THE ORDERLY PATTERN FOR WORSHIP LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH INVOLVES MULTIPLE GIFTED MEN PROMOTING THE GOAL OF EDIFICATION
There is a pattern for worship leadership in the church. There are appropriate ways to achieve the goal of edification; there are inappropriate ways. The role of gifted men is different from that of gifted women. Need to determine if this passage addresses the church as it comes together in its entirety or just as it meets in smaller house church or flock group meetings. It would seem that the corporate meeting of the entire church is in view. However, in either case, these principles would seem to apply.
I. (:26-33) CONNECTION BETWEEN ORDERLINESS AND EDIFICATION
A. (:26) Orderliness Essential for Edification
1. (:26A) Exercise of Spiritual Gifts Must Achieve Desired Outcome
“What is the outcome then, brethren?”
We have spent a lot of time studying spiritual gifts and the pursuit of love. This has not been just an academic exercise. There is a practical objective of accomplishing the goal of edification within the context of orderly church services.
2. (:26B) Eclectic, Haphazard Contribution by All Does Not Work
“When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.”
Paul is challenging the appropriateness of their unorganized practice.
3. (:26C) Edification Must be the Goal
“Let all things be done for edification.”
They have gotten so caught up in themselves and their giftedness that they have lost sight of God’s goal for the church.
B. (:27-32) Orderliness Ensured by Following Simple Guidelines / Restrictions
Stedman: Well, I do not like rules either. I basically resist rules, but I learned many years ago that you cannot function as a corporate body without some rules. You cannot play a game of football without rules; the rules make the game possible. You cannot play a game of chess without rules; you cannot drive through traffic without rules.
1. (:27-28) Guidelines Involving Speaking in Tongues in Church Meetings
a. Not Too Many – But More Than One
“If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, “j
Why this emphasis on multiple ministry?
b. Not All At Once
“and each in turn,”
c. Not Without an Interpreter
“and let one interpret but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.”
Implied goal is edification of the church – not just speaking to oneself or to God
2. (:29-32) Guidelines Involving Prophecying in Church Meetings
a. (:29A) Not Too Many – But More Than One
“And let two or three prophets speak”
b. (:29B) Not Without Checks and Balances
“and let the others pass judgment.”
How do we accomplish this goal of checks and balances in our assembly. Do the elders actively monitor the content of the teaching and preaching and raise appropriate questions or refute error? Do other gifted men have a forum to pass judgment on what has been spoken as well? Importance of discernment
c. (:30-32) Not Without Self Control and Restraint and Consideration for the Contribution of Others
“But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;”
Implied goal is edification of the entire church – not just speaking to oneself or to God
Why would God give multiple men in a single church the gift of teaching and preaching? What should be the context for the expression of those gifts?
Does it show a lack of self control and a lack of restraint and a lack of consideration for the contribution of others for the public teaching ministry to be dominated by one man – no matter how singularly gifted?
Stedman: nobody was to take over the meeting, Paul says, for two reasons:
1. First, because the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. Someone might have said, “I can’t help what I say. The Spirit of God is in me and he is speaking through me. Therefore, everything I say is of God.” Paul says, “Rubbish! The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. You can help yourself; you need not claim that you just have to say these things.” As someone has said, there are always two kinds of speakers — those who have something to say, and those who have to say something. The apostle is concerned that he limit the latter.
2. The second reason he gives is, the Spirit of God never creates confusion or disorder.
Therefore, no one is to dominate a meeting, to run away with it, or consider himself an inspired spokesman because God does not work that way. Let it be orderly and decently done and give room to others to speak and to share in the ministry. Remember, if there is strife, jealousy, confusion, argument, and that kind of thing, it is not a meeting led by the Spirit of God. God does not work that way. When that kind of a meeting is going on, it is some other spirit at work.
MacArthur: A new revelation took precedence over the reiteration of something that had already been taught. It was not that the truths in the new revelation were necessarily more important than those then being proclaimed, but that, at the moment, the new should be heard while it was fresh from the Lord. That is not an issue in the church today, because the revelation aspect of the prophetic ministry ceased with the completion of the New Testament. But apparently in the early church such conflicts sometimes occurred. When they did, the prophet with the new revelation was to be given the floor. In other words, when God spoke directly, everyone was to listen.
C. (:33) Orderliness Consistent with the Character of the God we Worship
“for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
II. (:34-35) CORRECTION REGARDING THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE PUBLIC CHURCH SERVICES – NOT A VOCAL, TEACHING, AUTHORITATIVE ROLE
A. (:34) Role of Women Defined – Two Broad Injunctions
1. With Regards to Their Role in Public Teaching – Keep Silent
“Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak”
2. With Regards to Their Submission to Male Authority – Submit Themselves
“but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.”
Jeffries: Prophesying and speaking in tongues involve teaching, transmitting truth and revelation. A woman, who is to be in submission to male authority, should never seek to overshadow that authority. This does not mean that she is not endowed with these gifts, which she can use privately. Neither does it mean that she cannot pray or sing, because neither of these actions involve exercising authority. And even though Paul refers to women prophesying in 1 Corinthians 11:5, there is not indication that he approves of the practice.
B. (:35) Proper Context for Doctrinal Interaction
“And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home;”
Seems to imply a much greater role of participation on the part of a larger number of men than what we see in our church services
C. (:35B) Appropriateness of This Role Reiterated
“for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.”
III. (:36-38) CAUTION AGAINST PRIDEFULLY ASSERTING SOME INDEPENDENT STANDARDS FOR CORPORATE WORSHIP SERVICES
A. (:36) Caution Based on the Source and Scope of the Word of God
1. Source — Did Not Originate FromYou
“Was it from you that the word of God first went forth?”
2. Scope — Was Not Limited toYou
“Or has it come to you only?”
B. (:37-38) Caution Based on Respect for Apostolic Authority –
Communicating Divine Commands must be in the context of recognizing and submitting to the Authority of the Word of God
1. (:37A) Warning Against Pride
“If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual”
2. (:37B) Assertion of Apostolic Authority
“let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.”
3. (:38) Litmus Test for Legitimacy
“But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.”
Beware of anyone who is not willing to submit to the authority of the Word of God; or who appeals to some type of subjective experience for legitimacy rather than putting the priority on the Word of God
IV. (:39-40) CONCLUSION: THE ORDERLY PATTERN FOR WORSHIP LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH INVOLVES MULTIPLE GIFTED MEN PROMOTING THE GOAL OF EDIFICATION
A. (:39) Pursue the Goal of Edification
1. Priority on Prophecying
“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy”
2. Prudence Regarding Speaking in Tongues
“and do not forbid to speak in tongues.”
B. (:40) Practice Orderliness in the Church Services
“But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.”