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"Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. 22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you."

Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship, we're so glad that you're here today.
Thank you for joining us.
For some time now, we have been examining the book of I Corinthians. Last time we talked about the gift of tongues and its role in the context of the church worship service.We learned that when you compare the gift of prophecy and the gift of tongues side by side, the gift of prophecy holds far more valuable for the church because it more clearly communicates God's truth to men. However, that is not to say, the gift of tongues doesn't have a value. Because it is a value to God, it allows the speaker to communicate praise and thanksgiving directly to God, and it has value to the church, when the message is interpreted because we receive encouragement whenever we hear another's praises toward God. The gift of tongues also has value outside the church. It has value for God's plan to bring people into a saving relationship with Himself.


As we will see today, tongues is a sign. It is a bright, neon flashing billboard that tells people that something out of the ordinary is

going on here, and they had better check it out. Like the signs that

point us to the nearness of Christmas, this sign of tongues told people that something was coming soon, and they had better prepare



Today, we are going to examine 4 effects that signs which the exercise of the gift of tongues can have on people. In examining this passage, I have two goals in mind for us. The first is that all of these effects that we are going to discuss will happen in you today or at some point. The second goal is that you will see that there is an even greater sign than the gift of tongues that can bring people to Jesus and that you will let that sign shine in your life.


As we discussed earlier, Paul makes it very clear that the position of the gift of tongues is secondary. And, secondly, the purpose of the gift of tongues, which we will also consider today, is as a sign. A sign. And, thirdly, the procedure for the gift of tongues, systematic. In other words, there is a very careful system in which God has designed this gift to function, and we’ll consider that too.


Signs often capture our attention, don't they? Signs always manage to get our attention. When I took my sons to an amusement park a few summers ago, you could feel their anticipation building with

every sign we passed. Now, to be fair, they had no idea where we were going. As the signs indicated we were getting closer and closer, they began to squirm around a bit, talking softly among themselves, wondering "If maybe..." Then, there's signs that warn us of impending danger, like a bridge out. And there's exit signs, road

closure signs, there are warning signs telling you that the speed limit has dropped from 65 to 45. However, if you do not pay attention to those warning signs, you will be facing the wrath of the highway patrol or police officer, whose lights will soon be flashing in your rear view mirror.


Let's bow our heads in prayer.


Heavenly Father, 


Thank You for the Word You have for us today. We are so grateful for those You have gathered together with us to receive it. Lord, I know it will not be easy to teach on these things, because some don’t see and understand this the way we do. Father, in love and kindness, we pray for their understanding, we pray that You would somehow would use this message to help those who are confused. And that You would help us to be, a loving blessing to all those who are in Your family.


Father, thank You for the great love You have given us, a love that we can all share today, in great fellowship, and the truth of Your Word. Thank You for all You have given me to shepherd, to feed today, every man, woman, and child. I am so grateful.


Lord, I pray that in each of those lives, Your Spirit will bear fruit, a fruit that will remain with them beyond this day. And I pray, that Your Son Jesus Christ might receive the glory. 

All of this we pray in His name,

for Your glory



Today's Message: Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign! 


Open with me your Bibles, to the book of I Corinthians chapter 14, today we'll be looking at verses 20 through 25, which I believe, is the

heart of this particular passage. Follow along with me as I read to get

this marvelous, rich text, settled in our minds. I Corinthians 14:20-25. 


"Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you." 


Paul says in verse 20, "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking;

yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature." Here, Paul is making an admirable stroke of oratory, and to bring down their pride by showing them that those things on which they were inclined to value themselves were at best, childish. It is sometimes necessary to appeal to some Christians in this manner, as an attempt to show

them that what they are engaged in is "unworthy" the dignity of understanding, unfit to occupy his time and attention, as they were

abusing gifts for non-edification.


Then, in verse 21, is a loose quote of Isaiah 28:11-12, which

says, "Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen." Paul uses that verse to say that the gift of being able to speak in a language that you never learned is a warning sign to unbelievers. It is a sign that God is coming in judgment, if they do not get their lives right before Him.


The book of Isaiah deals with a time in Israel's history, when they were rebelling against God. Instead of being the clear-headed spiritual leaders that the people needed, the priests were making no sense to the people because the words that they said were coming out of a drunken stupor. The priests would get drunk before delivering their message. The drunken words that they spoke were incapable of being understood; almost as if they were speaking a foreign language. 


However, the people didn't mind too much. If the people went to the synagogue and received a message that they did not understand, then there was no response that they felt obligated to give. They could

just pretend to be ignorant of God's laws, and we all know that

ignorance is bliss. When you are ignorant, you don't have to change your ways. So the people made no attempt to correct their priests and risk hearing a clear message from God, even though the message was a good one. 


