Disorderly worship: Part 2

The Church of Corinth; Struggling to be in the world but not of the world  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:33
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Today we are going to look at part two of the sermon series entitled, disorderly worship. We know that this study has been in the context of the Corinthian church, and it has been challenging to look at the application for New Testament churches today. This is a challenge, because, Paul spins two chapters discussing the use of miraculous spiritual gifts are no longer necessary in the church. But what we have learned is that we can be challenged by Paul’s words to be a church that is orderly and not a church that breeds confusion and chaos and our worship gathering.
Last week, we looked at Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians about the use of tongues and prophecy. We first looked at the components of beneficial worship, which include the use of the spirit and the mind centered and focused on Christ and his word. We also looked up the challenges of the orderly worship gathering with both the presence of believers and unbelievers together during the worship time. This presents challenges because Unbelievers lack the illumination of the of the sermon, and the meaning of the words that are sung the hymns which leads to boredom and disconnect. We focused on how the church gathering on Sundays focuses on the edification of the believer, while the mission of the church of disciples.
Today we are going to spend the rest of our time looking at part two of this sermon, disorderly worship, and we will study Paul’s final word in this letter to the Corinthians regarding spiritual gifts.

1. Proper Components of Worship Promotes Order (26-33)

A. Guidelines for our worship 26

1 Corinthians 14:26 NASB95
26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
In verse 26, Paul identifies the guidelines for gathering in the Corinthian church. He is by no means giving New Testament churches a standard order of service as if this list contains all of the necessary components for worship. Nor does it appear that he is giving us every component of their worship at Corinth. His point again is about the order of things in the service. You will notice the individual emphasis of structure for each component and the participation of different persons in those components. Let’s look at those two ideas more in-depth.
First off, we need to have orderly worship with proper organization. In order to avoid chaos and confusion the organization of our worship gathering is necessary. We want our components to center and focus on Christ and the necessity of his word in each component you can see here, Paul is such a principal by identifying the different components, each with a purpose that is edifying to the body. Much like his previous exhortation about the diversity of gifts in the membership and the need for each gift given, so also the differing components of a worship gathering are also necessary. We organize our gathering here at Redemption to include necessary components of worship, not found in this list of Pauls, but instead throughout scripture. Some of those components are
1. singing about and to Lord
Psalm 146:2 NASB95
2 I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Mark 14:26 NASB95
26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Ephesians 5:18–19 NASB95
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
2. Reading Scripture
We see examples of the public reading of scripture throughout the Bible. In the book of Exodus, Moses, read the law to the people.( ex 24:7) During the exile, we see Ezra, reading the scripture before the people leading them to repentance and weeping over their rebellion (Nehemiah 8:3-4). in the New Testament, Paul commanded the churches to read his letters, and share them with the other churches, knowing that God was speaking through him.
1 Timothy 4:13 NASB95
13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
3. Prayer
Acts 2:42 NASB95
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
4. Exhortation
Colossians 3:16 NASB95
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
5. Ordinances
Lords supper “do this in remembrance
Baptism matt 28:19 “baptizing in the name of father, son, spirit.

B. Guidelines for their tongue use (27-28)

1 Corinthians 14:27–28 NASB95
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
Paul then goes into detail by describing guidelines for the use of tongues and prophecy. Again these guidelines are to produce order and not chaos as he will state in verse 33 in summary. The guidelines for tongue use are found in versus 27 and 28. Paul Instruct the church that tongue speaking should be by only two or three at the same time in a gathering, and each taking turns with an interpreter following the revelation via tongue.
We can all imagine thanks to family dinners over the holidays or birthdays when everyone is sitting at the kitchen table and people begin to try and talk over one another at the same time. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s very challenging to listen to the person I’m speaking to, when other people are speaking to one another right next to me, or across the table from me. the results are simply confusion and distraction.
This is Paul’s point in stating that a revelatory tongue can be given followed by interpretation in order to bless the church, followed by one or two more tongues with interpretation. We might assume that Paul limits the tongue speaking to two or three in order for the attendees to truly be blessed and focus on each revelation that have been given and not be overwhelmed with so many prophetic words that it was too much to digest at one time.
Verse 28 is intriguing to me because it says that if there is no interpreter, then the person with the tongue must be silent in the church. It is safe to assume that the church knew who those with the gift of interpretation were so that if those persons were not present in the gathering, then they would not been able to share what God had given them to say.
These guidelines, of course, refute any contemporary uses of tongue speaking which lead to unintelligible babbling and noisemaking. In these context, there is never interpretation, but instead, entertaining and amusement. This, of course, does not build up the body of Christ, nor aid in their spiritual growth or sanctification.

C. Guidelines for their prophecy (29-33)

1 Corinthians 14:29–33 NASB95
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
The guidelines for prophecy were similar, whereby Paul instructs in the orderly prophetic word given. We have been using Tom Screiners deifintion of prophecy as
“the reception of spontaneous revelations from God…(that )instruct, encourage, and warn the people of God.”
Some of that revelation has been recorded in scripture such as the letter of first Corinthians that we are studying today. In versus 29 through 33, Paul once again classifies the use of prophecy with order. Only two or three prophets could speak during a worship gathering. This would prohibit chaotic words of the Lord coming from differ3ent directions at the same time in the worship gathering.
I have never been a big fan of the worship experience where we divide up in groups and we pray out loud in those groups over different areas of prayer concerns regrading missions or other topics. The reason why I don’t prefer it is that its heard to hear and pray along with those in your group with the sound of others praying in other groups out loud. Its distracting and hard for someone who is easily distracted at time.
I can only the confusion when multiple people started giving prophectic revelation at the same time in a worship gathering. It only makes sense that Paul would quell such a practice so that order lead to edification.
Paul also gives a second guideline to prophecy in the church and that requires those to in the gathering to pass judgment on the prophet.
Passing judgment was simply for the prophet to be evaluated on whether his revelation truly came from the Lord. We would assume that this process was consistent with the Old Testament evaluation of prophets that is found in Deuteronomy chapter 18.
Deuteronomy 18:21–22 NASB95
21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Now continuationists claim that the passing judgement is not evaluting the prophet and his word as true or false. They claim passing judgment is evaluating which parts of his prophecies are true and which are false. This understanding flows from their belief that NT prophets can give truth mixed with error.
But I have sought to prove that NT prophecy and OT prophecy must be the same and as some scholars point out, “the burden of proof falls on those who claim it has changed.” Instead, with prophecy the same, then evaluation of prophets is also the same. Prophets are judged by the accuracy of their prophecies. Simply put, do their words from the Lord come true or do they contradict truth already given from God?
1 John 4:1 NASB95
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Friends, we are no longer receiving such prophecies from direct revelation from God. The Roman Catholic church does not give us new revelation through its popish ex cathedra, the charismatic preacher does not give it from his impressions from the Lord. The Holy Spirit has already given this revelation to us through the prophets and apostles as Peter reminds us
2 Peter 3:1–2 NASB95
1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
Therefore, we should all be Bereans to study the Scriptures ourselves and know with our own responsibility what is being taught to truly biblical or not. If I get my interpretation of a passage wrong and I can be shown from the Scriptures, then I will acknowledge such a mistake and I will make a correction. I am by no means standing in this pulpit each week stating that I have all the answers. My accountability comes from you knowing that as a teacher and preacher, I face a greater condemnation if I lead people astray into false teaching.
This leads to my second point…

2. Proper authority in worship promotes order (34-40)

A. Wives were out of order (vs. 34-35)

1 Corinthians 14:34–35 NASB95
34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.
Now this passage is one of the most insulting and offensive passages to a feminist culture that strives to fight for the equal authority of women in the home. Opponents of this verse fight hard and long against the created order that God established in the home and the church. That ordained order is that men are placed as leaders of the home and the church.
Now why does Paul insert such a passage in his discussion of tongues and prophecy and does this relate to the teaching and preaching of women in churches? I would say that this passage does NOT deal with the woman’s role in gathering of the church as it relates to leadership.
You can find that instruction in 1 Tim 2:11-12
1 Timothy 2:11–12 NASB95
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
In 1 Tim 2-3, Paul is dealing with the structure and organization of the church and there he is clearly laying out in those chapters how the church is led by elders who are men. Those male elders are responsible before God to shepherd the church body with all integrity and holiness.
In 1 Tim 2:13-14
1 Timothy 2:13–14 NASB95
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Paul here looks back to the creation order as a means to solidify that leadership in both the home and church. He points this out in Eph 5 in the context of the home looking back to the same creation order of Gen 2-3.
But in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is dealing with a particular situation in Corinth that comes from this foundation of Gen 2-3, but it is not specifically regarding the role of female leadership in church gatherings. As you can see from the title of this point, it wasn’t women in general, but specifically wives who were out of order.
Now let’s go back for a minute to chapter 11 of 1 Cor to remember the environment of the Corinthian church and other problems that Paul addressed. In this chapter, Paul deals with an issue of church disorder as well. There were women who were usurping the authority of men that God had established in Gen 2-3 and they were not wearing the cultural veil over their heads. This veil in Paul’s day was a way for women to signify submission and modesty in the church. The veil was like a t-shirt worn by a women which stated, “I am not offended with the leadership of men over me.”
But in Corinth, you could say a group of women were trying to upset the apple cart and stream upstream against God’s created order of leadership of men over women in the church and home.
Now in chapter 14, regarding tongues and prophecy, Paul is not inserting some disconected thought about the women’s role in church leadership. Instead, he is point to the break down of proper submission of the husbands and wives in church settings.
Notice with me:
Twice in v 34, women are prohibited to speak and once in v 35. Now the obvious question is speak what?
The context surrounding this question and prohibition is the speaking in tongues or prophecy in the church setting. The immediate context when Paul states this is found in v 30-33
1 Corinthians 14:30–33 NASB95
30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Naturally, for Paul to insert this here, helps us narrow down the subject matter to just prophecy. Is Paul warning against female prophets? No! Because in chapter 11, it appears that some women were given revelation from the Lord in the NT church. Paul mentions them prophesying with their heads uncovered. Let’s not take this so far as to say that is some evidence that women can be in authoritative roles in the church, since Paul is not dealing with that structure in 1 Cor 11 either.
What I think really solidifies the understanding of this passage is found in v 35
1 Corinthians 14:35 NASB95
35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.
Notice Paul connects everything for us in v 35, regarding the clear context with the prohibition. The warning against women speaking is connected with women asking their husbands at home. In other words, this is a martial issue that spills over into the church. From what we can understand, it seems that as Paul is teaching on prophecy and those who pass judgment on it, it sparked a rebuke towards some women who were causing disorder in the church.
It appears that dispute became public over husbands who were giving prophecies and the wives who were engaging in passing judgment on those prophecies. This became inappropriate not because the woman was incapable of giving an evaluation, but for Paul is was a public shame on the order of the home. It disgraced and embarrassed the husband to be questioned publically by the wife. Thus Paul’s exhortation was that wives were to remain silent in “passing judgments” and instead ask their husbands at home.
These verses have led critics of the created order of the Christ-led home to extreme accusations. Those accusations go something like: the Bible wants women to be ignorant child-bearers. They are suppressing the equal image bearers of God. But all this simply points to is that God gave husbands and fathers leadership in the home to lead their family biblically. It doesn’t mean women are forbidden to learn Scripture on their own. Clearly, women have great value to church ministry today. But Paul, referring to the Law of God points back to what was given by Moses to the people as a proper order from God created first man and then woman.
A healthy church setting is when families that are represented reflect a loving leadership from the husband and submissive respect from the wife. To desire women to lead in the home or in the church goes against the God’s design for the the nuclear family and the body of Christ.

B. Critics were out of order (36-40)

1 Corinthians 14:36–40 NASB95
36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? 37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. 38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
Lastly, Paul calls out those who were critics of his ministry and authority. These critics were clearly opposing Paul’s teachings and his authoritative voice in the church. He asks two rhetorical questions, which actually stress the importance of Paul’s voice in the church throughout history.
1 Corinthians 14:36 NASB95
36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?
Paul is answering his critics with the evidence that Corinth needed to be reminded of as it relates to Paul’s authority in the churches. He brought forth the gospel to them in his missionary journeys. He helped them organize into functioning churches. He sent them qualified leadership and provided consistent discipleship as these baby churches grew past infant stages into maturity.
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