Date: November 8, 2018 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Four
Does God move in signs and wonders today? Why even learn to do that? What is that all about? The Word says that God confirms that He is doing something, that He is present, that He cares and that He has compassion. He is doing it as much today as He has ever done it. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is going to always be doing the miraculous works of God. The amazing thing is He chooses to do it through ordinary people. You read about the people in the Bible and the great things that they did, the exploits as are talked about in Daniel. I have met a lot of famous people in my life. The main common denominator in every one of them has been that they are just ordinary people and they happen to end up doing something extraordinary. You can do the same thing because you can be one of those Christians that has such faith in God and such a love for people that you have a deep desire to help them in any way you can help them. As you partner with God, you partner with His power. It says in Acts, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power.” It is the power to do the works of God.
Before very many people were doing these in our modern times, everybody knew the names of the people doing these things. Oral Roberts was healing people. You heard about these big, important people. There have always been people behind the scenes that no one knows their name, no one has ever heard of them in any way, or seen them, or anything. They were out doing the works of God. That is all they cared about. “Lord, I want to do Your work. I want to serve You. I want to help You.” Just like you. You would not be watching this show or reading this if you were not interested in God. I am sure your ears are so perked up right now, thinking “What is she talking about? What is she going to talk about?” Today, I am going to talk about 12 benefits of being able to speak in tongues. What do you think about that? Do you have a fear of it? Do you think it is weird? Listen to me. I am going to speak in some languages for you. Sla-va-bo-gu. Coc-di-la. Ha-ba-di ya-co. Sam-bo-qui-da. Id-da-bo-ca. Sla-va-bo-gu. Which one of those was Russian, which one was a language in Kenya, and which one was tongues? It is not easy to tell is it? It is because the language of tongues is the language of the Holy Spirit and it is just God’s language. That is all it is. It is a language, except it is very, very powerful. The Swahili I spoke to you said “How’s it going?” The Russian I spoke to you said, “Praise God, how is it going?” I do not know what the tongues I spoke to you was, because I was just speaking the language of the Spirit, my spirit speaking to God. There is nothing weird about that, nothing at all.
Sometimes people that speak other languages that you do not speak can understand you. I had an experience in the former Soviet Union where that very thing happened. In the May 27, 2007, USA Today, there was an article on speaking in tongues. It was to report about the conflict that has gone on with it. People have said it is a wonderful way to bring you close to God, it is a personal experience. Other people called it weird, phony, and even dangerous. I think I have done both. You are looking at someone that has been on both sides of that fence. One man said, “Using it for personal prayer and praise is like being with the Lord and I just sense that everything is okay.” I can certainly attest to that. Some people say it died with the early church. Other people say it is for today. I say, “In the end times that we are all living in, you need every tool you can get from God to fight the devil, to solve your problems, to move forward with God. You need everything God has.” Are you that kind of a person? Are you a person that says, “Well, now wait a minute God. I will just give you part of me and don’t ask for more.” I hate to tell you this, but you are really missing out. There are people that say, “God, I give You all of me. I want all of You. If it is in the Bible, I want to do it. I want to be a part of that, God, and even more.” Jesus said, “I am going to the Father, but these that remain and those to come are going to do more, they are going to even do greater.” What does that mean? We are finding out.
I would like to tell you about my experience with it. I grew up in a denominational church. For the most part in my life, I was one that said, “Okay God, You are in my life just enough, but not too much.” Then I met people that were so spirit filled that I thought, “I am a Christian and they are a Christian, but they are different from me. I like what they have and how do you get that.” They shine with the love of Jesus. They glow with His presence. They are so in love with Him, He is real to them. I began to ask them questions. “What is going on with you?” They said, “We’re just sold out to Jesus. He is wonderful. He has filled us with His Spirit. It’s great because then you have the power to live the Christian life.” I checked that out and I thought I am going to do that. I happened to be in a church with a pastor whom I really admired stood up one Sunday and said, “If you speak in tongues, get out of this church. We do not want you.” I thought, “I am never doing anything like that. If that guy says it is wrong, I am not doing it. I will watch out.” Then another man said, “Watch out. Don’t ever let them put their hands on you because that is how you get it.” I thought, “Okay, I’m not doing that either. I don’t know what I am doing but I trust these people.” The sad thing is they were wonderful people, but they were misguided. They had not been taught correctly what the Word of God says about it. They were just repeating what they had heard other people say. I went along afraid of it but just so on fire with God. Then we moved to a town where I did not have any new friends. I began to meet people that I thought, “That’s the kind of Christian I would like to be.” I would find out they spoke in tongues and I would think, “Oh no, you’re not supposed to do that. Watch out.” You know how people say, “It’s of the devil.” I even did that. I have done it all. One time I went with the jail ministry, there was a tornado and we were all locked up. I was in there with a lady and she said, “You know I used to be a Sunday School teacher before I got in jail.” I said, “Really.” She said, “Yes, I even spoke in tongues.” So, I said, “You know that is of the devil.” She said, “That is the closest I ever felt to God. Don’t you tell me it is not real.” I was just repeating what I had been told. I had not studied the Word at all.
According to a recent poll called the Pew Forum, the people that are filled with the Holy Spirit, moving in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are called Renewalists, Holy Ghost People, or Spirit-Filled People. They are the fastest growing religious group. They are in all denominations. It is not like only a certain denomination does this. Maybe one-fourth of the world’s 2 billion Christians are involved in all of this. There is really not a way to get an accurate number. In the United States, 23% of the people in this poll said they were involved in all of it. That is 23% of the Christians. Since the 1960’s, this new movement, these end days, these last times, the Holy Spirit being poured out, has been going on. It happened to me on December 20, 1970. I remember sitting in church and saying, “Jesus, I am going to put You first in my life. I really believe You are the Son of God, and I don’t know how to do it. If You will show me, I will do it.” You cannot say there is a formula because it is between you and God. Your private prayer language with tongues is mainly between you and God. I go to a church that is charismatic and you do not hear people screaming and shouting in tongues and rolling in the floor. You do not at all. You see a lot of people in love with Jesus. You see beautiful expressions on their face. You see their hands up in the air worshiping God with all of their hearts. It is not crazy like you hear. It is orderly, it is decent. There are tongue-speaking Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Catholics. The first person that ever really talked to me about it was an Episcopalian. She said, “Have you heard about that?” I said, “Oh yes, I heard that is something you don’t need to be around.” She said, “It’s wonderful. You need to think about.”
Dallas Theological Seminary and Campus Crusade for Christ, both Christian organizations outside the church, have done away with restrictions on their students and their staff who speak in tongues. They were restricted. That is not scriptural. The Bible specifically says, “Do not forbid to speak in tongues.” The head of Charisma magazine, J. Lee Grady, says “I see much more acceptance of it today in America than ever. I see groups that had a hardline teaching against it who do not now. There is a relaxing of old tensions.” I think it is going to happen more and more. As more and more people have this experience, they realize they are not weird and they are not wacko, it is just another way of praying. I remember when I got it, it was probably in 1976. I have a crazy story of how it happened to me. I said to my husband, “Why do people fight about this? I don’t understand. Why does it split churches? It is just another way to pray. I don’t get it?” Maybe some people were acting like I am more spiritual than you. Maybe the other people were going, “Who do you think you are?” You know it can be like that, but that is not God. Jesus said in Mark 16:17, “These signs will accompany those who believe. They will drive out demons. They will speak in new languages.” It is not something Jesus is unaware of. He is in charge of it. He is telling about it. In Acts 2:4 everyone there was Jewish, there were no gentiles there. It says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” In my case, it came very slowly because I had those fears. I had been told by people that I trusted not to do that. Yet, I could tell God was leading me. I have seen people come off the street, from a wild, bar-like lifestyle and get filled with the Holy Spirit. They do not know God and do not know anything about the Bible. They get a private prayer language, move powerfully in God and never have any struggle. I had a big struggle with it.