God's clear message to them was that He was offering them a place of rest, a place where the weary could find strengthening. A message like that would get my attention. How about yours? But that wasn't enough to get their attention, and they rejected the clear message. They liked what they had better than what was being offered by God. The people could go in to the service, sit and hear words that made no sense, and walk out, unchanged. And, as far as they were concerned, they had done their religious duty.


However, in response to this kind of attitude, God gave them exactly what they wanted. In essence He said, "You like coming to the sanctuary and hearing words that you cannot understand? Fine; I'm going to make it so that all the words that you hear will be words that you cannot understand. You didn't want to understand me; now, you will not be able to understand anything!”


So, God caused an enemy nation to come and invade Israel and take the people captive back to their own land. They were forced to live in a foreign land among people that spoke a language that they could not understand. And every word that they heard was a constant reminder, a sign of the judgment of God on their nation, and for their rejection to listen, a refusal of His clear words.


In Isaiah 7:14, it says, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a

sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and

will call him Immanuel." God used the birth of a child to catch people's attention. This was an unusual birth because a child would be born to a virgin. Have a young girl give birth to a child and proclaim to her father and her fiance that she had never had marital relations with any man today, and see if that doesn't get somebody's attention!! It was a sign. It was a sign that God was still at work among His people. It was a sign that God was not just out there somewhere but that He was right there, present among His people and that He wanted a relationship with them. That's why they

called Him Immanuel. Immanuel means "God with us."


Then, one starry night, hundreds of years later, shepherds were out in the field watching over their flocks. Suddenly, the shepherds duties were interrupted by a visitor. An angel. All around, that angel was light that could only be described as the glory of God. The angel delivered a message to those shepherds. He said, "This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:12.


After the angel delivered his message, it was as if the heavenly host could restrain their song no longer, and all the angels of heaven descended on that place. They sang out, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14. The shepherds had seen a marvelous sign, and the angels told them of a sign that they would soon see. It got their attention. Wouldn't it get yours? Could you even imagine, being in their shoes, on a quiet hillside when suddenly having your world invaded by the inhabitants of heaven?


As we discussed earlier, signs will get your attention. Once again, the sign delivered the same message as that delivered in the book of Isaiah. God would dwell among His people. Beloved, have you ever been tempted to wonder if God is really present in your life? Maybe you've been searching for a sign, that God is real, that Christianity is legitimate, that God really is working in your life.


May I suggest that God has already given you a sign? The greatest sign that God wants your attention and that He wants to be a part of your life is that He brought children into your life. When God brought that bundle of joy into your life that little bundle that spoke its own kind of language and all those noises that you could not understand God was trying to speak to you. He was telling you that new life is possible and that He is the giver of new life. 


When Jesus grew up into a man, the religious leaders of the day came to Him seeking for Him to perform a sign to prove that He was who He claimed to be. Jesus told them that He would do only one sign for them. He would die, be buried and three days later, rise back to life. We read that in Matthew 12:38-39. However, though they didn't understand what he was offering then, and they didn't recognize His resurrection when it happened, nevertheless, the sign was there. Right in front of them. Jesus, indeed rose from the dead on the third day.


New life is always a sign that should get peoples attention. God gave them the sign, but they refused to give Him their attention. And, I believe, for some of you, God has been trying to get your attention for a long time. You have been asking for a sign, much like those Pharisees, yet not recognizing that God has been putting up signs all around you, and for most of your whole life. The signs are there, the family member who tries to tell you about what Jesus Christ has been doing in their lives, the new neighbor who reaches out to you in love, the new job that God blessed you with, the child that you hold in your arms. They are all signs from God! 


But maybe, you've been looking for a choir of angels in the heavens, singing the Hallelujah chorus, when God wanted you to pay attention to the child that you hold in your arms. That's the real sign that should get your attention and make you wonder about the power and grace and goodness of God. It should make you wonder at least enough for you to check it out, just a little bit further what

God has been trying to say to you.


After Jesus' ascension back into heaven, God sent another sign. On the day of Pentecost, God gave His Spirit to the 120 that were gathered in the upper room. They heard a sound like a mighty rushing wind; they saw flames of fire resting above their heads, and they began to speak in languages that they had never learned. The people that heard them wondered at what was going on. It created a stir. It got peoples attention. It drew a crowd. It set the stage and made it possible for the next effect of a sign to happen.


In verse 23- 24, we learn signs can change our direction. However, we have to know what signs to look for. When the angels left the shepherds on that night, they responded with a change of direction. They said, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened¨ I find it interesting, that they recognized what the real miracle, the real sign was on that night. It was not the angels and their angelic choir that captured their attention. It was the promise of a baby. I fear that many of us would have stayed right where we were that night, continuing to look for another sign, perhaps a second visitation from the angels, rather than being obedient to find God's gift to the world. Because of the signs, these shepherds let go of their own plans for their lives that night and did what they had been instructed to do. Because of the signs, they traveled to Bethlehem that night. Because of a sign, they changed their direction. Because of a sign, lives were changed!


