A church that changes lives knows the biblical roles of men and women, proclaims Christ's death through the Lord's table, understands that spiritual gifts are given for the common good, employs the greater gifts in unity under God's leadership, practices love to conform people into the image of Christ, teaches God's word to prepare people for spiritual battle and execute a Spirit-led, interactive service to strengthen the church.
Follow Christ’s Example for Biblical Roles of Men and Women
Paul praised the Corinthians who followed his teaching and example of Christ. Christ was the head of every man. Man was the head of every woman and God the head of Christ. A woman's head was covered to show angels the proper sign of authority. A man's head was uncovered to show he was the image and glory of God. A woman was the glory of man since she originated from and was created for him. In the Lord, men and women were dependent on each other. A woman came from man. A man was born of woman, but everything came from God. He gave long hair to a woman as a covering. The contentious had no other practice to follow among the churches of God (1 Cor. 11:1-16). Show the example of Christ in gender roles based on the order of creation.
Proclaim Lord’s Death Regularly Through the Lord’s Table
The divisions that did more harm than good showed those with God's approval. Many ate the Lord's Supper in their homes without waiting for others. They despised the church of God by humiliating the hungry and getting drunk. The Lord Jesus took bread, broke it and gave thanks along with the cup to signify His body and the new covenant of His blood on the night He was betrayed. Whenever they ate the bread and drank the cup, they proclaimed the Lord's death until He came. Each person examined themselves so they would not sin against the body and blood of the Lord. Many experienced judgment being weak, sick or dying as discipline so they would not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:17-34). Eat the Lord's Supper in a worthy manner to proclaim the Lord's death until He comes back.
Exercise Various Spiritual Gifts for the Common Good
People must not be ignorant of spiritual gifts since the control of the Holy Spirit demonstrated Jesus Lordship in their operation. The Holy Spirit, Jesus and God worked together in the variety of gifts, ministries and effects. The manifestation of the Spirit was given for the common good like the message of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits and tongues along with interpretation. God gave these spiritual gifts as He determined (1 Cor. 12:1-11). Exercise various spiritual gifts for the common good according to His will.
Demonstrate Unity in Employing Greater and Lesser Spiritual Gifts
The one body of Christ consisted of many parts. One Spirit baptized everyone into one body whether Jews, Gentiles, slave or free. A foot should not say to the hand or an ear to the eye that he did not belong to the body. God arranged the different functions of the body where He wanted them. Each part depended on the other. The weaker and less honorable ones were indispensable and deserved special honor. The unpresentable parts needed special modesty. God gave greater honor to those that lacked it to prevent division so each part had equal concern for others. If one part suffered or was honor, everyone suffered or rejoiced with it. God appointed in the church apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, gifts of healing, helpers, administration and tongues along with interpretation. Eagerly desire the greater gifts (1 Cor. 12:12-30). Employ the greater gifts in unity under God's leadership while showing honor and concern toward with one another.
Practice Love and Patience While People are Conformed into Christ’s Image
Without love, a person was nothing but a resounding gong or clanging cymbal even though he had the gift of prophecy, knowledge and faith to move mountains, gave everything to the poor and surrendered his body to the flames. Love is patient, kind and does not envy, boast and show pride or be rude, self-seeking, easily angered and keep records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres without failing. Prophecies, tongues and knowledge disappear when Christ comes backs and we see Him face to face with complete knowledge. Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest is love (1 Cor. 13:1-13). Practice love, patience and kindness in persevering faith until people are conformed into the image of Christ.
Teach God’s Word to Equip People for Spiritual Battle
Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts especially the gift of prophecy. Those who spoke in tongues edified themselves. Everyone who prophesied edified the church for strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who prophesied was greater than one who spoke in a tongue unless he interpreted to edify the church. Sound a clear call to prepare for battle with some revelation, knowledge, prophecy or word of instruction. Paul praised God he spoke in tongues but preferred speaking five intelligible words to instruct others than 10,000 words in a tongue. Tongues were a sign for unbelieving Jews as prophesied in Is. 28:11-12, but prophecy was for believers. Prophecy convinced unbelievers they were sinners leading to worship of God and saying God was really among them (1 Cor. 14:1-25). Teach God's word to strengthen, encourage and comfort the church in preparation for spiritual battle.
Use Spirit-Led, Interactive Small Groups for Worship, Teaching and Ministry
Bring a hymn, word of instruction, revelation and tongue with interpretation (at most three, one at a time) to strengthen the church. Two or three prophets could speak with others weighing carefully what was said. If a revelation came to someone, the first speaker would stop. Prophesy in turn so everyone would be instructed and encouraged. Women remained silent and asked their husbands at home if they wanted to inquire about something. Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (1 Cor. 14:26-40). Execute orderly, Spirit-led, interactive, small group sessions with hymns, instruction, revelation and prophecy to strengthen the church.
Which of the characteristics of a church that changes lives will you pray for in your congregation?