“So That The Church May be Built Up” (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)

by Aug 23, 2020Sermons0 comments

Hear now the word of the Lord from 1 Corinthians 14:1-5.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5, ESV

This is the word of the Lord given to us in love. This morning we finally arrive at 1 Corinthians chapter 14, one of the most challenging and controversial passages in the whole Bible. As we enter our study of this chapter it’s very important for all of us to maintain a posture of humility. We’re dealing with very difficult things here and so as we study this, we’re going to move slowly and carefully through this passage.

Now I’ll say from the outset that our church confesses a particular position on what this passage is teaching, and I am going to be preaching from that perspective. I’m persuaded by it, that’s why I’m a pastor where I’m a pastor. I also want to acknowledge that there are sincere godly Bible-believing Christians who have a different understanding of what’s going on in this passage and how we should apply it in the church today. So, as we’re studying this I want to be as charitable as possible to our brothers and sisters in Christ who come to a different understanding of this, but I also want to make the best case possible for what we believe the scriptures are teaching here, what we believe and why we believe it from the scriptures.

So, I would encourage all of us in this posture of humility to set aside any surface level perceptions we may have as we read this and to hold our personal prejudices at arm’s length as we dive deeply into what God has to say here and as we let God’s word edify our minds and exhort us to faith-driven obedience.

So, with that said, as we come to this passage our big idea this morning is this; Use your gifts for building up, not for boasting.

Now I’ll give a simple outline for how we’re work we’ll work through this passage and we’ll kind of give a little bit more direction and context about what each part is about as we go so.

1. Our Love
2. Our Location
3. Our Language

Our Love

So, let’s start with this first idea that Paul lays out in this first verse, our love. In this first verse Paul is showing us that what he wrote about love in 1 Corinthians 13 relates to what he is about to say. He tells us how love relates to what he’s talking about in 1 Corinthians 14, that is the exercise of the gifts namely that our love should direct our gifts. So, let’s read verse one again Paul says,

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1, ESV

So, in this first verse Paul is giving us a priority order, an understanding of how love relates to the exercise of our gifts. He says first and foremost we need to pursue love. Now this word for pursue is a little stronger than it might sound in English translation. This is actually the same word that is used throughout the New Testament to talk about persecution.

So, Paul himself, in the next chapter, is going to talk about himself and the way that he persecuted the church. He’s using that same word there that he uses the word here for pursue. He’s saying pursue hard after this, persecute this, go with relentlessness after love. Because what Paul is saying is everything, he just wrote about in chapter 13 has to be the first order of business in the church at all times. Particularly what we learn about love has to guide the way that we exercise our gifts.

So, that brings us to the second part of what he says; not only pursue love but earnestly desire the spiritual gifts. Our love must govern the exercise of our gifts because what Paul is saying here is that individual Christians don’t have gifts that we exercise in order to boast, to puff ourselves up. Rather we have these gifts that we are to exercise to build others up, not to boast but to build others up.

Rich Lenski, a commentator on this passage, puts it so well he says that what Paul is saying here is that, “gifts are the hands through which love serves.” Our love should direct our gifts. Then at the end of verse 1 Paul identifies the specific pastoral issue that he’s trying to address at the church in Corinth, he says especially that you may prophesy.

Now before we go into why Paul wants to put such an emphasis on prophecy, especially as we will see, against using untranslated tongues in this worship context. There’s one observation we should make first that what Paul says here when he says spiritual gifts is a word that is different from the word for gifts that we saw back in chapter 12. Now back in chapter 12 Paul was talking about the nature of gifts that God gives to the church and the word that he used there this is very important the word there is charisma, it’s from a Greek word charis, which means grace.

So, the idea of the charisma is that these are the big category of all the gifts that God gives by grace to his church. That includes all the gifts that God gives to his church, but now as we come into chapter 14 Paul uses a different word and it’s not the word charismata it’s the word pneumatikos, which is a word that has to do with the Spirit. It’s a word that means spiritual things. It can mean spiritual ideas, or it can talk about spiritual people. In this context Paul is using this word to talk about spiritual gifts.

