"And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts."
The Word of God assures us that Judgment will begin at the House of God. There will be a day when the Lord will cleanse His House of the ungodliness that prevails there. I want to take a little detour here and look at the leaven of error that has crept into the church today and has rendered God's Church ineffective.
SORCERY IN THE CHURCH
"In that day, the Lord will be a swift witness against the sorcerors..."
This particular word translated here as "sorcerors" is translated by Gesenius' Lexicon like this:
Hebrew: Kashaph: "TO PRAY, TO OFFER PRAYERS IN WORSHIP…Like many Syriac words relating to worship…this also in Hebrew is restricted to the worship of idols and means- 'to use enchantment (to use magical songs, to mutter) <2 Chr. 33:6>, an enchanter, a magician, Ex. 7:11; Deut 18:10; Daniel 2:2; Mal. 3:5'."
I believe there is a form of sorcery as defined here that has pervaded the church today.
Christians are aware of how the Catholic Church is blatantly involved
in idolatry, and how the leadership of the Catholic Church encourages the
Catholic people to offer prayers to statues of the saints, and to Mary. Most
of these prayers are repetitious prayers (contrary to what Jesus told us in
Matt 6:7), and are offered to the dead (saints and Mary = necromancy) in order
to get their prayers answered.
I believe this kind of religious practice falls in line with the definition of the word that we have just seen as interpreted above. I personally believe the "Gregorian chants" that are gaining fame in some Christian circles outside of Catholicism fall under this kind of sorcery.
It is easy for the sincere Christian to see the error that is in the Catholic Church, and to call it for what it is. But in a lot of ways this is like the Christian who focuses on the mote in his brother's eye, while having a beam in his own.
I personally believe that there is a more subtle type of sorcery that is being practiced in the Christian church today, and it is being done through the misuse of what is understood to be the "gift of tongues".
BEFORE I PROCEED, I NEED TO SAY RIGHT NOW THAT I BELIEVE THAT THE GIFT OF TONGUES AS DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE IS IN FORCE TODAY.
LIKE PAUL, I BELIEVE I CAN SAY:
Cor 14: 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
I believe in the gift of tongues. I believe it is a wonderful gift from God that He bestows on His children, and that it is intended to edify us, or to build us up spiritually (1 Cor 14:4).
But the abuse that is taking place in the church regarding the misuse and the misunderstanding of the gift of tongues is in some cases, tantamount to the same kind of sorcery that is being used in the Catholic Church.
I realize I will be stepping on quite a few theological toes here in this study, but I believe that what I am addressing here is NOT biblical doctrine, but church tradition.
Jesus said that the leaders of the church had made the Word of God of none effect by their man-made traditions (Mark 7:5-13). I want to take a few moments, and see how the Word of God has been made of none-effect by the tradition of men in the area of the gift of tongues.
We have seen how Gesenius' lexicon defines the word "kashaph" as a type of sorcery in which prayers in the form of magical songs or muttering are offered in the worship of idols. This is a form of enchantment. The goal of the person engaging in this type of prayer was to get his petition answered by whatever idol it was that he was addressing.
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, we can see the following passage dealing with this word of "Kashaph":
MAGIC; MAGICIAN 2. Sorcery: The verb kashaph, the Revised Version (British and American) "to practice sorcery," comes, as Fleischer held, from a root denoting "to have a dark appearance," to look gloomy, to be distressed, then as a suppliant to seek relief by magical means. The corresponding nouns kashshaph and mekashsheph are rendered "sorcerer" in English Versions of the Bible. (from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)
How many Christians go to the altar, gloomy and distressed over the situation that they are facing, and then the altar worker prays in tongues over them, to give them relief from their situation? Many times the person who was seeking the prayer will leave the altar, feeling better than they had before they had come up.
They may even experience "goose bumps" while the prayer was being prayed.
"Goose bumps" are not a good indication as to whether or not the Holy Spirit is present. We scoff at the fact that Mormons look for a "burning in their bosom" as an indicator of whether a thing is from God or not. Yet Christians rely on the same type of feelings. They rely on goosebumps, or burning in their hands, or chills up their spine as evidence that the "anointing" is present.
I personally believe that much of Christianity has been hoodwinked by the enemy of their souls into believing an experience in the flesh is an indication of being touched by God. I am not only talking about the sheep in the pews. I am referring to leaders who have been taught a certain way, and then they teach others what they are taught.
Not that the altar worker is a sorcerer, and not that the Christian going up for prayer is a sorcerer…but they are only doing those things they have been taught. I believe they are inadvertently practicing sorcery in the church.
