• Matt Beaney

#670 THE PROMISE OF PROPHECY (17/10/22)

This week, we continue with our 1 Corinthians series, looking at some aspects of prophecy from 1 Corinthians 14.


Summary: The gift of prophecy is promised in the Bible and so we should expect this gift to be in operation in our churches.

‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.’ (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)
‘These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’ (Acts 2:15-18)

If we are to prophesy, we must believe that God continues to speak in this way. Peter, quoting Joel, teaches us that prophecy is to be a feature of the ‘Last Days’. It’s not just the day of Pentecost; not just for when the Bible had not been completed; not for 50 years ago during revival; not for the future; It’s promised for all of the ‘Last Days’. Paul writes of this in Chapter 13,

‘Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.’ (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)

He tells us that there is a time when prophecies will ‘cease’ and Tongues ‘will be stilled’. However, he tells us that the time of the cessation of these things is ‘When completeness comes’! Completeness, we are told, is when we ‘see [God] face to face…know fully’. Do you see that Prophecy (and tongues) continue until Christ returns? Sam Storms challenges all of us with these words:

‘His words (in 1 Corinthians 14) leave us little room for maneuvering. The point is this: If you are not earnestly desiring to prophesy, if you are not praying for opportunity and occasion to speak prophetically into the lives of the church and other believers, you are disobeying God! The pursuit of prophecy is a moral and spiritual obligation to which we must devote ourselves.’ (Sam Storms, A beginners guide to spiritual gifts, page 111)

RESPONSE

God wants all of us to, ‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.’ May we, like Samuel, be ready to hear His voice:

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:10)

Maybe you would like to take a moment to pray for yourself and your church regarding this promised and to be desired gift of prophecy.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday, we continued in our series in 1 Corinthians looking at the gift of prophecy from chapter 14:

‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.’ (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)

The 'big idea' of this message was:

'GOD CONTINUES TO SPEAK TODAY AND HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO YOU AND THROUGH YOU. '


1. FOLLOW THE WAY OF LOVE

We are urged to make love the motivation for using all spiritual gifts including prophecy. Love means that we use our gifts to build others up.


2. GOD WANTS TO SPEAK TO YOU

God has promised to continue to speak to us through prophecy in these 'Last Days'.

These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:15-18)

3. HE WANTS TO SPEAK THROUGH YOU

The Holy Spirit wants to speak through you in prophecy. We defined prophecy as:

'Telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind which brings strength, courage and comfort.'

Prophecy builds the church. We read:

‘But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.’ (1 Corinthians 14:3)

HOW DO WE RECEIVE A PROPHECY?

Prophetic revelation comes to us in many, many ways: by dreams and visions. Impressions on the mind. A word of scripture is impressed on the mind. Revelation from God can come as we walk down the street, as we walk in nature etc.


RESPONSE

If you are waiting to be 100% sure that what you are going to share is from God, you will never share anything! Can I say that if you feel that what you are going to say is 100% from God, you are in danger of becoming spiritually controlling, prideful and are missing the humility that submits all prophetic revelation to being 'weighed'.

I would encourage you to simply ask yourself two questions:

1. Is this in line with the truth of scripture?

2. Does this strengthen, encourage and comfort?


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) How would you define prophecy?

iii. Why is it important to be growing in our knowledge of the Bible if we are to grow in prophecy?

iv What are some of the ways that prophetic revelation is received?

v) Do you have any experience of prophecy having a positive impact on your life or our church?


SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.






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