10 Jul 2022
Just because one possesses some spiritual gift does not mean that one can use it indiscriminately in the church worship services. Worship must be orderly. And spiritual gifts are therefore to be used judiciously. Orderly worship allows for edification of the saints, a proper reflection of the nature of God- that He is the God of order, and not of chaos, and thirdly, a proper witness to the unsaved in our midst. Disorderly worship, on the other hand, makes proper edification difficult, reflects poorly on who God is, and causes the unsaved to think Christians are out of their minds. Thus, there are rules that God gives to ensure orderly worship, even with the use of gifts. Find out what they are in this sermon. You will also learn how you can better serve God with true humility and discernment.
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As a church, we have been going through the book of 1st Corinthians. We've been doing so for the past year or so, I last checked we began in June 2021. So now, it's more than a year, and we are nearing actually the end of the book of 1st Corinthians.
I start with a story, a young boy was in church service with his dad in United States. After service, they walked along the church corridors to exit the place, of course. And the boy noticed that there are pictures of men in military uniforms along the wall. And so he asked dad, "Dad, whose pictures are these." The father says, "These are the men who died in service." And the boy asked, "The 9 A.M or the 11 A.M service?"
Today, we're going to look at 1st Corinthians 14, that is about the worship service. We are offered a glimpse into how worship services were like in the early church in ancient Corinth. But let me warn you, it's not a pretty sight, because it reveals a church that is showing off or flaunting their spiritual gifts, causing a kind of class divide.
Paul, recognizing that this is unhealthy, wrote the book of 1st Corinthians, amongst other reasons to correct such a selfish, prideful attitude.
We remember ... I hope you remember, we looked at 1st Corinthians, chapter 13. And how Paul says, "Instead of boasting about your gifts, instead of coveting the showy gifts, you should really pursue love. Not use your gifts to boost your ego, but use your gifts to serve one another, because that is the way of love."
Then we saw last Sunday, that Paul illustrates for us what love will look like with regard to spiritual gifts. That you would aim to use your gifts to build up one another, to build up the church. In other words, you will use your gifts to serve one another, and at times you may even have to withhold or restrain the use of some of your gifts, because that may not be helpful to others. He applied particularly in the gifts of tongues and prophecy.
So in order to edify people, you've got to use your gifts in a wise and orderly fashion. So today in verse 26, all the way to verse 40, we're going to see how Paul talks about "Spiritual Gifts & Orderly Worship".
I think it's a very simple passage of Scripture, in essence, Paul is going to talk about how tongues, the gift of tongues, the ability, the supernatural ability to speak in a previously unlearned but known language, is to be employed in the church in an orderly fashion.
Then, he's going to show us how prophecy is to be employed in a church, in an orderly fashion, and then somewhat of a diversion, somewhat of a ... a kind of rabbit trail, if I may say, he also talks about wives and how they are to behave in such a way that is congruent with orderly worship.
So that's what we're going to look at, and the context I think, is laid down and brought to us again in verse 26, "What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation." [1 Cor 14:26]
So, this verse tells you that the worship in the days of Corinth seem to be very colorful. One thing you must not say is that it is boring, because it's quite exciting. You have different people stepping up with different employment of spiritual gifts. But you get the impression here that this is ... this is rather messy, this is rather chaotic. People are fighting to speak a lesson or to sing a hymn or to give a revelation, and so there is a lot of chaos and mess and disorderliness that triggers Paul's comments here.
They ... they are doing this to boost their own ego apparently, because Paul goes on to say, "Let all things be done for building up". [1 Cor 14:26] So obviously, they're not doing these things, to serve one another but to show-off their own gifts. So Paul says, "Let all things be done for building up." Use your gifts, share a revelation, but it must all be towards helping one another.
So aim for building up not to be puffed up, or you ... if you may put it in another way, those gifts are given by God and to be used by the people of God for edification, not exhibition.
That is probably the issue at hand in the church of Corinth.
So, love — chapter 13, would aim to edify in chapter 14, verses 1-12, and it will be used in an orderly worship. So how will worship be orderly when I have the gift of tongues? He says, "If any speak in a tongue." [1 Cor 14:27]
So, if anyone here today wants to use their spiritual gifts of tongues, there are rules to follow.
Number one, "Let there be only two or at most three." [1 Cor 14:27] So maximum number of speakers, tongue speakers who can speak in tongues in a service is three — max.
