(This guest post was written by Kyle Barton from life and building, and is the 2nd in a 3-part series at EachOneHas.)
For most of us, speaking is the thing we do most in life.
We are social beings designed for interaction within community.
Whether that communication is verbal or written (more realistically ‘typed’), we do a lot of it. Those who are not that talkative in person may be the most vociferous online. Facebook and the slew of social media outlets that are now entrenched in our society have produced the art of perpetual conversation. Once we click open our browser we can pick up our FB chat right where we left off. Text messaging is no longer a short burst of pertinent or urgent information but a documented, rambling, and never-ending chat. I think chat needs to be redefined. It’s both ephemeral and perpetual. The history is there and yet there is no pressure. No matter what we are doing we are simultaneously speaking about it. And we seem to have no problem with this mode of operation.
How does this relate to God?
Humans are speaking creatures because God is a speaking God.
Part of our being created in God’s image means that we speak because God speaks.
God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets,has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son…
God created the universe by speaking. Once He had created man, He continued to speak to him. God did not just utter one thunderous sentence at the beginning of time and then silently govern things from afar. He spoke many times and in many portions. If we were God we may have composed one all-encompassing, enigmatic, and profound statement and then left it at that for man to eternally marvel at the wisdom of that one sentence. But God did not behave this way. It seems that He never finishes His speaking, that speaking is part of His disposition.
Why would God speak so much?
God works by speaking. His words have a special characteristic- they are spirit and life (John 6:63) and they are living and operative (Hebrews 4:12). Actually the spoken word of God IS the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
Although God can work through any means, His most intrinsic, valuable, eternal work is characterized by His speaking.
God wants us to speak. I don’t think this can be emphasized enough. However, most Christians live mute lives.
God carries out His eternal purpose of building up the church through the speaking of all the members of the church. Not just by pastors. Although Christ prophesied that He would build His church, He does so indirectly through the functioning members of His body. Sure there are special people who have more of a gift to perfect other believers, but eventually this should have a egalitarian result in all the members. All are on the same level when it comes to ability to build the church. ALL can prophesy. This is how the Body of Christ can, in a sense, build itself up (Ephesians 4:16).
All can prophesy…
1 Corinthians 14:31
1 Corinthians 14 shows us that the most excellent gift to build up the church is prophesying, which means speaking the Christ that we have seen, enjoyed, and experienced to others. This chapter connects prophesying and building. Prophesying is mentioned 9 times and building up is mentioned 5 times.
God wants Christians to speak so that He can work. We should provide opportunities for each other to speak so that the church can be built up. If there are potentially hundreds of speakers in the congregation, why is only one man getting the chance to speak?