Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

Gifts in Priority: The Pre-eminence of Prophecy

Notes & Transcripts

Gifts in Priority: The Pre-eminence of Prophecy

1Corinthians 14                     June 8, 2003

 

Scripture Reading:

Romans 12:3-8, page 1763 in your pew Bible.

Note that Paul commands this list of spiritual gifts, headed by prophecy, to be used by God’s people.

There must be no refusal to use what God has given for the good of the church, the body of Christ, the kingdom of God.

But also note what immediately precedes their goodly use.

The giving up of yourself as true worship toward God has the effect of renewing the mind to know and proclaim the perfect will of God.

God speaks to and through those that don’t compete with him.

Therefore, when one fully yields himself to God he unhinders the speaking of God through him in the prophetic voice at least on some level.

Once we know what the truth is we are enabled and commanded to speak it in accordance with our faith.

I believe this is the broad definition of prophecy that Paul speaks of here in the NT context of spiritual gifts.

But note that all truth comes from the will of God. Anything else is not prophecy.

Now the first place of prophecy in this list of spiritual gifts may not be significant, but we have no doubt when we look to our passage this morning in 1Cor. 14, written by Paul two years earlier than what we just read in Romans.

Please turn to 1Cor. 14 with me. You will find it on page 1787 in your pew Bible.

Introduction:

Before we read this passage I want to relate it to you by the means of current events.

The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday in an article entitled America’s motto: In few we trust that, over the last four decades, people increasingly have lost faith in public figures and institutions.

We are no better than the truth we speak, and what more important and influential place to make sure we present truthfulness than in the church.

Everything we do and say must be founded solidly upon the rock of God’s unalterable and unchangeable truth or we are less than nothing in his sight and in his purpose as well as in the eyes of others.

Truth matters – a lot.

There was another Chicago Tribune article in Friday’s paper that makes a statement about truth and prophecy.

It was an article about the Mormon Church entitled Celebrating a revelation on race: Mormons say God told them to allow black priests in 1978.

Now the Mormon Church has a serious credibility problem in my mind.

It was started by Joseph Smith who supposedly had new revelations from God beginning in 1820 that said all existing churches were in error and that the true gospel was yet to be restored.

It was to be revealed to him and he was to establish the true church on earth.

An angel named Moroni (could this be some demonized form of the word ‘moron’?) led Smith to a hill called Cumorah near Manchester, NY, where he found a book written on gold plates left there by an ancient prophet named Mormon. Later Smith was given a “seer stone” that gave him the knowledge to translate the mysterious hieroglyphic writings. The plates contained the sacred records of the ancient inhabitants of N. America, righteous Jews who had fled from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and sailed to N. America in a divinely designed ark. According to Smith, he returned the metal plates to the angel. There were eleven other persons besides Smith who claimed they had seen the book before it was returned. The “priesthood of Aaron” was conferred upon Smith and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, by a heavenly messenger, John the Baptist, who instructed them to baptize  each other. In 1829, a year before the founding of the church, three other divine visitors, Peter, James, and John, bestowed upon Smith and Cowdery the “priesthood of Melchizedek” and gave them the keys of apostleship. (Taken from Handbook of Denominations, page 195-196.)

From this bogus beginning we get this turnaround in their prophetic word to accommodate present reality – the need to accept black people if the church is to grow in the modern age.

There are real questions of trust here for the discerning spirit.

All this leads us into what we need to have in the real church of Christ to present the atmosphere and reality of truth and trust.

I believe 1Cor. 14 is all about that as Paul continues to explain spiritual gifts: how they are diverse in the body of Christ, how the command of love must govern spiritual gifts, and now this morning how spiritual gifts are to be compared.

You see, the real issue at hand in the Corinthian church was the pride, division and disorder caused by unrestrained speaking in tongues. They were the ones, they thought, who had the ‘word’ from God.

Those who spoke in tongues thought themselves more spiritual and Paul puts them in their place by reminding them that there are all kinds of spiritual gifts important to the body of Christ; that the command of love was more important than spiritual gifts; and now he prioritizes the most meaningful spiritual gift of all – the gift of prophecy.

Prophecy by definition is the word of God understood. It is God’s communication to man, and it is not communication if it is not understood.

The gift of tongues may or may not be real with any given person, and unless there is interpretation, who knows what is spoken whether it be truth or not?

Can a church with a preponderance of tongues be trusted, since no one knows what is proclaimed (1Cor. 12:3)?

Perhaps the moronic angel is still at his confusing work convincing some gullible human of some latter word that needs be changed with the times and circumstances.

Paul wants a real atmosphere of trust, truth and order in the church.

Big Question:

Why should we desire the gift of prophecy above all others?

Prophecy speaks the knowledge of God for the good of man.

Prophecy speaks the truth of God for the building of the church.

Prophecy makes the Word of God intelligible.

Prophecy incorporates others in fruitful worship.

Prophecy is a succinct economy of instruction.

Prophecy promotes Christian maturity.

Prophecy is for those whom God is calling.

Prophecy convicts of sin.

Prophecy compels God-honoring worship.

          Godly worship is beneficially diverse.

          Godly worship is orderly and self-controlled.

          Godly worship is appropriate and proper.

