Worship in the Early Church

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1, Acts 1:1-11, Acts 17:15-34
Date: 09/17/2011 
Lesson: 12
The early Christian church, having learned spiritual truth from Jesus, placed an emphasis on proper worship of the Creator God.
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Good morning and a very wonderful Happy Sabbath morning to each and everyone of you who are joining us this morning. Whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org or watching on the various television networks, through dvd, however. We welcome you to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church for another central study hour where we open up God's Word and we study it together. But, of course, before we do that we sing your favorite hymn requests and there are many of you around the world each week that send in your favorites. This is a special part of the program for many of you because you are hours, days away from a local adventist church.

Some of you living out in the jungles, the remote parts of the world and you get to sing with us. And I know that that means a lot to many of you and it means a lot to us here at central hearing from you. Our first request this morning: chief of sinners 295. Pull out your hymnals and join us for all three stanzas. Chief of sinners.

This is from charlie in australia, nesisa and humphrey in england, bob and Paula in Idaho, Joseph in india, Danielle in jamaica, joyce in saint lucia, colicia in saint vincent and the grenadines, zuko in south africa, neema in switzerland, gillian in trinidad and tobago, and mcdonald and muyunda in zambia. . It is a comforting thought that if you think that you are the chief of sinners there is hope for you. Very comforting. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, you can do that.

It is very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the 'contact us' link and you will see right there that you can send in your favorite hymn request and we would love to hear from you. Take my life and let it be. I do hope that this is the prayer of each of you this morning as you surrender your life to God. This is from damien, priscilla, and stuart in australia and also harley, trudy, nathalie, and cindy, and jennifer in bahrain, pedro and lavonne in barbados, barbara and elias in California, howard in florida, karl and maisie in France, bob and Paula in Idaho, dave in Indiana, Danielle and deneil in jamaica, art in Maryland, janice in mauritius, melfa in Nebraska, ashley in netherlands antilles, tevita in new zealand, John, idy, sandie, vern, jenny and jamie in North Carolina, oliver in Oklahoma, merbs in the Philippines, waldo in south africa, colleen and florine in trinidad and tobago.

All five stanzas. Take my life and let it be. Father in Heaven, this morning we want to be ever only all for you. We give you our hearts this morning. We open up our hearts, our minds, and we ask you to fill us.

We ask you to take away the evilness that is in our hearts that we don't even know is there. Purify us. Cleanse us. Put your spirit within us so that we are creatures ready to meet you face to face and spend eternity with you in heaven. Father, there are things happening in this world that are happening rapidly and I pray that we will not be blinded.

That we will be able to discern the signs of the times. Be with us in a very special way I pray. Be with our speaker, pastor doug, as he brings us the lesson study. Thank you so much for his ministry here at central and around the world and I pray that you will continue to bless him and give him strength. Be with each one that is joining us around the world this morning and those here in the sanctuary.

In Jesus's name. Amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much debbie and jessica and joe and florentine, our pianist, and all the people who helped sing. Good morning friends and we want to welcome those who are here at Sacramento central and those who are part of the regular family and any that might be visiting.

Every week we see visitors. And I want to welcome those who are watching and studying with us on either t.v. Or the satellite or the internet and we're glad that you're there too. If I sound a little different, I feel fine. I just, I don't know, I had a little something in my throat and kind of I'm a bass right now, or a baritone anyway.

So, that is what it is. Maybe it will give a little more authority to what I say. But, why is that? You know, if I had a high squeaky voice you probably would discount me. But if you've got a resonating voice it sounds more authoritative, doesn't it? Okay, well. Anyway, we're going into our th lesson in just a moment here, dealing with worship in the early church and we'll get to that in a moment.

We do have an offer, now, it's a - I made a little executive decision to change what our offer was that we had scheduled today and I appreciate the studio working with me on this. Part of the lesson is going to deal with the subject of tongues, talking about worship in the early church. That is such a big issue today, how the role of speaking in tongues fits into the worship service. I don't know if you've ever been watching t.v. Or maybe you've had worship with some charismatic or pentecostal brothers and sisters in another church and they broke off into speaking in tongues and you're wondering how does that fit into - how many of you think that's a relevant thing today? You've seen that.

So we're going to talk about that and that's our offer. It's called 'understanding tongues'. 'Understanding tongues'. If you don't have a copy of that book then you call the resource number that will appear on your screen and we will be happy to send you a free copy of that. You can also read that book online by just going to the Amazing Facts website.

Where it says 'free stuff', click there and the book 'understanding tongues' is there. You can print it out or read it right off your computer screen or your phone, or your ipad, or whatever else they've got out there these days. Something else I want to mention. I do have one exciting announcement. I want to ask for a show of hands.

How many of you know somebody that once accepted Christ or used to attend church and be a member but no longer does? Let me see your hands. That's what I suspected. Matter of fact, statistically, there are a lot more people out there in the country that used to go to church, than there are that go. And all of us have, maybe friends or family, that they grew up once knowing the faith, they once walked with the Lord and they have either drifted or maybe just done a pure prodigal rebellion. Well, we've been concerned about that and we've been praying for a few years about doing something to reach those people, and so in January, Amazing Facts is planning a program that is going to be broadcast on the hope channel.

One of the stations, networks that carries our Sabbath school for free. So be praying about this program to reach missing members. Now, in October, we're doing something else. These Sabbath school studies that come to you, this quarterly that we study is printed by the seventh day adventist church. And during a five-year cycle we go through basically what the foundational doctrines are coming at it from all different books of the Bible.

We try and get a well-rounded study of that. A lot of folks who are watching are not seventh day adventists. And they're wondering, 'what are the distinctions between seventh day adventist Christians and other Christians just maybe in a more general sense?' We're going to have a series in October. It'll be live, broadcast with abn, who also carries our Sabbath school, from here at central church. Abn is going to send some of their production team here and some of the personalities from abn will be here with us and from October 19th through the nd - that's interesting dates.

You know on October 21 - harold camping said that's really really the end of the world. How many of you have heard that? And I don't want to mock the event. We do believe the end is coming. I mean, just think, last week they had an earthquake that reached from Washington to new york city and now they've got a hurricane that's covering the same territory and more - within a week. I mean, it's almost like, 'what is it today?' Anyway, back to my meeting.

I'll be doing a series from the th to the 22nd dealing with doctrines that divide. What are some of the distinguishing doctrinal differences that separate seventh day adventist Christians from your more generic Christians? And you'll want to tune in if you have been studying with us and wondering, 'what are those differences?' We're going to talk about them and give the reasons for that. And, interesting that the 21st I'll be talking about the second coming. October 22nd - does that date sound familiar? We're going to be talking about the sanctuary. So, it's just lining up.

It's very interesting. And then I leave next week. I leave Monday to fly to the middle east. I'll be sharing the Gospel in dubai and then after about a week there I go to jakarta, which means on the 10-year anniversary - 9/11/11 - I'll be preaching in the most populous muslim city in the world. So, that's interesting.

So I'd appreciate your prayers. I'll be meeting, of course, with a Christian group there because you can't publicly proselytize in some of these countries, but I'll still appreciate your prayers for that - those meetings. Anyway, with that long introduction, let's get to our lesson. The title today is worship in the early church and we have a memory verse. The memory verse is Corinthians 13 verse 1.

Corinthians 13 verse 1. In your study guide it comes from the new international version. Would you say that with me? Ready? "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Now there's a lot that they said about tongues and they were putting an emphasis on tongues and Paul said if you speak with all kinds of tongues but you don't have love, what good is it? And in our worship services - talking about worship - if we have all kinds of beautiful sounds coming out of our sanctuary when we worship, whether it's the resonance of the preacher or the beautiful choir, or a profound orchestra, and you don't have love, is it worship that's acceptable to God? And so, we'll talk more about that. Now, under the first heading, it's talking about many proofs. Turn in your Bibles to acts 1.

Most of what we're studying today is the book of acts with a couple of verses in Corinthians. Acts chapter 1 let's read verses 1 through 3. "The former treaty I have made, o theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day in which he was taken up, after that he, through the holy ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs" - that means convincing proofs - "being seen of them 40 days and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom." It's interesting 'seen of them days' but then pentecost the Holy Spirit is poured out. Pentecost is 50 days after the passover. That means between the time that Christ made his final ascension and the outpouring of the holy spirit there was 10 days.

When Christ died and rose, he ascended to heaven between the time that he met mary, he said 'do not cling to me I have not yet ascended to my father.' He ascended to heaven. It was declared his sacrifice and his life was victorious and successful. He then came down and over a period of 40 days on multiple occasions he appeared to the disciples - sometimes two of them, sometimes one of them, like mary and Peter. He appeared to them alone. The road to emmaus.

