Over the past several weeks I have been preaching a series of messages which have been designed to help us evaluate the Modern-day Charismatic experience and teaching. As I have stated from the outset, my purpose has not been to hurt or to offend anyone. My goal as your Pastor is to equip you, and to exhort you to always evaluate doctrine by the Word of God. We have established that God's Word is complete, authoritative, and sufficient for us today. Also that miracles, signs, and wonders were given by God to authenticate revelation and the one giving the revelation; and since we have God's complete revelation to man of His will in the Bible, these signs are no longer necessary. God's Word has superceded them all. We have also looked at the ONLY three places in Scripture where it is recorded that "tongues" were spoken. In each passage we have found that they were given as a sign of authentification. We also examined the three foundational teachings of the Modern-day Charismatic movement in light of the three Scriptural accounts where "tongues" were spoken, and found their teachings not to be consistent with the Word of God.
There are only three books in the New Testament where "tongues" are even mentioned.
Mark 16:17 A reference to Apostolic gifts which were fulfilled in the age of the apostles as recorded in the book of Acts.
Acts 2, 10, 19 References we looked at last week in great detail.
1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14 References where Paul gave instructions to the local church at Corinth with regard to the gift of tongues. This is where we want to look this evening as we continue our study.
I. The Problems at Corinth
1. The ancient city was destroyed in 146 B.C. and then rebuilt under the rule of Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
2. As a Roman colony, it was the hub of the Roman Empire's commerce.
3. The estimated population of the city at the time of the apostle Paul is several hundred thousand people.
4. There was a mixture of races and a large number of sailors and businessmen as well as a great number of slaves.
1. The city of Corinth was filled with paganism.
2. Unfortunately the city was best known for its sexual immorality.
a. There was a temple to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, above the city.
b. Every evening 1000 priestesses, who were sacred prostitutes, would descend to the streets of Corinth to practice their trade.
c. The city became so well known for such immorality that the very name was made into a verb. To "corinthianize" literally meant to go to bed with a prostitute.
3. Perhaps you are wondering what all of this has to do with the subject at hand.
a. The Corinthian church was made up of a core of Jewish believers but many of its members were saved out of this paganistic background.
b. Unfortunately, many brought these pagan practices into the local church.
c. Consider some of the problems that Paul had to deal with in this first epistle.
1) There were divisions, personality cults, and cliques.
2) Carnality outweighed spirituality.
3) Sexual perversion, fornication, incest, and adultery were commonly practiced and accepted.
4) Pride, worldliness, and materialism reigned within.
5) Church members were taking one another to court.
6) There was rebellion against apostolic authority.
7) There was a failure to discipline members had fallen into sin.
8) Marital conflict and mis- understanding concerning those who were single were evident.
9) There were abuses of liberty.
10) There were abuses of God's intended roles for husbands and wives.
11) They were failing to properly observe the Lord's Supper.
12) It is not hard to understand how there could also be serious perversion of the spiritual gifts.
13) There were also heresies concerning the resurrection.
4. All of this from a letter to a church from which many Modern-day Charismatics will quote to support their practice of speaking in tongues.
5. It should be very clear that this church should in no way be an example for New Testament churches today to follow.
1. Corinth was a product of "Mystery Religions".
a. Mystery religions take many forms, but all can be traced back to a single origin.
b. John described the religious system of anti-christ in Rev. 17:5, "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."
c. The mystery religions came out of Babylon, and all the false systens of worship they in- volved originated with the tower of Babel.
2. The mystery religions included many rites and rituals, but they are best characterized by their indulgence of "ecstasy".
a. By "ecstasy" the believers in these mystery religions meant the cultivating of a magical, sensuous communion with deity.
b. They would do almost anything to get themselves into a semi- conscious hypnotic-like spell in which they believed they were sensually in contact with deity.
c. His mind would go into neutral and his emotions would take over.
d. He experiences a feeling of which he knows nothing in his daily life.
e. In the state of ecstasy the person experiences tremendous- ly good feelings, and afterward they feel fantastic and actual- ly think they have communed with God.
3. Many in the "Charismatic movement" report such experiences with the practice of speaking in tongues.
4. Their conclusion is this: "I have never felt this way before... I feel so good...it's got to be God".
II. The Problems in the Church at Corinth.
A. Discerning the work of the Spirit.
1. How can you tell if it's the Spirit of God or not?
a. If we believe that experience supercedes the Word of God, then there is no way to authenticate the experience.
b. When questioned about their experience in tongues, an honest charismatic was asked, "Could it be of Satan?", and he reluctantly answered, "Yes".
c. The man I visited recently told of an experience and said, "Someone, Jesus, an angel, or something touched me on the back."
2. This was what was wrong in the church at Corinth.
3. They didn't know what was of God and what wasn't.
4. They were confusing the work of the Spirit with pagan ecstasies.
B. Note: 1 Co. 12:1-3
1. Paul told them that he didn't want them to be ignorant about the work of the Spirit.
2. People were getting "carried away" just as they are today.
3. He was referring to their past practices in their paganistic mystery religions.
4. Apparently, some had been bring- ing these same old patterns of worship into the church.
5. We see how bizarre things had become in the church there in verse three.
a. Some were standing up in the church and were cursing Jesus. page seven
b. They were supposedly manifest- ing the gifts of the Spirit, but were actually saying, "Jesus be damned!"
c. Paul was dealing with this problem of not knowing what was of God and what wasn't.
C. Does the New Testament ever teach that when the Christian goes out of control, that it is of God?
1. Study the Scripture and find out whether trances, fainting, frenzied behavior, or being slain in the Spirit is to be found in the exercising of the Spiritual gifts.
2. These Corinthian church members were in such a confused state, that they were unable to disting- uish between what was of the Spirit and what was of Satan.
3. Sad to say, there are many today in that same pitiful spiritual condition.
Conclusion: Only things of great value are counterfeited. No one has ever been put in jail for counterfeiting Monopoly money! But real money, jewels, etc. they are counterfeited all the time. The church cannot function properly without the right use of spiritual gifts. Satan will counterfeit at every turn to cause misunderstandings and misconceptions in order to cause confusion and chaos. It happened in the church at Corinth, and it is still happening today. What is the answer? This book, God's Word, must be the only rule of faith and practice in the New Testament church! There can be NO compromise!