Sometimes Love is Silence (1 Corinthians 14:26-40)

August 6 2023

Series: 1 Corinthians

All right. Good morning. Good morning. Please turn your Bible to 1 Corinthians, chapter 14. Today we continue our study of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. The title of today’s lesson is this sometimes Love is Silence. It’s a little loud for the title of the sermon, I have to say, sometimes Love is silence. Okay, here we go. Thank God that Jesus exchanged test scores with us even though we failed the first test there. Okay, here we go. Love is silence. And if you’re visiting with us today, or if you’ve been with this church for a long, long time, this is the clarion call for every member of our congregation. 2 Timothy two, verse 15. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved. A worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. That’s the calling, that’s the expectation for every follower of Jesus. Not just the preacher, not just the deacons and the elders, not just the ministry staff, not just your leaders. We all must do our best to be men and women who correctly handle the word of truth. If not, here’s where we go.

I can do all things through a verse taken out of context. I hope you don’t own the coffee mug, but it’s very easy to live this way, to grab a scripture. Think about it. Almost anything under the sun, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we can twist scripture to make it work for ourselves and for our worldview, and our lives. Think about it. This is how Satan tempted Jesus. He quoted a scripture and then he took it out of context. So we’re going to do an exercise together to illustrate this point. In the spirit of school starting, we’ll work together and hopefully get some participation in this. I’m going to give you a scripture. I’ll throw it up there, and you tell me how we could possibly twist this scripture to satisfy our own agenda or our own beliefs. All right. I do have some ground rules on this. Do your best with this one. Some ground rules. When you answer and you’re called on, do your best to be succinct. Try to do one sentence or less. Tell us how we put this scripture and we take it and we can twist it out of context.

Okay, here we go. Are you ready? Are we ready? Here we go. All right. I love Tim Tebow, but let’s go with this. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4 verse 13. What can we do to twist that? Or how do we often use the scripture to satisfy our own agenda? Any thoughts? Quick thoughts? Yes? Good. Very good. I think that’s just one way you could think of many, many others. This scripture is not just for football players or MMA fighters to win their competition. That’s not really the intention. It’s not the context of this. Actually, if you read the scripture and what’s going on here, Paul is talking about having everything he needs from God, whether he has a lot or he has very little. And he’s speaking specifically as a missionary of what he needs in terms of food, shelter, and basic provisions. Amen. So that’s that scripture very, very important to think about that context. I’m going to poke a bear with this one. Jeremiah 29 verse 11. I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and make you successful. I’m sorry if I’m ruining the scripture for some of you.

It’s still an amazing scripture, but how could we commonly take this one tad too far for our own desires? Yeah. Yes. I am promised prosperity here. We have to understand the context. Actually, here in Jeremiah, this was a corporate promise to the nation of Israel. It was not an individual promise. Now we can build a bridge and it does teach us something about God and God’s provision for us and God taking care of us. But it’s very important not just to know, only to know verse eleven, but actually in verse ten, what does God say? You’re going to be in exile for 70 years, but I still love you and I got a plan for you. That’s the context of the scripture and it’s very corporate. It’s not just individual, it’s still a great scripture. Don’t let it ruin your life, all right? If you have a bumper sticker with that or a T-shirt, you got this on your wall at home still. Awesome word of God. All right? But it’s important to know these things. All right? Let’s have some fun with this now, I was thinking of Eddie with this one and I was wondering oh, yeah.

Thank you. Thanks, man. I was going to say, Eddie, you’ve never kissed me before, bro. You’re in disobedience of the Holy Scriptures. But, you know, instinctively, we read this it’s four times in the New Testament, and I think we know this is a cultural issue. The principle is still there of love, but it’s shown in different ways. Or if you and I went this morning somehow and we were transported to the church in Rio, down in Brazil, you’d get a kiss on each cheek from men and women, then that would be a sign of love. But we know instinctively, I think, that this is a cultural issue, maybe not other things in the Bible, and sometimes things are cultural, other times you don’t just say, well, that’s just cultural and I don’t have to pay any attention to it. We have to be careful, we have to be very, very balanced. But we’re biased, right? We want this to be a cultural issue. I don’t know if I want kisses all the time from everyone. So you see what I mean? We understand it. I love this picture here. This is from our time in Edinburgh in the early days.

