Posts Tagged ‘speaking in other tongues’



As a local church here at PlentyValleyChurch (www.pvcoc.org.au) we are part of an international church planting movement that began in Brisbane Australia, called Christian Outreach Centre. (www.coc.org.au)

At the beginning of our church movement in 1974, we were birthed in a world wide phenomenon that was called Charismatic Renewal. All around the world in the 1970’s there was a massive growth and revival of churches that emphasised the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the Holy Spirit included: (from 1 Cor 12:8-10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_Movement

  1. Word of wisdom
  2. Word of knowledge
  3. Gift of faith
  4. Gifts of healing
  5. Gift of miracles
  6. Gift of prophecy
  7. Gift of discerning of spirits
  8. Gift of tongues
  9. Gift of the interpretation of tongues

All of these gifts were readily practiced, however the gift that had always been the most well known and identifiable gift from an observers point of view was the gift of speaking in other tongues. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaking_in_tongues This gift attracts the curiosity of the world because it seems so strange and different. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose and it has this supernatural aspect that not everybody can do it. Only some people can do it, and it’s not like wiggling your ears where some people can do it, some can’t, and that will never change. With tongues, you can start off not being able to do it and then God does something to you and then you can do it – that’s supernatural. It’s not learned, you can’t study to be able to speak in tongues. I know people who have tried really hard to speak in tongues for decades and simply cannot.

Of course speaking in tongues was restored to the church world wide in a supernatural revival of Pentecostalism in two places; 1901 in TopekaKansas and 1906 in Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Since that time the Pentecostal church has spread out around the world and now numbers around 12% of world population and 36% of the world’s Christians and rapidly growing. See…



Today I want to address two important questions for our church and for maybe a lot of churches in Australia and in western cultures.

  1. Isn’t it true that only some people can speak in tongues? – It’s a gift.
  2. Why do I even need to speak in tongues?

I intend to show from the scriptures that anyone who is a Christian believer and who wants this gift can receive it and secondly that one must deeply hunger and thirst for it with passion in order to receive it.


My fear is that the practice of speaking in tongues is falling away in the Pentecostal/charismatic scene in Australia. People don’t see a value in it and the media bias is that it’s weird and only crazy people do it. It’s associated with Fundamentalist Christianity (a dirty word in the west); and further that it’s antithetical to the educated mind.

Just as the preaching of the cross was foolishness to the Greeks in Pauls day, I believe that tongues is foolishness to the educated minds of our day (1Co 1:23)

As if Christianity hasn’t got enough to contend with in our pluralistic and secular society, modern Christians today probably feel like, “I don’t want to have to defend tongues when it just seems so weird and unhelpful. You can get to heaven without it so why bother?” We confidently teach that a person will go to heaven if they have repented of their sins and received by faith the Lord Jesus Christ. After that, being baptised in water has powerful advantages and also baptism of the Holy Spirit is also a powerful advantage but neither is necessary for salvation. (Interestingly the Old Testament picture here is 1Co 10:1  FOR I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud [in which God’s Presence went before them], and every one of them passed safely through the [Red] Sea, [Exod. 13:21; 14:22, 29.] 1Co 10:2  And each one of them [allowed himself also] to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea [they were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God]; In other words, this is a picture of two baptisms – one in the Red sea and One into the cloud – Water and Spirit)

The problem from my point of view is that tongues is very valuable and is a sign that one is baptised in the Holy Spirit to receive power. This power is essential for us as Christians to be successful in winning lost people to Christ.  As Christians become lukewarm, they back away from some of the basics that empower their faith like:

  1. Regular personal times of prayer
  2. Regular reading of God’s Word
  3. Regular attendance at church.
  4. Sharing their faith with non-churched people.

