Let us excel in building-up the church with the spiritual gifts entrusted to us from the holy Spirit of God! If you can dream it, Christ can build it - relationships, callings, careers, finances, direction, wisdom, marriages, families of faith, strength, servanthood, godly desire, courage, facilities, programs, biblical knowledge, discipleship, and so much more! Keep building it up, Bethany!
Young Adult (College/Post-Grad)Life group THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS Excel in Building Up the Church [chapter 14] BUILD UP WITH MIND AND SPIRIT (14:1-25) (Question #1) We learned last week in the famous chapter 13 that the presence of love is more important than any spiritual gift we possess. Without it, no spiritual gift really matters. No matter how gifted we are, without love we are just noisy and futile in all we say and do. So the apostle Paul continues this lesson to “pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (verse 1). This means, pursue love in your spiritual gift, with your spiritual gift, through your spiritual gift. Love is the goal, the instrument, and power by which any spiritual gift is properly exercised and edifies the body of Christ. Now, the apostle Paul highlights another gift the Corinthian Christians were envying and boasting before others – the gift of tongues. **The spiritual gift of tongues was the unnatural ability to speak another spoken language (tongue) that was not your own mother tongue, as a sign for an unbeliever to hear the gospel in their own mother tongue. Therefore, if an unbeliever of that native language supernaturally spoken was not present, it didn’t edify anyone. Also, if an interpreter or prophesier was not present, it didn’t encourage or build-up anyone. Also, if believers were only present, it served no purpose (verse 22). Instead of the gift of tongues, what does the apostle Paul say to desire, and why (verse 1-25)? [*REFLECT #1] Have you discerned your spiritual gift form God? What is it, and how can it become both useless or useful to the body of Christ? How are you striving to excel in building up the church? **Is there another gift the Lord is asking you to earnestly desire and pursue to better love Him and one another? Like the gift of tongues, how has our own spiritual gift benefited and elevated ourselves over its proper purpose to exalt Christ and edify His people? The apostle Paul said, “in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (verse 19). What are those five words for you? BUILD UP WITH ORDER AND PEACE (14:26-40) (Question #2) We’ve seen the aim of the apostle Paul’s heart in anything we are gifted with from the Spirit – to love Christ through love for each other, to excel in building up the church. What is more important than our gifting is our loving. Loving one another in Christ should be done chaotically or confusing, but orderly. What does the apostle Paul say to do when the church gathers together (verse 26-33)? The apostle Paul had already taught that women can speak, pray, and prophecy publicly back in chapter 11:1-16, yet here some women were using their spiritual gift of prophecy to challenge the established spiritual leadership of the church. What does Paul sternly say to these women, especially to those who were married (verse 34-35-38)? The apostle Paul is not against any spiritual gift (including tongues), but how does he challenge all things to be done (verse 39-40)? [*REFLECT #2] How can your spiritual gift be exercised to bring order and peace to the body of Christ? Is your spiritual gift leading you to greater godly submission, or more conflict, chaos, and confusion? Does your spiritual gift acknowledge God’s Word like the 1 Corinthians as “a command of the Lord”? HOLY SPIRIT MOMENT (APPLY #1) Spend two minutes inviting and listening to the Holy Spirit to show you how to excel in building-up the church with your spiritual gift, and how you can earnestly pursue even other spiritual gifts that will edify one another more with Christ’s peace and order. (APPLY #2) Write two ways you can excel in building-up Christ’s body through every spiritual gift, with peace and order. (1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #3) Share one of them with the group, and a first practical step you can take to accomplish it. (APPLY #4) Write a sentence-prayer for it: _________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #5) Share spiritual life – How are you? What is one thing about Jesus that carried you through this week? What is one thing you prayed for today? How has God answered in prayer, or asked us to keep requesting in prayer?
Young Adult (College/Post-Grad)Life group THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS If I Have Not Love, I Gain Nothing [chapter 13] THE SUPERIORITY OF LOVE ABOVE ALL SPIRITUAL GIFTS (13:1-3) (Question #1) As we enter this famous chapter 13 in our Bible, we cannot disconnect it to the last verse of chapter 12, “But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” What is more important than which spiritual gift you have is the way those gifts are given and served for others. That is the “more excellent way” which the apostle Paul now refers to – the way you show your gift to others – the practice of your gifts is far more superior than the category of your giftings. There is only one excellent way to practice any spiritual gift, and that is the way of love. Love is the glue that holds all spiritual gifts together. Love is the power that gives inherent value and effect to every spiritual gift. If you do not have love, no gift matters all – no matter how spiritually gifted you are. What are some of the spiritual gifts (verse 1-2) and honorable actions (verse 3) that the Corinthian Christians held in high esteem, yet are made to nothing without love? [*REFLECT #1] How have I spoke the right things in truth, but not in love? How have I served with greater influence, understanding, and faith, yet done so without love? How have I gained honor by selfless actions, yet lost love in the process? When have I been just “noisy” over loving? When have I been just “performing” over loving? When have I been just “giving” over loving? How has Jesus Christ shown me every spiritual gift tethered to love? THE PRESENCE OF LOVE IN ALL RELATIONSHIPS (13:4-7) (Question #2) If love is the “more excellent way” – superior above all spiritual gifts, gluing all spiritual gifts together, and giving inherent value to how spiritual gifts are realized and practiced – we need to know what it is – or better yet – who it is. Because love is eternal, it cannot be singularly described in human terms. Ultimately, God is love. Jesus is love. The holy Spirit is love. In these verses, replace the word “love” with the name “Jesus” and we see a clearer portrait of love. These are not just character qualities of Jesus, but show us how Jesus interacted with love in relationships to others. Therefore, these descriptions of love show us the presence and evidence of love in all Christ-centered relationships. What are 7 things that show that love is present and 8 things when love is not present? [*REFLECT #2] When has love really been present in you? When has love really been absent in you? How is Jesus loving you today – bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things for you? THE PERMANENCE OF LOVE FOR ALL TIME (13:8-13) (Question #3) Love will outlive all spiritual gifts. Prophecies will pass away, tongues will cease, and knowledge will pass away. But the love that was present and shown through them will never pass away. Spiritual gifts are temporary, but love is permanent. Therefore, it is so important to always love through our spiritual gifts over compare spiritual gifts. In the end, it is loving one another that matters – not the gift. What matters in the end is not your giftedness, but your loving heart in Christ for one another. No matter how small, unseen, and insignificant our spiritual gift may seem, the smallest, unseen, and insignificant gesture of Christ’s love through them produces eternal effects. How does the apostle Paul describe the person just focused on spiritual giftings (verse 8-12)? What is the greatest among faith, hope, and love (verse 13)? [*REFLECT #3] What things that will pass away have you been focusing on? Are you realizing how childish this is, how you see in a mirror dimly that is not the reality? Is loving Christ through loving others the very foundation of your life and legacy that you will leave behind? HOLY SPIRIT MOMENT (APPLY #1) Spend two minutes inviting and listening to the Holy Spirit to show you how, without love, we gain nothing. (APPLY #2) Write two ways you can show the presence of Christ’s love through your relationships and spiritual giftings. (1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #3) Share one of them with the group, and a first practical step you can take to accomplish it. (APPLY #4) Write a sentence-prayer for it: _________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #5) Share spiritual life – How are you? What is one thing about Jesus that carried you through this week? What is one thing you prayed for today? How has God answered in prayer, or asked us to keep requesting in prayer?