I think this was the first couple of months we were there. And it was a small church and my family of five, we were the campus ministry. It was a family of five and we were at the University of Edinburgh. This is at the library, and we were gearing up and handing out invitations so people knew about the Bible studies we had coming up, the church services we had coming up, and we got the kids involved by asking out the campus students. All right? And so that’s at the University of Edinburgh. Philemon One verse six in the NIV, specifically the New International Version, 1984, says, I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith. This example shows us how important it is to read different translations. All right? The NIV 1984 is the only translation I know of that makes this verse sound like evangelism. This has nothing to do with evangelism, all right? There are many scriptures on reaching out to the lost and helping them become Christians. This is not one of them, all right? So it demonstrates the value of reading more than one translation. Again, very, very important that we know what we’re doing and that we have integrity in our Bible study.

So thank you for your feedback and helping us illustrate this. This morning, we must correctly handle the word of truth. So now I’m going to rip off the bandaid. One Corinthians 14, verses 34 and 35. This is our polarizing scripture for today. I’m going to put it in text message form since this is our most common method of communication with one another today, this is one of the most common ways we get information. Verse 34, have mercy. Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak but must be in submission. As the law says, if they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home for is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. So what if the apostle Paul sent you this text message and this is all he sent to you? I think one of these emojis may describe your reaction. Am I right? Maybe I didn’t hit them all, but I try to hit a few of them. All right, Paul sends you the text message, and your response there in the blue could be one of several different. And no matter where you’re at on this when you hear this scripture, I’m hoping this is a no-judgment zone.

It’s going to elicit some emotions, depending on where you’re coming from and who you are, and what your gender is. So the first one could be, if you haven’t read Corinthians in a while or you’ve tried to avoid this passage, you’re shocked when you see it again, especially in isolation like this, you’re shocked. What in the world are you saying, Paul? What is this? Or you’re blowing smoke right now. You’re angry, man. Why are we talking about this? This is very uncomfortable. I’m angry. And you may even read this and start to question, is this really from God? What is this? Or you could be like me. I sometimes can get a bit embarrassed that certain scriptures are in the Bible and that I don’t really know what to do with this. And then, Paul, you wrote so many great things. What is this, bro? What are you doing? I don’t understand this. Why did you say that? What are we supposed to get out of that? Or possibly some could think, yes, this needs to be in there because we don’t want the women taking over. All right? So again, no judgment zone. I mean, if you’re feeling any combination of those, it’s totally understandable.

But we do have to realize this. Were the only text message we had from Paul’s letter to Corinth. I mean, just at face value, if this is all you had no context, no deeper investigation, no recognition of any of Paul’s letters leading up to when he says this. We would have to draw the conclusion that women must never open their mouths or utter a sound when we come together as a church. But if you’ve spent any amount of time with our church, if you’ve been coming to the east region in the Orlando Church of Christ, you know, this is not what we practice, it’s not what we believe about this scripture. Amen. But we need to know what it means and it gets our attention, doesn’t it? There’s something in there for us to learn. So what does this scripture mean? Well, that’s what we’re going to do our best today to take a look at it. But I did want to lay the groundwork for us as we get into this is that God’s word was not written in bursts of text messages, all right? It wasn’t like these small little bytes. We can’t read it that way, but I tried to shock you by throwing it out there that way.

So you understand the other scriptures as well. We have to really have integrity with our Bible study to best understand this scripture. We must handle the word of God correctly. We must exercise integrity and diligence with God’s word. All right? So with that being said, I think it’s very important. We’ve been talking about this since January. There is trouble in Corinth, right? When the church in Corinth would come together every Sunday, they had many elephants in the room. There was competition and division based on their favorite leaders. We had sexual immorality and lawsuits among the members of the church. And people knew this and some of them approved of it. The married and the singles were fighting about who was more spiritual and which lifestyle was better. Some in the church were looking down on others in the church because they thought they were more spiritual and they knew the better way. And then at their church service, it was chaos. Christians are getting drunk on the communion wine. Men are wearing pagan hoodies while they prophesy. We talked about that a couple of months ago. And the women main, when they would speak and have their role, would take off their head coverings to speak to the church.

And in that culture, that was bringing shame on their husbands. Okay? The shock value was happening here. You got to start to picture what’s happening when they would come together. And then on top of that, as we looked at last week, we had people in the church who had these incredible spiritual gifts. They would speak in these languages that no one could understand. Well, that was happening in the middle. People were just breaking out into strange languages in the middle of their time together that no one could comprehend. So right in the middle of all these instructions, especially what’s happening on Sunday in the church in Corinth, Paul takes a moment, more than a moment, to write chapter 13. He devotes an entire chapter to love. He’s basically saying, guys, what you’re doing and the way you’re going about this, it looks really spiritual and there are lots of gifts happening here, but it’s not loving. And so this is where we left off last week. We pursue love in the church by utilizing our gifts to build up others, not ourselves. We must move beyond our own needs, our own validation. We must look to build others up.

And then we came to this conclusion. Paul is calling the church in Corinth to maturity. He says the mature spiritually will think both vertically and horizontally about gifts and public worship. And this is absolutely vital for Paul’s instructions that we’re going to read about today. Right. So with all this context in mind, I wanted to take time to do that again. We can now tackle 1 Corinthians 14. Let’s begin reading in verse 26. 1 Corinthians 14. In verse 26, Paul writes, what then, brothers? Or what then, sisters? What then, dear friends? What then? In other words, he asked the church, and based on what he just said about pursuing love by building up others and not building up ourselves, he says, what then? So what does this imply for how we do Sunday worship services? What then? So he’s going to give some very practical instruction here. Verse 26, second half. When you come together, each has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Here it is again. Let all things be done for building up. Paul repeats the theme of chapter 14. No matter what’s on the Sunday docket, let everything in your church services be done for the building up of the community of Christ.

That’s the why. That’s the mindset of why we do this today, why we come together. Why would we decide on this time, this place, to come together all at once? It’s to edify one another. Let’s keep reading. In verse 27, if any speak in a tongue, let there only be two at most, three, and each in turn. And let someone interpret. But if there’s no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this. We covered most of this last week. But Paul says if you’re going to come in with foreign or angelic languages in the assembly, first of all, you got to keep it to two or three people. It was not like that before, because you imagine a free for all of all these languages being spoken that no one understood. Secondly, he says, hey, everyone can’t speak at the same time. You have to wait your turn and again, a maximum of three as part of your time together. There needs to be an order here. And then number three, just as we learned last week, okay, he’s telling them what you’re saying.

And when you communicate, when you speak in the church, it’s not just for you, actually. You’re speaking for the other person. You’re speaking to the other person to build them up. So they need to understand what you’re saying. So if you don’t have an interpreter for these tongues that you’re speaking, you need to keep this at home, and you need to be silent in church. Are you with me? So that’s the tongue speaking, and that gives us the groundwork for our title today. Sometimes love is silence. It’s just being quiet if it doesn’t edify the whole. So that’s the first of three groups. Paul commands to be silent in the church services. Now take note, because we’re going to build on this. The command here is situational, is it not? He’s not saying, hey, if you happen to have this wonderful gift of speaking in tongues, you always need to be silent when you’re with the church. Always. That’s not what he’s saying. It’s situational. All right, let’s look at the second group. Paul commands us to be silent in verse 29, 1 Corinthians 14, verse 29. Let two or three prophets speak and let the others weigh what is said.

If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all of the churches of the saints. So next, Paul lays down the ground rules for public prophecy. In the Corinthian church. He’s dealt with tongue speaking. Now he’s dealing with prophecy. Again, we’ve talked about this over the last couple of months. Prophecy define. This is when a person has the gift to expound on God’s word for edification and inspiration of the hearers. Specifically in verse three of chapter 14, inspired preaching strengthens, encourages, and comforts the entire church all at once. Right? That’s the goal of that gift. So then Paul gives these instructions about prophecy because he says, hey, I hope you all prophesy this is a good thing for the church, but it has to be done with proper order. So first of all, keep it to two or three people. So in those days, you could imagine, okay, the plan each week was we’re going to have these two or three people with a mini-sermon.

All right? That’s the plan. These are going to be the people that are going to bring the word of God to the church. Number two, you must take turns. Don’t talk over one another. Wait your turn. Implication. That was not happening. It was a madhouse. It was chaotic. And what Paul’s trying to do here. He’s trying to calm the chaos. And again, I hope this is helping you. I think we kind of take these things for granted, but not that it could. I mean, we could have chaos here, but we do our best to try to figure out ways where it’s not that. So everyone’s edified in the larger group. So that’s what Paul’s doing here is like, wait your turn. And then number three, he makes a brief comment about this. But I think it’s very, very important. You must have a group of people who can evaluate or judge what is being preached. Remember, at this point in time, Christianity is brand new. It’s hot off the press. They’re not reading the Old Testament. They’re living it. All right? This letter is to them, and now it’s coming down to us. Does that make sense?

And so even more so during that time. There’s no New Testament yet, so much more so new prophecy. It had to be constantly critiqued and sifted to make sure this is sound doctrine. So think in your mind maybe this is a Berean committee. You think about the popular scripture that you may know. Acts, chapter 17. The Bereans were checking everything that Paul said because again, what Paul was preaching was the Gospel, and it was new to people. And so they had to go back to the Old Testament scriptures to see if this is sound teaching, right? So this is very important in the church, as you had these people preaching that, you also had a group of people that were testing it and making sure this is right. This is why we have this scripture from James. In James, chapter three, with teaching comes great judgment. That’s why James says not many of you should aspire to be teachers. All right? But this is more in the context of prophecy, which includes teaching as well. Last but not least, number four. There is a time, and you’ll love this. There is a time for a preacher to be silent and just sit down.

Now, I thank you for your patience today. This is a difficult topic. It may take me a little longer to explain, but I will sit down. I will do my best. I even cut some things from earlier. But we want to get through this, but we want to do it right. So there is a time for the speaker to be silent, and exercise self-control. We see it even within here. As Paul said, prophets need to control their spirit in a sense, right? You have to be able to be quiet. You’ve said enough. Let someone else prophesy now. Don’t take someone else’s time by going long. Right? But the Spirit was moving me. I know it was. But you need to have self-control because the Spirit is a spirit of self-control too, and love your brother by not going long. Do you know what I’m saying? That’s why we try to have organization or services as well as out of respect for the whole. I mean, some of us want to be here all day. I don’t know those people anymore, but it is loving of us and one another to have structure and to have a plan.

The Spirit moves within that plan and we are flexible. I remember in the early days of the Gainesville church and I was a part there of that church. In the early know, it was a small church and we had a lot of new converts and that meant a lot of inexperienced speakers in the church. And you can imagine how much fun that was on Sunday. I just remember some people coming up, one brother in Christ in particular and this was pretty common. He came up and his job was similar to what Tyler did this morning, he welcomed us, right? And that was his role. It was just a brief welcome to the service and prayer. And he starts like, hey, welcome to our service here in Gainesville. This is great. I want to share some things with you. Point number one. And we’re like, oh, boy. And then like 20 minutes later he had three points. It became infamous. It was a good friend of mine. We were like, man, you are the man with a three-point welcome. Thank you. That’s not what we really asked of you, but the point is we joked about it but at the same time I was like that’s not really loving or edifying to the group or the people who wanted to speak after you, who were given more time and now lost that time.

