Posted by: Heather | September 19, 2009

Alright, Here Goes:

I asked what you thought in “Cruising For Trouble”

Normally, I don’t post the content of my sermon before hand, mostly because it is a work in progress until the moment I stand up to speak. However, I will make an exception here because I want your input after I put my cards on the table. Still a work in progress, and what happens Sunday morning may be different than this post.

Here is the text:

1 Corinthians 14:26-40
(26) Then how is it, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be for building up.
(27) If one speaks in a language, let it be by two, or at the most three, and in succession. And let one interpret.
(28) But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in a church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
(29) And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge.
(30) If a revelation is revealed to another sitting by, let the first be silent.
(31) For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted.
(32) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
(33) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(34) Let your women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as the Law also says.
(35) And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in a church.
(36) Or did the Word of God go out from you? Or did it reach only to you?
(37) If anyone thinks to be a prophet, or a spiritual one, let him recognize the things I write to you, that they are a commandment of the Lord.
(38) But if any is ignorant, let him be ignorant.
(39) So then, brothers, seek to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in languages.
(40) Let all things be done decently and in order.

This text is summing up the discussion Paul started in chapter 12. Here are my thoughts on that text. However, I intend to start the service by asking people to think back through our study in 1 Cor and identify when the subject of spiritual gifts first came up.

I think it is first mentioned here:

1 Corinthians 3:5-9
(5) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each?
(6) I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
(7) So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
(8) So he planting, and he watering, are one, and each one shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
(9) For of God we are fellow-workers, a field of God, and you are a building of God.

The next time would be here:

1 Corinthians 4:7
(7) For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Mary at Civilla’s Cyber Cafe (hat tip here – thanks for the help Mary) mentioned in the comments of an earlier post about gifting including things like singing, and natural talents. I disagreed at the time, but now in light of this verse, I think she is right. I think we tend to define “gifts of the Spirit” to narrowly. What do we have that did not come from God? The answer is a big fat “0“. Everything we have comes from God.

So how are we to use the gifts we have from God? This is the first line of our text:
(26) Then how is it, brothers?

But before we go there, lets look at one more passage in context. Remember I said before that the spiritual gifts are for two things? 1) to glorify Christ, and 2) to build up the body.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33
(31) Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(32) Give no offense, either to the Jews, or to the Greeks or to the church of God;
(33) even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.

So we have nothing that we have not received, and we are to do everything to the glory of God on order to profit the many so that they may be saved. Pretty inclusive.

Now with that backdrop, let’s look at the text at hand.

(26) Then how is it, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be for building up.

One thing that jumps out at me right away, is the idea that it appears the Corinthians had something going that traditionally we don’t have. It appears that their “service” was much more interactive. This is not condemned, simply regulated. Everyone should bring something, but go one at a time, and it should be for the building up of the Body. I am not telling you out in blogland what do do, but I will encourage my fellowship that perhaps we need to look into this. We tend to have a “liturgy” It is pretty relaxed, but still has an established format. We are pretty good at order. We aren’t good at the interactive part of this text. Perhaps it should be OK for someone to raise their hand and ask a question during the service? I don’t know, just noticing that they were interacting with each other, and it is encouraged in an orderly fashion.

(27) If one speaks in a language, let it be by two, or at the most three, and in succession. And let one interpret.

This gift of languages is not condemned, only regulated. Must be orderly. Keeping in mind what we learned last week that the purpose of speech in the assembly is communication and the building up of the body. If someone is gifted in praying in an angelic language, they should do that privately. So it should be limited, and one at a time. There must be an interpreter as well. Notice the pairing of complimentary gifts. This pattern is repeated with prophecy and testing prophecy.

(29) And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge.
(30) If a revelation is revealed to another sitting by, let the first be silent.
(31) For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted.

Next he speaks to orderliness and being under control. A side note here, if someone is unable to control themselves, according to these next verses, that isn’t the gift of the Spirit.

(32) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
(33) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Now we come to the part that is always controversial. However, let me explain my take on this. I want you to look back at the interdependence of the gifting up to this point. We need each other. What do we have that we have not received? Nothing. So this interdependence is by design. Keep that in mind.

(34) Let your women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as the Law also says.
(35) And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in a church.

My understanding of this is that women are not to take teaching, prophesying roles in the assembly. Why? Because that is what I understand it to say.

Does that mean that men are better than women? No, we all depend on each other. Let me put it this way. It is my experience that men and women are different. Women are more socially capable than men. They interact on more levels at the same time than men. I think if the rolls were reversed, men would not be able to keep up with what was going on. However in this configuration, the women can keep up with the men. It isn’t that we are better than you, it is that we aren’t as good at this as you are! Imagine if men were the ones keeping silent. Guys, we wouldn’t know what was going on half the time, would we?

Also, I think that women don’t separate thoughts and emotions as much as men do. This makes them more spiritually in tune, but also more susceptible to error. This facet of Heather and my relationship has been the motivating factor in much of my study. God knows that when Heather is struggling with something I am more motivated to help resolve it than when I am struggling myself. I am more motivated to take care of her than I am myself. I tend to segregate my own struggles, and even ignore them at times. But when she is hurting, I can’t ignore it. I think God uses this for my growth and for our growth together.

Finally, there is the main purpose of the assembly. It is to glorify God. Glorifying God is showing who He is. We must accurately portray Him. Just as the husband / wife relationship is a picture of Christ and the Church, there is a typology at work in the assembly. God wants the man to lead, because it accurately portrays to the world who God is.

Let me explain. Notice how verse 34 talks about what the Law says:

(34) Let your women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as the Law also says.

There was a similar statement earlier in the chapter about tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:21-22
(21) In the Law it is written, “By other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people, and even so they will not hear Me, says the Lord.”
(22) So that tongues are not a sign to those who believe, but to those who do not believe. But prophesying is not to those who do not believe, but to those who believe.

In this passage, Paul was quoting:

Isaiah 28:11-12
(11) for with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people.
(12) To whom He said, This is the rest; cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing. Yet they were not willing to hear.

Tongues were a sign for the Jews of judgment according to this quote.

There is a similar passage in Isaiah about women and children leading:

Isaiah 3:12
(12) As for my people, children are their taskmasters, and women rule over them. Oh my people, your rulers cause you to go astray and destroy the way of your paths.

I think this is what Paul is referring to. You see, if the women are leading and taking charge, it is a sign of God’s judgment on the assembly. Now you might wonder if the Corinthians knew about these passages in Isaiah. They certainly did. Remember who is mentioned as one of the people Paul is writing to in the first chapter?

1 Corinthians 1:1
(1) Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, (emphasis mine)

Sosthenes was the ruler of the synagogue when Paul was dragged into court in Corinth (Acts 18:7) He may not have had access to the synagogue anymore at this time, but he was certainly aware of the book of Isaiah.

Now in case anyone tries to make the “cultural” argument, Paul refers to the way it is everywhere. Paul’s supporting argument is one of universality.

(36) Or did the Word of God go out from you? Or did it reach only to you?
(37) If anyone thinks to be a prophet, or a spiritual one, let him recognize the things I write to you, that they are a commandment of the Lord.
(38) But if any is ignorant, let him be ignorant.

Finally, Paul sums up the last 3 chapters.

(39) So then, brothers, seek to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in languages.
(40) Let all things be done decently and in order.

So the main point is to glorify Christ, and edify the body. We need to show the world who Christ is by the way we behave.

Any thoughts?

Craig

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