2.04.2017

1 Corinthians 14: 26-40

The gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit
Reading: 1 Corinthians 14: 26-40

When we read the Bible, we hear about people speaking in tongues.
Have you heard about people speaking in tongues?
Let’s learn about this gift.

This gift appeared 2000 years ago in Jerusalem for the first time:
At the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit made the disciples of Jesus to worship in other languages: Acts 2: 5-12.
The disciples were able to speak in Aramaic.
But suddenly they spoke new languages, like Arabic, Greek, Egyptian/Coptic, Syriac, Assyrian, Persian and so on: Acts 2: 9.
The Holy Spirit made them speak various languages.

At that time, many Jewish pilgrims were in Jerusalem, because it was Shavuot “the feast of Weeks.”
In this season, Jewish people came to Jerusalem to worship at the temple and celebrated that Moses received the Law from God at Mount Sinai.

But then they heard the disciples of Jesus spoke in their languages.
They were wondering looking at the disciples:
“Are they not Galileans?
How is it that we hear them speak our languages?
They declare the wonders of God in our tongues!”

Then Peter preached to them saying: Acts 2: 17.
“It has started:
God pours out his Spirit on all flesh.
As God says, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
Peter knew God opened the door of heaven for them the Jews.
Then Peter preached to them about Jesus the Christ.
Then about 3000 Jewish people believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus.

Then some years later, there were another incident at Cornelius’ House: Acts 10: 44-46.
Cornelius was a gentile who invited Peter to preach at his house.
As Peter preached, the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and all who heard the message.
They spoke in tongues and praised God: Acts 10.

At first, Peter who was Jewish, was shocked as the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles and the Gentiles spoke in tongues and praised God.
This meant God opened the door of heaven for the Gentiles as well.
So Peter recognized that the gentiles can believe in Jesus the Christ and be saved; and that the Holy Spirit is also for the Gentiles.
So Peter baptized those Gentiles.
Since then Peter and the Jewish disciples understood that the Gospel is for everyone.
So the disciples of Jesus preached the gospel of Jesus to the world.

You see, the Holy Spirit uses this gift of speaking in new languages to convince Peter that the Gentiles can believe in Jesus, and receive forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus.
God convinced Peter to preach to the Gentiles who are ready to believe in Jesus the Christ and be saved.

But the manifestation of this gift did not stop there.
The early Christians continually spoke in tongues during their worship.
So Paul taught Christians how to use this gift: 1 Corinthians 14: 26-28.
“When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.
Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two people, or at the most three, should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak only to oneself and to God.”

What does Paul say?
There were times when this Corinthian church did not know how to use this gift in worship.
So, during the worship, people spoke in tongues and others did not understand what it meant.
So Paul was saying:
“During our time of worship, interpretation is needed.
We are here to worship God together.
So we need to understand what is said so that we together may give glory and honor to God.”

But does Paul ask them to stop using this gift in worship?
No.
Paul recognizes that the Holy Spirit may edify believers and build up the church through various gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Paul understood that the Holy Spirit may manifest like this.

What Paul asks was to interpret the tongue so that the church understand what the Holy Spirit is saying.
If they understand, they will be benefited by the words.
But if there is no one can interpret the tongue, those who speak in tongues should use it for their private devotions as a language of prayer.

Now let’s think about how one can speak in tongues.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ, and those who confess their sins as the Holy Spirit guides them, may ask Jesus to fill them with the Holy Spirit.
Then they can ask the Holy Spirit to help them speak in tongues.
Then they yield their mouths and tongues to the Holy Spirit as they speak in faith.

Then speaking in tongues may require a humility.
Because at first, we may feel like babbling like a child.
But the Father in heaven understands the babbling of his children.
God understands these babbling and our spiritual intentions.
So people may lay down their pride and use the languages that the Holy Spirit provides.
Then the Holy Spirit may help them pray using this gift.

As we use this gift, we may ask the Holy Spirit to interpret it for us, so that we may understand what it means.
We may ask in faith to receive its interpretation.
Then we may know what the Holy Spirit is saying.

