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'A Year with Jesus' for 8/29/2014

Build Up Each Other!

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

I love those times when you lose yourself in praise to Me and to the Father as you are filled with the Holy Spirit. To see your heart moved in love and praise for what I have done to save you is precious. You can worship Me and praise Me anywhere you are — in your car, at a park, on a hike, at a coffee shop, while you walk, or when you are getting ready to begin or end the day. Because of the Holy Spirit within you, you can always have access to the Father, passionately worship Me, and be blessed personally by your time of worship.

However, I want you to hear Paul's warning about being so focused on your own fulfillment in worship at your gatherings that you forget an essential purpose of coming together with other "believers" in shared worship. There are things you can do in your private worship that bless you and connect you to Me but that you should not do when assembled with others because they don't understand it, they are not blessed by it, or it causes confusion. Remember, you are assembling with "believers," "unbelievers," and "inquirers" who are all together in the worship gathering with different needs to know Me, understand the Father's grace, and display My character and compassion in their daily lives.

In today's verses, Paul makes clear that one of the primary purposes of "believers" gathering together in worship is to "build up" other "believers""edify", "strengthen" and "build up" are the key words used in the translation below. In addition, what you do should lead non-believers to understand the message of truth and fall down in reverent worship with you. Notice these two statements of Paul in the verses below:

Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. ...

But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
The Corinthian Christians had become so focused on speaking in tongues that their worship gatherings had become chaotic as each person focused on his or her private experience and forgot about other worshipers and their needs. Paul twice emphasized that God is a God of order and things must be done in an orderly way. Seven times Paul emphasized the need to "build up" and "edify" each other as disciples come together in worship — see the words in bold in the verses below. Paul even makes a special point to emphasize that there are three groups of people that need to be considered in these worship gatherings:
  • "believers" should be built up.
  • "inquirers" should be able to understand what is said.
  • "unbelievers" should be able to hear, understand, and be convicted so that they can join in the worship.
Based on these understandings and the problems the Corinthians were having in their worship gatherings, Paul gave several key guidelines that are equally relevant today:
  • Strive to do what is not only filled with the Spirit but also understandable and intelligible to others — if folks can't understand what you are doing, then you should enjoy that kind of worship in private between you and Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — or do so privately and to yourself in your worship gatherings.
  • Focus on the needs of others when you are gathered together as "believers," "unbelievers," and "inquirers." Help those present who are worshiping with you to understand the good news found in Me, to turn their lives around and worship Me, and to be blessed and built up to live for Me.
  • Eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but recognize that your gifts should be used to build up the whole body or should be practiced privately and celebrated between you and Us.
  • Remember the most important principle of all. As Paul says it: "Follow the way of love..."

Verses to Live

Before focusing on Paul's words to the Corinthians, I wanted to share a special passage that reminds you of an essential focus of the Christian assembly: considering others and inspiring each other to love and good deeds! Paul's words provide a great example of applying these principles.

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.
(Hebrews 10:24-25)

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Law it is written:
"With other tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord."
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two — or at the most three — should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace — as in all the congregations of the Lord's people.

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
(1 Corinthians 14:1-40 NIV)

Response in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I call on Your name as I come to the Father. I know the Holy Spirit is interceding for me so that the Father hears both my words and the passions of my heart that I cannot quite put into words. I want to worship You God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I want to exalt You and lift Your name to the highest place in my heart and in my life. As I worship You, whether alone or with other believers, I ask that You be praised and adored, that others will be encouraged and built up, and that I can open my heart and spirit to connect with You as my God. Amen.

For more information about this devotional as well as archives of the material please visit the 'A Year with Jesus' website.


All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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