Tongues and Prophecy will cease

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away (1Co 13:8).There is a very good reason why Paul put 1 Cor. 13 in the middle of chapter 12 and 14. His intention is very clear. Love is permanent while tongues, prophecy and knowledge were temporary. This is the focus Paul wants to establish. He ends 1 Cor. 12 with: “And I will show you a still more excellent way”. He then goes on to explain the real focus. He tried to show the Corinthians that the correct focus is love, which is pure and unselfish. They were so taken with tongues that he had to point them to the correct focus. They were like children discovering a new toy. “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1Co 14:20). He also said: “But earnestly desire the higher gifts.”. He said they should rather desire prophecy than to speak in tongues. Tongues was the least of all the gifts. He tried to get them to focus rather on prophecy.

Paul is clearly saying to the Corinthians that they are to pursue love. “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” (1Co 14:1). He also said to them, “desire the gifts”, but they were to peruse love like a precious gift, because of its permanency. He also said to them it is good to desire tongues, but it is more excellent to desire to prophecy, because it builds the body. No where did Paul gave it as a command that must be obeyed. He said it is good to long for it, but not to seek after it as something that must be done. It is love which they must follow as a command. Those without love are not children of God. Therefore the emphasis to follow in the way of love (1 John 2:4-5).

The gift of prophecy Paul was referring to was to speak forth the Word of God. It was not about future predictions. The gift of prophecy he was referring to was to speak to God’s people His words in the absence of the written revelation from God. To teach, build and comfort God’s people. This was the purpose of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:12). Paul said since they were eager for spiritual gifts, they must desire to build the church. The people must understand them. There is no purpose in speaking in a tongues when no one understands. They would speak in the air and not build the body. The purpose was for people to understand what was said so that they can be built up (1 Cor. 14:6,13). Therefore they had to keep quiet unless it could be interpreted (1 Cor. 14:2).

In 1 Cor 14:7-12, Paul explains that tongues are intelligible languages with meaning and structure, not just unintelligible noise. It should also be used in an orderly fashion. He uses examples of musical instruments to explain to them that tongues are not gibberish and unintelligible noise. It is known languages with vowels and consonants. He also explains that it has meaning and can be understood like soldiers who understand the tune the trumpet makes that call them to action in war. He uses this analogy of musical instruments to show them that the gift of tongues is not like that of the pagan world which was a bunch of purposeless sounds and unknown noises.

Let us go back to 1 Cor. 13 and discover what Paul was trying to say to the Corinthians about the nature and lifespan of prophecy and tongues. What is the “perfect” he is referring to?

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away (1Co 13:9-10).

When Paul was writing this, he knew they were prophecying in part. This means the full revelation of God was still unfolding. Jesus said to the apostles that the Holy Spirit will teach them the things to come and will guide them in all truth. They were expecting the unfolding revelation of God (John 16:12-13). When Paul wrote this, he knew that they were still awaiting the full revelation from God, which was the Bible. Thus he wrote “we prophecy in part but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away”.

The context of 1Cor.13:8 is revelation and knowledge. When they were prophesying then, they knew that they were doing it under partial knowledge and a day would be coming when God’s full revelation (the Bible) to the church would be available. Jesus told them that there were still many things that He would teach them, but it would happen when the Spirit was given at Pentecost (John 16:12-13).

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways (1Co 13:11).

Why did Paul put this exactly here in the context of love being permanent, and tongues, prophecy and knowledge being temporary? The context was immaturity. When we are children we do things in childish ways. The church was still in infancy and a few decades old. The apostles was still busy writing the revelation they received from God. The full revelation (the Bible) was not available yet.

Jude said that there is a full revelation that was ONCE delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). Not again and again. This revelation is the Bible. At the time Paul was writing his letter to the Corinthian church, the New Testament revelation of God was still being written. Paul was anticipating a time when God’s full revelation to humanity would be complete, the church would have grown to maturity, and the gifts of tongues and prophecy, which was the medium of revelation in the absence of the Bible, would cease.

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut. 29:29).

There are no secrets for man to know. They belong to God. What God wanted to say, He did in the Bible. When the Bible was completed, God gave teaching gifts of the Spirit like pastor and teacher that would explain the Word to His people by the wisdom and insight the Spirit gives. The purpose of these teaching gifts is to edify, build and equip the saints for every good work.

