Prophetic Rhema – BT10: Prophesying is the greatest grace-gift to zealously pursue to build the Church
Prophetic Rhema – BT10: Prophesying is the greatest gift to zealously pursue to build the Church
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Paul talks at length about the use of the Spirit’s grace-gifts in church meetings in 1 Corinthians 14:19-25: “But instead in church [assembly of mostly believers] I would rather speak 5 logos messages by the means of my mind (a) in order to instruct others, rather than 10,000 logos messages (b) in a [supernatural] tongue . . . [which is] a [confirming, authenticating] sign [of the gospel logos message] for unbelievers not believers, while prophecy is a sign for believers not unbelievers . . . if, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and idiotes outsiders (d) or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if ALL prophesy . . . that [outsider or unbeliever] person will be convicted by ALL, called to account by ALL, the secrets of his heart being disclosed, and he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” <Notes> a) context: by prophecy, b) context: by the means of the Spirit: 14:2, 14.
Doesn’t it sound like Paul hoped they would ALL prophesy in church and that this would have a profound affect, even on outsiders or unbelievers that prophesy isn’t even a [confirming, authenticating] sign for? Paul did say in v. 14:5, “I presently/ongoingly supremely-want (a) you ALL to speak in tongues, but more so [ALL] to prophesy . . . so that the church [assembly] may be built up!” <Notes> a) thelo: desiring the best or optimal for another.
How does Paul “top” even his “supreme desire” for them ALL to speak in tongues? By his “more so” desire for them to [ALL] prophesy! Could it be that so few outsiders and unbelievers nowadays come to realize “God is really among” Christians in church services exactly because so many churches forbid prophecy? Could this be another reason churches aren’t being built up much? It sure seems that the “supreme ‘more-so’ desire” of many churches is NOT the same as Paul’s! <Notes> a) context: by prophecy, b) context: by the means of the Spirit: 14:2, 14, c) thelo: desiring the best or optimal for another, d) believers ignorant/uninformed of Spiritual gifts because of not regular attenders.
Moses had the same desire as Paul but also the same problem with obstinate Jews. In Number 11:1-30, the people complained about not having the foods they ate back in sinful Egypt now that they had followed the Lord through Moses. The dew and manna wasn’t enough for them! So Moses complains to the Lord that he can’t handle the responsibility of listening to their complaints. So the Lord has Moses gather 70 elders to represent the people, bring them into the Tent of Meeting, and God will “take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them and/thus they shall bear the burden of the people with you.” And for their grumbling, the people were made to eat bird meat for a month until they were sick of it! “And as soon as the Spirit rested on them (the 70), they prophesied.”
That’s what you will often see in every Spirit-baptism! “But they did not continue doing it.” However, 2 men hadn’t gone into the Tent, but still “the Spirit rested on them. . . and so they [continued to] prophesy outside in the camp.” Another young man reported this to Moses and a “leader” called Joshua the son of Nun, a long-time assistant to Moses told Moses to stop the 2 men from prophesying. Can you believe that! But you see that in today’s churches all the time! The “leaders” are the first to try to stop the move of the Holy Spirit because “it is out of order!” Nevertheless, Moses nailed it, saying: “Are you jealous? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”
Well, Moses got his wish: The completely different-in-kind New Covenant promises that ALL of God’s people can now be prophets! That’s what Peter declared in Acts 2:17-19 citing Joel 2:28-29 and what Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 14:5 as his “more so than his supreme desire” for Christians, and in verse 14:1 where Paul charges them in the imperative case that is a strong urging: “Presently/ongoing boil over with zeal (a) for the Spirit-kind-of [things], but especially/more so that you might prophesy.” Paul even tells them to “ALL prophesy one by one, so ALL might learn [the essentials] and/coupled ALL might be parakaleo encouraged-from-being-close-beside [the Holy Spirit who is the Parakletos]” in v. 14:31.
Just in case, anybody doesn’t understand Paul’s emphasis, he summarizes with another imperative urging: “So, my brethren, presently/ongoing boil over with zeal (a) to prophesy and/coupled do not in possibility forbid speaking in tongues.” <Notes> a) zeloo: be deeply committed to something, completely intent on.
We see the history of the Church bearing that witness: Paul lays hands on people, the Holy Spirit comes on them, and they begin speaking in tongues and prophesying (a). We see woman prophets in the Church (b) as Paul teaches about “every wife who prays or prophesies” (c). Paul teaches “We prophesy in part, but when [the possibility] the perfect comes, the partial will pass away,” but this happens when “we see face to face” and when we “shall genuinely, fully, intimately, relationally, experientially epiginosko know, even as I have been genuinely, fully, intimately, relationally, experientially epiginosko known” (d). <Notes> a) Acts 19:6, b) Acts 21:9, c) 1 Corinthians 11:5, d) 1 Corinthians 13:9-12.
We know from Paul’s other writings that “The Perfect” (teleios: mature, consummate, complete, end-goal of a process/journey) is Jesus Christ (a) and His coming is our “blessed hope” (b) when prophecy is no longer needed! This has nothing to do with the canon of the NT that wasn’t decided by constantly-disagreeing Catholic Church councils until 367-397 AD. <Notes> a) Ephesians 4:13, b) Titus 2:13.
Paul taught that Christ gave the grace-gift of prophets to the Church to equip/coach/facilitate the saints for the work of the ministry (a), and in fact the prophets the foundation of the Church along with the apostles (b), as the gospel is primarily made know by the “sent-out missionaries” (apostles) and prophets (c). Paul and Barnabas were among many prophets (d). Cessationists who deny the grace-gifts for today have to twist the NT writings and ignore Church history! Clearly prophesy was the dominant way God intended to make His will be known to individual Christians and to the Church in their assemblies, especially to equip the saints for ministry of the gospel. When we ignore or contradict God, we end up using our own “might and power” instead of the “by My Spirit” tools and people God has given us to get the job done! The modern Church has really handicapped themselves. <Notes> a) Ephesians 4:7-12; 1 Corinthians 12:28, b) Ephesians 2:20, c) Ephesians 3:5, d) Acts 13:1, 15:32.
As Christian musicians, if the NT and early Church history make it crystal clear that prophecy was the most important gift of the Spirit for the Church individually and in assembly, then why are we trying to minister with less than this? Why are we treating it as an oddity or only for a “special” few or for those “crazy Pentecostals or Charismatics” when it is supposed to be normal Christianity? How is prophecy less important than “shepherds/pastors who teach” when I counted 8 verses where prophecy is listed next to the grace-gift of apostle, which is a church-planting gift? Apostles and prophets are the foundation of the the Church per Ephesians 2:19-20.
Spiritual Education, Prophecy, Prophetic Rhema Word of God, Prophecy is the greatest gift next to tongues with interpretation in Church assembly, Prophecy is to be zealously desired by ALL Christians, Tongues is Paul’s strong desire for ALL Christians, Moses wanted all God’s people to be prophets, New Covenant promise is for ALL God’s servants to prophecy by visions & dreams, Don’t forbid tongues, The Perfect that comes is not the formation of the Bible in 325-397 AD, The Perfect that comes is the second coming of Christ or “blessed hope,” Spirit’s gifts all equip the saints to be ministers