“Since God is not a God of disorder,” all things pertaining to Him should reflect that truth. This is the most leveling statement that Paul could make in terms of dealing with the chaos known as Corinth. Throughout our year-long study of 1 Corinthians, we have noted that Corinth was anything but orderly. From the dark sins of incest to drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper, I can imagine that a worship service at Corinth was anything but orderly. When their problems with the flesh collided with the unrestrained use of charismatic gifts, the image in my mind of a Sunday morning in Corinth resembles more of raucous party than a time of corporate worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the last two weeks, we have worked to establish a fair, and orthodox doctrine of spiritual gifts—focusing specifically on the charismatic gifts. Today, order is the theme. Since God is a God of order, what implications does that have on our corporate gatherings?
When we consider the Bible, we find that all of our dealings with God in Scripture are very orderly. God created the world in an orderly way. He gave Noah ordered blueprints for a boat. He gave Moses ordered instructions for the Tabernacle. He gave the Israelites ordered instructions for obedience. He satisfied those instructions at the cross. And likewise, we know that God will bring about the end of this world in an ordered way. Where God is at work, order is evident.
In 2006, our association hosted an old fashioned tent revival. This was the kind with the fiery preacher and the husband-wife team of musicians. I remember sitting in the service on the last night when the preacher gave the opportunity to respond to the message. As he pleaded with lost people to respond to Christ’s offer of salvation, a man in the back began to speak loudly in another tongue. Naturally, every eye in the tent looked to the back to see what (and who) it was. As the dual continued—the preacher pleading for sinners to repent, and the foreign tongue crying out to an unknown listener—something eerie happened, the intonation and the cadence of the unknown tongue began to mimic the intonation and cadence of the preacher. Those who discussed the event afterwards got the feeling that the tongue was mocking the preacher. Order was not happening. People were distracted from the Gospel. Eyes were not fixed on the cross, they were fixed on the speaker of an unknown tongue. This was not order, and therefore it was not from God.
In churches who claim a commitment to the Bible, one of the things that should be strived for is order. Order is significant in worship, but it does not stop there. One of the quickest ways to diagnose the works and effects of the enemy is to look for disorder. Look for disorder in meetings. Look for disorder in conflicts. Look for disorder in communication. Disorder is not an aspect of God’s character, and therefore the people of God should strive to conduct everything in an orderly way. From the way we worship to the way deal with disagreements to the way we conduct business, we seek order.
Some say that this takes away the spontaneous move of the Spirit. I would say two things. First, I do not believe there is such a thing as a spontaneous move of the Spirit. God knows when He is going to move and therefore it is spontaneous only to us. Secondly, whenever God moves, He does so according to His character. The Bible says that God’s character is orderly, so we must acknowledge that His movements will likewise be orderly. This is why we pray and plan and work hard to ensure that everything we do has order.
Seeking Order (and Orthodoxy),
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