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A Call to Order

A Call to Order

Words of Faith 7-27-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 14

   [26] What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. [27] If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. [28] If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

   [29] Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. [30] And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. [31] For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. [32] The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. [33] For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

   As in all the congregations of the saints, [34] women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. [35] If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

   [36] Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? [37] If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. [38] If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.

   [39] Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. [40] But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

 

       We don't know exactly what Christian worship looked like in Corinth around 62 AD. There were no church buildings. The church met in the various homes of wealthy patrons creating a natural division among these house churches. Social and economic class had caused a divide between those who worked and those who did not.

       Study of the letters reveals that worship in Corinth was disorderly. Speaking in unknown tongues had dominated worship. Prophecy had been disorderly with people speaking out of turn and on top of one another. Women were disruptive, gathering and speaking in the outer rooms of the houses. Worship was a mess in Corinth. As spiritual founder of the church, Paul called for order.

       Order is vital to worship. Order is word to be used carefully because it can be confused with control. Imposing order without the elements Paul had already set down-- honor, remembrance, unity, connection, love and maturity-- can do great violence to the worship life of the church.

       Paul's central focus here is that everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (40).

       The word "fitting" means decorously, decently, honestly and seemly. The word suggests being understated and dignified especially in dress but conforming to what is acceptable or expected. Since the goal of worship is always to glorify the Lord, behavior and dress should not distract or detract either in its formality nor its informality. The goal is always to draw attention to God.

       The word "orderly" means "with regular arrangement both in time and character". While styles of worship may vary greatly, order should always be a central element. The goal is a worship gathering that is honest, in Spirit and in Truth, that is fitting for the situation and building up of people, and has a freedom led and ordered by the Spirit rather than the flesh.

       Paul was not as concerned with the particular pieces as he was with whether they were fitting and orderly. When you come together there will be various pieces to worship; hymns, instruction, revelation, etc (26). These are the sort of things that we do in order to strengthen the church.

       Paul suggested three specific areas that needed order-- tongues, prophecy and the behavior of women. With regard to tongues, only a few should speak in tongues in public worship, not everyone. There must be an interpretation if there is an utterance in an unknown language.

       With regard to prophecy, no more than two or three should speak. Prophetic messages should be weighed carefully. One person should not go on and on. Words of prophecy should be shared in turn and a prophet should not be "without self control". Prophecy will be bring peace, not disorder.

         In weighing any sort of prophetic utterance we should ask-- Does it glorify God rather than the speaker, church, or denomination? Does it accord with Scripture? Does it build up the Body of Christ? Is it spoken in love? Does the speaker submit him or herself to the judgment and consensus of others in spiritual humility? Is the speaker in control of him or herself? Is there a reasonable amount of instruction or is there excessive detail?

         Women had never been included in Jewish worship so mixed settings were very progressive. Given the disruption that was going on, Paul ruled that women should remain silent. They were not to ask questions during the worship gathering or chat in the outer rooms. This could not have been a general ban on women speaking as an orderly part of worship since Paul had already designated that women should wear head covering when they prayed or prophesied (1 Cor. 11:5). Women were presumed to be a part of prayer and prophesy in worship.

        At the heart of things, Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were connected to the Body and accountable to one another in the order of worship. "Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. "

       Bottom line? Be Eager to Prophesy-- eager for the clarity of God's Word for God's people. Do not forbid speaking in tongues. Do everything in a fitting way. Do everything in order.

 

       Father God, I am just one little piece. Help me to understand that worship is not there to entertain me, it is to glorify You. Help me always contribute my voice and spirit in the way that You desire. Keep me from drawing attention to myself but rather always to be focused on You. Help me to learn what you want me to learn and to hear what You want Your people to hear. Show me the way that is fitting and orderly for worship. In Jesus' Name.