Practical Principles for Policing the Exercise of Spiritual Gifts in Church

November 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Posted in I Corinthians | 2 Comments
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In I Corinthians Chapter 14 the Holy Spirit through Paul addressed some of the confusion and even chaos caused by the misuse of spiritual gifts in the church services at Corinth. First of all, he stressed that spiritual gifts are supposed to be used for edification.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

I Corinthians 14:1

The gift of prophesying would be better than being able to speak supernaturally in a different language because the speaker would be understood, and people would be edified and exhorted, rather than merely amazed.

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

I Corinthians 14:3-4

Remember, these gifts are primarily for the edification of people who are already SAVED – the “Church.”

Spiritual gifts are also supposed to be educational.

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

I Corinthians 14:6

The gift itself might sound cool when demonstrated, but unless it has some spiritual truth or value to it that can be UNDERSTOOD, who is going to learn anything from it?

And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

I Corinthians 14:7

Musical sounds only amount to cacophony unless they have rhythmic breaks, and some pattern to the notes and sounds.

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

I Corinthians 14:8

We recognize “tunes,” and can be educated by them, if they are organized and orderly.

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

I Corinthians 14:9

My wife’s grandmother used to have a piano in her home, and she hated it when, at family gatherings, the little kids would sit down and begin banging away at the keys without any understanding of how to play the instrument. “That’s not music; that’s noise!” she would yell. Random sounds don’t educate anyone, but there is also an allusion in this passage of Scripture to the pagan practice of loud cacophonous music which played on the emotions, but did not appeal to the intellect. The Corinthian believers had been saved out of idolatry, so they would have been familiar with the reference.

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

I Corinthians 14:20

Christians are to be child-like, yes, but not childISH. We must grow up into maturity in the use of our spiritual gifts. We should be “Knows” about our spiritual gifts, but be “Know-nots” about “malice” – evil, selfish intentions and motivations.

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

I Corinthians 14:21-22

If the believers used tongues for the purpose of NOT being understood, it would be a sign of judgment against unbelievers.

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

I Corinthians 14:23

Again, these gifts were given for the CHURCH, not unbelievers; whereas, when the Word of God is spoken for the purpose of educating, even the uneducated can be convinced that there is something worth learning here.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

I Corinthians 14:24-25

Babbling and gibberish would not impress a Corinthian pagan. He would think, “This is no different than the temple of Aphrodite – pass the wine and bring me a hooker.”

So, while the spiritual gifts were to be sought and used in the church, they also needed to be given the proper esteem. They were to be given the correct place in the organized church service, and practiced with decency and order.

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

I Corinthians 14:27-28

There were rules for this sort of thing, and while the specific precepts may not be applicable to us today, certainly the principles of having orderly church services still apply.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

I Corinthians 14:33

The gift of tongues in the institution of the New Testament church was, in one sense, a reversal of the confounding of languages at the tower of Babel – for Christianity is an inclusive faith. It is for all nations, tribes, and tongues – there is diversity and unity.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

I Corinthians 14:34-35

The prohibition on women to keep “silent” was addressing a specific problem in 1st Century Corinth, and is a general prohibition against chaos and defiance of authority, but it is not a literal injunction against women uttering a word in church.

Let all things be done decently and in order.

I Corinthians 14:40

“All things” include the exercise of spiritual gifts, which are for education, edification, and are to be rightly esteemed.

Catechism Question 12

October 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 3 Comments
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Question 10: Who is the Author of the Bible?
Answer: God the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible.
Prove it.
II Timothy 3:16

Question 11: How did the Holy Spirit write the Bible?
Answer: He wrote the Bible by using people.
Prove it.
II Peter 1:21

Question 12: Can the Bible ever be wrong?
Answer: No, the Bible is the Word of God, and God cannot lie.
Prove it.

God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

There are some difficulties in the Bible, and even some paradoxes, but it is important to remember that none of these are unresolved. There may be fault in our understanding of the Word, but there are no true contradictions or inconsistencies.

It is also important to remember that the Bible is written somewhat conversationally in some places, and it is polemical in places, so it does have metaphors and figurative language and even estimates, but it is to be taken literally, and it does contain the absolute Truth.

Other verses to consider:

As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

II Peter 3:16

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

I Corinthians 14:37

Responsibility in Church

May 13, 2013 at 10:44 am | Posted in C.H.U.R.C.H. | 6 Comments
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C.hrist
H.oliness
U.nction
R.esponsibility
C.
H.

The “R” in C.H.U.R.C.H. is for “Responsibilty.” There are great privileges that come with being part of a church. But there are also great responsibilities.

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

I Timothy 3:15 (emphasis added)

Christians should not be hypocrites. A hypocrite is someone who acts completely different in church from the way he acts outside of church. However, we do need to watch how we behave in church. Church is not a place where “anything goes.”

Let all things be done decently and in order.

I Corinthians 14:4

What are some things you would do outside of church that are not sinful, but that you should not do in church? When I go to the park to have a good time, I am free to run, yell, throw things, make a mess, speak loudly and freely. I might even dress in a way that allows me to sweat and have some freedom of movement. But church is a place where these things are rightly restricted. And it is a place where you do need to take special care about what you wear. Modesty and appropriateness in dress is important everywhere, but it is especially important in church.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

I Timothy 4:12

If you are a young person, don’t give people at church a reason to excuse your bad behavior by saying, “He’s just a kid, what do you expect?” Don’t give anyone a reason to dislike you for being young. You need to watch older men and older ladies in church, depending on your own gender. Mark how they behave and follow their examples.

The Anatomically Correct Church

August 8, 2011 at 11:41 am | Posted in Romans | 17 Comments
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In a local church assembly, each Christian is a “member” of the body of Christ. Members of the body of Christ must be surrendered to the mind of Christ. Think of your physical body as an analogy. Can you imagine if certain “members” of your body had the ability to rebel against your mind? What if my arms decided they wanted to do the walking and my legs decided they would be in charge of handshakes and hugs? What if your stomach decided it wanted to pump blood and your heart decided it wanted to digest food? Those body parts don’t have the ability to function properly in those capacities. In a local church assembly all things should be done “in order.” The body of Christ is a living organism, but it must also be an organized organism. A disorganized organism will either die or malfunction severely.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:3-8

While it is wrong for us to think of ourselves too highly, it is also wrong not to use the gifts God has given us. A rebellious body part could throw a body into chaos, but dead limbs weigh the body down, slow things down, and cause the body not to work as efficiently as it should.

Children who are tested for school are sometimes designated as “gifted,” but being gifted is not really something that should make anyone proud. In fact, it would be better not to be gifted than to waste the gift. Some Christians are failing to use their gifts, and some are failing to share their gifts. Do you have a knack for managing your household budget? That gift needs to be shared with others. Do you have a special talent for dealing with difficult people? That gift needs to be put to work in your local church.

A body is made up of different members, and love is the overriding connector to these various body parts. Love is to a spiritual body what blood is to a physical body. The nerves warn the body of danger, but the blood nourishes the body, strengthens the body, and brings growth and life to the body.

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

Christians should not be slothful in doing the business the Lord has called us to do. In fact, we should do it as unto the Lord. To be “fervent” means to have a feeling of excitement about something you love. Fervent love is a participatory love – it is love in action.

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Romans 12:14

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Romans 12:17

You will always find it easier to love those who love you, but you are commanded to love those who do not love you.


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