SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR THE BELIEVER

THE DANGERS OF THE ABUSE OF TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

Tongues today is either simply an emotional or ecstatic involvement as seen in 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 or it could be out and out demon possession of an unbeliever as we have already seen in Mark 5. People involved in the modern tongues movement greatly limit their spiritual growth because of their emotions controlling their souls. Temporary spiritual gifts such as the gift of tongues were gifts from God. It was God's grace. In fact, the Greek word we have here for the spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit is charismata, from which we get charismatic. It means grace gift. The charismatics teach the exact opposite of grace! They believe you have to earn it. They believe you have to deserve it. After salvation you have to seek the second blessing. They believe you have to tarry, agonize, pray, and work yourself up into a state of emotional hypnosis. If you attend the average charismatic meeting, though I don't recommend it because the Bible says you must separate yourself from this, they go into their emotional activity before they start speaking in tongues. They do exactly what a spiritist or medium does as they go into their trance prior to giving their satanic information under the control of the ventriloquist demon. This demon controls the vocal chords of the unbelieving medium or spiritists enabling them to mimic the voice of the departed loved one. The living cannot contact the dead. They just contact the ventriloquist demon that impersonates the loved one. They give all kinds of false information about the hereafter, deluding the deceiving people, leading them astray, and they keep them away from the Gospel.

Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. (2 Corinthians 6:11-12)

That's what you have regarding this emotional activity. People involved in the tongues movement today limit their spiritual growth. This spiritual gift of tongues was a gift from God. Whipping yourself into an emotional dither and agonizing when the emotions take control has never been Biblical. All things are to be done in decency and order.

When you lose control, it shows ignorance of doctrine by the Christian involved. Trying to earn or work for a spiritual gift is totally contrary to the meaning of charismata, a grace gift. You receive it from God in His grace, through the sovereignty of His Spirit, and you get it at the moment of salvation. You didn't work for it. You didn't earn it. You didn't deserve it. It's so bad today that you can go into Bible book stores and buy handbooks on how to hold your head, open your mouth, put your head back, close your eyes and break out into all this gibberish. It is absolutely ludicrous. There's a lot of psychopathic activity, where the emotions are totally overruling life. God wants you to have doctrinal orientation to reality. God wants you to think based on rational evaluation according to the norm and standard of doctrine which has been given you for your own advantage. God knows what He's talking about when He commands you to separate from the Charismatic Movement and those involved in it. I didn't say that. The Bible says that in Romans 16:17-18.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17-18)

Under the perspective of the gift of tongues, we are to separate from the tongues crowd. We see now, the misconception under the perversion of the gift of tongues, that this gift continues today - not under the power of God, but under the power of the devil. It's a satanic operation. It is usually a manifestation of demon influence, but sometimes of demon possession. These are the mechanics of tongues as a satanic function and it is a part of Satan's counterfeit of God.

The Practice of Tongues Today Limits Spiritual Growth

The problem in Corinth was that many of the Christians had the supernatural ability of giving the Gospel in a language which they did not understand or speak. This was so unbelievers in the congregation could hear the Gospel in their native languages and dialects. It always involved eloquent communication, usually in the language of the street, so that the unbeliever could understand it. There was communication of the Gospel so they could believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It produced an emotional response in the soul of the person who had the gift. That was all right, but they took the emotion, blew it all out of proportion and said because of this experience, they were superior to the other believers. They said that everyone had to have this experience and if they didn't, they were not really a spiritual Christian. That's what happened in Corinth and Paul showed them in 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 that emotion controlling the soul does not advance the spiritual life, but detracts from the spiritual life.

Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O'Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. (2 Corinthians 6:11-12)

Paul and his team had spoken freely to the Corinthians for their own advantage. The Greek noun for "freely" is stoma and means mouth. Paul, a member of the apostolic team of Timothy, Titus, and Apollos was telling the Corinthians that they were communicating doctrine to them with their hearts opened wide. In other words, when Paul’s team came to Corinth, they had their souls full of God's truth and didn't demand a salary. The Corinthians thought anyone who taught the Word should not be fed well to keep them humble. They did not have the attitude of doing right by the communicator of the Word. That was a stumbling block for them, so Paul and his team made tents to support themselves. They worked with their hands, evangelized, established the church, fed them basic Bible truth to get them going spiritually, and did it freely without taking any money for it. They had spoken freely and opened their hearts to them. The Greek word for heart here is kardia and refers to the thought pattern of the soul, not the emotions. It refers to all of this doctrine that Paul and his team had in their souls.

The Corinthians would not listen because of their carnality. They would not listen because they lived most of the time out of fellowship under the control of the Old Sin Nature. They didn't appreciate Paul for his spiritual food and only saw the outward appearance of Paul who was short, overweight, bowlegged, a bad complexion, and had a high squeaky voice. They wanted nothing to do with Paul. They claimed to be "of Apollos" who was big and strong and had an eloquent voice. Apollos was an intellectual and could communicate very well. Others said they were not "of Apollos," but were "of Peter" with his personality and dynamics. That's what they had been emphasizing prior to Paul’s arrival in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13.

Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)

They tried to make a personality cult out of Peter. If anyone listened to someone other than Peter, they made them out to be heretics. They wanted every teacher to be exactly like Peter. Then Paul said that the worst of them didn't want any authority at all. They wanted to hear wonderful speeches, but don’t want to hear the Word of God proclaimed through Paul in the power of the Holy Spirit as in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Some did not recognize any teacher’s authority and thought they could extract God’s truth on their own. They were rejecting the spiritual gifts of others and with it, the plan of God for their lives.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

Paul said they were all wrong. Paul said they should appreciate anyone and everyone who communicates the Word, because that was the only way they could come to love the Lord Jesus Christ. They were not to establish a personality cult out any of the teachers or even out of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was saying that if any feel they do not need a pastor teacher or a local church, they are totally out of line. Paul was making it very clear that they had limited their spiritual growth. The Pauline team ministered to them and did it freely. They had no hypocrisy or ulterior motives. Their souls were full of the Word of God and the Corinthians would not listen. Why was this so? It was because of the condition described in 2 Corinthians 6:11-12. Why did they withhold their affection from Paul? It's simply because they were controlled by the emotions of the soul.

Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. (2 Corinthians 6:11-12)

The Greek word for "affections" is splagnos which refers to the emotions of the soul. When you have adversity and are emotionally controlled, you will react to outside pressures. You won’t respond to it with the problem solving devices God has for you because you are out of fellowship. You will have fear, worry, and anxiety. You will take outward adversity and internalize it. You will take the outward pressures of life and make them stress within your soul. You are not trusting or keeping your eyes on Him. You are not using His Word as a solution to your problem. You are not remaining occupied with the Lord Jesus and maintaining unconditional love toward other people. You are internalizing it.

There will always be times when you will have an attack of butterflies. However, when you're Spirit-filled and trusting the Lord, and the factors in the spiritual life are what they should be, you cause those butterflies to fly in formation. It's always great to realize that no pastor-teacher earned or deserved the communication gift. Pastor-teachers can study and study, but still get a few butterflies when they get up to teach the Word. It is such an awesome responsibility. Pastors have to straighten the butterflies out because they are communicating as unto the Lord and not as unto people.

The Corinthians were limited in their spiritual growth, but not because they didn't receive good doctrinal teaching. They received the very best. Paul said they were limited by their emotions. When emotions control the soul, it will always limit your unconditional love. Paul loved them, but they withheld their love from him. Isn't it interesting how many Christians can emphasize their reverence by saying how they love Jesus and show how they love Jesus by standing up and hugging the person behind them? What a sham! This is so trivial and pathetic compared to the so great unconditional love created within us through the consistent intake and application of God’s Word! The Word of God says that if your emotions are ruling your soul, you will be limited in your love of other people. You might talk a good fight, but your soul is loaded with arrogance, pride, vanity, antagonism and hostility, even bitterness toward other believers. This is the total opposite of what virtue love is all about.

All of this was because the emotions were in control of the Corinthians. They had no thoughts, no doctrine and no common sense. Emotions are designed to respond to the Word of God. Emotions are for appreciating the wonderful capacities you have such as grace, love for life and liberty. Emotions are designed to be responder, never a ruler. Emotions were in control of the Corinthians. They had permitted tongues rather than doctrine to become their criteria for spirituality. They erroneously strove for the experience of speaking in tongues, exactly like the charismatics do today.

Separation from Those Practicing Temporary Spiritual Gifts

You may want to know what the Bible has to say about this separation from those practicing temporary spiritual gifts today. The Bible says in Romans 16:17-18 simply to avoid them! Paul emphatically urged the believers in Rome as fellow members of the Royal Family to mark or do a reconnaissance and be on their guard. We should watch out for those who cause division. We should watch out for those who put stumbling blocks or obstacles in your way, contrary to the doctrine or teaching or truth we have learned. Paul told them to keep away from the charismatic crowd and any others who put emotions and temporary gifts in front of learning the Word. He was very emphatic about this!

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (Romans 16:17-18)

There is separation and there is separation. This is not ivory tower separation where you isolate yourself and never have the opportunity to communicate the Truth of spiritual gifts in the sphere of virtue love. Paul continued to say that such people were not serving the Lord Christ, but their own emotions. By smooth talk, they deceive the minds of stupid people! It is the stupid believers who are ignorant of doctrine and are easily led astray by the charismatics. What does this mean? It means you are not to have any friendships with them. You are not to have any friendships, even with believers who obviously are apostate and living constantly within Satan's world or cosmic system of evil.

We all have acquaintances. We all find others in whom we share something like music, or certain types of literature, or art. If you limit these relationships to merely casual acquaintances with a point of common interest, you won’t get involved in their apostasy. This applies to those in the tongues crowd. You are just to keep them as an acquaintance. Your purpose for maintaining them as a casual acquaintance should be only to lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you think they're saved, you will seek to lead them into the knowledge of what the Word of God says about spiritual gifts. Don't be involved with them socially, because they could lead you away in your spiritual growth and development. You are never to get into the third area which is the most precious area in life, the area of friendship. You never develop a friendship with a charismatic. Never! As Paul says, "Avoid them!"

