Summary: Sermon on 1 Corinthians 14 the primacy of prophesy vs. the self edification which the gift of tongues was being used for.
We are in the Business of Creating a Temporary Settlement of the Eternal Community of God’s Family – Welcome Home!
We’ve been studying our way through 1 Corinthians
What we have seen is a variety of teachings on the way it was in the church in Corinth and the way it should be and what we have learned is that we are in the business of creating a Temporary Settlement of the Eternal Community of God’s Family
· In Chapters 1-6 we have seen division and separation amoung the body of believers. We have seen immorality and many reminders of the high level of living we have been called to.
· In Chapters 7-11 we have seen Paul’s teaching on marriage, divorce, remarriage, strong believers vs. weak believers, the pastor’s pay, men and women in the church, and the Lord’s Supper.
· In Chapters 12-14 a new issue in introduced. Spiritual Gifts. Chapter 12 teaches. Chapter 13 gently rebukes by pointing out the supremacy of love and Chapter 14 corrects the problem.
It is all aimed at making the church into a powerful community… A place of light and hope in a dark world!
May I suggest that is critical to maintain a focus on the goal!
Now Let’s look at Chapter 14
The Problem of Self Edification – vs 1-4
Self Edification has been the problem in the Corinthian Church from Chapter 1 to Chapter 14!
They had kinds of division and disharmony the root cause of which was pride and attitude.
This shouldn’t surprise us! The culture back then wasn’t a lot different than it is today.
Just look at the magazine racks in the checkout to see the values… Beautiful bodies, lot’s of nice things, political power, romantic love – they are all on the front page of glossy magazines, paperbacks, and newspapers.
We are steeped in this culture – just as they were in theirs. It makes it hard to live like Jesus taught us to live… a life of serving and loving instead of receiving and using; of giving and helping instead of taking and asking for more; of caring and honoring others instead of demanding your rights and what is due you. Jesus turns the values of the world upside down.
Anyway, or The Paradoxical Commandments:
When life throws you a curve, have the courage to keep on giving. This was written in 1968 by Kent M. Keith. It has been attributed to others including Mother Teresa.
1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the best you’ve got anyway.
Now let’s look at 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 – there are a couple of ways to understand these verses
· One way is to read these verses is to see the edifying or building up your self is a good and noble thing that is right and proper.
· Another way to read these verses is to hear the criticism of Paul toward those who are using the gifts of the Spirit to build themselves up instead of building up others!
Given the context of the whole letter and particularly of chapters 12 and 13 it’s more likely that Paul is being critical not affirming.
Here is the problem – Spiritual Elitism
Several years ago – way back in the 70’s a Nicki Cruz Crusade came to St. Joseph MI where I was pasturing.
At the end of the preaching Mr. Cruz delivered an invitation and several of who had been trained as evangelism workers went forward with those who responded to the message. I happened upon a young man who said that he wanted to know Jesus. Another young man stepped up and began to talk to him about needing to speak in tongues and that this experience would be a sign of his relationship with Jesus.
I didn’t want to discuss this in front of a man who was asking questions so I just kept quiet and tried to be encouraging. After the young man left I turned to the other fellow and pointed out that 1 Corinthians 12:29 made it clear that speaking in tongues was not a sign of salvation – some were given one gift; some another.