Summary: As we look at spiritual gifts, we need to first look as love.

Title: The Rules of a Pentecostal Church

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Date: November 5, 1995

By: Pastor Rick MacDonald

Introduction: Life is governed by rules. Without rules - absolutes - we become people who have no boundaries and therefore are controlled only by our urges. As a result we live according to chaos. A study was done with two groups of kindergartners. Both were place on a playground and told to go play. One playground was fenced while the other was open. The children on the fenced playground played openly and happily. Those on the open playground, huddled close to the classroom and played in small groups. We need boundaries.

Not only do we need boundaries, but there must be a consistency to those boundaries. College football and professional football have different rules even though they basically play the same game. If a college ref and a pro ref were officiating the same game, there would be chaos - not because of no boundaries, but because of inconsistent boundaries.

When I grew-up in church, I was given a set of rules with regard to spiritual gifts. When we gathered together for worship, if someone who didn’t worship according to our rules participated in our congregation, we were fearful. Paul, heard how the church in Corinth had openly embraced the fullness of the gospel, and were operating in all the gifts, but were doing so without rules. While Paul does lay down some very specific operational rules in using the gifts, he dealt first with the most important gift which motivates all gifts.

When Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment He said that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts. He then added a new commandment that we love our brother as we love ourself. So, as we will look at spiritual gifts, we need to first look as love.

Illustration: Love of God:

Wilbur Reese writes with biting sarcasm:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.

I don’t want enough of him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.

I want ecstasy, not transformation.

I want the warmth of the womb not a new birth.

I want about a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.

I’d like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

How much of God do you want?

1. Let’s not be ignorant

(1 Corinthians 12:1-3) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. {2}You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the dumb idols, however you were led. {3}Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

A. The necessary prerequisite for using spiritual gifts is don’t be ignorant. (v. 1)

1. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.

B. We must realize that our presumptions from spiritual gifts were taught to us. (vs. 2-3)

1. For the Corinthians, pagan worship was very frenzied. They were exercising spiritual gifts according to they was they were taught to worship.

C. Why were we given the gifts?

(1 Corinthians 12:7) But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1. For the good of all of us. (Which can only be motivated by love)

2. The Sixteen Rules of Love

(1 Corinthians 13:1-7) 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. {2}And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. {3}And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. {4}Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, {5}does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, {6}does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; {7}bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

A. Tongues with out love - is noisy.

B. Prophecy, knowledge and faith without love - is nothing.

C. Give everything I have, even my life, without love - profits nothing.

Illustration: In her book, Living with Love, Josephine Robertson tells a story. "In 1883, a youthful clergyman, the Rev. Joe Roberts, arrived by stagecoach in a blizzard to minister to the Indians of Wyoming. This great, wild area had been assigned to the Protestant Episcopal Church by President Grant. Soon after Joe Roberts arrived, the son of the chief was shot by a soldier in a brawl, and Chief Washakie vowed to kill the first white man he met. Since this might mean the start of a long, bloody feud, young Roberts decided to take action. Seeking out the tepee, fifteen miles away in the mountains, he stood outside and called the chief’s name. When Washakie appeared, Roberts opened his shirt.

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