On fire Christians, who are spreading their faith all over the world, are passionate people, not lukewarm people. They are people who are motivated by love and empowered by the Holy Spirit for witness. In the last three weeks we have taught that:

  1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is necessary for the purpose of being a witness of our faith (Week 1 – April 7)
  2. Being baptised with the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience to being born of the spirit. (Week 2 – April 14) (Also what regeneration means)
  3. Being filled with the Holy Spirit has enormous advantages to the believer for their walk in life. (Week 3 – April 21)

As I said, my fear is that less and less people are speaking in tongues for all the reasons I have spoken about here; and that is a diminution of the power and effectiveness of our local church. So my goal is to assure you that you can speak in tongues should you so wish; and that you should so wish, because we all need this power. If you haven’t received in the past then don’t give up – press in and passionately seek God so that you can have all the gifts and power that He has for you.


In my view there are two kinds of tongues that the bible speaks of.

  1. A prayer language available to all.
  2. A gift that is to be used in the church service and coupled with the gift of Interpretation is equal to prophecy.

Let’s look at two groups of scriptures – the first speaks of tongues as it refers to your own personal prayer language; the second as it refers to the gift of speaking in other tongues to be used in conjunction with interpretation in the church service.


Mar 16:17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom 8:27  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (ESV)

1Co 14:2  For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

1Co 14:4  The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. (ESV)


1Co 12:28  And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 1Co 12:29  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 1Co 12:30  Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues*? Do all interpret?

(*The answer to this rhetorical question is expected to be “No.”)

1Co 12:8  For to one is given….1Co 12:10  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1Co 14:5  Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

1Co 14:13  Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

1Co 14:23  If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? (ESV)

It is my firm belief that God grants the ability to speak in tongues as a personal prayer language to help us be built up as spirit filled believers. This ability is available to anyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. We confidently teach that one may be filled with the Holy Spirit and not yet be able to speak in other tongues. God also gives gifts to the body to help with the work of evangelisation and the building up of the church. Gifts such as Faith, Healing and Prophecy.  Speaking in tongues is the only incontrovertible evidence that a person is Baptised in the Spirit. If there was another evidence, it could only be that you are a witness for Him (Acts 1:8)

All other evidences such as love for God, patience, healing, prophecy, etc have been practiced by those in the Old Testament who were not filled with or baptised in the Holy Spirit. In the Book of Acts there are 5 occurrences** of people being baptised in the Holy Spirit. In four of these it states that the people spoke in tongues and in the remaining one, Simon the sorcerer wants to pay money for the gift. It was so different that he saw great value in it, however he had previously seen miracles sand healings so it wasn’t that. It may have been tongues.

**Acts 2:4; (Acts 9:17 + 1Cor 14:18); Acts 8:15-19; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6.


1. One study on the subject of speaking in tongues made the amazing discovery that the human brain’s language centre is inactive when subjects were speaking in tongues. This is in agreement with the bible’s teaching that when speaking in tongues the mind is unfruitful because it’s from the spirit of man that the language arises. (1 Cor 14:14)

Youtube video about the study – http://youtu.be/NZbQBajYnEc

2. Indeed, an earlier study in Britain of glossolalia (TONGUES) among the clergy found that those who sometimes spoke in tongues showed more emotional stability and less depression than a control group.


3. DR. Carl R. Peterson, M.D

Through research and testing Carl found out that as we pray in the Spirit, or worship in the Spirit, (our heavenly language) there is activity that begins to take place in our brain. As we engage in our heavenly language the brain releases 2 chemical secretions that are directed into our immune systems giving a 35 to 40 percent boost to the immune system. –


4. Dr. Caroline Leaf a spirit filled Christian neuro-scientist who has studied the inner workings of the brain is teaching that when you pray in the Spirit (tongues) your brain goes into the highest intellectual state possible.

I know for myself that when I pray in tongues lots of ideas and creative thoughts come to my mind. I am in a place of receptivity that makes it easy to remember all kinds of things that are important to my vision, goals and strategies. So as I pray in tongues I am writing down lots of really great ideas and thoughts that help me plan out my future goals. Pastor Peter Pilt of Nowra COC is probably known best for his amazing creativity in preaching and presenting at church. He reports that easily half of all his creative ideas come from a time of speaking in tongues. (http://peterpilt.org/2012/08/04/56-ways-to-inspire-creativity-in-any-area-of-your-life/)

Many people I meet have been prayed for to receive tongues and have not received it.

I feel for these people because often they feel like a failure. They feel like God has favourites and He gives that gift to some but not to all, and that maybe they are inferior in some way. Of those who have shared with me their story of how they got filled with the Holy Spirit, almost every time there was nothing happening at first, but they pressed in and got HUNGRY and kept on seeking God for that infilling and the overflow that comes with it. You see tongues is the overflow – it comes out of the innermost being and flows out of the mouth…(John 7:37-39)  And one must be thirsty at first in order to receive. You may be only half filled? Or maybe three quarters, keep on seeking God and be filled to overflowing; then the overflow will come and you will speak in tongues.

In our modern world – let’s be honest – aren’t we used to “instant everything”? But when it comes to receiving form God; it’s not a push button A, receive the Holy Spirit next. Instead, God works in us to see how hungry and thirsty are we really? Do we really want it more than our next breath? If you haven’t received yet, even though you have been prayed for, read this verse…

Luk 11:13  If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him! (AMP)

God wants to give you the gift. But you need to be thirsty and hungry first then press in and seek Him for it. Some might say, “Done all that – still no tongues!” But I challenge you to get serious with God and call on Him according to that verse just mentioned. Come on – have you fasted and prayed? Have you sought God till it hurts?


This wonderful gift is such a blessing and Oh So Needed!!  Paul thought it was so important he says, 1Co 14:18  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. When we pray in tongues our spirit prays and our mind is unfruitful (1 Cor 14:14)

That’s important because Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom 8:27  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (ESV) You see praying in tongues means we are praying the perfect prayer and God hears and understands. The Holy Spirit is helping us and praying through us. That’s powerful. This is true intercession, God praying through me. When you pray in tongues, 1Co 14:4  He who speaks in a [strange] tongue edifies and improves himself, It edifies you and builds you up when you pray like that. Don’t we all need that? Look at this verse in the amplified… Eph 3:16  May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. (AMP)

Living this spirit life is about us being in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, therefore we need to be filled over and over by the Spirit. This happens when we speak in tongues.

In the first sermon after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost Peter the apostle says, “This – what you see and hear, is the promise of the Father.” (Acts 2:33+39) What did they see and hear? They saw people reacting as if drunk and they heard speaking in other tongues. This promise Peter says is Act 2:39  For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. [Isa. 57:19; Joel 2:32.] That’s go to be you!! This promise is for you!!

So again let me answer these two questions

  1. Isn’t it true that only some people can speak in tongues? – It’s a gift.
  2. Why do I even need to speak in tongues?

I believe we can show here that speaking in tongues as a prayer language is for all who are afar off even as many as the God shall call. In my name they shall speak with new tongues. Also we need to speak in tongues because God designed it as a prayer language, so that we can pray powerfully and effectively with the Holy Spirit praying through us.


1. Please share your story about being filled with the Holy Spirit, did you speak in tongues yet? (Only share if you’re comfortable with that)

2. How should we answer the objection that tongues sounds like gibberish?

3. Do you get put off speaking in tongues because you don’t see value in it? Why?

4. What are the benefits of praying in tongues?

5. Why do you think God made it so that we needed to press in to get it – to be hungry and wait on Him seriously before we could obtain the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues?

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The story of my baptism. I went to church for the first time when I was 20 years of age and I became a Christian on my second visit to church. Later, after about six weeks, I was water baptised. During this baptism my pastor also encouraged me to believe for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Sort of two for the price of one!!

As they prayed for me, and the pastor and his assistant were praying in other tongues, and I was concentrating on receiving from God. Nothing much happened and I went home rather disappointed. However, I was determined to receive this gift of speaking in other tongues because I had heard a lot of other people speaking in tongues and if they had received it then I want to receive it also. So for three more weeks I was praying to God and asking for this gift. I became more and more desperate for this gift as time went by. This is what I now understand to be hunger and thirst.

