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Adult Sunday School Lesson Summary for July 27, 2014

 ‘Seek the Good of Others’

Lesson Text:1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Background Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Devotional Reading: Titus 3:8-14

 

1 Corinthians 14:13-26 (KJV)

 

13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

 

14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

 

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

 

16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

 

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

 

18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

 

19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

 

20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 

21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

 

22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

 

23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

 

24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

 

26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

 

 

TODAY’S LESSON AIMS

Learning Fact:  To identify ways to create a group worship experience that is edifying.  

Biblical Principle: To compare and contrast speaking in tongues with our own interest (personally rewarding), as oppose to speaking in tongues not edifying the church (without being explained).
Daily Application: To identify one practice in your church’s conduct of worship services that may be a barrier to unbelievers and discuss with church leaders a plan for change.

 

HOW TO SAY IT

glossolalia glaw-suh-lay-lee-uh.

xenoglossia        zen-uh-glaw-see-uh.

 

INTRODUCTION

Birth of a Movement

   In 1906, William J. Seymour opened the Apostolic Faith Mission church in a modest, two-story building south of the Los Angeles city hall. Seymour was preaching a new type of message, and the church was quickly flooded with people. Seymour proposed that becoming a Christian was a three-step process: (1) salvation by faith, (2) cleansing sanctification of the believer by the Holy Spirit, and (3) filling of the believer by the Holy Spirit in a miraculous way.

   The most prominent of the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit was said to be the ability to speak in tongues—ecstatic languages of prayer and worship. Seymour and others declared that this was a restoration of the gifts of the first-century church as depicted in the book of Acts. What Seymour launched came to be known as the Azusa Street Revival, which lasted until about 1915.

   Many churches came into being as a result, and these came to be known as Pentecostal churches. Later, a similar movement of people known as charismatics began to develop within many denominations. Charismatics often encountered hostility in churches that did not accept the practice of speaking in tongues. Despite opposition, the charismatic movement has grown. It is estimated that 500 million Christians today are charismatic or Pentecostal—25 percent of all Christians worldwide.

   The practice of speaking in tongues was controversial in Paul’s day. It is still controversial today because many believe that the miraculous spiritual gifts, including the ability to speak in tongues, ceased with the completion of the New Testament; this is known as cessationism. Regardless of which view is preferred, it’s clear that there are principles in Paul’s instructions that still apply. The apostle wanted his readers to value all spiritual gifts and be careful to use their special abilities in love (see 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13).

LESSON BACKGROUND

Time:A.D. 55

Place:from Ephesus

   Paul wrote letters to the churches in Rome, Corinth, the region of Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica. Yet in all of his letters, Paul addressed the issue of speaking in tongues only with the church in Corinth, and only in 1 Corinthians. (The other New Testament texts that address this subject are Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6.) Paul’s lengthy discussion of tongues in 1 Corinthians indicates that this was a point of controversy within the Corinthian church.

   Scholars within Pentecostal churches generally divide the phenomenon into two categories. One category is glossolalia, defined as a worship language that does not communicate by itself, but needs interpretation. Sometimes this is called a prayer language (based on 1 Corinthians 14:14), a worship language (based on 14:15), or the language of angels (based on 13:1). The other general category is xenoglossia, the miraculous ability to speak in an existing foreign language that the speaker has not studied. The purpose is usually for evangelism, as in Acts 2.

   One thing to keep in mind as we study this lesson is that not everyone in the Corinthian church spoke in tongues. We can see this fact in a series of seven rhetorical questions that Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30. The sixth of these is ‘Do all speak in tongues?’ The expected answer to this and to the other six questions is no.

   Paul has already said several things about speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 by the time we get to the opening wherefore of today’s text: it is speaking to God (v. 2a), is a spiritual mystery (v. 2b), and is primarily for self-edification (v. 4). Paul also expressed a personal desire that all the Corinthians speak in tongues (v. 5), but he further taught that prophesying was to be preferred over speaking in tongues ‘except he interpret’ (v. 5).

 

Seeking to Understand: 1 Corinthians 14:13-17

1. What did Paul say about the understanding of speaking in tongues? (1 Corinthians 14:13-14)

   In chapter 14, Paul contrasted prophecy with speaking in tongues. He maintained there was nothing wrong with the tongues gift-in its proper place. But in church, prophecy and other intelligible gifts were more valuable (v. 1). The apostle gave his readers his understanding of speaking in tongues, which is that it was speech directed toward God rather than toward people. In the absence of someone to interpret what was said, the tongues remained unintelligible to the listeners. While God comprehended what the persons uttered in their spirit, it remained a mystery to others (v. 2). In contrast, those who prophesied were communicating with the rest of the people in the assembly. The words being spoken built up the listeners spiritually, stimulated them in their faith, and consoled them in their walk with the Savior (v. 3).

