Order in the Church
God is orderly and is not a God of confusion. God love and peace. How often are we living in a chaotic manner, or our church is disorganized and without order?
We are called to edify and build up our congregation. There must be order in the things we do as a body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:26-40
26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, 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. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.
Paul says that when people come together for worship, they should each have a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. He says that all of these things should be done for the purpose of building up the church. Paul then goes on to give some specific instructions on how to use these gifts. He says that if someone speaks in a tongue, there should only be two or three people who do this at a time, and someone should interpret what they are saying. If there is no one to interpret, then the person who is speaking in tongues should keep silent.
Paul's instructions are important for Christians today because they provide guidance on how to worship in a way that is pleasing to God. We are called to maintain a semblance of order within the church. This includes Bible studies, Sunday mornings, children's church, small groups, etc. We must be considerate, quick to hear and slow to speak. When we are gathered together, our actions, words, worship, etc, should be for the edification of the body and to Christ. We are called to keep order and keep the focus on Him. Sometimes, we must cut the tangents off if they are causing more confusion and clouding the message of God’s Word. God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
Next, how do we ensure we are doing what is right? Paul instructs us to use God's Word as the true measure for testing what we hear. Every message, sermon, small group, children's church, etc, should be tested against the Word of God to ensure the truth is being taught. Everyone who hears and listens to each message must internally evaluate it so that we all may apply it to our hearts.
Conversely, no preacher, pastor, or teacher is perfect. We all make mistakes at times. Even true and called teachers don't know everything. Therefore, we must listen intently and read the Word of God to ensure the messages being spoken are faithful and true to God’s Word. There are so many people out there today who say things or preach just for attention’s sake. You may even sit in a Sunday service, and the pastor never even opens the Bible or reads any Scripture. We must beware of false teachers, and we do this by looking back to the Word for the truth.
Regarding Paul’s instruction for women to keep silent, there is some contextual understanding that must be had. He is not saying that women are not allowed to speak, pray, or worship. He already addressed that women are no less than men. Women have a right to pray and worship. However, he addresses their ability to judge prophecy when it is brought into the church. During their time, women and men typically sat separated. If a woman shouted to her husband across the church for clarification, she would be treated strictly. Essentially, he tells the women of the Corinthian church not to interrupt when prophecy or meetings were taking place due to the ‘liberties’ that the Corinthian women had taken. Paul was calling to them to be submissive to the elders in the church and get clarification from their husbands when at home. Again, this was a cultural thing during that time.
How does this apply to our church today? Women are of equal value within the church, with the family, within our homes, and at work. However, God calls women to be submissive in Christ. In today’s world, many women are better taught in God’s Word than men due to the pride and stubbornness of men.
Finally, Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are the only church. Christ died for the sins of everyone. We are all unique in our own ways but are united by Christ. Also, Paul does not forbid teaching and speaking in tongues, but there must be order and interpretation present. It must be edifying to the congregation so it may be built up in Christ. Be orderly in our business as Christians and work within the peace of God. Ask for wisdom, humility, and compassion toward others. Let the Word of God be the measure of truth, which is done by digging into God’s Word to build up our foundation in Christ.
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