Sermons

Summary: Paul's absolute principle is, "No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, 'Jesus be cursed.'" No matter how gifted a man is, and no matter how marvelous are the wonders he performs, he is clearly a fake if he curses Jesus.

Before he became president of the United States Abraham Lincoln was a captain in the army. He was

drilling his men one day during the Black Hawk War. As he marched along with his men he came to a

fence with a gap in it. He wanted his men to go through that gap, but for the life of him he could not

remember the proper words of command to get his company to go endwise through that gateway. Lincoln

describes in his own words how he got through this embarrassing situation: "I shouted, company halt!

Break ranks! You are dismissed for two minutes, after which you will fall in again on the other side of the

fence."

That was not the right way to do it according to the book, but he got the job done. Life is filled with

situations where you cannot remember the right words, but you somehow get by with some sort of a

substitute. For example, when you introduce a man to a woman are to you to say the man's name first or

the woman's? If you are not reviewing such details of etiquette you forget this things, but the point is,

whatever you say, be it by the book or not, you get the job done, and few will be offended. We all say

many things that are precisely correct, but they are overlooked because very few are perfectionists like the

English teacher who came upon the scene of an accident. She rushed to the side of a dying man. He

looked up at her and whispered, "I think I'm done for." She responded, "Please don't end your last

sentence with a preposition."

There are many things we may not say right, but then neither are they terribly wrong. On the other

hand, there are some things that are always wrong, and they are to be avoided at all cost. You should

never shout "fire" in a crowed building when there is no fire. That is no mere minor mistake and slip of

the tongue. That is a direct and definite evil. There are some things you cannot do with the tongue and

escape condemnation. Paul is dealing with one of these things in verse 3 that is true for all people for all

time in all places. This is an absolute that Paul is dealing with, and it becomes a permanently valid means

of testing the spirit of all men.

Paul's absolute principle is, "No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, 'Jesus be cursed.'" No

matter how gifted a man is, and no matter how marvelous are the wonders he performs, he is clearly a fake

if he curses Jesus. On the other hand, however ungifted a man might be if he acknowledges that Jesus is

Lord, he is a true member of the body led of the Spirit. Paul's main concern in dealing with gifts is that

Christians will get carried away in all directions because of the great diversity of the gifts. Therefore, he

makes sure that the primary focus is on Jesus. The real issue in any spiritual matter is, where does it put

Jesus? If Jesus is not exalted as Lord you have missed the boat no matter how exciting and enthusiastic

your worship is. If Jesus is glorified as Lord your worship may be plain and simple, but it is led of the

Spirit.

Here is the test: Not how excited are the people, or how great is the music and speaker, but what is

done with Jesus? If He is left out, or in any way degraded, you do not have Christian worship, but pagan

worship. If Jesus is exalted, you have Christian worship regardless of the nature of the service. Right off

then, we must get it straight in our minds that there is not any absolute in a worship service other than the

place of Jesus Christ. His Lordship is all that ultimately matters. This means an Episcopalian service,

which is extremely ordered, and the Pentecostal service, which is extremely free, can both be valid

expressions of Christian worship if Jesus is exalted as Lord by those who worship. Form is not the key

factor, but focus is. If Jesus is not the center you are being lead astray by a false spirit.

Paul reminds the Corinthians in verse 2 of how they were led astray in their pagan religion to worship

dumb idols. Satan is not opposed to religion and worship. He is the author of much religion, and he

delights in the worship of idols. Idolatry has given him more victims than almost any other weapon. If he

can get Christians to get so excited about certain gifts that they forget the Giver, he is more than willing to

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