Gift of Prophecy

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“Thus Saith the Lord”: The Gift of Prophecy Today

Posted by on 24 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Jack Deere

 

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

1 Thes. 5:19-22 NLT

The gift of prophecy defined (1 Cor. 12:10, 14:1-5):

The word of prophecy is spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible speech, orally-delivered to the church gathered intended for the building up of the people of God [Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 595].

In other words, the gift of prophecy is not planned, we cannot make the Holy Spirit give us a word. Properly, the word is not self-generated, but insight and instruction from the heart of God for the people of God. Biblically, the word of prophecy is shared by an individual for the whole Body of Christ in a language that everyone can understand. A word of prophecy, even if given to just one individual, should be submitted to the whole congregation for discernment (1 Cor. 14:29). Last, a word of prophecy, even if corrective, will encourage the people of God being seasoned with grace and hope.

Prophecy can be both foretelling, insights into the plans of God; and forthtelling, God’s word for our present circumstances. Prophecy is an important gift for the Apostle Paul encouraged us to “earnestly desire” the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14: 1) and prophecy has the ability to “strengthen, encourage, and comfort” the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 14: 3). New Testament prophecy is not inspired like scripture, but insights from the Lord for personal guidance and corporate direction.

The word of prophecy is hope: knowledge that God is aware of our need and actively working to meet that heart-cry. The gift of prophecy points the Church to Christ, calls for obedience to his commands bringing healing and restoration. The gift of prophecy reminds believers of their call to holiness, their dependence on God’s grace, and the faithfulness of God’s promise. Corporately, the prophetic gift calls forth repentance, restoration, and renewal in the Body of Christ. The prophetic gift builds up the Church in her call to be God’s witness to the world (1 Cor. 12:31, 14:1, 39; Heb. 2:3-4).

The purpose for the gift of prophecy: First, the word brings encouragement and direction to the church. Second, prophecy brings comfort that God cares and knows the needs of his children. Third, God can warn us if we are straying from the truth or living lives inconsistent with the life of Christ. Fourth, prophecy confirms direction already received from the Holy Spirit. Prophetic words are not to be directive or used in a manipulative fashion. The word should line-up with what God has been consistently saying to us, individually, and to the church corporately. Last, the prophetic is not to replace or contradict the Bible, the Word of God. We need to be mindful that a prophetic word is not inerrant or infallible, it needs to be constantly weighed.

Evaluating a word of prophecy involves three elements: revelation, interpretation, and application. Revelation: Is a prophetic word genuinely from the Holy Spirit having a sense of eternity? Interpretation: What does the word mean to us? The correct interpretation is important as the revelation. Application: What do we do with this word? (Acts 11:27-30, 21: 7-15).

Now, how do we handle personal prophecy? First, we receive God’s word with joy. Second, we pray for the correct interpretation. Third, we ask God for the right application. Fourth, submit to leadership of the church for confirmation. Since, the gift of prophecy needs to be discerned or weighed its best not to use the expression, “Thus saith the Lord” as an introduction to the delivery of a word (1 Thes. 5:19-22; 1 Cor. 14: 29; 1 John 4:1-3).

Should you introduce your prophetic message by saying, “Thus says the Lord”? The Old Testament prophets frequently did. The New Testament counterpart is, “The Holy Spirit says” (Acts 21:11). When the prophets used this phrase, they were claiming to speak the precise words of God, not their interpretations or applications of the revelation they had received. “Thus says the Lord” allowed no debate. It meant, “This is exactly what God has said. The matter is settled.” The prophets who used the phrase were not usually speaking words of personal prophecy. They had been given divine authority to speak God’s works over nations.

They had proven character and track records. Most were persecuted, and some became martyrs. In my opinion, we should be quick to copy their passion for God, and slower to use their vocabulary.

When we say “Thus says the Lord” to someone, we have left the person no room to disagree. He or she may feel controlled or manipulated because it is intuitively obvious, even if they can’t express it, that we don’t have the same authority as the prophets who spoke over nations. I am not saying that it is always wrong to use “Thus says the Lord,” just that most of us using it do not have the authority to use it. Even the prophets I know who have the most authority rarely use the phrase.

