What does this actually mean?
Right quick it gets deep! There is no ‘wading out’ from the shallow end. It is jumping right in.
“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.”
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
“Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.”
“Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
“And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law.”
“Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.”
“While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.”
“The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house.”
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.”
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials.”
“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by The Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.”
Asia, in this case may lead to questions- to answer them.
Asia [N] [H] [S]
is used to denote Proconsular Asia, a Roman province which embraced the western parts of Asia Minor, and of which Ephesus was the capital, in Acts 2:9 ; 6:9 ; 16:6 ; Acts 19:10 Acts 19:22 ;Acts 20:4 Acts 20:16 Acts 20:18 , etc., and probably Asia Minor in 4Acts 19:26 Acts 19:27 ; 21:27 ; 24:18 ; 27:2 . Proconsular Asia contained the seven churches of the Apocalypse ( Revelation 1:11). The “chiefs of Asia” ( Acts 19:31 ) were certain wealthy citizens who were annually elected to preside over the games and religious festivals of the several cities to which they belonged. Some of these “Asiarchs” were Paul’s friends.
“And after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.”
The southeast region of Asia province was later reassigned to the province of Cilicia. During, the empire, Asia province was bounded by Bithynia to the north, Lycia to the south, and Galatia to the east.
“Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
“And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.”
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in Heaven, and One sitting on the throne.”
“And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.”
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
In studying the bible the term “Led” appears 348 times.
Led (348 instances)
As we discussed, this IS deep! To step back even further.
Many great men of God stand out to us as we read the Bible.
There was Moses, the great lawgiver who received the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. There was Joshua, the powerful military leader who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. There was David, who was the greatest king Israel had ever known. Elijah was one of the great prophets. Peter and Paul were mightily used of God.
Yet all of these looked to Abraham as a man of faith.
So what lessons can we learn from this man who was called God’s friend? When we are first introduced to Abraham, God has told him, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 NKJV).
Abraham was raised in a pagan culture that believed in many gods. God knew that for Abraham to stay in his country with his family would be detrimental to his spiritual growth. In fact, his family and friends would not help, but hinder, him.
Jesus said to the man who wanted to delay following Him because of his family, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NKJV). In the same way, God was essentially saying to Abraham, “You have to make a clean break. You have to leave now if you are going to move forward spiritually.”
The timing of Abraham’s call by God was significant. It occurred shortly after the destruction of Babylon and the dispersion of the nations. Humanity had done its best, and God brought its plans for the future to nothing.
Yet God’s plan for Abraham was, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2 NKJV).
The Lord’s commands are rarely accompanied by reasons, but they are always accompanied by promises.
There are times when God will speak to you and tell you to do or not do something, and it may not make complete sense at the moment. When the Lord initially told Noah to build the ark, it didn’t make sense at the time. But it made perfect sense later.
And when the Lord told Abraham to leave his family and country, it didn’t make sense at the moment. But he would later understand the plan and purpose of God.
The Lord was essentially asking Abraham to trade in one thing, and He would give him something else in its place. But God’s trade-in deals are not the same as what we would expect from our local car dealer.
It would be like approaching a Ferrari dealer, wanting to trade in your Pinto with 200,000 miles on it. As you’re admiring the red convertible, the dealer says, “Take it—straight trade.” That is a good deal.
God was saying, “Abraham, you leave these things for Me, and I will give these things to you. It is a straight trade, but you must keep up your end of the deal.”
Yet many times we don’t want to do that. God tells us to turn our back on sin and to turn away from people who could drag us down spiritually. If we do, He will bless us.
Unfortunately, this is not what Abraham did. He sort of obeyed, but not completely. God told Him to leave his country, separate himself from his relatives, and go to a land that God would show him. Abraham did leave his country, but he did not separate himself from his family. Nor did he go where God told him to go.
We read that he took his father Terah and his nephew Lot. The name Terah means “delay” and it was a delay for Abraham. Bringing Terah along resulted in a delay of at least five years in a place called Haran, which means “parched.”
Until Abraham obeyed God in what he previously had been told, we read of no further command from God.
Has God told you to do something? Have you been dragging your feet? Have you been partially obeying?
Partial obedience is actually disobedience. God is a stickler for details, and if He tells you to do something, then you need to do all of it—not just what you personally agree with or are comfortable with.
We need to do God’s will in God’s way and in God’s time.
There are SO many examples: At the beginning of the book of Daniel; in being ‘led’ to do as they had been taught Daniel and his counterparts refused to partake of fare placed before them. In hearing and obeying The Spirit
We see what happens:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
For all who are led by The Spirit of God are sons of God.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.
Too many times we are thrown off.
One of the most influential and controversial events in the twentieth-century American church was the emergence of the charismatic movement. With its emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit, the movement brought elements of Pentecostalism to non-Pentecostal churches. By the early 1960s, Catholics, mainline churches, and many non-Pentecostal evangelicals were experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit through prophecies, divine healings, speaking in tongues, and various physical phenomena. The movement generated much debate about the purpose of these gifts and experiences in the Christian life. Were they legitimate expressions of worship, or just frenzied spiritual emotionalism?
Today, evangelicals seem to have made peace with the charismatic movement, embracing many of its practices and agreeing to disagree on others. Indeed, it’s not strange these days to find people lifting their hands in the most conservative of evangelical functions. Despite this evolution, many questions remain about the meaning of speaking in tongues.
The phenomenon of tongues (or glossolalia) is identified by many as the supernatural utterance of foreign human languages (Acts 2:4,6); others contend that it includes speaking an angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1) or some other verbal expression requiring interpretation (1 Corinthians 14). For many years, speaking in tongues was seen as the distinguishing characteristic of the Pentecostal and charismatic traditions within the church.
Regarding speaking in tongues, the Bible never tells us that we must speak in tongues. A good passage is 1 Cor 12:27-31:
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
And 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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts”.
The obvious answer to his rhetorical question (in bold) “No, of course they don’t!”. This idea is picked up earlier in 1 Cor 12:7-11, where different gifts are given to different people as the Spirit determines. This is a really clear answer from the Bible (yay!), the Bible doesn’t tell us that we must speak in tongues.
Which brings us to the second part of your question about whether Christians who speak in tongues are some how superior to those who don’t, or whether we’re missing something. Back in the first passage the last verse says that we are to “eagerly desire the greater gifts” (V31). But V28 tells us that they are more like the gifts of apostleship (which you and I aren’t!), prophecy, teaching etc… In fact, tongues are last on the list! The gift of administration is even above tongues in this ordered list. Sometimes it’s easy to over-emphasise tongues because they look impressive, when really God values other things more highly.
Don’t get me wrong, tongues are still a gift from God and still good, but the exact problem the Christians in Corinth had was that they played a game of one-up-manship based on who had the better gift, and who followed the ‘better’ Apostle – and that’s why Paul hammers them in 3:1 as “mere infants in Christ”. Don’t let whether you speak in tongues or not shake your confidence in Christ!
Finally, I think it’d be really good to be encouraged by what Christianity is all about. Have a read of this:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in CHRIST”. (Eph 1:3)
If you have Christ, you have it all!! That’s worth remembering I think.
I had a humbling discussion with a Chistian once where they wanted to speak in tongues. At the time, I knew it not a necessity for we in Christ all have gifts. We have discussed this above. Be happy and content with your gifts. The concept of “What they have, I want!” In no way is based on Christian faith. God IS Love!!! What is that?
A subsection of the qualities: “Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing…” all things.
1 Corinthians 13:1 states “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not Love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Should Love then clamor for what others have? To answer this; let us take a look at the fruits of The Spirit. Not Tongues (a gift) but proof that you have been baptized with The Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22
If you have/display these; you have The Spirit in you! Yes, with the baptism of The Sprit in Acts, those gathered did speak in tongues. Again ‘tongues’ is complex.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:4
But we read what the definition of tongued is:
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, 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? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine
Again, there are so many examples, but this ‘plunge’ at the deep end was to get your toes wet! We will continue to break this down and share.