With Decency and Order
Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
—1 Corinthians 14:40
Did you know that God is not only interested in what we do, but He is also very concerned with how we do it? That’s because God is a God of decency and order. The scripture states that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace and structure. We see these characteristics of God throughout the entire Bible. For example, when He gave directives for Moses and David to build places in which He could live and be worshiped, He didn’t tell them to throw up any old tent or building. He was very specific. He had a detailed plan for both the tabernacle and the temple.
Not only did God very clearly communicate His plan and have them write it down, but He also gave them instructions about what materials were to be used and where to get them. As God set in order the building of these places of habitation and worship, He left nothing to chance. He spoke to each man and had them record every detail, right down to who would do the labor and how they would do it. You may not think these things are important, but God obviously does. That’s because anything that represents Him should testify to His character of excellence and integrity.
God’s nature should be evident in everything that we do. That includes what takes place in His Name when we gather as the Church. Sure, God trusts us to minister His goodness and His anointing, but He hasn’t left us without instruction on how to do so. He led men by the Holy Spirit to write down directives for us to follow. Through His Word, God has given us a permanent record as to how we should conduct ourselves when we come together.
When we assemble, there should be a hymn, a tongue and interpretation and a message that brings forth revelation shared by a pastor or teacher. However, we can’t all speak at once. If we did, nobody would be able to hear and the whole thing would be a mess of confusion and turmoil. That’s why God subjected the gifts to the wills of the people through whom they come. That way, if one person is speaking and another feels the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he or she can control themselves as they wait their turn. When these things are done under the guidance and leadership of a ministry gift, there will be decency and order to reflect God’s character the way He desires.
God very clearly directed us to allow the gifts of the Spirit in our services, but He also instructed us as to how we are to let them flow and operate. This flow of the gifts is vital to the building of His Church. He not only instructs us to edify one another, but He also directs us as to how we are to do it. That’s exactly what He did when He told Moses and David to build His habitations. God has always been a God of decency and order, and He will never change. The Church is God’s house and He has a very specific plan for how He wants it to look and how He wants it built. Remember, if you’re going to represent God in life and ministry, then everything you do should be done with decency and order.
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. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
1 Corinthians 14:26-40
The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
—1 Corinthians 14:32
Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
—1 Timothy 3:14-15
They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”