1 cor 11:4-5 “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.”
“Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone.” ― A. W. Tozer
The early church had some problems much like ours… Their problems become the grounds for our instruction. They were divided into many fronts. Chloe's people had come to Paul asking for help. Having been there for 18 plus months, He taught them the Word of God...and had a tremendous influence on them, not sure if Peter and Apollos were tied up elsewhere, but Paul was close enough in Ephesus. The letter to 1 Cor is broken down into sections answering the problems that were raised. Now concerning now concerning…Now… Now…
The last section was the food offered to idols, and the next section will be spiritual gifts, but this section, but this “NOW” is introducing elements in public worship. And for the Corinthian church, this is an area where division has crept in.
The solution to this is to get back to the Word he has given as an Apostle.
The church didn't have some things we have:
“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity. The Gospel is not an old, old story, freshly told. It is a fire in the Spirit, fed by the flame of Immortal Love; and woe unto us, if, through our negligence to stir up the Gift of God which is within us, that fire burns low.” ― Leonard Ravenhill
In our passage there are two areas of public worship that must be defined as we look at the Corinthian church…
1. the issue of prayer in public worship,
2. the issue of prophecy in public worship.
The reason we need to define these, because:
• The Word gives us direction
• The other reason is because there are the valid means for us to experience God together in worship.
• We need to see clearly what men and women can do in worship, as opposed to what they can’t do.
So what are the two means of Worship that are regulated in the Corinthian Church?
1. Public Prayer is a regulated practice:
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed.προσεύχομαι
to petition deity…To call on God...
Remember: he started this whole letter reminding them of who they were in Christ…1 Cor 1:2“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”
“Preaching never edifies a prayer-less soul.” ― E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer
Prayer is an avenue for public worship for “every man” and “every woman”.
What kind of prayer is he describing?
In scripture we are called to all kinds of prayer:
• Private prayer: Matt 6:6 “Go into your inner room and shut the door...”
• Daily prayer: Matt 6:11“Give us this day our daily bread.”
• Seasons of prayer: 1 Cor 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer...”
• but we are also called to public and regular prayer.
• Characterized by the disciples after the death of Jesus.
Acts 1:12-14 “they went up to the upper room, where they were staying...All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” Men and women praying..
Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”
You see it a couple of chapters later when he picks it up again:
1 Cor 14:13-18 “Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up....”
Whatever these words of encouragement were, it was to be exercised by both men and women in the church. It was the most powerful expression of complementarian acts of men and women being used by God together in the body of Christ.
If we regulate the experience, it will actually cut down on the division, it will actually edify the church, and strengthen the beauty of our testimony before the watching world.
The question for you today, as a man or woman… will you submit to God? To be used by him in the context of the body of Christ.
Eph 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
“I think a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
We’re Marching to Zion Words by Isaac Watts
Come, we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known, Join in a song with sweet accord, join in a song with sweet accord, And thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne.
We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; But children of the heavenly King, but children of the heavenly King May speak their joys abroad, may speak their joys abroad. We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.
The hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets Before we reach the heavenly field, before we reach the heavenly fields Or walk the golden streets, or walk the golden streets. Then let our songs abound, and every tear be dry. We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground, we’re marching through Immanuel’s ground To fairer worlds on high, to fairer worlds on high.
We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God, The beautiful city of God, of God!