          Godly worship is humble and obedient.

Prophecy is pre-eminent.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 1-3)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy speaks the knowledge of God for the good of man.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 4-5)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy speaks the truth of God for the building of the church.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 6-12)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy makes the Word of God intelligible.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 13-17)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy incorporates others in fruitful worship.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 18-19)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy is a succinct economy of instruction.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (v. 20)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy promotes Christian maturity.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (vv. 21-22)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy is for those whom God is calling.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

VIII.  Cycle Eight

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 23-24)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy convicts of sin.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

IX.    Cycle Nine

          A.      Narrative (vv. 25-38)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy compels God-honoring worship. (v. 25)

          Godly worship is beneficially diverse. (vv. 26-28)

          Godly worship is orderly and self-controlled. (vv. 29-32)

          Godly worship is appropriate and proper. (vv. 33-35)

          Godly worship is humble and obedient. (vv. 36-38)

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

X.      Cycle Ten

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 39-40)

          B.      Implication

Prophecy is pre-eminent.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

Why should we desire the gift of prophecy above all others?

Prophecy speaks the knowledge of God for the good of man.

Prophecy speaks the truth of God for the building of the church.

Prophecy makes the Word of God intelligible.

Prophecy incorporates others in fruitful worship.

Prophecy is a succinct economy of instruction.

Prophecy promotes Christian maturity.

Prophecy is for those whom God is calling.

Prophecy convicts of sin.

Prophecy compels God-honoring worship.

          Godly worship is beneficially diverse.

          Godly worship is orderly and self-controlled.

          Godly worship is appropriate and proper.

          Godly worship is humble and obedient.

Prophecy is pre-eminent.

Timeless Truth:

The greatest spiritual gift is that God should speak through us. This is how God builds trust and proclaims his love. Not that we should speak, but that God should speak through us for his glory. The gift of prophecy is the truth of God revealed. The gift of tongues is the truth of God concealed. Wouldn’t you rather have a gift you can use and bring someone to trust God – a God he can understand because he is uncompromised truth?

Prophesy, my dear friends, prophesy!

ILLUSRATION:

BreakPoint cultural commentary with Prison Fellowship's Chuck Colson

http://link.crosswalk.com/UM/T.asp?A1.25.12298.1.1191602

June 3, 2003, Like It or Not (Cardinal Arinze at Georgetown)

 Read the text of Cardinal Arinze’s speech (scroll down to "Francis Cardinal Arinze: Arise, Rejoice, God Is Calling You").

http://link.crosswalk.com/UM/T.asp?A1.25.12298.3.1191602

Parents and students attending this year’s commencement at Georgetown

University, a Catholic school, would surely expect to hear a

commencement address that took Catholic teaching seriously. And that’s

what they got. But many in the crowd were offended, even outraged.

The commencement speaker was Francis Cardinal Arinze, the head of the

Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The dean who

invited Arinze expected him to speak about the relationship between

Christianity and Islam, especially in places like the Cardinal’s native

Nigeria.

Instead, Cardinal Arinze told Georgetown’s class of 2003 that "happiness

is found not in the pursuit of material wealth or pleasures of the

flesh, but by fervently adhering to religious beliefs." Warming to his

task, he then told graduates and guests about the importance of the

family in Christian faith and life.

He said that "in many parts of the world, the family is under siege" as

a result of what he called "an anti-life mentality [that can be seen] in

contraception, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia." Instead of being

honored, the family is "scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated

by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by

irregular unions, and cut in two by divorce."

Well, that’s a very Catholic message one might expect from a Catholic

cardinal. But it proved too much for many in the audience. Teresa

Sanders, a professor of theology, left the stage during Arinze’s

remarks. Seventy other faculty members signed a letter to the dean

protesting what one of them called Arinze’s "wildly inappropriate"

remarks. Really? As a result, the dean apologized for the Cardinal’s

remarks and the "hurt" they caused.

This incident speaks volumes about the spiritual and moral condition of

the West. As historian Philip Jenkins has written, the numerical and

geographical heart of Christianity has shifted from the West to the

developing world. One result of this shift is that, as was predicted,

Christians from Africa are now evangelizing Europe and America, instead

of the other way around.

Thus, we see Anglican bishops from Africa standing against Western

apostasy by ordaining American clergy who will uphold historic Christian

teaching on faith and morals. And we see Cardinal Arinze pointing out

the damage being wrought by the West’s forsaking of these teachings.

The response to the Cardinal shows just how phony all the rhetoric about

"tolerance" really is. Tolerance originally meant allowing people whom

you believed to be wrong to live according to their beliefs without fear

of reprisal.

It then mutated into the idea that all beliefs are equally valid. While

this was mistaken, at least it allowed for the possibility that

Christians might publicly express their beliefs. Now "tolerance" means

that no one—other than Christians—should ever hear anything that

contradicts what they think, or otherwise upsets them. This is

especially true if the subject is human sexuality.

This bogus definition of tolerance is why the dean felt the need to

apologize for what the Cardinal said. Fortunately, our African brethren

think otherwise. They take their faith seriously—seriously enough to

tell the truth about the state of our souls, whether we like it or not.

There is hope in Africa, if not in Georgetown.

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →