A man, down on his luck, went into a church which catered to the "Spiritually Well-to-do families”.
Spotting the man's dirty clothes a deacon, worried about the church’s image, went to the man and asked him if he needed help.
The man said, "I was praying and the Lord told me to come to this church."
The deacon suggested that the man go pray some more and possibly he might get a different answer.
The next Sunday the man returned.
The deacon asked, "Did you get a different answer?"
The man replied, "Yes I did.
I told the Lord that they don't want me in that church and the Lord said, 'Don't worry about it son; I've been trying to get into that church for years and haven't made it yet."
Historical/Cultural Context -
Paul preached the gospel in Corinth in the early 50s AD during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1–18).
When opposition grew fierce there, the Lord Jesus spoke to him in a vision assuring him that he had ‘many people’ in the city (Acts 18:10).
With this encouragement, Paul stayed on for eighteen months, ‘teaching them the word of God’ (Acts 18:11).
God used Paul’s ministry to bring about the birth and establishment of the church in Corinth.
Biblical Text -
Life Principle - True Spirituality Seeks To Edify The Church, See Change In Others, And Share The Gospel
Life Point- True Spirituality Seeks to Edify The Church
The last two weeks we have seen Paul bring a close to his initial thoughts on Spiritual Gifts & he has shown us a more excellent way.
The way of Love.
In the thought of loving each other and loving the church Paul has now started to set in order how these people should operate in the gifts in the church gathering.
As a church we have talked about false gifts that are so prevalent in today’s world and compared it to the true Gifts of the Spirit.
Paul reminds us what the purpose of these gifts are for in today’s scripture.
We are told to let love be our highest goal.
The NKJV says Pursue Love.
In what ways does Paul say to pursue love in this topic?
He says to this church, which had become so out of order, so out of whack in the arena of Spiritual Gifts, especially the gift of tongues, to pursue prophesy.
Prophesy here is not some super spiritual thing where someone in a cape comes in and tells the future.
The original Greek word says to prophecy is to speak under the influence of divine inspiration, with or without reference to spiritual events.
That is to make inspired utterances.
This is not the same as how the authors of the Bible were inspired to write the scriptures.
You know that, for example, there are times when you witness to someone and all of a sudden those scriptures you need are right there at the front of your mind.
You may never have used a particular scripture in your witnessing efforts before and all of a sudden this scripture which you have read a hundred times, but never really put into use or purposefully committed to memory is right there not only when you need it, but you remember it all of a sudden.
This is speaking under the influence of divine inspiration.
This is an example of the Gift of Prophecy.
Not the guys who claim to tell the future and are never right, or are so vague you can interpret what they say in a thousand different ways and one of those ways may fit your circumstance.
You ever wonder why there was so much emphasis on the gift of tongues?
Ever wonder why there is so much emphasis on it today?
I cannot be dogmatic about this, but this is my thought on the whole subject.
It comes down to accountability.
If I am speaking in a tongue, whether real or fake, who am I accountable to?
Paul says that no one understands you.
If it is real, then I am speaking mysteries unto God and no one in the church is edified because they have no understanding of what I am saying.
If it is False then who can stand up and say it is false, since again, no one understands you.
Remember what is the purpose of a believer to the church?
To show love, Agape, to others.
A person who prophesies, speaks under divine inspiration, strengthens the church.
What we do in Sunday Morning Bible Study strengthens the church, what I am doing right now strengthens the church.
Someone speaking in tongues, whether true or false, strengthens themselves.
I like how the NKJV renders this better:
What is edify or edification.
In its’ most simplest form it means to build up, to draw attention to.
One who speaks in a tongue draws attention to themselves but one who prophesies draws attention and builds up the church.
Can you see the connection?
Why are so many “so-called Christians” obsessed with false tongues?
Because it draws attention to the one doing it.
It causes them to be seen as something special, it caters to the person’s ego.
It’s all about them.
It is fleshly.
We seek to walk in love and build the church in love, not in flesh fits.
Not in showmanship, but through the power of Holy Spirit’s love.
Let us seek love in the church and not draw attention away from the triune God by seeking self, but bring attention to the triune God by seeking only the Love of God in the church.
Paul says prophecy is greater than tongues, unless that tongue is truly interpreted.
Unfortunately true interpretation cannot happen when someone is speaking falsely.
A flesh fit can’t be interpreted.
It can be prayed for but it can’t be interpreted.
A true tongue without interpretation profits no one spiritually except the person speaking.
You know why we don’t see a rash of prophesy like we do tongues?
If I turn to you and say that God has revealed a new teaching to me, or has shown me something about the future even.
Then I am accountable to my words.
I can be held accountable by the leadership of the church and other believers.
But even this is not always the case today.
Today they say you can prophesy, and you can be wrong its’ alright.
No its’ not alright to say God says something He didn’t say.
That’s called false prophesy.
You know what they did to false prophets in the Old Testament?
The stoned them to death.
False prophets were to be killed for daring to speak for God, when they weren’t really speaking for God.
I know of a pastor who invited a so-called prophet into his church and the guy told a couple they should sell all their goods and join Joyce Meyer’s ministry.
After the guy left, the pastor said to not do it and wished he would have never let the guy in the church doors.
But they didn’t listen.
They sold it all and went out to Joyce Meyer’s Ministry and the ministry never paid them anything.
They lost their house and everything they owned and ended up in divorce, bitter toward God and out of the church.
That is not the fruit of the Spirit of God!
That is the fruit of the flesh and the Devil!
How many cults have started because some guy calling himself a prophet calls people to himself and then the next thing you know you are hearing about some compound on the news in the middle of nowhere being raided?
No, the strongest form of prophesy we have today is the Bible.
We should know our Bible inside and out so that anyone who tries to twist the scripture to fit their own evil agendas can’t draw us away.
Life Point - True Spirituality Seeks To See Change In Others
Paul now teaches through a what if scenario.
Paul likens tongues to an instrument.
If the instrument is played correctly then it inspires, it edifies.
But if it is just noise, it does nothing other than draw attention to the person playing the noise.
Working at the school I can tell you that if a kid gets into the concert and cannot follow the conductor and ends up making noise it throws the whole thing off!
It sounds terrible.