Robert Morris — Does He Speak in Tongues?
This week the title is, "Does He Speak in Tongues"? So, we're going to talk about speaking in tongues, and I want you to understand that there is a gift of tongues, which we covered a few weeks ago when we talked about, "Is He Charismatic"? We went through the nine manifestational gifts of the Holy Spirit, "Is He Charismatic"? So, there's a gift of tongues. Now, listen to me carefully, though. There is also a grace of tongues.
Please hear me. There is a message from God that could be in tongues, that needs to be interpreted if it's given in the church. That's what the Bible says. But there is a prayer language that is not from God, but to God, and we're going to see it very clearly in Scripture that you can pray in tongues. The Scripture is very clear on this, and so we're going to go through the Scripture and show it to you. So, this is different than the gift of tongues. Do you understand what I'm saying, because some of you will say, well, I don't have that gift. Every believer can pray in a prayer language to God, and I'll show that to you in Scripture, okay?
So, there are three things I want to tell you about this prayer language. Number one, it's scriptural. It is scriptural. 1 Corinthians 14, look at Verse 2. "For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God". Notice he speaks to God. It's not a message from God. He speaks to God. "For no one understands him, however, in the spirit" notice those three words, and he's talking about speaking in tongues, "he speaks mysteries". So, he who speaks in a tongue speaks to God in the spirit. You have to notice that. I would like for you, you might want to even read that verse several times this week, and try to read it without any type of a bias. Just simply read what the Bible says, that "He who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men, but to God" to God, "for no one understands him. For in the spirit he speaks mysteries".
So, Paul's talking about speaking in tongues, he calls it in the spirit, and says it's to God. All right? Okay, so now look down at Verses 14 through 17. Look at Verse 14. Watch your Bible carefully. "For if I", Verse 14. "If I pray in a tongue", if I pray in a tongue. Now, this is Paul talking, okay? "If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding" — this word here could be translated mind. 21 out of 24 times it's translated mind, so the understanding of my mind "is unfruitful". I don't understand it is what he's saying. "What is the conclusion, then"? Now, watch carefully what Paul says. "I will pray with the spirit". He's obviously talking about praying in tongues. He just said, Verse 14, "If I pray in a tongue", then I don't understand it. So, "I will pray with the spirit".
Now, look at me just for a minute. I can kind of already feel a little resistance. I didn't write this. And I am fine with you arguing with the one who did write this, and Paul didn't write it. He penned it, but he didn't author it. This was God breathes. So, I'm telling you. Listen, I understand that. Something used to rise up in me when this was read, too. I was trained. I was indoctrinated. I was indoctrinated this had passed away. They used the verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that "When the perfect comes, that tongues will cease, but it also says knowledge will vanish away. Which means, whoever says that has no knowledge, if they believe, because they referred it to the Word of God.
Now, the Word of God is perfect. But, Jesus is the perfect One. It says "We know in part, but when the perfect comes". See, everyone, we still know in part. We don't know in full. Let me tell you what that doctrine does. Please hear me. Well, let me say it this way. The trinity is not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible. And I'm not putting down the Bible at all, but the trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit did not cease to exist or operate in 393 when Scripture was canonized. The Holy Spirit still ministers, and still moves, and He still speaks, and all of His fruit, and all of His gifts are available to all of His kids.
So, let's keep reading, alright? I don't even know where I was, but I'm pumped up about it! Okay. Verse 15, we'll just start there. "What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit". He calls praying in tongues with the spirit. Paul does, no, pardon me, the Holy Spirit does. "And I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding". In other words, I'm going to sing in tongues and I'm going to sing in the language I have understanding. "Otherwise, if you bless", that's another word for pray. You remember, how many times do you say let's bless the food? What do you mean? Let's pray. Okay. "Otherwise, if you bless", or pray, "with the spirit", that would be in tongues, "how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks", another word for prayer. Let's give thanks. "Since he does not understand what you say? For indeed, you give thanks well", or you pray well, "but the other is not edified", or strengthened.