On the other hand, I know good prophets who disagree with me on this issue. They use the phrase constantly when they prophesy. And I’m not going to let their style of prophesying cause me to lose the blessing of their friendship or ministry.

Jack Deere, The Beginner’s Guide to The Gift of Prophecy (Regal, 2011).

 

Discerning a Word of Prophecy

Posted by on 11 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Jack Deere

Assessing a Word of Prophecy

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Cor. 14:29

Every believer can prophesy because every believer has indwelling within him or her the presence of the Holy Spirit. The word of prophecy has not ceased because the Holy Spirit has not stopped being our advocate, counselor, and guide (1 Thes. 5:19-22). In addition, the Holy Spirit endows every believer with the gift of discernment.

Evaluating a word of prophecy involves three elements: revelation, interpretation, and application. Revelation: Is a prophetic word genuinely from the Holy Spirit having a sense of eternity? Interpretation: What does the word mean to us? The correct interpretation is important as the revelation. Application: What do we do with this word?

The gift of discernment is insight from the Holy Spirit which enables a believer to know whether a practice, teaching, or gifting is from God, Satan, or a manifestation of the flesh (Luke 10:19, Acts 16:17-18, 1 Cor. 12:10). The Holy Spirit has not only graced the Body of Christ with prophetic guidance, but also, he has granted the church the ability to weigh prophetic words. Is a prophetic word from the Lord or simply a human creation? Is a prophetic word eternal, genuinely from the Lord, or a manifestation of the flesh, an emotional working up of concern? Could it be possible that a prophetic word is a distraction from Satan?

The gift of discernment operates in the congregation and within the leadership of the local church. This gift is enables the congregation to identify the source, content, and intent of a prophetic word. Individually, discernment is a check in one’s spirit with a question mark in one’s mind. A prophetic word may sound right, but does not register in our spirits as being from the Lord.

Certainly in these Last Days, the church needs the gift of discernment more than ever before. All types of false teaching and wrong-headed leadership are attempting to subvert local churches. We are not only called to discern, but are commanded to do so. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1-2).

One aspect of discernment is the ability to judge not by what our eyes see, or our ears hear, but with righteousness through the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11: 2-4). The Holy Spirit can show us whether or not predictions will come true. But this is not the highest level of discernment that he has to offer the church.

The Spirit of Truth is given to the church, especially its leadership, what promotes the love, testimony, and glory of Jesus. If the leadership of the church would follow resolutely after these three things—the love of Jesus, the testimony of Jesus, and the glory of Jesus—it would be very difficult for them to be deceived.”

Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 198.

Lessons from a Lion: Prophetic Ministry Today

Posted by on 10 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Prophets, Spiritual Gifts


And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the LORD to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings.

And the man cried against the altar by the word of the LORD and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.

1 Kings 13:1-2 ESV

I wrote an essay about prophetic ministry entitled, “Lessons from a Lion: A Fresh Look at First Kings 13.” My motivation for writing this article was twofold: prophetic ministry has fallen into disrepute and confusion exists in the Body of Christ regarding the practice of prophetic ministry. Is New Testament prophetic ministry identical in authority with the Old Testament prophets of long ago? How can I discern that a “prophetic word” is from the Lord or just someone trying to confuse me or even manipulate me? Can New Testament prophets be wrong? Is a prophetic word still valid if a prophet fails morally?

Essay

The Lord has used my essay to help Charismatics come to greater sense of liberty when sharing a “word” and a greater sense of peace when receiving prophetic declaration. “Lessons from a Lion” can be found here at Google documents.

Stone the False Prophet

Posted by on 09 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Prophecy, Prophets, Wayne Grudem

Why Not Stone the False Prophets?

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’

If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Deut. 18:20-22 NIV

Often, I am asked the question, “If New Testament prophecy exists today, why do you guys (i.e., Charismatics and Pentecostals) not stone the prophets when they are obviously wrong in their predictions”? To begin to answer this question, we need to examine the difference between an Old Testament prophet and present day New Testament prophetic ministry.

In the Old Testament the prescription was clear (Deut. 18:20-22). If a prophet failed in his prophecy, he dies because his words did not come to fruition. Clear, tangible, visible evidence assisted the observers in discerning whether a prophecy was true or false.