   Clearly Paul was concerned about the overuse of tongues-speaking at worship services. His readers were zealous about speaking in tongues, but the apostle wanted them to redirect their zeal toward gifts that would edify the church (v. 12). Paul had made it clear to the Corinthians that messages had value for others only when the words could be understood. That’s why he directed tongues-speakers to pray that God would give them the ability to explain the meaning of what they said (v. 13). The ability to interpret tongues is, in itself, a spiritual gift (see 12:10). So, if believers had both gifts, they could speak in tongues and then interpret what had been said for the edification of others.

2.Why did Paul say about singing in the spirit with understanding? (1 Corinthians 14:15-17)

   In the view of the KJV translators, the spirit Paul speaks of here is the human spirit, as indicated by its lack of being capitalized: spirit, not Spirit. This is the correct translation, and it allows us to understand this verse better. Paul is not in favor of mindless activity—speaking that is not understood by the hearers. He wants singing that is spiritual and ‘with the understanding also.’ (Evidently, some worshipers would offer spontaneous hymns of praise to God, with lyrics in an unknown language.) Paul wants the mind to be aware of what the mouth is saying. Otherwise when you are praising God in the spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? (v. 16). Those listening were therefore left without spiritual edification and were nothing more than observers (v. 17).

What Do You Think?

   Seven times in this section (vs. 13-20), Paul used the word understanding. What steps can the church take to make the gospel more understanding to an uncomprehending world?

 

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Spiritual jargon | Biblical terms that culture misdefines | Cultural awareness | Other

 

Worship that is Comprehensible: 1 Corinthians 14:18-26

3. Even though Paul spoke in tongues, what did he say he preferred, and why did he prefer this? (1 Corinthians 14:18, 19)

   Paul continues by stating a fact that some may find surprising: I speak with tongues more than ye all. There is no one more invested in speaking in tongues than the apostle himself, the very one who had planted the church in Corinth.

   Despite his own proficiency in the tongues area, Paul points the readers in a different direction. He notes that to speak an unknown tongue is not to speak with understanding. Five words that are understood are to be preferred over ten thousand words that are without meaning to the hearers. Paul’s goal in the speaking of clearly understood words is the teaching of others. The unknown words of tongues may be impressive and exciting, but they do not benefit others since such words convey no useful content.

4. What didPaul tell the Corinthian believers about being mature in thinking?  (1 Corinthians 14:20, 21)

  Paul adds to his point by introducing a difference between children and adults (v. 20). It is OK to have a childlike innocence when it comes to malice (evil), but it is not OK to be childish regarding the matter at hand. It was time the Corinthians started thinking like adults on this subject. In verse 21, Paul cited a shortened version of Isaiah 28:11, 12 to help the Corinthians grasp the true intent of tongues (see also Deut. 28:49). Isaiah had prophesied that God would use foreigners, the Assyrians, to try to teach the wayward Israelites a lesson. Based on what Paul said next, his point seems to be this: just as the Assyrians’ foreign speech failed to turn the Israelites to the Lord, so speaking in tongues would fail to help convert unbelievers.

  Perhaps some have the idea that speaking in a tongue is an evidence of spiritual maturity, but Paul taught that it is possible to exercise the gift in an unspiritual and immature manner.

What Do You Think?

   What has helped you grow most from spiritual childishness to maturity? What can you do to help others in this regard?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

   Selflessness | Personal holiness | Scripture knowledge | Prayer habits

5.How does Paul differentiate the benefit of tongues from prophecy? (1 Corinthians 14:22-25)

   Paul stated that tongues-speaking was a miraculous ‘sign’ (1 Corinthians 14:22) that God used to authenticate His spokespersons to the unsaved (when interpreted 1 Cor. 14:27, 28). In contrast, the Lord primarily intended prophesying for the benefit of Jesus’ followers. The apostle described a situation in which unbelievers and the uninformed visited a Christian worship service. If all the participants were speaking in tongues, the visitors would understand nothing and would think they were seeing madness, like the mania that was a part of some pagan religious rituals commonplace in that day (v. 23). In this case, speaking in tongues would be a sign in a negative sense. It would confirm the inquirers’ spiritual lostness by repelling them from the Christian fellowship. Next, Paul described another situation in which unbelievers and the uninformed visited a worship service while Christians were prophesying (v. 24). In this case, the inquirers would understand the message, be convicted of their sin, and turn to God in repentance and worship (v. 25). So, prophecy would be a sign in a positive sense. It would cause the visitors to recognize the Father’s presence and tum their lives over to the Son.  

What Do You Think?