Well what are those spiritual gifts? What Paul is going to show us is that these spiritual gifts have to do with spiritual knowledge and spiritual speech that proceeds from that knowledge. We know that because in this chapter Paul uses the word, “to speak” 24 times. What are these spiritual gifts? What’s spiritual speech and spiritual knowledge? These are the spiritual gifts that Paul has in mind because it’s affecting the way that worshipers speak in worship as they exercise their gifts.

Now if you’ve been with us as we’ve been in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and onward I’ve been promising for some time that we would start to deal with this question of why we believe that certain gifts have ceased in the church while we also confess that other gifts continue in their exercise in the church. I started to deal with that a little bit on the two sermons I preached on the on the last paragraph of chapter 13. So, the last two sermons in chapter 13:8-13, I would encourage you if you haven’t listened to those sermons to get those off the website

In 13:8 Paul tells us that these gifts of spiritual speech and spiritual knowledge must pass away. This is a part of the answer to the question Paul says on the one hand in chapter 13:8, love never ends, it endures, it’s perpetual, this is a spiritual grace that will endure for all eternity. On the other hand, as for prophecies they will pass away, as for tongues they will cease, and as for knowledge it will pass away.

So, one of the first parts of the answer to this question as we looked at this passage was to say that every Bible-believing Christian believes that these gifts of spiritual speech must cease at some point. Whether you’re a Presbyterian or whether you’re a Pentecostal everyone who believes the Bible looks at this verse and recognizes that the gifts cease. It’s not a question of whether they will cease, it is a question of when and why they cease. That’s the first part of the answer to this question.

Then the question is sometimes asked, “Okay, well why are you singling out these gifts as ceasing when you think that other gifts will continue?” That’s a good question. Part of the second part of the answer to this overall question is to look at the word that Paul uses here this word, pneumatikos, and to recognize that there is a Biblical distinction that Paul is making that separates these specific gifts of spiritual speech and spiritual inspired prophetic knowledge. He separates those off as a subcategory out of the larger category of grace gifts. So, all the gifts are grace gifts, but there’s one specific category that Paul sets off as one thing unto itself, a subcategory of the larger category.

Now just the fact that we see this subcategory doesn’t completely answer the question. I’m not going to suggest that it does. In fact, the commentator who actually pointed out this distinction that I was reading from is someone who believes that these gifts do continue to exist. So, you don’t have to believe that these gifts have ceased to see the distinction here. The point that I’m trying to make is not that this is a super clear easy doctrine that we can find in the Bible. This is a very complicated doctrine that we see in the Bible.

There are much clearer doctrines, but as we continue to look, and factor by factor we continue to see a part of the answer that shows us that these pneumatikos gifts, these gifts of inspired spiritual speech and knowledge, these were gifts that had a specific purpose that was a temporary purpose, connected to the temporary office of the apostles. Once the apostles died away, that work had done its part and it ceased and passed away because its role was completed.

Now we’ll continue to discuss that question as we move through 1 Corinthians 14, but for now let’s get back into the situation in Corinth. So again, this first point, our love. Paul is saying that our love ought to be the first priority and it should direct, as a secondary effect of that, the way in which we exercise our gifts. Now Paul is going to tell us what that means by distinguishing the different effects of the gifts of untranslated tongues versus the gift of prophecy in two ways.

Our Location

First by location, the context where these gifts are exercised and second by language, how the language affects the hearers who are hearing it. So, by location and by language, Paul is going to differentiate how love should be informing which gift to use in which context.

