Sermon – July 27, 2014

Community - Letters to the Church in CorinthKeeping the Main Thing the Main Thing,” by Rev. Mike Holly
Sermon Series: Community – Letters to the Church in Corinth

It is difficult sometimes to stay focused on one thing, isn’t it? When we are at work, things have a way of catching our attention: breaking news, sports scores, or even the issues we face at home. While we are with our loved ones or families, we also are at risk of losing focus as we receive text messages or e-mails or even as extra-curricular events fill up our calendars. Sometimes the “second thing” or “third thing” dig their way in to our attention leaving the “main thing” behind.

I once served as an intern in a church that was unwilling to change an element of worship in the service even though most visitors to the service were bothered by it. The visitors were being forced to stand in worship and share their names and what house they purchased in the community. It started as a nice way to greet folks, but eventually those new folks didn’t really want to be greeted in this way. This practice had lost its purpose and the unwillingness to change meant that the practice had lost its focus. Instead of being hospitable as planned – it became a stumbling block for all.

The Christians in Corinth faced the same thing. It appears that sometimes issues and disputes took over and caused fractures within the community. The main thing of being a Church that does what Christ commands took a back seat to the quarrel of the day. And today, we read that even their worship services were affected by the gift of people speaking in tongues. Like any gift we have received from God, they can be used faithfully or they can be used selfishly. Usually, we use God’s gifts selfishly when we have lost sight of keeping the main thing…the main thing. Maybe today is a great time to do some assessments of the main things in your life.

—Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive. What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since the outsider does not know what you are saying? For you may give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you; nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults. In the law it is written,

“By people of strange tongues
and by the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people;
yet even then they will not listen to me,”

says the Lord. Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all. After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, “God is really among you.”
What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.


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