The Holy Spirit was not present individually in the lives of the Israelites, the only means available for discernment was outward evidence. If the “word of the Lord” came true, the prophet was from the Lord. If the prediction was false, the prophet was false and must be killed before he or she deceives and misleads hundreds, if not, thousands of people.

Today, however, any New Testament believer has within him (or her) the presence of the Holy Spirit. Since, the Holy Spirit is resident within, then are all the spiritual gifts are available to every believer (1 Cor. 12). One of those resident gifts is the spirit of discernment (1 Cor. 12: 10): this gift assists each believer and the whole body to discern whether a prophetic word is from the Lord, the flesh, or even the devil (1 Cor. 14: 29). Thus, we are able to weigh whether a prophetic word is valid by an inner witness (1 John 4: 1-3, 1 Cor. 14:29).

Therefore, we no longer need piles of stones outside our church doors. The Lord himself guides a congregation to accept or reject a prophetic word or ministry.

In 1 Corinthians 14:29 it seems that the prophet’s words could be challenged and questioned, and that the prophet could at times be wrong. Yet there is no indication that an occasional mistake would make him a ‘false’ prophet. In 1 Corinthians 14:30, Paul seems unconcerned that some of a prophet’s words could be lost for ever and never heard by the church.

In 1 Corinthians 14:36, he refuses the prophets the right to make rules for worship other than the ones he has given, and in 1 Corinthians 14:37-38 he seems to indicate that, in his opinion, no Corinthian prophet had a kind of divine authority equal to his own. Finally, in 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul allows women to prophesy while denying to them the right to enforce obedience or belief on the congregation, and this would be consistent with the view that prophets spoke with something less than ‘absolute’ divine authority.

Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1988), 87.

Prophetic Ministry

Posted by on 05 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Holy Spirit, Jack Deere, Prophecy, Prophets, Spiritual Gifts

Prophetic Ministry

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers . . . .

Eph. 4:11

A prophet is a male or female called by God to hear his voice, display in his or her life that message, and proclaim that word to the people of God. A prophet is anointed to be a voice of encouragement and correction to the Body of Christ by exhorting God’s people to walk in holiness of life and obedience to the Word of God (Amos 3:7, Eph. 4:11, Acts 21:7-14). Not every believer is a prophet, but every believer can exercise the gift of prophecy. Prophetic ministry still exists today, but the prophets must be accountable to the governing authorities of their local church (1 Cor. 14:36-40).

We do have prophetically gifted people in the church today. Some of the most gifted of these can regularly predict the future, tell you the secrets of your heart, receive accurate impressions and dreams, see accurate visions, and some are even used to do miracles. I don’t really care what we call these people, as long as we are wise enough to see the value of their ministries and benefit from them.

Since the beginning of the New Testament church, God has given prophetically gifted ministers to each generation of believers, just as he has always given evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 69.

Evaluating a Word of Prophecy

Posted by on 04 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Gift of Discernment, Gift of Prophecy, Holy Spirit, Jack Deere, Prophecy, Spiritual Gifts

Assessing a Word of Prophecy

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Cor. 14:29

Every believer can prophesy because every believer has indwelling within him or her the presence of the Holy Spirit. The word of prophecy has not ceased because the Holy Spirit has not stopped being our advocate, counselor, and guide (1 Thes. 5:19-22). In addition, the Holy Spirit endows every believer with the gift of discernment.

Evaluating a word of prophecy involves three elements: revelation, interpretation, and application. Revelation: Is a prophetic word genuinely from the Holy Spirit having a sense of eternity? Interpretation: What does the word mean to us? The correct interpretation is important as the revelation. Application: What do we do with this word?

The gift of discernment is insight from the Holy Spirit which enables a believer to know whether a practice, teaching, or gifting is from God, Satan, or a manifestation of the flesh (Luke 10:19, Acts 16:17-18, 1 Cor. 12:10). The Holy Spirit has not only graced the Body of Christ with prophetic guidance, but also, he has granted the church the ability to weigh prophetic words. Is a prophetic word from the Lord or simply a human creation? Is a prophetic word eternal, genuinely from the Lord, or a manifestation of the flesh, an emotional working up of concern? Could it be possible that a prophetic word is a distraction from Satan?

The gift of discernment operates in the congregation and within the leadership of the local church. This gift is enables the congregation to identify the source, content, and intent of a prophetic word. Individually, discernment is a check in one’s spirit with a question mark in one’s mind. A prophetic word may sound right, but does not register in our spirits as being from the Lord.

Certainly in these Last Days, the church needs the gift of discernment more than ever before. All types of false teaching and wrong-headed leadership are attempting to subvert local churches. We are not only called to discern, but are commanded to do so. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1-2).

One aspect of discernment is the ability to judge not by what our eyes see, or our ears hear, but with righteousness through the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11: 2-4). The Holy Spirit can show us whether or not predictions will come true. But this is not the highest level of discernment that he has to offer the church.

The Spirit of Truth is given to the church, especially its leadership, what promotes the love, testimony, and glory of Jesus. If the leadership of the church would follow resolutely after these three things—the love of Jesus, the testimony of Jesus, and the glory of Jesus—it would be very difficult for them to be deceived.”

Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 198.

The Word of Prophecy

Posted by on 03 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Gift of Prophecy, Holy Spirit, Prophecy, Spiritual Gifts

The Word of Prophecy

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

1 Cor 14:1 ESV

Today, many believers express confusion and consternation over the nature and purpose of the charismatic gift of the word of prophecy (1 Cor 12:10; 14:1-5). We will examine the gift of prophecy and prophetic ministry over the next several days.

The word of prophecy is spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible speech, orally-delivered to the church gathered intended for the building up of the people of God. In other words, the gift of prophecy is not planned, we cannot make the Holy Spirit give us a word. Properly, the word is not self-generated, but insight and instruction from the heart of God for the people of God. Biblically, the word of prophecy is shared by an individual for the whole Body of Christ in a language that everyone can understand. A word of prophecy, even if given to just one individual, should be submitted to the whole congregation for discernment (1 Cor. 14:29).

Prophecy can be both foretelling, insights into the plans of God; and forthtelling, God’s word for our present circumstances. Prophecy is an important gift for the Apostle Paul encouraged us to “earnestly desire” the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14: 1) and prophecy has the ability to “strengthen, encourage, and comfort” the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 14: 3). New Testament prophecy is not inspired like scripture, but insights from the Lord for personal guidance and corporate direction.

In its broad meaning, prophecy is simply God communicating His thoughts and intents to mankind. When a true prophecy is given, the Holy Spirit inspires someone to communicate God’s pure and exact words to the individual or group for whom they are intended. It is delivered without any additions or subtractions by the one prophesying, including any applications or interpretations suggested by the one speaking. To be most effective, it must also be delivered in God’s timing and with the proper spirit or attitude.

Bill Hamon, Prophets and Personal Prophecy (Santa Rosa Beach, FL: Christian International, 1987), 29.

Advent, Mary, and Prophetic Hope

Posted by on 16 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Advent, Blessed Virgin Mary, Gift of Prophecy, My Sermons

The Blessed Virgin Mary Receives Personal Prophetic Words

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’

Luke 2:34-35

On this blog, we have discussed the word of prophecy (1 Cor. 12: 10), its importance during the season of Advent, and how to respond when given a confirmed prophetic word. Today’s post focuses on the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model for receiving and acting on prophetic words. Luke 2:25-40 describes two prophetic ministers, Anna and Simeon, reaching out to Mary when the baby Jesus is being presented at the Temple for circumcision.

Simeon was united in Christ in righteousness, “righteous and devout” (v. 25a), yielded to Christ trusting his delay, “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (v. 25b), and remained in Christ enjoying his manifested presence, “Holy Spirit was upon him” (v. 25c). Simeon was intimate with God for Simeon knew his voice, “you would not die” until he sees Messiah (v. 26), and Simeon was led by the Spirit for he was directed by the Spirit “into the Temple courts” (v. 27).

Simeon’s prophetic word consisted of two parts: public in Temple (v. 29-32) and private to Mary (v. 34-35).The public pronouncement focuses on Jesus–God’s salvation found in the baby. This salvation is for the Gentiles and the Jews bringing about the healing of the nations.

Simeon’s personal word to Mary is strangely negative: the proud, self-absorbed, self-assured, and hard-hearted will be revealed (v34-35). Israel will resist Jesus’ ministry, and as result, their worldly, unbelieving hearts will be exposed.  In turn, Israel’s rejection of Mary’s son, the Son of God, will break her heart as well. [Stephen D. Swihart, ed., Logos International Bible Commentary (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1981), 439.