   What safeguards can the church adopt to ensure orderly participation when a worship service includes an open time of ‘sharing’?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

   Before-the-fact policy to prevent problems | Small Groups

   After-the-fact intervention to correct ongoing problems

6.What does Paul say is needed in worship service to edify the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 14:26)

  Now Paul focused more specifically on the worship practices of the believers in Corinth. He gave many instructions, but his main point in all of them was that orderliness should characterize Christian worship. The corporate gatherings typically included a variety of elements, such as singing, teaching, revelations, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. All these elements of the service were good. However, the apostle’s readers needed a reminder that the aim of whatever they did was to be the spiritual upbuilding of the church (1 Cor. 14:26).‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace’ (1 Corinthians 14:33).

 

POINTS TO PONDER

   The Corinthian church was having special problems with disorders in their public worship (1 Cor. 11:17-23). The reason is not difficult to determine: some were using their spiritual gifts to please themselves and not to help their brethren. The key word was not edification, but exhibition. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul taught that tongues-speaking during a worship service, if uninterpreted, does nothing to, build up the church. The reason is that no one in the congregation can understand what is being said. Therefore, the apostle revealed it was better to proclaim God’s truth in language that everyone can understand.

   Paul’s objective was to encourage believers to identify ways to create a group worship experience that is edifying. Yet, in order for this to happen, we must be willing to put the concerns and interests of others first. Sadly, though, many professing Christians unconsciously center their lives on themselves. They judge things as good or bad depending on how these things affect them. Their own needs and desires often come first to them.

   Such people attend church for what they can get out of it. They give money and time either out of obligation or for self-glorification rather than the desire to build others up spiritually. Their prayers alternate between complaints over their difficult circumstances and petitions that they might have the gratification of their wants.

   Self-centeredness and spirituality, however, are incompatible. Before we can hope to live for the Savior and edify others, we have to put self in proper perspective. That will occur only when we surrender to the lordship of the Son. When Jesus is the focus of our worship and fellowship, His body will be healthy, we will be fruitful as God’s representatives in this world, and we will be one in His Spirit.

 

CONCLUSION

Building Up the Church

  Paul’s sage advice ‘Let all things be done unto edifying’ (v. 26) can be used in many situations. It challenges us to evaluate our church activities by a simple question: Does it build up the church or tear it down?

  Consider how this test applies to your own church and how you relate to it on a personal level. What issues are important to you? music styles? preaching methods? Sunday school options? Do you want changes to suit your own preferences? When does voicing your preferences cross the line from building up the church to tearing it down?

  These are hard questions! We move toward the right answers when we realize that the abiding value of 1 Corinthians 14 is not so much doctrinal instruction about the gift of speaking in tongues but about how we understand the priority of edification in the church.

PRAYER

   Heavenly Father, may we love the church as much as You do. May we resist selfishness as we seek to build up others within our congregation. May You bless our church as You give it unity and a clarity of purpose. In the name of Jesus, amen.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER

  Always ask, ‘Does it edify?’

ANTICIPATING THE NEXT LESSON 

 

   In next week’s lesson ‘Comfort in Times of Trouble,’ we will look at how we can console other believers when they feel overwhelmed by adversity.          

 

WORKS CITED 

Holman Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers. 

Life Application Bible—New Revised Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 

Scofield, C.I., ed.  The New Scofield Study Bible—King James Version. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Summary and commentary derived from Standard Lesson Commentary Copyright 2014 by permission of Standard Publishing. 

The KJV Parallel Bible Commentary, by Nelson Books.

The Pulpit Commentary, Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Hrsg.), Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Cook

 

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Mustard Seed Children’s Lesson Summary for July 27, 2014

Released on Monday, July 21, 2014

“Seek to Build Up Others”

Lesson Text:1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Background Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Memory Verse: “Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Corinthians 14:26).

 

1 Corinthians 14:13-26 (KJV)

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

 

KEY CONCEPT

Use your gifts or special talents to build up others.

 

MESSAGE TO CHILDREN

1.God has given special gifts to every believer.

2.Not all of us have the same special gifts.

3.All of us should work to build up the church and each other.

   For Today’s Story Lesson, you will need your Bible and pictures of: the Apostle Paul, your church congregation, your Pastor, other leaders in various roles, and a gift-wrapped box (to represent the gifts that God gives to each of us).

   For Helping Hands, you will need cardstock paper, pencils, markers, colored pencils, crayons, stickers and other items you have on hand for decorating.

 

WOrDs TO KNOW And Explain

Edify – to build up or to encourage

Seek – to find or search

Speaking in Tongues – speaking in an unknown language or a language that you have not studied or been taught

Tongues – languages that people speak

 

TEACHER’S NOTES

Time:A.D. 55

Place:from Ephesus

All believers are united in Christ as one living body (His church).  God, by His Spirit, has given each of us gifts or abilities with which to serve Him.  These gifts or special abilities are to be used to serve God, encourage and help each other and to edify (or build up) each other.

