Prophetic Ministry of the Church
Prophecy has the ability to build someone up or tear him or her down. It is like nitro glycerin, which can be a healthy substance, but when it falls into the hands of immature people can have the power to destroy. Prophecy calls out the gold that is within someone and shows them a piece of how God created them. I believe prophecy is the most important spiritual gift for the body of Christ. I believe this because Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 that we are to eagerly desire the gift, and that it is most meaningful to corporate worship services.
1 Corinthians 14:1-5 (NASB):
14 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
What we can gather from this passage is:
- God desires for us to prophecy.
- Love must be the foundation of why we want to prophesy. This should be love towards God in seeking him on his will for others lives, and to release the love of God to others as we minister to them.
- Prophecy is to encourage, to edify and to exhort the body of Christ (notice the passage does not say call out the sins of others).
- A difference between the role of tongues and prophecy in the local church service. Speaking in tongues is very important to the individual believer as it edifies the person. However, prophecy is best utilized in the church service so that it can edify the whole body not just one person.
Where else does the Bible have to say about prophecy in the New Testament (not an exhaustive list)?
- Prophecy should be allowed in the church (1 Thess 5:20).
- Acts 2:17-18 shows the outpouring of the Spirit in the new covenant is indicative that the sons and daughters of God shall prophesy.
- It is our inheritance to hear the voice of God and proclaim the word of the Lord. Acts 2:38-39 shares that the promise of the Spirit is for our children which is a direct quote of Isaiah 59:21 which speaks of the new covenant age and the outpouring of the Spirit where the people of God would have the words of the Lord on their lips for all generations. In Acts 3:25 Peter says we are sons of the prophets meaning there is a generational blessing. This also means Amos 3:7 speaks to us that God will not do anything unless he first reveals it to his prophets. I do not believe God is saying that he won’t move his finger without talking to man, but it reveals the heart of God to share his plans with his covenant people.
- The NT does speak of false prophets as those who give false revelation and lead the people away from God (see Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1). The key is seeing the fruit of a prophetic word in distinguishing true vs. false prophecy.
- Prophecy is an aspect of spiritual warfare (1 Tim 1:18).
Note: for a short blog like this, it is impossible to give a full report on prophetic ministry. Therefore, below are a few books that have been helpful in my understanding of prophetic ministry.
Prophets Pitfalls & Principals by Dr. Bill Hamon
Prophets & the Prophetic Movemnt by Dr. Bill Hamon
Prophets & Personal Prophecy by Dr. Bill Hamon
Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry by Kris Vallotton
Your Sons & Daughters Shall Prophesy by Ernest B. Gentile
Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere
You May All Prophesy by Steve Thompson
The Gift of Prophesy by Wayne Grudem
The Seer by Jim W. Goll