The first in a series of 4 sermons
Speaking in tongues is central to many debates about the use of spiritual gifts in the Church.
This sermon series sets the Bible’s teaching back into its original context, beginning with 1 Corinthians 12 – the context of what it means to belong to Christ and to be a member of His bride, the Church.
Only when we understand our God given place in the Body of Christ are we able to consider how we live out the use of spritual gifts in a way the honours God and builds up the Body.
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Ephesians 4:9–16 (NIV84)
9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1 Corinthians 12:12–31 (NIV84)
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.