Does that make sense? I can speak for myself. My first opportunity to lead the church in communion in Gainesville. Some people who know me and were there for that still make fun of me today. I had a great series of quiet times that week and I feel like I had to share that with the church. It was inspiring. It was from the spirit. I had been studying David and Mephibosheth yeah, somehow, some way I tied that into Jesus and the cross for communion. I don’t remember how, but I made it work. But 30 minutes later I was praying for communion and I did have some people say, hey, that was really spiritual, that was great. That moved me. I did have the preacher that day who was allotted that amount of time give me a hard time and say that wasn’t the plan. And it affects other people when I did that. So yeah, I think there is a time to sit down and be quiet. My first sermon to the campus ministry was an hour and a half. I think I went through the entire first principal studies if you know what that is.

So you live and you learn and we need to have grace and patience for one another. But there is a reason why we do what we do. Our God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. And I do think this ties into love and concern for one another, concern for the weak, as Paul spoke about it. Concern for outsiders that enter our assembly right order in our worship service. An organized plan with room for the Spirit to move. But it includes restraint and self-discipline. As I said earlier, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians five, verse 23. Prophets were the second group told to be silent in the church. I think that’s good. We can stop right there. Or do we? Is there more? Okay, let’s go more. We’ll brave the next part here. Here’s the third group told to be silent in verse 34. The women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should 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 shameful for a woman to speak in the church.

Very silent here. But I hope that this polarizing verse, even if it’s a smidge, even if it’s a millimeter now, is starting to make more sense in context. It’s still going to sting, and I think it’s meant to get our attention. I think all these Scriptures were meant to get the attention of those speaking in tongues, those who were the preachers in the church. All of this stings, but I know this will still sting, but I hope you see better what’s happening here. It’s very important to keep in mind what Paul has already said in this same letter. Are you with me? This is integrity in your Bible study and giving Paul a little bit more room for what he’s trying to say, all right? Not just taking snippets of Paul, but taking all of Paul and what the Holy Spirit is saying through him, what he says in verse five of this same chapter. He says, now, I want all of you to speak in tongues, but even more, all of you to prophesy. Last time I checked, all meant, all, right? It’s for everyone. That’s for everyone. He’s speaking of everyone in the assembly.

Also, don’t forget our study of 1 Corinthians eleven just two months ago. And we studied that out. And if you don’t remember it, go back, listen to it. Paul already assumes that women would pray and prophesy in the church. We don’t know the form and fashion of that. I think God gives us some wiggle room in that. We don’t have the exact format of all that. But the point is, Paul, like women, is going to pray and prophesy in the church. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was their attitude about it and the Spirit in which it was done that Paul addressed. They just needed to have a proper attitude, specifically towards the men, even more so towards their husbands. In that culture, that meant wearing a head covering when you spoke publicly and you wore a head covering all the time. If you were a wife and you were with your husband, it was a sign of respect and that I’m protected, I’m taken care of, I’m with him, we’re together. And so Paul had to address that. And you can imagine that culture. Again, think of outsiders or other people. It’s for the edification, it’s not to prove a point when you’re together or that I deserve this or I deserve that.

It’s for the whole. So we’re thinking of other people. Acts 2 verse 17, the first sermon of the church at Pentecost. You could argue the first church service of the church, right? Peter’s, first time speaking. Acts 2 verse 17, says, God will pour out his spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. We can’t just throw that out the window, right? I mean, we got to look at the big picture here and then later on in Acts 21 verse nine, Philip the Evangelist, I mean, it’s the same guy that went up to the chariot, you know, Philip, one of the early leaders in the first-century church, says Philip the Evangelist had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. So we’re working all this together. So if we’re true to the immediate context of One Corinthians 14 and these three groups that are told to be silent, if we understand Paul’s instructions on women in chapter eleven, and if we examine the New Testament Scriptures, it is very clear. We don’t know exactly how or how it all was or the format, but it is crystal clear that women did indeed verbally participate in the first-century church services.