Paul wrote about the different gifts that God through His Holy Spirit has given to the church.  This includes the special ability to speak in an unknown tongue or language (speaking in tongues).  The issue of speaking in tongues is only addressed with the church in Corinth, and only in 1 Corinthians. (The other New Testament texts that address this subject are Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6.) Paul's lengthy discussion of tongues in 1 Corinthians indicates that this was a point of controversy within the Corinthian church.

Scholars within Pentecostal churches generally divide the phenomenon into two categories. One category is glossolalia, defined as a worship language that does not communicate by itself, but needs interpretation. Sometimes this is called a prayer language (based on 1 Corinthians 14:14), a worship language (based on 14:15), or the language of angels (based on 13:1). The other general category is the miraculous ability to speak in an existing foreign language that the speaker has not studied. The purpose is usually for evangelism, as in Acts 2.

One thing to keep in mind as we study this lesson is that not everyone in the Corinthian church spoke in tongues.  But if the gift was exercised, it should be used, as all other gifts, to edify or build up each other.  Paul instructs the believers to do everything to edifying.

 

 

TODAY’S STORY LESSON

In the Apostle Paul’s letters to the church in the city of Corinth, he dealt with many problems and issues in the church.  (Show Paul.) One problem he wrote to the people about were the different gifts (special abilities) that God had given the church (the people).

Every believer in Jesus has some gift or special ability that God has given him or her.  (List some of these gifts.)  We use these gifts as we work in the church to edify (or build up) the ministry and each other.

In one of his letters to the church in the city of Corinth, Paul wrote to the believers about the some of their ability to speak in an unknown tongue or language.  This gift is sometimes called a prayer language, worship language or a miraculous ability to speak in a foreign language that the person has not studied.

This was just one gift that Paul wrote about.  He encouraged the people to use this gift or any of the other gifts to help the church. (Explain different types of gifts God gives the church). Regardless of the gift, we should seek ways to use our gifts to glorify God, encourage each other and to build up others.

The church is a body of people - men, women, boys and girls.  (Show congregation.)  God has joined everyone together. Just like our physical bodies have many different parts that all work together, the church is a group of people who work together for God.

Jesus Christ gives each person in the church a job to do (this may be your gift).  God’s Word tells us that each of us have been given a special gift or job to do in the church.  (Show gift-wrapped box.)  Do you know your gift in the church?  God has given us special gifts to help the church. 

We are not all alike.  We do not all have the same gifts.  God has given gifts to help the church.  Some people are leaders.  Someone are pastors who teaches God’s Word and encourage others in the church.  (Show your pastor.)  Someone may have specific messages from God to tell the people.  Still others might visit the sick, lead the music or take care of young children.  (Show others in your congregation in these roles.)  Some may even have the ability to speak in a language they have not learned to share the gospel with a person from another nation.

Whatever our gifts, we all work together to help the church grow.  Each of us is important no matter what our job is in the church.  Our special gift will help us to serve God and to encourage each other.  Let seek to use our gifts to build up each other.

TELLING HOW TO LIVE

Do you know the special work that God has given you to do? Do you know your special gift?  If you do, then that is great! You should be busy using your gift to build up others and helping the church to grow.  If you do not yet know what God wants you to do, just keep studying and obeying His Word.  God will reveal to you what He wants you to do with your life!

 

HELPING HANDS

Give each child a sheet of cardstock paper.  Each student should draw a large gift box with four sections on the paper.  In each section of the box, each child should draw or write about their gift(s) or four gifts and how each benefits the church.  Decorate the drawing by coloring and adding stickers or other items on hand.  Display each completed activity and discuss how each helps to build up the church.

 

EXPLAINING THE MEMORY VERSE

   “Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Corinthians 14:26).

 

Paul told the believers in the city of Corinth about the special gifts that God had given to the church.  These gifts are not given for selfish purposes.  The gifts are to be use to help build up each other.  Paul tells us to do everything so that we are edifying (building up) each other.

 

CONCLUSION

Each believer is an important part of the church.  Together we are one body in Christ Jesus, and our purpose is to serve God and to help others.

No matter whether you are young or old, you are an important part of the church.  You have been given a special ability by God that will help you serve Him.  Use your gift to build up other people and help spread the good news about Jesus to the world!

 

PRAYER

   Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we all are important parts of Your church.  Help us to serve You and encourage others, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

ANTICIPATING THE NEXT LESSON 

 

    Next week's lesson is “Comfort in Times of Trouble,”and will teach your children how to comfort others.  Study 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

 

 

 

WORD SEARCH PUZZLE

 

“Seek to Build Up Others” (1 Corinthians 14:13-26)

 

 

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Find the following keywords from Today’s Story Lesson:

 

BELIEVER
BODY
build

CHRIST
CHURCH
GIFTS
GROW
HELP
LORD
LOVE
others

Paul

seek

TOGETHER
WORK