We are here to Share God. We are here to give Glory to God. We are here to represent Jesus to the World. We are a lost world’s hope that there is a God, that He cares, and that He wants to connect with them. By sharing with each other, we demonstrate a message of hope to the world.
1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NLT) But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. 25 As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”
“God is truly here among you.” Consider that phrase for a moment. Consider who is saying it. An unbeliever. The Atheist, Agnostic, the rebel, the angry, the lost, the evil, and so on. They come to a gathering of the believers and they are left with only one conclusion GOD IS HERE. AMONG THESE PEOPLE, GOD IS PRESENT.
And what is the cause of this declaration? What is the life-transforming argument? A great sermon with a profound argument? A clear condemnation of SIN? Is it a clear exposition of some Biblical Truth? Maybe… But that’s not all.
It is something Paul calls Prophesying. What is that? What does that Mean? We’ll get to that. But admit, that there is power in it. Accept that it is something Paul wanted every believer to do.
1 Corinthians 14:4 (NET) The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up…
From Heaven To An Individual. Paul spends 3 chapters dealing with Spiritual Gifts and their root. So you can’t just skip these chapters. But, nor can you obsess about them. So this text might be a bit uncomfortable for some. And, honestly, it has been for me. I have judged it in the past.
Tongues with a Broad brush. Tongues are a lot larger gift than something spoken in a church gathering that only an interpreter understands. It is also much larger than a prayer language. I only say that because there are a lot of languages. Music, Emotional, dialects, etc
Tongues Primary Purpose. To Build YOU. FROM Heaven. FROM God.
Romans 8:26 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
So, do you need courage from Heaven? Power? Wisdom? Love? Grace? Do you need stuff from God? This Gift’s purpose is to build the individual. So even though it may make you uncomfortable, doesn’t that make it worth considering. If you use it, doesn’t that understanding help you know how to better use this gift?
1 Corinthians 14:1, 2-4 (NLT) Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. 3 But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. 4 A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.
Paul Elevates Prophecy Above Tongues. It’s pretty clear Paul’s desire here. That all desire to prophesy. He is speaking in terms of the Church.. He is talking about Building up the PEOPLE who make up the Body. Prophecy is about Building Up. It’s encouragement-centered. It’s Heaven-centered.
Old Covenant Prophecy. When we think of the OT Prophet. It’s fairly negative. You see Elijah, Elishah, etc. Some skinny, rugged wilderness kind of Guy pointing his finger and correcting people. John the Baptist was the last and greatest. But he was the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Acts 2:17 (NLT) ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
New Covenant Prophecy. Christians are to be filled with the Spirit. It’s a command. It means we are to be “inhabited” by the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit within us is simultaneously in the Presence of God. So He is a conduit between Heaven and Earth.
Remember the Heaven to Earth Concept. Prophecy gives what is discovered in Heaven through the Spirit to those on Earth. These Spiritual Gifts come from the Father. They are good gifts. Paul tells us that Tongues builds the individual. Paul tells us prophecy builds the Body. To be fair, I am presenting both of these in much broader terms than you are likely used to. I believe these gifts have an imperative and critical function. Believers need to be built up from Heaven by each other.
Share Your Gifts With Honor (1 Corinthians 12:22-24)
Romans 12:10 (NLT) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Honor Is… Recognizing a person’s God-given uniqueness, gifting, and composition. We are Free Reborn Sons and Daughters of God. Who we are is a GIFT from God. Who they are is too. Honor begins there.
When we share Heaven with others. When we hold them up as equals with us. When we evaluate them by what Christ has done for them and What the Father has lavished upon them.
“God is truly here among you.”
Imagine walking into a church where everyone. Encouraged each other. Was free to be Christ’s image in them. Was honored. And expressed all of this with deep sacrificial love. Then you would know, “God is truly here among you.”