Posted by: lepages | March 20, 2010

Tongues & Interpretation….

My preach notes from last Sunday.

We’re doing a series on spiritual gifts at present. Two weeks ago we had an excellent seminar on prophecy with Darren Chubb, and many of us were blessed, encouraged and built up as God spoke. Last Sunday we looked at the gifts of tongues and interpretation, and others have had the joy of receiving this gift during the last week. Tomorrow we have David Gibson from Russell Park Baptist Church coming to share on Healing, bringing with him Anne Crawley to testify to her miraculous healing.

Anyway, my notes from last week. If you’d prefer to listen to my preach and hear the testimonies shared you can do so at the Rutland Road Church website here.

God bless you as you read/listen.

Spiritual gifts – tongues and interpretation

Introduction
Last Sunday we had an excellent introduction to our series on spiritual gifts with our ‘prophecy workshop’ – I think a lot of us were blessed by things which were spoken into our lives to encourage us, to strengthen us, to comfort us and to build us up. I think one of the encouraging things was a realisation for some that ‘prophecy’ isn’t something out there, beyond them, but something that we can all engage in if we eagerly desire spiritual gifts, because God does want to speak to us, he does want to build us up and encourage us and strengthen us.

It was encouraging to receive a prophetic picture from Martine’s friend, given to her when she asked the Lord if there was anything he wanted to say to us as a church. As she asked, she was given the picture of a wheel, with the church as the cog at the centre, with all the spokes going out from there, which felt a real affirmation of our desire to engage with the community and work for good.

We come to another couple of gifts today that God gives to help build us up in our faith and in our relationship with him. We’re going to read about them from selected verses from 1 Corinthians 14, which also speaks a lot about prophecy, and the use of spiritual gifts in the worship life of the church.

Turn with me if you would then to 1 Corinthians 14

READ 1 Corinthians 14:1-19, 26-28, 39,40

So why, if Paul says prophecy is the gift to really desire, does he say ‘I would like everyone of you to speak in tongues..’ v5??

Why speak in tongues if no-one can understand you?

Why, if he thinks prophecy is so important, and if he would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others in a gathering of the church, than ten thousand words in a tongue v19, would he then boast v18 that he speaks in tongues more than all the recipients of his letter?

Why then, when he comes to give instructions on worship, would he then say, two, or maybe three of you should speak in a tongue and someone should interpret what is shared v27?

Why would he then in his concluding comments on the worship life of the church say v39 ‘be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues’?

Could it be that there is some sort of value in speaking in tongues, even though outwardly for some people its like, ‘well what on earth is this about? and what on earth is the point of it?’

Lets list the positives Paul tells us about speaking in a tongue:-

v2 ‘For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.’

Surely speaking to God is a good thing!!??

v2 ‘…he utters mysteries with his spirit.’

Surely its good to go beyond ourselves and not just be limited to what we can say or think for ourselves??

v4 ‘He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…’

To edify, means to build up – Paul says when a person prays in a tongue they build themselves up – surely its good to be built up??!!

But he actually goes on to say that this gift is not only given to build us up personally, but when its interpreted, as it should be in a gathering of worship, it will edify and build up the church v5.

As human beings we are not just physical bodies and intelligent minds, we are spiritual beings also – and there are things which happen at a spiritual level that affect us, whether we’re aware of what it is or not!

ILLUSTRATE Lesley & Maria’s baptism service – atheist touched and moved by the ‘spiritual dynamic’ (his words!) – this was the presence of God moving amongst us.

When we pray in a tongue we pray from our spirits and often express things that we would find it difficult to express at an intellectual level – so Paul speaks about praying with his mind AND praying with his spirit – not either/or, but both/and!! (v14) And he also speaks of both singing with his spirit and singing with his mind. Its great to sing some of the fantastic hymns and songs we have, both old and new, to express with our minds, with our thoughts, our devotion to God, but sometimes its great to just let our spirits overflow with praise and adoration to God, expressing our deep, innermost feelings which perhaps we can’t find the words to humanly express and to sing them out to our God from the centre of our being – I think that sometimes, even when the dynamic of an interpretation comes, it doesn’t match fully what was expressed, because I’m not sure there are always human words to express the spiritual dynamic which is going on.

