Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
1 Corinthians 14:7-8
In talking about the need for understanding, Paul uses the example of musical instruments. When we gather together, God has a purpose for what’s being said. If someone is speaking, then it should be useful to build others up in the faith.
In an orchestra, everyone doesn’t just arrive and start playing whatever they want on their instruments. They all play the same song together. Even if some play melody and some play harmony, together they make a cohesive whole.
When we gather together, we need to speak with purpose. The Holy Spirit is the great Conductor. He should be orchestrating the whole so that all who attend are touched by His presence.
So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.
1 Corinthians 14:9-11
I understand that the context of this passage is about the need for a message in tongues to be interpreted. However, in our generation, there’s another point that needs to be made.
In the modern church, we’ve come up with our own particular culture and language. I sometimes wonder what the unchurched think about when they hear what we say in church.
We question why they don’t respond when we call them to be “washed in the blood” or “come to the cross”. Those phrases have great meaning to us as believers. But to the world, they mean nothing.
I’m not saying, like some do, that we need to stop preaching the blood of Christ or His cross. No, instead, we need to be explaining the significance of these words. We can’t just assume that everybody knows what we mean by these church terms.
Since I’ve already started going there, let me make a few more people mad at me. I think that this also applies to those who insist on only using the King James Version of the bible. That’s a foreign language to most people today.
It’s perfectly fine to use the KJV if those you’re speaking to were raised hearing it. But in my case, a great number of people that I minister to don’t have English as their first language. They need to hear the Word of God in a way that they can grasp and apply to their lives.
We need to stop being self-centered in our view of church ministry. It’s not about what I want. It’s the Holy Spirit’s desire that should be central.
When we come together as believers, we need to be in prayer as to how the Lord wants His service to flow. It’s not about the songs I want to sing or the sermon I want to preach. Christ is the head of the church and He should set the direction for each meeting.
Only in that way will we be assured that everyone in attendance, who are expecting to receive something, will meet with God.
Question: How do we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our church gatherings?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi