2020-12-20 – 1 Corinthians 14 – Zealous for Spiritual Gifts – 2
2020-12-20 – 1 Corinthians 14 – Zealous for Spiritual Gifts – 2
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
“Christmas is coming, and I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” That line, spoken by Charlie Brown to Linus, sets the tone for the unconventional holiday film called A Charlie Brown Christmas. Originally uttered in 1965 the 43-minute animated movie pulls no punches. The film follows Charlie Brown, who is having trouble trying to making order out of the typical chaos that ensues in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Does that resonate with any of you? That pursuit of order out of chaos is akin to the theme of our sermon message today.
As we are going through the book of First Corinthians, you might recall back in chapter 12 that it talked about the many different spiritual gifts, and it kind of described the church as being like the human body, where each member has a different function like an eye or an ear does, and that each person has a special function within the body of Christ. There is both diversity but also unity when each person does their part. Then in chapter 13 it described the motivation behind all the spiritual gifts, and that is love. We have all kinds of spiritual gifts in this church body but if we don’t have love we are basically useless.
Last week we went through the first part of chapter 14, where Paul said we should earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, but love needs to be the foundation.
In this chapter Paul sums up everything we learned in chapter 12 and 13 and he puts it into practical application. The Corinthians were Zealous for Spiritual Gifts, but they were misusing them. Paul didn’t tell them to stop using them, but that they should endeavor to use them correctly. Paul wants to bring order to what they were doing. As I stated last week I believe in the spiritual gifts, but scripture tells us they are intended to decrease as the time of Christ’s return comes near. But all spiritual gifts should be a compliment to God’s Word, and we should use God’s Word to evaluate those gifts to be sure we are not being led astray. That’s the summary for where we are today in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
Please turn now to 1 Corinthians 14:26, page 1020 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Again, last week we read the first part of this message where we defined what speaking in tongues and prophesy actually means. If you missed that message, you can go to our Facebook page or our website and read or listen to it, and I will encourage you to do so.
Starting now at verse 26 in our Pew Bibles this section is sub-titled “Order in Church Meetings”. The apostle Paul wrote:
26 What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God.
Here Paul suggest everyone is supposed to contribute to the worship service, not just the preacher and teacher, but everyone. In this church there are many tasks that have to come together in order for it to be a benefit to the body. From folding the bulletins and shoveling the snow, to teaching small group or preparing the meals. All those tasks are intended to be for building up one another in Christ. Paul focuses here again on the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. As we said last week tongues are generally intended to be for vertical communication and prayer to God, and not generally horizontal communication to one another. Paul provides us some specific instructions here and clearly conveys that speaking in tongues is not a free for all. Our God is a God of order, not disorder.
Paul says here that “if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God”. Again it is clearly indicating that the primary use of tongues is between the individual and God. We will see that term “keep silent” used a couple times in this chapter. Paul isn’t trying to be an authoritarian, however maintaining good order in our church services is very important. We have but a limited time together, and if we are going to have any hope of providing any instruction or encouragement from God’s Word then we should endeavor to foster a healthy and orderly worshipfull environment. In our next verses Paul continues talking about that “good order” dynamic in relation to the use of prophecy in church. Starting at verse 29, he wrote:
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. 30 But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged. 32 And the prophets’ spirits are subject to the prophets, 33 since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
So unlike tongues which is generally intended to be private talk with God, speaking in prophesy is intended to be beneficial for all to hear. However, there is still supposed to be order in exercising that spiritual gift as well. Have you ever walked into a room and everyone is talking all at the same time? It can be nerve-wracking, and it is rarely beneficial. I know that some people can hold two or three conversations at one time, but for the most of us, we can only handle one.
They did a study several years back that I heard about that was kind of interesting and applicable. They took a pair of headphones, and in one ear they piped-in one story, and in the other ear a different story. Then they told the participants to only pay attention to the left ear story. Afterwards they tested to see how much of the one story they could recall. Interestingly they found that the men were much more successful in isolating their thoughts to the one story. They could tell of discrete details of what they had heard from the one ear. On the other hand, the women (generally) could only even keep those headphones on their heads for only a short duration before they took them off due to the stress and confusion of the two stories. They women said they hated the experiment. Could you imagine if I was on one side of the church preaching a message, and Jeremiah was on the other side of the sanctuary preaching something else. It would hardly be beneficial. Again, in these verses, Paul is conveying that we need to have order for the general good of the church family and audience.
In the next verses, Paul provides some instructions targeted to the women of the church. I will ask you as we read through this, to keep in mind that prior to Christ, women and men were completely segregated. Sadly, the women before were not allowed to worship with their husbands or even allowed to get an education either. Now, for the first time the women were hearing and learning the same worship message as their husbands. You might imagine that they would probably have lots of questions and comments in that regard. I believe that is why Paul here, as well as in the book of 1 Timothy 2 calls out the women in regards to their behavior in the church. Verse 33 reads,
As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but are to submit themselves, as the law also says. 35 If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, since it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36 Or did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only?
Now I will readily admit that the surface this text seems to be very restrictive, even chauvinistic in nature. But again, women being in the worship services was a relatively new dynamic for all. Obviously, there was some problems or disorder in the Corinthian church that called for some correction in this matter. To be transparent, I believe the church was struggling then, as we sometimes even now struggle with the issue of authority for the women of the church. On one hand, Jesus and the scriptures teach us that all are one in Christ. Galatians 3:28 is a widely commented biblical passage in which Paul states: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. However, that is in regards to the value and the fellowship we have with one another and with God. But on the other hand, according to our scripture, there are certain positions that are clearly intended to be for men only. In particular, that of a Pastor, Elder and Deacon. So in our text here, we might infer that there were some who were questioning those dynamics, and Paul felt it necessary to provide some instruction for them in that regard.
However, I do find these verses encouraging though because it shows that the traditional family unit is important to the church. I will encourage you as well to talk as a husband and wife, and as parents with your children about what you learned in Sunday School and in the worship services. That is something we all should be doing regularly. God and Paul in these verses wants you to make this spiritual walk and worship exercise real and applicable in your lives, not just here in this building, but wherever you go. Strive to make your life more and more in keeping with God’s will and you will be blessed in doing so.
Our last verses today close out this chapter. Paul wrote:
37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If anyone ignores this, he will be ignored. 39 So then, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything is to be done decently and in order.
Again, Paul is encouraging all Christ followers to exercise their spiritual gifts. But at the same time, he is saying that there needs to be good order in that regard. We are all to be accountable to one another and to God. And everything is to be done decently and in order.
The key theme in this whole chapter is that we continue to hold each other up. That we encourage each other in regards to employing our spiritual gifts, and that we do everything in love. Verse one of this chapter spells that out very well in my opinion. Paul said “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts”. And to that end, may God watch over us and keep us for His glory, purpose and pleasure, forever and ever.
Order out of chaos is the theme today. And as we are bravely heading into the Christmas Holy-Day, I pray that you too can make some order out of the chaos as well. Charlie Brown found that Christmas Spirit at the end of that cartoon movie, and I pray you find that Christmas Spirit as well. Always remember Jesus is the reason for the season. And He loves you so. Would you please rise and pray with me now.
Next week we are going to take a short break and we are going to have our Christmas message. Then following that, Jeremiah will be giving us a message to close out the year with. Additionally, on Christmas Eve, we will have a candlelight service starting at 5pm. This year it will not be acapella, because Jason Parchert will be leading us with his faithful guitar. I look so forward to this new year ahead and especially because I get to spend it with all of you.
I thought it might be nice to close this service today by singing together a Christmas holiday song. Hymn# 112 Away in a Manger
“A FRIENDLY CHURCH IN A FRIENDLY TOWN”