Teaching Series Part 1 – The Gift of Prophecy

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Meaning, when God places a gift and/or calling upon a person, he will not change his mind, even if the person returns to their old life or walk in disobedience. That specific gift and/or calling is upon that man or woman until death.

When I was about 12 years of age I found myself sitting at a small table with my grandmother, mother and grandfather along with my great aunt Marie. As I was sitting there listening to my elders speak, something came over me, what it was at the time I could not tell, but something came over me, when I heard a voice speak to my spirit the following, “She will be found dead next Wednesday.” Suddenly, I felt uneasy, after all I’m only 12 and here I am suddenly hearing that my aunt will be found dead!

I went home that evening with my mom confused, discouraged and strangely uncertain about why I heard what I heard. I was born again at the age of 8 at an old fashioned Pentecostal church, raised in a Christian home for the most part, but yet, something about what happened to me that afternoon stuck with me that entire evening. But not once did I tell my family what was spoken out of fear I’d be considered “weird” or worse, a devil!

Yet exactly one week later, to the day, in the late evening, the local police had pulled the car of a man who, upon the police asking for his drivers license, admitted that the body of my aunt was stuffed in the trunk of the car! She had been stabbed over 17 times, shot twice and then strangled, all at the hands of her lover. No amount of words could describe the feeling I had when news came to our family, yet for me, it was the moment I’ll never forget when I was given foreknowledge of a future event. There would be more events such as this, not as dramatic, but yet the knowledge would come.

Understanding the gift

So what exactly did occur in my life at that particular time to know such an event would occur? Is it scriptural? Can one operate in this particular gift?

What is the gift of prophecy? The gift of prophecy is the ability to declare truth received directly from God, truth obtained by special revelation. The apostle Paul outlined the gift(s) of prophecy in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:28 “And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” In I Corinthians 13:2 the gift of prophecy is explained as “understanding all mysteries and all knowledge.” A “mystery,” in New Testament terminology, is a secret, something unknowable apart from direct revelation. The underlying assumption is that the gift involved special revelation.

It is God’s desire that ALL believers operate in the gift of prophecy, the problem is, many do not see it as something they can attain, or they don’t know how. The apostle Paul would answer it like this; “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” 1 Cor. 14:5

The importance of prophesying is to edify, encourage and uplift the body of Christ, sometimes even to warn someone of something specific which the Holy Spirit would like to convey. The gift of prophecy is a gift for not just one person, but for all.

New Testament Examples

The gift is mentioned in all five New Testament lists (see chapter 2), but only a few New Testament prophets are mentioned. Agabus is one who had the gift. In Acts 11:27-28 he predicted a famine, and in Acts 21:10-11 he predicted Paul’s coming sufferings, both of which came to pass as prophesied. (From this example it is clear that the gift of prophecy involved the ability to foretell as well as merely forthtell). Philip’s daughters prophesied (Acts 15:32), but no details are given. Acts 13:1 mentions prophets and teachers in the Church at Antioch, although no details are given, nor does it say which men were prophets or which were teachers. Judas and Silas are designated prophets in Acts 15:32. Paul and the other apostles evidently had this gift as well (e.g., Acts 27:23-24).

So how does one seek this gift or discern that it is operating in one’s life?

The answer to all gifts of the Lord is to seek them through prayer, to nurture the gift that is within each person and see them come alive by the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Each person must believe, by faith, that God has given them the gift or gifts to help others. Some people are given at an early age, when they are born again, gift or gifts to grow in specific ministry. We see that in the beginning stages of the prophet Samuel.

When I look back on my early life, I can see early signs of specific gifts, prophecy, visions or dreams where God began to manifest these giftings in my life. Of course at that time I had neither the concept of what I was experiencing nor did I have the teaching or nurturing by Godly leadership to help me understand Biblically what was taking place. Yet, many times God moved in my life in such a way that I knew it was from God.

Let me just say to those who would ask, “How do I know it’s from God and not the Devil?” The truest test is not if it comes to pass, but does it glorify God? Whenever God uses a person, when he moves upon a person, that event, gift, prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, etc., will always be consistent to God’s nature. It will always line up with the word AND it will glorify God. It will also lift Christ up, never the person. Satan always points to himself, never the King of glory.

The gift of prophecy and its counterparts are needed for today just as they were nearly 2,000 years ago when the church was established at Pentecost. How do we know they are still alive today? Because the word tells us that in the last days, he (God) will pour out his spirit upon all flesh (you and I), sons and daughters will prophesy, old men shall dream dreams, young men shall see visions – Joel 2:28 We are in that period now. Even now, the book of Acts are still being written, the spirit of God is being poured out upon all who would accept it and God is bracing his church for that final great move of God to come upon the earth.

I encourage you to prayerfully seek God’s gift upon your life, desire them and then, by faith accept them and work them daily. “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” 1 Timothy 4:14

Christopher

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