Moving forward in 1 Corinthians 14, we see some over-arching principles that must govern the exercise of our gifts. The references in this chapter I have listed below underscore the principle that all gifts must be used for the building up and edification of the body of Christ. Please read each one and consider their implications.
1. “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (14:3).
2. “The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up” (14:5). Note: “prophesies” means to “speak inspired or divine utterances” as in the Word of God (see 2 Peter 1:20-21).
3. “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (14:12).
4. “When you come together…let all things be done for building up” (14:26).
Paul is making the point very clear that we must examine how we use our gifts in the body of Christ to make sure that we serve others in the church with a single objective; that they are built up and brought to maturity (Ephesians 4:11-13). I firmly believe that if this principle was better understood and lived out, the church would be far more effective in reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
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