Purpose and Results of Speaking in Tongues
1. "...Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father" (John 14:12, NLT). "But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection" (Acts 1:8, TLB, CJB). To receive this gift and the skills, which it imparts, Jesus gave specific instructions to the apostles. "During the forty days after his crucifixion he appeared to the apostles from time to time, ...and on... one of these meetings he told them NOT to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them in fulfillment of the Father's promise..." (Acts 1:3-4, TLB), and fulfillment of their obedience to His instructions (Acts 5:32, TLB). "John baptized you with water, ...but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit in just a few days" (Acts 1:5, TLB).
2. "Seven weeks had gone by since Jesus' death and resurrection. [And the apostles '...all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus...' (Acts 1:9-15, CJB, NKJV)]. And the Day of Pentecost had now arrived. …There was a sound like the roaring of a mighty windstorm…, then what looked like flames… of fire… settled on their heads. …Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages they didn’t know, for the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Many godly Jews were in Jerusalem that day for the religious celebrations, having arrived from many nations. And when they heard the roaring in the sky above the house, crowds came running to see what it was all about, and were stunned to hear their own languages being spoken by the disciples. How can this be? ...For these men are all from Galilee, and we hear them speaking all the native languages of the lands where we were born" (Acts 2:1-8, TLB).
3. Faith that expresses itself in obedience to God works marvels. "Look around among the nations! What you see will completely astound you! For what is going to be done in your days you will not believe, even when you are told" (Habakkuk 1:5, CJB, NKJV). And just as God had prophesized, it came to pass on the Day of Pentecost. "They stood there amazed and perplexed. ...Then Peter stepped forward… and shouted to the crowd, ‘…What you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel…, [Joel 2:28-32, NKJV | Acts 2:16:21, TLB]. …O men of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing tremendous miracles through Him…. But God, following His prearranged plan, let you use the Roman government to nail him to the cross and murder him. Then God released him from the horrors of death and brought him back to life again, for death could not keep this man within its grip. ...And now He sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, next to God. And just as promised, the Father gave him the authority to send the Holy Spirit—with the results you are seeing and hearing today" (Acts 2:4, 12, 14, 22-24, 33, TLB).
4. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit equipped Peter to feed Christ's sheep gathered in Jerusalem on the day Pentecost occurred (John 21:14-17, CJB, NKJV). Therefore, Peter spoke these words: "Therefore, I clearly state to everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus you crucified to be the Lord, the Messiah! These words of Peter, [among others], moved them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brother, what should we do’? And Peter replied, ‘Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you also shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit. For Christ promised Him to each one of you who has been called by the Lord our God, and to your children and even to those in distant lands.’ Then Peter… [told them] about Jesus and strongly [urged] all his listeners to save themselves from the evils of their nation. And those who believed Peter were baptized—about three thousand in all…. A deep sense of awe was on them all, and the apostles did many miracles. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other” (Acts 2:36-44, TLB).
5. Tongues are intelligible languages that can be interpreted and understood. Are you feeding Christ's sheep? Are you speaking by the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit? Is your audible sound an interpretable language that at least someone can interpret so that hearers of the spoken word can understand? If your hearers cannot understand your speech, “…you will be talking to God, but not to others, since they won’t be able to understand you…. I wish you had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more, I wish you were all able to prophesy, preaching God’s messages, for that is a greater and more useful power than to speak in unknown languages—unless, of course, you can tell everyone afterwards what you were saying, so that they can get some good out of it too. …If you talk to a person in some language [s/he] doesn’t understand, how will [s/he] know what you mean? You might as well be talking to an empty room. Since you are so anxious to have special gifts from the Holy Spirit, ask Him for the very best, for those that will be of real help to the whole church" (1 Corinthians 14:2, 5, 9, & 12, TLB).
6. What "...fruit of the Spirit..." do you covet, if any? There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise" (1 Corinthians 13:13, 1, TLB). So ask yourself: Am I filled with God's Holy Spirit or just a noise maker—"...merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging" (1 Corinthians 13:1, CJB)?
Bro. Graham F. Watts, Sr.