Title: Where O' Where Has Prophesy Gone
Theme: The Ability to Preach God's Word
Series: He Gave Gifts
Introduction: Picture in your mind several years of giving to your loved ones everything they need to function and survive in an hostile world. How would you feel after finding out the family you would give your life for are now held in bondage, unable to achieve their goals and accomplish their daily task for living a fulfilled life. You make your way to their place of residents and find that everything you have given them to survive and function effectively with had been carelessly thrown into an old shed, collecting dust, rusting and decaying away.
Proposition: I would propose to you that God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit has gifts to empower the church of Christ, enabling her to accomplishing everything He has called her to do in a sin cursed world. Yet most of those gifts have been in a sense placed where they are not being used. Much of His church are in some kind of bondage, unable to achieve their goals and accomplish their task at making disciples for Christ.
When I graduated from high school my father made sure I had what I needed to attend and graduate from Oklahoma Farrier's College. While attending that college the instructors handed me a book written by a master farrier. That book taught me how to properly trim and shod horses. It taught me to do corrective shoeing, which enabled lame horses to become sound so they can complete their daily task.
God has handed us a Book, the Bible. The Bible is God's revelation to mankind. When read under the leading of the Holy Spirit we find correction for our wrong motives and thoughts, thus the spiritually lame become sound so they can achieve their daily task of living for Christ Jesus.
Interrogative Sentence: As I mentioned just a moment ago, the Holy Spirit has gifts for the church of Jesus Christ. Can you name them? Can you indentify them as they are exercised in your church? Are you prepared to teach about them?
The high charge to the church is to have people who can "Preach the Word..." People who are able "with great patience" through "careful instruction" teach the counsel of God.
Transitional Sentence: God's eternal Word tells Christians about an extraordinary gift, prophecy. Romans 12:4-6 says, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith." 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us to "eagerly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially [the gift] of prophecy. According to the most accurate translations of the Bible, we should desire to have the gift to be able to prophesy. (King James, English Standard Version)
"Prophecy" (προφητεία prophēteía) here in Romans 12:6 and in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is not the prominent idea of prediction, but the inspired delivery of warning, exhortation or instructions of God's Word (Wuest Word Studies in the Greek; Word Studies in the New Testament) The gift of "prophecy" has a special value and is very important given especially for the purpose of strengthening, edification and comfort. (The Pulpit Commentary; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; 1 Corinthians 14:3) This divine empowerment presented in the whole council of God's Word is to continue to work regularly in the life of the church today. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament; 1 Cor. 12:10; 13:2; 1 Thess. 5:20; 1 Tim. 4:14; Rev. 11:6; 19:10) This spiritual gift is a tool to build up the members of the body of Christ which are manifested for the common good to all. (Bible Exposition Commentary; 1 Corinthians 12:7; The New American Commentary) As used in Romans 12:6, in a general sense prophecy is used when it involves the accurate teaching of God's Word. (The Nelson Study Bible Commentary)
"Prophesy" (προφητεύω prophēteúō) is the ability to speak out the counsel of God with the clearness, energy, and authority which spring from the consciousness of speaking in God's name and having received a message from Him to deliver. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament) 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging, and comfort. The Apostle Peter tells us, "For prophesy never had its origin in human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
The person who has the gift of prophecy, the Holy Spirit gift of opening and explaining the Scriptures ought to make use of it through prayerful study and meditation. All they teach should be birthed from God's Word and substantiated through the whole counsel of the Bible. The person who has the gift of prophecy takes every thought captive to Christ and compares everything they hear and examines it to what the Bibles says.
Transitional Sentence: Once the person who has the ability to prophesy has prayerfully studied and has shown themselves as one who rightfully handles the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), he is equipped to strengthen others. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening.... Strengthening (οίκοδομή oikodomḗ) is the act of building, especially in the building for spiritual profit or advancement. (The Complete Word Study of the New Testament; Word Pictures in the New Testament; The Bible Exposition Commentary)
It is like a building a house - first a solid foundation to hold the building. The floor, roof, etc. One supports the other and compliments each other until the project is just like the architect designed it. God has created you, He knows what he wants you to be. The one who has the gift of prophecy directs you first to Christ Jesus the foundation. He able to teach about the Word of God so you can have knowledge of Christian truth which the Holy Spirit uses to enable us live the Christian life.
As people make the genuine effort to seek the Lord's will for them, God will raise up Christians who can teach them God's Word concerning the situation and circumstance they are facing. These people share testimony of the Lord's faithfulness which the Holy Spirit uses to build your faith.
When I was without Christ the Lord sent someone who told me the truth about Christianity. When I gave my life to Christ Holy Spirit led me to the church which I attended for 20 years. When I needed to know about giving my talents and finances to the Lord, the Lord sent me a para-church ministry. When I needed to hear his plan for my ministry, he sent someone to give me a word of knowledge and then someone else to give me a word of wisdom. When I faced different serious trials He sent someone who could teach me what God's Word says about those trials. It was my responsibility to seek out those who were serious about their gift to prophesy and who know how to build the Body of Christ.
Transitional Sentence: Those who have the gift of prophecy are able to build and they proclaim a message of encouragement. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their.... [encouragement]..." Encouraging, (παράκλησις paráklēsis) is for the purpose of establishing the believer in the faith. Romans 15:4 says, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
In every group of people there are those who are depressed and discouraged. Dreams will not come true; effort seems to have achieved so little in this life at times; to often self examination serves to show nothing but failures and in adequacies throughout our lives. Even the Apostle Paul had to be encouraged, he said "I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain." (Galatians 2:2) Each and every one of us have children, grand-children, friends and go-workers who seem to be untouched by our living for the Lord. But the Bible says, "...Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58b)
A message spoken from God's Word should not be a deep depression off Iceland. A message should humble the listener by exposing sin, but end with pointing listeners to the grace of God that enables the sinner to conquer it. It should show the promises of God never leaving His children unprotected or provided for. It should proclaim to the children of God His directions in a sin-cursed world. Those with the gift of prophecy should be able to help the children of God determine their Holy Spirit given gifts, how to Biblically develop and exercise those endowments for the Lord and for the good of others.
Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) He also said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:33) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 'Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!'" (Mathew 7:7-11)
Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, "Each of us lives some of our days in the war zone. Weekly we face battles, challenges, and shock. When we see the missiles whizzing by overhead, we need someone who will encourage us. Encouragement is transfusing some of your courage into another life."
When the church has the people speaking words of encouragement, it will be a place that attracts people. God's design for the church is to be a place were people can be respected for who they are and be encouraged to become what God had created them to be.
Transitional Sentence: The gift of prophecy strengthens, encourages and comforts. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their... comfort." Comfort (παραμυθία paramuthía), means to console, comfort expressed with a great deal degree of tenderness. This comfort is expressed through speech and/or action. It affects a person's life like soothing medicine. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary) In every company of people there will be someone whose life has been hurt or is being hurt. In every Christian fellowship there must be a messenger of comfort (Daily Bible Studies) which strengthens one to hope for a better time coming soon.
Christians who are truly comforted have the heart of the Psalmist who wrote, "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promises preserves my life." (Psalm 119:50) I love psalm 119:52, "I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them."
Have you ever seen the movie Christmas Shoes? In that movie is a scene were the mother, Maggie Elizabeth Andrews, played by actress, Kimberly William-Paisley passes away. It is a very sad scene, however, Kimberly is as cute as ever in that scene.
Because of the cruse that came to us through Adam, reality is, we did not come into this world easily and chances are, we are not leaving this world easily. I remember the night my first wife, Bonnie, went home to be with the Lord, the experience was nothing like that scene on Christmas Shoes. I found true comfort in Jesus' words, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die...” (John 11:25-26)
Along with several other passages of Scripture I found true comfort in my lost. (Philippians 1:23; John 14:1-4) There is no greater need for comfort than to people who have lost a loved one.
There are words for comfort in every part of life were trails are sure to come, we need only to seek out those who have the gift of prophecy. (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 14:3) True prophecy builds faith in God and Christ. Josiah Gilbert Holland wrote, "Faith draws the poison from every grief, takes the sting from every loss, and quenches the fire of every pain, only faith [in God] can do that."
In Closing: The blessing of prophecy is only enjoyed when we seek out those who have it. It is the responsibility of the local church to keep the door open for gift of prophecy to be exercised, so Christians may grow in their faith.
Many, kingdom seekers has seen God raise up those who have the gift of prophecy, just when they needed it. One who has suffered the same trial your are going through. One you has been called of God to do just what you are doing. One who can help you understand the whole counsel of God's Word.
You only need to desire this gift. What will God find when He returns? A church that has set the Holy Spirit's gifts aside, so they can try to live a fulfilled life on their own? I wonder! Hopefully, He will find in your church the gift of prophecy.
Let us pray!