Amen. Amen. So as we read 1 Corinthians 14 verses 34 and 35, not in isolation, but in the context, this must mean a specific, limited silence of some sort. Are you with me? Are you following me on this? So allow me to paint a picture of what was likely happening in the church in Corinth. We’ve already talked about what was going on. Trouble in Corinth. All right? Think about what would happen when they would come together. I will tell you this, this was likely a house church setting, all right? This is the early days of the church. They didn’t have the money, the resources, or the membership to rent out some big facility. It was either several house churches, one house church probably owned or would need to be owned by one of the wealthy members of the church. Are you with me on that? Okay, so you need to picture this. It’s more of a family group setting than it would be here, all right? So because of that culture, and just because of the culture here, women would sit on one side of the room and the men would sit on the other side of the room.

That’s just the way it was, all right? That was normal. For them to do anything otherwise would be scandalous, all right? And again, we’re not here to be in the church to be scandalous for the purpose of no, it’s about edification. Does that make sense? They’re not saying this is right or wrong. It’s just it is. It was the culture. And to speak, you had to stand up. So apparently a lot of people were standing up, if you get my drift, all right? You men on one side women on the other side, people standing up, all right? And so keep in mind the chaos, all right? You had people speaking in tongues, many of them all at the same time with no interpretation. You had preachers talking over one another. You had one group who was really trying to focus and critique the preachers and ask questions from time to time to make sure of what they were saying was doctrinally sound that was happening and needed to happen to validate the prophecy. And by the way, you had a number of Christians in the living room who were drunk. That’s the setting. Now you add wives to the mix, all right?

And because of their new freedom in Christ, I mean, this was groundbreaking because of what Jesus brought to know for the first time, Jesus had elevated women to equals with men. Different role, but equals, right? And so women are no longer in Christianity. They’re no longer defined by a male-dominated society, and that’s what it was. So they’re no longer defined by that. And so if you’re a Christian and you’re a woman in the church or wife in the church, man, this is a lot. It’s exciting, but it’s a lot. You’re still trying to figure it out. How do I balance this new identity in Christ with my culture? How do I respect my husband? How do I interact with the other men in the church? What is this? But they’re excited, right? And that’s understandable. So again, they’re sitting across from their husbands, men, and women across the room. I’ll also add, by no fault of their own, but that culture, most of the women, probably all the women were not educated. And so you could understand as prophecy was happening and the word of God was being taught, there’s another layer of complication there of them wanting to ask questions or just trying to figure out what’s happening.

Oh, he just quoted the Hebrew scripture. They weren’t allowed to really study that, but now they are. And what does this mean? Do you get the picture here that’s on top of everything else, what seems to be happening from what Paul is saying here, is that some of the women were adding to the chaos. They were adding to the chaos of the assembly by speaking out and speaking up out of turn. A lot of people were doing it right, and perhaps they were inquiring about things they did not understand, or they could have been using their new freedom. Maybe they were getting a bit snarky and publicly disagreeing with their own husbands in the church. Maybe. It seems like from the context of this they’re bringing some things that are going on at home into the public setting and disagreeing with their husbands or questioning their husbands in front of everyone else. Perhaps they were even publicly interrupting the other men. We don’t know. But whatever these specific women were doing, very similar to the tongue speakers and the prophets who spoke out of turn, these women were disrupting the church service, and it was hurting the edification of the whole.

