The Purpose of the Sign Gifts
Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21–22
Ephesians Lesson #141
March 13, 2022
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, we are thankful that we have Your Word. We are told in Scripture that it is the means by which God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, sets us apart, matures us as believers; that we are to desire it, hunger for it just as a newborn baby cries and screams to be fed.
“Father, we pray that we would have that desire in us to know Your Word so that we can know You. To know Your Word so that we can serve You better. To know Your Word so that we can grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Father, there are so many, many things that are taught in Your Word, and we need to understand the whole counsel of God and how it applies to every area of life, every area of thought. There is no area of life or intellectual life that is not touched by sin, corrupted by sin. So every single thing that we think about must come under the authority of Your Word. We must come to understand how it applies to everything.
“Father, as we continue our study in Ephesians where we learn so much about who we are as believers, what You have provided for us, and how You equip us and prepare us and train us to serve You, we pray that in our study we will come to a better understanding of Your Word in these spiritual gifts. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
We need a little review. Last time we looked the fact that there are some spiritual gifts, including apostle and prophet that are temporary gifts. The central passage is 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, the study of which I did not complete last time. The one part of it that I briefly touched on at the end, was the purpose for these sign gifts. What was the purpose of the gift of languages, which is often referred to as the gift of tongues?
We will look at 1 Corinthians 4:14, but before we do this, we need a review. Because it was five weeks ago when we studied that, so most of you have probably forgotten. However, if you listened to Dr. Andy Woods on Wednesday, he covered just exactly the same thing that I covered five weeks ago.
We will just hit some of the high points, bringing out a couple of things that I couldn’t remember whether I pointed out last time or not, so that what we say about the purpose for tongues is not lost.
1 Corinthians 13:8, New King James Version, “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will cease, whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”
The basic New King James Version translation is in black; some comments and the Greek words are in blue. The reason I do that is because the tendency of translators, instead of following what the original language says, is translate it and then translate it according to certain style conventions of good writing in English.
One of those style conventions of good writing in English is that you don’t repeat the same words over and over again. But God the Holy Spirit does, so I guess that means that English style conventions are incorrect according to the thinking of God.
Here it begins with a contrast “but,” so he is contrasting these three gifts, prophecy, knowledge, and languages, with love. He will come back to love at the end of the chapter, but he has to address the fact that there are some problems with these particular gifts.
“… whether there are prophecies, they will fail …” KATARGEO.
Secondly, “whether there are tongues, they will cease,” the Greek PAUO, a different word. It’s in the middle voice which indicates that it’s going to just die out on its own. It just has a temporary purpose, which we will see. When that purpose is accomplished, it will vanish.
The New King James and some others, translate the third line with a different word. The New King James says, “… whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” But it’s the same word that is used in the first line, “they will fail. “
Now it’s important that those be translated the same; otherwise, you miss how the writer is tying certain things together by the words that he uses.
KATARGEO has the idea of something that is abolished, wiped out, or set aside, so I’m choosing to translate both of them with the phrase “set aside.” It should read “whether there are prophecies, they will be set aside; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there’s knowledge, it will be set aside.”
We see that prophecy and knowledge have something in common; they are revelatory gifts. There are other revelatory gifts: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge that are not mentioned here.
In fact, a lot of people today really don’t know what they mean. It’s the only time they are mentioned, so a lot of people just take a guess at what they mean. In the Charismatic Movement, they take a guess, but they’re way out of bounds in their guesswork.
The Scriptures are clearly saying, God is clearly revealing, that there will come a time when the spiritual gift of prophecy and the spiritual gift of knowledge will be abolished. It will be eradicated; it will no longer be in effect. They serve a temporary purpose in other words.
Tongues is going to be a little different. There’s a time when the first one and the third one will be set aside, but tongues are just going to cease
This is PAUO, which I translated, “whether there are tongues, they will end.” They will just die out on their own. There is something significant about the cessation of the revelatory gifts, and it’s very important in the interpretation of this passage.
These two revelatory gifts are then expanded in 1 Corinthian 13:9–10.
In addition to saying that they’re both going to be abolished, “For we know in part,” the Greek phrase EK MEROUS means in part or partially. So knowledge is partial and prophecy is partial.
That means that in terms of God’s revelation through the New Testament—these are New Testament prophets and apostles—that they were given incomplete information. Paul had part of it, Peter had part of it, John had part of it, Luke had part of it, but none of them had the whole picture, had the entire revelation. It’s not until it’s all given that it’s all put together and complete.
This phrase EK MEROUS is not talking about quality, it’s talking about quantity. Partial, incomplete has to do with a quantitative concept, not a qualitative concept.
1 Corinthians 13:10, “But when the perfect comes, the partial shall be done away.” TO TELEION can mean maturity, but that doesn’t really fit the concept of quantity here. Maturity is more of a quality idea, and this is a quantity idea. That’s the contrast. You want to contrast similar things and not things that are a totally different.
The word translated “perfect” can be translated as “mature,” as it is used in a number of passages. But since it’s being used in a context talking about quantity, then it should be translated “when the complete comes, then the partial will be done away.” I think that opens that verse up a lot more, so that we can understand it.
Another thing about 1 Corinthians 13:10: there is a textual variant in both the Old and New King James Versions, which are based on the Textus Receptus or “the received text.” This was put together as a Critical Text by Erasmus in the early 16th century, but he didn’t have but just a few manuscripts to work with.
At different times, he had less than more; around 8 to 10 Greek manuscripts. They were really late manuscripts and not of the best quality compared to what we have today. Quality is not determined by age, but by other factors.
The Majority Text says, “But when the perfect comes, then the partial will be set aside.” That is important because of the fact that this same word, TO TELEION shows up again twice in this context, so I think that this was used in the original. I am inclined to the Majority Text most of the time.
We learn here that these gifts knowledge and prophecy give incomplete data. When you just had the Old Testament after Jesus came, you had incomplete revelation. If you have only a couple of Paul’s Epistles and maybe the Gospel of Matthew and maybe James, you have incomplete information.
It’s not until you get all 27 books of the New Testament that we have what God determines is a sufficient amount of information, so that we can face and handle all of the various issues in life,
We translate this, “For we know partially and we prophesy partially [or we could translate it ‘we know incompletely and prophesy incompletely’], but when the complete comes, then the incomplete will be set aside.”
That way we’re using the same words and the same word group in order to present the idea a little more clearly. That may not be the best English, but that keeps us where we are always translating the same concepts within the same time.
Following that, Paul gives us two analogies:
- 1 Corinthians 13:11, a growth analogy contrasting a and an adult’s child’s behavior.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12, a mirror analogy.
1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child …”
A child has incomplete knowledge; a child is learning; they need to be educated.
“… when I became a man [and I had accumulated the knowledge necessary to function as a mature adult], I set aside childish things.”
This illustrates the difference between incomplete knowledge and complete knowledge.
1 Corinthians 13:12 is an example related to prophecy. You may look at that and say, “How does that relate to prophecy?” I’ll show you.
In this verse he also introduces the “now-then” contrast. It is very important to understand what is going on here. Because he uses one word for “now” in this verse, and he will use a different word for “now” in the next verse, something we miss in English.
“For now [the Greek ARTI] we see in a mirror …” The mirrors they had at this time were polished metal, mostly polished brass, so you may not get a distinct image in the reflection.
The old King James, the Authorized Version, says, “… we see through a glass darkly. “That’s a poor translation because you don’t see through a mirror, you see your reflection, so it misses the point. We’re not looking through glass that is darkened and shady, so that we can’t really see what’s on the other side. It is a mirror that reflects us.
I just love the phrase, “the perspicacity of Scripture.” It is used mostly by theologians to indicate that the Word of God is perspicuous, meaning that the Word of God is very clear and precise in showing who we are. We look at the mirror of the Word of God, James calls it, and some that look in the mirror of the Word of God go away and forget what they saw.
Most of you looked in the mirror this morning and you realized that your hair was a little spiky and you had some bed head. Some of you noticed that you may have had some other blemishes showing, and you put on some makeup and whatever it was. But you paid attention to what the mirror told you, and you made some corrections, so you wouldn’t embarrass yourself when you went out in public.
