Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy

Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 14:1-40
Date: 01/17/2009  Lesson: 3
The Bible promises that spiritual gifts will be manifest in the church until Christ's return, but we must test the gifts against the Scriptures to avoid counterfeit gifts.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath and we're so glad that you are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world, listening on the radio this morning, watching live on our website at saccentral.org or watching on the various television networks wherever you are. We welcome you this morning to another Sabbath school. And we look forward to studying together and we hope that those of you who, wherever you are, feel a part of our family here at central church. And I know that many of you do, because you write in and you send in your song requests. And so, we're gonna sing a couple more song requests this morning at this time.

Our first one is 115, "o come, o come immanuel", , and this is from emilka from australia, ralph and bertie in the bahamas, mary and charles in Canada, consetta in england, and rashima also in england, Josephine in ireland, lasandra in jamaica, kay in Ohio, leanne in New York, Michael and eline in Michigan, raleigh in California, and elisabeth in New York; and we'll sing all 3 verses. I wanna thank those of you who did send in Christmas requests. If we didn't sing your favorite, we'll hold that over for next year. So you've already got that in. We received several hundred Christmas requests and we did our best to sing those for you.

And thank you so much for sending them in. Our next song, "the first noel" is on 118, 118. And this is from ismanina in brazil, dr. Sheninum in California, raleigh in California and barbara; jim, diane, jamie, and buffy in florida; wilfred and Karen in granada, steve and mary in Indiana, kimo in jamaica; rosemary in Maryland, elisabeth in New York; and anna in Texas; and beth in Washington; , verses 1, 2, 4, and 5. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for coming to this earth, for saving us, for being our loving Heavenly Father.

Thank you so much for being willing to come down here to this dark world. You left the majesty of heaven, you left the angels that adored you and you came to save us. We just give you our hearts this morning, that's all we can give you. But we surrender our lives to you and we ask you to fill us and to use us and be with us as we open up Your Word and study together. Be with those who are part of our Sabbath school family that are all over this world, that you'll be with them in a very special way.

Be with our speaker as he brings us our lesson study and we thank you so much for the ministry of Pastor Doug here at central church and around the world. Please put your angels around him, a special blessing on him today. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Good morning.

Thank you, debbie and our musicians and all who help make Sabbath school possible. I wanna welcome all of our friends who are visiting and maybe before we go too far, I should explain something. I was listening as we were just singing some of the last Christmas hymns of the season. And I looked and of course, the lesson that we're teaching today is for January 17th. And so people are going to wonder, boy, they must really love this time of year at central church.

It's January 17th, how many of you wait until like the second week of January before you take down your lights? They're gonna think we got it real bad here. I wanna remind everybody that this is recorded a couple of days after Christmas and so we're still singin' The Songs here. But it's broadcast three weeks from now. That's just how long it takes to get the programs edited, we add in subtitles for the hearing impaired to get sent out to all the different stations. And so there's a little time warp, we actually are in the future here in central church.

So but it may seem like it's the past when you hear the Christmas songs. Anyway, wanna welcome our friends that are studying with us. Right now, as we record this, it's still 2008, next Sabbath will be 2009, assuming the Lord doesn't come first. But we've just begun our new study, dealing with the gift of prophecy, the prophetic gift. And we're gonna be dealing with lesson number three.

Now, the study today is talkin' about spiritual gifts and prophesy. And one of the titles under our lesson for today's gonna be talking about the gift of tongues. And so that is our special offer for today's lesson, it's a book by yours truly and it's called "understanding tongues." It's free offer number 145 and that's one of the Spiritual gifts we're gonna talk a little bit about today. Have a memory verse, the memory verse is from Corinthians 12:4-6. And here in the lesson, it's out of the new king James version.

I appreciate if you'd say it out loud along with me. One more time, Corinthians 12:4-6. It says, "there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. There are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

" Many different kinds of gifts, we're all different parts of the body, and it's important that we recognize what our gifts are and how we can integrate those in the body. Now, I'm gonna mention something now, just because I'm thinking of it now and I don't wanna forget, and God willing, I'll mention it again during the lesson. I like to keep in mind that people who are listening on the radio or on the internet or television, sometimes they catch the last half of it as they're dressing for church. Sometimes they catch the last half of it, depending on what part of the world they're in, 'cause they're coming home from church. And so people don't always get the whole hour.

A lot of folks wonder what their spiritual gifts are and how can they know what their gifts are. God gives spiritual gifts to everybody. There is a spiritual gift survey, there's a lot of them out there, some you can get online, some are better than others. But there's one that we've used here at central church, and if you'd like to maybe take a look at this spiritual gifts evaluation or survey, just go to the church website and we're gonna try and get that posted there for you. If you're watching right now on the internet, it may not be there yet.

It would be after this broadcast. Saccentral.org, www.saccentral.org and we're gonna have a spiritual gift evaluation you can download there, help you to assess, what are your spiritual gifts? It's good for you to know what they are and so that you can incorporate them. And, you know, it's kinda sad, we are just a couple of days after the Christmas season here and I won't ask for a show of hands, but I'll venture to say that some of you got some gifts that you don't know what quite to do with. And some of you may re-gift them and some of you may get in line at one of the stores and wait to do a return and get the right size or maybe something more specifically like what you're looking for. But with the gifts that God gives to his people, they are always perfectly suited for you.

You don't need to worry about having to take it back. But what is sad--i noticed this morning, as I was leaving the house, I still saw one package on the floor in the living room, it's all wrapped up. I'm not sure what it is or why it's there, must be for somebody else, but it's still wrapped up. It's definitely not for one of the boys or it would not still be wrapped up. But I thought, hey, we missed something.

And how sad to have a gift unopened. You know, I don't know if I dare tell you this, but years after Karen and I got married, we found a wedding gift we had not even opened. And don't ask me how it happened, I think that we had to go to the honeymoon before we finished, we put some things in the cupboards and it just, it got misplaced and there was this gift, not even opened. And years later we open it and go, wow, we could have been using this all these years, we didn't even know we had it. And that's the way some people are in the church.

Everybody that gets baptized gets a gift. As a matter of fact, let me give you a Scripture, acts 2:38-39. Now I think we got some microphones here, you got that? Go ahead and read that for us, richard. "Then Peter said to them, repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

But the promises to you and to your children and to all who are afar off as many as the Lord our God will call." All right, now, Peter says, "repent and be baptized and possibly if you get your lottery ticket, you might win one of those gifts." Is that what he says? Does he say that the Lord is gonna play kind of heavenly roulette and if it lands on your number, you get a gift. He says, "you might receive a gift," it says, "you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the various gifts of the Spirit are all facets of the Holy Spirit." So if you've got the Holy Spirit, you've got some gift for ministry, everybody does. And some people just don't recognize what they are. And he says, "for the promise-- so this is a gift that is promised. When did the Holy Spirit come down on Jesus? At his baptism.

Now, notice, with the general giving of the Holy Spirit, sometimes the Holy Spirit comes down before they're baptized. Any of you remember in acts 10 while Peter was preaching to cornelius and his family, the Holy Spirit came down, they hadn't even been baptized yet. Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes down at the moment of baptism as in the example of Jesus. Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes down after baptism as it did with the disciples at pentecost and even you can look in acts 19, those 12 ephesian believers. You know, and that's the way it is with the gifts of the Spirit.

God gives it, but it's usually, it's connected in some way with before, during or after baptism. With the commitment to follow the Lord, there's this gift. Now, it's something like a wedding gift. I mean, if you go to a wedding you bring a gift? It's, hey, you know, sort of understood that if you're gonna go to a wedding, you should bring a gift. I'm a pastor, I've done a number of weddings, but even though I'm the pastor and I'm officiating, we always bring a gift.

And even the times when Karen can't accompany me, because sometimes I'm invited somewhere else to do a wedding, she says, "well, we gotta bring something." She'll go shopping and you bring a gift to a wedding. Baptism is like your marriage to Christ, there's a gift that's given. How sad that some people really don't ever think about it, they don't open it. You know, I understand-- I wish I could remember the statistics, but it's pretty scary. I heard this week that one of the biggest scams in the merchandising business is what they call gift cards, gift cards.

You go to a store, it could be a restaurant, it could be, you know, I won't name any stores, but it could be anything from wal-mart--oop, I named one-- to anything. And you say, look, I wanna-- I don't know what to get for this person here, but I'm gonna go to circuit city and I'm gonna get them a $50 gift card and you give it to your grandson or whatever and he can buy anything in the store. You know how many of those gift cards never get spent? It's like 20%. And so these companies get the money from people who buy the gift cards, but the people who get the card, it seems like it's so much easier to misplace or lose some plastic card than it is to actual cash. People are a little more careful about the cash.

