God is speaking today; by His Word, by His creation, by signs in the heavens and on earth. But, to His own body, the Church, He speaks also by the Holy Spirit. He has not withdrawn any of the empowerments He gave to the original Church to overcome the devil and to preach the Good News of His salvation.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away; for we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. – 1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Many Christian ministers say the gifts of the Spirit were done away with after the first century and they quote this verse, but, if this verse is for today, why are they still having Seminaries and bible schools because this verse also says “knowledge will vanish away” as well. Obviously, “that which is perfect” is speaking about the time when Jesus comes back and sets up His kingdom on earth. That has not happened yet and we still need all of the Holy Spirit’s help! (There is a Scripture that does fit these folks!)
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. – 2 Timothy 3:5
There are many Christians today who try to live the Christian life intellectually – in the power of their mind, however, it cannot be done. From the very beginning of the Church it was supernatural. The wisdom of man is foolishness with God, then and now. Man today is not any smarter than the Jews of 2000 years ago were, and it is arrogance to think so. Men needed a supernatural work by the Holy Spirit then and we need it now. We cannot repent by feeling sorry, but only by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We are “born of the Spirit”, not by the will of man but by a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot just ‘decide’ to accept Christ. He is made real to us by revelation from the Holy Spirit. And we cannot follow Christ by our intellect alone – we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jude teaches –
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,– Jude 1:20
The Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but how do we hear something that is spiritual in nature with natural ears? By the Holy Spirit! Jude tells us we can strengthen, or ‘build up’, our holy faith by praying in the Spirit, not by praying with our intellect. Paul makes it very clear that ‘praying in the Spirit’ involves praying in tongues.
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. – 1 Corinthians 14:14-17
Is praying with your intellect (understanding) wrong? Certainly not. Is praying in tongues wrong? Certainly not. There is a place for both, but to pray only with your understanding is like trying to work with one hand tied behind your back. God gave us two spiritual hands so why not use both?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
It is strange how men today want to do away with tongues, with prophesy, or with mysteries saying “love is better.” But, the same passage also says love is better than having knowledge or doing works of charity and they do not want to do away with those! That is because they think they can control works of charity or the gaining of knowledge, but they cannot control the gift of prophesy or the gift of tongues. The truth is none of these gifts are done away by love, only enhanced.
There are many kinds of tongues; tongues of men (some of which are dead, forgotten to mankind) and tongues of angels. The Holy Spirit is not limited and He knows all things – that includes every tongue ever spoken by man or angels. But we must remember one thing: all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given for one purpose – to build up the body of Christ. So, when you are alone in your prayer closet, you can pray in tongues. You may not understand what you are praying but God does and you will still be ‘built up in your most holy faith’. But in the church we should act in a way that edifies all present.
Therefore if we bring a message in tongues, it should be interpreted, so all can understand it. This ‘bringing a message in tongues’ is a gifting as well that not all are used in. It is separate from the tongues we all receive when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. We may all pray and sing in tongues, but the Holy Spirit does not give all of us a message in tongues for the body gathered together. When we let the Holy Spirit have His way in our meetings, all will be done decently and in perfect order. It is when man tries to manage the work of the Holy Spirit that we get into trouble.
Some ministers teach that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today, because they are not used this way. But there is no Scripture that ever says the Holy Spirit ever stopped giving His gifts to men. Their attitude is like saying dreams and visions stopped because they don’t have any. Maybe the problem is with them and not with the Holy Spirit? Or maybe, the Holy Spirit in His wisdom just decided not to use them in a particular gifting. However, Paul teaches that “you can all prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:31) and he also declares “I thank my God that I speak with tongues more than you all: …”(1 Corinthians 14:18).
Paul’s conclusion is to use all the arsenal of Holy Spirit weapons which He has given to build us up, only “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Here ends chapter seven.
On the day of Pentecost when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Church, Peter quoted the prophet Joel to explain the happening.
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” – Joel 2:28, 29
But Joel’s prophesy covers much more than just Pentecost. He is also prophesying the Day of the LORD, when Jesus returns a second time! There will be great trouble for the land of Israel and the armies of the Beast shall assail them and Israel will cry to the Lord –
Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ – Joel 2:17
God answers with a promise to restore them. He also promises something else –
“Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.” – Joel 2:23
God sent the ‘former rain’ at Pentecost and He now promises to send the ‘latter rain’. One translation speaks of the latter rain being seven times stronger than the former rain. And we will need it as we face the spirit of Antichrist in the end time days! We won’t need less of the Holy Spirit, as some would say, but more – much more! Scriptures warn us to ask the Lord for this ‘latter rain’ –
“Ask the LORD for rain In the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone.” – Zech. 10:1
As we see the darkness becoming even darker, we will see the light becoming even brighter. The grey is disappearing. You can no longer live with one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God. You must become ‘all in’ or ‘all out’. Last year, 2020, began to show us who is a real Christian and who is not. It is becoming easier to tell the differences. The ‘latter rain’ is about to fall and God is waiting patiently for its harvest of souls to come.
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” – James 5:7
The prophet Malachi said God would send Elijah before the “great and dreadful Day of the L:ord (Mal. 4:5) and remember what Elijah said on Mount Carmel – “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.” Another leader also spoke the same words to Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land – Joshua.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Jos. 24:15
At that time, the people chose wisely to serve the LORD and put away all other gods, In these days, as we are about to enter the days of God’s promise, will you make the same choice?