And second rule is that they must teach or, "They must speak in turn." [1 Cor 14:27] So you can't all speak together, maximum three, and you must do it one by one.
And finally, "Let someone interpret." [1 Cor 14:27] There must be someone who will make sense of you speaking in a different language, because the goal is edification. If this is not interpreted, nobody understands what you're saying, it's not intelligible, there's no edification then you should not speak.
And it is not I who say this because in verse 28, "But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God." [1 Cor 14:28]
So, if someone walks into Gospel Light and says, "I want to speak in tongues in the church service, can I do it?" Well, there will be a few questions I'd like to ask if I have the privilege to.
Number one, I'll ask is - Is it a language or is this gibberish, babbling, a nonsensical articulation of sounds? Because when I read my Bible, I understand tongues to be an ability to speak in a known language. So if you tell me, I can speak in tongues but it's not the language, I say, "That is not the gift of tongues. Whatever you want to call it, you can call it, but I don't think it squares up with a biblical understanding of tongues." So I will ask, first of all - Is it a known language?
Number two, I would ask - What is it for? "Oh, I speak in tongues, so that ... so that I can teach the church." Or I would ask, "Would it be interpreted, because that's important?" But most importantly, I hope people understand that the purpose of tongues is already stated in 1st Corinthians 14, "It is a sign to unbelieving people." And I think in particular to unbelieving Jews, because it is only the people of Israel, the Jews who understand the context.
For those who are new, I think it is hard for me to recap all that we went through last week, you might want to just check on the sermon that is online already. But I'll ask - What is the purpose of you speaking in tongues?
And then number three, I would ask - How is it to be used in the church? If you want to speak in tongues, would you follow the principles or the rules that are given here? Maximum three, must be one by one, and there must be an interpreter.
Just a side note, after I preached the sermon I preached last Sunday, it is definitely a sensitive and I think very personal topic to many people, I got some feedback. I thought I would have more feedback, but just a few. But in essence, they are quite different.
On one camp, there are those who feel that I was not strong or assertive enough, "You should have made it clearer that it is wrong!" Okay, huh, huh, I thought I was clear, but apparently not so emphatic as I, maybe you felt I should be. On the other hand, there are those who felt that I may be unkind, in that I mocked Christians who have an erroneous view of tongues.
Ur, let me be clear, I am against the false tongues and how it is circulating around, and how it is being propagated as God's gift. I think that is grievous! Now, you may have your own personal experiences that when you spoke in what you spoke in, there ... there was a sense of intimacy and joy, I ... I understand you may have an emotional experience.
But I can't argue based on personal experience, my basis is scriptural revelation. When I read my Bible, I just see tongues as the ability to speak in a previously unlearned but known language, and if it doesn't square up with that, I can't kind of agree when the Bible doesn't tell me that I can. So I'm against the false tongues and fake tongues or the false practices of so called, "Tongues".
But I'm not against Christians, who may be practicing like, in such a manner, because at the end of the day, whether you think you speak in tongues or not, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, if we both repent and believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ.
I have friends, pastor friends who believe they speak in tongues. Now, I don't pick a fight with them when I meet, they are still my friends, they're still my brothers. And these are not I think at the end of the day Gospel issues, they are secondary issues. And perhaps we can agree to disagree, like how baptism should be done — is it by immersion, is it by sprinkling. There may be some who strongly believe in infant baptism, and that's not what I see in the Bible, but I won't separate from you over these things.
So let me be clear, I mocked the false practices, I think they are absolutely ... I can't find it in the Bible, but I love my friends, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. So if you have friends, who may not have the same understanding with regard to tongues, I hope you do not pick a fight with them every time you meet with them, because you will not ... you won't have friends after that. But love them, respect them, help them if they should ask, and if they should want to understand your perspective. But we can agree to disagree, and we can love one another in a charitable way, alright.
So nevertheless, if someone comes to Gospel Light and says, "I want to speak in tongues in church." I would as a pastor responsibly, I hope, ask them some of the questions like this.
So at the end of the day, I think it's very clear. When you go to a church, and if the church tells you, "We practise tongues." Then I think it must conform, at least to these rules, even if you don't agree with me that it is a known language, it must at least follow these rules.
And if the whole church bursts out in babbling, in utterances, I think that's unbiblical. Because it is already clear, maximum three, one by one, and there must be interpretation. So that accords itself to orderly worship, I think that's important to grasp.
We looked at tongues, then let's go to prophecy. So Paul says, "Tongues must be practiced in an orderly way, prophecy must also be practiced in an orderly way." So the same principle applies, it's not targeting tongues, alright. "Prophecy also maximum, three, and let the others weigh what is said." [1 Cor 14:29]
So if you say you have the gift of prophecy, and you want to give a prophecy, well, you can, but it will be subject to a discernment and judgment of God's people. Just because you say, you've the gift of prophecy, doesn't mean everything that you say must be correct. Or if we say it in Singapore, durian language, pao chiak.
Not always pao chiak, you got to test, you got to weigh, it's got to be subjected to that assessment! I think this 'others' would refer probably to the entire church, particularly of course, the leaders, but I think everyone will have a role to discern if what is being said is biblical or not.
Now, after the sermon last week, people say, "Alright, you ... you explained to us what tongues is about, but you didn't quite explain what prophecy is." But the reason why I have a hard time or why I didn't do so is because I have a hard time nailing down exactly what prophecy is.
The Bible actually, I think it's not as absolutely precise in defining for us — prophecy. Some people today take prophecy to be strongly predictive, so you speak forward of some events that are to come. Some people take prophecy to be less predictive, but more proclamational, you speak forth, not speak-forward, but you speak forth God's Word.
Probably it is somewhere in between, but I gave a simple definition based on what I read in 1st Corinthians 14 last week. I said, "Prophecy is speaking forth God's Word for upbuilding, encouragement and consolation." I took the words exactly from the verses we read last Sunday.
But whether it is predictive, or whether it is proclamation, or in other words, whether it is speaking-forward or speaking-forth, this person who wants to exercise the gift of prophecy, all that he says will be and should be weighed or discerned or judged or assessed.
"If a revelation is made to another sitting there," [1 Cor 14:30] so imagine you're all seated, someone is up giving a prophecy, and another person is led to share something, then, "... the person who is speaking should be silent." So somehow, it should be indicated, "I have something to say, let me say," so that it can proceed in an orderly fashion. You see!
Just because you have the gift of tongues ... doesn't or the gift of prophecy, doesn't mean that when someone else is speaking, you can also stand up and say, "I have something from God." It's got to be orderly, that's the point, that's the illustration!
"For you can all prophesy one by one, so that ... so that all may learn and all be encouraged." [1 Cor 14:31] So, prophecy is to be used at most by three people, one by one. There is no need for interpretation because it's in a common language that people understand, but it comes back to the principle of how we are to use spiritual gifts in love. And if it is to be used in love, it's got to be used to edify and to build up God's people. And in order for it to be edifying and for it to be able to build up God's people, it's got to be done in an orderly fashion. That's all Paul is getting to.
Now some people say, "But I ... I cannot control! Wah, this burden or this message so strong, I need to say! How? Cannot tahan [in Malay] must come out already? How? What do you do?" To those people who think like that, Paul says, in verse 32, "And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets." In other words, don't give me this excuse - I cannot take it, I must say. You can control it! The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.
In other words, the ... the ... the impulses, the passions, the leading, well, you can choose to withhold, restrain, and then to speak at an appropriate time. No excuse! Orderly worship is the rule.
"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints." [1 Cor 14:33] So, Paul gives a theological basis on why worship needs to be orderly. One reason, we have already learned is that orderliness is important for edification. Imagine if four people speak simultaneously, we give all four people mics, you say, "This is a chaotic mess, I'm quickly get out of here. I'm not learning anything." So, orderliness is important for edification.
Orderliness is also important for representation. We want to represent God well, we don't want people to think that our God is a mess. And the conduct of worship publicly is an important testimony to a watching world.
And of course, I think earlier on, perhaps in verse 12, if I'm not wrong, Paul alludes to the fact that if your worship service is chaotic, someone who is an unbeliever comes in, and he will think that you're all out of your mind.
So, why orderly worship? Because it glorifies God, it represents Him well, because it edifies one another, it's for our good, and it is a good witness to those who are unbelievers with us. So very strong reason for orderly worship.
What have we covered so far, very simple - Spiritual gifts and orderly worship, we have looked at how tongues should be used in the church. We have looked at how prophecy is to be practiced in the church, and then I said, thirdly, about wives. So this is a bit scary, for wives.
The Bible says, "The women should keep silent in the churches." [1 Cor 14:34] Ssshhh ... Nooooo ... I could hear, I mean (loud laughter), I could hear that too! Do women need to keep silent in a church? Well, it says, "The women should keep silent in the churches ..." And then, "... for they are not permitted to speak."