So, let’s start with this question of context. Our second point, in verses two through four, has to do with our location. First, we saw our love. Now we see our location, Paul is going to say, determines our service, it determines which gift we should use. Now as a preface warning, we’re going to go a little bit into the weeds as we look at what this passage has to say and also what other parts of the Bible have to say about the exercise of these gifts, but it’s important as we wrestle with what Paul is saying here.

2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:2-3, ESV

So, let’s dive right into verse 2. Paul is going to give the first of many reasons that he’s going to keep listing all the way through the first half of this chapter, through verse 25, about why untranslated tongues have no business in a corporate worship service of believers who speak the same language.

The first answer that Paul gives has to do with the context. He’s saying in this context, in this location he says, “the one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.” So, Paul starts by talking about the audience, the context of the audience, when he’s saying understand if you’re speaking tongues in a corporate worship service of believers who all speak the same language, understand that you aren’t speaking to anyone who can understand you. He’s saying the only one who can understand you in that situation is God himself, only God can understand these no one else can understand you.

Now some people, it’s important to understand, look at this verse and they see that these people are speaking not to men but to God and that no one understands them for they are uttering mysteries in the Spirit. They say well this seems like a very different thing than what’s happening in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost when people were speaking in tongues because there those who were listening to that preaching did not understand what was being spoken, but here Paul must be talking about a different gift because no one understands these tongues.

I want to be as fair as possible, but I want to give the best case for what we believe and why we believe it. To take that interpretation is to read too much into Paul’s words. Paul doesn’t mean that no one anywhere understands this speech, he simply means that no one in that assembly understands this speech. He can’t mean absolutely no one understands this speech because in just a few verses he’s going to tell you who does understand this speech, namely a possible interpreter who might be in their midst. So, it can’t be that no one at all understands this. The point is that no one present could understand these languages without the presence and the work of an interpreter.

We said this a few times, but it’s really important as we get back into 1 Corinthians chapter 14 that the word tongues is the normal standard Greek word for human languages. Now 350 years ago when the King James Version of the Bible was translated, the word “tongues” was the more common word for human languages, you talk about the English tongue and the Greek tongue and the Hebrew tongue. If those words were translated today, we don’t talk about tongues very often, that kind of sounds weird and mystical, but rather we talk about languages. This is the gift of speaking in languages according to the way that we use the word today.

Let me give you an illustration of what this would look like in our context. What Paul is describing is a situation where someone is speaking a language in a corporate worship setting that no one present understands. So, if some pastor came from the from a foreign country and said I’d like to preach at Harvest, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ here. Well we say okay, let’s talk about that and this person would say well I’d like to preach in the language Tamil. Tamil a language they speak in India. Well we would say I’m sorry you can’t speak Tamil in a sermon in a corporate worship service here because no one understands it.

Now we’re not saying that no one anywhere understands that, that would be to read too much into our words. We’re simply saying that no one in our context understands this. Of those gathered, only God would understand what exactly you are saying.

We actually are a church that financially and by prayer supports a seminary in Chennai, India that trains Tamil speaking pastors to preach the Gospel to the 70 million people in India who speak this language. We think that language is important, but the question is one of context. No one here understands it, therefore that language should not be spoken.

So what then does it mean to speak in a tongue and how does it differ from prophecy? Well the first important clue we get not that he’s just talking to God in prayer and praise, but notice what Paul says at the end of verse 2. He, the one speaking in tongues, utters mysteries in the Spirit.

Now Paul has told us already what this means. What does it mean to speak mysteries? This is the work of prophecy. If you look back at 13:2 Paul says,

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2, ESV

To understand all mysteries is to have the gift of spiritual knowledge, inspired knowledge. Then back in 1 Corinthians 2:7 Paul talked about the kind of prophecy that he means and not prophecy about future events but prophecy that sheds light on the person and work of Jesus Christ. So, he talks about speaking mysteries in 1 Corinthians 2:7 he says,

7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7, ESV

So, prophecy is a clear Holy Spirit inspired message that casts light to help us to understand the person and work of Jesus Christ, so that we can look to him by faith. Paul says here then to speak in tongues does the same thing to utter mysteries in the Spirit, the difference is the context.