In Acts 10:45, it is spreading out to the gentiles. The first one is Cornelius, the Roman officer. It says, “The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the gentiles, too, for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” You see, it is all about God when you use that prayer language. It does not have anything to do with the devil. Can he imitate it? Yes, he can imitate anything about God but we all can tell the difference because I spirits say, “No, that is not God.” How did they know that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on them? It says because they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Another Scripture is Acts 19:6-7 that happens about 20 years later, after Pentecost. This is when the Gospel has long left Jerusalem and moved on out through the persecution, and now Paul is in Ephesus, over in the gentile world. This Scripture says, “When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.” There were about 12 men in this room and all of them got it. So never think it is for some and not for others. It is for anyone that wants it. There are people who have the gift of speaking in tongues in a church service and I do not know that everyone has that. I do not really know. I know that the private prayer language is for anyone that wants it because it is so powerful. I taught my children when they were little, “Use this language when you get in trouble. This is your secret weapon. No one can understand it but you and God.” You see, it has been around a long time. I can tell you, it is all over the world. In every country I go to, I meet people that pray in the Holy Spirit. They are sweet, wonderful, Godly people.
(Look at these pictures. This is a brain scan. One brain scan is when someone has been singing a hymn. One brain scan n is when they have been praying in the Spirit, when they have been praying in tongues. Do you see the difference?) If you were to research this article, you would read about the scientific evidence that they came up with from this brain scan. A completely different part of the frontal lobe is being used when they pray in the Spirit. It is completely different. I can tell you what that is. It is not your mind praying. It is affecting your mind, but it is not your mind. It is your Spirit Man. We are made up of body, soul and spirit. We are a three part being. God communicates with us through our spirit. He communicates with us through our soul. He communicates with us through our bodies. Our Spirit Man is sealed from the very first day that we become a true believer. You get the Holy Spirit the minute you are saved and He seals you. He is your Comforter, your Guide, your Teacher, everything. He is full of power. The Bible specifically says to believers, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
You can always tell somebody that is filled with the Holy Spirit. They have something about them that is so attractive. You can sense they are different and it is something wonderful. I look like I am a very emotional, lively, get with it, exciting kind of person, and I am. There is another part of me. If I am checking something out, I do it very carefully. I do a lot of research. If it is something very important to me, I do a lot of praying. It took almost a year for me to check everything out because I had been taught by people I respected and trusted to not do it. Then, I was meeting people who did and they were wonderful. I wanted to be like them, I wanted the Christian walk they had. I would sit down with my Bible. I would open it to 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14, and I would say, “Lord, You said in Your Word ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.’ Show me the truth about this. I have heard both sides.” Another thing I did was to interview people. This is not the excitable Betty. This is the Betty checking something out carefully. I interviewed people. I met with people who spoke in tongues and I asked every question I could think of. Then I met with people who had spoken in tongues and been involved in all of that and had walked away from it. I asked them all kinds of questions, “Why did you walk away?” Then I talked to people who did not believe in it at all. Out of all that, plus praying “Lord show me the truth,” I came to understand, it is real. I do not want it, but it is real. The Holy Spirit kept working with me anyway. He just kept saying to me, “Come on. Come on.” I could feel it. I got books on it. I read about it. I just cannot tell you how carefully I checked it all out. Another reason why I did was that one of my spiritual gifts is the gift of influence. I am able to influence people. It is God working through me to do it. I knew in my heart that, “If I believe in this, I am going to bring hundreds of people with me.” Instead I brought thousands. I have taught this all over the world for 15 years. Yet I was so afraid of it. God had to work past my fears. God had to be patient with me. It was not that it was not real. It was real. When I finally began to slowly, slowly, speak and pray in a private prayer language, it became the delight of my life.