When someone exercises the gift of tongues in public worship I believe it builds us up in our spirits, it touches something in our lives that isn’t touched by rational thought – but so that it doesn’t seem like a pointless exercise to those who aren’t engaged, there should be an interpretation so that all can engage – its the same reason that we use a microphone to enable those who are hard of hearing to be engaged in our worship.

In v26 Paul says, ‘When you come together, everyone has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.’

In our tradition the value of the congregation sharing together in worship, of all being able to contribute to the worship life of the church is a strongly held belief – taken from these verses, but traditionally missing out on the fullness what is mentioned here – I hope that it is always valued, but I’m not sure it means a free for all – Paul makes it clear that ‘everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.’ v40 and its fitting that someone should oversee the worship, ensuring that that is the case. Paul says ‘all of these must be done for the strengthening of the church’ – in other words, if any of those things are not exercised then maybe the church is not as strong as it could be….

As we come in worship we need to bring hymns and songs – perhaps not only those that are written down, but also those from our spirits, sung out to our God – we need to bring words of instruction – we’re blessed with scripture to help us in that and yet God can speak through us in many ways and sometimes he will do that through prophetic revelation and we need it, and sometimes we will be strengthened in spirit as people use the gifts of tongues and interpretation to express their devotion to God, to intercede for situations, sometimes that gift of interpretation will come not as words of praise or intercession, but as a releasing of a prophetic word from God – interpretation can be any of those things at different times.

Last Sunday we sought to be real and not just learn about spiritual gifts at arms length and some of us shared prophetically in a way we had not done before. I don’t want us to stay at arms length this morning as far as these gifts of tongues and interpretation are concerned, neither do I want to put anything on anyone and make people feel under pressure, so I want to share some testimony from my own experience, I’ve also asked Brian and Paul to come and share a little of their experience of receiving the gift of tongues and of using it.

Later, if you feel stirred to ‘eagerly desire spiritual gifts’ then perhaps we can lay hands on you and pray for you, and perhaps in the same way that we experimented a bit with prophetic giftings we can experiment a bit with the gifts of tongues and interpretation in our worship and share together in not only praying and singing together with our minds, but also pray and sing together with our spirits….

Well, testimony for myself. I think I’m a bit unusual, most people tend to be baptised in the spirit in a corporate gathering or as someone lays hands on them and prays for them. I believe I was baptised in the Spirit during a move of the Holy Spirit in Guernsey in the early 80’s – I woke up in the middle of a night, intensely aware of the love of God, of his grace, of his powerful presence and I seemed to spend what seemed like hours praising him – I’m sure that was when I first prayed in tongues. Sometimes I have used the gift more than others – looking back, I’m sure that when I used the gift less I’m sure that my relationship with God was not as strong – I have no doubt that when I pray in tongues it builds me up, it draws me closer to my Saviour, it helps me intercede for people and situations when I don’t know what to say – just a few weeks ago, when I was at Life in the Spirit conference I went through a round about 36 hour period when I seemed to pray in tongues almost constantly – it wasn’t something flagged up in worship or taught about, or the result of being prayed for – it just happened – and wherever I was I found myself quietly praying in tongues under my breath…. and I felt so close to God, so encouraged, so strengthened, so renewed in him.

Well, lets hear some others testimonies, Brian, Paul, would you like to come up to the mike.

Brian would you share first – how did you receive the gift of tongues and what has it meant to you?

Recently we were in a prayer time and you felt you should speak in a tongue then – how did that come about and what do you think about it?

Well Brian and myself go back a long way in receiving the gift. Paul, you received it more recently than us – can you share how it came about and what its meant to you?

Ministry.

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