God has spoken in the Bible and God continues to speak by His Spirit through the Bible. Not through revelatory gifts like tongues and prophecy. There is no need for new revelation. The full counsel of God is available to His people. Everyone can read what God wants to say. The Spirit empowers every person to understand His word. Now we must study and devote ourselves to prayer and wait for His guidance in His word. We must listen to the teachers and elders God has appointed and gifted with wisdom and insight to expound the Word.

Is Christ your Lord?

We do not ask: Is Christ your “Savior”?—but is He, really and truly, your Lord? If He is not your Lord, then He is most certainly not your “Savior.” Those who have not received Christ Jesus as their “Lord” and yet suppose Him to be their “Savior,” are deluded—and their hope rests on a foundation of sand.

When we ask, Is Christ your Lord, we mean, does He in very deed occupy the throne of your heart, and does He actually rule over your life? “We have turned everyone to his own way” (Isa 53:6) describes the course which we all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and why? “In those days there was no King in Israel” (Jdg 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1Ti 1:17; Rev 15:3), until you bow to His scepter, until His will becomes the rule of your life, self dominates, and thus Christ is disowned.

Conversion, true conversion, saving conversion, is a turning from sin to God in Christ. It is a throwing down of the weapons of my warfare against Him, a ceasing to despise and ignore His authority. New Testament conversion is described thus: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve [to be in subjection to, to obey] the living and true God” (1Th 1:9). An “idol” is any object to which we give what is due alone unto God the supreme place in our affections, the molding influence of our hearts, the dominating power of our lives. Conversion is a right about face, the heart and will repudiating sin, self, and the world. Genuine conversion is always evidenced by “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Act 9:6); it is an unreserved surrendering of ourselves to His holy will. Have you yielded yourself to Him (Rom 6:13)?

~AW Pink

The ten commanments today

The ten commandments are hated by secular society. More even sometimes the contemporary church hate it. They claim we do not live under the law any more. Is that true? Does the law still apply to us? What is the Biblical perspective on the law and what role does it play in the Church after Christ came?

Certainly not for righteousness and justification. We are justified by God’s grace apart from the law by faith in Christ as a gift of God (Rom 3:21-25). But the 10 commandments is still God’s requirement for His people. When the new birth was predicted by Jeremiah, he said God would write His laws on people’s hearts and engrave it on their minds. The law will no longer be outside them but it would be part of them, it would be in them. Jeremiah said the Lord will put the law within them. It will come from the heart. They will love the Lord their God from the heart and they will love their neighbor from their heart. No longer will their heart be dead, but with Godly affections they will obey their God with a passion from the heart. He will be their God and they will be His people. A very close relationship between them. He will make it possible for them to follow His commandments.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jer. 31:33).

Before Christ came, it was impossible to follow the ten commandments. The sinful nature that is in each person ruled us. We could not overcome its desires. We were enslaved to our sinful desires and thoughts (Eph. 2:1-3).

Christ broke the power of the sinful nature on the cross. Our old sinful self which want to sin and cannot say no, was destroyed and it died with Christ on the cross (Rom. 6:1-6).

Now we are able by the power of the Spirit to follow and obey God’s law. Not for justification and righteousness, but for good works (Gal. 5:16-25). So that we can live and obey God’s requirements for His people. The law is house rules for God’s people. God want the world to see Him through His people.

Is the law therefore done away with? YES, for justification, but NO as requirements how God want’s His people to live. By the law we as Christians are reminded of God’s holiness and we see our sinfulness and we discover our inability to love God as we should. By the law we see the need for Christ. By the law we discover gratitude what Christ has done for us, because we are unable to do any good or fulfill God’s requirements. We see God’s holiness (Rom. 7:7-12). The world are convicted of sin by the ten commandments (Rom. 7:7-8). They are measured against God and it is here where they discover that they fall short and are under judgement.

DIE TO SELF – IT START WITH BEING BORN AGAIN.