But there are some people who forget; they look at the mirror and then they get busy doing something else. The next thing they know they’re out in public and they look in the mirror and say, “I didn’t comb my hair! Why didn’t somebody tell me?”
That’s the analogy. The Word of God is compared to a mirror. It reflects to us who we are, what our problems are and what the issues are in life. We hold to a doctrine or teaching of Scripture called the “sufficiency of Scripture.”
The primary doctrine is that the Word of God is breathed out by God; it is inspired. Not in the way that we think of Shakespeare as being inspired or we of Wordsworth as being inspired or of Michelangelo as being inspired. But the Greek THEOPNEUSTOS means that God breathed it out.
It originates with God. He breathes it into the thinking and the soul of the writer of Scripture, and then they exhale it. All Scripture is God-breathed; it originates with God. Therefore, it is without error, it is infallible, it is inerrant. It is the Word of God.
A corollary to that, because it is the Word of God, it is sufficient; that is, it is enough. He tells us everything we need to know in order to face whatever issues there are in our lives. It is the knowledge that He gives us that enables us to properly interpret what goes on in our life.
He’s doesn’t tell us everything there is to know about all of these things, but He tells us that indispensable information that is necessary to properly interpret things. For example, in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve that you can eat the fruit from all the trees in the garden except this one; that if you eat from it, you will certainly die—instantly there will be spiritual death.
They didn’t quite understand what death was because they had never seen that or experienced that, but they knew this was going to be something bad. But they couldn’t have learned that through empiricism that is through observation of the different fruits and different trees in the garden.
They could come to many, many conclusions and make many, many accurate observations about the trees in the garden, but there was one indispensable fact that would shape how they looked at everything else. That’s what the Word of God does. It’s sufficient. It gives us the information that is necessary to accurately interpret other things.
We can interpret a lot of things accurately and some things not accurately. But a tree to an evolutionist is not the same tree as to someone who believes God created and designed it. At some point they are different trees: one is an accident; one is carefully designed and created by God.
When it comes to our spiritual life, we need a mirror that is all there; not a mirror that’s been cracked or parts of the glass that reflect are not there.
“For now we see through a mirror dimly [that mirror refers to an incomplete Canon], but then [that is, then when the canon is complete, when that which completes is fully] face-to-face.”
Face-to-face, we often have been taught, is face-to-face with God, but it’s face-to-face with Scripture. I pointed out last time, there are basically 2 interpretations of when this happens.
- One takes “then” as referring to being face-to-face with the Lord, either as a result of physical death, as a result of the Rapture, as a result of having been taken to Heaven, the Second Coming, whatever it may be, it has to do with that event. But there is a problem with that, and we will see the solution when we get to the last verse.
- The second is that the perfect relates to either the Canon or maturity, and so it must be the Canon view because that’s what fits the incomplete-complete analogy.
Face-to-face here can’t be face-to-face with God or face-to-face with Christ at death, Rapture, Second Coming, or eschaton as nebulous theologians want to put it. It is face-to-face with the Scripture, face-to-face with that completed mirror of the Canon.
“… but then [when the Canon comes face-to-face], now I know in part, [I know partially], but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
That doesn’t mean you’re omniscient. We are never omniscient. It means that then we will have a complete picture of who we are and what God provides for us. ARTI (noun) is important,
This language of face-to-face and dimly goes back to what God said to Moses in Numbers 12:6–8. Numbers 12:8 is the key verse, but I want to give you the context.
Numbers 12:6–7, God is speaking, “He said, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you [speaking to Israel], I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I will speak to him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses [Moses was distinctive as a prophet]”
“With him I speak mouth-to-mouth [just a variant of the metaphor face-to-face] even openly, and not in dark sayings [in the Septuagint ‘dark sayings’ is translated with the Greek ENIGMA, something that is a puzzle, something that isn’t clear, something that is incomplete]”
1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see ourselves in a mirror dimly [the word for dimly is that same word ENIGMA. An incomplete Canon doesn’t give us all we need to be sufficient. It is an enigma], but then face-to-face [talking about that same idea, about prophecy].”
- The analogy of a child to an adult is related to knowledge
- The analogy with the mirror is related to prophecy
That’s what the context of the Old Testament supports.
