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Lessons From 1 Cor 14

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A LOOK AT THE LESSONS IN 1 CORINTHIANS 14

Spiritual Gifts Are Not Supreme In Importance

INTRODUCTION:

1.    Chapters 12, 13, and 14 focus upon spiritual gifts.

(1)          Chapter 12  names them.

(2)          Chapter 13 tells of their coming to an end.

(3)          Chapter 14 tells how they were to be used.

2.    Imagine the church of the first century.

(1)          Without Jesus Christ in the flesh.

(2)          Without the apostles the majority of the time and Without the Bible.

(3)          With great desire to be obedient.  We see the need for “spiritual gifts.”

3.    Paul has stressed:

(1)          Christians should love and have concern for the church more than they glory in their spectacular gifts.

(2)          Tongues and all nine of the “spiritual gifts” were temporary.

A.     People today strive for tongues ---  to do so is striving for immaturity.

(a)    Yet some view them as “signs of salvation.”

B.     Tongues and other spiritual gifts are not perfect (cf. 1 Cor. 13:10).

(a)    One would speak out during worship in a Spanish tongue when no one was attending who spoke spanish!

(b)    With no one there to interpret, it looked as if they were crazy.

4.    In chapter 14 Paul identifies some priorities for the church to consider whether in possession of “spiritual gifts” or not. (Church needed to think long term).

(1)          Their focus was on the gifts!  It needed to be on their long term purpose!

(2)          There was strife, envy, and weakness at Corinth.

(3)          Possessing spiritual gifts seems to have tilted them towards pride and self.

5.    MSP  -- When self is elevated, the needs of the congregation are not met.

6.    The church at Corinth possessed “gifts” but it caused them to think more about “self” than others.

DISCUSSION:

I.            WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS – “PURSUE LOVE.”

1.       Notice 14:1a – “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts.”

2.       The theme from Chapter 13 continues.   --  “Now abide three great things… greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13).

3.       Spiritual gifts would not always last, but with or without them, love was essential.

4.       Is it taking the point too far to say, “A lack of love is the root of all problems?”

(1)          Cf. Mk. 12:28-31;  Heb. 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue.”

(2)          Cf. 1 Jn. 4:16-19.  (Interesting thought – Will we have boldness?)

5.       If a Christian or congregation of Christians is not in possession of Biblical love there is trouble.

II.          WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS – STRESS EDIFICATION.

1.       Edification = oikodomei  = house to build. Figurative – “to build up spiritually”.

2.       Notice the stress upon edification / building up.

(1)          V. 3 – “he who prophesies speaks edification.”

(2)          V. 4 – “he who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”

(3)          V. 5 – emphasis is again on edification.

(4)          V. 12 – Notice “zealous for spiritual gifts  -- let it be for edification.”

3.       Other passages of the New Testament stress the need for edification.

(1)          Rom. 14:19 – “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”

(2)          Rom. 15:2 – “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”

A.        For the church to be built up sometimes somebody needs to give up.

4.       If it doesn’t edify then Christians ought to avoid it!

(1)          Ignorance does not edify.

(2)          Cliques / parties that engage in “un-cooperation” do not edify.

(3)          Stressing carnal interest over spiritual matters does not edify.

(4)          A legalistic spirit does not edify.

(5)          A liberal rush for worldliness or doctrinal laxity does not edify.

5.       Christians are in the edification business!  Tilt toward self and the church suffers!

III.        WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS -  BE UNDERSTANDING (VV. 2; 6-19).

1.       Understanding = mental perception / grasp of what is taught. 

(1)           To perceive with the mind.

(2)           Xians need to be settled people and sober minded!

2.       Notice how Paul approaches the need for understanding.

(1)          V. 2 – Important thing is not that a tongue is spoken, but someone understands what was spoken.

(2)          V. 7-9 – Illustrates by using musical sounds.

A.        These musical sounds were meant to give direction.

B.        If the message was not heard or understood no “charge” or “retreat.”

(3)          VV. 14-16  - Without understanding songs and prayers do not serve.

(4)          V. 19 - Five understood words were preferred to 10,000 unknown.

3.       The nature of the gospel requires / emphasizes understanding. (cf. Acts 8:30; Mt. 13:11-17).

IV.       WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS – STRESS MATURITY (V. 20).

1.       If we act like children in certain ways it will hurt the church.

(1)           “Do not be children in understanding.”

(2)           There is the exception - “In malice be babes”

(3)           “But in understanding be mature.”

2.       Cf. 1 Cor. 16:13 – “Watch, standfast in the faith…” (KJV = be men).

(1)           NIV = “stop thinking like children…”

3.       False teaching harms the church.  Covetousness harms the church.  Ungodly living harms the church.  Think how much immaturity has harmed.

V.         WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS  -- SEEK TO SAVE SOULS (VV. 21-25).

1.       Paul reminds us that we are in the soul saving business.

2.       Worship services are about more than worship.  In the act of worshipping God we have the ability and opportunity to touch non-Christians.

3.       V. 23 – “uninformed’ or “unbelievers”  may be present.  Don’t make them think that you are insane!  (cf. TV evangelist)

4.       V. 24 – One can be led to see his lost condition.

5.       With or without gifts, our assembly should be conscious of saving souls.

(1)          Your soul!   Brother’s Soul!   Neighbor’s soul!

6.       If you are not a Christian/ Faithful Xian we want you to know some things.

VI.       WITH OR WITHOUT GIFTS – STRESS ORDERLINESS AND PEACE (VV. 26-40).

1.       VV. 26-27 – They were to participate one at a time.  In edifying manner.

2.       V. 28 – Without an interpreter the tongue speaker was to be silent.

(1)          So called “tongue speakers” of today need take note of this verse.

(2)          Also notice this wasn’t ecstatic utterance but “controlled” (vv. 30,32).

3.       VV. 33 – God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”

(1)          This is the sum of it all.  God wants peace / orderliness to prevail.

(2)          God is a God of system, order, pattern.

(3)          Confusion should not prevail in our worship services.

4.       VV. 34-35 – In this setting the women needed to respect need for order.

(1)          Context differs from 1 Tim. 2:12.

(2)          Word differs from silence of 1 Tim. 2:12.

5.       V. 40 – Let all things be done decently and in order.”

(1)          Again with verse 33 here is the sum of it all.

(2)          Everything we do is to be done in a becoming and orderly manner.

A.        Worship assembly at the building.

B.        Worship assembly at a youth devotional.

C.        In each person’s life at a spiritual level when they worship.

CONCLUSION:

1.     The church of the first century possessed “spiritual gifts” for the purpose of stabilizing the church and spreading the gospel to lost souls.  Possession of the “gifts” seems to have tilted them towards pride and elevation of self.

2.     The absence of “Spiritual Gifts” does not lessen our need for:

        (1)     Love

        (2)     Edification

        (3)     Understanding

        (4)     Maturity.

        (5)     Seeking and saving lost souls.

        (6)     Order / peace in the assembly.

2.     You have the truth made possible / facilitated by the spiritual gifts of 1st century.

3.     Do  you have the above elements made manifest in your life.

        (1)     For the good of your soul.

        (2)     For the good of the church.

        (3)     For the good of the lost.

APPEAL:

1.     What is in your possession tonight?  (LEUMSO)?

2.     Is eternal life something you possess?

3.     God’s plan for your salvation is simple:

        (1)     Tilt away from self and tilt towards Him.

        (2)     Obey the gospel plan of salvation.

                A.     Christian – repent of your sins.

                B.     Non-Christian – be baptized for the remission of your sins.

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