Holy Ghost Sermon Notes | Interpreting Tongues

Interpreting Tongues

Mark 16: 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Signs speak direction and confirmation.  When I don’t know they give knowledge. When I think I know, they give affirmation.

The ONLY purpose for signs following believers is to ILLUSTRATE what the gospel is to unbelievers, and CONFIRM the gospel to believers.

Tell THEM what the presence of God is. Confirm to US that the Presence is with us.

Over the last 2000 years Christians have divided into different sects (denominations) and with those separations some of them have forgotten or even denied that some of the signs actually follow believers.  There is only one scripture in the New Testament that alludes that signs will end and it comes from

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

Every single mainline denomination or non denomination do not deny all the gifts at the inception of the church.  The irony is that some now believe that some of the gifts or all of the gifts of the spirit have ceased “cessationists”. (because the Bible is complete)  As if these immature Christians needed something to sustain them until the official scripture was canonized.

Pastor Jack Hayford “There is a lot of error in this stance because the existence of scripture has not produced nor should be expected to produce instant maturity in the heart of the believer.  Everyone needs the resources of the Holy Ghost AND the word of God.  I need the resources of the Spirit AND the revelation of the Word.  They shouldn’t be postured against each other.  As if moving with the Spirit, resources, gifts, including tongues was resorting to an emotionalist, immature resource.  The church was not born with Spiritual language on its lips because God saw it as something non-essential. It was born with it on its lips because it was fundamental, foundational, and essential to the church functioning in its task. In the same way our vocations have languages to accomplish the task.”

Today, I want to share with you some information about what you AND the church is missing when we miss one of these signs: tongues!

  1. 1.   ILLUSTRATES the Gospel to Others

Tongues for Interpretation (Public)

1 Corinthians 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

In the public context, it is important that everyone is built up.  For PSM, English is the dominate language and it benefits the corporate worship experience.

In other words, don’t let your personal devotion in tongues confuse or distract others in the congregation.  Be careful how you use this gift in public.  Since it is an unknown language, it is confusing to the public.

Paul goes on in chapter 14 to instruct those who have a message in an unknown tongue how to administer that sign.  There needs to be an interpreter.

Tongues are Sign to Unbeliever

1 Corinthians 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”  22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.

Here we see a new function of tongues.

A SIGN to the unbeliever. In this function, the unknown tongue you speak is an actual tongue known in other parts of the world.

The function happened in Acts 2 when people from other parts of the world heard the Christians speaking in their native language.

  • During one of Erica’s recent births (February), a mom in labor was speaking in tongues for personal edification.  Others might think she was chanting or just talking in labor. She was saying the same thing over and over again in an unknown tongue.  Laurie, the midwife said, “Do you know you are saying “God is Great” in Sanskrit?” (Indian Hindi Language)


2. CONFIRMS the Gospel to Me  (privately) 

this is The highest level of Prayer | Tongues for Personal Prayer and Intercession

1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. 2 For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. 3 But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. 4 A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.

In private, Speaking in an unknown prayer language edifies or builds up your spirit.

–             promotes your growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness.

15 Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. 16 For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? 17 You will be giving thanks very well, but it won’t strengthen the people who hear you.

  1. He who speaks in a tongue is speaking to God (verse 2)– you are not speaking to your mind or reason.  You CAN speak in your own language.  There are times that you need to think clearly and understanding.  There are times in prayer or praise that we reach the limits of my knowledge of what I should pray or the capacity of what I should praise.  John Wesley “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my dear redeemers praise”.  Tongues are preferred for those who have reached the barrier of effective praise.  Tongues are great for a specific group: finite humans.
  1. He that speaks in a tongue edifies himself – (verse 4) There are times that you are beat down, wore out, depressed, hungry, spiritually dry.  These are actually times when we shy away from spiritual prayer because we feel we are unworthy of that height of spiritual position. None of us are EVER worthy of anything.  We weren’t worthy to be saved and you aren’t worthy to be in His Presence now.  Jesus is worthy and our faith is in him!  When we are depressed we often feel like we aren’t eligible to soar, however, this is the time we need to soar more than ever. RISE in the Resource This is your private and personal application of the Gift of Unknown Tongues.  Here Paul talks about the dimension of spirit prayer.

Praying in the spirit is also mentioned by Jude

Jude 1: 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.


About pastorrobin

Hello. I pastor PromiseLand Church in San Marcos, TX. I am married to Erica, and we have 3 kids: Kennady, Jude, and Avery. All little ones! Visit our church site at www.psmchurch.com

Posted on June 24, 2013, in Sermon Notes, theology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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