The people spoken of in Acts 2 were gathered in Jerusalem from all parts of the world. There were people there from Media and Persia modern day Iran and Iraq. They had come from Asia, Egypt, Libya and Europe. They had come there with their own agenda and the direction of their lives marked out. They were on their way to the temple to perform the works that they thought were required in order to make God happy with them. But then they heard these 120

speaking the wonders of God and the amazing thing was that they heard them speaking in their native tongue. These unlearned Jewish men were speaking Egyptian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese. It was a sign, and it caused them to change their direction so that they could investigate what the meaning of the sign was.


Here in I Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul says that the desired result of someone speaking in tongues is that they take it as the sign that it is. It gets their attention so much so that they are willing to do some further investigation. And they decide to come inside the walls of the church. Look at what he says near the end of verse 23, "and ungifted men or unbelievers enter." And then again in verse 24, someone who does not understand comes in.". Its the idea of someone who has discounted the value of the cross or validity of Christianity and spiritual things up to this point in their lives. But then, God sends them a sign. It took the form of tongues for the people of Corinth.


For us, it may take the form of a friend, inviting us to church, during a particularly tough time of life. Or offering to pray with you before a medical procedure. Or maybe, the sign was that God chose to answer some special prayer for you. For some, it is the birth of a child that gets them back in church or gets them to come to church in the first place. Maybe the next sign that God used to get our attention this time to change our direction, is the death of someone that you really love or care deeply about. Whatever the sign is, if God is reaching out, giving you a warning, that judgment is coming, LISTEN!


Beloved, when God gives us a sign, we best dare not ignore it! We need to pay close attention to what God is saying. Whatever the sign that God uses to get your attention, it is more than enough to get you to change your direction, to investigate further just as those shepherds did. Each one of you is here today because God has done something in your life to change the direction, to alter the path that you were going on. At one point, you were out there somewhere. Today, right now, here you are! I believe, that you are here to

discover that God is real and what God wants in your life and has a purpose for your being here is. For you to see that God is really worthy of you changing the direction of your life, permanently!


If I were able to convince you with my words, I would. I would tell you that it is worth leaving the darkness, the wilderness behind to find all that God wants to do in your life. The shepherds left the darkness of the hillside in the wilderness, to find the hope and joy that only Jesus Christ brings. They were willing to allow God to re-direct their lives, not for just one night, but for the rest of their lives. And, from that moment on, they were walking on a different pathway headed to a different destination.


I myself have experienced enough of what God has to offer to allow Him to re-direct my life permanently. However, my words alone are not enough to persuade you, I can't preach long enough to convince you to change your life for more than just one day. That will take the power of the Gospel, through the Words that only God can speak.


But, in order for us to hear God's words, we must be willing to listen. Are you willing? Listening is important. For the shepherds on that hillside, listening meant hearing the greatest news that had ever

been told. They heard the angel say, "Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" Read Luke 2:11. Then, they went out to find that new life, that little baby in the manger, and they listened to the words that Mary and Joseph told them, words about the angels visit to each of them and what the angel had said to them, words that would be the course and purpose of this child's life.


The people in Jerusalem who had gathered for Pentecost, they listened too. It was probably harder for them to hear because there were so many distractions. It was a holiday, a celebration, much like the 4th of July for us. There were crowds, commotion, the vendors selling their goods. However, above all that, they heard people speaking in their own language and that

captured their attention. At first, they thought that the 120 were either madmen or drunkards. They were getting ready to dismiss the whole thing and just walk away. But then, they heard Peter stand up and interpret what was going on. He gave them a meaning of

the sign that they had heard. The sign had gotten their attention and had brought them to a point where they were willing to listen, but it was the clear words of Peter that they needed to hear.


Listen, as I read to you, some of those clear, direct words that Peter shared with the crowd on that day, in Acts 2:22-24, "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."


And in verse 33, "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear."


Peter says in verse 36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”


Many of the people in the crowd listening to Peter's words on that day, had been in another crowd only a little over a month earlier. They had heard Pontius Pilate say, "What shall I do with the one called the King of the Jews?" And they had responded, "Crucify Him!" They had seen the signs that Jesus had done proving that He was the Messiah, that He was God Himself and that He had come to rescue from their sins. However, they had refused to listen. But, they were listening now, and God was doing something amazing in their hearts.


As human beings, we often have a hard time learning to listen and we tend to get the message all mixed up. I recall the story of a daycare provider who was reading the story of Jesus' birth to her day-care children one morning. As usual, she stopped to see if they understood what she had read. So, she asked, "What do we call the three wise men?" "The three maggots," replied a confident, bright 5-year-old. "And, what gift did the MAGI bring baby Jesus?" she corrected. The same 5-year old replied, "Gold, Frankensteins and smurfs!" 


