Pursue Love As You Worship Together [1 Corinthians 14]
1Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy,
2For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.
Pursue God's love. "I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and the width, height and depth of God's love, and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19, Holman CSB.) As you pursue and know God's love you will be filled with the fullness of God. Did you see that this is to be done in community? So now lets talk about what the community of believers needs in order to pursue God's love together.
Think back to 1 Corinthians 12 where we saw that the Spirit gives different gifts to be used in the body of believers to build up that body. In the passage above the word "edification" means to build up. We desperately need those who prophesy (speak forth the Word of God). As they speak forth the word of God others will be built up, encouraged and consoled. We need to earnestly desire that we have people in our community who will speak the word of God into our lives.
In this passage God, through Paul, is dealing with yet another immature, selfish thing that the Corinthians are doing in their church that is causing disunity. They are using the spiritual gift of speaking in a tongue (which is literally a different language), to alienate each other and to build up there own selves.
Remember the description of God's love? God's love is not self seeking or puffed up. When the Spirit is manifested in our lives through a gift it will never be to build up ourselves. It will always be to build up the other believers.
Verse 6, helps us understand this a little better. "But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in other languages, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you with a revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?" And then verse 12, "So also you - since you are zealous in matters of the spirit, seek to excel in building up the church." (Holman, CSB).
To read more about this chapter read God Is Certainly Among You and God Is A God of Peace, Not Confusion.
(If you want to get my take on the women issue, read the second one.)
This weekend as we worship together I pray that we worship our God of unity and love in unity and love. May we all fall on our face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among us, v. 25.