December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”—1 Corinthians 14:26–33 (NIV)
Imagine a toddler playing the piano. His thunderous pounding on the black and white keys produce an unharmonious and dissonant sound, the kind our ears wouldn’t typically enjoy as music. Now, think of a concert pianist playing a classical piece. The keys he plays, along with the duration and tempo he plays them, creates a melodious and cohesive sound so beautiful it could move you to tears. Likewise, our worship experience has the ability to create harmony or confusion; peace or disorder.
In today’s verses, we continue to read Paul’s instruction on the gifts of tongues and prophecy. In his teaching to the Corinthian Church, Paul reminds them of a powerful truth that is applicable for us as well: How we worship reveals who we worship. Paul explains this in four main ideas.
First, our gatherings should produce growth and maturity. Everything that takes place when believers come together—from the teaching, to the songs, to the Lord’s table, to the expression of tongues and prophecy—must have the intention to grow each member into the dwelling temple of God. Just as a home is built brick by brick, or a song is composed note by note, all things that take place when we gather are the building blocks that raise someone to spiritual maturity.
Second, our gatherings should allow for God’s power to manifest. In our coming together as God’s people, the Holy Spirit moves and uses believers to display His glory in supernatural ways. Whether that is through the teaching or any of the other spiritual gifts, God’s power is revealed when we call upon His name as one body.
Third, our gatherings should be relational. We as believers are called to be part of a faith community where we’re known by others and experience a sense of belonging. So, if a prophetic word is given to us, it’s weighed in community and relationship with other believers who also have the Holy Spirit. We don’t live the Christian life in a bubble! We need brothers and sisters in Christ who can come alongside us and help us discern whether what we’ve heard is truly from God.
Lastly, our gatherings should reflect God’s orderliness and peace. We see these characteristics of God in nature—in the way seeds become trees and how seasons change. Just as nature follows a natural order, so should the Church reflect God’s order. Our gatherings as God’s people should not bring confusion, but the fullness of His peace.
The disorder, disruption, and competitive display of gifts in the Corinthian Church did nothing to build their members into the likeness and image of God; they only revealed who we all are apart from Him. God desires for us to live in community with one another and reflect His heart as we grow together. This group of believers desperately needed this reminder, and we need it all the more today. As the notes of a song come together to form a joyous melody, may our community reveal the beauty and glory of God in His love, power, and peace.
Pause: Are you part of a community where you experience intimacy and belonging? Do you have believers in your life who can speak truth and help you grow spiritually?
Practice: Connect with a wise friend this week and share a prayer request. Ask for their counsel on spiritual matters in your life.
Pray: Father, thank You for the spiritual family I have because of Jesus. Use me, Lord, in wisdom and the power of Your Spirit to build up my brothers and sisters in Christ. May Your Church be a beautiful display of Your kingdom here on Earth, that those in the world would see Your power and put their faith in You. Amen.
Gabriella Bemis serves as a volunteer for Calvary’s communications and worship teams. She holds an M.A. in psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about integrating her knowledge of human behavior with the truth of God’s word. When she is not writing resources or singing at church, Gabi loves to paint, cook, and enjoy time outdoors with her family and friends.