This is exactly what happened on Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost, but with a critical difference of context. There the apostles were uttering mysteries in the Holy Spirit, but they were doing so in the context, not of a group of believers who all spoke the same language, they were doing so among a crowd of a great variety of people who spoke a great number of different languages. We know that they were speaking in tongues, it’s called explicitly that, but we also know what that means. That means that the speakers didn’t natively and or already naturally understand the language.

In Acts 2:7, the first question that’s asked about this miracle of speaking in tongues is how these Galileans came to learn this.

7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
Acts 2:7-8, ESV

Then we see the next part of it that people were hearing about the personal work of Jesus Christ in their own language. Then there’s a long list of peoples and languages represented and then in Acts 2:11 we read,

11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Acts 2:11, ESV

They were speaking about the mighty works of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, but they were doing so on the frontier of missions work among unbelievers who did not know about Jesus. It was not believers meeting and speaking the same language. We should remember, what Paul says back in chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 14:22 Paul says,

22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.
1 Corinthians 14:22, ESV

On the mission field, on the frontier, the cutting edge of where the Gospel is going to reach new tribes and languages and peoples and nations, this gift of tongues gave the Spirit-inspired prophetic message of Jesus Christ to draw people to faith who didn’t yet believe. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 people came to faith in Christ, as we read in Acts 2:41.

Paul’s problem here in the Corinthian church is they were misusing the gift of tongues. They weren’t trying to spread the Gospel as missionaries to new tribes, languages, peoples, and nations. That is, they weren’t trying to build up the church, rather they were trying to show off.

They were trying to boast with their spiritual eloquence to show off the spiritual speech that they could make in a corporate worship service of believers, where no one else could understand the language. Because no one at that worship service could understand the language, it didn’t build up the church and Paul forbade it.

Well in verse 3 Paul contrasts that situation. So, you have tongues that serve a function on the frontier of missions work where people are reaching new unbelieving people with the Gospel so that they may become believers. However, in a corporate worship service Paul says, in contrast, there’s a different context, a different location. Here where an untranslated tongue would be useless, let me tell you four benefits of prophecy. That’s what he does in verse three in contrast to the uselessness of tongues in this context, think of the benefit of prophecy in this context.

So, verse three on the other hand Paul writes,

3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 1 Corinthians 14:3, ESV

So, Paul says there are four benefits here. The first is that of language. The one who prophesied speaks to the people in their own language is the idea. Because people can understand this, just like you can understand me as I speak English here today, because this prophecy comes to them in the language of the people, the prophecy then has three additional benefits that tongues does not.

The first benefit that Paul mentions is that of upbuilding. Now this issue of upbuilding or edification or building up, this is a critical idea to that first question, “how does love relate to our exercise of the gifts?” It means that we ought to build one another up by the exercise of our gifts. This is the first of seven uses of this word upbuilding here in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. The idea of edification or building up has the idea of building up believers by teaching them doctrine so that their minds can be shaped to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Yet it’s not just teaching the mind work.

The next thing Paul says is encouragement. This is a word that we probably should understand in the context of exhortation, that’s the way this word is translated in Romans 12:8,

8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; Romans 12:8, ESV

It’s the kind of encouragement that exhorts people forward in their faith. If upbuilding means to train our minds, this word for encouragement means to exhort us to live lives that conform to that teaching that we have learned.

Then the third word is consolation. This is a word that is used elsewhere to describe the kind of comfort you might offer at a funeral to someone who has lost a loved one. That’s the way it’s used, at the funeral of Lazarus in John chapter 11.