Some may ask why Simeon’s word of prophecy is negative in tone, “Are not all prophecies to be ‘strengthening, encouraging, and comforting'” (1 Cor. 14:3)? “Are not all prophecies to be positive and uplifting”? A prophecy can contain a rebuke, correction, or warning and still be comforting and healing. When Jesus corrects or rebukes, he also gives the grace, the Holy Spirit’s enabling power, to obey his word of command. Jesus gives prophetic words to the seven churches of Asia: five of the seven are rebuked or corrected for their lack of holiness, obedience, or perseverance. Yet, all five are encouraged, graced, and offered a reward for choosing obedience (Rev. 2 & 3).

Simeon’s warning to Mary is the Holy Spirit’s way of helping Mary avoid the pain and shock of unexpected suffering and rejection. It is good that Mary knows now that her precious child’s future death will break her heart in the painful of ways–the Cross.

Anna, a female prophetess, lived her entire life in the Temple courts: she was dedicated to worship, fasting, and praying. Anna represents wholehearted devotion to God and his presence (Luke 2:37). Like Simeon, spending time in God’s presence means knowing God’s heart, and to know God’s heart is to hear his voice, and to hear God’s voice is know his ways. Immediately after Simeon’s word, Anna confirms that this child will bring about the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:38). To be the redeemer of Israel is to be the Messiah, the chosen one, who would free Israel from her bondage. Anna’s word further confirms to Mary and Joseph that the God of Israel has major plans for their son, bigger plans than they can imagine.

Luke does not record the Blessed Virgin Mary’s response to these two words, but we know that in another situation, she chose the “ponder these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19 KJV). Pondering is not passivity. Pondering says to God, “I trust your prophetic word, I may not understand it, therefore I will not talk about God’s instruction until he reveals its meaning to me.” Pondering is faith, pondering is waiting on God, pondering is giving God opportunity and time.

Mary’s humble acceptance of the divine will is the starting point of the story of the redemption of the human race from sin.

Alan Richardson, The New Book of Christian Quotations, comp. Tony Castle (New York, Crossroad, 1982), 158.

In summary; Advent is a unique time for hearing and obeying God’s prophetic word. Like Simeon and Anna, we are called to Spirit-waiting, Spirit-listening, Spirit-anticipation, and Spirit-obedience. Like Elijah and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are called to Father-directed submission, Spirit-led action, and Christ-follower trust. The Holy Spirit still speaks through the gift of prophecy. As we anticipate Christ’s second return, we can expect more guidance from our heavenly commander.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

What Do You Do With a Personal Prophetic Word?

Posted by on 14 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Charismatic Movement, E. M. Bounds, Gift of Prophecy, My Sermons, Spiritual Gifts

Active or Passive Response?

Here and here, we defined the word of prophecy as a spiritual gift and how during this season of Advent, we especially need to seek the prophetic word. Today, we reflect on how to respond when a prophetic word is given by the Holy Spirit.

What should our response be to a confirmed prophetic word (1 Cor. 14:29)? Do we just sit around and wait? Do we just discuss it, debate it, or analyze it? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit desires for us to pray this move of God—an inbreaking of the kingdom—into existence?  The Holy Spirit calls us to obey Isaiah’s injunction, “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near” (Isa. 55:6, NLT). We seek the gift of prophecy for we hunger for God’s direction in the midst of the chaos and confusion of this world (1 Cor. 14:1).

The prophetic word is an invitation to enter God’s promises, to receive God’s provision, and to release God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 14:1-5). When a prophetic word is given to us, we are called to pray the promise’s fulfillment, believe the promise’s pledge, and obey the promise’s command.  In other words, we are not to sit passively waiting for a prophetic word to come true, but we are called by God to be actively cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that word fulfilled.

Elijah is a biblical example of responding to God’s prophetic word: he acted and prayed into existence God’s promise of rain (1 Kings 18:1, 41-46).

