God Is Really Here Among You

Vintage Sermons // Greg Sanders // 1 Cor 14


1 Cor 14
Let love be your highest goal…but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy.

For if your gift is the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking to God, but not to people, since they will not be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them. A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.

I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more, I wish you were all able to prophesy. For prophecy is a greater and more useful gift than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church can get some good out of it.

Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you talking in an unknown language, how would that help you? But if I bring you some revelation or some special knowledge or some prophecy or some teaching—that is what will help you. Even musical instruments like the flute or the harp, though they are lifeless, are examples of the need for speaking in plain language. For no one will recognize the melody unless the notes are played clearly. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? And it’s the same for you. If you talk to people in a language they don’t understand, how will they know what you mean? You might as well be talking to an empty room.

There are so many different languages in the world, and all are excellent for those who understand them, but to me they mean nothing. I will not understand people who speak those languages, and they will not understand me. Since you are so eager to have spiritual gifts, ask God for those that will be of real help to the whole church.

So anyone who has the gift of speaking in tongues should pray also for the gift of interpretation in order to tell people plainly what has been said. For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.

Well then, what shall I do? I will do both. I will pray in the spirit and I will pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I understand. For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying? You will be giving thanks very nicely, no doubt, but it doesn’t help the other people present.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in a church meeting, I would rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.

Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind. It is written in the Scriptures,

“I will speak to my own people through unknown languages and through the lips of foreigners.
But even then, they will not listen to me.” Says the Lord.

So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers. Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting and hear everyone talking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy.

But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin, and they will be condemned by what you say.

As they listen, their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is really here among you.”

What do we see Paul saying here?
(ask for responses)

If we were to consider a simple summation of this text, there is a statement that stands out to me:
“God is really here among you.”

With this statement, Paul is talking about the results of something that I want to draw our attention to:

God wants to be known and experienced in our gatherings.

Have we ever considered this reality?

It is not our idea for His manifest presence in our gatherings. It is His.

Our Father wants to be known in our gatherings.

Have we considered why He wants this?

Consider the movement Paul shares in 12-14. All the different gifts that our Father desires to release are in 12, then in 13, Paul shares the reality of LOVE, this incredibly loving Father, who is Patiently Kind. Now in 14, Paul shares this idea that others coming in would realize that, “God is really here among you.”

For me, these create a picture of His heart for us.

1. His Presence in our gatherings corrects Misunderstandings of who He is.

My Theology controls my worldview. Our natural tendencies and sin nature tend to distort the true image of who He is. In His presence, His character, goodness, nature comes into view.

Moses asks to see God.

Exodus 33v18-19
Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you.

Moses has a heart cry to experience and know God. God’s answer?

He let his Goodness pass before Moses.

He revealed his Name through His character.

When we gather and His Presence invades, misunderstandings of who He is are refined and educated. He defines his own name.

2. His Presence in our gatherings brings benefit to His people.

1 Corinthians 14v3
But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.

2 Corinthians 3v17
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Prophesy is an outflow of His Presence. It is an overflow of His Voice. Where He is, there is freedom. Where He is, there is encouragement, comfort, and growth.

The simple reality is that we see in this simple verse, when He is in the room there is an outflow of His Kindness towards those in the room.

We need His presence. People need His presence. He desires to be in these places to do this work.

3. His Presence, released on His people, wherever we gather, was a His desired outcome of the Cross.

Matthew 27v51
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,

The Holy of Holies was the portion of the temple that separated His presence from the World. Only the Priest was allowed to go into this Presence, with fear, once a year.

Consider this picture of what happened during the cross, and the moment the veil tears.

The cross did not do this. God did.

The Cross made peace with the Sin condition of humanity so that His glory would no longer need be held within the confines of the Temple.

I would love to highlight that God used the Cross to accomplish a desire of His heart.

He desires to be known and experienced.

Have we considered what this passage reveals about how His presence is known and experienced in our gatherings?

This question is important. Paul seems to be driving towards something in this passage.

1. When we each are listening to His Voice and are actively functioning in our gifting, we are creating an environment for His presence.

“But the one who prophesies”

The prophetic is fundamentally about hearing His voice and releasing it on earth.

Paul’s teaching seems to create a grid that as we each do this, His character & Goodness are released in our gatherings.

2. When we live intentionally innocent, we are creating an environment for His Presence.

Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind.

Holiness and how it relates to the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul is talking about.

Protecting my life because I desire His Presence more than I desire sin is the definition of living pure.

This is holiness. Living in a manner that is careful not to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit is holiness.

Intentionally innocent means I am surveying my life and CHOOSING Him over what the enemy and my sin nature are offering.

3. When we value what is best for each other in our gatherings, we are creating and environment for His Presence.

But in a church meeting, I would rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.

Paul’s simple encouragement is to, “make room for each other and prefer each other.”

We are a family. If we consider that, we will be fine. Healthy families value each other.

4. When we worship Him we create an environment for His Presence.

Psalm 22v3
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

tehilah – to publicly boast

Psalm 68v24-26
Your procession has come into view, O God—
       the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary.
Singers are in front, musicians behind;
    between them are young women playing tambourines.
Praise God, all you people of Israel;
     praise the Lord, the source of Israel’s life.

procession – a movement

Our worship creates a place for Him to dwell and for Him to bring His throne room.

Worship is the vehicle that takes us into the revelation of His presence.

Worship takes us into the Throne Room where His glory is revealed

Is there a process in our worship?

Psalm 100v4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

Entering His gates with Thanksgiving
Entering His Courts with praise
Seeing His full procession in view

When we gather, we worship, He moves.