Order in using the gifts!
Scripture reading for August 22nd: 1st Corinthians 14:18-40
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for building up the church. There are some rules for their proper use and it is better when all in the church are on the same page. In the church at Corinth, there was confusion that Paul sought to straighten out.
Paul had a great concern that people in the church have understanding. Paul himself spoke in tongues more than the rest of the church and he was not advocating that they would be silenced. But when all were speaking in tongues, there was confusion among the unlearned. He wanted the church to grow up in their understanding.
The purpose of tongues was to be a sign to unbelievers that God was in the church. Tongues for public use are inspired by the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of those who are not saved and get their attention. But if everyone spoke in tongues then no one could understand what was being said. But prophesy was the speaking of God’s word in a known tongue under the influence of the Holy Spirit. This gift brought conviction on the sinner and drew him to Christ. (1st Corinthians 14:22-25)
“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. 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 church and speak to himself and God.” (1st Corinthians 14:25-28) Paul encouraged the church to use their gifts in an orderly fashion. Tongues should be limited to two or three speakers and they must be interpreted! If there is no one to interpret, the speaker should withhold their public gift of tongues. He may still speak in tongues quietly for his own edification and to God.
Prophets had the same limit of two or three speaking. Others should weigh or evaluate what was said. Each should speak in turn to maintain order and show love and respect to each other and the body. (1st Corinthians 14:29-33) God was a God of peace and order. These instructions were given to help the church grow!