1 Corinthians 14:24-25
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:…
I. PREACHING THE GOSPEL IS AN ORDINANCE OF GOD, AND WAS CONSTANTLY USED IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH (Matthew 28:19). Believing in Christ is necessary to salvation; and preaching the gospel is generally necessary to believing (Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21).
II. CURIOSITY FREQUENTLY LED PERSONS TO THE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES. The religion of Christ made a great stir in the world. Some were greatly prejudiced against it. But when they saw miracles performed before their eyes; when they saw some of their neighbours forsake the altars of their idols, and become moral and lovely in their conduct, they were forced to stop and consider how these things could be, and some of them would, of course, go and hear for themselves. Our text supposes. such a thing. God often overruled this kind of curiosity for good. Zaccheus wanted to gratify his curiosity; but Christ, in mercy, called and converted him. And it is happy for many that they did not suffer their own prejudices, or the fear of man, to prevent their judging for themselves.
III. PRIMITIVE PREACHING HAD A TENDENCY TO CONVINCE MEN OF THEIR GUILT AND DANGER.
1. The unbeliever, coming into the assembly, is convinced; whoever preached, his doctrine had this tendency, to convince the man of sin. This is done by the power of the Spirit, going along with the Word (John 16:8).
2. "He is judged of all"; tried, and condemned. The consideration of his own sin is brought home to his conscience, as when Nathan said to David, "Thou art the man!" He receives the sentence of death in himself. It is the office of an enlightened conscience to anticipate the judgment of the great day. Most men have such a notion of the mercy of God as to forget His justice and holiness; but when a person is convinced of sin he sees that God is holy and just; and he cannot but dread these terrible attributes, till he learns from the gospel how God is at once "a just God and a Saviour" (Isaiah 45:21; Romans 3:36).
IV. PREACHING THE WORD TENDS TO DISCLOSE THE SECRET WORKINGS OF THE HEART, WHICH WERE UNOBSERVED BEFORE. Most men are so busied in worldly affairs, or stupefied with worldly pleasures, that they are great strangers to themselves. But the faithful preaching of God's Word has a tendency to rouse men from their supineness. The Word of God is a mirror that shows men their hearts. Persons who have not been used to hear the gospel are frequently surprised, when they sit under a powerful ministry, to hear their own case and character so exactly described. This is the proper effect of the Word of God, which carries with it a mighty and convincing argument of its truth, as being the Word of Him who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins (Jeremiah 17:10).
V. WHEN A MAN IS CONVERTED TO GOD HE ALWAYS BEGINS TO PRAY. This was the symptom of Paul's own conversion: "Behold, he prayeth!" It is sad to think that so many people never pray. A short form of words, always the same, and always unfelt. Behold here, a man so overpowered with a sense of the majesty and justice of God; so deeply affected with his danger as a sinner, and so eagerly desirous of pardoning mercy, that be forgets he is surrounded by mortals, and falls down before his God with the publican's petition (Luke 18:13). So have I seen a condemned criminal at a human bar, when the sentence of death has been pronounced, fall down on his knees, and, regardless of the gazing throng, implore the favour of the judge. So have I seen dying persons, expecting soon to appear before God, cry aloud for mercy, without considering who surrounded their beds. The place, or the posture of prayer, is of little consequence. It might disturb the public worship, yet when a person is greatly affected, it will be difficult to conceal his emotions. He will lift up his heart, if not his voice to God.
VI. CONVERTED PERSONS DROP ALL THERE PREJUDICES AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF GOD, AND SPEAK HONOURABLY OF THEM. "He will report that God is in you of a truth." Profane people treat them with contempt and scorn. But no sooner does a man come to himself, and see things as they are, than he forms a very different opinion of godly persons. He sees that they are the excellent of the earth, the children of God, and heirs of eternal glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: