How was the organic, missional church introduced to the world? How was the evangelical church presented to the lost? Pick any denomination, pick any flavor, pick your church, and ask this question: Out of all the innumerable ways that God could have chosen to initially present His wonderful Bride, His beautiful church to the lost world, in what way did He ordain to have His Church come out and make her grand and glorious debut to the lost world?????
The answer: Through the gift of speaking in tongues. That’s what the world heard and saw first from the Church. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance . And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together , and were confounded , because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled , saying one to another , Behold , are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born ? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome , Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed , and were in doubt , saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said , These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken , as ye suppose , seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”
Didn’t God know that this was the “least of all the gifts”? Why would you use the LEAST gift to make your FIRST impression? (By the way, I’ve been looking all day for the exact verse that specifically states that tongues is the “least of the gifts” and I can’t seem to find it. Maybe you could look for me. Go ahead, try it.) I heard one guy say, “So, are you proficient at prophecy, healing the sick, and performing miracles? If tongues is the least of the gifts, then surely you’re doing the greater, right?” LOL.
Didn’t the gift of tongues cause controversy in the Corinthian church? I find it interesting that the very gift that caused men to mock, caused controversy in Corinth, and that the Church is ashamed of now, or believes is non-existent, is the very thing that God used to premiere His Bride. (Men still mock it today; and unfortunately, others use it out-of-order and horribly abuse the gift for their own purposes). In other places in Acts, it is often the first gift (not the last) displayed when people received the Holy Spirit. Why is that? Why does it show up first when men have called it least? Maybe God actually likes this gift. Do you think that maybe God likes to hear it for Himself, just between you and Him? Most of the other gifts are used to strictly benefit others, but this one has a dual purpose that can be very intimate and exclusive for the speaker and God, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.” When it comes to gifts that directly benefit others, tongues is listed towards the end…BUT when it comes to gifts benefiting the believer and the intimacy between them and God, it is the only one of its kind “The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself…“-1 Cor. 14:4a. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit”-Jude 1:20.
Didn’t God know that the lost in Acts 2 would think that the Church was silly and drunk? Didn’t God know that lost people would mock His Church? (Acts 2: 13-16) Shouldn’t God have been a little more seeker-sensitive? There must have been quite a few mockers because Peter had to first address the “drunken charge” controversy! How were they behaving that caused people to think they were drunk??? When you hear someone speaking in another language, or when you hear a foreigner speaking in your language, what would make you think they were drunk? Do you think the believers might have been a little emotional, perhaps? God knew that they were going to appear to men as drunk, God knew they were going to be mocked, God knew it would cause controversy in the church, God knew that it would cause a backlash to the point where Paul would have to personally defend the gift and implore men to “forbid not speaking in tongues”. And yet, God wasn’t embarrassed by it. The gift of tongues doesn’t embarrass God. Isn’t it interesting that later in Ephesians 5:18 the bible says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The Spirit and wine seem to be compared in the Bible. Oh by the way, does Ephesians 5:18 actually mean, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be saved.”???? Most churches teach that you only get filled with the Spirit at the initial salvation experience…and never again. What I find strange is that the author was addressing people who were already saved.
So, this is how God chose and ordained for the Church to be introduced to the Lost. This was a church that was devoted to worship and prayer first (Upper Room). Then they got filled with power. They operated in the spiritual gifts, And then they preached. When they got low, they got refilled again (Acts 4). Worship, prayer (church) first, preaching and mission followed. And….they sought the power of God and weren’t afraid to let God be God. They didn’t try to hide, be ashamed, hold back, shun, or ignore what God ordained.. This is the pattern of the original, organic, missional, evangelical, fill-in-the-blank church.
- Prayer in the Spirit (uphans7.wordpress.com)
- Is The Spirit Measurable? Can You Be Filled Again? Jesus Pray In Tongues? (defrostingwindows.wordpress.com)
- Did Certain Gifts Cease After the 1st Century?
- Why Are We Losing So Many Of Our Young People To The World? (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)