A New Problem

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts,
but rather that ye may prophecy.”     I Corinthians 14:1.

One would think that — if a church of believers was inundated with these kind of problems that a drunk in their midst, a lack of knowledge how to participate in the Lord’s Supper, a division among the believers, a failure to recognize the division of labor in the body, the great tendency to commit fornication, a duty of the man and woman in marriage, a duty to be a servant among fellow Christians —  that finally there would be a tremendous desire to remove themselves from sin such as set out in the chapters of I Corinthians.

Now a new contention had arisen among this group of new Christians. We are uncertain what all had happened,  but it was strong enough in the center of this congregation that Paul felt necessary to discuss their action in a letter that even today most modern churches are puzzled by it.

We are not certain what happened to this group of people. Yes, Greece was at a crossroads between what we call Asia Minor today and the rest of the Mediterranean Sea to the West. The trade which flowed between the eastern mainland of the Roman Empire and the rest of the known world was tremendous. As might be expected, different languages were common in the large cities. This is true even today in places like: New York City, New York; London, England; Amsterdam, Holland; Berlin, Germany; and Paris, France; that many tongues are spoken by the people.

This could have been what happened; but, from the words penned by Paul this was not the situation from this writer’s viewpoint.

In our vocabulary, the event was the uttering of sound that is not of any words we know on this globe. It was puzzling to anyone who was preached to in the meeting of the church. Paul addressed this in I Corinthians 14:2.

“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but
unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh
mysteries.”

Previously Paul told these new Christians to do everything in an orderly fashion. He spoke of this issue in I Corinthians 14:40.

“Let all things be done decently and in order.”

From the words written by the Apostle to the Gentiles to this church, it was without question that the different languages spoken or the sound used audibly was of deep concern to the man who founded the gathering of believers at Corinth that their letter was written. At least in the mind of your writer, I am not sure what was spoken when the group came together.

 

TONGUE MOVEMENT

As a very young man living in a small Kentucky town it was not uncommon to go to a vacant lot in the summer and lay outside near a tent that accommodated a hundred or so people and listen to the itinerate preacher rant, yell and plead with people to put the Spirit into their lives.

There was always a time when someone would feel the Spirit and begin to speak in sounds that were not understood by the audience who were enthralled by the men on the platform or the stage up front. To a young boy of 11 or 12 – it was entertaining.

The group who proclaims this now is mainly the present day Pentecostal churches. It seems that once you have heard anyone who speaks in tongues there are but 4 ways to deal with this.

  • Laugh at the ignorance
  • Frown on it
  • State it is gibberish
  • Accept it as the Spirit in the person

When we read I Corinthians 14, there is a fundamental idea presented to the reader.

 It is simply put that the action of the church body –  is to build it up by our actions.

It would be absurd to go to the church gathering and be totally confused what was happening. All should have a purpose according to I Corinthians 14:3

“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation,
and comfort.”

Paul states that those who speak in tongues are trying to show off before others. I Corinthians 14:4  tells us this is to be true.

“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that
prophesieth edifieth the church.”

The services when we gather in a time of worship and above all to persuade all to follow what God has told us to do in our life, as well as persuade others to accept Christ as Lord.

 

PROPHESY

In the Holy Word the word prophecy has two meanings and before the meaning can be found it should not be taken out of context. The two meanings are foretelling the future and the second is to exhort the hearer to act quickly. In the chapter before us now the word prophesy means to exhort or move people to action. In I Corinthians 14:5, Paul says two actions in the church gathering which can be stated but one is superior to the other. Speaking in tongues are inferior to a prophecy.

“I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for
greater is he that prophesied than he that speaketh with tongues, except he
interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”

Paul knew the mind and character of all of us; for our task is to persuade people to follow the commandments of God when spoken by His Son the Lord.

In the history of the United States there have been unusual prophets:

 William Jennings Bryan was such a man when he delivered the “Cross of Gold” speech. Jonathan Mayhew when he preached the right to rebel sermon against George III. John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s First Inaugural presentation on that cold January day in Washington, D.C.

Paul was a man who was able to focus on the point that was at hand. We are thus confused when he used the word prophet, because he knew that to understand – there must be a concentration mentally upon the issue.  It must also be for a profit. This is exactly what he was bringing to the attention in I Corinthians 14:6.

“Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit
you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by
prophesying, or by doctrine?”

Yes, sounds do produce actions for people to react. Anciently, bugles and drums were instruments that called soldiers to action in battle. This is the reason bands are used in parades so that the group moves in unison that follows the instruments. Just as the formation of soldiers begin marching on the left foot and the big drum keeps the beat.

As humans we respond to the beat of the drums (tongues) of others,  and their words and ideas are moving people. So we should go to church each Sunday so that words will move us to a profitable action. Paul said if there is confusion then what result? It makes sense what he wrote in I Corinthians 14:7,8,9:

“And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they
give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the
battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be
understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the
air.”

The point is to pay attention to what is said.

DIFFERENT VOICES

We in the church have not paid attention to the voices that have spoken out in contesting Christianity. The voices have been becoming louder and louder from the government to put Christians in a hole and then to cover the hole so our voices of right and wrong will be muffled so God’s will cannot be heard. Look at the list below and then tell me the Federal government wants us to exist.

  • Abortion (murder)
  • No wearing of Christian symbols such as a cross
  • No Christmas scenes on public property
  • No mention of God by politicians
  • No criticism of muslims’
  • No criticism of marxists’

There are some voices that are ringing in our ears now. Remember words have voices. Paul knew this to be true for he took special issue with those who confused people with words, even though it was called – speaking in tongues.

What Christians should do when the body is gathered, is to build up the body itself. Paul had this uncanny ability to see words and actions for what they were. This is the reason when he wrote I Corinthians 14: 10,11,12,13.

“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them
is without signification. Therefore, I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall
be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a
barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts,
seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore, let him that
speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.”

Today, I seldom hear any preacher tell the faults of marxist, social gospels and then point out the terrible consequences and deny the veracity of the scripture. Then these infidels take apart what they want to believe.

A few days ago there was a mass murder scene in Paris, France. France has been lax in allowing infidels into their nation and now there will be the cry that France must do something. This all should have been decided decades ago. Yes one feels sorry for the living who had this happen to them.  The truth is it was brought on by the ignorant people who would not listen. Now the penalty is set out:  We are at war with Islam.

The mind can be molded by good and sinful people. Bad voices should be called out and destroyed when the church does not act then we see the results in horrible events.

Our task is to edify the church. Get serious about building up the body of Christ.

Keep the faith!

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

“Onward, Christian solders! Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before,
Christ the royal Master, Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, See His banners go!
Onward, then, ye people, Join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song,
Glory, laud, and honor, Unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages, Men and angels sing.”
“Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.”

 
Gerald Fugit

November 15, 2015

www,diggingoldwells.com

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