Tongues Series: A Sign
Speaking in tongues serves as a way of getting the unbeliever’s attention so they can hear the gospel and is also the initial sign of our receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22).
On the Day of Pentecost, the crowds rushed forward and declared, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this” (Acts 2:11-12)? Some were “amazed,” and the next verse says, “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13).
It is the same today. Some are amazed, and they come with an honest question. It is to this company that I am suggesting why I believe in the ministry of tongues. I am fully aware that mockers are still present. However, the mockers were the losers, because God continued to pour out His Spirit upon every heart, even the Gentile believer.
God used tongues in a blessed way on the Day of Pentecost, because those Galileans were used to speaking in many various languages, which attracted the foreigners who were assembled in Jerusalem. This manifestation did not take the place of preaching because Peter stood up and answered the question, “What meaneth this” (Acts 2:12)?
Tongues were not given to replace preaching. When Cornelius and his household spoke with tongues, they magnified God (Acts 10:46). When the brethren at Ephesus spoke with tongues, it was a sign they had received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-6). Paul knew they had received the Holy Ghost because he heard them speak with tongues.
The sign of tongues should still accompany the Pentecostal Baptism. When our spirits are yielded to God, we speak with tongues. It is our spirit that is baptized. I can baptize your body in water as a testimony, but Jesus baptizes our spirit with the Holy Ghost. Tongues were a sign to Peter that the Gentiles had received the infilling of the Holy Ghost ( Acts 10:44-48). We cannot deny that tongues are a sign of a glorious spiritual experience.
Tongues are also a sign to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22). God uses tongues to speak to people. People know that God is present when they hear a message in tongues followed by its interpretation. The spiritual manifestation attracts attention, causes people to wonder and makes men search their hearts. God wants unbelievers to be convinced of His power and He has given the Church the gift of tongues as a sign to the unbeliever.