See, he is saying, listen, you've got to understand. If you're going to pray in tongues, people are not going to understand you. But the point is, you can pray in tongues, and he calls it, this is the greatest apostle that ever lived. He calls it "praying with the spirit", and in Verse 2 he says, "in the spirit". Now, I was talking to a person one time who was against this and said, you know, he said if I pray in tongues. It doesn't really say that he did. That was a new one. I thought, you're kidding me! You don't think Paul prayed in tongues? And he said, no, I don't, and he said, and there's no Scripture that says he does. I said, are you sure about that? Because if you look down at Verse 18, it says "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all". I thank God I speak in tongues more than all of you. Paul wrote that.
See, what's amazing is that people who have a bias can read right over a Scripture and not see it. By the way, Verse 39 says, "Do not forbid to speak with tongues", and there are churches that have forbidden people, and there is a verse in the Bible that says do not forbid it. Now, if you want to talk about spiritual blindness, that's blindness! "Do not forbid to speak with tongues". We just read it in the Bible. Do you see the Bible says do not forbid? Have you ever heard of a church forbidding, though? How could they do that when it's in the Bible?
So, I want you to know it's scriptural. Now we're going to see some more Scripture. Here's point number two. It's a benefit. It's a benefit to pray in a prayer language. 1 Corinthians 14 again, look at Verse 4. "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church". Now, again people use this like to put down praying in tongues. There are a couple of problems with that. First of all, this word, but, is a conjunction. It's in the Greek. It's a Greek word. It's in the Bible over 2.700 times. Okay? Most of the time — most of the time, it is translated and. Most of the time. In other words, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself", and, "he who prophesies edifies the church".
Let me say it another way. Some versions actually, newer versions, translate this on the other hand. In other words, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, and he who prophesies edifies the church", but it could be this way. "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. On the other hand, he who prophesies edifies the church". Now, listen to me, though. There is a connotation in the Greek that it's trying to draw a difference between the two, so there is a difference. But, listen to the first part. "He who prays in a tongue, or speaks in tongue, edifies". This word means builds up, builds himself up.
Could I just ask you something? What is wrong with that? Why all of a sudden did that become bad? When you read your Bible, you build yourself up. So, this again is talking about private and public, praying in a prayer language in private, but when in public, you ought to say words people can understand. That's the whole chapter. That's the summation of all of Chapter 14, in essence. So, let me say it another way. He who reads his Bible in private builds himself up — himself, but he who reads the Bible in public builds the whole church up. But it's not saying don't build yourself up when you're in private, it's just letting you know the difference between private and public, building yourself up.
Now remember, Paul said in the spirit, and it was referring to tongues. There's no way. I don't see any way you can get around that, Verse 2, Verse 14. If I pray, if I speak in tongues, if I pray in tongues, he says, then my spirit prays. So, I'm going to pray in the spirit and with my understanding. Okay, watch this. Everyone knows Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God. The problem is that they stop where there is no period. So, I don't have time to read it all, but it says, "Put on the whole armor of God. You may be able to stand in the evil day, having done all to stand", you know, okay. It goes through the armor.
Look at the last two verses, Ephesians 6:17-18. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" semicolon, "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit". Now, add that with 1 Corinthians 14, where praying in the spirit is praying in the prayer language. Look at Jude, Verse 20. "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit". Okay, add that with Verse 4 of 1 Corinthians 14, that says "He who speaks in tongue builds himself up". Edifies himself, builds himself up. And here we've got praying in the spirit. He says you need to build yourself up. How do you do it? Praying in the Spirit, praying in the Holy Spirit. Do you see that?
Years ago, if you remember, I did revivals and crusades, and they were mainly in Baptist churches. So, I was in this Baptist church that had led the Southern Baptist Convention in baptisms the year before. They'd led the whole Convention. And I was talking with the staff, and something came up about tongues, and they said, well, you know, our pastor prays in tongues. Now, he's a Southern Baptist pastor. And I thought, you're kidding me! They said, no, he's very vocal about it. He's taught on it. And so, later I was with him and I said to him, hey, I heard you pray in tongues. He said, yup. I said, why do you do that? And he said, just like this, it's just so simple. He said, well, the Bible says it builds you up. And I figure I need all the building up I can get.
Well, years later now, I figure I need all the building up I can get, too. Why would you not? Is there anyone here that'd say, listen, I'm just built up enough, Pastor. I just don't need any more building up! All right, so you might say, okay, well, I would love to do that, but I don't have the gift. And, people say this. If God decides to give me the gift, then He can give me the gift. The only problem is we're not talking about the gift. We're not talking about a manifestational gift. We're talking about a grace that all believers can pray.
So, let me give you point three. Here's number three, it's a choice. Let me show you again, 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. Paul says, "If I pray", if I pray. In other words, I've got a choice whether I'll do this or not. "In a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful". Verse 15, "What is the conclusion then? I will". I will. I choose. That's what the word will means. I choose. Someone says, hey, do you want to go to the movie with us? I will go. I choose to go. I will, or I will not. You have a will. God gave you a will. Paul said, "I will, I will pray with the spirit, and with my understanding". He made a choice to do it. See, it's a decision you make! It's a choice you have!
Please hear me. You're not going to be at Kroger's one day, and all of a sudden go into a trance, and grab the intercom, and start speaking in tongues! You can relax! It's not going to happen that way. It'd be like you walking by the offering box on your way out of the sanctuary today, and a check jumps out of your pocket into the offering box, and you say, oh, look, I've got the gift of giving! Praise the Lord! I've been asking the Lord to give me that gift, and apparently He gave me that gift. No, you have to get your pen out, and your checkbook, and write out a large check. Whenever we're going to talk about giving, let's at least talk about giving, alright? But, it's an act of your will.
If you have the gift of teaching, do you ever go into a trance at Kroger's and just start teaching over the intercom? You just can't control it? No, you can control it! It's a choice! Are you all following me? Why would the Holy Spirit, through Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14, why would He give instructions on how and when to do it if it's uncontrollable? It's not uncontrollable. You can pray in a prayer language. It's just totally up to you.
And here's my question. Since it's scriptural and it builds you up, why would you not? Why would you not? Someone said to me one time, well, I tried and it sounds like gibberish. Of course it does! You don't understand it. That's what the Bible says. You're not going to understand it. And when a child speaks, you don't understand. I gave you the illustration about Josh and James a moment ago. Please though, let me answer a concern that some of you might have. I used to actually have this same concern. Well, Pastor, I just don't want to open myself up to something evil. Now, it's unbelievable now that I would ever think that way, but I did think that way. I even used to think that I might get a demon, and that was the way I was taught. You know, some of that stuff's demonic, that's what I was taught.
Okay. If you remember, Luke 10, when we went through this a long time ago though, the "Free Indeed" series though, we showed Jesus talked about authority over demons, and Jesus called them serpents and scorpions. Do you remember that? He called demons serpents and scorpions. Okay. I think that Jesus just knew that one day people would say that gifts of the Holy Spirit are demonic, which is unbelievable to me that some would say it. But I think He knew it, because listen to what He says in Luke 11:11-13. He says, "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a", what? "A serpent, instead of a fish. Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him"? Straight out. Do you really think that if you're sincere, God's going to give you a demon? Do you think you're really sincere and God's up there, "He he he, here's a demon". He's not going to do that!
Think about it again, the screwed up thinking that's been talked about and taught. It's crazy. So, this lady, real honest, said, you know, it just sounds like gibberish. I said, well, when children talk, it is gibberish. My little granddaughter, Addie, she went through a phase where she would just talk your ear off, but you couldn't understand one word she was saying. And so, I just grabbed my iPhone one day and started asking her some questions, so watch this.
