Posts Tagged ‘gift of prophecy’


Under Gods Command 

1 Corinthians 14:1-5 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Prophecy may involve predicting future events, but its main purpose is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement.

The gift of speaking in a tongue was a concern of the Corinthian church because the use of the gift had caused disorder in worship. Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Holy Spirit, but the Corinthian believers were using it as a sign of spiritual superiority rather than as a means to spiritual unity. Spiritual gifts are beneficial only when they are properly used to help everyone in the church. We should not exercise them only to make ourselves feel good.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians about tongues and prophecy have much to say to our generation. Many Christians struggle with the discussion of tongues. Paul would clearly say that no one should put down those Christians who speak in tongues, and those who speak in tongues should not disparage those who do not. Paul makes several points about speaking in tongues: (1) It is a spiritual gift from God (14:2); (2) it is a desirable gift even though it isn’t a requirement of faith (12:28–31); (3) it is less important than prophecy and teaching (14:4). Believers need unity and love. The enemy is not each other but the sinful world, Satan, and our selfish, sinful desires. But Paul would have another word for today: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” Although Paul himself spoke in tongues, he stresses prophecy (preaching) because it benefits the whole church, while speaking in tongues primarily benefits the speaker. Paul would encourage us to be so in tune with the Spirit that his messages of comfort, encouragement, and edification would be heard in our congregations today.

Lets Bring it Home: Make sure your actions are encouraging and edifying.

 


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

All Christians have faith. Some, however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the Holy Spirit’s power.

“Prophecy” does not just refer to predicting the future; it can also mean giving a message received from God to the community of believers: “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (14:3). The prophet Joel had written the words of the Lord, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28). As with the gift of faith, the ability to share one’s faith with power is available to everyone (see 14:1–5), but to some the Spirit gives a special measure of this gift. Paul wrote in Romans, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith” (Romans 12:6). Some have interpreted “prophecy” to be fulfilled in various sermons throughout church history. Others, however, say that prophecy is not a sermon, but a spontaneous, Spirit-inspired message that is orally delivered in the congregation for the edification and encouragement of the body of Christ.

Opinions differ over exactly what Paul meant by “tongues.” Some believe that this refers to speaking in earthly languages that a person did not say that this refers to an “ecstatic” language, a “heavenly” language. Most likely the second view is correct. Probably the only time that the word “tongues” refers to other earthly languages is when describing Pentecost. The rest of the time in the New Testament, the word refers to ecstatic languages unknown to anyone—languages of angels (13:1). Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit. The exercise of the gift demands some guidelines (as noted in chapter 14) so that the purpose of the gift—to help the body of Christ—is not lost. Those who speak in tongues should follow the guidelines; those who do not speak in tongues ought not seek the gift as a sign of salvation or of special closeness with God, for it is neither. It is a gift of God, given only to whomever God chooses. If a person has not experienced the gift of tongues, he or she ought not seek it but seek what gifts God has given. For more, see the notes in chapter 14.

Lets Bring it Home: No matter what gift(s) a person has, all spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit decides which gifts each believer should have. We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts, but we can take no credit for what God has freely given us. Note that discussions about spiritual gifts usually create difficulties when two central points are overlooked: (1) Properly used, spiritual gifts are not self-serving but serve the whole body of Christ (12:7); (2) each gift becomes practically useless when used without love (chapter 13). As you seek to identify and utilize the gifts God has given you, make loving God and loving fellow Christians your highest motives.


Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 1:18-19 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience.  Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 

Paul highly valued the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).  Through prophecy important messages of warning and encouragement came to the church.  Just as pastors are ordained and set apart for ministry in church today.  Timothy had been set apart for ministry when elders laid their hands on him (see 4:14).  Apparently at this ceremony, several believers had prophesied about Timothy’s gifts and strengths.  These words from the Lord must have encouraged Timothy through out his ministry.

Lets Bring it Home: Are we giving out more warnings than encouragement?  How can we hold on to a good conscience?  Treasure your faith in Christ more than anything else and do what you know is right.  Each time you deliberately ignore your conscience, you are hardening your heart.  Over a period of time your capacity to tell right from wrong will diminish.  As you walk with God, he will speak to you through your conscience, letting you know the difference between right and wrong.  Be sure to act on those inner tugs so that you do what is right then your conscience will remain clear.