HOLY ROLLERS: The first century church was a much different environment than the typical Midwestern protestant church is today. Their services were probably included very little music, but yet it was also a very charismatic event with multiple church members standing up and sharing new revelations God had just given them, often in languages nobody could understand. Today, however, those of us on the Reformed side of the aisle are often skeptical of churches that continue these practices. Why is that?
The big difference between then and now is in the way God speaks to His people. Today, we have the full and complete Word of God written down, and so our services are oriented around understanding what it says and applying those living words to our lives. These early Corinthian Christians didn't have that. They had the Old Testament for sure, and perhaps Mark's gospel by this point, so God gave them revelation in more direct ways, through 'tongues' and miraculous healings. As the New Testament neared completion, these extraordinary communications from the Spirit slowed down and came to an end.
IT DOESN'T JUST MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS: This chapter talks quite a bit about prophecy. Today we tend to associate this word with a prediction of the future, which it can be, but Paul uses it here in a way that includes much more. To prophecy means to declare the Word of the Lord, so in a sense we can say that a sermon is a prophetic declaration of God's Word to today's situations.
IS PAUL MISOGYNISTIC? Paul matter of factly states in v34 that 'women should remain silent in the churches.' This topic deserves more attention than we can give it today, but know for sure that Paul did not hate women. In fact, women play key roles in his ministry. This chapter is all about building up the church (v12 & 26) and maintaining good order (v40), and one aspect of order that God has consistently kept in His commandments for how He ought to be worshipped is for men to fulfill leadership roles (v34). Yes, this deeply conflicts with our current cultural reality. No, this does not mean that men are superior to women. We will see these principles more clearly articulated in upcoming epistles, but for now be reminded that God's ways are not always our ways, and that no matter your gender, God has a purpose for you in His church.
We look forward to celebrating the Lord's Supper this coming Sunday at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. We will be preparing for this by following the guide given in the Westminster Larger Catechism, #171:
Those that come to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, are, before they come, to prepare themselves by:
Examining yourself to see that they are in Christ, and remembering that on their own, they are sinful and lacking the holiness God requires;
Examining the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance;
Examine your love to God and fellow church members, charity to all men, and forgiveness for those that have done you wrong;
Examine your desire for Christ, and of your new obedience;
Renew often these exercises of graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is not a God of disorder, but of peace (v33)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Try to excel in building up the church (v12)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: