Decent and Orderly

Sunday, December 2, 2012

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is straightforward regarding individuals’ behavior within the local church.

A lady recently shared with me her experience of visiting a new local church. After an hour of singing, dancing, shouting, jumping, and tongue talking, there was less than an hour of preaching. While she claimed that she learned “a little” (!) from the Bible, she was overall displeased. Thankfully, she said she was not returning there. (I was then able to share some Scriptural truth with her concerning those matters.)

Emotionalism dominated the Corinthian church. The Corinthians, although Christians, were spiritually immature: they failed to learn and grasp the doctrine found in the book of Romans. They could not function like adult saints because they were “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Consequently, they abused spiritual gifts.

Rather than using their spiritual gifts to benefit the assembly as God intended, these believers were selfishly glorifying their flesh by drawing attention to themselves (the “charismatic movement” is nothing new). The Apostle Paul spent three chapters—1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14—addressing spiritual gifts. The last verse of that section is today’s Scripture, which summarizes God’s view of the whole issue. We are not to lose self-control under any circumstances.

Dear readers, be not swept away by the charismatic movement. We humans are emotional creatures, prone to fall into the trap of deceptive feelings, and this religious movement appeals to our flesh. Spiritual gifts—even when they operated in biblical times—were never meant to be haphazardly used to lift up the individual Christian, or be utilized to give an “emotional high.”

Lost people are watching us, and is that the impression we want them to have about God? Jumping, shouting, and babbling incoherently? As 1 Corinthians 14:23 says, these lost souls will exclaim, “Ye are mad [crazy]!!!” Remember, everything in the local church should be done “decently and in order.” Let us be grounded in this truth, let us walk by faith in sound Pauline Bible doctrine, and let us not be “children… tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).