TOPIC: Not For Showmanship (DCLM Daily Manna 30 September 2021)
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 14:1-25
1 Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ([a]interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).
2 For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding].
3 But [on the other hand], the one who prophesies [who [b]interprets the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching] speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation.
4 He who speaks in a [strange] tongue edifies and improves himself, but he who prophesies [[c]interpreting the divine will and purpose and teaching with inspiration] edifies and improves the church and promotes growth [in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness, and happiness].
5 Now I wish that you might all speak in [unknown] tongues, but more especially [I want you] to prophesy (to be inspired to preach and interpret the divine will and purpose). He who prophesies [who is inspired to preach and teach] is greater (more useful and more important) than he who speaks in [unknown] tongues, unless he should interpret [what he says], so that the church may be edified and receive good [from it].
6 Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in [unknown] tongues, how shall I make it to your advantage unless I speak to you either in revelation (disclosure of God’s will to man) in knowledge or in prophecy or in instruction?
7 If even inanimate musical instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone [listening] know or understand what is played?
8 And if the war bugle gives an uncertain (indistinct) call, who will prepare for battle?
9 Just so it is with you; if you in the [unknown] tongue speak words that are not intelligible, how will anyone understand what you are saying? For you will be talking into empty space!
10 There are, I suppose, all these many [to us unknown] tongues in the world [somewhere], and none is destitute of [its own power of] expression and meaning.
11 But if I do not know the force and significance of the speech (language), I shall seem to be a foreigner to the one who speaks [to me], and the speaker who addresses [me] will seem a foreigner to me.
12 So it is with yourselves; since you are so eager and ambitious to possess spiritual endowments and manifestations of the [Holy] Spirit, [concentrate on] striving to excel and to abound [in them] in ways that will build up the church.
13 Therefore, the person who speaks in an [unknown] tongue should pray [for the power] to interpret and explain what he says.
14 For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the [d]Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive [it bears no fruit and helps nobody].
15 Then what am I to do? I will pray with my spirit [by the [e]Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will also pray [intelligently] with my mind and understanding; I will sing with my spirit [by the Holy Spirit that is within me], but I will sing [intelligently] with my mind and understanding also.
16 Otherwise, if you bless and render thanks with [your] spirit [[f]thoroughly aroused by the Holy Spirit], how can anyone in the position of an outsider or he who is not gifted with [interpreting of unknown] tongues, say the Amen to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?
17 To be sure, you may give thanks well (nobly), but the bystander is not edified [it does him no good].
18 I thank God that I speak in [strange] tongues (languages) more than any of you or all of you put together;
19 Nevertheless, in public worship, I would rather say five words with my understanding and intelligently in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a [strange] tongue (language).
20 Brethren, do not be children [immature] in your thinking; continue to be babes in [matters of] evil, but in your minds be mature [men].
21 It is written in the Law, By men of strange languages and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and not even then will they listen to Me, says the Lord.
22 Thus [unknown] tongues are meant for a [supernatural] sign, not for believers but for unbelievers [on the point of believing], while prophecy (inspired preaching and teaching, interpreting the divine will and purpose) is not for unbelievers [on the point of believing] but for believers.
23 Therefore, if the whole church assembles and all of you speak in [unknown] tongues, and the ungifted and uninitiated or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are demented?
24 But if all prophesy [giving inspired testimony and interpreting the divine will and purpose] and an unbeliever or untaught outsider comes in, he is told of his sin and reproved and convicted and convinced by all, and his defects and needs are examined (estimated, determined) and he is called to account by all,
25 The secrets of his heart are laid bare; and so, falling on [his] face, he will worship God, declaring that God is among you in very truth.
KEY VERSE: “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” – (1 Corinthians 14:23)
One thing that is common in the secular world is the spirit of competition. There is that inner drive for self-projection and promotion. So, when people seek to acquire a new skill, educational qualifications, etc., it is primarily for the purpose of self-advancement and the actualisation of personal dream and ambition.
Believers at the church in Corinth had been known not to be behind in the manifestation of spiritual gifts. But apostle Paul began to observe that these gifts were not being used in the right way. It was no longer primarily for edification; that is, building up of the church, but to show that they had these gifts and could use them. He counsels them that while they desire to have spiritual gifts, it should not be for showmanship but for the edifying of the body of Christ. While in the church, they are to manifest only gifts like prophesy that will benefit the whole congregation.
Believers today need to be reminded of this fact. A lot of contemporary Christians are very desirous of spiritual gifts. They study, fast, pray, go to the mountains, etc. just to have these gifts. While it is good to seek spiritual gifts as the Bible enjoins us to, we must check what motivates us. Many desire spiritual gifts so that they can announce their “arrival” to the world. They want to be seen and revered as the “Man of God”! This is very sad. It is this wrong desire that has led so many into having and manifesting false spirits of divinations and lying wonders. Believers must beware!
Everyone who is born again, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit should strongly desire and pray for appropriate gifts that will help them fulfil their ministry in the body of Christ. However, we must guard against desiring these gifts for the purpose of self-projection and pride.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
The Holy Spirit does not project man but Christ alone!
THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
DCLM Daily Manna was written by Pastor W. F. Kumuyi; is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church situated at KM 42 on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria.