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TEXT:            1Cor 14: 1 – 6.                                          Part 7
“Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of Prophecy with contempt, think before you do anything - hold on to what is good, and avoid every form of evil” 1Thes 5:19 – 22 JB.
The above word is a timely admonition, especially to our brethren who conclude that the operation of the gifts of the Spirit is over. The thought and belief alone is suppressive enough such that the gift of the Spirit, such as prophecy in question can no longer operate. The truth is what you don’t believe, you can’t get and it can’t manifest in your midst. If we can just realize that “Prophecy” as a gift is one of the factors for true Church edification, then the word says, may we know or be careful how we handle and treat it. While it is true that any gift can be abused when not properly put into use, such that instead of edification it begins to breed confusion, that itself is not enough to cast away the baby with the dirty water. And so the word says: “hold on to what is good” showing that of a truth, there are some that will not be good. We need prophetic utterances in our meetings as the Spirit moves on people to do so. 
Again we read in Rev 19: 10b:  “The witness Jesus gave is the same as the Spirit of Prophecy” JB.  What is “the witness that Jesus gave”? This is the word of God to which Jesus testifies and which is implanted in every Christian. In Rev 1: 2 we are told “John faithfully reported the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ – every thing he saw” NLB. 
This is why Paul wished that every one should prophesy (1Cor 14: 5) for that is the basis of true testimony – witness.  Now why is it so?  Because it is this implanted word in every believer which does inspire the prophets to speak. By implication, by reason of their calling into that office, they are easily stirred in their spirits both to see and to reveal the mind of God, as compared to the rest of the believers, but that is not to indicate that they also do not have a measure of the word resident in them awaiting a stirring also. Therefore in Acts 11: 27 we read of Prophet Agabus:  “While they were there some Prophets came down to Antioch from Jerusalem, and one of them whose name was Agabus, SEIZED BY THE SPIRIT,  stood up and predicted that a famine would spread over the whole empire”  (JB).  What I want you to observe here is the word “seized” indicating that it is something that came on him spontaneously, it is not a pre-meditated or planned action.  It is God in Christ His word bursting forth to assist and strengthen His body through a vessel. Like the OT Prophets, Duet 18: 18+; 2Peter 1:21; Math 5: 12, those of the NT are Charismatic 1Cor 12: 1+ who speak in God’s name, being inspired by His Spirit. But besides, this Charisma is bestowed and enjoyed by the faithful believers at large (Act 2: 17 – 18, 19: 6, 1Cor 11: 4 – 5, 14: 26, 29 – 33, 37). The exception is, those who are particularly gifted with this Charisma are often referred to as Prophets (Acts11: 27; 13: 1) who normally occupy the second place after the Apostles in the order of Charisma ( 1Cor 12: 28 – 29; Eph 4: 11, compare 1Cor 12: 10, Rom 12: 6: Lk 11: 49). This is because they are the appointed witness of the Spirit ( Rev 2: 7 etc, 1 Thes. 5: 19 – 20) whose revelations the prophets communicate ( 1Cor 14: 6, 26, 30 Rev 1: 1) just as the Apostles are witnesses to the risen Christ ( Rom 1: 1+; Acts 1: 8+) explaining more  the Mystery of the divine Plan ( 1Cor 13: 2, Eph 3: 5) and the KERYGMA of the risen Christ  (Acts 2: 22+); the proclamation of Supernatural workings of the risen Lord. The Apostles do not just foretell the future or read hearts (Acts 11: 28; 21: 11, 1Cor 14: 24 -25, 1Tim 1: 18), their edification or exhortation is done by supernatural revelations, So much on that for now. 
“Blessed (happy to be envied) is the man who reads aloud (in the assemblies) the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy to be envied) are those who hear (it read) and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it– heeding them and laying them to heart – for the time (for them to be fulfilled) is near” Rev 1: 3 AMP; Compare Lk 11: 28.  The above scriptures show clearly that a released prophetic word is both a blessing to the one being used to communicate the will and purpose of God and the recipient of that word, especially as they pay careful attention to what is being said meditatively. One of the major reasons why it produces joy and happiness is because there is always fulfillment once it comes from God. And once there is a fulfillment of a prophecy in the life of an individual, it triggers the faith of that person to another level as a lot of conviction as to whom Christ is, thereby creating a stable personality.
Again we read: “And behold I am coming speedily, Blessed (happy and to be envied) is he who observe and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophecy, the Predictions, consolations and warnings – contained in this little book” (Rev 22:7) AMP.   It further shows that there are truths in all prophetic elements whether they be predictions, consolations or warning that build us as we pay heed to them.  The resultant effect is happiness and joy that can be envied. It means fulfilled prophecies takes you or elevates you both in spirit and life, giving you greater joy and happiness which no man can take from you. That itself is edification.
Again we read of Paul’s word to Timothy: “Till 1 come, devote yourself to (public and private) reading, to exhortation – Preaching and personal appeals and to teaching and infilling doctrine.  Do not neglect the gift which is in you, (that special inward endowment) which was directly imparted to you (by the Holy Spirit) by Prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you (at your ordination); practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties, throw yourself wholly into them (your ministry), so that your progress may be evident to everybody” 1Tim 4: 13 – 15 AMP. You see what we mean?  The prophetic utterance of those who are spurred by the spirit carries with it a deposit of the Christ life – His word – seed – into the recipient of the utterance that when properly harnessed in the spirit of the words and practice will become of practical benefit to the carrier and to the body of Christ in general. Consider this key word – “Your Progress”: It shows, the release of a prophetic word ignites their recipient, a kind of release into fruitfulness that will be noticeable by all. Prophetic words therefore are a source of empowerment and release into different levels of life and destiny fulfillment.  This is exciting, people and we need to watch for it as being sensitive to the Spirit, as we fellowship together more especially the elders. This is a great challenge within the body.
In 1 Cor 14: 29 – 31 we read: “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one that all may learn, and all may be comforted” KJV. In other words, in the delivery of Prophetic utterances, it should not be done in a competitive manner. The first speaker should hold his peace because the latter’s revelation is fresher than the first. This is a clear indication that a true prophetic gift or ministry does not linger on in the old words but must be abreast of God’s current revelations. Those who lack these revelations cannot minister the present word of the Lord. The Bible shows clearly that prophecy is a matter of revelation and not a matter of eloquence. Preaching without revelation can only edify people’s mind and thought, but it does not make people progress in God.  True edification is not soulish excitements but that which is factored within the Spirit of the recipient that unfolds as a life style as a result of divine inputs.  The church cannot move beyond the level she is until there are divine prophetic words that will be birthed within her as a seed, which will take her to the next level, from the valley to roof top, from the roof top to the mountain. Such progressive movement is a result of prophetic utterances.
TO BE CONTINUED                                                                OGAGA O. DAVID

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