In concluding, notice he uses a different word for “now.”
1 Corinthians 13:13, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
About 29 years ago I was doing some study on this, and I came across an article on NUNI in the Kittel Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. You have to be careful with Kittel. Gerhard Kittel was a noted German Old Testament Hebrew scholar, but he was also a card-carrying Nazi and a full-fledged anti-Semite.
When Geoffrey Bromiley, the American theologian, translated it, he got rid of all the anti-Semitisms and other things. He sanitized Kittel. But these scholars who write these articles are mostly liberal. They say good and correct things at times, but you have to double-check and validate. Anything you find that’s good, you better support it, validate it, and confirm it in other places.
The statement is made that when you have these two words, ARTI and NUNI, both of which mean “now” in the same context, there is a difference in their meaning. Much as when you look at John 21 when Jesus talked with Peter He used different words for love, and Peter used different words for love.
Many scholars today want to say, “That’s just stylistic difference.” I think that is an incipient rejection of inerrancy. Every word is breathed out by God. There is a distinction.
“But now abide faith, hope and love …” Does that “now” refer to the same “now” as ARTI? ARTI is a broad concept.
The problem is that in these views the “now” is until the Second Coming or Rapture or death or whenever we’re face-to-face with the Lord. We learn from 2 Corinthians 5:7 that “we walk by faith and not by sight.”
But when we die, we’re face-to-face with the Lord, we’re no longer walking by faith; we’re walking by sight. So, faith is for this life, not the next life, not when we’re face-to-face with Jesus. We’re not walking by faith when we’re in Heaven.
Hope is the second virtue mentioned. Is hope something that is part of our life in Heaven, face-to-face with the Lord? Not at all.
Romans 8:24 says, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why is one also hope for what he sees?”
In other words, when you have these three virtues—faith, hope, and love, faith is only in this life, hope is only in this life, but love is what continues into eternity. That is the difference.
“Now” in this life, abide faith, hope and love. NUNI is a broader concept. ARTI is talking about “Now we see incomplete;” ARTI means “right now;” ARTI is a narrow concept.
In essence Paul is saying: “Now we see through a mirror enigmatically; now in this pre-Canon period. Until the Canon is complete, until all 27 books are given, we have an incomplete, insufficient Canon.”
“But then face-to-face,” when there’s a completed Canon, a sufficient Canon, we will be known even as we are known.
That clearly tells us about knowledge and about prophecy. They’re both partial and are going to be replaced by something that completes them—that’s “the perfect,” the Canon.
What’s the purpose for tongues? Paul describes this in 1 Corinthians 14:20–22. I included verse 20 because it picks up that same word TELEIOS that is translated “complete” back in 1 Corinthians 13:8. But here it is used in a slightly different context, so it has the idea of maturity.
1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature [it could be complete, if it’s referring back to the completed Canon].”
Then he refers to tongues; the gift of languages is really what that means. To refer to a language as a tongue in English is an antiquated use of the word, but it hangs on in theology.
He quotes from the Law—the Hebrew word would be “Torah,” to refer to all of the Old Testament Canon here. Because the quotation doesn’t come out of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy, the Torah. It comes out of the Nevi’im [the Prophets], from Isaiah.
1 Corinthians 14:21, “In the law it is written [he quotes from Isaiah 28, 11, 12]:
‘With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me.’ ”
The purpose in the revelation of tongues isn’t to communicate something they will respond to. That’s real important because a lot of people think when you talk about tongues here as a sign, that they are giving the gospel in another language. But the purpose of tongues isn’t to give the Gospel to people so they’ll be saved, the purpose of the gift of tongues is to confirm or announce judgment on them.
“ ‘… they will not hear Me [they won’t respond].’ ”
1 Corinthians 14:22, “Therefore [I put ‘the’ there because in the Greek you have an article, and that’s important because what Paul is talking about is this specific issue of this spiritual gift, which is why he put the article there] tongues are for a sign [languages are for a sign—these specific languages. This specific spiritual gift is for a sign, not all foreign languages,] not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.”
