By Not Known
It’s fascinating to watch a building under construction. Effective construction
means that every action of every sub-contractor and worker is directed to the
shared goal. All is done to complete the building according to design, within
budget and on time.
The same applies to the building of God’s church. Paul uses a building illustration
several times in 1 Corinthians and especially in Ch 14. ‘Building‘ here refers to the
spiritual life of the church.
Several things threatened to distract the Corinthians from effective church
building. Some of them have a quite modern twist. Church members had ungodly
behaviours, there was factionalism and church services were chaotic.
Let’s look at church services (Ch 11&14). Their Lord’s Supper was marked by
carnality. Some people came to services with distracting appearances. Others
practised the gift of tongues in an unhelpful way. Too many wanted to give a
prophetic word from the Lord and some women spoke in a disruptive way.
Paul gives detailed instructions on each of these issues. for example (Ch 14),
tongues were to be used in private unless there was interpretation. Prophetic
words were to be limited in number and tested. The disruptive women were to
save their words for their husbands.
In short, church services were to be places of decency, good order and peace
(14:33,40). But even this decency and good order was not the goal. Good order is a
means to the end of building up the church. The word for building up is edified.
The term is used some seven times in Ch 14 (vs3,4,5,12,17,26).
This is key to church effectiveness. Church life, including our services, should be
characterised by flexibility, variety and congregational participation (v26). But this
is all to be directed to the purpose of edifying the church and its people. There is
a particular concern for what will best speak to the non-Christian and the enquirer
Let’s take Paul’s point. Let’s not have good order for the sake of good order. Nor
change for change’s sake. But let all good order and all change be directed to
bringing people to faith and building them up in Christ.