TEXT: 1 Corinthians 14:20-33
Big Idea: (same as last week) “The right use of prophecy and interpreted tongues will result in the building up and encouragement of the church.”
Refresher on our Terms:
The gift of tongues. To speak in a language not understood by the speaker, expressing a prayer or praise to God.
The gift of interpretation. To interpret unknown tongue-speech into a known language understood by his audience.
The gift of prophecy. Speaking what God brings to mind, as in a verbal encouragement, a correction, or comfort to another.
In 1 Cor. 14:20-33, Paul teaches the church how to function in these gifts during a church service…
1. Function with Maturity (v. 20-25)
Spiritual maturity means that we will serve one another (not ourselves) and the attention will not be on us, but on God. The gifts will be a “sign” to both Christians and non-Christians in the church service. We see both a positive and a negative sign in these verses. When unbelievers come into a church assembly with uninterpreted tongue speech, they will think Christians are crazy (negative sign). They will leave the church, likely never to return. But the biblical use of these gifts will draw people TO God.
Prophecy is also a sign, but it is a positive sign. Since prophecy can be understood by all, so it can encourage everybody and draw us TO God. When we prophesy, the unbeliever will hear that word of encouragement, reading Scripture, or some detail about their lives that only God could have revealed. And that unbeliever will realize God is real, and they will be convicted of their sins (v. 24).
How do we grow in maturity? By consistently being in prayer, in Scripture, and in fellowship with one another.
2. Function with Discernment (v. 26-33)
Discernment is not only a gift of the spirit to supernaturally know what is of God and what is not, but in a very practical way, every Christian is called to discern – to distinguish and know – what lines up with the Bible and what does not.
Tongues – (v. 27-28) If someone desires to publicly speak in tongues in church, it must be interpreted, either by the person with the tongue or another. Tell a pastor and we will discern together. Prophecy – (v.29-30) If someone has a prophecy (something God has brought to mind) that person should discern: 1) does it line up with the Bible? 2) Is it for one person or the church? 3) Is it for today or another day? Then if it is shared publicly, the congregation should “weigh” what is said, and be edified.
The spiritual gifts, and all that is done in a church service, must be done decently and in order, so that all can understand and so that Christ stays the center of attention, not us.
Questions to ask if you think you have something to share with the church:
-Is it biblical?
-Is this for the whole church, for one person, or for me?
-Is it for today or some other time?
-Is my motive to serve the church and honor Jesus?
Questions to ask if you are trying to discern something shared from another in church:
-Does it line up with the Bible?
-Does it encourage or comfort or correct in a godly way, (lining up with the character of God)?
-Is it done in love?
When we are obedient, when we are discerning, and we step out in faith and submit our gift because we love God and we love His church, God will be honored and the church will be edified.