We read in 1. Corinthians 13:1-8: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away
Most Pentecostal churches and charismatic churches would tell you the indisputable proof of being spirit-filled is having the gift of tongues. Therefore it is not uncommon to have spirit baptism services where it is given an altar call for people to come forward and have their spirit baptism evidenced by speaking with other tongues.
The gift of other tongues is genuine, and so is the gift of interpreting tongues. Tongues as a prayer language is a real gift given to all Christians who desire it, and it is a vital and essential gift that helps us in our prayer life. At the same time, we have to be honest and admit people in other religions and people with mental disorders have also experienced tongues.
The gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, the gift of faith, the gift of miracles, and the gift of service are all genuine gifts of the Spirit. At the same time, we have to be honest and admit that people in other religions can prophesy, pray for the sick to their gods and see miracles happen, have faith for their gods to intervene, and do service.
Most Christians would probably disagree with this and say only a Christian can speak in tongues, pray for the sick, do miracles, and so on. But even Christ says that in the last days, many false Messiahs will appear, and they will be able to do great and mighty miracles to lead even the elect astray.
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he was writing to a congregation who believed the gift of tongues was the ultimate proof of being spirit-filled. Paul goes on to say in 1. Cor 12 the gift of tongues, prophecy, miracles, faith, healings are genuine gifts, but they are not proof of being spirit-filled. The only evidence of being spirit-filled is love, according to Paul.
If you had asked 10 Christians from 10 different denominations what love is, you would probably end up with ten different answers. Paul, who never seized being a pharisee and a Jew, would have understood love from a Hebraic perspective, as we find it in the Bible.
Jesus defines love for us in John 14:15 and 2. John 1:6, love is obeying the Torah (the written law of Moses.) So what Paul is saying here in 1. Chor 13 is this if you can prophesy, speak in tongues, have faith to move mountains, suffer for Christ and give away everything you own, but you dont obey the Torah you are a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal, you have nothing, gain nothing, and you are nothing.
Being able to speak in tongues, prophesy, heal the sick, have faith to move mountains, and give away everything you have does not matter if you dont obey the Torah. Those are genuine gifts from the Spirit, but if you dont follow the Torah, they are all worthless.
What Paul is doing here is using Deut 13 and showing us how a believer in Christ should apply this to our lives today. In Deut 13, we learn that a true believer obeys the written Torah; a true believer is not someone who does miracles and speaks in other tongues. This is the same thing Jesus taught us when He warned us against false Messiahs who will be able to deceive even the elect.
Most Pentecostal churches and charismatic churches would tell you the indisputable proof of being spirit-filled is having the gift of tongues. Therefore it is not uncommon to have spirit baptism services where it is given an altar call for people to come forward and have their spirit baptism evidenced by speaking with other tongues. Most Christians believe that as long someone has a ministry of miracles, they have to be genuine because God would not allow someone to do miracles if they were not a Christian.
Paul would strongly disagree with this; he would remind us that miracles tongues are all gifts of the Spirit. But we are not to seek the gifts of the Spirit, we are to pursue obedience to the Torah, and when we do, we will be given genuine gifts of the Spirit. If he knew we had spirit baptism services in churches who at the same time rejected the Torah, he would probably chastise those congregations and remind them without the Torah; they are nothing, worthless, and only making noise.
The indisputable proof of being spirit-filled is a love and a commitment to the Torah (the written law of Moses.) From such a person comes true genuine spiritual gifts, including tongues.
So what about yourself?
Are you a spirit-filled believer, according to Paul?