By the way, in churches, there's an earlier reference in verse 33, as in all the churches, so this is not something that is confined or limited to the Corinthian church. This is a principle to be followed in all churches. "Women should keep silent in the churches, and they are not permitted to speak." [1 Cor 14:34]
I ... I don't say this ah! I say this, I think I may get ... get a lot of grief from the women here. But this is what Paul says, this is what the Word of God says. Let's read on a bit more, "But should to be in submission, as the Law also says. If there's anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a ... it is shameful for a woman to speak in church." [1 Cor 14:34-35]
So my question is - Are women to be silent in church? How? Are you to remain absolutely silent? Zip? Are you? Well, I think it will be strange if that were to be the case, because I read for example, in 1st Corinthians 11, verse 5, "But every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head."
The issue is not that they can't pray or prophesy, you see that! The issue is that they are praying and prophesying in such a way that displays insubmission to their own husbands, ie — they had their heads uncovered, cultural norm in those days. So it is not that they cannot speak, because they can pray, and they can prophesy, only that they must not do it in a dishonorable way or insubmissive way.
So when we come back to this passage, I think it is not that they cannot speak at all in church. You ladies, are so important in church because most of the conversation sparked off or carried on by you. You ... you encourage a lot of people, you serve, you teach the children, you help other fellow ladies. It's so important for you to speak! And I don't think Paul is against that.
But the context tells us, it is likely that the women in the church at Corinth are doing something with their speech, with what they're saying that seems to be contradicting the principle of submission to their own husbands. So I read, er ... now, I could not transport us back 2,000 years ago to Corinth, so based on the clues in the text, it must be something that they're speaking that brings dishonor to their own husbands.
And maybe it's seen in a way they asked questions in a church. So, perhaps this is what we can understand - Are women to be silent in church? Not in an absolute sense. You can speak, you can talk, you can ask directions, for example. But they must not ask questions in such a way that shows dishonor to their husbands and which disrupts the service.
So, it may be that they want to show off, hah, in those days, and they asked in a way that seems to bring attention to themselves, ask in a way that seems to show that their husbands are not capable of answering their questions. They grab the attention that way and disrupt the service that way, and Paul says, "Don't do it."
We need an orderly worship service for the glory of God for the edification of saints and for the witness to the watching world." So, I hope that calms you and settles your nerves and gives you freedom later on to interact freely, one with another.
Now, the Bible says, "If there's anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home." [1 Cor 14:35] I hope that will be true for your family, that as a husband, as the head of the family, you will endeavor to know God's Word, in such a way that you could be the spiritual leader to help your wife at home.
It is sad when the ... in many cases, the husband has to ask the wife. Now, it may be true if the wife is a longtime Christian and you are a brand new Christian, I think it's understandable. But I hope as a husband, you will work hard at growing in Scripture, so that this dynamic would take place in your family.
So, we've come to the end of the three examples Paul has raised for orderly worship to take place. They are important because only in an orderly worship will edification take place. And it is important because edification is the goal for love.
Now, there are people who Paul expects to oppose what he has just said, so in the last few verses, he says, "Or was it from you that the Word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached?" [1 Cor 14:36]
Basically, he's saying in advance, in anticipation of those who say, "Who says you are right, Paul? We believe there's a better way to conduct our worship services." Paul then says, "Are you the one who ... who gives the Word of God? Are you the one, the only ones who know the Word of God?"
"If anyone thinks that he's a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I'm writing to you are a command of the Lord." [1 Cor 14:37] So he's saying, "Don't challenge me, I know that these are commands from God."
"If anyone does not recognize this, he's not recognized." [1 Cor 14:38] He's really not part of the kingdom.
"So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues." [1 Cor 14:39] Again, Paul is not against these prominent spiritual gifts. He's only saying, use them in the right way.
So I hope you do not walk away thinking that tongues and prophecy are wrong. How can it be, they're from God! But fake tongues are wrong, and the wrong employment of tongues is wrong, but the gift itself, nothing wrong, it's good.
"But all things should be done decently and in order." [1 Cor 14:40] So worship services, this is critical. So what should it be for Gospel Light? What should orderly, decent worship be like? Well, let me show you what it should not be like. I hope it will never come a day where our worship will look like this. It's a rather long clip, but I just like to share with you maybe it encapsulates or summarizes a lot of the things that are grievous in this one video. Take a look.