Like those children in the daycare, the message can get distorted if we do not pay attention or listen closely enough. As adults however, our failure to respond appropriately to what we hear is not a matter of not understanding what we hear, but of not liking what we hear. If we dislike what we hear, we often choose to ignore it. God has been trying to get you to listen to Him for a long time, but for one reason or another, you have chosen to turn a deaf ear to His words. Sure, the message has been garbled sometimes, and it has been delivered in words that you had difficulty understanding.


That was part of the problem at the church of Corinth. Unbelievers would come into the church because of the sign of the gift of tongues, but when they got into the church, there was no one there to interpret what they heard. So they just dismissed the message and went back to their old way of life. So some of the fault for your not having responded to the message rests with me and others like me who attempt to share the message with you. We haven't communicated it in terms that you could understand. And since you couldn't understand it, you rejected the messenger thinking that he was crazy, and you rejected the message thinking it nonsense. But then there have been times, like there were at Corinth, where the message was so clear that you couldn't pretend it wasn't for you, and you couldn't pretend that you didn't understand. You heard people speaking God's truth, and you saw people who's lives had been changed by the Gospel. You had to make a choice.


You could either ignore it because what God said didn't fit with what you wanted or you could let it penetrate your heart and watch some changes begin to occur. Signs can bring us into the presence of God. Signs can bring us into the presence of God. Paul says here in verses 24 and 25, that when a person finally starts to listen to the words that God is saying to him, some dramatic changes start to happen in his life.


That boy recognized the same fact that Peter was trying to convey to that crowd in Jerusalem at Pentecost and the same realization that will happen in any church whenever the truth is declared in understandable language. We are all sinners. We have done things that are wrong. We don't have to be good to get God to like us. God doesn't love or welcome us on the basis of our goodness because the truth is, none of us are good, not one. In fact, our very best is but filthy rags in His presence. We have all failed to measure up to the perfect standard that God has set.


Peter accused his audience of being guilty of the murder of Jesus. And that accusation is true of all of us. It was our sins that caused Jesus to have to go to the cross. Isaiah 53:6, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; —Sin— But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." Peter told them that they were sinners. Surprisingly, his audience agreed with his assessment of their condition, and they showed the desired reaction. We know that is not often, people react in that manner. They typically defend or deny their wrong doing.


Acts 2:37 says, "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart" There was conviction. It was a stab in the heart because they knew that it was true. They stood condemned as sinners, and they wondered if they were going to have to go around for the rest of their lives with this load of guilt that they now knew they bore. They cried out to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do? Is there hope for us? Is there a way that we can be free from this guilt?"


When the Spirit comes upon someone, he will feel deeply convicted of his sin. He will lay his sin bare before God, he will totally confess his sin so that nothing is hidden. Peter told that crowd that their situation was not hopeless. He told them there was a way out. He said, in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."


The way to get rid of the guilt that our sin brings on us is through confession. God says in I John 1:9, that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." Beloved, there a way that you can get rid of the shame, be free of the guilt. You can get rid of that burden on your shoulders you've been carrying around for far too long and start a new life. 


But only if you are willing to lay your heart bare before the Lord. Listen to me, you won't be telling Him anything that He doesn't know already. He knows you even better than you know yourself. All you are doing when you confess is saying that you agree with Him that you are a sinner, that you are willing to leave your life of sin behind, and that you want Him to forgive you.


He will humbly submit to the rule of God, fall down and worship God. The person that has truly been convicted of his sin, confessed his sin, and received forgiveness for his sin will in humble thanks yield his life to the control of God over him. He will walk in obedience. He will live a new life. He will know that the cleansing, healing, and release that He receives could have only come from God which will cause him to turn away from sin. He will loudly and boldly proclaim the presence of God. "God is really among you!"


The events that happened on a hillside just outside of Bethlehem resulted in shepherds coming into the presence of God. They bowed at the manger of Jesus. The events that happened in Jerusalem brought the presence of the Holy Spirit into the people that were there on that day. In Acts 2:38, Peter promised the people that responded in repentance that they "would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"


When a church is healthy, God's Spirit is present in power which results in the conviction, confessing and forsaking of sin. And that becomes the greatest sign to an unbelieving world that something is really going on that these Christians really have something that they need checked out.


You see, a changed life will also be a sign that no one can shut out and that no one can ignore. Today, God is presenting you with a sign, a U-turn of sorts, will you change your direction? Myself and others pray that you will.... 


And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;


the Lord make His face shine upon you,

 And be gracious to you;


The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.


Now and forever, in Jesus' name


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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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