Friday, 6 February 2015
Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 1 Corinthians 14:23
“Therefore” explains what Paul just said, that tongues are a sign to unbelievers. If an unbeliever hears of an unusual set of occurrences happening in a church, they will naturally be curious as to what is going on. This continues to this day as people hear of great preachers, wonderful singers, etc. who are found in any given church. A church’s hope should rightly be to draw in unbelievers with the anticipation that they will hear the message of Christ and be converted.
And so as the body is gathered, if all they are doing is speaking in foreign languages that have no meaning for the others in the church, there will only be pandemonium. If “uninformed or unbelievers” come into such a gathering, their perception will be exactly what one would expect – the people are out of their minds.
All one needs to do is think of a college calling a debate on evolution. During the debate, one person starts debating why the college should have a new wing dedicated to global warming. Another debates why minorities should be given preferential treatment in hiring. And a third person speaks in Chinese about the superiority of communism. Anyone attending such a gathering would feel he had entered the Twilight Zone.
The church has a purpose and that purpose is Christ. If there isn’t instruction about Him, from His word, then it isn’t meeting that purpose. And not only this, the instruction needs to be in an intelligible form which will edify those in attendance. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came and caused the gospel to be heard in the various languages (known languages) of those gathered. It was a sign to them of the truth of the message.
However, some misperceived what was occurring. Rather than hearing the message, all they heard was the chaotic sound of many languages being uttered. The result was that they accused the apostles of being drunk (full of new wine). Unless the message of the sign is understood, the sign has no meaning. And so it is with tongues. Unless they are understood, they have no meaning. If they have no meaning, they should not be uttered.
Life application: Speaking in tongues that no one understands and which do not edify the body is contrary to the intent of tongues. Therefore, the one speaking such tongues cannot be “Spirit-filled.” The Holy Spirit will never work in a manner contrary to His nature.
Lord, when I see a couple walking down the road and each is talking to someone else on their cell phone, I think that they have wasted their time walking together. It is a lesson to me each time I see it because everywhere I am, and in every thing I do, You are there with me. And yet, how often do I miss the opportunity to share such moments with You. I pray that every moment I take to heart the truth that in You I live and move and have my being. Let me not squander such a valuable treasure. Amen.