And so all these folks get these gift cards and they stick it in the wallet, they put it on the shelf and say, "oh, that's wonderful" and they--or it stays in the envelope and gets thrown out with the Christmas card and they lose them, they don't spend them. Somebody gave me a gift card to a restaurant, it's only good at this one restaurant, but the restaurant's not exactly where I live or in the neighborhood of where I live. And I did go there once, but the card was worth more than what I could eat in one sitting. And so I've still got what's left of that card, it's in my car, I've had it for 5 years and I've gotta remember to go to that part of town someday, so I can eat what's left. I don't even know if they're still open.

So I'm sharing that with you just to illustrate, a wasted gift, kinda sad, isn't it? the Lord has given everybody gifts for ministry. Now, after the baptism of Jesus. How many miracles do you read about Jesus performing before his baptism? None. His public ministry and the miracles happened after his baptism. And so when you're baptized and you're married to Christ, he will give you gifts for ministry.

After Jesus was baptized, says, "he went everywhere teaching, preaching, healing, casting out devils." All right, I'm--that's my introduction. So God has given everybody gifts of the Spirit, we've got a number of verses to consider. Someone please look up for me Corinthians 12:27. "Now, you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it." Every one of us is a member or a part of the body of Christ. Did somebody get Romans 12:4-5? "For we have many Numbers in one body and all members have not the same office.

So we being many are one body in Christ and every one member's one of another." You know, the high priest on his vestments had a breast plate and that breast plate was gold and it was embedded with 12 prominent precious stones. What were the stones? What gems? It's hard to remember. You know why? 'Cause they're all different. As a matter of fact there were no two that were the same. Was that an accident? Someone told me they align up almost perfectly with the 12 foundations of the new Jerusalem, those stones.

Sometimes in the Hebrew and the Greek they use different words for the stones, so it may sound different when you read it in Genesis or rather in Leviticus than when you read it in Revelation. But that's telling us they're all different, but they're all part of God's church. How different were the apostles? Peter was different from his brother andrew, personalities very different. And John, different from James. And they were all different, but they were all apostles and they all made up the body of Christ.

Is Jesus in the world today? Is Christ in the world today? He's in the world today in how he ministers through you and me. I heard one time that after world war ii, a few years after world war ii, when they began to get involved in trying to develop peace between the countries, a number of students from germany volunteered to go to england. And in london they went to rebuild a cathedral that had been bombed during one of the bombings. Trying to offer peace. And they were able to reassemble everything.

Well, there was this statue of Christ that was in this cathedral with his hands stretched out and it said, "come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden." Well, they were able to find most of the parts of this marble statue and to piece it back together. But when it came to reassembling the hands of Jesus, they could not find the hands. They had been obliterated in the bombing and they didn't know what to do. So they assembled everything but there--his arms were stretched out, but there were no hands. So they kept the statue there, but they retitled it.

And the statue said, "now, he has no hands but ours." And that's still there today in this cathedral, because you and I now are the hands and the feet and the mouth and the arms and the eyes and the ears of Jesus. We're how Jesus ministers in the world today. So that's very important for us to say, we are the body of Christ. Somebody read for me the Gospel of John 2:19-21. I think I gave that out too, got a hand right here.

"Jesus answered and said to them, 'destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the jew said, 'it has taken forty-six years to build this temple and you will raise it up in three days.' But he was speaking of the temple of his body." All right, so in the Bible when it says, what "know you not that ye are the temple of God." We always remember the part with the health message that says, "your body is the temple of God," and that's true. But another time Paul is speaking in the plural and he speaks to the church, he says, "ye, collectively, are the temple of God." And this is what Jesus meant when he said, "destroy this temple in three days I'll raise it up." What is the church called? The body of Christ. So we all together, we always think I'll meet you at the church. You think the buildings and the x 4 and the shingles and the wood and this is the church. But biblically this is a building to keep the church dry.

You are the church, right? This is a building to keep the building dry. You know, I always thought it was interesting. You ever seen? They make these garages to park your motor home in? They'll make a shed to put your travel trailer in. You ever seen a travel trailer parked under an awning or a shed? So it's a roof for the home. You think about it, it's kinda odd, isn't it? But that's really what the church is, this is a roof for the building.

This is a roof for the temple, you and I are the temple of God. We often get confused and thinks it's the bricks and the mortar. So God is given everybody spiritual gifts. Now, I want you to notice, if you look in Romans 12, Romans 12, there's several lists that you're gonna find in the Bible that itemize some of the Spiritual gifts. They're not identical, but in Romans 12 it talks a little bit about some of the gifts of the Spirit.

And you're lookin' at like verses--oh, you could read 1-8. But I especially wanna focus on, notice, verse 3. "Every man--" I'm looking, this is king James I'm using. I was surprised as I went to some different versions, they leave out tHis Word. Verse 4, "all members;" verse 5, "everyone;" so it's talking about every man, all members, everyone.

the Lord makes it abundantly clear that we're all under an obligation, no one is excluded from serving God with their spiritual gifts. Everybody's supposed to be involved in someway. All right, so I wanna jump down to 1 Corinthians 1:6-7. I think I might have gotten somebody who is willing to read that for me. "Even so or even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

" All right, so do we need spiritual gifts today? I should hasten to mention-- I told our friends earlier that at the central church website, we have a spiritual gifts inventory, a survey, where you can sort of evaluate what your spiritual gifts are. They leave out what they call, "the miraculous gifts." So some of these supernatural gifts like the gift of tongues, the gift of miracles, the gift of healing. I think that may be not in the survey. The survey is especially focused on the gifts of service. A lot of the gifts deal with spiritual gifts for the purpose of service in the church.

But what about, some churches teach, well, the gifts of--the miraculous gifts we don't have anymore, that was just for a specific time. What do you think? Do we still need the gift of prophecy? Do we still need the gift of healing? Oh, I'm not talking about just medical healing or a doctor's treatment, but miraculous healing. Do we need the gift of miracles? There are some that you might say, "well, this person's got the gift of healing because they've been to medical school and they are a very skillful surgeon; they've got the gift of healing." But I've never heard someone say, "he's got the gift of miracles." But that's one of the gifts. I believe they're all still needed in the church today and I think that you often see the church, the gifts of the church, kinda come in waves through history as there is a need. When there's a lot of evangelism going on, it's often followed by a lot of persecution; which is then often followed by miracles and power.

God's power and the Bible compares the Holy Spirit to rain. The Holy Spirit's compared to rain, "which comes in waves; former rain, latter rain," it's something that happens in harvests. So you find often the more miraculous gifts seem to come in waves where there's a great need in the church or God is getting ready to move in some supernatural or spectacular way. Let me read this one for you, go with me in your Bibles to Ephesians 4. Do we still need the Spiritual gifts? Ephesians 4:11, "and he himself gave some to be apostles--" this is one of the lists--" some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors--" I've gotta stop right here.

Notice, please, "some evangelists, some pastors." Are all apostles evangelists? Are all pastors prophets? Or are they differing gifts, distinct and unique? Can there be a person who has the gift of he's an apostle, a prophet, and an evangelist? Yeah, Paul was. Some, you can have multiple gifts, but it doesn't mean that because you got one gift, you have to have all the others. Sometimes a person has one gift by itself. And part of the reason I say that is because I have met people before who have the gift of evangelism, but because of the traditional way our church is established, they say, "well, if you wanna do evangelism, you go to seminary. We give you a church where you're gonna pastor for a few years and then if you can be a successful evangelist in that church, while you're pastoring, then we might someday promote you to an evangelist.

" Isn't that typically how it works? How often do you find that a conference hires a person, cold turkey from seminary to evangelism? I think that's a mistake in the way we operate. We're thankful for the Amazing Facts and the other schools of evangelism, because more and more conferences now are hiring people who have had specific evangelism training to use their gift of evangelism. You don't have to necessarily be ordained, you can be a lay evangelist too, right? And so I just wanted to emphasize that, it's a little pet peeve with me. But some are pastors, some evangelists are not pastors. Some pastors are not evangelists, amen.

And so you just realize they're different gifts. And some can have many together. Notice, what are these gifts for? "For the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying or building up of the body of Christ." How long do we need these gifts? Notice, I'm in Ephesians 4, "'till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of The Son of God to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." That--why do we need these gifts? "That we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." Now, it says, that we need these gifts until we're perfect. Well, is the church perfect yet? We still need 'em. And what do we need 'em for? To keep us from being tossed around with every wind of doctrine.

You know, one of the Spiritual gifts in the church is the gift of prophecy. We'll be talking about that more during future lessons. And in the seventh day adventist church, we think a modern example of the gift of prophecy's in the writings of Ellen white. And I've noticed something that's happened, is in church families or in groups that have abandoned confidence in the inspiration of Ellen white and her writings, they tend to drift away doctrinally into all kinds of sort of generic forms of Christianity. You can almost always count on that.

It's probably a good place for me to remind you--i think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there's a new website Amazing Facts came out with that's specifically dedicated to answering some of these questions and it's simply called Ellenwhitetruth.com. I understand when I gave that last time it was a website that had been hacked. Well, it's not hacked anymore. It's Ellenwhitetruth.com or Ellengwhitetruth.com, either one will work. But you go there and you find out a lot more information on that.

That's my commercial for that right now. I just wanted you to look that up and you can forward that link to other people. So we need these gifts to grow the church, to give it stability. Here's another list and I think I gave this to someone, Corinthians 12:28-30, is this the one I gave you earlier, birdie? Okay, we'll let you read again. "And in the church, God has appointed first of all, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers.

Then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are they all apostles? Are they all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have the gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" Very good. All right, you notice something happening here, this is a very important Scripture when it comes to understanding spiritual gifts. For one thing, do some of the Spiritual gifts have varying priorities of importance? So that's why he says, whenever you say first, second, third, you're talkin' about a sequence of importance here. Some of the gifts are more important.

The other thing he says is, "is it necessary for everybody to have every spiritual gift?" Paul asks a number of rhetorical questions. He says, "are all apostles?" Can you imagine what kind of church it would be if everyone of us said, "hi, I'm apostle doug and you're apostle, we're all just different apostles?" There, you know, we'd have all chiefs and no indians as they used to say. I don't think that's politically correct anymore to say that. But you all remember, you can't have everybody be a general and no soldiers. So obviously there are varying gifts.

Do we still have apostles? Sure, that's--i mean, we call 'em sometimes different things, but this is one of the gifts of the Spirit. By the way we still have prophets too. I'll talk more about that, teachers. And then he says, "are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" Now, one thing I think is very important and I don't want to be insensitive in how I say this, but--a lot of churches, when it comes to spiritual gifts, park, stop, I'm gonna make a statement, disclaimer. I believe in all of the gifts of the Spirit, I believe in all the Bible and so I believe in all the gifts.

And you're gonna run into churches that say, well, only the gifts of service still exist in the church today. The gifts of miracles passed away with the era of apostles, we don't have apostles anymore. Well, the Bible doesn't teach that, I think that we have all the gifts of the Spirit. 'Cause you remember what I read? We need them 'till we come to the perfect unity of the faith, perfect men. We're not there yet, so of course we need these things.

Sometimes it seems like they may shift in definition or in prominence, but all these gifts are available and all are needed by the church. But some churches turn the list upside down. And instead of saying the teachers, pastors, apostles are important; the first thing they wanna ask you if you have the Holy Spirit is, do you speak in tongues? Have you run into that before or have you seen that? But does the Bible tell us that we're supposed to determine if a person has the Holy Spirit by the gifts of the Spirit? How did Jesus say you can decide if a person has the Holy Spirit, by the gifts or by the fruits of the Spirit? Now, there's a list of gifts in the Bible and there's a list of fruit. Who knows where you find the list of fruit? Galatians 5--where does that begin, 22? Or 22--Galatians 5:22, maybe someone will read that. I didn't hand that out, so if you get to that first.

Galatians 5, we haven't done anybody on the left side here. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law." All right, thank you. Does it mention in there apostles, teachers, tongues? Fruits are different. You can look at the fruits of a person and tell whether they really are converted. Can a person pretend to have different gifts of the Spirit? Sure.

Can a person pretend to speak in tongues? Yeah. Can a person pretend to be an apostle or pretend to be a teacher? It's hard to manufacture love and joy and peace for very long. You might fool some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you're not gonna fool all the people all the time. You will know them by their fruits. And eventually it's gonna, you know, pop out, the fruit you're gonna taste it, you're gonna know what it is.

So the Bible says in Ephesians 4:5-6, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is above all and through all and in you all." So the Lord tells us that while we are all different members of the body, we are all to be how many bodies? One. Now, I've said this before and I don't wanna be wearisome, but it's still true, that a member of the body separated from the body does not live very long. We all need to be connected. And so often someone will say, "well, you know, I would go to church, but somebody there hurt my feelings and so I'm just gonna stay by myself." But is that supposed to be the right attitude? If you amputate yourself from the body, if you cut off your finger and leave it on the floor, how long is it gonna last? Do you know it's often true that sometimes now with micro surgery, a limb can be severed, they can reattach it and you can even get your nervous function back. Years ago they might reattach it, but it was useless.

Now, the nerves can even grow back and you can use it again. But if it stays off by itself for very long--i know some people that maybe lost a digit or a toe or something, they packed it in ice, they ran to the emergency room and able to sew it back and everything was okay. What happens when a person is detached from the body of Christ for very long? Do they start to die spiritually? You've gotta be connected. Now, I might hit my finger with a hammer and I might be thinking, you know, that really hurts. You know, I can just cut it off, it won't hurt so much.

