Build up the church

BULLETIN ARTICLE – 17 September 2017

Some years ago, I was invited to a large Church in Seoul, Korea. Though the Church service was conducted in the Korean language, there was no problem in understanding as simultaneous translation to English was provided through the headphones provided. Many of the songs and hymns that were sung were also familiar. However, in the service many of the congregation members broke out in unintelligible tongues that could not be and was not interpreted. I must admit to feeling a little uneasy, perhaps somewhat bewildered.

This could very well have been the situation in the early Corinthian Church services where many gifted Christians were exercising their gift of speaking in tongues in public services. The problem then, as is today, being that no one else knew what was said. The gift of speaking in tongues where one prays in the Holy Spirit was given for private edification, but unless there was verifiable interpretation when used in public services, such a gift does not edify or build up the Body of Christ – the Church. The Apostle Paul puts it bluntly – “What good is it”? There was a place for speaking in tongues in private worship where one prays in the Holy Spirit to God. In public services, the rule given by Paul was very clear. Unless there was also interpretation, speaking in tongues in public services was not helpful in building up the Church. Paul was not dismissing the gift of speaking in tongues in private worship because every gift from the Holy Spirit was a good gift given to Christians to be exercised for the glory of God. Rather, Paul prizes the gifts that build up the Church – “He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues…” and again “be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” The Christian who has this gift of speaking in tongues was called upon to be considerate and put the needs of the Church first. “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

The primary purpose of Corporate Worship in BKC is so that the Church may be built up. Church members need to be equipped to serve and that requires revelation from the Word of God so that knowledge can be imparted and applied through sound and Holy Spirit inspired teaching. The Church needs members with the gift of prophecy to exercise them so that we may all be strengthened, encouraged and comforted. Through good preaching of the Word of God – the Bible, the Church receives a revelation that draws the worshipper closer to God or instruction for the building of the Kingdom of God. May we all in BKC eagerly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy to build one another up as the Church of God and for the glory of God.

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