Summary: This sermon is the second in a series of ten on Motivational Spiritual Gifts which communicates the characteristics of the Gift of Prophecy in order to allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to reveal this gift to those who have it.
Last week I introduced this subject area of spiritual gifts by sharing the “Categories of Gifts.” Based on 1 Corinthians 12.4-7 I shared that there are Motivational Gifts, Ministry Gifts and Manifestation Gifts. Every Christian, every believer, every born again child of God is given a spiritual gift. This spiritual gift is a desire, a drive, a motivation which is given by the Holy Spirit and activated at salvation for the purpose of achieving God’s supernatural goals through your life. A spiritual gift is a supernatural motivation, it’s your HEART. It’s the gift that God has built into you, made a part of you to be used for the benefit of others and for His glory. It’s the grace of God given as the desire, motive and power to accomplish His will. It’s a spiritual endowment, a divine gratuity that enables you to minister to the needs of the members of the Body of Christ. Your spiritual gift is what gives your life meaning and purpose, it’s what shapes your personality, it’s your HEART, who your are!
Now, how do you go about discovering your spiritual gift? Well, first of all you must accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Next initiate the process of your discovery by prayer. Then you must be desiring to allow Christ to live His life out through you, living a Christ-dependent and Christ-directed life. That means you sincerely desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to live a Spirit-empowered life. In the process of studying the Bible or participating in a conference like we had this past weekend or participating in a worship service where the spiritual gifts are taught the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to reveal to you an “Ah ha” wherein you come to a realization “this is who I am,” “that’s me!” That’s my hope as I preach on the 7 motivational spiritual gifts in the weeks ahead. As we look at the gift of prophecy today, let’s look at:
I. The Context of the Gift of Prophecy
There are several things that will help set the context for our understanding the gift of Prophecy. First of all, the person who personifies the profile of a prophet or perceiver is the apostle Peter. He spoke more often than any other disciple and also became the spokesman for the early Church. Peter was always having something to say. Whether it was on the Mount of Transfiguration speaking about building booths for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, or the Confession of who the Christ was – the Son of the living God at Caesarea Philippi, Peter was always opening his mouth and many times he was sticking his foot into it. A prophet is one who clearly perceives the truth or the will of God. He or she readily perceives, prays about, proclaims and promotes the will of God.
Of course, we’re given some Guidelines for the use of the gift by the Holy Spirit in the context of the aftermath of the list of gifts in verses 9 -15. The Guidelines for the gift of prophecy is in verse 9, “Love must be sincere, without hypocrisy.” If you’re going to “speak the truth in love” then you must be true in your love for your fellow believers. You must be sincere, genuine, honest, real and true in your love for others. Paul also says in the exercise of the gift of prophecy you must “abhor evil or hate evil.” You must dislike, despise, detest and deplore that which is wrong or unrighteous or evil. Then, cling to what is good. Hold fast or hold tenaciously to what is good and right and true and holy.
The OT prophets of course predicted the future – often in terms of the judgment of sin. But they also spoke forth a message from God for the current time as well. Today the motivation of a prophet is to use Scripture “to reveal unrighteous motives and actions in the lives of God’s people.” One of the most needed principles for practicing it in the life of a prophet or perceiver in order to exercise your motivational spiritual gift is a clear conscience. If you’re to perceive the truth and speak the truth in love you must have a clear conscience. The reason being is because basically the gift of prophecy is used today to proclaim truth and expose sin. Well, let’s look at:
II. The Characteristics of the Gift of Prophecy
The Greek word for Prophet is “propheteia” which means, an inspired speaker – to show or make known one’s thoughts, to speak, say or affirm. The prominent idea is the inspired delivery of warning, exhortation, instruction, judging and making manifest the secrets of the heart. So in the context of motivational gifts it refers to one who is especially sensitive to perceiving the will of God and then proclaiming it or depending upon the Lord’s direction, praying for it to be accomplished. The perceiver is usually called to intercession. More specific characteristics include: