6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: These spiritual manifestation gifts are used to convey the heart of God and operate for His glory, as well as for the edification of the Christian, and to evoke change in the heart of the non-Christian to help bring about repentance and their surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The English word “convey” is defined as: “to impart or communicate by statement, suggestion, gesture, or appearance: to transfer or deliver to another” (Merriam-Webster). The meaning also includes the ability to give or transmit.

These spiritual manifestation gifts are used to convey the heart of God and operate for His glory, as well as for the edification of the Christian, and to evoke change in the heart of the non-Christian to help bring about repentance and their surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Prophecy (1 Cor 12:10)

Of all the manifestation gifts of Holy Spirit, the Gift of Prophecy is the one that all Christians are exhorted to desire and to function in:

“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1, see also 14:5,31,39 NIV)

This spiritual manifestation gift refers to both forth-telling and fore-telling. The Greek word for prophesy is propheteia and means to speak under divine inspiration a declaration, warning, or exhortation as directed by Holy Spirit.

Through prophecy, a Christian speaks for God. It is not proof that the person is a prophet, nor is it ever to be used to bring so-called fresh revelation that has no basis in God’s Word, the Bible. It is used to illuminate the revelation of Scripture when proclaiming the great news of Jesus Christ, as well as to making a prediction about the future, or providing guidance to another in the making of decisions about their future (Acts 21:11-13).

Prophecy is speaking confidently, without any error or inaccuracy, to strengthen and comfort others. It is speaking a message of divine encouragement from the heart of God that touches a person’s innermost being.

The Gift of Prophecy is a sign that Jesus is in the midst of His people and is used to reveal a person’s position and condition before God as the hidden sins or “secrets” of their “heart” are exposed so that they come under the conviction of Holy Spirit and fall upon their face to declare “that God really is among” them. (1 Cor 14:24-25 YLT)

“But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1 Cor 14:3 NIV)

Prophecy is for the edification (Greek Oikodome) of the Christian. It is to build them up and promote spiritual growth. Exhortation (Greek Paraklesis) means “encouragement, a calling near or for, to stir up.” The word “comfort” (Greek Paramuthia) means “a consolation; a solace ministered with tenderness.” The word consolation means “to alleviate grief or disappointment.” The word solace means to “comfort in distress or disappointment, to find relief, to cheer up.”

Jack was about to buy into a business and went to a friend in his church to ask him for prayer about the decision he was ready to make. As his friend was praying for him, he said that he did not feel the peace of God with this decision and told him he believed God was saying that it is not a good idea because the local government was going to change the zoning laws which would be disastrous to the business.

Although there was no proof Jack could find that those changes were coming, he felt in his spirit that the word he was given was correct and chose not to move forward. Less than six months later, Jack learned that the laws had changed exactly as he was told they would. This event helped to bring Jack into a greater understanding of God’s love for him and strengthened his faith.

Glitter and Gold

Getting a Word of Prophecy from someone can be a good thing. However, as the saying goes, all that glitters isn’t gold. Jesus said that “many” would stand before Him on the Day of Judgment and think they were going to be saved because they had prophesied in His name (Matt 7:21).

Prophecy has always been the most prevalent religious practice of the occult since time began. “Prophetic” mental words or pictures are sometimes inspired by a person’s desires, perceptions, and their physical or emotional state - NOT primarily the Word of God.

Just because a person giving the “prophetic” word is a “Christian” does not guarantee the word is from God. They are sometimes just personal “happy thoughts” given to make the person feel good. That is cotton candy Christianity – sweet to the taste but full of fluff with no substance. The Bible does not provide any prophetic “techniques” to conjure up God’s presence or to “release” an anointing.

Christians must learn to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God found in the Word – the Bible (Luke 4:4). If His Word is shaped to fit the cultural norms of the world to help with human understanding or reasoning, it is no longer His Words of life, but rather, of death.

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