This week, we continue with our 1 Corinthians series, looking at some aspects of prophecy from 1 Corinthians 14.
‘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)
Summary: Anyone can operate in the gift of prophecy according to the measure that God wants to use them.
Joel prophesied that in these ‘last days’ that men, women and young people can prophecy. Everyone can hear God’s voice and share revelation from God in private and public settings. Paul writes about women prophesying:
‘But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head—it is the same as having her head shaved.’ (1 Corinthians 11:4)
We’ve spoken on this reference to the cultural practice of women wearing head coverings in previous blogs; leaving that aside, it’s clear from this text that women can also prophesy. That women can prophecy is also reinforced in what we read in Acts:
‘Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.’ (Acts 21:8-9)
Prophecy is for everyone. Everyone can hear God’s voice and encourage others in their faith. We are all called to build each other up in the faith; this is not only for leaders or any specific group. Do you know that you are called to share revelation from God to build others up? Do you set an example and encourage others to take responsibility to build the church?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
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.
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?
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.