Scripture reading for September 13th: 1st Corinthians 14
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 14:1-5 “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”
Paul was writing to bring some order and understanding to the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church. Evidently, in the services, many were speaking in tongues in a public manner and no one was interpreting. Speaking in tongues is good for the individual believer and it edifies or builds him or her up. But when used in the body, without interpretation, it doesn’t help anyone but the speaker. When tongues are interpreted, then, like prophesy, the church is edified and built up because all can understand what the Spirit is saying. That’s why Paul says that they should desire especially to prophesy (give a message in a known language) or to speak in a tongue and interpret. All must be done in love and for the common good. Tongues are a sign gift for the unbeliever to speak to his heart by the Spirit. Prophesy is for the church to speak to God’s people.
1st Corinthians 14:21-22 “In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people and even then they will not listen to Me, says the Lord.” Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank you for the gifts of the Spirit. Each one is given by You as You will for the purpose You intend and are always filled and empowered by love. Help me to understand the Holy Spirit and allow Him to use me in the gifts that are appropriate and to instruct others in Your body on the proper use of these gifts. Thank You for speaking to Your people and the lost!
1st Corinthians 14:26-28 “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. If there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.”
Scripture reading for November 6th: Acts 1-4
I was saved as a young teenager in a little country Methodist Church in rural Iowa. I gave my life to Jesus but did not know about the Holy Spirit or His work on my behalf. I grew up, went to college, got married and began to build a family and farming business, still unaware of His presence and power. I rededicated my life and my wife got saved in our late twenty’s and we began to hear about the Holy Spirit. The people we were studying the Bible with were different. They had power in their lives and were full of joy. The talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit and we heard some of them praying in a different language. When we visited their church, we heard a message in a different language and then an interpretation! This was fascinating! We even heard them singing in other languages and it sounded like heaven!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
This experience began with a promise and command from Jesus right before He ascended into heaven. He ascended into heaven and two men dressed in white told the disciples that this same Jesus would come back in the same manner as He left them. They were to wait for the promise of the father as Jesus had told them! (Luke 24:49-53) This power from on high was sent from the Father to bless the disciples and enable them to do the work of God.
We all know what happened on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. The disciples were all together in the upper room and suddenly, the wind began to blow inside their room! Tongues of fire entered and rested on each one and they all began to speak with other tongues and glorify God. They went out from that room speaking in other languages telling the wonderful works of God. Peter stood up and preached and 3000 repented, were saved, baptized and told to receive this gift of the Father for power! (Acts 2:38-41) The church was born and powerful witnesses spread the Gospel throughout the world!
Let me encourage you to seek the Lord for this power. Simply ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:9-13) The Holy Spirit is our “helper” sent from the Father to live in those who believe on Jesus Christ. (John 16:7-15) He takes the Word of God and reveals it to us. He is our Counselor. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is with us to strengthen us and enable to be a witness. We receive Him when we repent and are born again. We are filled with Him when we seek the Lord Jesus for that power. May God fill you with His Holy Spirit! (Ephesians 5:18)