Look at Isaiah 28:11. One point I want to make before we go on is that in the Old Testament, Genesis 12, God announces this covenant, gives a preview of the covenant He’s going to give to Abraham. As part of that covenant or the reason for that covenant, He’s setting aside the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for a specific purpose in history.
Part of that purpose is it is now going to be through the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that God will give His revelation. They will be the vehicles through which God will give His revelation, and they will be the custodians of His revelation.
As far as I’m concerned, every book of the Bible is written by someone Jewish. Some people debate Job, but I think a strong case has been made that Moses wrote Job, but the events in Job’s life predated Moses; they go back to Abraham.
Others think that maybe Luke the physician was a Gentile, but a lot of scholars I’ve consulted say Luke was a Jew, just as Paul was and others. God was restricting His work through the Jewish people, so I believe all the books of the Bible were written by Jews; they are the conduits of God’s revelation.
There’s a warning in Isaiah 28:11–12, “For with stammering lips and another language will he speak to this people. To whom he said. ‘This is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest;’ and ‘this is the refreshing:’ yet they would not hear.”
That’s important. Again, it’s confirming the fact that they won’t hear, they’re not going to hear. It really seems that it’s being put there as a confirmation of their rejection of God. Let’s look at the context.
These verses are a passage of condemnation of Israel for the false priests and false prophets.
Isaiah 28:7–8 God says, “And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink [the priests and prophets were alcoholics; they were drunks]: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink [that doesn’t mean scotch or vodka, but barley beer. They weren’t distilling beverages back then, so the strong drink was a strong ale or barley beer].
They are confused by wine. They stagger from strong drink; they reel while having visions, they totter with rendering judgment. For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place.”
It’s a graphic, disgusting image of these false priests and false prophets.
Isaiah 28:9–10: this whole passage, verse 10 especially, is one that’s horribly taken out of context. We even have a ministry today called “Precept on Precept” taken from this verse.
I’ve heard pastors talk about this verse as if this is a positive thing. But the speakers here are probably the false priests and prophets mentioned in Isaiah 28:7–8. They’re angry because Isaiah’s treating them like young children and telling them what they should do. So they are mimicking Isaiah as if he were speaking baby talk to them. You could translate this into English according to one commentator as, “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule.”
Because of the way the sounds are, it’s rather onomatopoeic in the Hebrew: Saw la saw saw la saw, qaw la qaw qaw la qaw. It’s making fun like it’s a nursery rhyme, so this isn’t a positive thing. They’re making fun of Isaiah, “All you ever say is …” That kind of a thing.
He responds, Isaiah 28:11, “Indeed, God will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign language.” “You’re making fun of me now, but guess what? God’s going to judge you, and you’re going to hear the Word of God, but not in Hebrew. You’re so proud of the fact that God reveals Himself in Hebrew, but you’re going to hear it in a foreign language, and you won’t understand it; it’s a sign of judgment.
This was prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:49, “The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you don’t understand.”
Speaking in tongues wasn’t a way to give them the gospel because they wouldn’t understand it, but they were hearing the Word of God being proclaimed in a language they couldn’t understand. God was taking it away from them because they had rejected it. It is a picture of judgment.
Paul goes back to this passage and he says the purpose of tongues is for a sign, 1 Corinthians 14:22, “not to those who believe but to unbelievers.” It’s a sign of judgment; it’s announcing judgment. It is letting a Jew know when you hear the Word of God in a Gentile language, judgment is coming.
From a well-known older commentary by Robertson and Plummer on 1 Corinthians:
“Tongues have a further use, as a sign to unbelievers, not a convincing, saving sign, but a judicial sign. Just as the disobedient Jews, who refused to listen to the clear and intelligible message which God frequently sent to them through his prophets, were chastised, by being made to listen to the unintelligible language of a foreign invader …”
“… so those who now fail to believe the gospel are chastised by hearing a wonderful sound, which they cannot understand.”
I don’t necessarily agree with what he is saying there. The Jews were in all of these audiences, and they were hearing the gospel and the Word of God being taught in Greek or in Latin, and that was to them a sign of judgment.
