1 1Crinthians 14A Last week we ended in Chapter 13 f 1Crinthians, the well-knwn chapter f scripture describing what lve lks like Paul s descriptin is s well-knwn because he captures perfectly the way lve is a verb, nt a nun It isn t a feeling, it s an actin a set f actins, actually Lve is hw we treat thers, nt merely hw we feel abut thers In fact, we might feel an emtin fr smene and call it lve, but they wn t knw what we feel unless we demnstrate it by ur actins Nevertheless, fr thse f us wh struggle t put lve int wrds, Paul s thirteenth chapter is a wnderful study in elquence Many men wish they culd be as elquent when expressing lve t the bject f their affectin A wife nce submitted a Reader s Digest anecdte abut ne such attempt. The middleaged cuple was attending a wedding fr a yung cuple. The wife was nticing the beautiful, yung bride and her bridesmaids, wistfully remembering her wn lst yuth. The husband nticed his wife s melanchly at the sight f s many yunger wmen n display, and s he leaned ver t encurage her with a few sweet wrds. He said, Darling, yu re mre beautiful than half the wmen here. Clearly, men dn t always have the right wrds t describe their lve But Paul certainly had the right wrds in Chapter 13 But in ur study last week, we were als careful t nte that Paul was talking abut lve in the cntext f spiritual gifts He was explaining t the church that ur use f spiritual gifts must spring frm a desire t shw Gd s lve t thers 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 1Crinthians 14A 2 f 14 They must be guided by a self-sacrificial mtivatin that keeps Gd s glry and the spiritual needs f thers as the mtivatin fr ur service They cannt becme an excuse t shw ff, t draw attentin t urselves, t prvke jealusy in thers r divide the bdy As we ended, we reached vs.8-10, which I read but did nt explain S we will pick up again at that pint in Chapter 13 1Cr. 13:8 Lve never fails; but if there are gifts f prphecy, they will be dne away; if there are tngues, they will cease; if there is knwledge, it will be dne away. 1Cr. 13:9 Fr we knw in part and we prphesy in part; 1Cr. 13:10 but when the perfect cmes, the partial will be dne away. Paul summarized the list f characteristics that define lve with the statement that lve never fails When Paul says lve never fails, he is speaking in terms f its lngevity in the human experience Lve is a single wrd that describes all the characteristics f a perfect, sinless existence Gd is lve, in the sense that His existence is the embdiment f all the characteristics f lve He is kind, merciful, just, wise, etc. Everything Paul wrte in his list (and even mre) describes the character f Gd And s in that sense, lve never fails, speaking in eternal terms Lve will always be a part f ur experience In fact, nce we reside in ur glrified bdies, we will fully knw lve in ur everyday experience Our every actin will be in keeping with lve The list in 1Cr 13 wn t be an ideal; it will be a reality fr all f us Which is why Paul calls us t even as we are called nw t walk in lve by the pwer f Spirit...t set ur minds n lve in all we d 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 1Crinthians 14A 3 f 14 But in cntrast t lve, Paul says the gifts we pssess nw will fail ne day Unlike lve, spiritual gifts are temprary features f ur existence One day they will n lnger be present in us Because ne day they will n lnger have a purpse Once mre, Paul presents a list f gifts, and nce mre we can tell it s merely a set f examples t illustrate his pint Paul says that the gift f prphecy will cme t an end ne day As we defined prphecy in an earlier lessn, we can already seen a partial fulfillment f Paul s statement Sme kinds f prphecy have ceased already, while thers cntinue fr a time But eventually, all frms f prphecy will end Likewise, Paul says the gifts f tngues and knwledge will cease as well Ntice nce mre that Paul included tngues in this list As I said last week, there is nly ne gift that Paul is careful t include in every list f gifts he prvides in 1Cr: tngues One day, like prphecy, men will n lnger have need f these spiritual abilities But lng after the gifts have departed, lve will remain ur preeminent cncern within the family f Gd Sme interpreters have cncluded that Paul was speaking abut a near-term cessatin f gifts when he wrte this list They anticipate the end f prphecy and tngues at the end f the apstlic age Therefre, they teach that these gifts are entirely unavailable t the bdy f Christ tday While it may be true that sme f these gifts have ceased, at least in part (like prphecy fr the purpse f revealing scripture), the text desn t supprt a cessatin view verall We knw sme frms f prphecy are still in service 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 1Crinthians 14A 4 f 14 And the gift f knwledge (discernment) is never said t cease during the church age And even tngues has a certain place in the church, which we ll learn mre abut in the next chapter S cntextually, we must interpret Paul s examples as lking frward t the kingdm age, when all gifts are gne and lve reigns S why des Paul say the gifts will end in the Kingdm while lve cntinues int eternity? The gifts will cease when they have fulfilled their purpse in the bdy f Christ And their purpse, as Paul just described, is t reflect the lve f Gd int the Church S nce we reach ur glrified state, we will n lnger have need fr