• Matt Beaney

#671 WHAT IS PROPHECY? (18/10/22)

This week, we continue with our 1 Corinthians series, looking at some aspects of prophecy from 1 Corinthians 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)
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.’ (1 Corinthians 14:39-40)
‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.’ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Summary: Prophecy is telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind which brings strength, courage and comfort.


We are urged to desire prophecy in our churches, so we need to be clear as to what prophecy is. Prophecy (prophēteúō) is defined by Wayne Grudem as:

‘Telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.’ (Wayne Grudem)

I like to add a little more definition and describe it as:

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

Paul describes it as ‘revelation [from God]:

‘And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.’ (1 Corinthians 14:30-32)

All prophecy is speaking of a ‘revelation’ from God. ‘Revelation (‘Apokaluptó’) means to uncover, reveal. I uncover, bring to light. Prophecy is telling what God has revealed to us.


RESPONSE

I think that we all prophesy more than we realise; we may not use the term ‘prophecy’ but most of us pray things, share a text of scripture with someone or in public, praise God for something in public, feel that a certain decision is the right course of action for someone or a church… but these are - more often that we appreciate - prophetic and inspired by the Spirit. I think that we could all take more notice of the Spirit giving us inspiration. Next time we feel a compulsion to share something could we not say something like, “I feel that the Holy Spirit would want to say…”?

 

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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