READ: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
THINK: Anything that draws attention away from God and puts it on ourselves is out of place in a worship service. The same is true of things that disrupt the Holy Spirit’s communication and distract people from receiving a message from God. This doesn’t mean that everything that happens in a church service will be neat, tidy and predictable. God is infinitely creative and we can never fully comprehend how He chooses to operate among His people. But we must submit to God and let Him work in His way, without self-serving disruptions on our part.
RESPOND: What’s the primary purpose of all spiritual gifts and ministries when used in public worship? (See 14:26 note.) Why must the gifts be used in a proper and orderly manner in worship services? (See 14:27 note.) What are the guidelines for using the gifts of tongues and prophecy in a church service (vv. 27-31)? Why must we “weigh carefully” or evaluate prophetic messages? (See 14:29 note.) What criteria should be used in evaluating these messages? (See 14:29 note, sub-points 3 & 4.) What are the differences between prophecy as a spiritual gift (as described in chapters 12 & 14) and prophecy as part of God’s written Word? (See 14:31 note.) Why did Paul say that “women should remain silent in the churches”? (See 14:34 note.) What was the social context of this instruction? Since this mainly concerned disruptions in worship, does this passage contain any direct implications that women cannot hold certain ministry positions in a church? Why or why not? Does the fact that “everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” limit freedom and spontaneity during a church service? Why or why not?
PRAY: Pray for God’s guidance and direction in your church services. Ask Him to give your leaders discernment in directing the ministry and wisdom in lending guidance as people exercise spiritual gifts for the congregation’s benefit.
ACT: Next time you’re in a church service, make a conscious effort to take the primary focus off of what you can get out of the service and instead look for ways that you can help and encourage others to receive from God during the time you’re together. This may mean exercising a spiritual gift. Or, it may simply involve a kind gesture, a word of encouragement or the willingness to pray with someone in need.