Elijah sought the Lord even when the word of the Lord was clear and unequivocal; he did not wait passively, but pursued Yahweh while he could be found. God promised Elijah, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth” (1 Kings 18:1, NKJV). First, Elijah obeyed the word of the Lord and was immediately obedient to the heavenly command. For in verse two, Elijah went and presented himself to his greatest enemy King Ahab. He obeyed despite the threat of rejection, persecution, and even possible death.

Second, Elijah grabbed hold of the word of God and believed it for he heard “the abundance of rain” before it was ever visible (v.41). Third, Elijah sought the Lord in prayer basing his request for rain on the promise of God (v.1).  Fourth, Elijah humbled himself before the Lord, not demanding, but requesting that God honor his promise of rain. “And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees . . . ” (v. 42). Fifth, Elijah was earnest; he wanted to see the word of the Lord fulfilled (James 5:17). He persevered until the answer came, for “seven times” he looked longingly to the sea for rain (v.43).

Sixth, Elijah was undeterred for he continued to believe God even after six times of seeing no results from his prayers. Seven, Elijah acted on God’s prophetic word for he gave Ahab instructions to drive through the Jezreel Valley before rain flooded the area. Elijah based his orders on seeing a cloud as small as a man’s hand, thus Elijah was a man of faith (v.44). Elijah saw his prayer answered (v.45) and became an example for us all (James 5: 16a-18). [F. B. Meyer, Elijah: And the Secret of His Power (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1978), 90-100.]

Conclusion, Elijah is biblical example for receiving a prophetic word: we should pray until the promise is fulfilled. The great prayer warrior, E. M. Bounds, instructs us in the same manner:

All revivals are dependent on God, but in revivals, as in other things, he invites and requires the assistance of man, and the full result is obtained when there is cooperation between the divine and the human. In other words, to employ a familiar phrase, God alone can save the world, but God chooses not to save the world alone.

E. M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer found in The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990), 360.

Advent and the Gift of Prophecy

Posted by on 13 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Advent, Gift of Prophecy, Holy Spirit, My Sermons, Spiritual Gifts

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Prophetic Hope

“Eagerly desire . . . the gift of prophecy”

1 Cor 14:1

In a previous post, I defined the spiritual gift of prophecy as spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible speech, orally-delivered to the church gathered intended for the building up of the people of God. Prophecy can be both foretelling; insights into the future plans of God, and forthtelling; God’s word for our present circumstances.

During the church season of Advent, the word of prophecy is important for Advent is the period of the Christian year dedicated to prophetic hope. Prophetic hope is believing and expecting God’s inspired promise of Jesus’ soon return. Advent means confident waiting: waiting on God to fulfill his word that Jesus will return in a physical body to bring his church home and judge the world (2 Peter 3:8-10). Advent is a prophetic season for we wait for the prophetic fulfillment of Jesus’ second coming while marveling at the Old Testament prophetic fulfillment of Jesus’ first coming. The Old Testament prophets spoke of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death (Gen. 3:15; Micah 5:2; Isa. 7:14. 53:4-7) and years later these promises were fulfilled. Today, we read the prophetic words of Jesus, Paul, John, and Peter concerning the Second Coming (Mark 13:26-27; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 3:8-10; Rev. 19:11-16) and with confidence we expect the prophetic words of scripture to be fulfilled again.

The word of prophecy is hope: knowledge that God is aware of our need and actively working to meet that heart-cry. The gift of prophecy points the Church to Christ, calls for obedience to his commands, and brings healing and restoration. The gift of prophecy reminds believers of their call to holiness, their dependence on God’s grace, and the faithfulness of God’s promise. Corporately, the prophetic gift calls forth repentance, restoration, and renewal in the Body of Christ. The prophetic gift builds up the Church in her call to be God’s witness to the world (1 Cor. 12:31, 14:1, 39; Heb. 2:3-4).

During the season of Advent, the church can expect the Holy Spirit to encourage, comfort, and strengthen all believers for the coming year.

True Prophets are the healers, preachers, and teachers who are “binders of wounds,” because they call people to genuine transformation and repentance. True prophetic words point to sin, to what is amiss in a life or in a culture; they warn of the consequences if one fails to repent (here a predictive element can come in); they console; they encourage. They do all this in conjunction with the fundamental truth that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 12:10).

Leanne Payne, Heaven’s Calling: A Memoir of One Soul’s Steep Ascent (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 116.

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