Searchlight Radios, "A Survey Through Scripture", by Pastor Jon Courson
I just listened to the first part of a two-part sermon on-line - My goodness! This man took a series from Genesis and Abraham and spent the better portion of his time teaching about the gift of tongues....
He starts out in Genesis 17, where God is giving Abraham a "sign" or "token" of the promise. Mr. Courson noted, God does that which is unexpected and unconventional. God promises to give Abraham a token of the covenant, an emblem. This token would be an item that would remind Abraham of the covenant that God was making with him.
So far, he's ok.
But then, he starts thinking...
"Token" of the covenant...Outward sign, seal...Token of the covenant God made with Abraham. Circumcision is the sign and the seal.
Courson says, in the New Testament, "sign" and "seal" are almost always connected with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal that was given to the believer, according to Eph 1:13 (In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit...)
So, the correlation made - in the OT, the sign is circumcision, in the NT, the sign is the "Internal work of the Spirit within" (quoted from Mr. Courson)
Note: in this next section, Mr. Courson makes the subtle statement that "praying in the Spirit" = "speaking in tongues"
Courson asks, "What is the sign? The sign is connected with the work of the Holy Spirit in a most particular way." 1 Cor 14:22(a) says, "Tongues, then, are a sign" - now, Courson is beginning to see something...(right). He's asking if seal of the Holy Spirit and the sign of praying in the Spirit (tongues) are connected with the idea of circumcision in some way,
Next, Mr. Courson makes the "solid" connection between circumcision and speaking in tongues
He asks, "Is there really a connection that we can make with integrity?" He quotes Phillipians 3:3 "For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God" Paul uses the idea of circumcision to give a NT application. The sign, the seal - are now words connected to the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers - not just correlated with the cutting away of the flesh (physical or spiritual), but with the sign and seal of speaking in tongues.
According to Courson, people get uneasy when talking about speaking about speaking in tongues - like when you talk about circumcision - because they're related. He says that there's a tendency to be embarrassed about tongues-speaking "perhaps because of the abuses of radical Pentecostal." People tend to say "oh, this tongues area is a little -" just like circumcision.
Here, Courson makes a statement that will enable his followers to make the statement that if one Biblically and theologically rejects speaking in tongues as the sign of the Holy Spirit - that one is speaking in the flesh.
According to Courson, just as Abraham may have sat back when learning about the sign of his covenant, so believers today rebel against the "sign" of the New Covenant. He quotes 1 Corinthians 14:14 (For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful) to explain why our "flesh" reacts against speaking in tongues. Our minds like to engage in things that we understand and comprehend intellectually. Courson says that Paul writes, "although the mind is unfruitful, but the spirit is edified." (I couldn't find that part in this chapter).
Courson preaches, your mind (flesh) may rebel against the sign or seal of speaking in tongues. The flesh doesn't like circumcision and it doesn't like "praying in the Spirit" because the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity one with the other.
Courson adds that Paul says that when it comes to speaking in tongues, our mind (flesh) doesn't get it, because we don't understand what's happening. The Spirit is praying through us. Edification is happening within us, but we don't have a clue intellectually - we do it (speaking in tongues) in faith, according to what the Scriptures tell us - but t doesn't please the flesh.
Further (I think he's getting even farther awry here...) even as the flesh rebels against circumcision, so the flesh rebels against praying in tongues - the sign that we are the circumcision which worships God in the Spirit...He says: both tongues and circumcision deal with reproductive organs.
Courson states: there are only two reproductive organs in your body, one is physical, the other is spiritual. Proverbs 18 says that the power of life and death is in the tongue...
Here is where Courson introduces Word-Faith
He says that Christ taught us that when you want to see things happen in the spirit, say to the mountain be removed, don't wish it, think it - go on record - say it - faith is released through the words that we speak. The tongue has the power of death and life - your words will either 18:44 be reproductive or they will be murderous and detrimental.
Next, the implication that tongues-speakers are persecuted, just like the Jews, for their sign.
Further correlation between circumcision and tongues...Both are called sign and both are embarrassing. From that point forward (until fairly recently), Jews would be persecuted over circumcision. So also, today, people make fun of those who speak in tongues. "if they think I'm one of "those guys"...So there can be embarrassment for both the Jew and the believer who is doing the sign and seal in the NT of the tongue being expressed.
The, the "reason" that speaking in tongues disappeared from the face of the earth, after the closing of the canon.
The Jewish went for centuries ignoring circumcision...Let's not even do it, it's causing too much trouble...And in their history, both Biblically and historically - just like Christians, who say why even bother with this controversy. Christian community ignores speaking in tongues because of the repercussions
We are a marked people - we are different from the other folks - it was a continual reminder that we are different than other people - but it was a difference that was noted in either privacy or intimacy - like tongues.
1 Corinthians 14 - Paul said "I would" - not wish you could... (Check out the Greek - or the ESV)
Mark 16 - and these signs shall follow them...(note from my Bible: ((The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.))
Paul told us "Follow me, as I follow Christ"
Point - I don't believe Christ ever mentioned Himself speaking in tongues, so if we limit ourselves to following Paul as he followed Christ, tongues is not on that list.
Paul also said, "But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
(Which is the beginning of Mr. Courson's next sermon...)