Two Spiritual Gifts for Edification Studies in 1 Corinthians Series  1 Corinthians 14:1-25 March 22, 2015 Pastor Paul K. Kim
USING SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN PUBLIC WORSHIP: THREE PRELIMINARY EXHORTATIONS 1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. (v. 1) Pursue LOVE: Love is the most excellent way which must be the guiding principle for using all spiritual gifts in all occasions and for all people (it is a gift AND fruit of the Spirit). Earnestly Desire: Gifts are decided by the Spirit but we are to desire the spiritual gifts earnestly, humbly, and selflessly. Especially to Prophesy: In building up the church, we are desire to prophesy because it is more beneficial for many to prophesy than tongues (the obsessed gift of the Corinthians).
USING SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN PUBLIC WORSHIP: THREE PRELIMINARY EXHORTATIONS What are the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy? Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Sprit to pray in utterance not understood by the speaker. Sometimes they were known foreign languages (Acts 2). Sometimes they were unknown ecstatic utterances (1 Cor. 14). Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Sprit to speak a word of message or report prompted spontaneously by the Spirit for the purpose of edification, encouragement, and consolation of the church. It is not to be equated with the infallible inspiration and authority of Scripture (OT = Prophets; NT = Apostles of Christ). Hence, it is not necessarily free from a human error; thus require discernment/judgment by Scripture & spiritually mature leaders. It is not identical with “preaching” due to its distinctive nature.
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 1)AUDIENCE: Tongues are spoken to God but prophecy is spoken to people. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. (vs. 2-3) Speaking in tongues is directed to God in prayer or praise—it is unknown to men and of mysteries in the Spirit. Prophecy is directed to people in understandable human words for upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation. Hence, prophecy is spoken to people as its audience while tongues is spoken to God as its primary audience.
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 2)BENEFICIARIES: Tongues build up one who speaks but prophecy builds up others in the church. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. (vs. 4-5) Because tongues are spoken to God, its beneficiary is the one who speaks in a tongue as prayer or praise to God in spirit. But prophecy’s beneficiaries are others in the church who hear it as the Spirit-prompted words to the church. We are to also seek to build up others through the beneficial words that edify, encourage, and comfort the church.
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 3)INTELLIGIBILITY: Tongues are unintelligible utterances but prophecy is intelligible speech to hearers. 6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? (vs. 6-8)
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 3)INTELLIGIBILITY: Tongues are unintelligible utterances but prophecy is intelligible speech to hearers. 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. (vs. 9-11) A key reason that tongues are to be used more privately in one’s prayer life is unintelligibility of tongues. On the other hand, prophecy is intelligible because it is spoken in understandable human words. In building up the church, intelligible words based on Scripture are crucial for the Spirit’s work through them.
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 4)EDIFICATION: It’s better to speak five understandable words to edify others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. 13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. (vs. 12-15)
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 4)EDIFICATION: It’s better to speak five understandable words to edify others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (vs.16-18) We are to strive to excel in building up the church with all gifts, which must be also applied to tongues and prophecy. For obvious reasons, Paul charges us to edify others through prophecy as well as through teaching/preaching of the Word. Tongues must NOT be a tool for self-exaltation; prophecy is also to be used for others—not for self-recognition or honor.
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 5)MATURE THINKING: Considering the signs & nature of tongues and prophecy, it is shrewd to seek to prophesy in public setting. 20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. (vs. 20-22)
FIVE REASONS TO SEEK TO PROPHESY (OVER TONGUES) IN PUBLIC WORSHIP/CHURCH GATHERINGS 5)MATURE THINKING: Considering the signs & nature of tongues and prophecy, it is shrewd to seek to prophesy in public setting. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (vs. 23-25) Tongues is a sign for unbelievers—but it is not a positive but negative sign that reveals the judgment for their unbelief. Prophecy is a sign for believers because it edifies believers for growth, encouragement, and consolation. Mature thinking is a spiritually discerning mind to know how each gift is BEST USED for the edification of the church.
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.In what ways are you more convinced of your need to earnestly desire the spiritual gifts? What will you do about it? 2.What would it mean for you to speak words prompted by the Spirit for the purpose of others’ upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation? 3.What would it mean for you to strive to excel in building the church with your own spiritual gifts? What is your first step?