15 Oct 2023 | 1 Corinthians Sermon Series |  Eagerly Desire Spiritual Gifts (Traditional)

October 15, 2023 | Traditional Worship Service

Rev Lilian Ang
15 Oct 2023 | 1 Corinthians Sermon Series |  Eagerly Desire Spiritual Gifts (Traditional)

October 15, 2023 | Traditional Worship Service

Rev Lilian Ang
Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 14 (NRSVUE)

Catch up with our sermons preached during worship services via Sermon Podcasts !


Summary l  Prophecy is not necessarily foretelling the future, it is also forth-telling or speaking forth God’s will for present circumstances. In many cases, prophecy does not contain predictions about the future. The biblical test is whether the prophecy is fulfilled or not. The apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to prefer prophecy to tongues. However, there is a place for both, as well as other gifts, if they are made intelligible and exercised in an orderly manner.

The gift of prophecy is the divine enablement to reveal truth and proclaim it in a timely and relevant manner for understanding, correction, repentance, or edification. It exposes sin or deception for the purpose of reconciliation – a timely word from God causing conviction, repentance and edification.

Pointers for Exercising the Gift of Prophecy

(A) Prophecy must be bonded by love. We are to pursue and excel in love when exercising the spiritual gift of prophesy. Spiritual gifts are for edifying and building up of the church. The most excellent way is to serve in love. This brings understanding and strengthens the church. Love must be the motivation for our service.

(B) Prophecy must build up the church. Let all things be done for building up. The misuse of tongues was a problem in the Corinthian church. Speaking in tongues was to God and not to men, who do not understand the mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesizes speaks to people for their upbuilding, encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in tongues builds up himself, but the one who prophesizes builds up the church. Our spiritual gifts are for edification and not for exhibition. The tongues spoken need to be interpreted, so that it benefits and edifies others through some revelation, knowledge, prophecy or teaching. Prophesy builds the church through an encounter with God, and not when we are being entertained by man. Although tongues are a miraculous indication of God’s presence to unbelievers, an over emphasis on tongues has an adverse effect on unbelievers. It may give the impression that Christians are out of their minds. What builds up the church is the blessing of prophesy that points to and brings unbelievers to God.

(C) True prophecy must be birthed by God. Paul wanted the spiritual gifts to promote unity and love among believers. The central purpose of prophecy is to connect us to the heart and purposes of God. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The following guidelines help to ensure that there is order in worship. There should not be contradiction, competition or confusion between different prophecies. Others are allowed to evaluate the authenticity of a prophecy by asking questions such as, does it glorify Christ, does it edify the body of Christ, is it in accord with scripture, is it given in the spirit of love and is Jesus the Lord of the speaker’s life? We take turns to speak, so that all may learn and be encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion but of peace. The Lord will honour his Word by his Spirit and confirm the word.

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected or difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the centre of our being because the Spirit of God, who sets us free, will speak for us and act through us. (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus reminds us that the Holy Spirit will teach us in that very hour what we ought to say. Let us yield to the Spirit of God, so that we can build up the church through a gift of prophecy that is birthed by God and bonded in love.

(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)


A. Bonded By Love (v1)

  1. What does Paul stress at the beginning? Why is this so important?
  2. How does Paul emphasize the importance of love in the context of spiritual gifts and the church community in 1 Corinthians 14?

B. Built Up The Church (v2-6; v12, v22-26)

  1. What is your response to Paul’s desire that “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy… “ (v5)
  2. What is the role of prophecy in the church?
  3. Do your words generally build up and edify others?
  4. How does Paul address the use of speaking in tongues in the church? What principles can we draw from his teaching?
  5. What practical steps can we take to ensure that our gatherings, whether in a church setting or small group, align with the principles of 1 Corinthians 14 for the building up of the body of Christ?

C. Birthed By God (v29-33)

  1. What does Paul mean when he says, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40)? How can we apply this principle in our modern church settings?
  2. How can we strike a balance between the desire for spiritual gifts and the importance of maintaining order and understanding in the church?
  3. In what ways does 1 Corinthians 14 challenge or reinforce your understanding of the worship practices and spiritual gifts in the church today?
  4. As you reflect on 1 Corinthians 14, pray for the church and one another.
Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

Share This!

Scroll to Top