Vs 1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
Vs 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
Vs 12 … since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
Vs 19 … in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Vs 20 … do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
Vs 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
Vs 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Paul is instructing a church in how to gather in a way that honors God.
This will lead to mature thinking among believers, new faith among nonbelievers, and humble worship by both.
Unfortunately, people in this church were trying to use their God given spiritual gifts to exalt themselves in a church service.
“Tongues”, a worship language between the person and God, would just build up the individual.
“Prophesy”, speaking truth of God directly and understandably, would build the whole body.
Both are important, and Paul shows a concern for both the individual and the body.
But Paul also expresses primary concern with honoring God, along with the “outsider”.
So, Paul shows how this all works together:
The individual believer (“mature thinking”)
The whole church (“built up”)
The outsider (“convicted”, “falling on his face”)
God (“worshipped”, “really among you”)
Do I like something “showy”, “new”, … a “personal experience”?
This can like the “speaking a tongue” Paul talks about. The Corinthians wanted to “show off” their personal gift.
The gift God gave them, they were using to make themselves look “special” or attract attention to themselves.
The problem is that attention only made that person feel good.
God was actually undermined, and strangers from the faith were actually distracted from who God actually is.
During a gathering a believers, Paul would rather speak 5 intelligent, instructional words than “show off” his spiritual gifts.
What about me?
Do I recognize God as the giver of whatever gift I have?
Do I care about the proper use of those gifts?
Do I care about the other individuals who may encounter me using those gifts?
Do I care about building up the church or puffing up myself?
Do I want God to be worshipped … or me?
The proper use of any God given gift is paradoxical … and it’s the way the John the Baptist said …
“I must decrease, He must increase.”
Thank you, God, that you are a giver of gifts
Help me see you
Help me Holy Spirit to use them maturely
Help others to see you in their use
In Jesus name