You can only be born again when the self has died. Rom 6 explains what happen when you are born from above. You died with Christ on the cross. You were united through the Holy Spirit with Christ’s death on the cross, so that your old self has died and you became new with Jesus in His resurrection. All has become new. Those who are in Christ are a new person, the old is gone (2 Cor. 5:17). This is the old unwilling and loving to sin self. The new person desire after the will of God. The old person had his own desires and loved sin. He did not feel remorse about sin. The new self want to glorify God and not himself.

“If [following Christ] has never cost you anything, you’re not following Him.” ~ Tim Conway

“If [following Jesus Christ] doesn’t cost you anything, it’s because you’ve bought into ‘American Christianity.” ~ Paul Washer

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Gal. 2:20

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” Romans. 6:6

Luke 14:27
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Hebrews 13:13
“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”

Unbelief – the greatest sin

Taken from a commentary by Henry Mahan on Hebrews.

Hebrews 3:7-19

Heb_3:7-11. This is a direct quotation from Psa_95:7-11. These Israelites were professing to be God’s people; but at the same time they were rebellious, murmurers, and unbelievers.

1. They would not hear the voice of God as he spoke to them by Moses. God speaks to us by his Son. ‘This is my Son, hear ye him.’ (Heb_1:1-2.)

2. They hardened their hearts. There is a natural hardness of heart with which we are all born; but there is an acquired, voluntary hardness of heart that comes through rejection of truth, light, and warnings and through continuance in sin (Mat_11:20-24; Pro_29:1).

3. They tried God’s patience and long suffering through their complaints, murmurings, and rebellion even though they had seen his goodness, provisions, protection, and miracles for forty years.

4. God was grieved with them. This speaks after the manner of men and denotes that God was weary of them, displeased with them, and angry with them. He firmly declares that they shall not enter into the land of Canaan (called God’s ‘rest’ because he promised it and gave it to Israel).

Heb_3:12. ‘Take heed brethren.’ This warning is written to us (founded upon this Old Testament example) as a caution lest we follow the same path and miss the ‘rest’ of Christ. Unbelief was the first sin of man and is the mother-sin. 

1. Unbelief renders the word unprofitable (1Jn_5:10-13). 

2. Unbelief shuts us out from the mercies of Christ (Mar_16:16). 

3. Unbelief causes us to finally depart from dependence upon and confidence in Christ. 

4. Unbelief closes the door of prayer (Heb_11:6; Jas_1:6). 

5. Unbelief sets up other gods such as reason, human wisdom, and human philosophy.

Heb_3:13. Encourage one another, exhort one another, instruct and teach one another while the time of life lasts and while the grace of God is available. How can we do this? It is to be done daily: 

1. By worshipping, praying, and praising God together (Heb_10:24-25). 

2. By teaching, preaching, and studying the Scriptures (1Pe_2:1; 2Ti_3:14-17). 

3. By talking together about divine things and less about foolish things. 

4. By warning one another when we see signs of indifference and worldliness.

Heb_3:14. We only participate in the blessings and benefits of Christ by a genuine, persevering faith. No man is in Christ by a temporary faith or a false faith, or a second-hand faith. There are examples throughout the New Testament of faith that was not saving faith (Joh_2:23-25; Joh_6:26; Act_8:13; Act_8:18-21). Faith that saves is God-given, genuine, and continues growing in strength and confidence (Col_1:21-23; Heb_10:38-39). 

Heb_3:15. This is a repetition of Heb_3:7-8. 
The next three verses are three questions leading up to the 19th verse. These verses explain why they were shut out of the land of promise and stand as a severe warning to us in this day of mercy and grace. 

Heb_3:16. Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious and provoked the Lord God? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 

Heb_3:17. With whom was the Lord God irritated and provoked and grieved for forty years? Was it not those who sinned by murmuring and rebelling and whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? 

Heb_3:18. To whom did God swear that they should not enter into his rest but to those who listened to his word and believed not? 

What a solemn warning to us who are favored with a clearer revelation of his grace in Christ. Though they had many evidences of God’s goodness and much light and truth, they did not believe. 

Heb_3:19. So we see the summary of the whole matter. They were not able to enter into his rest because of unbelief. They were not willing to believe God, to trust God, to rely on God –so unbelief shut them out (Rom_4:20-25; Heb_2:1-3).

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© Grace Baptist Church of Danville, KY, 2007