Sometimes all 12 in the upper room. One time he appeared on the shore to a group that was fishing and he gave them many infallible undeniable proofs that he was alive. And then he said, 'wait in Jerusalem until you receive the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses.' So they did that and the holy spirit was poured out. Now, I've got some verses that I'm going to need help reading and I think we've distributed some slips to you. So we'll just check where the microphones - ray has a microphone.

Barry has a microphone here. Acts 13:31. Who has that? Right over here. And somebody else - Hebrews 2 verse 2 and 3. You've got that one.

All right, you'll be next. Why don't we go ahead and let's start with acts chapter 13 verse 31. Are they ready for that? I think so. "And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people." He was seen many times - infallible proofs. What evidence would you accept.

The Bible says, 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses let something be established.' How many witnesses were there that Jesus was alive? Paul says at one time he appeared to five hundred. I mean, would you believe that group? And, so you've got all this written and verbal testimony that they saw Jesus and that he wasn't a ghost. He ate in front of them. He sat down, he said touch me, feel me. He did everything he could do to prove to them 'I'm not an apparition.

I'm not a community dream that you're having. I'm real by any measurement that you would measure what is real. I'm alive. I have come back from the dead.' That also gives us hope because we know that we're all on this conveyor belt towards the cemetery, right? And knowing that Jesus rose and he tells us that we'll rise gives us hope. So we want to know, did he really rise? He says, 'yes I did.

' And he gave many infallible proofs of that. Now, those proofs were given to us, not only through the ministry of Jesus for the three and a half years he spoke to the Jewish people, but then there was endorsement through those who walked with him. He basically transferred the mantle of his ministry to the apostles. He said, 'as The Father sent me, so send I you.' He laid hands on them. He authorized them.

He filled them with his spirit and they were qualified to do something unique. All right, so we're going to read Hebrews chapter 2 verse 2 and 3 - over here. And we're ready to go. Go ahead. "For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.

" First spoken by the Lord, confirmed by them that heard him. And so, these infallible proofs - and the whole message of the Gospel - came, of course, from Jesus and then was confirmed. Now, let me ask you a question that you might think is a loaded question. Does worship ever change through time? Does how we worship - does true worship ever change? We should always worship in spirit. We should always worship in truth.

The object of our worship should always be God. We should always reverence his name. Now let me ask this question a little differently. Do the mechanics of how we worship him change? Let me give you some examples. The way that Abraham worshiped God.

He built an alter with how many stones? I heard you say 12. Oh. It doesn't say how many stones Abraham used because Jacob hadn't been born yet who had the tribes and it was in that time that Moses said that make sure your altar has 12 stones. Nothing about Abraham said that he had 12 stones. He could have had 30 stones.

He could have had three. We don't know what his altars looked like. So the altar of abel and the altar of Abraham may have been different from the altar from the time of Moses on when they were told rough stone, of them. Remember when Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord on Mount Carmel. Those 12 stones - he set them in place.

They were told how to worship. Did Abraham worship in a temple or was it usually outside? But along came the tabernacle. The, sort of, mechanics changed - of how they would sacrifice - because it was like, instead of having one priest for a family, now you had a nation of priests or a tribe of priests, rather, for a nation. So the mechanics changed a little bit. See what I'm saying? And then we have to ask the question, because our study is on the new testament church - worship in the early church - did the mechanics change for the apostles? Feel free to answer.

Don't be afraid. Yeah, of course they did. I mean, when Jesus died, that weekend when he died, you've heard me say many times, the high priest tore his clothes, why? Because now we have a new kind of priesthood. Right? You are a priesthood. And the veil of the temple was ripped from top to bottom, why? Because now we have a different kind of temple.

Christ said, 'destroy this temple built with hands and in three days I'll raise up one without hands.' He spoke of his body, his church. And so, do we need to still worship the same God? We still worship him in spirit and truth. We still revere his name. We still worship the same day. The commandments don't change, but the mechanics have changed in that do we still sacrifice lambs? Are we all in agreement with that? Just thought I'd check here.

All right, so, some of that - so when we talk about the differences in the new testament church, some things change as long as they don't change the fundamentals of worship based on the commandments. Worship should always be done reverently. There is a certain reverence. There are examples and principles in the Bible that don't change. Some of the mechanics might change.

The early church - they would sometimes gather in homes. There's nothing wrong with that now, but if you here at central decide, 'Pastor Doug, we're not coming to Sacramento central anymore, we're all just going to meet in our homes,' it might hurt my feelings. But you'd say, 'well I've got a new testament precedent.' Well that was before they could do it publicly because it was outlawed. If we can come together, the Bible calls the Sabbath a holy convocation, then why wouldn't we convene as groups other than just a family or a home? And so, we're able to get more consolidation of impact this way. So, some of these mechanics change.

Have you ever heard the expression 'present truth'? Present truth. Now the term present truth - it's actually used in the Spirit of prophecy over 1900 times - you find it in the Bible once - I found it. It may be more but my computer search turned up one. Peter chapter 1 verse 12. "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things though ye now them, and be established in the present truth.

" Peter is saying, 'our message today, since Jesus came, is a different message than before Jesus came.' Oh Pastor Doug, did you just say that truth has changed? No. I said that present truth has changed. If you were living back before the flood, what was Noah preaching? Repent and get in the ark. That was present truth. It was very relevant to what was happening there, then.

If you lived in the time of Moses, the present truth would be 'follow me across that sea into the wilderness on the way to the promised land.' That was the message for the day. If you lived in the time of Isaiah. He was saying 'repent. We're going to be destroyed by the Babylonians.' And Jeremiah. And if you lived in the time of Nehemiah he would have said, 'don't get comfortable in Babylon, come on home.

We're going back to the promised land.' That was the message. There's a present-truth message. If you lived in the time of John the baptist it would have been, 'prepare, the Messiah is about to make his appearance, his debut.' Then after Jesus made his debut, Jesus said, 'the Kingdom of God is at hand.' After he ascended into heaven their message was, 'receive Christ. He was the Messiah, he proved it now.' And through history there have been different revival movements with different emphasis of present truth. For us, can we point to a Scripture that outlines our Marching orders - I'm not talking about the great commission.

I'm talking about present truth for seventh day adventists and for the world today. It's the three angels' messages. Exactly. That is the message to go to the world. It didn't really make sense for, you know - I've got to pick somebody, hang on a second - Enoch to be saying, 'don't receive the Mark of the beast.

' For Enoch, who lived back, you know, during the time of Noah - if he said, 'watch out for the Mark of the beast and come out of Babylon and' would that message have made sense for the people of his day? But does it make sense today? Because we now have a beast power. So, when you think about worship in the church, you also have to remember, it's delivered in the context of present truth. All right, go with me to acts chapter 2. Acts chapter 2 and, matter of fact, I'm going to ask somebody to read verse 1 and 2. I did not give that out, I don't believe, to anybody, but - oh no I did - no I didn't.

Someone want to read acts chapter 2 verses 1 and 2? Got a volunteer? Somebody? "And when the day of pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting." Why don't you read through verse 4? I'm sorry, I wanted you to keep going. "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance." Thank you. Very good.

All right. Had this ever happened before? Eh...not like this. But you know what? You know, one time it does say the Holy Spirit came over king Saul and he fell down and he prophesied and some wondered, 'was he speaking in tongues?' But I don't think so, I think he was just prophesying. But you ask some Christians today and they think that you prophecy in tongues and there's a lot of different beliefs that revolve around this. Now, I don't want to sound disrespectful, but this subject of speaking in tongues is one of the most misunderstood subjects among modern Christians.

And that's unfortunate because it just really takes possession of the whole worship service. Is tongues one of the gifts of the Spirit? (Yes.) Yeah, you find it listed among the gifts of the Spirit in Corinthians chapter 12. When the gifts of the Spirit are listed, they're actually listed in a certain priority. It says first apostles, after that prophets, those that teach, and it gives a priority. Where do you find tongues in that list? (Last) it's usually the last of the gifts, but a lot of churches have turned their list upside-down.

And the first thing they'll ask you is, 'have you accepted Jesus? And have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?' And what they mean by that - that's really code for 'do you speak in tongues?' Now, when they say, 'do you speak in tongues?' That also has a different meaning than what you would find here in acts. What's happening in acts chapter , in the early church worship - they'd spent that last 10 days in the upper room - now this is a good lesson for us. They prayed. They put aside their differences. They forgave each other.