But there is other gifts of the Holy Spirit, too.
We have talked about this before.
But let me summarize again about other gifts:
There can be the gift of wisdom which is used to make decisions and give guidance according to God's will.
There is the gift of knowledge which is used to understand of a spiritual situation.
The gift of faith which is used to trust God and encourage others to trust God.
The gift of healing is used to heal people.
The gift of miracles is used to perform signs and wonders as through signs and wonders God approves God's message.
The gift of prophecy is used to to proclaim God’s messages.
The gift of discerning spirits is used to determine what message, person, or event is from God.
The gift of administration is to organize things according to God's will.
The gift of helps is to help others, and to do God’s works.

These gifts are manifesting because the door of heaven is open and as the Holy Spirit tries to build up the church so that one day, all nations may worship God in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But we also know that Satan may counterfeit the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So we need to be careful.
We need to discern.
But how can we discern?
We need to know the fruits to discern.
We need to examine our hearts to discern.

For example, when the Holy Spirit manifest, we notice the fruit of the Spirit.
What are they again? Galatians 5:22-23
They are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
When we use God’s gifts, we have these fruits in our hearts.
Then we know we are in line with God.
Even when we repent, we may feel this as the Holy Spirit speaks and convinces us that we are God’s.
So when we use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we have peace and joy.

Let's say some people use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But as they serve, you don't feel the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting.
You don't feel love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If we don’t notice this fruit of the Spirit, we may say that there's something wrong in that manifestation of gifts.
We know that there's something wrong there when they do not value the fruits of the Spirit which shows the character of God.
Then we may get away from them or need to stop them because it seems that they may not use the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to God’s will.

We can apply this to ourselves.
Let's say I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But the more I use that gift, the more I am not loving.
I don't feel joy, peace.
I am not kinder than before.
I don’t have patience.
I am not good to others.
I am not faithful.
I am not gentle.
My self-control becomes weaker.
Then there's something wrong.
I may not use the gifts of the Holy Spirit as God wants.
Then I need to stop.

But when I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in God’s way, I have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I am more loving.
I feel joy and peace.
I am very kind.
I am patient.
I am very good to other people.
I am faithful.
I am gentle.
I am very good at self control.
Then I know that I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in God’s way.

Now there are other spiritual meaning of the gift of speaking in tongue.
The Holy Spirit has another reason to speak the wonders of God in new languages through the disciples of Jesus.
So let's think about that.
Why does the Holy Spirit let us use this gift in our worship?
Why does the Holy Spirit enables believers to speak in tongues and interpret?
What is the relationship between glorifying God and using various languages in worship?
What does it mean?

Worshiping in various languages points to the fulfillment of God’s prophecy.
Daniel prophesied like this: Daniel 7:14
“Jesus would be given authority, glory and sovereign power.
All nations and peoples of every language will worship him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

David also prophesied: Psalm 86: 9-10
“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.”

John also prophesied: Revelation 7: 9-10, Revelation 15: 3-4:
“I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

Peoples of every language will come to worship God.
So when we see other ethnic groups worshiping God, we see that God is fulfilling his words.
The more we see every tongue and every race praise God the Lord, the more we know that the Holy Spirit is working to make peoples of all languages to worship God.
Then when Jesus returns, God’s elects will be united to worship God together.

There is another meaning of this gift of the tongue.
What is that?
The Holy Spirit was trying to say something.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 11:6-9
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb.
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together.
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall eat grass in a field.
Their young shall lie down together.
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra.
The weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

It talks about the wolf and the lamb dwelling together: Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25.
It talks about cow and bear living together.
What does it mean?
The strong and the weak live together.
There is no enemy.
There is no fear.
The strong nation and the weak nation dwell together.
Those who speak different languages live together in peace.
Culturally different people live totally well together.
One day, we will enter into this kind of world.
The Holy Spirit is preparing us to live like that.

As we see the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, we know God opens the door of heaven to more people.
Because the door of heaven is opened, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we use God’s gifts and abilities so that more people may hear the gospel of Jesus the Christ.
And as people worship God together and live together, we know God is fulfilling his words which was spoken through his prophets.
Then people may understand the grace of God.

I pray all of us may use the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit may manifest among us.
May the Holy Spirit is building up his church through preaching the gospel of Jesus to all people.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit.
Help us to be full of the Holy Spirit so that we may be able to build up your church in the name of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, thank you for giving us your gifts and fruits.
May we serve you according to your will.
We pray in the name of Jesus.
Amen