That’s what the best we know of what was happening. So Paul then sets some ground rules. Let’s look at those. He sets ground rules, I don’t have to say it. For the disruptive women in the church when they came together. All right, first of all, for the disruptive women, silence, just like he did with the other, the prophets and the tongue speakers. Be silent. There’s a time when silence is the loving thing to do. Number two, you’ll see the same theme throughout the Bible you need to be submissive to your husband. There’s a spirit of submissiveness, not lesser than, but submissiveness. And knowing your role in this setting, is very important, but this is not a time to speak out like that, so don’t bring shame on your husband in public, because that hurts him, and Paul says that hurts the church. So the third thing is, like, hey, if you really want to be spiritual like the tongue speakers, keep that at home. Like, if you have questions, cover those at home, because it’s adding to this chaos. It’s not good for the whole. Here’s a translation from a Greek and Corinthian scholar that I think may help us with these couple of verses.

One, Corinthians 14, verse 33. As in all the churches of God’s holy people, when congregations meet in public, the women should allow for silence, for there exists no permission for them to speak in the way they do. Let them keep to their ordered place, as the law indicates. If they want to learn anything, let them interrogate their own husbands at home. Like that word that gives us the sense, and that’s the word there. It’s just there’s something going on between the man and the woman here that is better handled at home. Right. For the woman who does this in public, worship brings disgrace to the church. So all of this stings, all right? And we have to have a lot of humility and love as we read this and see the bigger picture and try to understand what the Holy Spirit really would want for us today as a church. To summarize, here in Corinth, Paul gave instructions to the Corinthian Church about their assemblies to calm the chaos because there was so much chaos that people were not being built up. Everyone was out for themselves and it was spiritual, but everyone was out for themselves if that makes sense.

Which makes it not spiritual, right? So he wanted to calm the chaos. He wanted to promote love and unity. So in order to do this, three groups, not just the women, but three groups had to learn to be silent in certain situations in church services. The tongue speakers who had no interpretation, the prophets who babble on and on, and the disruptive women. That’s what we see here. That’s what’s happening. And I understand and as you’re reading this and processing this, I think it’s very easy and I understand it to say, well, this group had issues and Paul’s dealing with their issues. This group had issues and he’s dealing with their issues. But this seems to be just because they’re women. I get that, but we’re dealing, it seems, specifically with women who were disrupting. What was happening in the edification of the church, that’s what we know. So I think an important thing to remember, and we’ve emphasized this throughout our study of the church in Corinth, they suffered from a stunning lack of self-awareness. Like all this was happening and we kind of giggled about it. We’re like, wow, Corinth. And despite all the sin and drama in that church, they actually thought they were doing better than everyone else.

They really thought this. That’s why there were two letters, plus at least another letter that we don’t have in the Bible that was sent to this church. And they’re Christians, but they just had a stunning lack of self-awareness. They thought they were doing better than most people, including Paul. It’s like, Paul, I don’t need you anymore. But we can get like that, can’t we? Self-awareness is so important to our growth. So that’s why Paul concludes in typical Paul fashion. Go to the next slide. 1 Corinthians 14, verse 36. He says, or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only one the word of God has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I’m writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, and my sisters, earnestly desire to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues. Again, the problem’s not with the gifts, but all things should be done decently and in order. The bottom line, what Paul is emphasizing here again to the church in Corinth and underscoring is spiritual pride is arrogant and it’s divisive, and we’re all susceptible to it.

We must pursue love for one another in the church, not just love or wanting our own self-interests to be put out there, but even more so, the interest of others who may be different in gender from us, those who are different in age, those who. Have different priorities and different skill sets. We must value this. Love builds up, but knowledge puffs up that pride within ourselves and that’s dangerous. Love sometimes is silent, and that applies to us today. So I wasn’t able to cover it all today. There’s so much more I could say and there’s so much more I could babble on about. I’m going to sit down in a minute, but I do want to wrap this up. If you want to dig deeper into this topic, if you desire to sift and weigh what I taught today, please go for it. I encourage you to do that. This is only a 45 minutes sampling of this in our family of churches. For instance, a team of scholars and teachers have published a book. This came out several years ago called The Bible and Gender. I think it’s excellent. It gives a very balanced view of the more difficult passages about women in the Bible and gender roles.

