By Brooke Holt
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.” - 1 Corinthians 14:26-32
At the heart of Paul’s message to the Corinthians was this statement: “Let all things be done for building up” (verse 26). To clarify his statement, this was the building up or the edifying of all people, not just one or two special members. Ultimately, the goal was to worship Jesus Christ as Lord and to then see every member grow in Jesus so that the whole church would flourish. What a glorious image it is to think of every church member behaving like Jesus, all filled with the Holy Spirit so that every person demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit and then exercised his or her spiritual gift as an offering to the Lord and a means to build up the brothers and sisters. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
Yet, that was and is God’s design for his church. People gather together to worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is all about him, and then he feeds his people; he comforts his people; he strengthens them for the journey of life. Everything done and said in church should glorify God and edify his children.
Is that the case for you, for your church? Do you come on Sunday morning ready to lift your heart in worship of the one true Lord? Do your words glorify God and build up his people? Far too often, we come to church with our own agendas. We criticize the music, the sermon, or the seemingly wayward parents who are allowing their children to be a bit wild in the back.
Paul provided the order for the Corinthian church: only have two or three people speak in tongues and only allow them to speak if an interpreter can interpret the message. The same for prophets, only two or three are to speak and even they must be tested. It was and is important that words of prophecy be checked by the Word of God. This kind of order led to the edification of all who were present. Hymns, sermons, prayers, tongues, prophecies—all was to be done in a way that God’s people were built up in the faith of Jesus Christ.
May we remember that today and align our hearts, minds, and gifts to his perfect plan and order.
How might Paul want to lay out a plan for your church? What are some ways that he would like to address you and your heart as you enter into worship each Sunday? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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