. . . with Long Lasting Implications
BILL DANNON took his eyes off the T.V. to look at Fred in disbelief. "So this guy, Tom, really thinks tongues are not meant for this day and age?"
"Yeah, you believe it? How ignorant can you get?"
Bill slowly shook his head, "And he's coming here -- today?"
"Should be here any minute. He claims he can show me from the Bible that what I'm doing is unscriptural. What a geek."
"But hasn't he ever seen anyone speak in tongues before?" Bill said, scooping up more peanuts. "We're gonna miss the rest of the game."
"That's all right," Fred said, "dealing with this moron should be more fun."
Bill swallowed his peanuts, then reached over for more. "You're not nervous? I mean, what if he pulls out a verse you've never--"
"Don't worry," Fred said, muting the sound with his remote control. "I've read them all. In fact, I know what he's probably gonna do."
"What do you mean?"
"He's not the first guy to try this. He'll probably start with I Corinthians 14 and try to convince me that Paul was rebuking that church for getting carried away with their gifts."
"Come on! . . . No one can be that dense."
"Blind, is more like it! But he won't get far; I know that Chapter inside out."
"Still, you gotta wonder," Bill added, "if he's willing to come here and--"
"Bill! . . . Relax. He's licked before he even starts."
Bill slightly drew his eyebrows as Fred leaned toward him and smiled. "Don't you see? He can show me all he wants. But the bottom line is: I've experienced it, and he hasn't. He's never felt what it's like. He has no idea what he's talking about." Fred leaned back in his chair. "Besides, if he really gets obnoxious, I'll just demonstrate the power of God by giving him a tongue lashing . . . Get it? A tongue lashing!"
The two burst into laughter, then heard someone knocking on the door.
"That must be him!" Fred said, tossing the remote to Bill. "Turn off the tube. I'll answer the door . . ."
To Bill, Tom Eldrige even looked like a geek; short hair, conservatively dressed, and carrying a King James Bible. After a brief introduction, the three men sat down together at the kitchen table.
"Tom, I was telling Bill here that you had some Scripture you wanted to show me."
"Yes," Tom said, as he opened his Bible. Fred glanced over at Bill and winked. Tom flipped through the pages, finding the Verse he wanted, then began reading.
"The Bible says, But without faith it is impossible to please him[--]"
"Wait-a-minute!," Fred blinked, "what verse is that?"
Fred looked at Bill, who shrugged his shoulders. Tom studied the two of them. "I don't understand--"
"We're supposed to be talking about tongues," Fred said.
"I know," Tom said. "As I was saying, for he that cometh to God must believe[--]"
"HOLD IT! What does that have to do with tongues?"
"Everything! Faith plays a vital role in a Christian's life. I thought it'd be a good idea if we begin by defining what true faith is."
"But we already know that. We're Christians!"
"Then why do you seek to speak in tongues?"
"Huh?" Fred made an incredulous face.
"In the same Chapter," Tom continued, "the Bible says: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1) Faith doesn't look for something perceivable. On the other hand, an experience, like speaking in tongues, is detectable, the evidence of things SEEN."
"We don't agree . . . Right, Bill?"
"Well . . . Tom does bring up an interes--- "
"Who asked you? Look, Tom, you haven't experienced it," Fred added. "You don't know what it feels like to be in direct communication with God, feeling His presence and--"
"I don't need to FEEL what it's like," Tom answered, "I don't need a sign to verify that He hears me. I just take it by faith that He does."
"BUT I DON'T USE IT AS A SIGN, YOU DOPE! It's a gift that He gave me!"
"But suppose He were to suddenly take it away? Would it affect your relationship with Him? If you had real faith it wouldn't matter what--"
"He's not going to take it away!"
"But what if He did? Be honest now. Or for that matter, suppose you sinned against God and sought forgiveness. Would you use your ability to still speak in tongues as a sign that you'd been forgiven? Or would you simply take it by faith that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)?"
"That's the silliest question I ever--"
Tom turned his attention to Bill. "How about you, Bill? Would you be willing to simply trust that God, is faithful and just to forgive us our sins without seeking verification by speaking in tongues?"
Bill looked back at Fred, then hesitated for a moment. "Well . . . I guess it would prove that God wasn't angry with me." Bill shrugged. "I don't know . . . there have been times--"
"BILL!" Fred said. "Don't be a fool, he's trying to trip you up!"
"Now wait-a-second, Fred!" Bill said, sitting up in his chair. "You have to admit, sometimes we do use our tongues to justify our sins . . . Maybe he's right. I'm beginning to wonder if God meant for it to be used that way."
"Speak for yourself. YOU may use it that way, but I don't."
"So, what do you use it for?" Tom quietly asked.
Fred wavered for a moment then said, "FORGET IT! . . . It's no use . . . You won't understand, unless you've tried it."
"I know this much," Tom said, "the Bible says: Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: (I Cor. 14:22). Bill's right, what you're doing is not what God intended. God gave the tongues as a witnessing tool--it was a known, foreign language. Read Acts Chapter Two and you'll find, at Pentecost, the unsaved Jews that heard Peter speaking in tongues were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:6) They, even asked, And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? (Acts 2:8)"
"You're wrong!" Fred said, pounding the table.
Tom continued. "The church members at Corinth were doing the same thing you're doing. They weren't using it to witness. Some were using it for self-assurance; justifying their carnality, thinking that as long as they had their gifts, they were still right with God, no matter how much they had sinned. They didn't have real faith; they constantly needed a sign. They couldn't just take God at His own Word . . ."
"Shut up! You don't know what--"
". . . that's why Paul, later on, said to that spiritual church, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor. 13:5)."
"I said, SHUT UP!"
"Jesus said, A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; (Mat. 16:4).
Paul told the Corinthians, For we walk by faith, not by sight: (2 Cor. 5:7). He also said,
for whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23)--"
"SHUT UP! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR BIBLE SAYS . . . !"
Moments later, as Tom exited the apartment building, Bill caught up with him.
"Fred's really mad. I've never seen him like this," Bill said.
Tom looked Bill in the eyes. "The Bible says, Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165) Look . . . I didn't intend on it getting that ugly--"
"That's okay," Bill said, cracking a smile. "You made me think . . . But I still don't understand . . . If we're using this gift for all the wrong reasons, then why would God give it to us, knowing that--"
"Bill, do you believe the devil can fake a gift like tongues?"
Bill raised his eyebrows. "I don't know. I guess it's possible."
Tom lifted his Bible. "This Book warns that, Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) Paul said the tongues would pass away when this Book was completed (I Cor. 13:8-10). The last Chapter in Revelation tells us not to expect any more signs from Heaven till Jesus returns. Add it all up. The only way you can be sure that Satan won't fool you with a sign, is if you're not expecting one in the first place. Why do you think God emphasizes, three times, The just shall live by faith? (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38)"
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
q BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Rom. 3:23.
q SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
q THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8-9) THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9
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