Wednesday, 17 June 2020 1 Corinthians 14:1-25
“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” -1 Corinthians 14:2-3
Spiritual gifts are given by God to believers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for building up of the Church. The Lord Jesus knows the world in which we are living and hence did not leave his people powerless— this is why spiritual gifts were made available to us as believers.
Paul when speaking to the Ephesians, encouraged them not to use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you(Ephesians 4:29). Prophetical expressions that convey the will and purpose of our Lord and King, is always of great value, because this utterance carries the heart of God and edifies the Church. Those who prophesy speak to people and give them help, encouragement, and comfort. Also, when we speak in a God-given tongue, it empowers our spiritual antenna and sensitivity that keeps us in tune with God who cherishes and understands the value of our exact expression.
In Acts 14: 21-23 Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in Derbe, won many disciples, went back to Lystra, Iconium, Antioch and Pisidia. The believers were strengthened and encouraged with the words of the Master through these dedicated brothers who knew the value of proclaiming the mysteries of our Lord and Master in who they trusted. Different tongues empowers us to speak secret truths by the power of the Spirit, but prophecy declares God’s own voice and message in the hearts and minds of His people. Some messages are for strengthening and others for exhortation. We have the example of Agabus twice in the Book of Acts bringing God’s prophecy once to the church (Acts 11:27-30) and to Paul (Acts 21:10-12).
In I Corinthians 12:28-31, Paul speaks of the various parts of the body of Christ, the church and their functions and gifts and finally says to desire those gifts that are most helpful gifts. And he ends with the note: And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Cor 14:31) –which he explains in the next chapter- the way of love. The greatest of all gifts is love! Whatever gift is being used by a believer, if it is not backed with love, it will be of no effect. He sums up like this in 1 Cor.13:3: “…but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love becomes the foundation on which all gifts are operational.
Imitating or wanting to express a particular gift or authority that has not been placed in our vessel by the Lord, is trying to dishonor the Creator who made each of us with unique talents. God who called each of us has empowered us with diverse spiritual gifts according to His purpose for us and our calling-let us use it/them to honour the Lord and in love to edify and build the church.
Think on: “Since you are eager to have the gifts of the Spirit, you must try above everything else to make greater use of those which help to build up the church.” -1 Corinthians 14:12 [GNT]