country church November 28 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Corinthians 11:2–14:40

Proper Worship

What should be acceptable behavior in a worship service? Are all forms and actions appropriate? How do we worship the LORD in a way that is pleasing to him?

The church in Corinth (an ancient city in Turkey) had many problems and questions. One of the problems they had was that their worship times were embarrassingly out of control. In today's Bible reading, Paul addresses this issue to correct it. The instructions he gives to them are also profitable to us.

Who Should Lead in Worship?

The Apostle Paul says the Corinthian Christians are to maintain an attitude of submission toward each other and the LORD; and he states that there is a proper order to follow: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1Corinthians 11:3, NIV). Each man and woman should follow his or her head and be submissive. This directive was especially important in the Corinthian culture of immorality and idolatry. Proper order and respect needed to be restored.

Applying the principle of headship or authority in a worship service, we might say that the congregation should follow the lead of the worship leader, the worship leader should follow the lead of the pastor or minister of the church, and the pastor or minister should follow the lead of the Lord.

Pride and Division

One person, regardless of his position or influence, is not better than another. In a Communion Service where bread and wine (or unfermented wine, i.e., grape juice) are served, believers in Christ are to remember the body and blood of Jesus Christ, who died for all our sins to bring us eternal spiritual life. It is not a time for some believers to put themselves above others with their own sense of self-importance. Position and material wealth or the lack thereof does not matter in Christ. What matters is that we gather together to remember the Lord in a spirit of love and unity. If a communion service becomes a bickering service or we willfully allow ourselves to be otherwise distracted, we are in danger of being severely judged for not giving proper attention and reverence for the Lord’s body, which was sacrificed for us (1Corinthians 11:27-32).

Spiritual Gifts in Worship

The Apostle Paul said that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts. Each believer in Christ has at least one spiritual gift, and it is the Holy Spirit who determines which are given. 1Corinthians 12:8-12 and Romans 12:6-8, and Ephesians 4:7, 11-13 give us lists as to what they were at the time of Paul's writings. These may be examples of gifts given and are not necessarily all-inclusive. Most of the spiritual gifts listed remain with us today, but some Scriptures lead us to believe sign gifts ended of their own accord after the Bible was complete (1Corinthians 13:8-10; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:3-4).

Spiritual gifts are to be used for the common good (1Corinthians 12:7) to benefit the whole body of Christ. “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1Corinthians 12:12, NIV). Instead of being self-absorbed with our own importance in having certain spiritual gifts, or being jealous of someone else’s gifts, we need to be servants with what God has given us and appreciate the contributions of all members of the body of Christ. We need each other!

Exercising Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are to be exercised in love and in consideration of one another. 1Corinthian 13 is the great love chapter which is often quoted in wedding ceremonies, but the context of it informs us how to exercise our spiritual gifts. We must not draw attention to ourselves, but we must honor and respect each other, and put the needs of others before ourselves.

In worship services, we must exercise self-control and give preference to the greater gift of prophecy, i.e., the proclamation of God's Word, the Bible. Gifts are given for the edification of the body of Christ, not to draw distinctions between those who are spiritual and those who are not. All of the gifts must be done “for the strengthening of the church” (1Corinthians14:26, NIV). We must be considerate of each other and wait for the opportune time to exercise our gifts. “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1Corinthians 14:33, NIV). “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1Corinthians 14:40, NIV). This is another way of saying our worship should be done with propriety.

Lessons to Live By (Proper worship)

  • Let us be humble and give preference to each other.
  • Paul instructs us to follow the principle of headship (authority) in the home—men to the Lord, wives to their husbands, and children to their parents.
  • If we apply the principle of headship in church worship services—the congregation follows the lead of the worship leaders, worship leaders follow the lead of the minister(s) of the church, and the minister(s) follow the Lord.
  • When we, followers of Christ, gather together for a Communion service, we are to do this in a spirit of love and unity. We are to give attention and reverence to the Lord and remember his body and blood sacrificed for us. This ceremony is symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ in our place so that we might have forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...)
  • Let us use our spiritual gift(s) to edify others in the church for the glory of God, and do everything with love.

Focus Verse

1Corinthians 14:40 (NIV): “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”

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A Look Ahead: Yet another question the Corinthians had was about The Resurrection and its Importance. Find out more in our Next Lesson.

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