Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 27

Spirit-Filled

July 27 – Today’s Readings – 1Corinthians 14-16 and Psalms 27

Chapter 14 clearly indicates how Churches ought to be functioning in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This means that individuals within the Church need to “step up” and function in The Spirit and that all Spirit-filled Christians should be encouraged in this direction.

What did the apostle Paul have to say about this? – “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” (1Corinthians 14:26)

This is how a “normal” Church service should be. We should have to put a halt to “prophecy” because too many people want to use the microphone. We should all come ready to edify the Church and we certainly should be praying in the Spirit to build up our faith. How do I know this? – The Apostle Jude says – “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 20)

Paul exhorts – “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” (1Corinthians 14:15) – “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself,” (1Corinthians 14:4) – “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” (1 Corinthians 14:18)

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul instructs that we should be speaking, praying and singing in the Spirit. This kind of “tongues” is simply a prayer language – people speaking to God, not to other people. There is also an utterance of tongues that can be used to address the Church. Tongues + Interpretation has similarities to Prophecy. Prophecy is the “speaking” gift that Paul encourages in the Church because the Church can easily understand it and be blessed.

In our Church, we use a microphone so that members can address the assembly and so everyone can be heard because “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1Corinthians 14:3) The outcome then is that we build ourselves up by speaking in tongues and we build THE CHURCH up by prophesying. What place then do the other spiritual gifts hold? Wouldn’t it be exciting if we all began using gifts of Healing, Miracles, Faith, Wisdom, Knowledge and Distinguishing between spirits within the Church and – OUTSIDE THE CHURCH Walls? You would not be able to contain the crowds if we began to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts”. (1Corinthians 14:1)

Questions:

1. When was the last time you functioned in one of the “spiritual gifts” Paul refers to?
2. Tell about it.

Very Expensive Perfume

January 27 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 26-28 and Psalms 27

The Gospel of Matthew wraps up with some powerful life lessons. Let me draw your attention to one of them in Chapter 26:7 where a woman (no name) brought “very expensive” perfume and worshiped Jesus by pouring it out on Him. Her attitude was wonderful – her heart was perfect – she wanted to honour Jesus. The disciples’ response however, was far from perfect! They felt that this much money should be allocated to a different cause. This “worship offering” was considered a squander – a waste – after all, it wasn’t part of the budget! It caused such offence in Judas’ heart that he got bitter about it, left the Church, and eventually turned Jesus over to the chief priests!

There is a pivotal question we must ask ourselves as we read this passage – Is it “wasteful and excessive” or is it “worship”? It all has to do with the way we spend our money and our time. Now, don’t get me wrong – we know that Jesus had nothing negative to say about spending money on things like the “Social Activist Gospel”. On the contrary, He told the rich ruler to sell all he had, give the money to the poor and follow him. When He was speaking of true Christianity, Jesus referred to those who fed the poor, took care of widows and orphans, visited those in prison, etc. How we treat the poor and needy is of utmost importance. Why then did Jesus rebuke the disciples and praise the actions of this woman? Was it perhaps because she offered pure worship from the heart? Is worship (even outrageous worship) WASTEFUL? I believe Jesus was trying to tell the disciples that this woman’s offering was indeed wonderful even though it probably cost her an entire inheritance – or perhaps all of her Registered Retirement Plans. Just think about how we respond to other peoples’ offerings of worship or their giving habits. We have been schooled concerning finances – we want “control” over how our money is spent and which project our cash will go towards. Most Church splits include an element of division concerning the allocation of funds. Even Jesus experienced the first Church split over the issue of finances!

There must always be an element of “feeding the poor or reaching out” when it comes to God’s money. We are supposed to be givers even as God is a giver. However, if you really want to get some heavy criticism concerning your Christianity, try being extravagant in your worship and your giving. People will call you a fool to your face if you describe the extravagant sacrifice you made in order to express your love to the Lord. Tell the average guy at the office that you give ten or twenty percent of your earnings to the work of the ministry and see what kind of reaction you get. How much more negative would this reaction be if you said you had emptied you bank account and poured it out at the feet of Jesus!

Questions:

1. Why do you think “money” has always been such an issue in the Church?

2. Comment on some of the other “excessive” acts of worship mentioned in Scripture.

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