It also covers 1 Corinthians, chapter 14. Two years ago, my wife Amy, and about five or six other men and women who are elders, elders, wives, and ministry leaders of all ages around the state. They gather for about two months to look at this paper and discuss it and figure out, okay, what does this mean for our church today? So if you have questions, Amy invites them. She’ll do her best to talk about these things. I think it’s important to continue the discussion, but with great humility and patience that we handle the word of God correctly. Also, we have Dr. Courtney Bailey. He’s going to be speaking on this very topic Wednesday night. 1 Corinthians eleven, 1 Corinthians 14. And I’m fairly certain we’re going to align pretty well in what we teach, but I think he’s going to give you even better and just a deeper dive and more nuance to this. And I’m eager to hear what he has to say. All these resources are available for you if you’re looking for a couple of books. The View from Paul’s Window by Jeannie Shaw is fantastic and she really breaks down a lot of these things very well.

It’s a book I could understand very easily. Terrific book. And then the one that Eddie, Keith, and I have been using and leaning on quite a bit for our preaching from 1 Corinthians is by Anthony Thistleton. He’s a scholar specifically on Corinthians. That’s all he does, corinthians. His whole life in Corinthians. And so he knows it. He knows it really well. So to conclude, what does this mean for us? Our Sunday services, I think, I would hope, are not as chaotic as what Corinth experienced. But if you wait a while, maybe they could be. I don’t know. That’s not really our goal. Tongue speaking is not our issue. We typically don’t interrupt each other. We have a rotation of prepared speakers and songs and those types of things. And we also try to leave room for the spirit to move and flexibility and spontaneity. But these principles here, are timeless. I hope it helps you have a better understanding of why we do what we do every Sunday, and why we have an order. Why are there times for us to be silent? Remember the whys of our gathering of the church. It’s to build up others.

It’s for outsiders to come and say, god is among you. I get it. I want this. And most importantly, when people see us together, they see Jesus. Individually, not as much, but together they see Jesus. And we learn that today even an aspect of Jesus’s character, that sometimes silence is love. Remember the example of Jesus when falsely accused and the assembly of the priests? What did he do? Jesus remained silent, not because he was weak, but because he was strong. When he was falsely accused by the governor, Pilate, and the crowd, Jesus remained silent. So our ultimate goal is to represent Jesus. Remember Jesus is he’s the model. That’s what we’re striving to do and be. We need to learn from Jesus the way Jesus elevated women like no one had ever done since the Garden of Eden. That’s Jesus. He came to restore humanity and restore the relationship between the genders, man, and woman. The church must imitate Jesus. I’d also encourage you, number two, to engage your minds in deeper Bible study. Don’t treat the Bible as a text message. We have to be self-aware when we read the Bible, you know who or what’s always there when you read the Bible, you.

So we bring all our stuff when we read it. And we got to be self-aware that we bring our own bias, our own tradition, triggers emotions, fears, and insecurity. I’d encourage all of us to work hard to read and interpret the Bible through the eyes of Jesus. That’s how it makes sense and above all else in the church, pursue love. So often we read One Corinthians 13 at a wedding or a funeral, and that’s highly appropriate, but let’s make sure we understand 1 Corinthians 13 in its original context, the assembly of the church. That’s why it was written of what we’re talking about here in our church services, in our gatherings as disciples of Jesus. Love is patient and love is kind when we meet. Love does not envy the gifts of others. Love does not boast about our own gifts. Love is not arrogant thinking. We know the best way. Love is not rude in our gatherings of the body of Christ. Love does not insist on its way when it comes to who should get to speak, when should speak, and how to speak, love remembers that sometimes we need to be silent. Love is not irritable or resentful of roles, order, or meeting format of the church.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, love endures all things. And as for all of our gifts, all of our roles in the church. All of those are going to soon pass away, but love never ends. Let’s bow our heads and pray.

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