Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
We visit churches because of the Finding Focus Ministries assignment God has invited us to do. When we have visited churches we sit in reverence and listen. We love to come to worship God corporately with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Worship is all about God. We love being in His Presence with others seeking the same. We come to join in praise to God with others who love Him, too. We pray in our hearts with words of thanks to God for all He has done, is doing and will do in our lives and in the lives of others. We listen as the speaker proclaims Christ and all the benefits of knowing Him with helping us with how to walk with Him. As we leave, because of our calling, we ask ourselves, what was most helpful? What was of the most benefit to all gathered in Jesus Name?
Paul confronts the church gone wild about their confusing, self-centered gatherings. They speak in languages others cannot understand. No one knows when to sit or stand. They don’t know when worship begins or when it ends. Where is the Amen? Wives are speaking out about things they know nothing about or does not matter in worship of God at that time, asking if their husbands turned off the lights at home and turned down the heat on the roast lamb. Apparently, they have not developed the ability to whisper, either. Smiling. You must read for yourselves.
Another “language” that is still used today by many churches is insider language that makes outsiders (visitors or those seeking Jesus) uncomfortable and instantly excluded. This language includes private jokes from the front that only the elite of the insiders understand or announcements that go on and on about things that do not include the church as a whole, only a select few in a small group. Some churches even include head counts and financial reports that mean nothing to outsiders. We must ask ourselves each week, “What did we do that was helpful to others finding and following Jesus?” Evaluate. It’s painful, but necessary.
Another language that is less than helpful and even harmful is what we say during the coffee and donut times. If what we say is about someone else not standing there, then it is wrong to say it. All that we say and do must benefit, do good, help, others. Ouch, I know, but it is necessary to say it out loud and evaluate the motivations of our hearts as worship together, focusing on God alone, our Father in Heaven, Who created us to praise Him, love Him back and to love others with all that is in us.
“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it–because it does.”
Paul is a bit redundant but determined to help the church realize the way the church is failing in helping others grow in Christ. Read the whole chapter for yourselves. Because it is long, I will skip to print from “SO, here’s what I want you to do” because Paul give all of us an “order of worship” that is less confusing and more helpful to knowing and following Jesus Christ, our Lord. There is no other Name in heaven and on earth than the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord! “Most of all, try to proclaim His Truth.”
“Be courteous and considerate in everything.”
1 Corinthians 14, The Message
26-33 So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. If prayers are offered in tongues, two or three’s the limit, and then only if someone is present who can interpret what you’re saying. Otherwise, keep it between God and yourself. And no more than two or three speakers at a meeting, with the rest of you listening and taking it to heart. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other. If you choose to speak, you’re also responsible for how and when you speak. When we worship the right way, God doesn’t stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony. This goes for all the churches—no exceptions.
Think about it…
Sunday night or Monday morning, ALL leaders, paid and volunteer, must ask and evaluate, what did we say or do during our corporate worship and teaching that was most helpful?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of lazy, useless, unthinking talk that does not lift up our brothers and sisters, inside or outside Your church. May we pray to You asking for Your help to make us holy and helpful to others before we walk through the doors of your places of worship. We know that the closer we are to You, the closer we are to each other. The more we realize your love for us, the more we love each other. You will not disappoint when we ask for our hearts to match up with your heart. Help us to be more helpful. Transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen