Wouldn’t it be great if every time you gathered together with a group of believers in Jesus for a worship service that unbelievers felt welcome to attend and to consider their own spiritual life? What if when they attended they declared, “God is really among you!” or something like that?
Every time we gather, we pray for that to happen so that unbelievers can experience life-changing faith in Jesus Christ!
The church at Corinth in the first century was a mess. They were messy people in a messy city, and the good news for them was that Jesus died and rose again to forgive them of their sin, save them, and change them. He showed them how to live God’s way even in the midst of the mess. He offers us salvation and life-change today.
1 Corinthians 14 has instructions for them (and us) in regards to our worship gatherings. In this post, I would like to focus on two big ideas addressed in the chapter. Certainly there are many debatable topics to discuss in this chapter, but I shall leave those to your small group Bible study groups or your teaching pastor to discuss (we discussed this chapter in more depth on a Sunday evening recently at Hebron Church, by the way).
Pursuing love and prophecy will build up the church and demonstrate that God is really among you (vv1-25). We should display genuine, unconditional love to one another. Care for others, serve others, sacrifice for others, forgive others, and encourage others. Pursue love.
Prophecy in the Bible sometimes includes the prophet predicting the future. Prophecy in the Bible always includes the prophet clearly declaring God’s truth. In our worship gatherings, let us declare God’s truth in crystal clear ways.
In the Corinthian church, there was the desire of some people to speak with utterances that were in unknown languages. Those utterances caused more confusion than anything. What they needed was more clear declaration of God’s truth in loving ways. We need the same today. When that happens, even some unbelievers will declare, “God is really among you!”
In worship gatherings of the church there should not be chaos but rather there should be orderly, Christ-honoring worship, showing that God is really among you (vv26-40). If you were to describe the worship services at your church, what words would you use? Is the mood more contemplative or celebratory? Quiet or loud? Free-flowing or liturgical? Modern or traditional? A small, medium or large gathering? Guess what? All of the above (and more) are wonderful and they can be ways for a church to worship the Lord.
The Bible does not prescribe the style of our worship service. Rather, the Bible declares that no matter what the style of our service, the service should be orderly and not chaotic. When happens, the people there will see that our God is not a God of disorder but of peace, and they may just declare, “God is really among you!”