22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-23
The work of the Holy Spirit is to produce fruit in us. Just in case you thought He is there only for us to speak in tongues. But first, a preamble.
Speaking in tongues has its place in the church. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:4:
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
We see here that one of the reasons the gift of speaking in tongues has been given to us is for us to edify our own spirits. To “edify” means to build up, to cause to grow. The Bible says that when you speak in tongues you speak mysteries with God (1 Cor. 14:2), and in this way you build up your spirit.
What a truly wonderful experience! That is why every believer should seek the gift of speaking in tongues. The Bible in 1 Cor. 14:1 tells us to “desire” spiritual gifts; and speaking in tongues is one of the spiritual gifts that God has given to the Church.
In the Early Church, speaking tongues was a gift common to the church, as we see in the Book of Acts.
“1 And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
“44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as any as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.”
“1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said unto him, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then Paul said, John verily baptized the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
Notice the Holy Spirit came to God’s people in different forms and in different ways. But His filling up God’s people was always accompanied with speaking in tongues.
Other gifts of the Holy Spirit flowed freely also. In Acts 21:8-9 we read of the evangelist Philip. The Bible says:
“And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”
Imagine that. Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit that was there for these girls to live such a spiritual life. Four virgins in one house. And they all prophesied. The Early Church was totally given to Christ.
That means there is a problem in the Church today when we fail to emphasize on being filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied with speaking in tongues. Or is it possible that we are a different Church from the Early Church? God forbid.
How does the Holy Spirit come on someone?
The Bible says it is by desiring. The Bible says we are to “desire” spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come by desiring. The Holy Spirit does not come upon you by being prayed over. You could be prayed over by every servant of God in the world, but if you have not “desired”, He will not come upon you.
But, pray, what does it mean to “desire”?
Desiring speaks of having a hunger for God in you. It says in Isaiah 55:1,
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…”
When I got saved in the early 90s, there was a hunger for God in the hearts of God’s people. People sought for God. As a result, people were easily filled with the Holy Spirit. One could be filled even as they were being baptized in the water. And they always spoke in tongues.
Today, the dollar sign is up. The charismatic gospel has come to up-end things, and there is a different hunger in the hearts of God’s people. People now want things, not God. They want material prosperity, miracles, and signs and wonders. There is no desire for righteousness, or for the things of God. Today, one would rather fill their pockets with money than speak in tongues!
But we need to get back that old hunger in us; and we shall witness the Holy Spirit moving as “a rushing mighty wind” in the Church. That means the Church will witness a return of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and it will grow spiritually.
The validity of speaking in tongues for every believer is espoused by the Apostle Paul , the foremost of Christ’s apostles, who spoke in tongues ceaselessly whenever he was alone; for he says in 1 Corinthians 14:18,
“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all…”
If Paul spoke with tongues, we need to desire to do so too. The key word here is desire. Through speaking in tongues, the Bible says we edify our spirits.
The spirit of man needs to be like the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that the Garden was well- watered (Gen. 2:10).
We need to be bubbling with life in every area of our lives. We need to have soft, malleable hearts, where God can easily deposit His spiritual riches.
[The church in Minyughe, Singida. It may not be like the church that was in Philip’s house, but one amazing fact about this church is that there is an entire family of six who are all worship leaders]