In our text in Malachi 3:5, God says that once the leadership is made right in His Church, He would be a swift witness against the sorcery in His House.
Too many Christians today have been conditioned by their teachers to treat the gift of tongues as if it is some sort of a magical device to affect healing, or exorcism, or any number of things to come to pass in a person's life. Personally, I believe this could be a form of sorcery, as defined in the above definition.
Just as witches and warlocks use incantations to invoke curses or to call forth spirits, there are many Christians who have been conditioned to treat the gift of tongues in the same way. Again, I understand that this position I hold will step on a lot of theological toes, but man's traditions make the Word of God of none effect, and there is a lot of tradition in the church that isn't of God.
I believe that there was a great abuse of the gift of tongues in the church of Corinth, and Paul devoted a great amount of time in his letter to the Corinthians to teach them clearly on the operation of the gift of tongues in the light of the other spiritual gifts in the church.
Today hundreds of thousands of Christians are encouraged by their pastors and other so-called "men of God" to "pray in your spirit language" in order to cause "something to happen", whether it is a "mighty visitation of the Holy Spirit", or for a person to be healed, or for a particular prayer to be answered. There is no Biblical basis for this, although many flimsy arguments are presented in favor of this distortion of the Word of God.
They say that they do this, because the Spirit knows how to pray, and we don't. They will quote 1 Corinthians 14:2 as justification for their position:
1 Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
Or they will quote Romans 8:26-27:
Rom 8: 26 Likewise the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
I will address these verses a little later in this study. Let it suffice to say for now that I personally believe that the leaders who encourage their sheep to pray in their spirit language to cause something to come to pass during the service time are either knowingly or unknowingly (because of tradition) leading their congregation into errant thinking.
God doesn't need our help. He doesn't need us to "drum up the spirit man" in order to be able to move. God is the Almighty One. He is sovereign.
I know that as I submit myself to the Lord on any
given day, and choose to obey His Will in my life, according to the Standard
that He has set forth for me in His Word, I will walk in the Spirit, and not
in the flesh, and hence, I will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. When I
walk in this obedience, and willing submission to Him, I will worship Him
in Spirit and in Truth.
He leads me in His Way, and as I walk in His Way, the enemy has no ground to hold in my life. I will walk in His blessings, and in the Joy of the Lord, and not in distress and condemnation.
It is when we have the attitude of "I know the Word says this, but…" that we run into difficulties.
Christians say "I know the Word
of God says to owe no man anything, but to love one another, but that's impossible
in this day and age. God doesn't want me driving a five hundred dollar car.
It doesn't look Good. He won't mind if I go in debt for a newer and nicer
car. God doesn't want me to live in such a small house. He wants me to have
a bigger house, so He won't mind if I go into debt over a bigger house. God
wants me to have nicer clothes. He won't mind if I run up my credit card a
little for some nicer clothes. God wants His children to enjoy life…He won't
mind if I go in debt for this motorcycle, or this four wheeler, or this snow
mobile, or this boat…" And with such justification of their desires, they
willingly go into debt contrary to the Word of God.
Soon, financial crisis hits. Loss of a job, or unexpected hospital bills, or whatever comes their way to put the crunch on them, and it looks like they are going to lose their car, because they can't make the payment.
They go to the altar, depressed and distressed, and the pastor asks the whole church to pray in their spirit language for them. So the whole church prays in tongues. They have been taught to believe that this will get results, and I submit that this is only a form of the sorcery we have addressed in this study.
1 Cor 14: 16 Else when thou shalt
bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned
say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
The fact of the matter
is that this Christian has walked contrary
to the Will of God in the first place, and he or she expects to be bailed
out by these magical prayers.
What is needful is that the Christian should be shown the error that led to this situation, and that they should resolve to get it right before God.
But how can this kind of instruction take place when most of the leaders of the Church have an Esau mentality, and are themselves compromising the Word of God by amassing debt for themselves while they sell out their inheritance for the satisfaction of their bellies?
Many Christians today are quoting the blessing
in Deuteronomy 28 that says we are the head and
not the tail. But they are walking in the curse of being borrowers and not
lenders, because they are trying to amass to themselves the things of the
world contrary to the Word of God.
Leaders in the church spend time trying to explain away the scripture that says:
Rom 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Christians are going to the altar and asking for prayer concerning their "financial situation", and a lot of times, that financial situation has happened because of their unwillingness to obey God.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Desire is that the people of God
would walk in His Truth, and not in the speculation of men. I am not aware
of a place in the Word of God where we can find a passage that would read
something like this:
"When Paul stood up to speak, he first instructed the people to pray in the Spirit, so as to usher in the presence of God," or "When Peter entered the synagogue, there was a man who was sick of the palsy, and Peter laid his hands on him, and prayed in his gift of tongues, and the man was made whole," or "There was a man who was possessed of the devil, and as Barnabas prayed in his prayer language, the man was set free."
believe that the Christian who uses his or
her gift in the ways mentioned above, may be just as guilty as the devout
Catholic, who believes that praying to Mary, or praying the rosary gives him
or her special audience before God.
I believe that in many cases, Christians have reduced the gift of tongues to the equivalent of sorcery as defined in Malachi 3:5. But just as the devout Catholic is sincere in their error, and are only practicing that which they have been taught by their religious tradition, there are also many sincere Christians who are only doing what they have been taught through man's tradition.
The leaders who teach error to the flock of God are the ones who will have to answer to God for perpetrating that error.
beyond this abuse, there are those ministers who coach new
Christians in the "way to speak in tongues." The error says that if a person
doesn't have the gift of tongues, then he doesn't have the Holy Spirit. This
is not true.
There is a catchphrase in Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Full Gospel circles that speaks of "the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues." This phrase is found no-where in the Bible, and yet is tossed around like it is some kind of Biblical Truth. Tradition of man has made the Word of God of none effect.
a great deal of time in 1 Corinthians
expounding on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as spoken of in the books of Acts.
I believe that it is a Work of God that happens in addition to getting Born Again.
I believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a empowering and equipping of God's Born Again Children to perform the Work of the Ministry that He has called them to.
But I don't believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit saves anyone, nor do I believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will result in one always receiving the gift of tongues.
I believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit results in the Gifts of the Spirit of God manifesting themselves severally as He Wills in the Believer's life.
Jesus told the disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on High.
Throughout time, Satan has been busy distorting the Truth of God, attempting to corrupt God's Truth, so the Body of Christ is rendered ineffective in it's service to God. For instance, consider the following:
Most of us can accept the fact that God calls some (not all) to be pastors, or some to be evangelists, or apostles or prophets, or teachers.
Most of us can accept the fact that some people operate in the gift of healing, or that there are wonderful miracles that are worked through the Spirit of God in the lives of certain of the Body of Christ.
Some Christians are endowed with a wonderful ability to be in leadership. Not all are leaders, and we have no problem accepting that fact.
Some are very talented in their natural abilities to be endued with the gift of helps. Not everyone knows what to do when the roof is leaking, or a water pipe breaks, or when his or her engine has a knock in it. But praise God for those people in the church who have that wonderful gift of helps.
Now the problem that has plagued the Body of Christ is the fact that while they accept the fact that not every one has the gift of prophecy, or of healing, or while they admit that not everyone is called to be an evangelist or apostle, or a prophet or a pastor or teacher, they seem to think that every Christian who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit speaks in tongues.
Because of the tradition regarding tongues that man has embraced, many who speak in tongues are victims of deception, and may not really have the gift of tongues, at all. Here is how the deception works:
is a Christian who loves the Lord,
and wants to please the Lord in all that he does. He goes to a church that
teaches a tradition that says the gifts of the Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians
12, 13, and 14 have been done away with. He meets some wonderful Christians
who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and who have embraced the tradition
that says that Baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by the gift of tongues.
They ask John
if he has received the baptism of the Holy
Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. John is honest with the Lord,
and with others, and he answers, "No, I haven't even heard about that". So
these sincere well meaning Christians explain the tradition they have learned
in the church concerning the gift of tongues.
They are not to blame; they are only teaching what they have been taught. 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 is not discussed…in fact, only a little scripture is shared, but a lot of "personal experience" is brought forth in the conversation. They talk about how they "feel" when they pray in tongues.
They have been taught that when they pray in tongues, they are praying in the Spirit, and the Spirit is praying on their behalf. Then they quote Romans 8:26 to show John where this is borne out in Scripture:
Rom 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.(KJV)
so conditioned by their tradition, that
they fail to see that the passage actually doesn't mention tongues, but that
it really says that the Spirit makes intercession for us with GROANINGS which
cannot be UTTERED.
Anyone who has walked in the Spirit of God will recognize the GROANINGS OF THE SPIRIT as they come upon him or her. As such they will also know that this passage is not speaking of tongues.
The problem is that most Christians, leaders as well as the flock, have not WALKED MUCH IN THE SPIRIT.
In fact the word UTTERED here is "alaletos", which means "not expressed in words". See Thayers':
215 alaletos- not to be uttered, not expressed in words
sincere Christians who
are instructing John in the "deeper things of God" are not necessarily at
fault…they have been conditioned to accept a man-made doctrine.
Anyway, they continue in their instructing of John, repeating all they have learned from their teachers, who have probably just taught them all they have learned concerning the subject from their teachers… and so on. That's how tradition works.
Soon John accepts the "logic" of the presentation that he has heard, and says, "yes, you can pray for me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit."
Now, in the
past few years, there has been a revelation
in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches that "coaching" people in "how" to
receive the gift of tongues is really not of God. And these Christians that
are speaking with John have been taught not to coach him.
So they don't make THAT mistake.
More than likely, one will pray for John, and the others who are around him will pray in THEIR "spirit language". If John is very honest with God, the chances are good that he won't receive the "gift of tongues" right then.
But the Christians will encourage him, and depending on what circle he is in, he will either leave convinced that he isn't saved, because he hasn't received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, or at the least, he will leave, convinced that he isn't complete in Christ, because he hasn't received the gift of tongues.
John may be pressured into believing he needs to speak in tongues like "everyone
else does," and because the heart is deceitful, John may convince himself
that he has received the gift, just so he isn't left out.
I personally believe a lot of people who have "received the gift of tongues" have received something that has been fabricated through responding to pressure of other Christians.
Besides, if they haven't learned to walk in the unfeigned Love of God, they are only emitting so much noise when they speak in tongues (1 Cor 13:1).
So one night,
while being prayed for to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, John opens
his mouth, and speaks words similar to those he had heard his friends speak.
Everyone gets excited over this "manifestation," and they celebrate.
Because of the way they encourage John, he feels good, and maybe experiences goosebumps over the warm way in which he was received. From then on, John will associate goosebumps with the anointing of the Holy Spirit (No different than the burning in the bosom of the Mormons).
mind the fact that in each account in the book of Acts, those people
who received the Gift of tongues were not instructed in the necessity of receiving
the gift of tongues once they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Paul did not stand behind the new converts, praying in tongues as Peter instructed them in the way to receive this gift. The Holy Spirit fell on the people, and He gave them utterance.
The unbelievers who stood around were amazed because they heard these men speaking in their own languages about the Wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11).
They didn't require any coaching by the apostles.
From this account
as recorded in the Book of Acts, we can see two things.
First, the unbelievers (Jews, who had not yet believed in the Way of Christ) who were standing around saw them speaking in their own language, and this opened the door for Peter to preach the gospel to them.
Indeed, Paul said that the gift of tongues is intended to be a sign for the unbeliever.
1 Cor 14: 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
believe this verse explains what happened on that day of Pentecost. The Word
of God says that there were "devout men" who were Jews who were present when
the gift of tongues manifested itself in the believers.
These Jews could not deny the fact that God was working a mighty sign and a wonder in their presence through the manifestation of these tongues.
Let's look at the definition of the Greek Word which was translated as "sign" here in 1 Corinthians 14:22.
4592 semeion- a sign, a mark,
a) that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known
b) a sign, a prodigy, a portent, that is, an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature
1) used of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen 2) used of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's cause
Because of this sign that happened, the stage was set for Peter to preach the gospel to these Jews.
The second thing that we need to see from this account
in Acts chapter 2, is that while they were speaking in tongues, they were
declaring the Wonderful works of God.
They were praising Him and Glorifying Him in a language that was foreign to them.
I personally believe that the gift of tongues is given to us to enable us to praise Him as we ought to praise Him.
I personally do not believe that the gift of tongues are given to us to be able to pray to get our way, or to manipulate God to answer our Prayers.
1 Cor 14:2 says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks to God and not to man. As we speak to God in our prayer language, our spirit is praising Him for His Wonderful works and His Wonderful Ways in our lives.
1 Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul asks a series of questions. He asks:
1 Cor 12: 27
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Obviously all of the answers are no, but somehow in the church in America
today, the answer to the question, "do all speak in tongues?" is "yes".
I believe this is error.
Now notice that the Word of God says we are to covet earnestly the best gifts…I believe this is saying that we are to desire to receive the gift of speaking in tongues, as well as the other gifts that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
But Paul says that there is a better way to walk
than merely in the spiritual gifts. He devotes the next chapter to the Christian's
walk in life, which is to be in the Love of God.
He says that if we have any of these gifts, without love, the gifts don't amount to anything.
I believe this Love is referring to the Love of the Christian for God first, and the Love of the Christian for his or her fellow man. The fact of the matter is that Biblical Love is defined as this:
1 Cor 13:4-7
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.(KJV)
In the church in America today, there are many who seemingly "flow in the gift of tongues" during services, and yet who do not manifest the Love of Christ, which is the primary fruit of the Spirit of God. Paul says:
1 Cor 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
Just think of all the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals that are being demonstrated in church services today as Christians lift up their voices in their "prayer language" to cause something to happen in the heavenlies!
Let's look at some of the aspects of the Biblical definition of Love:
The Word of God defines Love as being "longsuffering".
The Greek word defined as longsuffering is "makrothumeo",
and it means, not
to lose heart, or to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes
I have seen many who are very vocal when it comes to their "gift" literally crumble when they experience misfortune and trouble in their lives.
It also means to
be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others. Many in
the church who are openly demonstrative of the gift of tongues have little
or no tolerance for those who offend them.
Our calling as Christians is to have the mind of Christ in all situations. I have even heard brothers or sisters in our LORD speaking in tongues when praying AGAINST SOMEONE. This is not the Mind of Christ, who prayed on the Cross that the Father would forgive those who mocked Him, tortured Him, and crucified Him.
Jesus didn't want those people to undergo the Judgment of God. Yet too few Christians have this mentality toward those who wrong them, and they are ready to "pray in tongues" against those who do them wrong! SORCERY.
example is this. Susie Christianity is approached by Johnny Christian.
Johnny tells Susie that his employer is harassing him, and making life miserable
on him because he is a Christian. Other people who aren't as conscientious
as he is in his work are getting raises, and he isn't. It's not fair, and
it's really causing him to be depressed. The boss can't fire him, because
he is doing his job, but he is giving him more work, and putting him in a
situation where he will be forced to quit, so the boss can hire someone else
in his place. He asks Susie to pray for him, because he knows Suzie is a real
Suzie prays that God will intervene on Johnny's behalf, and that God would pour out His chastisement on this employer. That God would cause his company to fail as long as he treats Johnny like he is.
To seal this prayer, Suzie prays in tongues. Suzie has effectively engaged in sorcery against Johnny's boss.
Jesus told His children to pray for those who despitefully
use us. His example was given to us on the cross as He prayed, "Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do." Neither Suzie or Johnny are walking
in love toward this man.
Jesus wasn't praying for the people who did Him wrong so that He could put them in their place. His compassion and Love for those people was demonstrated even while they were killing Him.
I have met many "spiritual" brothers and sisters
who wish ill on those who wrong them, and they rejoice when wrong befalls
I have heard many Christians tell me about what happened to this person or that person who stood against them or who offended them in some way or another.
They interpret this catastrophe as happening to their enemies because they "touched God's anointed." They are "great spiritual warriors', and are very adept at "praying in tongues".
Yet according to the Word of God, all of their tongues are just a bunch of noise, because they don't have the mind of Christ toward those who offend them or do them wrong! They are actually engaged in a form of sorcery.
running rampant in the church, and I believe
that a lot of the tongues that are manifested in the church today are NOT
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The Christian who harbors feelings of bitterness or unforgiveness, or who attributes a calamity happening to another person who had offended him or her as the Judgment of God has not the Love of Christ dwelling in him or her, and as such, the "tongues" he or she utters are just noises in the ears of God.
According to Thayer's this is the definition of Longsuffering:
3114 makrothumeo- to be of
a long spirit, not to lose heart
a) to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles
b) to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others
1) to be mild and slow in avenging
2) to be longsuffering, to be slow to anger, to be slow to punish
The Word of God says
that Love doesn't vaunt itself. This word
means to use rhetoric to promote oneself. We have all sat in the company of
those who prefer to talk about the things they have done in their service
to the Lord.
You will hear their conversation dwelling more on "I" and "me". Often times they will dominate the conversation as to their exploits.
The Word of God says that the spiritual gifts are meant to equip and encourage the Body of Christ to be all they are intended to be. It's not wrong to give our testimonies to others. Testimonies can encourage and help equip our brothers and sisters.
But too many Christians want to be recognized as being "somebody."
They bask in people's praise, and love to be seen of men.
The object of giving a testimony should be to teach others or give Glory to God for the Wonderful Works He has done. It should never be "This is what I have done for the Kingdom of God. Look at what a great man of God I am".
The heart is deceitful above all things. We need
to examine ourselves and see what the real motive is for giving a testimony.
If a testimony is given about what "we" have done, its ultimate goal should
be to encourage and equip others to do the work of the ministry.
It should never end with just being a story about what we have done, so people could stand in awe of our exploits. God should be the center of the conversation, and not "me".
The person who vaunts himself in ministry and who is wonderfully fluent in the gift of tongues is actually making a bunch of noise.
The Word of God says
that Love is not puffed up. This is the exterior
demeanor of a person who wants to be recognized. While the one who vaunts
himself may feign a form of humility, while secretly basking in the recognition
he receives from men, the one who is puffed up may love to dazzle others with
his brilliance, and like the Pharisees and the Saducees of Jesus' day, he
may love to be clothed with fine clothing, and look stunning to the audience
who listen to him.
They glitter and sparkle with their finery, and the unsuspecting sheep eat the leaven they try to dish out to them.
Not that there is anything wrong with nice clothes…But most of the time those who invest their money in expensive clothing and expensive "things", love to be seen and admired by others. The conversation of others may be, "Man, so-and-so is sure a sharp dresser, isn't he?" or "He is so cultured in his speech."
If we dress in simplicity, and live in simplicity, the money that we invest in the "fine things of life" could be used to further the Kingdom of God.
The argument goes that "You need to dress this way to reach the rich." This is a lie from the pit of Hell. The rich young ruler came to Jesus, who was probably sweaty and soiled from the day's walk in the heat, and asked Him what he could do to inherit Eternal Life.
Another ruler came and asked Him to heal his daughter (Matt 9:18).
Jesus, the man of God who had no place to lay His head, was invited many times to eat with and to visit the rich.
Some teachers mention the fact that Jesus had an expensive garment that the soldiers gambled for when He was crucified. Even if this was true, it wasn't His clothing that attracted the people.
It was because the people knew Him as a man of God.
There are many teachers in the church today who are puffed up and whose exterior demeanor reveals the fact that they are indeed puffed up, who make great displays of speaking in tongues, yet the word of God says that their tongues is just a bunch of Noise.
A man's speech, or his
countenance, or his demeanor, or his clothing, or his wealth or his "exploits"
do not impress God. While they seek to impress
others, God remains unimpressed.
I don't believe there is anything wrong with nice clothes…I believe the Christian who has the nice clothes has to examine his or heart as to WHY they have them.
There is nothing wrong with looking nice, but if a person wants to look nice to impress others, then they have a pride issue they have to deal with.
who are often speaking in tongues in the congregation, are engaged
in gossip and backbiting others in the body of Christ, contrary to the fact
that the Word of God says that Love does not think evil.
This word "evil" is the Greek word "Kakos".
2556 kakos- 1) used of a bad
nature: not such as it ought to be
2) used of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting: base, wrong, wicked
3) troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful
We could go on with this list of what Love is and
is not, but I think the point has been established that a lot of the tongues
that are being spoken in church are just a symphony of noise.
To sum up what I have covered here:
I believe that "tongues" is a viable gift of the Holy Spirit and that this gift is for the believer today, just as the gifts of healing, and prophecy and helps are (1 Cor 12:28-30).
I believe that I should covet this gift, because it is a gift from God (1 Cor. 12:31).
I believe that the Holy Spirit bestows these gifts severally as He wills to those who are baptized in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:11).
I believe that the gift of tongues is a wonderful prayer language with which I am able to praise God perfectly in the spirit (1 Cor 14:2).
I believe that as I pray In the Spirit, I am being built up spiritually (1 Cor 14:4).
I believe that if I speak in tongues in the church, I should also have an interpretation of those tongues (1 Cor 14:13,27,28).
Whatever is done in the church should be for the edification of the church (1 Cor 14:12), and if tongues are spoken without interpretation, the church is not edified (1 Cor 14:5).
As a matter of fact, if there are people present who don't understand the gift of tongues, and the whole church is speaking in tongues, they might just think that the church has flipped out (1 Cor 14:23).
And I believe that the manner in which the tongues are used in the church in a lot of cases is tantamount to sorcery.
I believe if a Christian is embracing the tradition of praying in tongues to "get" something, or to cause something to come to pass in their lives or in the lives of others, it is akin to practicing sorcery in the church.
Sorcery runs rampant in the Church in America today.
The misuse of the Gifts of God is only one way in which it is being practiced.
But there will be a day soon, when God sets the leaders straight, and His Truth will prevail.
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