Archive for April, 2012

1 Corinthians 14:40 (26–40) “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

I don’t think that Paul’s was here establishing an order of worship we’re supposed to be observing today. Like in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean these are guide lines to help us keep a proper order when ever and where ever believers meet.

Again, Paul here describes what was happening when the church was meeting. People were speaking while others were speaking and of course to be heard they’d have to shout or create some kind of disturbance. And like in the 1960’s, here in the US, women and men were forgetting God’s order, 14:34 & 35.

To be sure, when the church meets, opportunities for everyone to serve and worship need to be made, but not for the purpose of attention getting, 14:37. When believers meet it should always be to encourage each other to continue witnessing no matter how hard life gets or Satan attacks, Acts 2:42.

Wisdom involves recognizing how God is using my story to influence the lives of others.

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1 Corinthians 14:22 (20–25) “So then tongues are for a sign,

The passage Paul quotes from in verse 14:21 is from Isaiah 28:11. The prophet was warning the tribes of the north that the Assyrians, who spoke in a foreign language and by then it would be too late to change, would soon conquer them.

But Paul points out that those peoples were not believers. That means when you tried to speak in the ecstatic tongue you made yourself an unbeliever speaking to unbelievers in a language they don’t understand.

It makes more sense, even as a child, to warn others (prophecy), whether believers or not, of the judgment to come (in a language they do understand) and have them repent of their ways than to have them think you are crazy.

Responsibility involves learning to establish personal disciplines to help you become the person God wants you to be.

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1 Corinthians 14:1 (1–19) “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts,

If we have understood anything that Paul has said about the Spiritual Gifts it’s been that they all help us be of equal value to each other in the church, 12:7 & 14:12. For this reason in chapter 14 Paul is not talking about the same kind of tongues heard on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4, 6, 8, 11.

Some form of pagan worship had mixed in and gotten these immature believers to believe and practice something that was not true and not healthy for the body of believers, 12:1–3. This form of tongues has been called ecstatic speech (not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 or Romans 12).

When we were children we competed with each other for attention. We are not to use Spiritual Gifts in that way. But, if you were looking to get the most attention then prophesying would be the best gift and ecstatic speech the least. And, this is because one is a demonstration of concern for each other and the other is not.

Responsibility involves learning to establish personal disciplines to help you become the person God wants you to be.

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1 Corinthians 13:11 (1–13) “when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

Let’s remember that Paul is writing to a church that is having problems growing up, 3:1–3. Paul couldn’t tell them everything he wanted to but he could tell them that some things they were doing needed to stop.

If you notice the three gifts he mentions in verse 13:8, if we assume they are together, are listed under the Gifts of Manifestation of the Spirit (which change according to His will), 12:6–11. So the church needs to understand that there will come a time when the Holy Spirit will no longer need to manifest Himself to believers in that way.

These manifestations of the Spirit are no longer the norm. All the information concerning the future we now have (Daniel & Revelation). Paul states emphatically that the need for tongues would cease, and it has. The Bible is the most translated book ever. Everything we need to know about how to be saved and how to live saved, has been revealed in the pages of the complete word of God (66 books), 2 Timothy 1:9 & 10.

Responsibility involves learning to establish personal disciplines to help you become the person God wants you to be.

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1 Corinthians 13:4 (1–7) “love does not brag and is not arrogant,

Now, if we stay in the context of Paul’s letter his description of love helps us get a better understanding of what the local church at Corinth was doing with Spiritual Gifts.

I know that in practically every wedding this chapter is read concerning the kind of love a husband and wife should have for each other, yet that is not the context. It is certainly applicable and valuable, but again, Paul is talking about the church, how we treat each other.

Instead of using their Spiritual Gift for the purpose of growing in Christ and helping others do the same, they were trying to prove how much more spiritual they were than any one else. Love then becomes a motivator to keep us working together like the human body with all its parts, 12:12–26.

We work with and for the others knowing that they are working with and for me. And when I notice that they are not, then I know something is wrong and it could be me.

Love involves learning how to give to the basic needs of others in a way that would point them to God.

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1 Corinthians 13:1 (1–3) “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

A couple of weeks ago our church attended a concert put on by an Evangelical Korean church. It was all young people and they were great with full orchestra. The cymbals accented a few of the songs they played. They were very loud but they were perfect!

This instrument, when played correctly, works together with the rest of the instruments to produce a beautiful sound. A clanging cymbal is not working with the others and only draws attention to itself. It has become just a noise, it is out of place and so, annoying.

Every time we exercise our spiritual gift without consideration for each other (love) we become an annoyance. We disrupt the focus of corporate worship, Jesus Christ our Lord, and annoyingly force attention on our self, the noise. This actually doesn’t help you or anyone else.

Love involves learning how to give to the basic needs of others in a way that would point them to God.

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1 Corinthians 12:31 (27–31) “But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

What Paul is now doing in these verses, apart from giving us a partial list of the Gifts of Ministry (12:5, Ephesians 4:11–13), is to point out that just like as in a human body we can’t all perform the same function. Each of us has been designated a function in the local body from before the foundations of time, Ephesians 1:4–6.

Science has discovered that although each member of the human body performs its function intelligently it is not designed to perform another’s member’s function.

But since ministries in the church must be done in an orderly fashion, the function of certain Gifts is to maintain order in the church. Apostles, prophets and teachers are those who obviously are charged with maintaining that order. So when Paul asks the question “All are not apostles, are thy?” we can rephrase the question to say, all are not in charge, are they?

Imagine a church where everyone was in charge, nothing would ever get done, would it?

Responsibility involves discovering and developing what God has given you before helping others.

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