Sunday, May 23, 2021

Saved by Tongues?

Today is Pentecost Sunday, which is acknowledged by many churches and is even a holiday in Germany. Pentecost literally means “50.” Fifty days passed from the Resurrection to when early believers received an impartation of power as described in Acts 2…

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 

3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The manifestation of speaking of tongues continues to be a controversial topic amongst the Body of Christ. Many believers don’t believe it exists today. Some claim it’s of the devil. Yet tongues can a powerful weapon against demonic forces. I heard John Bevere share a story about a mother and her daughter whose home was broken into by a burglar. This burglar threatened to kill them until the mother started praying in tongues loudly. The burglar got scared and ran away.

A few Christians think speaking in tongues is necessary for salvation. I remember an incident when witnessing to three people smoking outside a McDonald’s in Pennsylvania. One of them named Chelsea wasn’t sure of her eternal destiny. I later learned she was backslidden and went to a church that taught one must be baptized and speak in tongues to be saved. Strangely enough, Chelsea defended that doctrine after praying along with her two friends to get born again.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is a gift God wants every believer to have. However, salvation is solely based on our faith in the risen Savior. (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9). My sister and her husband weren't Spirit-filled but constantly prayed that I would recognize my need for Jesus. In March 1991, they led me to the Lord. Two months later, I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the Full Gospel church I attended. It took a while before speaking in tongues became natural for me.

When evangelizing, I rarely discuss speaking in tongues with new converts unless they appear to have a hunger for the deeper things of God. My focus is on getting people saved. As J. Lee Grady stated in his latest column: “You may speak in tongues, but if you don't use the Spirit's power to reach lost souls, you have cheapened the definition of a Pentecostal. We often say that tongues is the initial evidence of the infilling of the Spirit. But if someone isn't bold to witness, they can't be full of the Spirit. Lord, give us souls again!”

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” - Mark 16:17-18

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