• Matt Beaney

#674 HOW TO RECEIVE PROPHECY? (21/10/22)

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 Corinthian’s 14:1-5)

Summary: Prophetic revelation comes in many ways such as dreams, visions, impressions on the mind, compelling scripture…

We have defined prophecy as: ‘Telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind which brings strength, courage and comfort’

REVELATION COMES IN MANY WAYS

Prophecy comes 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.


HOW DO WE KNOW THAT GOD IS SPEAKING?

How do we know that a revelation is from God and not just a fanciful idea? Most of the time, we can never be completely sure that something is from God. We may, for example, see a tree and feel an inner compulsion that God wants someone we know to put their roots deeper into God’s word; alternatively, this prophecy for someone may come as we are reading from Psalm 1 etc. but how do we know if this is from God?


Firstly, it’s important to remember that if our motive is love; if we desire to ’strengthen, encourage and comfort’ we can’t really go far wrong!


Secondly, let’s remember what Paul says about ‘weighing’ prophecy:

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.’ (1 Corinthians 14:30)
‘Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)

We can only know if a prophecy is from God through the weighing process. If we share a prophecy in a church meeting, we are to leave it with the congregation and elders/leaders as to whether they will receive it as from God. If our prophecy is for an individual, we give complete freedom to the person with whom we are sharing to receive or reject what is being said. If we are the one receiving a personal prophecy, there are a number of questions to ask in order to weigh what is being shared:

  • Scripture - does this align with the truth?

  • Advice - Ask advice and prayer from those you trust

  • Conviction - Do you feel in inner ‘faith’ for this?

  • Providence - Does this fit with past words and how God is leading you?

Terry virgo has written:

‘God wants us to weigh prophecy. True prophecy never condemns or crushes us. It is instead something which edifies, exhorts or comforts us. It is always biblical, glorifies Jesus and has an “upward” theme. It builds us up, stirs us up or cheers us up! If we want to be a prophetic people we must respond to the prophetic word. Once the prophetic stream is moving, God will keep speaking into it. We must take care that we do not throw in defensiveness, hostility or cynicism and thus break the flow. When we hear from God, we need to act and not be taken up with the difficulties that may result. God told the Israelites to go into the Promised Land, but they were more concerned about the giants. Many churches are wandering in the wilderness today because they resisted the prophetic and focused on the problems. There may be difficulties, but we must respond to the word. God wants to speak to His people and then through them to the world. We need to be captivated by what He says and swift at putting it into practice. Our church should be throbbing with prophetic life and motivated by prophetic vision.’ (Virgo, Terry. The Spirit-Filled Church)

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?

 

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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