spiritual gifts, since at that time will knw and reflect the lve f Gd perfectly In v.10, Paul says when the perfect cmes (that is, ur perfect, sinless, glrified life with Christ), we will put away the partial frm f lve Tday, we shw lve within the bdy thrugh the effective use f ur spiritual gifts When we use them fr the purpse f lving ur brthers and sisters, we are manifesting a prtin f Gd s lve Think f it as a cming attractins preview f the way ur life will be in the Kingdm But bviusly, when the fullness f the Kingdm arrives, we will n lnger have need fr these crutches 1Cr. 13:9 Fr we knw in part and we prphesy in part; 1Cr. 13:10 but when the perfect cmes, the partial will be dne away. 1Cr. 13:11 When I was a child, I used t speak like a child, think like a child, reasn like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1Cr. 13:12 Fr nw we see in a mirrr dimly, but then face t face; nw I knw in part, but then I will knw fully just as I als have been fully knwn. 1Cr. 13:13 But nw faith, hpe, lve, abide these three; but the greatest f these is lve Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 1Crinthians 14A 5 f 14 Tday, when smene serves in the spiritual gift f knwledge r prphecy, we experience a small taste f the Kingdm We culd use the example f a gift f prayer, which expses us t a little f what it will be like t cmmunicate with Gd perfectly In the Kingdm, Isaiah says that ur cmmunicatin will be effrtless Is. 65:24 It will als cme t pass that befre they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. In v.9 Paul uses the examples f the gifts f knwledge and prphecy N matter hw many peple in the Church have these gifts, nevertheless Christian will have experienced nly a partial, a sample f what life will be like in the Kingdm Likewise, in each are f spiritual gifting, we experience a small taste f the perfectin f the cming Kingdm That s why it s s imprtant that we exercise ur gifts in lve nw Because the purpse f a spiritual gift is t give a preview f what prefect lve lks like Paul says we shuld understand the purpse and benefits f spiritual gifts as a temprarily measure resulting frm ur spiritual immaturity Gd has assigned them t us t cmpensate fr the spiritual weaknesses brught abut by the sin living in us Sin has blinded us, deceived us, creating fear and dubt and leading t many ther false and destructive tendencies But in His grace, the Lrd has given the bdy spiritual gifts t cmpensate fr these deficits, as a fretaste f the perfect lve t cme Knwing this, Paul says we we shuld lng fr that time when we will be s perfect in lve that we n lnger depend n thers spiritual gifts t cmpensate fr ur wn spiritual weakness Once again, Paul uses an analgy t illustrate his pint 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 1Crinthians 14A 6 f 14 He says children exhibit certain behavirs befre they becme adults They speak like a child, saying things that are silly r perhaps inapprpriate at times But ne day, they will utgrw these limitatins and speak with the maturity f an adult Children think in childish ways, ften very self-centered, nly thinking abut the near future; never planning beynd tmrrw But adults think deeply and sberly, with a full appreciatin f the past and the future Children reasn in simple and incmplete ways, making decisins withut all the facts Adults pssess a far greater understanding f the wrld, and that understanding infrms their views and actins But then Paul says there cmes a time t set aside the partial t embrace the fullness Once a child has grwn up, he r she gladly puts away childish ways and embraces the benefits f adulthd N adult prefers the immaturity f childhd ver the benefits f adulthd Likewise, we shuldn t make the acquisitin f spiritual gifts as ur eternal gal We shuld understand that we pssess them nly fr a time t prmte lve And we will gladly relinquish them fr the perfectin f lve fund in the Kingdm In v.12 Paul says we have nly a faint, cludy reflectin f what Kingdm life will be like My Bible describes as lking int a mirrr but the wrd in Greek mre literally refers t a crystal ball Paul says that we are lking int a cludy crystal ball as we cnsider what a life f perfectin will be 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 1Crinthians 14A 7 f 14 Our spiritual gifts ffer us a partial understanding f that future state will be like But in the Kingdm I will fully understand Gd and the life He has prepared fr me in perfectin and lve Even as Gd fully knws me nw But fr the time being, Paul says we shuld abide r patiently rely upn ur faith, hpe and lve But the mst imprtant f these heart attitudes is lve Let s cnsider this statement a little mre carefully Paul says until we reach ur perfect state in the Kingdm, we are t patiently rely n faith, hpe and lve - but lve is the greatest Once again, the issue is ne f temprary verses eternal purpse Faith and hpe are temprary devices that bridge ur time until we reach the kingdm Once we see Christ face t face, we will n lnger need r even experience faith Remember faith is the assurance f things hped fr, the cnvictin f things nt seen, accrding t Heb 11:1 But Paul says that faith and hpe are nt required when I see Rm. 8:24 Fr in hpe we have been saved, but hpe that is seen is nt hpe; fr wh hpes fr what he already sees? S faith and hpe are temprary accmmdatins fr the time we spend awaiting the fullness f the prmise t cme But lve is different Lve desn t fade as we enter the Kingdm, it becmes all the mre real and full All thse characteristics f lve Paul listed earlier becme urs frever S Paul ends this chapter calling the church t see spiritual gifts with an eternal appreciatin fr their purpse 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 1Crinthians 14A 8 f 14 T summarize what Paul taught, spiritual gifts are given t manifest the lve f Gd t the saints He uses spiritual gifts t cmpensate fr ur sinful weaknesses S we may experience a small measure f the lve we ll pssess in the Kingdm Therefre, they have a limited purpse and a limited lifespan Furthermre, they must be used in lve if they are ging t fulfill that purpse Which means that we shuld make ur gal lving each ther, nt merely expressing ur gifts fr their wn sake Fr while gifts and faith and hpe have a purpse fr a time, nly lve lives n eternally Therefre, we must make ur gal increasing lve rather than shwcasing ur gifts As we began this chapter, I said that this was a chapter f crrectin, and s it is Paul has been gently chastising this church fr frgetting the real purpse in spiritual gifts They have pushed lve aside t becme selfish, prideful and even hurtful in their use f their gifts Fr the Crinthians, a spiritual gift was a badge f hnr fr the persn wh pssessed it, rather than means f shwing lve t thers But Paul isn t dne chastising the church fr their mistakes In fact, chapter 14 is a full frntal assault n the church s misuse f gifts In this chapter, Paul leaves nthing t chance, spelling ut exactly what the church shuld and shuldn t be ding in the practice f gifts And there is mre than a little irny t be fund in this chapter, because much f what Paul writes in chapter 14 has been twisted by sme t justify the very practices Paul cndemned 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 1Crinthians 14A 9 f 14 1Cr. 14:1 Pursue lve, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that yu may prphesy. 1Cr. 14:2 Fr ne wh speaks in a tngue des nt speak t men but t Gd; fr n ne understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 1Cr. 14:3 But ne wh prphesies speaks t men fr edificatin and exhrtatin and cnslatin. 1Cr. 14:4 One wh speaks in a tngue edifies himself; but ne wh prphesies edifies the church. Paul begins the chapter repeating his cmmand that the church pursue lve, desiring earnestly fr spiritual gifts Remember, this cmmand is stated in the secnd persn plural Paul is asking the church as a whle t see the greater gifts expressed r used where they are present in the bdy Ntice that Paul skips the highest gift, the apstlic gift This makes sense because in Paul s absence there was n apstlic gift in the bdy S the next highest gift wuld be prphesy S in pursuing lve, the church shuld desire t see the highest pririty gift expressed in the bdy abve all ther spiritual gifts But then ntice that the next cmment Paul makes is regarding speaking in tngues, which is the lwest gift n his list f imprtance Why did Paul jump frm prphesy t tngues? He is making a cntrast between the highest and lwest gifts in the bdy And as I mentined last week, the Crinthian church had develped an unhealthy fascinatin with speaking in tngues T the exclusin f ther, mre valuable gifts in the bdy Paul wants the church t mve their attentin away frm the bttm f the list and tward the tp f the list 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 1Crinthians 14A 10 f 14 Remember, the purpse f gifts is t manifest lve in the bdy, s then we shuld assume these gifts are rank rdered in keeping with their ability t prmte lve The revelatin f Gd is far mre pwerful in it s ability t prmte lve within the bdy than is the gift f speaking in a freign tngue I ve mentined the gift f speaking in tngues n numerus ccasins ver the past tw chapters But as yu remember, I set aside discussing it in detail, preferring t wait until we reached this chapter where Paul himself begins t fcus n this particular gift S let s define speaking in tngues First, the wrd tngue in scripture is glssa, which has tw meanings in Greek It means the bdy part fund inside yur muth And it als means human language Obviusly, by the cntext we knw Paul was using the wrd in the sense f human language S the gift f tngues is a gift f a human language It s imprtant t emphasize that a tngue means a real, human language A language has syntax, vcabulary, structure It is nt merely repetitive babbling f a few sunds ver and ver again When yu hear smene speaking in a language yu dn t understand, yu can still recgnize it as human speech Human speech sunds far different than the sunds f a baby babbling r a tddler speaking in nnsense sunds S a tngue is always a real, human language Then hw is it cnsidered a spiritual gift t be able t speak in a human language? 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 1Crinthians 14A 11 f 14 Dn t all humans naturally speak in a language frm a very early age? Yes, but the gift f tngues is a supernatural ability t speak in a freign tngue that the speaker desn t understand themselves Fr example, I speak English, and I knw a little Spanish, but I knw abslutely n Japanese S if I were t suddenly begin speaking t yu in perfectly fluent Japanese, it wuld truly be a miracle Yu wuldn t understand what I was saying If a Japanese speaking persn were present in the mment, they culd understand what I was saying with n truble whatsever But the miracle f the gift is in speaking smething I dn t understand My wn wrds wuld be a cmplete mystery t me I hear them cming ut f my muth, I recgnize it as speech, but I have n idea what I said...in fact, I prbably wuldn t knw what language I was speaking And that s the miracle, that by the pwer f the Spirit, smene can speak a language they dn t understand We can see an example f this gift wrking in exactly this way when we lk at what was happening in the day f Pentecst Acts 2:1 When the day f Pentecst had cme, they were all tgether in ne place. Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came frm heaven a nise like a vilent rushing wind, and it filled the whle huse where they were sitting. Acts 2:3 And there appeared t them tngues as f fire distributing themselves, and they rested n each ne f them. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Hly Spirit and began t speak with ther tngues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:5 Nw there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devut men frm every natin under heaven. Acts 2:6 And when this sund ccurred, the crwd came tgether, and were bewildered because each ne f them was hearing them speak in his wn language. Acts 2:7 They were amazed and astnished, saying, Why, are nt all these wh are speaking Galileans? Acts 2:8 And hw is it that we each hear them in ur wn language t which we were brn? 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
12 1Crinthians 14A 12 f 14 Luke describes the mment when the Hly Spirit first indwelled the church saints n the day f Pentecst On that day, many believers received the gift f tngues simultaneusly, which is a very unique event in the church In the bk f Acts, there are nly tw ther ccasins when a large grup f believers are given the gift f tngues in a mass gathering Paul will explain why this was necessary later in chapter 14 Then ntice what Luke reprts as this crwd begin speaking in freign languages In v.4 Luke says that there were Jews living in Jerusalem at this time, having cme frm every natin under heaven This means that within the crwd were expatriate Jews wh had cme frm ther natins and wh understd virtually every language n earth Then in v.6 Luke writes that these men were amazed as and astnished by the display f speaking in tngues And they say are nt these the men wh speak in the language f the Galileans (which was Aramaic)? Then they g n t say in v.8, then why d we hear them speaking in ur wn languages, the languages we ve had since birth? By their statement, we see prf that speaking in tngues is nt babbling in unintelligible manner r speaking in mysterius sunds n ne understands On the cntrary, speaking in tngues is speaking in a nrmal, understandable human language The miracle is that the speaker himself desn t understand the language The Spirit is prmpting the speech supernaturally This leads us t the final thught fr tday...what is the edifying purpse f such a gift? Hw des anyne benefit spiritually frm smene speaking in a language that the speaker himself can t understand? 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
13 1Crinthians 14A 13 f 14 Paul answers that questin in v.2 He says that the ne wh is gifted t speak in tngues is speaking t Gd alne, nt t men This makes sense, since the speech is likely t be freign nt nly t the individual speaking but als t his audience Had Gd nt assembled the grup f freign Jews n Pentecst, n ne in the crwd f Galileans wuld have understd the speech that day And s in mst cases where tngues takes place, we might expect few f any bservers t understand what s said Therefre, the gift serves the purpse f edifying nly the ne wh speaks N ne else benefits frm the speaking in tngues gift except the speaker alne And even then, the benefit t the speaker is minimal Ntice Paul says the speaker is cmmunicating in mysteries He means the speaker is actually cut ut f his wn cnversatin with Gd S the edifying impact f speaking in tngues is limited t the degree f encuragement that cmes in knwing Gd is wrking in yu This is why the gift ranks last in imprtance in the bdy It serves t edify nly ne persn, and even then nly t a limited degree But in cntrast t that gift, the gift f prphecy has tremendus ptential t edify the bdy In v.3 Paul says that prphecy can impact many peple in the bdy fr the purpse f edificatin, exhrtatin and cnslatin I can strengthen thers with revelatin frm Gd Prphecy can mve the bdy f Christ int taking actin fr the sake f righteusness 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
14 1Crinthians 14A 14 f 14 And I can cnsle thse wh are under trials r persecutin with a wrd frm Gd These are great benefits that far utweigh the limited benefits f speaking in tngues S Paul cncludes his intrductin t chapter 14 by saying the ne wh uses the gift f prphecy edifies the church, while the ne wh speaking in tngues nly edifies himself Clearly, if the gal f spiritual gifts is t shw lve t the bdy and strengthen the bdy, then prphecy is a much mre imprtant gift than tngues Which is why Paul says the church shuld seek after prphecy when it s available in the church far mre than it shuld seek t see the gift f tngues utilized in the church With that, Paul is ready t expse the prblems with the manner and practice f tngues in this church, beginning with ur study next week 2014 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.