1 Cor 14:26-40 - Spontaneity and order!

I used to work night duty as an emergency room nurse - usually on 'airway' or 'In charge'. Occasionally we would have people come into the department to observe and the most common comment was "why isn't anyone in a hurry, everyone look so calm". While we never really knew what was about to come through the door, there was a system and order to what we did and as things went pear-shaped, we simply went into another 'set-play'. There was almost always order to how we responded. As Paul addresses the church in Corinth about their gathered worship in the various homes around the city, he is reminding them that while charismatic worship may give appearances of surprise and the unexpected (and in many cases it is 'unexpected' for us) God remains in control and the way he works in the lives of his servants as they exercise the gifts of the Spirit is an ordered leading that invites us to trust him. Into this setting, Paul teaches the leaders and people of the church the they are to (1) recognise order (vs 26, 29, 31 and 33) and (2) respond appropriately to what the Spirit of God does (vs 27-28, 30, 32). Both mid way through this passage and at the conclusion of it, Paul states that God is not a God of disorder, but of peace (vs 33) and that God's people therefore ought to do everything in an orderly fashion. This is not to say that the unexpected and spontaneous (to the people) will not happen; far from it. But when it does, the people of the church in Corinth ought to respond in the ways demonstrated by Paul, which if followed, will best enable all of the people in the worship gathering to hear from and respond to the prompting of the Spirit. With regards to vs 34 and 35, please see commentary on what Paul is saying about women in the gathered celebration; he is most definitely NOT saying that all women must be quiet in the gathering for he has previously written about his expectation that women will share a prophecy with their 'head covered'. The intent of his instructions in these two verses are consistent with what he is writing in general in this whole passage - let there be order and peace in the way the gifts of the Spirit in worship, are displayed and used. How open and expectant are you of God through his Spirit doing spontaneous, surprising things and how prepared are you to follow good order, not in order to diminish the spontaneity of the Spirits leading but to be well positioned to be open to let God speak and prompt you. And lastly, one other thing to note here in this passage; it's expected that we will lovingly and enthusiastically embrace those who exercise the 'charismatic gifts' that is the gifts of the Spirit. Order does not mean skepticism.

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