There are many Christians, baby believers, who are dumb of doctrine and can develop spiritually as mature believers. There will always be people who are very naive who can easily be led astray. We should love the charismatics in unconditional love from afar. As you grow spiritually and develop a stable mentality, as we have just studied from the Book of Romans, then you can have acquaintance type contact with them and try to lead them into the truth of God as it relates to spiritual growth.

The Risks of Not Separating from Practice of Temporary Spiritual Gifts

It Obscures the Gospel

There at least two tragic results from the practice of tongues today. Those who don't separate but take up relationships with the charismatics, risk losing their way to the truth of God. The number one risk in this practice of tongues is that it obscures the Gospel, and keeps the unbeliever from finding the Lord Jesus Christ. As we have said repeatedly, many charismatics say that you must speak in tongues to be saved, or use it as a sign that you are saved. This is adding works to salvation. There is only one way to be saved. God the Father provides it all. The Lord Jesus Christ executed it by His work on the Cross. God the Holy Spirit makes it reality to the unbeliever so he can place faith alone in Christ alone. It is not faith in Christ plus speaking in tongues, plus any other works like joining a church and pledging to accept the Lordship of Christ or promising to commit yourself to the Lord. That's all works. If a person thinks he's saved by faith plus works, he is not saved!

After salvation by faith, a person may apostatize and believe he is saved by works. That's what the Christians did in Galatia. When they were saved, they believed they were saved, justified by faith and that alone. However, after salvation they rejected what they had believed. They began to think that a person was saved by keeping the Law. They were saved and had eternal security, but they apostatized. They were under false doctrine. They had fallen from and rebelled against the Truth of salvation by grace, through faith, plus nothing. This is the way it was. You cannot add anything to faith alone in Christ alone.

To illustrate, I talked to a saved man who was a good man, growing spiritually and a member of the local church. He confided with me that for years, he had put off receiving Christ as his Savior because someone had told him he had to walk the aisle to be saved. He was basically a very quiet person, shy and retiring, and felt he could never do that. So, for years he put off becoming a Christian because he thought he couldn’t be saved unless he walked the aisle. What a tragedy! One day, he heard that all he had to do was, in the quietness of his soul, say, "I believe that Christ died for my sins and that I trust Him for salvation." He immediately accepted Christ and began growing in Bible doctrine.

You don't have to walk an aisle or raise a hand or stand up or go to some counseling room so people can lead you to the Lord. You lead yourself to the Lord. Whether it’s in a church service, an evangelistic meeting, or whether it's one-on-one witnessing. You, in your own thought pattern can say, "yes, I believe Christ died for my sins." That's the way of salvation. Nothing is added to it.

It Leads Believers into False Doctrine

The second tragic result from the tongues movement today is that it leads believers into false doctrine and prevents spiritual growth and production. Knowledge of doctrine is the Truth. This knowledge is at a minimum with the people involved in the tongues movement today. One of the greatest scholars in orthodox Christianity is a man by the name of Gleason Archer. He can speak at least nine languages from the ancient world, fluently. He was one of the speakers at our pastor's conference several years ago. He made the statement that "There is no real scholarship in pentecostal schools." Now, I can say that, but everyone recognizes Gleason Archer as one of the best in the world today. Knowledge of Bible teachings is at a minimum with people in the tongues movement today.

So, we near the end of this book, with a warning and a command from 1 Timothy 4:1-3 regarding the apostasy of the final days of the Church Age. This is the apostasy of the Rapture generation. The original language says that in the last days, some will abandon and rebel against the whole realm of Bible doctrine. They will follow deceiving spirits (fallen angels) and things taught by demons. All false teaching is sponsored by Satan and demons. Such doctrines and teaching come through hypocritical liars whose conscience has been seared as with a hot iron. They have become insensitive to what the Bible actually teaches. They are hypersensitive to their false doctrine and what they have received under the doctrine of demons. This includes the Charismatic Movement. They wrongly believe that you can only be spiritual through this emotional experience. They wrongly believe that if you have this emotional experience as a pastor, you could even become an apostle or prophet and receive special divine revelation from God. They are hypocritical liars.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul is speaking to Timothy as a pastor and teacher. He tells Timothy to pay attention to his own life, then to his own doctrine. You may say that this is backwards. No! There are many teachers who are straight in their doctrine and their lives stink. That's why Paul emphasized for pastors to watch their lives because pastors and others with communication gifts such as evangelists and missionaries are accountable to the Lord directly. It does matter what a pastor believes and whether a pastor puts it into practice. People look for this in their leaders. They see virtue, honor and integrity in action through the morality of the pastor’s life. Then, pastors are to watch the doctrine they teach very closely. Paul says that if a pastor perseveres in Bible doctrine, they will be delivered from apostasy. Literally, they will deliver themselves from the tongues movement and deliver their congregation from the same. Pastors are to watch their lives and doctrines and persevere in them because if they do, they will deliver both themselves and those who hear them. What a powerful message! We are all challenged by God’s Word in 2 Peter 3:17-18 to continue to grow in grace by means of the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18)


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