Summary: Spiritual gifts could be abused. Prophecy of God should run contrary to the scriptures. In this sermon, we will review the gift of prophecy.
Today, we have been looking in general at the theme of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus far, we have found that God does not want us to be ignorant regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit for he has given the gifts of the Holy Spirit by his appointment to each one of us for the building up of the body of Christ.
Let me begin by saying that "prophecy" has become a very mistrusted word in our time. There are those prophecies, especially in America over the years that have predicted the end of the world - many of them associated with dispensational theology - each one of them so far failed prophecies.
Our focus is to get a good biblical perspective on prophecy so that we can recognize/discern what is the kind of prophecy that is of God and what is not.
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like everyone of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you." I Corinthians 14:1-5, 24,25 NIV
DEFINITIONS OF PROPHECY:
• An inspired, anointed utterance, given by anyone who has a prophetic gift. It edifies, comforts, exhorts and instructs God’s people.
• To utter forth, to declare a thing.
to utter forth, to declare a thing
PURPOSE OF PROPHECY:
The three fundamental functions of prophecies are:
1. Edification - moral improvement (2 Sam 12: 7-14).
2. Exhortation - earnest advise/request (Acts 21:10-15, 15:32).
3. Comfort - peace and hope during hopeless situations.
Prophecy can be likened to a vehicle which conveys divine revelation to individuals or to the entire church.
Examples: Acts 13:1-3; 11:27-30, 2Kings 22:14-20
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN SIMPLE GIFT OF PROPHECY AND PROPHET:
A layman may prophesy, but you are not a prophet just because you prophesy.
The four daughters of Philip did prophesy. That means they were operating under the simple gift of prophecy, “speaking unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (I Cor. 14:3).
Office of the Prophet
To stand in the office of the prophet, one must have a more consistent manifestation of at least two of the revelation gifts:
1. Word of wisdom: supernatural revelation revealed by Spirit concerning the divine purpose in the mind and will of God. Always speaks of the future.
2. Word of knowledge: supernatural revelation by the Spirit of facts in the mind of God concerning people, places of things. Always present or past tense.
3. Discerning of spirits: Supernatural insight into the realm of spirits, seeing and hearing in the spirit realm.
Again, any spirit-filled believer might have occasional manifestation of these gifts as the Spirit wills. But a prophet would also have the above gifts more consistent and stand in the place of preacher or teacher of the Word.
Prophets in the Old Testament were called “seers”. They would see and know things supernaturally. People under the Old Testament went to the prophet for guidance. Only the king, the priest, and the prophet were anointed by the Spirit to stand in this office. The rest of the people had no tangible Presence of God in their lives. They didn’t have the Spirit of God either on them or in them. Unless God saw fit to move and demonstrate Himself in the natural realm, as in the case of Gideon, people would have to go to the prophet for guidance.
Under the New Testament, it is unscriptural to seek guidance through the ministry of the prophet. We have a better covenant (Heb. 8:6). We have the same Presence of God within us that was keep shut up in the Holy of Holies. He is living with us. He is within us to lead us (For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom. 8:14). Every believer needs to learn to follow the Spirit for himself. He shouldn’t have to go to anyone for guidance. Many people have controlled others lives through personal prophecy. Know in your own spirit that God is leading you. If whatever someone else says confirms what you have in your spirit, fine. If it doesn’t, forget it.