Will that solve my problem? You might have pain by being attached to the body, but amputation is sorta like the last thing you wanna do. The only reason you ever amputate is because that part of the body is gangrenous and it's gonna kill the whole body; right? Sometimes do we need to disfellowship somebody? It is a very painful thing, it is a last resort, but don't disfellowship and amputate yourself because someone hurt your feelings. We've gotta stay connected, one body. Romans 12:6, "having then differing gifts according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. If prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.

Or ministry, let it use it--let us use it in our ministering. He who teaches in teaching, he who exhorts in exhortation, he who gives with liberality, he who leads with diligence, he who shows mercy with cheerfulness." Find out what your gifts are and start to use 'em. And sometimes you may not know what your gifts are and other people will have to tell you. You may not recognize it. It--now, let's--this might be assuming too much, but I think I've got the gift of teaching.

I'm probably a better teacher than a preacher. I did not know I had that gift. I wanna remind everybody I lived like a hermit, because I just didn't get along with people, didn't wanna be around people. And so when I finally got out of that and started going to church and i--i was so scared, first few times I remember going to a Sabbath school class and they'd go around a circle where all--everyone would read a verse. And it was just a small class, must have been, you know, eight or ten people in there.

And I knew that my turn was coming to read out loud. I was petrified. Any of you ever been through that? First time you go to church, oh, I don't know. Especially the Bible, you know, I wasn't used to reading this old english, the hard words. And I remember the first time I knelt and prayed in a group where you're supposed to pray out loud.

It took me a while to figure out how to pray by myself. And I don't know what anyone else was praying about, because I wasn't listening to their prayers. All I knew was, oh, I got three more, two more, one more. I'm gonna have to pray, what do I say? And I'm trying to rehearse in my mind, just the opener and closer and I was scared to death to pray out loud. If you had told me back then I'd be up front teaching.

.. I didn't think so. But you know, people started saying, "doug--" you know, eventually I relaxed, I started making comments and observations. People said, oh, maybe you oughta teach the class. No.

And so you may have spiritual gifts and others will have to tell you. It's fun sometimes when you hear these stories of people who were just phenomenal singers and you say, "really, so how long have you been singing?" They say, "well, you know, I never really even tried singing until I was 18." "What?" "Yeah, I was 18 years old and I was singing next to somebody in the choir, I just thought I'd try it out and they said, "man, you've got a spectacular voice." And I'd never really tried to sing. And now they're making millions of dollars in gold records. And didn't he even know they could sing until someone said, "hey, you got a pretty good voice, you're on key," in the choir. And someone else had to tell 'em.

Of course, you might think you've got the gift of music and someone will have to tell you, you don't. And so that's the risk that you take. So when you're trying to find out what your spiritual gifts are, ask friends that you can afford to lose. No, don't do that. All right, Corinthians 12:8-11, "for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same spirit.

" By the way, we've been preaching here at central about Solomon and when he said what he wanted. God said, "what do you want?" What did he ask for? He asked for the gift of wisdom, but that's broken down into the Holy Spirit, one of the gifts of the Spirit. Knowledge is another gift. Can you have wisdom without knowledge? Yeah, I've met some people that maybe aren't educated in technology, but they've got practical knowledge. Then I know people who can tell you all kinds of facts and figures, lots of knowledge, but they have no common sense or wisdom.

And so you can have a world that knows how to build a nuclear weapon, but they're so dumb they actually drop it on people. You know what I mean? So there's no knowledge there. And so you can have these as separate gifts. "Knowledge through the same spirit to another faith by the same spirit, to another--" so faith is a gift. Some people have a gift, a special gift of faith.

"To another, gifts of healing by the same spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues." So why don't you go with me to 1 Corinthians 13, let's talk about that gift of tongues for just a minute. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love--" all right, I want you to stop right there. Notice what Paul is doing, he is contrasting the gifts of the Spirit with the fruits of the Spirit. What does Paul say is the most important thing? The gifts or the fruit? The fruit of the Spirit. So while we're talking about spiritual gifts today, don't lose the priority.

Doesn't matter what gift you've got, if you don't have the fruits of the Spirit. Said, "though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, if I don't have love, I'd become a sounding brass or a clanging symbol". Now, is Paul saying that he spoke with the gift of angels--with the tongue of angels? He says, "though I speak with the tongues of men and angels." Now, Paul did speak with the tongues of men, he spoke several languages. Paul says, "I speak with tongues more than ye all." And all that means is, I spoke more different languages. He was born Saul of tarsus, born in a Greek city, he spoke Greek, he spoke Hebrew, he spoke latin, having traveled among the Romans.

