I’m continuing to study the gifts of prophecy and tongues in First Corinthians, chapter 14. Paul is trying to get this church back on track with the proper usage of these powerful workings of the Spirit.
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.
1 Corinthians 14:22
This verse seems to confuse people. The first definition of the word sign is a distinguishing mark. For instance, circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Israel. The second definition of a sign is an unusual occurrence beyond the course of nature.
The fact is that tongues get people’s attention. It’s something beyond the realm of an unbeliever’s everyday life.
So what Paul’s saying in this verse, is that tongues are not unusual to believers (or at least they shouldn’t be). It’s something that gets the attention of unbelievers. Prophecy, speaking for God, is not that unusual for unbelievers. They’ve heard moving speeches before.
When used together in a meeting, tongues will get their attention, and then the prophetic word will open their hearts. Both are needed. This generation is in desperate need of seeing the hand of God at work.
It’s time for God’s people to spend time praying in the spirit. It’s not just a spiritual toy to take out when we want to feel happy. It’s vital to our spiritual growth and the evangelism of our nation.
So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
1 Corinthians 14:23-25
There is definitely a place for the usage of prayer in the spirit. But it must be used carefully in church gatherings.
It’s more important that those who come to a meeting receive a Word from the Lord. That’s especially true if there are unbelievers present, or even believers who don’t understand the usage of a prayer language.
I have a friend whose wife was a Christian and he wasn’t. He refused to come to Christ. He told her, “I’m not a bad person. When I die, I’ll show God all the good things I’ve done and He’ll let me into Heaven.”
One night, his wife went off to church. He decided to check the place out, without her knowing. He snuck in and sat in the back of the church.
That night as the Pastor was giving the call for salvation he said, “And don’t think for one minute that you’re just going to show God all the good things you’ve done and He’ll let you into Heaven. The only way is through the blood of Jesus.”
Talk about the secrets of your heart being laid bare! Please understand that no amount of arguing or debating would have convinced him to turn to Christ. But that night, one Word from God brought him to his knees in repentance.
We need the power of God to be present and active in our churches. That only happens as God’s people spend quality time in the spirit.
Question: How have you seen a Word from God change a life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi