Building up the Church!
Scripture reading for July 24th: 1st Corinthians 14
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1st Corinthians 14:1-3) Paul encouraged the church members to follow the excellent way of love and to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. The one gift to be especially sought was prophesy.
Prophesy was not just a foretelling of the future. Prophesy was speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in a known language to strengthen and encourage others in the faith. God knows each individual and group of believers and wants to communicate with them to help them in their walk and mission. God uses people who are willing to share His word and speak by the Spirit’s inspiration.
The Corinthians were often speaking in tongues in their meetings. Paul stated that this gift was good, but in order to help others, tongues must be interpreted and put into a language that all could understand and benefit. (1st Corinthians 14:13-17) When a person speaks in tongues by the Spirit, he is speaking directly to God and speaks ‘mysteries’. When someone who is gifted to interpret gives the understanding, then all are edified.
Paul did want all church members to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts. He also wanted the gifts to be used to build up the church. “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.” (1st Corinthians 14:26) Are you eagerly seeking spiritual gifts?