The Gift of Prophecy

do-you-have-the-spiritual-gift-of-prophecy-2-728What then are the special abilities in the body of Christ? “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith” (Rom. 12:6). The gift of prophecy is the gift of “inspired speaking.” (Friberg) It is the ability to speak God’s Word directly from the Spirit.

Some think that prophecy is speaking God’s written Word. But that is not prophesying. That is preaching. Prophesying is speaking the words directly from the Spirit. It is a spontaneous, unplanned speaking of new revelation. Paul wrote, “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent” (1 Cor. 14:30).

Prophecy edifies the church. “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation (1 Cor. 14:3). Prophesying convicts the hearts of listeners.

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is    convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his    heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God    and declare that God is really among you (1 Cor. 24-25).

The roof of the church hall of a little Swiss church, at the turn of the 20th century, was falling down. So the members of the church held regular prayer meetings in the hall after the service to pray for funds to repair the roof .

There was an old man, known to be very tight with his money, who used to attend and sit near the back of the hall. He could sneak out just before the collection plate came round at the end of the prayer meeting.

One Sunday, he was held up on his way to the prayer meeting in the Hall . . . and could only find a seat at the front of the church.

During the prayer meeting, a piece of the roof fell and hit him on the head. Feeling spoke to by the Lord, he stood up and said, “Lord, I’ll give £1000”

A voice at the back of the church was heard to say “Hit him again, Lord!”[1]

The one with the gift of prophecy is to prophesy “in proportion to our faith” (Rom. 12:6). In v. 3, God has assigned the measure of faith to each one. In v. 6, one’s prophesying is in proportion to his faith. Thus, the proportion of faith is the measure of faith that the prophet has received with his gift of prophesying. (Dunn) In practical application, the one prophesying must prophesy in proportion to his dependence on God. Prophesying must operate according to one’s faith in God.

Now all true prophecy is written in final form—the Scriptures. Peter wrote, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 2:20-21). The prophecy of Scripture is the more sure word of prophecy. Scripture is sufficient for faith and godliness. The prophecy now contained in the Bible is all that we need to preach and teach today.

[1]  Martin Dale, Sermon Illustrations. Cited October 8, 2016. Online: http://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/sermon-illustration-revd-martin-dale-humor-spiritualwarfare-humor-battlefield-3570.asp.

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