I don't know what to say after a clip like that, except that I think it is filled with blasphemous words, false teachings, fake tongues, and disorder ... disorderliness. It's a chaotic mess! Can this be the work of God?
You ask the people there, they say, "I feel so good! I feel so close to God! I ... Spirit of God is on me!" I say, "You're not! Because God's work does not create chaotic mess, He gives us a sound mind. It is not frenzy. It is not babbling. It is control. It is sobriety. It is doing all things in love, for the edifying of God's people, not a crazy mess that we see here."
So I think, we have objective principles to discern if a worship service is pleasing to God or not. It's not based on feelings, I think it's based on revelation. The Bible says, "All things should be done decently and in order." [1 Cor 14:40] But I ... I have some more to add, because we must not just forget that it began actually in verse 26, "Let all things be done for building up."
So, we don't pursue order for the sake of order alone. What we do in an orderly fashion should aim towards edification. And I want to remind us that the goal of worship services is for building up, not puffing up. In other words, it must not be for exhibition. And I think this is a great danger, whether it's a preacher myself, the preachers who will preach later on today or in a week, the song leaders, the worship team, those who have a role to play in conducting the worship service, there's a great danger of exhibitionism.
There's a great danger that we love to do these things, to be seen of man and to receive the praise of men. Now, it's inevitable, you will be seen by men, but I hope that the motive why you want to be seen, is not so that you will be receiving the praise of men. That's a danger!
I refer to an article, I find that this is such a good article, I've referred to it by and by, and it's about photobombing Jesus. I think you would be familiar, it's an article, five years ago, 2017, but the principles are so worthy of note, in my opinion.
What's photobombing? To photobomb is to spoil a photograph by appearing in a camera's field of view, as the picture is taken.
So someone is taking a photo of someone else, but you come and just jump into the frame, and you photobomb, you kind of ruin the picture with your entrance, and this is a picture of photobombing. Supposed to take a photo of the couple, but this squirrel just turned up unawares. That's photobomb!
And you know, we can photobomb Jesus. The attention should be on Jesus and Jesus alone, but we like to sneak into the frame. Oh, we want Jesus to be in the picture, but we also want ourselves to be in the limelight! So the author, he ... he says, "I wanted people to think God was awesome and that I was too." He wanted to serve Jesus to a particular degree and also wanted to serve himself — photobombing Jesus.
He goes on to say, "There is a fine line between wanting God to use you for His glory, and wanting everyone to know it. It's a fine line between pure worship and idolatry." And I think this is particularly relevant for those who may feel that their giftings are strong. Your ... your gifts can be used powerfully to serve God's people, but it can also be twisted wickedly to bring glory to yourself. It's a good thing, but a good thing when it is turned for selfish purposes becomes a terrible thing.
So today, it's a question for us. Now, let me apply this not just to preachers and worship leaders, but even in your ministry. Why do you do what you do? Why do you teach in Sunday School? Why do you lead a Care Group? Why would you cook in a kitchen? Why would you serve as Ushers? Why would you do these things?
There is always this spectrum, this range that we need to be worried about or concerned about, that whilst we want to go to the left side of edification, many of us, perhaps have our needles swinging sometimes between edification and exhibition.
How can I tell? Maybe some questions, I'd like you to think about:
1. Do you fish for affirmation?
So as a preacher, after a preacher preaches, "How ah? How ah? How's sermon, ah? Tell me lah! Good ah, good ah, the ... the sermon, takong [fantastic in Hokkien] ah! Wah, funny, right, you're all laugh, right?" Wah! Do you fish for it?
Now, I think there's nothing wrong with people encouraging people who have served, but it's quite a different thing when you're constantly fishing for it, looking for it. May tell where the needle is pointing.
2. Are you discouraged when no one applauds you or worse still, are you devastated when there is criticism coming your way?
"Oh, they say like ... I don't want to serve already lah! I call ... I call sister Hannah next week. I don't want to serve in Children Ministry already." "They say this, they say that, no one appreciates what I do. I quit!"
Well, where is the needle?
3. Are you frustrated when you see others do well?
"Wah, Jane taught better than me, I cannot take it, I don't want to serve also, because, huh, I'm not so much in the limelight anymore." That's a ... that's a very telling sign.
4. Do you share your weakness and sin?
Do you portray yourself as the ... the perfect one, who always does things right and there's never an issue in your life, because you want to have the praise of men.
5. Are you happy to serve unnoticed?
Well, these are the questions I would ask myself, and these are the questions I would fail many times in my own life. But I hope by the grace of God, we can all pray like John the Baptist, "May Christ increase and may I decrease."
It's hard work, it's not easy! But it is so important, because the goal of ministry is edification in love, and not exhibition in pride.
"So, all things should be done decently and in order." [1 Cor 14:40] "Let all things be done for building up," not exhibition. And I end with this, it requires examination. All that happens in a worship service must be examined by God's people.
Now, I'm not asking you to be, er ... witch hunting, like your only goal in worship service is to pick a fault with the song leader or worship leader or the preacher. But it does mean that we all are responsible, to ensure that all things taught and said and communicated are according to sound doctrine.
The leaders are responsible, but the church I think is also responsible. Paul says, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine," [Titus 2:1] healthy doctrine. The only way people can be built up is with sound doctrine, not falsehoods, not lies, not feel good messages, but sound doctrine. So if we love one another, we will endeavor to preach sound truth.
"For the time is coming ..." Well, Paul said this about 2,000 years ago, you can be sure this is very real today, as well. "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching." [2 Tim 4:3]
I personally think sound teaching is never going to be popular. Popular means welcomed by many people. False teachings will be very popular, sound teaching will not. Why? Because, "They will have itching ears, and they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions." [2 Tim 4:4] That's why sound doctrine is not so popular!
It does not conform, it does not serve your passions, it serves God, but not your passions, but if you choose to follow your own passions and not do the will of God, then you will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off in myths. The Church must build up God's people based on sound doctrine.
"Preach the Word," [2 Tim 4:2] Paul says to Timothy. And I'm glad that as a church, we all appreciate preaching the Word, not preaching our ideas, not preaching topics.
You know, in about a few weeks time I would end the book of 1st Corinthians, and I've asked our younger preachers and shepherds to take the pulpit for four weeks. I've tasked them to think about what they should want to preach about. And secretly, I'm ... not secretly now, but I'm glad that they all chose not to preach on topics, not that it's wrong, but I'm glad that with this opportunity to preach, they have chosen to preach from the book of the Bible - the Book of Malachi, an Old Testament book.
I love the fact that they want to bring people through God's Word in an expository way. I think that's what Paul would have enjoyed himself. "Preach the Word ..." preach what the Bible says, "... be ready in season." Of course, in those days, they had the Old Testament but, "Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and teaching." [2 Tim 4:2]
So, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching ..." Watch this part. "... Persist in this for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." [1 Tim 4:16] There's of great eternal significance, that the church should preach sound doctrine.
So, this ends our series in 1st Corinthians regarding spiritual gifts. Next week, we'll look at something else, I hope this has been helpful. Please understand, I'm not here to ruffle feathers for the sake of it, I'm not here to pick a fight, I'm not here to cause controversy. I simply want to lay out what the Scripture has to say, and I pray God's people will endure sound doctrine today.
Thank you for bearing with me. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Sound doctrine is healthy teaching from the Bible that God uses to save your soul, I pray that as part of the church, you will endeavor to listen and to obey sound doctrine. This is your responsibility, this is your job. My job, the preacher's job is to teach sound doctrine, but your job is also to heed sound doctrine, and to live out sound doctrine.
If you continue in this way, one day we will all stand at the gates of heaven and hear Him say to us, "Well done, you good and faithful servant." And I pray as a church, we will stand on God's Word - always. Be a church that examines truth, be a church that loves truth, loves the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you are here today and you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I tell you the central message of the Bible. The central message of sound doctrine is Jesus Christ. We are sinners, separated from God, enemies of God because of our disobedience, and there is nothing you can do to earn your way back to God. Not good works, not avoiding sin, because you can never do it to the level of perfection.
But Jesus Christ, God's Son, this is the central message of the Bible, Jesus Christ, God's Son was born as God-Man, so that He might become the Sacrifice, the Substitute to pay for your sins on the cross. And the Bible's promise, from the beginning to the end is that they, who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ shall be saved.
This is the message, the only message that can save your soul, I pray today you will listen and obey this message, to repent and to believe in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ that takes away the sin of the world.
So Father, we thank You today, we pray that as a church, You will help us to stand on Your Word. Guard our church from falsehood, guard our church from the passions of the flesh, guard our church from disorderliness, exhibitionism, selfish pride. May we lovingly serve one another, may we lovingly use our gifts to build up one another.
Save souls today even, dear God, though it's a message that is difficult, I think to an unbeliever, nevertheless, I pray they will know Your love in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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