Probably spoke some other languages. Paul was the most educated of the apostles. Yeah, he was an apostle probably replaced Judas in some respect. But he didn't speak with the tongue of angels. He said, "though," meaning even if.

For instance, look here, verse 2, "and though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries." Did Paul understand all mysteries? Does anyone understand all mysteries? Only God knows all of anything. Says, "and though I have all faith--" did Paul have all faith? So I can move mountains, "and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor--" though means, even if. Even if, even if, even if he didn't speak with the tongue of angels. Some people point to that and say, "see, Paul spoke in that heavenly tongue that no one understands." There are three examples in the Bible of speaking in tongues. Let me ask you what chapters of the Bible are they found in? Acts 2, day of pentecost; acts 10, that's when the Holy Spirit fell on cornelius; and acts 19, Holy Spirit fell on 12 ephesian believers.

There are only three examples of speaking in tongues in the Bible. We should be able to look at those three examples and understand what does this gift of tongues mean? In all three cases when they spoke in tongues, the Holy Spirit gave them the ability, supernaturally, to speak and understand the languages of the world that they formerly had not known. They were unknown tongues, but now they miraculously had the ability to speak and understand those tongues. That's what the purpose of tongues was. Jesus mentions the gift of tongues one time in Mark 16.

Matter of fact, turn there with me, Mark 16:17-18, "these signs will follow those who believe in my name." I'm sorry, "those who believe. In my name, they will cast out devils, they will speak with new tongues, they will take up serpents, if they drink anything deadly it will not hurt them, they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover." Some scholars argue this was not actually in Mark, it must have been added, because this is a little bit outrageous. All these signs and wonders and miracles following the believers. Well, Paul got bit by a serpent that was deadly and it didn't hurt them. Maybe the apostle, someone tried to poison them and the poison did not hurt them.

We know that they cast out devils and we know that they spoke with new languages. So really they did all of these things, even in the first century. But here Jesus said, "you'll speak with other tongues." And the word tongues there means languages. Then you turnover to acts 2, there at the day of pentecost. Here's the primary purpose for the gift of tongues, visiting jews came to the feast of pentecost from all over the roman empire.

They came from different parts, they spoke the languages of the towns they lived in. My mother was an American jew, she did not speak Hebrew, she spoke American, english; which is a form--American is a form of english. But if she went to Israel for a feast she wouldn't know what they're saying, because she doesn't speak that language. So when those jews came from every nation under heaven, I think it mentions about different language groups at pentecost. They spoke principally the languages of their native countries, where they lived.

God gave the disciples the supernatural ability to preach about Christ in their languages. Now, what kind jews were these? Well, these were jews who are dedicated enough to travel over land and sea to come to worship God. They are devout jews from out of every nation, devoted. They come to Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit's poured out, the apostles are given the ability to supernaturally speak these languages they didn't know. They preach about Jesus having come, that he was the Messiah.

The believing jews, many are baptized, 3,000 the first time, ,000 later. They then take the knowledge back throughout the roman empire. And that's why Paul said, "this Gospel's been preached to every creature under heaven, because it quickly disseminated among all the jews that were dispersed; the great dyspersia, all throughout the roman empire. That was the purpose for the gift of tongues. But how many you have flipped through the channels, or maybe you've been at a church, or maybe you've been somewhere praying with somebody and they sort of break off into these babbling ecstatic utterances where you don't know what in the world they're saying; it's no earthly language that you can identify.

They may not even know what they're saying. And I won't try and imitate it here, because it would seem disrespectful and just sound like babbling. Sometimes they're repeating one word over and over again. Of course, Christ said, "pray not in vain repetition." The heathens pray in vain repetition, 'cause they think they'll be heard for their much speaking. God is not deaf, he doesn't want us just to keep repeating one word over and over again.

I don't even think we should say the Lord's prayer over and over again. "That's what the heathen do," the Bible says. And so this babbling is not what Jesus was talking about, the gift of tongues. Keep in mind, because of the disobedience of man at the tower of babel, God confounded their language where they were able to communicate so they were babbling and they were no longer able to communicate. So babbling was a curse, not a blessing.

At pentecost, God reversed the curse and gave them the ability to understand what each other were saying. They were confounded at babel, so the building stopped. They were blessed at pentecost so the church could be built up. You see the difference? Communication was enhanced, it was improved. Now, some people who are outsiders listening to what the disciples were saying, they said, "these men are babbling, they're full of new wine, we don't know what they're talking about.