Well in our context we don’t have prophecy in the same way that believers in the earliest church would have experienced it. I promise you I am not receiving new revelations right now. The moment that I begin to say that I am is the moment that I should be removed from here. What’s happening here is that instead of receiving new revelations I am trying, by the grace of God, to faithfully preach the word of God that’s been recorded for us in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Understand that even though I’m not receiving new prophecy, this is still the word of God and it accomplishes the same thing. As we preach a sermon it edifies us by teaching us, it exhorts us to live, it consoles us and gives us comfort in the midst of sorrow and persecution in the same way the believers would have experienced it. It’s just that we have the whole story and they were still receiving it by piecemeal.

So, after verse 3 as Paul has contrasted tongues versus prophecy Paul gives a direct comparison in verse 4, he says

4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:4, ESV

If you’re speaking in a tongue, you may be edified personally but because no one else understands this language you’re better to lean toward prophecy a gift that builds up the whole church.

So our initial question was, how does love direct our spiritual gifts? The answer to the first part of this answer is to contrast tongues versus prophecy on the basis of context. Is this a room full of believers who all speak the same language or is this the missionary frontier where people are reaching new languages of new peoples? Well if that’s the case tongues is the preferable way, but if you’re talking about believers who all speak the same language you need prophecy instead. So, what this brings Paul is to a second distinction that has to do with the use of language. How does the use of language distinguish prophecy from tongues?

Our Language

That brings us to our third point, our language and the way that our language distinguishes prophecy from tongues. We’ve seen this principle in part but in verse 5 Paul wants to correct the final misunderstanding. In this paragraph Paul wants to make sure that no one thinks that he is demeaning or denigrating speaking in tongues. Paul says

5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 1 Corinthians 14:5, ESV

What Paul is saying is there’s a functional priority of prophecy over speaking in tongues in a corporate worship service in the church, but it has nothing to do with the content of what’s being spoken, it has only to do with the comprehensibility. So, he says if you are gifted in speaking in tongues and you want to speak a tongue in the worship service that’s fine so long as someone interprets this tongue. In that process it becomes not a tongue, a language, that no one can understand, but it pulls out the mystery, the prophecy, for believers who speak the common language. Then the believers will be built up as they hear this prophecy from God that was formerly untranslated and now interpreted by the one doing the interpretation.

So, first by location, but also by language. The language doesn’t disqualify it. We don’t look down on pastors who preach the Gospel of Jesus in Tamil or Chinese or Spanish or anything else. We recognize that we serve the same master and preach the same Gospel, but when we gather as believers it is essential that the Gospel be preached in a language that we all understand.

Application

So, that’s trying to work our way through this first installment of what Paul says here in 1 Corinthians 14. How then do we apply this to the church today? How do we take what was happening then versus what is happening now? How do we understand the way that we ought to live?

1. Our first application is this; pursue love. Don’t lose sight of everything that’s happening here, of what Paul said first of all. Don’t lose sight of the digression that Paul had to take into 1 Corinthians 13 to remind us of the critical value of love. Remember that when Paul writes, pursue love, he doesn’t mean well you know whenever you might have occasion go for it. He means pursue it as relentlessly as he persecuted the church. Love must orient everything we do.

Brothers and sisters, I asked last week for you to read Romans chapter 14 to glean principles of how we might love one another in our current status and situation that we are right now, in what the Bible calls a classic difference between the outlooks of the strong and the weak. Now this is true in terms of how we relate to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as to a lot of other situations. In fact, it’s a general principle that’s always good to have in mind.

Now strong versus weak is not a question of who’s right versus who is wrong, it’s a question of the implications of your knowledge. Does your knowledge give you greater liberty, greater freedom? Well that means that you are part of the category of those that the Bible calls the strong. Does your knowledge lead you to greater restrictions, less freedom, less liberty? Well that’s what the Bible calls the weak. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re right or wrong it has to do with greater restrictions versus lesser restrictions, more freedom versus less.

What Paul says in Romans 14 is that if your knowledge leads to greater liberty, you must not despise those who don’t have the same knowledge. On the other hand, if your knowledge leads you to greater restrictions you must not pass judgment on those who don’t embrace the restrictions that you do.

