• Matt Beaney

#672 WHAT DOES PROPHECY DO? (19/10/22)

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



‘But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.’ (1 Corinthians 14:3)
‘Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.’ (1 Corinthians 14:4)
‘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 grows the church in every way.


We will only seek to grow in the use of prophecy if we believe that it has benefits. Many believe that gifts of the Spirit are harmful and embarrassing. God wants us to see that it builds the church. Paul uses three words to describe the edification that the Spirit gives through prophecy:


i. PROPHECY STRENGTHENS

‘Strengthening’ (Oikodomé) speaks of the act of building a house. Prophecy builds the church. Prophecy strengthens our foundations, our walls and roof!


ii. PROPHECY ENCOURAGES

‘Encouragement’ (Paraklésis) is to come to one’s side to help and give fresh courage. In the storms of life, the Holy Spirit comes to encourage us through the gifts of prophecy.


iii. PROPHECY COMFORTS

‘Comfort’ (Paramuthia) is to fortify and exhort. The gift of prophecy gives us fresh faith to live for God.


iv. PROPHECY EXPANDS OUR MINISTRY

If we are truly seeking to listen to the Holy Spirit, He will lead us into Jesus’ mission. We read of this when Paul and Silas are sent on their missionary journey:

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.’ (Acts 13:1-3)

Through divine revelations, we receive direction for specific acts of service that God wants us to do.


v. PROPHECY MATURES THE CHURCH

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)

Along with other gifts, prophecy helps the church to be built up and become mature.


RESPONSE

Do we believe that prophecy strengthens and grows the church? Let’s allow the purpose of prophecy - strengthening, encouraging and comforting - to refine why and what we share.

 

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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