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. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 1 Corinthians 14:22-25
The Apostle Paul continues to drop more truth bombs on us with his teachings. The first part of his statement is “Tongues are a sign” So , as we established, the speaking of tongues has a reason or purpose, people don’t just randomly babble for no purpose. As we talked about previously, tongues are used for evangelism and for edification within the Church. Unknown tongues are to be spoken in private while alone with God, since there is no interpreter
Paul goes on to say “Tongues are a sign for non-believers, not believers” Now I believe Paul is referring to evangelism of the gospel but also its evidence of God’s presence. Again we see a specific purpose for speaking in tongues, God has a reason for delivering this message.
Now think about this from a non-Christians perspective, they hear a Christian speaking in tongues, and their first thought is “What is going on here”? I think that is part of the reason, God is grabbing the attention of the unsaved, God is demonstrating a supernatural gift into the natural world. So now what is the response from the non-believer? Are they going to seek this more or are they just going to blow it off as foolishness? Its a heart condition check by God
On the flipside Paul states “Prophecy is for the believer and not the non-believer” So this makes sense, if someone doesn’t believe in God they obviously are not going to be in prophecy. But it also demonstrates the importance of sharing your revelation with the rest of the Church. If God is giving you a prophecy , it needs to be shared with the Church, as it probably effects the Church.
So just to summarize what Paul is saying towards the end of this “ If a non-Christian witnesses multiple Christians speaking in tongues, their heart condition will be checked” the KJV says “his heart made manifest” , meaning how is this non-believer going to respond to a supernatural event? Are they going to continue to deny God or as Paul says “fall down on his face and worship God”
- Tongues is a sign of the New Covenant for non-believers
- Tongues of prophecy are purposed for the Church
- The response to tongues determines someone’s heart condition towards God
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Sadly, to the detriment to The Church, many Christian denominations and churches don’t believe in speaking in tongues or other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Essentially denying the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14. Spiritual gifts were not just for the early Church. Spiritual gifts have not gone away and are not no longer needed. Spiritual gifts will go away when Jesus Christ returns (Second Coming).
The Holy Spirit gives these gifts as He wills for the empowerment and equipping of the Church, the Body of Christ. By restricting gifts of the Spirit, not only does this grieve the Holy Spirit, it harms the Body of Christ by limiting its ability and effectiveness to do the work it’s expected to do.
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Amen brother! Well said, I can’t say it any better! You either believe the Bible (including 1 Corinthians) is the Word of God or its not…
Have a blessed day brother!