04/13/T – Decently and in Order

Job 6:1-7:21; 1 Corinthians 14:26-40; Psalms 38:1-18; Proverbs 13:2-3

NT: “What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged. And the prophets’ spirits are subject to the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace… So then, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything is to be done decently and in order.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:26-33a, 39-40‬ ‭CSB)

Paul gave two statements that summarized the lesson he was giving to the Corinthians: “Everything is to be done for building up” and “Everything is to be done decently and in order.” The main reason for the church to gather together was to be taught, encouraged and edified. If the gathering was chaotic and out of order, teaching, encouragement and edification could not happen. Apparently, the members of the Corinthian church were not attending church to build each other up – they were attending church to exhibit their “gifts.” Everyone wanted their time in the “spotlight” and the services were anything but orderly. Someone wanted to sing a song that was on their heart. Someone wanted to bring a teaching they thought the church “needed to hear.” Someone had a dream they wanted to share. Some were blurting out in unknown tongues, while others were competing with each other with their “prophetic insight.” In order to correct the free-for-all that Sunday gatherings had become, Paul reminded them that God was not a God of disorder, but of peace. At creation, the Holy Spirit was present to bring creation from chaos into order. The Holy Spirit does the same today.

Inviting the Holy Spirit into a service doesn’t indicate that things are going to become disorderly. It should actually result in the opposite. When everyone is humbly led by the Holy Spirit, everything flows smoothly, the overriding message is clear and edifying, and God is glorified through it all. One sentiment that is common in Charismatic churches is: “I can’t be responsible for what happens when the Holy Spirit takes over.” That sentiment actually runs contrary to Paul’s teaching in the word. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of peace and unity. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. The Holy Spirit does not “take over” and control a person, nor does He “take over” and control a service. No matter how compelled a person may feel, a prophet’s spirit is always subject to the prophet. So how do we have a Spirit-led service that is not out of control? We do not forbid the Holy Spirit from manifesting through submitted and trusted believers, we humbly allow the Holy Spirit to lead in a spirit of mutual submission, unity and peace, and we don’t give up control of the service – allowing those charged with governing to govern the direction and flow of the service. Then, the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work, the service will be orderly, and the church will be edified.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You are not a God of disorder, but of order and peace. I thank You that You do not cause Your Spirit to possess me, but to fill me and lead me. When I yield to the leading of Your Holy Spirit, You don’t take over my will and ability to control myself, but empower my self-control that I may walk in peace, unity and order. As I allow You to manifest Yourself in me and through me, help me to remain humbly submitted and not do anything that causes distraction and disorder. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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