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The Power of Plain Speaking

September 25, 2022 Preacher: Kevin Godin Series: Growing in Grace

Topic: Spiritual Gifts Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:1-25

Sermon Text:

This week we are back to our series, “Growing in Grace”, working our way verse by verse through the letter of 1 Corinthians. We are learning how the truth of the Gospel transforms believing sinners into the image of Christ and how God uses His truth to help us grow in grace.

If you have your Bible, please turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 14 beginning at verse 1. If you are using the blue Bible we provide, it is on page 1197. If you do not own a Bible or have need of one, please take that one as our gift to you.

Paul is continuing his discussion of spiritual gifts he began back in chapter 12. You may recall that some in Corinth thought that those who had certain gifts, like speaking in tongues, were more spiritual than others. In chapter 12 Paul showed that wasn’t the case as all the gifts come from God for the building up of others. In chapter 13 he emphasized that love is greater than any gifts and it is love that is the true mark of spiritual maturity. Now Paul comes back to deal specifically with tongues and prophecy, which were key concerns in Corinth.

There are still controversial questions related to these gifts in the church today. Those debates can make this chapter confusing for those trying to sort everything out but Paul’s basic message here is actually very straightforward. What he says is useful regardless of which view one holds on the modern use of these gifts. His key point is that our worship gatherings should be marked by clarity. That is also the main point of the message this morning, our worship gatherings should be marked by clarity.

Lord willing, in a couple weeks I will preach a sermon focused entirely on the gifts of tongues and prophecy but Paul’s main point in this passage is not to address our modern question about tongues, but to show why clarity in the worship gathering is so important. So, for now, let’s focus on Paul’s main point and then we can come back later to learn more.

Paul’s emphasis is that we should pursue those gifts that clearly communicate God’s revelation because those are the things that will be most useful for building up the church. This conclusion is built upon the foundation he laid in chapter 12 and 13. The most loving thing we can do is to use our gifts for the benefit of others. By doing this, our brothers and sisters are built up in Christ Jesus.

Many people today are looking for spiritual experiences, feelings, and signs of God’s presence when what would benefit them most is God’s word clearly presented. Experiences are ambiguous. It can be very difficult to assess if our emotional experiences are the result of God’s presence or the manipulation of our senses by music and other external stimulations designed to make us feel that way. Listen friends, if you never experience the presence of God in silence, in prayer, or in simple conversation about the gospel, that should concern you.

God reveals himself most clearly, most powerfully, and most certainly through his word. If you are seeking the presence of Christ, you will find him where the truth is spoken, where there is love for God and for others. Look to see if the broken are comforted with the promises, where the weak are lifted by the gospel, where those who are enslaved are set free by grace, where the truth is being told in love.

Paul urges us to be less concerned with the exercise of gifts that call attention to ourselves and to seek those that allow us to share God’s word with others. He says,

14 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.


Paul says we should desire spiritual gifts and the one we should most desire is prophecy. As we saw in chapter 12, prophecy involves sharing God’s revelation with people. It is speaking God’s words to people. At the time Paul is writing, the church still had apostles and prophets providing direct revelation to the church.


Now that the foundation has been laid, we no longer have prophets and apostles in this sense. For example, I proclaim God’s word each week, but I am not an apostle or a prophet. This is a non-prophet organization

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