Be Filled With the Spirit . . . Speaking

Be Filled With The Spirit… Speaking

In the New Testament, God indwells His habitation.  The Holy Spirit who was with the OT disciples would be in the NT disciples.  Scripture consistently bears this out after Jesus was ascended: Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts shows the infilling.  The epistles teach the doctrine and command the activity:

Ephesians 5:17-19 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Continuous present tense indicates, “Be being filled.”  Notice it is “be filled with the Spirit, speaking.”  Let us look again, in this light, at the scriptures we already saw: Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

We saw the Samaritans filled with the Spirit in Acts 8 after first getting saved and as the apostles laid hands on them.  Then, in Acts 9:17, Ananias was sent to Saul/Paul so that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.  What followed was: Acts 9:20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

Acts 10:44-47 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

Acts 19:1-6 1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 

Clearly, when believers were saved, they were to be filled with the Spirit.  That is, the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men caused an immediate outflow (Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.)  We see from these texts that this was often “speaking in tongues.”  This is also known as “spiritual language.” 

“Tongues” tends to conjure images of uncontrolled speech or incoherent babbling, or gibberish.    This is because the church and its accusers have both used the term “ecstatic speech” as a synonymous term.  Ecstasy is defined as: “A state of being beyond reason and self-control through intense emotional excitement, pain or other sensation.” 

However, the exercise of speaking in tongues is joyful but isn’t losing control or succumbing to some state of mindless oblivion.  This association of “ecstasy” to “tongues” is from: Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed [ekistanto] and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The Greek verb eksistemi (from which we derive “ecstasy” in English) is not used by the ones who spoke with tongues; rather, it’s used by the observers.  Thus, “Spiritual language” is both accurate and also avoids the “Ecstasy error.”  The expression “spiritual language” is derived from references where speaking or singing with tongues occurred as one was “filled with the Spirit” or “praying…in the Spirit.”  The Greek “en pneumatic” (“in the Spirit”) literally means, “in the spiritual realm and with the Holy Spirit’s aid.” In Paul’s encouragement to sing “spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19), the word “spiritual” (pneumatikos) he uses is defined as “pertaining or relating to the influences of the Holy Spirit, superior in process to the natural course of things, miraculous.”

Speaking in Tongues is said to be: (1) “speaking to God”. 1 Corinthians 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

Speaking in Tongues is said to be: (2) as “giving thanks”. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

Paul wanted edification of all in the corporate meetings but also highly approved speaking in tongues for use in personal devotion. 1 Corinthians 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;

Notice his terminology in describing his own practice: 1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

Pentecostals and charismatics see speaking in tongues as being contemporary with what is called the baptism with (or in) the Holy Spirit which is often an experience subsequent to Christian conversion: one that comes about through a process of yielding the complete person into the guidance and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We agree that the Holy Spirit is operative in every believer.  No balanced charismatic ever views a non-charismatic as “less saved” or less spiritual than himself.

So, what is the baptism with or in the Holy Spirit? John 1:33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

This should be understood that it does not refer to that baptism of the Holy Spirit accomplished at conversion, whereby the believer is placed into the body of Christ.  The baptism of the Spirit has the Holy Spirit baptizing you into Christ.  The baptism in or with the Holy Spirit is done by Jesus immersing you in the Spirit.  The Lord Jesus, Himself directed this to be “received” as a “gift” given following His ascension. Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come…

John 20:22 And when He had said this [post-resurrection], He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Acts 2:38-39 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. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The twofold function of the gift of tongues:  personal edification and public exhortation.

“Tongues” functions as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Jesus prophesied it as a sign and Paul referred to it as a sign. Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

1 Corinthians 14:22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

Peter noted it as a sign-gift confirming the validity of the Gentiles’ experience in the Holy Spirit as he presented his argument to the Church Council at Jerusalem for Gentile inclusion in the church. 

Tongues for public exhortation: 1 Corinthians 14 bases the gifts of the Spirit on the one sure foundation of love. 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Public “tongues” also calls for integrity in practice as the key for the preservation of order in our fellowship and worship services. It is a vital and valuable part of worship only when placed in its proper setting for the edification of the body. 1 Corinthians 14:12-13 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. 13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.

A sincere Spirit-filled believer will not be preoccupied with this gift alone, for he sees it as only one of many gifts given for the “wholeness” of the church.  Consequently, a sound believer recognizes the following New Testament direction regarding spiritual gifts:

1. Speaking in “tongues” only edifies public worship when it is interpreted; thus, the worshiper is to pray for the interpretation, and if it is withheld, he keeps silent, unless someone who functions in the gift of interpretation is known to be present. 1 Corinthians 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

2. The Spirit works only to edify; thus, whenever He is truly present all things are in order and devoid of embarrassment or uneasiness. 1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

3. Each truly Spirit-filled person can exercise self-control; thus, confusion can and should be avoided so that decency with unity may prevail (Previous ref. – 1 Cor. 14:40). 1 Corinthians 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

4. The basis of all gifts is love. Love, not the experience of a gift, is the qualifying factor for those who would exercise them. Thus, the Word demands that we “judge” to confirm that those who exercise gifts actually do “pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 13:1-13; 14:1).

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

5. The Author and Dispenser of the gifts is the Holy Spirit, who divides them as He wills; thus, no gift becomes the exclusive possession of any believer.  Rather, the gifts are placed in the church to be exercised for the mutual edification of all believers (1 Cor. 12:1-11). 

6. The exercise of tongues is to be limited to sequences of two or three at the most.

1 Corinthians 14:27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.

However, this is simply a guideline.  The purpose is, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (Previous ref. – 1 Cor. 14:40).

Tongues for personal edification: First, “speaking in tongues” is a private affair for self-edification.  It is practiced devotionally by the believer in his most intimate communication with God. 1 Corinthians 14:2-4 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

Reasons for speaking with other tongues:

1. Speaking with tongues as the Holy Spirit gives utterance is uniquely identified with the church. All other gifts, miracles, and spiritual manifestations were in evidence before the Day of Pentecost. This new phenomenon was ordained by God specifically for the church.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

2. Speaking with tongues is a fulfillment of prophecies by Isaiah and Jesus (in Mk. 16). Isaiah 28:11-12 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.

3. Speaking with tongues is a proof of the resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ. John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

4. Speaking with tongues is an evidence (not “The” evidence) of the baptism in or with the Holy Spirit (Previous ref. – Acts 2:4; 10:45-46; 19:6).

5. Speaking with tongues is a spiritual gift for self-edification (as we saw Paul say). Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

6. Speaking with tongues is also a gift for edification of the church when accompanied by interpretation. 1 Corinthians 14:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

7. Speaking with tongues is for communication with God in private worship (Previous ref.1 Cor. 14:15).

8. Speaking with tongues is a means by which the Holy Spirit intercedes through us in prayer.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

9. Speaking with tongues is a spiritual means for rejoicing (Previous ref. – 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:18-19).

10. Paul’s application of Isaiah’s prophecy seems to indicate that speaking with tongues is also intended as a means of “rest” or “refreshing” (Previous ref. – Is. 28:12; 1 Cor. 14:21).

11. Tongues follow as one confirmation of the Word of God when it is preached. Mark 16:17 and 20 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues…20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

The question that remains for every believer is…

Acts 19:1-6 1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

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