" Because they were not filled with the Spirit and they were not listening. But the listening jews, could they understand what they were saying? It says in acts 2, "how is it that we, men from all these different nations, do hear them speak about the wonderful works of God and our own tongues wherein we were born." They knew what they were saying and they believed. All three examples of tongues, acts 10, Peter says, "the Holy Spirit fell upon him and cornelius' family the same way that it fell upon the disciples in acts 2." Wasn't a different kind of gift of tongues, there's only one kind of gift of tongues in the Bible. Now, I'd better turn quickly to Corinthians 14. And when we talk about the gift of tongues, if there's anything that the disciples wanted to make clear, it's don't speak unless people understand what you're saying.

Verse 7, 1 Corinthians 14:7, "even things without life, inanimate things, whether a flute or a harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sound, how will it be known what is piped or played. For the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" Back then they didn't have radio communications and gps. The soldiers would communicate with the men on the field, because they'd be standing by the general with a bugler or a trumPeter and he'd give a trumpet signal for turn right, flank the enemy, charge, retreat, there were signals for everything. Just like those of you in the military, they still use bugle signals for reveille wake up, taps go to sleep all kinds of signals; it's an ancient tradition. But if there's discordant, confusing sounds that are made by the bugler, if the bugler's drunk during the battle and he's slurring his notes and he's off key, folks are gonna go what does that mean? So what Paul is saying, is there should be a distinction in the sound so you know what the message is.

All through 1 Corinthians 14, that's what he's saying. It's the opposite of what's happening in many of these charismatic churches. And again, I don't mean to be unkind, I believe there's a lot of lovely spirit-filled people in these churches, that are confused on the issue of tongues. I believe in the gift of tongues, I don't believe in counterfeit gift of tongues. The way it's been confused.

Let me give you a couple more. Corinthians 14:19, "yet in church, I'd rather speak five words with my understanding that I might teach others--" now, teaching is one of the gifts of the Spirit. "Than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue." If i, right now, teach very eloquently in a language nobody here understands. When I was at gyc, last week, I met some friends from pohnpei, micronesia, I haven't seen for a long time, they gave me a card. It was very neat, 'cause I went there twice on mission trips, had a great time, but I remember still how to say, [speaking foreign language] that's good evening everyone.

Or pong Sabbath, that's Happy Sabbath. There's a few words, where if I were so speak right now and pohnpeian, I might teach eloquently for them, but for you it's useless. ,000 Words in an unknown tongue wouldn't benefit you at all, would it? And so that's what Paul's talking about. The corinthian church was a melting pot of slaves in the roman empire from all different parts of the Kingdom that had been shipped in. Their services were becoming confusing, because everybody--there was like no one language.

Everybody was speaking and testifying without translation or interpreters in these different tongues. Paul doesn't even mention tongues in any of his other letters. And who wrote most of the new testament? Paul. None of his other letters even talk about this gift. There was a specific problem in the corinthian church.

You don't find tongues mentioned in the book of Matthew, you don't find tongues mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, you don't find tongues mentioned in the Gospel of John, and it's only mentioned in one of Paul's books. And yet some churches make it their Gospel. That's not the balance that God is talking about, when he talks about spiritual gifts. And you know, there are other churches that make healing. Everything's about healing.

Pastor comes to town, they have a big healing service. You know, there's a multi-billion dollar business of these--oh, what do you call 'em, oh, these extra remedy things that you buy. People that are sick, they're willing to buy these non-prescription healing remedies. And probably some of 'em have some value, but when people are sick, they're willing to pay for it. People who are sick that need healing, they'll go to these, some of these healing services and they'll make a big donation and the pastors and evangelists often exploit these sick people.

'Cause they have a healing--everything's about healing. And then they sorta put on this big campaign to mock genuine healing. Some people, I think, probably do get healed by their own faith. 'Cause Jesus said, your faith will make you whole, might have nothing to do with the evangelist or the bamboozler who's come to town. But there could be the wrong emphasis of gifts.

Sometimes they're put out of balance. And so I just wanted to talk a little bit about this, fortunately, this is not the last lesson that deals with the subject of spiritual gifts. But if you've got more questions specifically on the gift of tongues, that is our free offer. I wanna remind our friends who are watching or listening, we'll send you the book, "understanding tongues." That's 866-788-3966. Matter of fact, you can read it for free if you just go to amazingfacts.org. Thank you again, friends. Don't forget, there is a spiritual gifts survey at the church website at saccentral.org, if you'd like to download that and find out more about what your spiritual gifts are. But until next week, we're out of time. God bless.

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