I sometimes wonder what it must have been like for someone to belong to that church in Corinth. Sometimes it seems like their gatherings got a little unmanageable.
Remember . . . these last chapters in this first letter to the Corinthians contain Paul’s responses to questions they have asked. He talked about marriage and sexuality. He defined Christian freedom and the rights of believers. He responded with ways to stand up to temptation. And what to do when you gather together for worship.
His over-arching point for believers gathering together was summed up in one truth for worship and life:
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
The truth is that when believers gather together to worship in faith with hope . . . love must be the outcome! Love for God and love for one another.
It sounds simple, right?!
But we know it’s not. Anytime people get together they bring with them their personal perspective, their ideas, opinions, preferences, etc. All things which have the potential to arouse disagreements, power struggles, and division. Which is the reason why Paul focused on the importance of doing everything together in love.
So when the question was asked about whether or not prophecy and speaking in tongues should be part of worship, he answered like this…
Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.1 Corinthians 14:20, 26b, 33, 40
Everything that is done must strengthen all of you.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people . . . be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
You know, it’s so easy for us to find things about which we disagree. We do it in the church, in politics, in our homes, neighborhoods . . . well, just about anyplace different personalities gather for anything. But if we are led by love and ask the Spirit to guide and strengthen us in faith, we will come together and worship in God-honoring orderly ways that are joyful, peaceful, and a blessing to all.
A Prayer to Worship in Truth with Love
Father, thank you for making it possible for many of our churches to return to worship in person. It is a blessing to be able to gather together with brothers and sisters in Christ to sing Your praise and lift our petitions.
As we come together, we bring with us a lifetime of baggage. We come with traditions, preferences, and ideologies. We will have things we believe are necessary and things we are certain must be excluded. But there is one thing we must have to worship you in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) By the power of the Spirit, we must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and we must gather together united in faith, hope, and love.
Please forgive us. We let our pride get in the way of Your truth. Please help us worship as You desire. Help us come together before You in humility that You might strengthen us in faith and fellowship. Help us work toward the peace that unites and helps us focus on who You are and the glorious things You have done and continue to do for us every single day. Fill us with Your Spirit and help us share Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
One more thing to remember . . . often in the church as in life the loudest voice gets the attention. The most organized and most vocal wins the day. But that’s not God’s way.
The truth that unites us is the truth of God’s Word. We must prayerfully turn to Him and surrender ourselves and our churches to the power of His Spirit if we ever want to be united by faith with hope in love.
On today’s note write:
May God bless you as you humbly worship Him in all you do.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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