Zane Hodges, who was noted for free grace theologies, and for many of us of a certain age he was our first-year Greek professor, wrote an article in the early 60s:
“The use of the definite article with the Greek word for ‘tongues’ does not appear [it’s not translated] in the Authorized Version of this verse, but it must not be overlooked. Inasmuch as the article gives to the word GLOSSA a pointed specificity, it further confirms the Paul finds this particular phenomenon to be the thing referred to by the Scripture he has cited.”
“It is not simply ‘tongues’ [or languages] in general to which Isaiah of old refers, but ‘the tongues’ of which the apostle has been speaking throughout ...”
1 Corinthians 14:22, “Therefore [the] tongues are for a sign …” Deuteronomy 28 and Isaiah.
“The Greek adjective construction to the unbeliever [APISTOS, the alpha there is the negative] rendered by the AV, ‘them that believe not,’ here is not distinguished by the English version from the preceding participial construction ‘them that believe’ but they are not identical.”
In other words, by translating it, it loses the force of the original.
“The fact that either two participial constructions, or two adjectival ones, could have been used if precise, exact opposition of the two expressions were intended points to the conclusion that a certain shade of difference existed in the apostle’s mind. The adjective APISTOS under these circumstances would—in contrast to a participial form—express pure description is over against the action of believing.”
Basically, he’s just describing them as unbelievers.
The conclusion of this, because the purpose of tongues was to be a sign to unbelieving Jews that judgment was coming, gives us a major clue as to when tongues would cease. When did the judgment come? AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and burned down the temple. Then the nation was scattered, the judgment was coming.
The gift of languages, hearing the word of God in Gentile languages, was a warning, a sign that because they had rejected God, God was going to judge them. So once that judgment came in AD 70, there was no longer a purpose for tongues. It died out; it ceased. That was the end of it.
Slide 30 (skipped)
The reason I went to that is because in Ephesians 4, when it talks to us about these gifts of apostles and prophets, we learn that those first two were foundational gifts, as described in Ephesians 2:20, and that they are referring to gifts that were temporary.
Not all gifts were designed to continue through the entire Church Age. But there were certain gifts, revelatory gifts, sign gifts like tongues, which were given only in that early, early period of the Church Age.
Next time we will look at what it means to be an evangelist and what the purpose of the evangelist is. Some of you have been around and heard me before, but I did not find one commentary who got it right. They failed to look at the context, which we will find out next week.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study Your Word and to see how it integrates Old Testament with the New Testament, how there’s just a seamless connection between the two. Understanding that You have a plan for Israel, that because they rejected the Messiah they’re now under discipline. But there will be a restoration of Israel in the future, according to Deuteronomy 30:1–3 and numerous other passages.
“Father, we understand that these gifts that are debated today and so controversial, that Scripture is very clear and we just have to study it to understand it. But that these spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4 are designed to equip the church, to bring the church to maturity. They are given to the body of Christ for our edification and equipping.
“Father, we pray that if there is anyone listening to this message who has never trusted Christ as Savior, who is unsure of their eternal destiny, that if they were to die tomorrow, die this afternoon, they’re not sure what would happen. They need to hear that the Word of God is very clear: that at the instant of physical death, those who have believed in Christ are not condemned, but they will instantly be face-to-face with Christ in Heaven.
“But those who have rejected the gospel, do not believe in Christ, are condemned already, and their eternity will be quite different, as they are sent first to a place of torments and then the Lake of Fire after the coming great White Throne Judgment. This is a horrible condemnation and God does not desire that anyone be punished eternally; He desires for all to be saved.
“But it’s up to you to believe. Those who believe are not condemned, those who do not believe are condemned already, as John 3:18 says. That’s the issue; it’s belief: Faith in Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross for our salvation.
“We thank You for all that You’ve provided. Father, once again we pray for Ukraine, we pray for our friends, we pray that You would spoil the aims of the Russian army. We have seen so many examples of breakdowns of calamity. We pray that You would bring upon them the defeat of Sisera, as You did in Judges 4–5.
“And we pray that the Ukrainian people may be victorious and that out of this victory, there will be a great revival among the Ukrainian people, as so many are learning about the truth of Jesus Christ in the midst of this horrible war, and that that is the ultimate reality for their salvation. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”