of it and the
false teaching concerning it, that the gifts had ceased. The gifts have not
ceased. The gifts are for today. The Holy Spirit desires you to have at least one
and really more of these gifts, and they’re there for the asking. Paul writing
to Timothy, in closing, chapter 4 verse 14 says: do not neglect your gift which
was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Don’t neglect the gift. One last personal story in my own life. When I first was
baptized with the Holy Spirit and was given this gift of tongues, my prayer
life just was off the charts, and I was praying constantly, continually. As the
Apostle Paul said pray continually in the Spirit, and I was praying all the time, and singing in the spirit, and praying in the Spirit, and it was so glorious, and then after a while it
started to wane, and I started to neglect that gift that I was given. It’s kind of like when
you give someone a gift and they enjoy it, kinda of like what we see with our
children when they’re young, and Christmas they love it until December 26,
and they neglect it, and it’s just you know just the way it is. Don’t neglect the gift , and please, please,
please, don’t make synonymous neglecting of the gifts with the cessation of the
gifts. If you’re here this morning and you have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit, all
you have to do is ask and the Lord will not give you a snake when you ask for a
fish. He will not give you a rock if you ask for bread. As we as earthly
fathers would not do, how much more your Heavenly Father Jesus says, will give the
Holy Spirit to those who ask. Let’s pray. Lord thank You so much for the Holy
Spirit, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I pray that You would, by the Holy
Spirit, minister this truth to us this morning. That in some way Lord You’re
able to clear up the confusion surrounding particularly this gift, the
gift of tongues; and lastly Lord for anyone here that desires the gifts, desires to be
baptized with the Holy Spirit, I pray that they would simply ask and that they
would receive the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen