Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bishop’s Note: October 29, 2015 Gifts of the Spirit – Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues

Bishop Eric Menees

When I was sixteen year old, a friend of mine invited me to go with him to his Pentecostal church. It was a very different experience than anything I had known - no real liturgy; very loud music - and during the extended time of prayer people were speaking in an ecstatic language that I couldn’t understand. On the positive side, it was not frightening –it was electric. I knew something powerful was happening, but I didn’t know what it was. On the negative side, it was clear to me that, from their perspective, the “spiritual” people had the gift of tongues and the “un-spiritual” people did not. What I heard was the gift of tongues but without the gift of interpretation.  

Sometimes the gift of tongues comes as a prayer language that is used simply to praise God in an unknown language, or when the Holy Spirit prays through us - in intercession for us.

Sometimes the gift of tongues will sound like a strange, almost made up language, and sometimes it is a known language of the world that the recipient of the gift did not learn – it comes supernaturally.

The gift of tongues is most powerful when combined with the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues. This is exactly what happened on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples: “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:6-11)

In Jerusalem the visitors for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost heard, for the first time, the Good News of Jesus Christ in their own language! The Gift of Tongues is most powerful when God the Holy Spirit communicates something powerfully to someone in their own language when the recipient of the gift has no clue what is being said.

The most powerful example of this that I have witnessed was in 1979 – I was a senior in High School and attending our youth group bible study. We normally closed the bible study with prayer, and this night one young woman began to pray in what sounded like French. Soon, Dennis, the adult leader, had tears streaming down his face. It turned out that the French was actually Québécois, the French dialect associated with the province of Quebec, Canada, where Dennis was from. It turned out that the young woman was praying that Dennis would reconcile with his father, with whom he had not spoken in years. As a result Dennis contacted his father and was reconciled. Less than a year later, Dennis died suddenly of a heart attack.

We should all be praying that the Lord would use us to His honor and glory. The Gift of Tongues, and the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues, are two gifts that do just that!

I pray you all a truly blessed week and Lord’s Day!

Catechism Questions 172 - 175

172. What does “hallowed” mean?
Hallowed means to be treated as holy, set apart, and sacred. To hallow God’s name is to honor him as holy.

173. How can you hallow God’s name?
God is King of all the earth, and I pray that all people everywhere may revere and worship him, according to his revelation in Christ and the Holy Scriptures. (Psalms 2; 24; 47; 96; 99; Isaiah 40:12-20; John 14:8-9; Acts 4:8-12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 1, 21:9ff.)

174. How does God answer this petition?
God gives grace that I may honor his holy Name and Word in private and public worship, and he enables me to walk humbly with him, my God. (Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-20)

175. How else can you hallow God’s Name?
I can hallow God’s Name in word and deed by living an obedient and ordered life as his child, as a citizen of his Kingdom, and as one who seeks his glory. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

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