The year that I studied all of this, the Lord showed me 12 benefits of speaking in tongues. I was thinking, “If everyone is fighting over it and it is such a big deal, why do I have to do it? What is the whole point of it?” In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, you have to go past the negative. I had already been taught to see that negative. The Lord said, “Go past that and see what else it is saying.”
1. Romans 8:26-27 talks about when we do not know how to pray. The Holy Spirit will pray for us and it cannot be expressed in words. When you do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will pray. It says in verse 27, “The Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s will.”
2. 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, “You speak mysteries.” You do not understand what you are saying but you can pray for the power to interpret it and God will tell you. I remember one time when I was praying for one of my children. I said “Lord, I need to pray and I just do not know what to pray.” So, I prayed in the Spirit, then I said “Lord what did I just pray for her?” “Faith.” I thought, “Faith? I would not have thought to pray that. Lord, thank you.”
3. 1 Corinthians 14:4. You can also do it when you are very tired, discouraged or need spiritual power. You are obeying the greatest Christian teacher in the Bible besides Jesus and He is speaking for God in these writings. Paul said, “I wish everybody did.” He would not wish that if everybody could not. If he wished it, and he was so intelligent, it must have a benefit. It is the door that opens into everything else.
4. 1 Corinthians 14:5. Another benefit is that it edifies the Church when you have interpretation. There needs to be someone there that can interpret it. When you hear that interpretation you will know, that was God.
5. 1 Corinthians 14:6. “It brings revelation, knowledge, prophesy, teaching.
6. 1 Corinthians 14:14 says, “Your spirit prays so your mind does not have to know what you are saying.” That is what I showed you with that brain scan.
7. 1 Corinthians 14:15 says, “You can sing with the Spirit. Many nights I wake up and get out of bed and I am in the middle of a song, right in the middle of a chorus. I think, “I didn’t know I was doing that.” It happened to me this week. I was walking around the house and all of a sudden, I just start singing a song and I think, “I have just been singing that in my spirit before this ever happened.”
8. In 1 Corinthians 14:15, it says, “You can bless with the Spirit.” The first time I ever heard anybody speak in tongues, it blessed me. It blessed my spirit; it touched me.
9. 1 Corinthians 14:17. You can give thanks really well. I have said, “Lord I cannot think of the words to praise You and thank You enough. I just cannot think of them. I am not poetic and cannot think of them. If I can pray in the Spirit, I could do it.” So, the Lord just blessed me that way.
10. 1 Corinthians 14:22 It is a sign to unbelievers. There can be believing Christians and unbelieving Christians. There can be people that do not believe at all. But, it is a sign.
11. Jude 1:20 You edify yourself. That is not an arrogant thing. God would never have you do that. It means something else. It charges your battery. It builds you up when you are tired, cannot figure out what to do or when you are drained. It is one of God’s ways to charge you, just like a battery charger takes place. You try it. You will see what I am talking about.
12. Ephesians 6:18. It is a warfare tool against the devil. He hates for you to use it. Look at Ephesians
6:10-18. When it is talking about the warfare tools, everybody stops short. It says, “And, pray in the Spirit on all occasions.” That means all of the time.
Many people today will tell you what it means. You can have it. I am going to pray for you in the Spirit right now over your greatest need. Think about it right now. Let me pray for you in the Spirit. “Lord, bless these people. Sho-la be-ka-na ba-ki-a. O-no bo-co-si-di-a. Seen-da-la be-ka-na me-co-di-a-da.” You know, I did not roll on the floor, but I love you and God loves you and God cares about you. The Spirit just prayed for you.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. What is meant by speaking in tongues?
2. What does Scripture say about speaking in tongues?
3. What are the 12 benefits of speaking in tongues?
4. What does speaking in tongues bring forth? Why did Paul say that he wished for everyone to speak in tongues? (refer to 1 Corinthians 14:6)
Topics: Holy Spirit Power