Series: He Gave Gifts
Message – Gifts, Motives & How-to’s
Gifts, Motives & How-to’s
In Chapter 12 we saw WHAT the Spirit speaks WHEN He speaks through us in the Gifts. His testimony is the blessedness of Jesus. He is the Anointed Messiah, He is God’s Son, He is Deity, He was born of a virgin… etc.
In Chapter 13 we learned the power and motivation behind those Spirit graces is Agape… first for God, then our spiritual siblings in Christ and thirdly for the world.
Here in Chapter 14 we learn HOW the Spirit moves in and among His people WHEN He moves.
Now, Paul doesn’t mess around
The first verse literally sets the pace for ALL Paul is about to say…and WHAT he says is very, VERY important!
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
This, and all the procedural “how tos” that follow are SO important that He repeats this first verse at the close of the chapter with additional instructions which carry the weight of a strong warning.
1Cor. 14:37-40, “(37) If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual (they discern all things – 1Cor. 2) , let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. (38) But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. (39) So therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. (40) Let all things be done decently and in order.”
1Cor. 2:12-16, “12 Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.
13 And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].
14 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].
16 For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. [Isa. 40:13.]”
Gill expounds on the meaning of these strong words,
“But if any man be ignorant,…. Of “these” words, and does not know and own them to be the commandments of Christ; though he may profess himself to be a prophet, or a spiritual man, he is a very ignorant one, and has not the Spirit of God he pretends to: and if he will not be convinced, but goes on to doubt, and call in question the truth of these things, and obstinately persist in his ignorance,
let him be ignorant: let him be treated and despised as an ignorant man; and let his ignorance be no hinderance to any in receiving these rules and directions as the commandments of Christ; for no regard is to be had, or pity shown, to a man of affected ignorance, and wilful obstinacy; such a man is not to be known and owned, but shunned and rejected.”
As it says in Titus, “9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”
This this second verse in 1Cor. 14 illustrates that in studying this chapter, the basic rules for interpretation should be followed very closely. If we are going to accurately understand the intended
- Who – In this case is being edified is the question.
- What – What is causing the edification?
- Why – Why does the Spirit give these regulations regarding gifts?
- Where – Where are these gifts being expressed?
- How – How are the gifts expressed?
“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”
1Cor. 14:3, “edification, exhortation and comfort” – to man!
Edification – spiritual profit or advancement
This is perhaps the clearest representation of the Spirit Himself… this word is paráklēsis; fem. noun from parakaléō (G3870), to beseech & paráklētos; is the word translated as Comforter and Helper in John 14-16 in reference to the Holy Spirit..
The act of exhortation, encouragement, comfort. All of Scripture is actually a paráklēsis, an exhortation, admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith (see Rom 15:4 – “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”). Paul speaks of his preaching of the gospel as paráklēsis, in 1Thess. 2:3 (“For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. (4) But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”).
The contents of the letter addressed to the church at Antioch from the Apostolic Council which we looked at a few weeks ago in Acts 15:31 was paráklēsis.
In Luke 6:24, this word is by Jesus to describe the comforts of heaven which will be denied the wicked who enjoy the riches and comforts of this world.
It is used of Jesus Himself in His role of Messiah in Luke 2:25 where He is called, “the consolation of Israel,”.
Acts 4:36, has Barnabas as “the son of consolation or encouragement“.
Paramuthía Exhortation, encouragement. Paramuthía expresses a greater degree of tenderness, at least by word of mouth, than the last word paráklēsis that word carrying a more general sense of helpfulness and comfort..
Speaking vs. Praying
Paul does not always specify which he is mentioning but it is make clear by the context. This is also done a lot in English as well.
Notice that Paul very clearly states that speaking in tongues is to speak to God and that speaking in tongues edifies you as the one speaking… this indirectly tells us that conversation with God is spiritually healthy and that one could turn the phrase around and declare with certainty that speaking with God is a sign of increasing spiritual health if done correctly.
I say if done correctly because contrary to popular belief God in fact does not hear every prayer.
Paul uses an example in this chapter which we are going to address later of someone giving things over there food in tongues. He says surely they give thanks well. Praying in the spirit prays the perfect will of God back to Him… this is important because there is a right and a wrong way to pray. 1John 5:14 & 15 tells us that there is only one way to know that we are heard by God and Romans 8 tells us that we do not know how to pray it… nor do we know how to offer that prayer in a way that is worthy of God as we must… this is the answer to all of those naysayers who sarcastically ask “what good is all that speaking in tongues anyway” they’re very question reveals their deep spiritual property and their astounding lack of understanding of the Scriptures.
Lets go ahead and look at these two scriptures…
1Jn 5:14-15, “(14) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
Rom. 8:26-27, “And in like manner also the Spirit lends us a helping hand with reference to our weakness, for the particular thing that we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know with an absolute knowledge; but the Spirit himself comes to our rescue by interceding with unutterable groanings. Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints.”
1Cor. 14:5, “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.”
- Doesn’t distinguish between praying with and the gift of and perhaps this was a major problem with this church in that they may have been using their prayer language in church as a “gift” but, having no interpretation it failed to edify ANYONE.
- The Solution was NOT to forbid tongues but to be led by the Spirit in doing one or the other – and THAT for the edification of the church.
Now in verses 6-20 Paul goes to great lengths to demonstrate three things.
- The difference between tongues as a gift and tongues as a prayer language.
- This was already hinted at in chapter 12 when Paul asked if all spoke in tongues in the list of gifts, but later here encourages all to do so in personal prayer.
- Tongues as a gift ALWAYS needs and will be offered an interpretation BY the Holy Spirit.
- Offer example from Retreat.
- Where both of these expressions of tongues are most relevant.
1Cor. 14:6-20, “(6) But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? (7) Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? (8) For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? (9) So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. (10) There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. (11) Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. (12) Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. (13) Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. (14) For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. (15) What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (16) Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? (17) For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. (18) I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; (19) yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (20) Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”
This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings!
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