Now, you can't tell me that's not cute. Don't you know that God thinks His kids are cute? Paul said about praying in tongue, my spirit prays. This is going to be a real simple question. Isn't it about time you let your spirit pray? It's by faith. You open your mouth, get in the presence of God, in your quiet time. It's private, and you just yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit. Do you realize the Book of James says that no man can tame the tongue? Can I tell you something, though? The Spirit can. If you have a problem saying the wrong thing, and you do, and so do I, why not yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit every morning?
So, let me tell you my own experience. Pastor Olen Griffing, who was pastor of Shady Grove, now at our Grand Prairie Campus, he taught on the baptism of the Spirit. As a matter of fact, his teaching was very similar to what I taught last weekend. I learned that from him. And so, Debbie and I prayed to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She said, I actually had some syllables come to my mind, just like a prayer language, and I knew that's what it was, but I was kind of afraid to say them, but I did anyway, just privately, you know? I didn't. Then, a few months later, we were getting ready to go to church one morning, and Debbie had this kind of weird smile on her face, like she knew something that I didn't know.
And I could tell. Every time I passed her, she'd kind of, so I said to her, what do you keep smiling about? She said, well, I don't want to embarrass you. It's okay. I said, no, tell me, please. She said, well, I couldn't sleep last night, so I got up and went in the living room to read the Bible, came back in, and she said, when I came back in, she said, I heard you. I said, you heard me what? She said, speaking in tongues. I said, I was asleep last night. She said, well, you were speaking in tongues.
So I went to Pastor Olen and I said, Pastor Olen, Debbie says when I sleep, I speak in tongues! Do you know what he said? He said, yeah, that happens to a lot of hard-headed people. I had built up such a stronghold, that's what it is, in my mind against it, that my spirit had to wait for my body to go to sleep to pray. My spirit is sitting there like, okay, okay, go, okay, let's pray! So I said, well, what do I do? Pastor Olen said, well, when you're alone, put on worship music and have your quiet time, just open your mouth, yield your tongue, speak in a language you don't know, and just trust God. Let God speak. Let God pray. Let your spirit pray. It's a choice. Please hear me.
So, I did, and a few months go by and he said to me, hey, are you praying in the spirit? I said, yeah, but I don't know why I said this. This is how hard-headed, I said, yeah, but I don't feel anything. I just kind of wanted him to know. I don't feel anything. He said, it's okay.
It may take a while with you. And then one day I was preaching a revival, and I was in this hotel room, and I got up and I went up, right when the sun was coming up, to pray, and I was walking around. I remember there was a swimming pool out there, and I was walking around that pool, praying. And I thought, okay, I'm going to pray in the spirit. And I started opening my mouth, and when I started speaking, a flow started, and I knew I was speaking a language I didn't know. And I began to, I was doing this, and at times I was taking authority over things, and I knew I was doing that, but I didn't know what I was taking authority over. I just knew I was rebuking the enemy.
At times I was almost weeping. I got down on my knees, and I remember later thinking, I don't know what the people thought looking out the windows, watching me out there just, you know. And then if they opened their window, they thought, yeah, he's from another country. But something changed, and that night, I remember that night, when I went to preach, something had changed, too. I had built myself up, exactly what Scripture says. I didn't read this verse, but Paul says, in Verse 5 of Chapter 14, he said, "I wish all of you spoke in tongues".
Now remember, that's the Holy Spirit writing through him. I wish all of you did. Well, I want to say something. As your pastor, I wish all of you prayed in tongues. I really do, and let me ask you this. Why wouldn't I wish that? If it builds you up, I want you built up. If it's part of your armor, I want you to put on the whole armor of God. Isn't it amazing how our enemy wants to do everything he can to keep us from walking in power? Because if we walk in power as believers, then we truly will be light and salt to this generation. We will be a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden, and I want to encourage you to receive the Holy Spirit fully, and to not be afraid of Him.