Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Tonges is For -- to Know the Love of God

The Gift of Tongues is that -- a gift.

Tongues, therefore, is not something that we do in order to get something from God.

Tongues is not a work, nor is it something that we use to provoke other people, so that they can see how spiritual we are.

Paul explained the importance of tongues:

"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." (1 Corinthians 14: 4)

We edify our whole being -- body, soul, and spirit -- when we pray in the Spirit.

Yet every gift that God has given us through the Holy Spirit is not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of the entire Body of Christ.

If you are speaking in tongues, and there is no one else to interpret what you are saying in the Spirit, then you keep your prayer to yourself:

"28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God." (1 Corinthians 14: 28)

Furthemore, tongues means nothing without a firm and growing knowledge of how much God loves you, which he demonstrates through His Son and His death on the Cross:

"31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.. . .

Then Paul introduces us to God's love in the next chapter:

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13: 1)

"Charity" gives off the impression that we have to do good works, like donate food or clothes to other people, or other such hobbies. Subsequent renderings are more accurate:

"If with the tongues of men and of messengers I speak, and have not love, I have become brass sounding, or a cymbal tinkling;"

This love is God's love for us, not our love for anyone.

Praying in the Spirit, praying in tongues, is all about growing in knowledge of God's love for us.

Jude writes:

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 20-21)

Praying in the Spirit can sound mystical and ethereal, but Paul explains in Ephesians what "walking in the Spirit" and being filled with the Spirit is all about:

"18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." (Ephesians 5: 18-21)

What are we rejoicing about?

Paul explains at the end of the previouis chapter:

"31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4: 31-32)

How do we receive a revelation of this grace? Refer back to Paul's previous prayer for the Ephesians:

"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3: 14-19)

Paul wanted the Ephesians, and by extension all of us, to have a growing revelation of how much God loves us through His Son!

And we can understand this revelation the more that we medidate on all that Christ has done for us:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

And for this grand revelation, Paul had prayed the following:

"16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," (Ephesians 1: 16-19)

Tongues is all about our knowing how much God loves us, building us up to receive a greater revelation of how much He loves us, and in the power of this love, we walk in the new newness of life.

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