For the past five weeks, we have been considering the doctrinal teachings that are propagated by those in the Charismatic movement. Each week we have looked at the Word of God in our evaluation of these teachings. Tonight we want to continue to look at the corrective instruction that the Apostle Paul gave to the church at Corinth concerning their abuse of the spiritual gifts, in particular, the gift of tongues. Paul continues in the fourteenth chapter to instruct the church on the regulations for the use of the gift. To avoid any confusion, let me say again that God's Word clearly teaches that the age of signs, wonders, and miracles wrought at the hand of men has passed. It is also clear from the Scriptures that the gift of tongues were to cease and have already done so. What we have in the modern-day Charismatic movement is NOT the spiritual gift of tongues!
The instructions given to the church at Corinth were given to correct the abuse of the gift of tongues. However, it is clear from the previous chapters that much of what was happening in the Corinthian church was NOT of God! They were unable to discern what was of God and what was not, and they were mistakenly assuming that since there was an actual gift of tongues, then what they were observing and experiencing was of God. Paul told them very distinctly that they were WRONG!
The purpose in our study of the remaining portion of this chapter is to further reveal how unbiblical the Charismatic movement really is. Not only are they teaching false doctrine, but their practice of what they say is biblical doesn't line up with the Scriptures either!
I. The State of the Corinthian Worship. (v26)
A. Paul was not instructing them to do the things he mentioned in this verse.
1. This was his evaluation of their worship service.
2. There was no edifying in their worship.
3. According to Paul's instruction in the previous passage, if an unbeliever would come to church there, he would conclude that these Corinthian Christians were out of their minds!
B. They were all vying for the pre- eminence.
1. Singers wanted to be singing
2. Teachers wanted to be teaching
3. Some were speaking in tongues
4. Some were uttering interpretations
5. The result was utter chaos!
II. Guidelines for Their Worship. (v27-35)
A. The proper use of the TRUE gift.
1. In the presence of an unbelieving Jew, and one with the gift of interpretation. page three
2. One with the gift of languages (or tongues) would deliver a message in a language unknown to him, but known to the unbelieving Jew.
3. The message then, would reach that Jewish person, and the one with the gift of interpretation would interpret for the edifica- tion of the entire congregation.
B. The procedure for tongues. v27-28
1. Principle #1 (27a)
a. "...let it be by two, or at the most three..."
b. There was a definite limit placed upon how many were to use the gift.
c. This principle is nearly always violated by the modern- day charismatics. d. Many times everyone in the group is speaking in what they call "tongues", however God will never work in opposition to His Word!
2. Principle #2 (27b)
a. "...and that by course..."
b. That means each person was to wait his turn.
c. They were not to be speaking in these languages all at the same time.
d. This was what was happening in the church at Corinth (cf.v23) and created a confusing atmo- sphere contrary to true worship.
e. It is also what happens in the modern-day charismatic meetings when the groups begin to babble all at once.
3. Principle #3 (27c)
a. "...and let one interpret."
b. Only one is to interpret, not two, three, or five--just one!
c. The interpretation was for the benefit of the rest of the congregation that they might understand the message.
d. Only one interpretation was needed.
4. Principle #4 (28)
a. "...no interpreter...keep silence in the church..."
b. If there was no one there who could interpret the message, then the church could not be edified.
c. Every one of these principles are violated in charismatic meetings today in the exercise of the false gift of tongues.
C. The procedure for prophesying. v29- 33
1. Principle #1 (29a)
a. "Let the prophets speak two or three..."
b. These prophets were men who stood and declared God's message.
c. They were spoke in two ways:
1) They spoke direct revelation from God that had never been given before.
2) And they repeated messages that had alreay been given by the apostles.
d. The office of "prophet" was foundational.
e. They are never mentioned later on by Paul in his pastoral epistles.
f. According to Ephesians 2:20, both apostles and prophets were foundational offices in the church.
2. Principle #2 (29b)
a. "...and let the other judge"
b. The other prophets were to evaluate the truth of the message being spoken.
c. This was the exercising of the gift of discernment.
d. People were not to speak with- out someone's evaluating it.
e. Today we have the Word of God to evaluate the truthfulness of the message and messenger.
3. Principle #3 (30)
a. They were only to prophesy one at a time.
b. If another prophet received a message to share, then the first prophet was to stop and be quiet while the other spoke.
c. Note that these principles will lead to order and not confusion.
4. Principle #4 (31-32)
a. True prophets were able to control their gift.
b. This way everyone could benefit from the prophesying.
c. This is absolute proof that the Spirit of God does not place a person into an un- controllable trance in order to minister.
5. Summary principle #5 (33)
a. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace..."
b. The one word that characterized the worship service at Corinth, as well as most charismatic meetings today, was "confusion"!
c. Not only mental confusion but also disorderly behavior.
D. Procedures for women. v34-35
1. The woman's silence. (34)
a. This isn't a cultural statement only applicable to the church at Corinth.
b. Note: v33b "...as in all churches of the saints."
c. This is to be the standard in all churches, just as much as the preceding exhortations.
1) Because they are commanded to be under obedience. page seven
2) The location of this instruction indicates that specifically Paul was making reference to the speaking gifts within the framework of public worship services.
3) Women have the God-given position of being submissive.
4) Note: 1 Ti. 2:11-14
5) So this instruction is not cultural, but is by Divine design.
2. The woman's shame. (35)
a. For a woman to violate this biblical principle by speaking up in church is a "shame".
b. It is a perversion of God's plan and purpose for women.
c. Paul said that if they truly wanted to learn, let them ask their husbands at home.
1) Because God has established that the husband is to be the spiritual leader of the home.
2) He cannot lead unless his wife is willing to follow.
a. Because of the context, it seems that some of the women were speaking up in the service, perhaps interrupting the prophets message, under the guise of wanting to learn.
b. It is also clear that women were not to be speaking in tongues or in any way usurping authority over men.
c. Once again we see a clear dis- tinction between biblical policy and charismatic practice.
III. Final Exhortations. v36-40
A. A Challenge to Acceptance. v36
1. Paul had made things very clear to this church with regard to the ungodly practices which were taking place there.
2. He had made very strong statements about the use of the gift of tongues and prophecy, as well as the position of women in public worship.
3. Now he challenges them to accept his instructions.
4. The only way they could refuse would be if they were the ones who wrote the Word of God, or if they were the only ones who had the truth!
5. Since neither was the case, the only option left for them was to obey.
B. A Bold Statement of Fact. v37-38
1. Paul said, "What I write, is coming directly from God!"
2. "If you think you are a prophet, or a spiritually gifted person, then you must already know that!"
3. "If you are ignorant of that fact, then be ignorant."
4. The implied meaning is that the ignorant one should be ignored as well.
C. A Final Admonition. v39-40
1. Here Paul gives a summary of the teaching on spiritual gifts.
2. Seek prophecy, don't forbid the exercize of the TRUE gift of tongues, and let all things be done decently and in order.
Conclusion: Tonight we have considered the Scriptures which clearly teach that the use of the true gift of tongues was regulated by the Word of God. In the modern-day charismatic movement, the Word of God takes a lower position than so- called experience of speaking in tongues. Let me remind you that one charismatic preacher claimed that it was more important than the virgin birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ! In a way, we have come full circle. It becomes a matter of what will you believe. Will you choose the Word of God or will you choose to disobey the Scriptures? It is impossible to hold to the teachings of the modern-day charismatic movement and be obedient to the Scriptures! Where will you take your stand?