In our introductory message on spiritual gifts, we defined a spiritual gift as â€śa God-given ability for service.â€ť We distinguished spiritual gifts from natural talents and from the â€śfruits of the Spiritâ€ť (Gal. 5:22,23). It is far more important to be godly than gifted.
How do we detect that we are â€śgracedâ€ť by the Holy Spirit in a certain way? A spiritual gift often begins with a burning desire to serve the Body of Christ. It is further clarified by visualizing a need in that Body. It always results in laypeople taking ownership of responsibility within the local church. A church full of believers fulfilling their God-given functions without pride or emulating one another's gifts is indeed a beautiful sight to behold!
Clearly, the miraculous gift of tongues was temporary in nature because it had a temporary purpose. No wonder Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:8 â€śâ€¦whether there be tongues, they shall cease.â€ť God had purposed from the beginning to â€śgo globalâ€ť with the Gospel, the message of Christ's redemption. To overcome the reluctance and resistance of even the first Jewish believers, He proved to them beyond argument that Gentiles speaking in other known languages could know and praise the same true God that the Jews claimed exclusively as their own.
The modern-day practice of speaking in tongues can be explained on the basis of demonic control, psychological inducement, or learned techniques. It is not of God!
Bob Vradenburgh is the senior pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has spent 40 years in full-time Christian service: the first 20 years as a missionary and the past 20 years in the pastorate. Bobâ€™s passion is the expository preaching of Godâ€™s Word,...