Orderly Edification

Studies in First Corinthians – XXIV

1 Corinthians 14:26-40

Paul describes here a church which may seem unfamiliar to most of us today. If you are old enough to remember a good old fashioned testimony service, his words will make perfect sense. “When you come together,” he says, “everyone has a song, or a teaching, or a revelation. Everyone has something to add to the service.” The people to whom Paul was writing to did not come to church to receive all the time, they came to give.

Paul admonished them to be sure that everything they did was for the edifying (building up) of the Church. Every believer, whether they came with a song, a testimony, a teaching, or a revelation, was contributing to the upbuilding and ministry of the entire congregation. Everyone came to play their part, contributing to the overall health of the body.

What positive contribution are you making to this goal? Every one of us has something to give and no one’s gift is insignificant. We should come to every service prepared to give; give worship to God and give in ministry to the Church body.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. -Acts 20:25

Obviously, if everyone comes bursting with something to say or do, things can get out of hand very easily. Paul uses the remainder of this chapter to bring balance to the enthusiasm of believers to contribute to the service. He begins by correcting certain practices and concludes with a simple summary, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (14:40).

The word “decently” means “with beauty.” The word “order” means “arrangement.” Let everything be done in beauty and by arrangement. This can only be an outflow of a private spiritual life of a child of God. Without a personal relationship with God, you will never come to a service with something to contribute. It is out of that private and personal communion with God that you can come to a service with a song on your heart and a testimony for the Lord that will minister to the Body of Christ.

What Gift Are You Giving?

Studies in First Corinthians – XVIII

1 Corinthians 12:1-12

As we turn to the twelfth chapter, Paul begins to deal with spiritual gifts. These gifts were God’s answer to the divisions and carnality that plagued the Corinthian Church. They are for the benefit, not of myself, but of other people. God gives us the gifts so that we can minister to the needs of others; He gives so that we can give. Spiritual gifts are an answer to division because they were meant for mutual ministry among the Church body.

Diversity is one of the most beautiful things about the body of Christ: different temperaments, personalities, races, social backgrounds, and many others. We are all saved but thank God that we are not all the same! Despite all of these differences we each go to the same source for our gifts:

“Now there are diversities of gifts (gifting, talents, ability), but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations (types of ministry), but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations (expressions of God’s power), but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (12:4-6).

The problem in Corinth was that these gifts were being used in an immature manner for self-promotion when they were meant to be used for the good of the Church body. The Lord desires that each of His children would not only be equipped individually for the journey, but that they would be well able to minister to and profit one another.

He knows how to distribute the gifts, and He “divides to every man according as he will” (12:11). It is not ours to decide which gift we will receive. We are not to complain if someone receives a gift and we do not. We are only asked to use the gift that He has given us to minister to the Body of Christ.

What gift are you giving?

Body of Christ, Who’s In?

“R only Acts 2 believers a part of the body of Christ?”

This is the question that was posed on Twitter by a friend of mine. Although the question was not directed to me, my wheels immediately began spinning.

Photo by bemky

I’m not sure that the tweet expressed my friend’s true question. My response to the question as stated would be, Yes, only those who believe Acts 2 are a part of the body of Christ. In fact, I believe that anyone who rejects any portion of Scripture would be exempt from the body of Christ. It makes no difference if it is Acts 2 or Isaiah 48.

However, I don’t believe that this is the question my friend was asking. I believe he was asking if those who do not interpret and apply Acts 2 as Apostolic Pentecostals do are a part of the body of Christ. In order to answer that question, we must answer the question, How does someone become a part of the body of Christ? The Word of God speaks a clear answer.

We are baptized into the body.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:13

The Greek preposition translated by is en – the same preposition is used in Acts 1:5 (ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.) We could translate this verse, “With one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” When we are baptized in the Spirit we receive Christ into our lives and become a part of the body of Christ (read also Ephesians 2:13-22).

This is exactly what happened in Acts 2 when Peter stood up and delivered his sermon. When the people were convicted and had faith to accept the sacrifice of Jesus he commanded them to “Repent and be baptized…and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit)” (Acts 2:38).

That being said, let me add one more thing, and I believe this will get down to the real issue that my friend was concerned about when he posed his question.

Only those who have believed and applied Acts 2 are a part of the body of Christ. However, we must be careful not to have an “us versus them” mentality. What if Peter would have had an “us versus them” mentality concerning Cornelius? What if Aquila and Priscilla would have had an “us versus them” mentality concerning Apollos? This world is full of people like Cornelius and Apollos. They love the LORD and are sincere in their desire to please Him. They need someone to preach the truth to them that they may be a part of the body of Christ.