They were of one accord. You can't understate that. Before they'd been arguing about who was the greatest and who would have the most important job and the best benefits and, I don't know, promotions and they just were really after each other, even in the upper room when Jesus washed their feet. They weren't getting along. After that 10 days of prayer they were one.

They said,' we want to do God's will. We want to preach Jesus's message. We want the Holy Spirit. When's it going to come?' And they were praying for it. Pleading for it.

And the whole place began to shake. The Holy Spirit came down. And God said in acts 1 - Jesus said in verse 8, "I'll give you my spirit and you will speak in tongues." That's not what it said. It said, "you will get the holy spirit and you will be my witnesses." So the reason they were filled with the Holy Spirit was not to speak in tongues, but to be witnesses. They spoke in tongues to be witnesses.

When the people disobeyed God, at the tower of babel, the tongues were confused and they were scattered, right? At pentecost, when they humbled themselves, God gave the disciples the ability to speak in many of these different tongues to unite the church. To make a monument to God instead of a monument to man. It's really interesting. He reversed the confusion. So if tongues is anything, it is not confusion.

Paul said, 'let all things be done decently and in order. So, if you're in a church, and people are all speaking in tongues and there's chaos, that is not what the Bible teaches should be happening. Now, why did he give them the gift of tongues here on the day of pentecost? If you look in acts chapter 2. We just read verses 1 through 4. Notice what it says in verse 5.

"Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven." Now they're from every nation under heaven, but they're what religion? (Jews). They're jews. Why are they all there? When the day of pentecost had fully come they had come for one of these annual feasts that devout jews would attempt to come to. They couldn't go every year, but a good jew would try to make a journey, even across the roman empire, they'd make long journeys to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The temple was still in its glory in that day.

It was so glorious the disciples were even showing it off to Jesus, who was born right outside the city. I mean, you know, it's like going up to New York city and just you and your buddies all just go to the statue of liberty and just marvel as you walk around it and then go home. I mean, so they even recognized how marvelous it was. People came from around the world to worship God at that temple. These are not just any jews.

They're not only from all over the world, they are devout jews. These are ones who really want to worship God. They've made a big commitment. They've come a long way. What a perfect plan God had.

God is so smart. I know that's an understatement. But to pour out the Holy Spirit on a day when the most devoted jews happen to be all intersecting in Jerusalem. Give the disciples the ability to speak the Gospel in their native languages. The disciples did not all climb up on the roof and start to babble incoherently.

Is that clear to everybody? Because you read on in the text it says - here we are, visiting jews from all these nations - look at verse 11. Cretians and arabs, we here them speaking in our own tongues" - languages - "the wonderful works of God." Did they understand what they were saying? Sure, they said they were talking about these wonderful works of God - what God has done recently. Three thousand are baptized. By the way, that sort of diffuses the idea that the jews rejected Jesus. The early church was all Jewish.

It wasn't until acts chapter 7 and 8 that you find a great persecution arose and they were sort of driven away. And when stephen was stoned the jews as a nation, the supreme court any way, plugged their ears, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a remnant of jews saved from Israel that formed the nucleus for the early church. So the Christian church is really rooted in judaism. We all become spiritual jews, so to speak. So these jews are baptized, three thousand - later there were five thousand - and they've got to go home now.

They've accepted Jesus. They fan out into all parts of the world and take the Gospel that they heard from the disciples, who now could teach and preach in their native tongues because they've received - here's the gift of tongues - the miraculous ability to preach and teach the Gospel in a language that was not formerly known or studied. If you, all of a sudden, with no knowledge of some international language, were given the ability to hear and to articulate and verbalize that language and you've never studied it, that would be a miracle, wouldn't' it? That's the gift of tongues. And, I still believe in that gift. Some people have a gift of tongues in a more general sense, you know, some people just - some people have a gift for music.

Then you've got some people who maybe could never sing a note on tune - if God should suddenly bless them where they could all of a sudden sing beautifully, that'd be a miraculous gift of music. They were not - some people have a natural gift for tongues. It's a gift of God. You know some of these people that speak seven languages and - I've met people like that, I just marvel. I mean, they go around europe and they can just switch - italian and then they go into switzerland, swiss.

They go into germany - german. They go to France - french. Then they speak english a little bit here and there. They can speak spanish and they can just interchange between these languages. It's just an amazing thing.

When I'm in jakarta I'll have a translator and he'll have to have the gift of tongues or I won't be able to communicate. But that's not what you find in a lot of these countries - in a lot of these churches, rather. They believe the gift of tongues is when the Holy Spirit comes over you and you're speaking in the tongue of angels. In other words, it's an unknown tongue to anybody on earth. Paul, when he talks about an unknown tongue in Corinthians 1:14, he's saying, if someone comes into your group and he's speaking in an unknown tongue, it doesn't mean that he's speaking in a tongue that's unknown to anybody in the world, he means unknown to the people there.

But they believe that the tongue of angels is this special spiritual language that is - you don't even know what you're saying. Now, what's the purpose of that for you to pray or to preach in a language that you don't even understand? And then all of a sudden somebody stands up and they say, 'I know what he's saying because I've got the gift of interpretation.' And that is all very dubious and, what scares me, is that it comes from paganism. I don't want to be unkind, I know a lot of our friends are watching that maybe connect with these churches, but the fact is, and maybe I'm more sensitive to it than you are, because before I was a seventh day adventist Christian, I worshiped in charismatic churches and I just felt like God had passed me by because they were all speaking in tongues and they said, 'if you, you know, do this, you haven't received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.' And they'd go through all these exercises to help you get the gift of tongues, but I wasn't going to fake it. I had one friend that went to church with me, his name was doug price, and he was real excited and they said to him - he came to the altar and wanted to preach in tongues and they said, 'well, just say hallelujah.' He said, 'hallelujah' and they said, just keep saying it. And he's praying 'hallelujah, hallelujah' and they said, 'no, you've got to go faster than that.

' 'Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.' 'Faster.' And pretty soon he's going 'halluah' and they said, 'that's it! You've got the gift of tongues.' And so there are all these strange things - they call that priming the pump. That's not the gift of tongues in the Bible. There's three examples of the gift of tongues in the Bible. Acts 2, acts 10, acts 19. In all three cases, there are multiple language groups present and one group is given the supernatural ability to preach or to prophecy in a language others there hear.

All right. Let's just suppose for a moment. Let me see if I can illustrate this. Let's suppose a number of people have come in and you're - you're not totally convinced you're believers and you've just come from new guinea. I'll just pick that out of thin air.

And Pastor Doug is preaching and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit comes upon me and I begin to preach in one of the many languages of new guinea that you happen to understand. You probably would sit straight up and say, 'where' - and then if I told you, 'never been there.' - I have been there, but what if I said I've never been there? You'd say, 'that's a miracle of God, right? You believe that's the power of God. And so, this is what was happening here in these examples in the book of acts. You know, I need to say more about that, but I don't want to wear it out. I tell you what, one more thing.

Go with me to Corinthians chapter 12. Corinthians 12 and I'm going to start with verse 27. "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administration, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?" He's asking a rhetorical question.

What's the answer? Is everybody a prophet? (No) is everybody a teacher? No. Is everybody an apostle? No. Do all work miracles? No. And so it's also understood, do all speak in tongues? What's the answer? No. But a lot of the charismatic churches, when you go in, they think everybody's supposed to speak in tongues and they point to the verse where Paul says, 'I speak in tongues more than you all.

' All Paul meant was, 'I've traveled more widely, I speak more languages.' And I see here. "Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts." Now we should desire certain gifts, but he says, "the best gifts." Has he given us a gift of priority here? The ability to preach or to prophecy about Christ is one of the best gifts because you're communicating the message. Tongues are a vehicle to do that if you're in a language where they don't understand you. Go to 1 Corinthians 14 - now 1 Corinthians 13 says, "though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, if I have not love, I'm just a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal." Right? In 1 Corinthians - matter of fact, let's talk about that for a second. The tongue of angels.

When Paul says that, was the tongue of angels babbling? This is a wonderful chapter on love. Does he mean that it's some heavenly tongue that angels understand? Who knows what language adam and eve spoke? You probably all think they spoke your language. And what language will we speak when we get to heaven? Are we all going to speak different languages or are we going to speak one language? We'll either all speak one language or we'll all have the gift of tongues and understand each other. But that wouldn't make sense to me why the Lord would do it that way. So, this tongue of angels, Paul is just using a metaphor here.

He is thinking about the most beautiful language would be the language of angels. Even if - the word though means, even if I spoke with the tongue of angels. Sometimes I've tried to communicate difficult truth and I say, 'Lord, give me the tongue of an angel.' 'Even if I spoke with the tongue of angels, if I don't have love - it's worthless, just noise.' That's what Paul is saying. And then he goes on and he says, "and although I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries" - did Paul understand all mysteries? He's saying, 'even if.' "And have all knowledge" - did he have all knowledge? "And have all faith so I could move mountains, but don't have love, I'm nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and give my body to be burned" he didn't do those things.

And he's saying, 'even if I did all this.' So, because he's saying 'even if' through the others, and you know that - he didn't give his body to be burned, he was beheaded - then it's safe to say he's meaning 'even if I spoke with the tongue of angels.' So, and then, praying in tongues. Have you heard of people who say, 'I've got this heavenly prayer language and I pray and I go off in the Spirit and I begin to' babble - it's what it amounts to - 'and I don't know what I'm saying but I'm praying in tongues and I feel so much better afterward.' Well, if you're praying in a tongue and you don't know what you're praying then how do you know if it was ever answered? Isn't - where does it say anywhere in the Bible that you can even call it prayer when you're not communicating? God says, "come now, let us reason together." And so, prayer is the communication of one of his intelligent creatures with the creator and a lot of this is practiced in the pagan religions and often it's done in concert with loud, syncopated, repetitive music that puts people in an almost trance-like state. They had it among the native Americans. They had it among the tribes in new guinea, in africa, the Greeks. They played this music and they'd have the sybil priestess at the oracle of delphi would inhale these vapors and she'd go into a trance and she'd begin muttering and babbling and they called it a language of the Gods and the priest would come over and interpret what the sybil was saying - the sybil was this medium that would inhale the vapors - the volcanic vapors from delphi.

Have you ever heard of the oracle of delphi? And she'd begin babbling and then somehow these traditions from paganism found their way into the Christian church only about a hundred years ago. Did you know that? You read the literature - the Christian literature from the time of Jesus until 1890, you're not going to find what you find happening in worship - what they're calling worship in a lot of Christian churches in North America. I believe pagan forms of worship have made inroads. And not just in the charismatic church. I believe that they're trying to make inroads in our church too.

Yes, I have. I've met seventh day adventist Christians that say, 'aw doug, I'm afraid to tell anybody, but I pray in tongues." I said, 'tell me what you mean by that.' And it's right after the pagan model. Show me an example, give me a Scripture where someone prayed in tongues in the Bible. There is no Scripture, but sometimes people turn to Corinthians 14 and they try to make one say it. Let's look here real quick.

I didn't mean to take this so far, but I think it's important. Notice verse 8. Well, I'll read 7 and 8. Corinthians 7 and 8. "Even things without life, whether a flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sound, how will it be known what is piped or played?" If I should just now start pounding on the piano, you wouldn't recognize The Song.

I have to get certain notes in a certain order with some distinction and design for you to say - I could play five notes and you could recognize Jesus loves me. I could just go (whistling) that might be seven. Right? But you could recognize it because there is some order to it. That's what Paul is saying. So when people were in the corinthian church getting up and just babbling in their native tongues that no one else there knew, it was an unknown tongue to those listening, he said, 'you're speaking into the air.

Your God might know what you said, but people don't know.' And he goes on to say, "for if a trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for the battle?" There's different trumpet sounds for different battles. Verse 9. "So likewise, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you're speaking into the air." Go to verse 19. "Yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding that I might teach others, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." Let me see here. Here we go, verse 15.

What is the result then? "I will pray with the Spirit, and I will also pray with understanding. I will sing with the Spirit, and I will also sing with understanding." So some people think praying in the Spirit means praying in the tongues. He said that's a different kind of prayer than praying with understanding. Paul says, 'together I pray in the Spirit and I pray with understanding.' Our prayers should always be in the Spirit with understanding. Some churches teach one is praying in tongues, the other is praying with understanding - they're two different kinds of prayer.

Does God ever want us to pray with no understanding? Is that prayer? Some of you probably have not run into a lot of this, but you - it's all around us, if you are out of touch. But this is what's happening and it's also coming into our church too. In some places, that's right. All right. Preaching of the word.

Let's find out what kind of priority did the Bible have in their early worship services? If you look, for instance, in acts chapter 2, in Peter's sermon. Somebody look up for me acts 2 verse 34 and 35. Who has that? For David is not ascended unto the heavens, but he said himself: the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool." Right. Now he's quoting from psalm 110 verse 1. So, and I think that the apostles were well-grounded in the Bible so that - ten percent of Jesus's teaching was actually quotes from the old testament in one way or the other.

The disciples were very well rooted in the Scriptures that they had then, which were the old testament Scriptures, and it filled their preaching. And then you read that as a result of that biblical preaching it says, "they that gladly received His Word were baptized that same day were added to them about three thousand souls." And, it was so effective - acts 13:44 - did somebody get that one? Got a hand right here. Let's find out what was the result of biblically-based preaching. And, tell you what, I just want to mention something, while we're getting ready for that shot. How important was the preaching in their worship? At pentecost when the holy spirit fell, did they take an offering first? Or did he preach first.

Did they make their announcements first? The Holy Spirit fell and Peter said, 'could you please take a look at your bulletins and make sure and notice the screen - we've got a lot of things happening that' - or did he preach first? Have you ever been to a service - camp meetings are notorious for this - there are so many things to promote when you get everybody together - a convocation or a camp meeting - that you've got one announcement after another after another after another and it's already, you know, 12:30 and the preacher hasn't gotten up yet. By the time he does get up everyone's got low blood sugar and they're tired and so the prominence of the proclamation of the word, it's really shunted aside in preference for our agendas. And that's unfortunate. I heard one story - I may have told you this, I don't remember - h.m.s. Richards, sr.

Was at a camp meeting like this and they just gobbled up all of his time and it was already after 12:00 and he could see the people were hot and they were shifting around and then it was time for him to preach and they had all come. He said, 'let's stand for the benediction.' And he had a closing prayer. And boy, that really sent a message to the people that were planning. He says, 'you're just giving God the leftovers,' he says, 'I'm not going to try and preach this message now in the time that remains with the people where they're at.' But, yeah, sometimes it's an insult. So the proclamation of the word needs to be the priority in our worship services.

All right, we've got - what was the result of their doing it that way? "And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God." That's acts 13:44. The whole city came. There was such a revival from the worship service they had at pentecost that everybody came together to hear it and, you know, then we have the example of Paul on mars hill. It's very interesting, the disciples, when they were preaching to jews that understood the Scriptures, were filling their sermons with Scripture. Paul now is in greece, he's surrounded with the grecian religion and the greco-roman religions.

They don't know the Scriptures. When he gets up to preach he makes no scriptural reference. He talks about the resurrection of Jesus, but he doesn't quote the Bible. When I'm doing an evangelistic program and I know the bulk of those who have come to the meeting have come because they want to understand these prophecy books, I'm assuming they have some biblical background - I use a lot of Scripture. But, if I was suddenly dropped into china - which has happened before - and I'm witnessing to somebody there, does it do me any good or them any good for me to start quoting verse after verse of a book they've never heard of before? You've got to start from a different foundation and that's what Paul did on mars hill.

He began to appeal to them based on principles, creation, reason, philosophy - and you can teach the truth from that perspective as well. And then, last thought, I'm running out of time. Worship contrary to the law. The early church was accused of having a new worship that was contrary to the law. Was that true? It's true that they were accused of it.

Acts 6 verse 13 "and they set up false witnesses against stephen that said, this man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law." Did he? No. Acts 18 verse 12 and 13. "When gallio was proconsul of acacia, the jews, with one accord, rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat saying, this fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law." Acts 21:28 when they arrested Paul "they cried out, men of Israel help: this man is teaching all men everywhere against the people and the law and this place." Meaning the temple. Now, didn't Jesus tell us, 'think not that I have come to overturn the law and the prophets, I did not come to do that I came to fulfill' - to fill them full. And so the idea that the new testament church and the new testament worship was to toss out the law because you've got some new covenant, that was a false accusation that was made.

It's not true. It incorporates the law. So, we've run out of time and I want to thank our friends- we're just going to have to pause and hope we can cover some of this in future lessons - for studying with us. Don't forget, we have the book 'understanding tongues' we'll send you. Call the number on your screen.

It's 866-788-3966 or an acronym would be 866-study-more and we'll send it to you. God bless you and we'll look forward to our time together next time. Journey back through time to the center of the universe. Discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the arch villain. The birth of evil.

A rebellion in heaven. A mutiny that moved to earth. Behold the creation of a beautiful new planet and the first humans. Witness the temptation in eden. Discover God's amazing plan to save his children.

This is a story that involves every life on earth. Every life. The cosmic conflict. If God is good, if God is all-powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong? In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week.

Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com

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