Then one evening at church, the congregation were all asked to come forward to gather at the altar and just praise God and pray to Him. This was a time when everyone was praying and lifting up their voices to God at the same time. It was noisy. I was praying to God and saying, “If you don’t fill me with the Holy Spirit I’m going to die!”  Due to the loudness of everyone’s prayer around me, I lost my self consciousness about speaking out, and at the same time God filled me, and out of my mouth came a rush of language! I was speaking in other tongues and with it came the joy, the elation of God’s Spirit filling me.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit we learned last week is an experience that takes place after we receive Christ as saviour, after we are born again. The disciples in John 20:22 were born again. Jesus said to the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was their Born Again experience. Later in Luke 24:49 He told them, “Wait here in Jerusalem until you receive power.” He then immediately ascended into heaven, that being the last thing He spoke to them while on earth. 10 days later they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).


This morning, what I want to share with you, is the wonder of what takes place when you’re born again. What happens to us at the new birth?

Every human being is a spiritual creature. When we are conceived in our mother’s womb we are a spirit that is being clothed with a body. At that time and right on through our life we are a spiritual being but we are spiritually dead. That means cut off from God, having no relationship to Him. Although we exist as a spirit, because we have no relationship with God, He refers to this as dead. Though our life as a spiritual being has just begun, we are of the same nature as our parents. We are born into sin and have a nature that is rebellious and wants to sin and do wrong. Any parent will attest to this, disobedience comes naturally to a child.

Eph 2:1  And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins,

Eph 2:2  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience;

Eph 2:3  among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us

Eph 2:5  (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),

Eph 2:6  and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, (NKJV)

As verse 6 says we are raised up together with Christ. Once we were dead (spiritually) now we are raised from the dead. We are now alive to God and living in relationship with Him. So what happens at the moment of salvation?

We are born again!

Joh 3:1  And there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

Joh 3:2  He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which you do unless God is with him.

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:4  Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?

Joh 3:5  Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 3:7  Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. (NKJV)

Here Jesus likens the spiritual birth of a person their natural birth. When you are born as a baby, you become your parents son or daughter; later when you are born again you become God’s son or daughter. At the moment of salvation you are born again or born from above (as John 3:3 implies). Your human spirit which was dead in sin is regenerated. You are actually a totally new person spiritually.


Being a Christian is more than thinking differently, more than being sorry for your sins, more than taking on a new philosophy, more than changing your attitude, more than deciding to be different, IT IS BECOMING A NEW PERSON!

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! (AMP)

When this happens, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work. We are born of the spirit. We are a totally new person spiritually, by the action of the Holy Spirit. The old person has died, so we bury them in the waters of baptism, and rise to newness of life.

Your new spirit is not only entirely free from sin and the nature of sin but it is recreated in the image of God.

2Pe 1:4  through which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Now that you are born again the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you. He is resident within your life as a co-resident in you.

Rom 8:9  But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom. 8:14.] (AMP)

1Co 6:19  Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, (AMP)

When you are born again, you are born of the Holy Spirit, and He dwells within you.

This is what happened to the disciples in John 20:22. However Jesus still asked them to tarry, to wait here in Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard of me. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is a later experience and it is for power; power to witness, as we learned last week.

The main reason we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that we would become a witness for Jesus. Every Christian needs this power of the Holy Spirit to become an effective witness for Jesus. It is our calling now, to go into all the world and preach the gospel and reach lost people. We can’t do it in our strength and Jesus wanted to equip us with the power to do it so He asked the disciples – wait for the power.

Act 1:8  But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

This morning, will you come and receive Jesus as your saviour – be born again?

This morning will you come and receive power as the Promise of the Father comes upon you – be baptised in the Holy Spirit?

In the next two weeks I will speak more about tongues and what it’s for and why we need that. Today come and receive power.


  1. Can you remember and share the moment when you were born again?
  2. Did anyone experience the “light going on” when you were born again? That experience of seeing for the first time the reality of what God has done for you?
  3. Read 2 Cor 5:17 and discuss how that can be applied to your life.
  4. Now that the Holy Spirit is living within you, what does that mean to you?
  5. How comfortable do you feel about talking to the Holy Spirit?

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