How might we outdo one another in showing honor to one another? How might we welcome one another without quarreling about opinions? How might we become all things to all people that by all means God might save some? How might we avoid passing judgment on one another but instead decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother? Paul writes in Romans 14:18,

18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:18, ESV

I am going to continue to beat the drum of love and unity hard, as often as the scripture texts point in that direction. Paul says pursue love, I’m going to hit on it right now because we have been in uncharted territory for the last six months and we’re not out of the difficulties yet. There will continue to be new challenges. There will continue to be new questions, new controversies and at every turn. Let the world fight the culture wars let us remember first and foremost to pursue love, for love is the still more excellent way and love is the greatest spiritual grace and asset that will endure for all eternity. Brothers and sisters therefore let us pursue love.

2. Number two, treasure God’s word. We have a privilege that the earliest church really couldn’t have imagined. When they had their prophets preach the word of God it was in piecemeal, a little bit this week, a little bit last week, trying to sort of put those together. If they had the gift of knowledge to understand this as God was progressively revealing what had happened in the person and work of Christ.

We have the whole foundation built the word of God, that was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. So, let us consider what we are to do with prophecy.

From verse three, number one, be built up by it. Be built up by it, study the teaching, study the testimony, let God’s word renew and transform your mind. Learn everything you can from this book. Let it fill your mind with the word of God number.

Number two, be exhorted by God’s word. Don’t live a dualistic life where your mind thinks one thing, but then in your life you behave in an entirely different way according to entirely different principles. Trust and obey what God has spoken to us in his word. Run the race be exhorted to cast off any hindrances. Follow hard after Christ that you might win the prize.

Then finally third be comforted by God’s word. In times of deep distress and sorrow go to God’s word. I don’t know what your experience has been with everything that’s happened in the last six months, but it’s been hard on everyone. Whether the isolation or physical challenges that you’ve encountered, losing a job or sickness, everyone has been affected adversely by all of this.

Instead of finding comfort in substances or in entertainment or in work or in play or in whatever, seek consolation in God’s word. Cling to the promises. Ine new discipline that I’ve added in this time that has been a refuge for me is to sing the Psalms. There are psalters where they put God’s word to music, and I have been singing the Psalms and it has been a place of deep refuge to find consolation from God’s word. I’d encourage you to do that if that would be helpful.

3. The third application point is this believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The point of all prophecy is to point us to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:10 makes it so clear that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Revelation 19:10, ESV

Peter tells us that we now have the prophetic word more fully confirmed. In 2 Peter 1:19.

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 2 Peter 1:19, ESV

In these scriptures God tells us the most important news that we could ever hear, that we are sinners who are deeply guilty and condemned in the sight of God. But in the scriptures, in the prophetic word about the person and work of Christ, we learn what God has done out of his deep love for us. That he’s given his Son as an atoning sacrifice in your place so that the death you deserved, Christ suffered for you and the life that you forfeited because of your sin, Christ has given by grace to all those who believe in him. What God was still giving in piecemeal to reflect bit by bit what had happened in Jesus Christ as the earliest prophets in the earliest church were bearing witness to this, we now have the full story for it.

So, brothers and sisters, as we study this don’t let your curiosity about what was happening in the earliest church with all of these spiritual gifts blind you or distract you from the message that those prophets were bearing witness to. That Jesus Christ crucified is the son of God and the savior of sinners. This morning he offers all those who turn from their sins in sorrow and to faith in him salvation. Oh sinner, turn to Jesus Christ and be saved.

Let’s pray. Lord we pray for grace as we worship together this morning, as we hear your word, and as we respond to your word in faith. We pray Father that you would build us up in Christ for the sake and the good and the upbuilding of your people. We pray that you would do all this for Christ’s glory and for our good. It’s in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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