“… strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” (1 Corinthians 14:12b-15)
After his moving exposition on Godly love, Paul exhorted the Corinthians to put love in action in their church worship and fellowship assemblies. They were very zealous for their spiritual gifts, so much so that their worship services must have been very chaotic with several people all speaking at once, some with words of prophecy and some with unknown tongues. They so dominated the service that the gospel was not being preached. Those who dominated the services were acting in selfishness and unbridled ecstasy, which is not from the Holy Spirit. Paul does not forbid the use of any of these gifts but counsels that they be used properly, in an orderly fashion with the purpose of building up the entire community in love.
Corporate worship is a matter of mutual edification. The worship service is not a gathering where everyone has a separate experience or someone promotes their own agenda or broadcasts their own feelings or showcases their talents. Such methods common in Corinth as well as many modern churches result only in chaos. The building up of the Kingdom of God by focusing on the word of God is the only agenda for worship.
Paul tells us that order that glorifies the Lord is accomplished most effectively through the use of intelligible utterances of which prophecy is crucial. Contrary to what is often thought by some churches as well as our culture, prophecy is not primarily the prediction of future events. Our modern sermons are an expression of this gift of prophecy. Prophecy is the preaching of the gospel of faith. It directs the people to focus on their present way of living. It warns people of the future consequences of their sinful behavior and idolatry. Prophecy expresses the Word of God to correct, warn and discipline those in sin and error, forgive the repentant, comfort those in suffering, exhort all to holy living, and preach the gospel to the unsaved.