Prophecy Series – Lesson 8: Personal Prophecy

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[size=large]Personal Prophecy[/size]

1. There are times when God utilizes “personal prophecy,” the revealing of His heart, plan or purpose to an individual, to help that person move into the destiny He has prepared for him or her. Gen. 12:1-3; Acts 13:1-4; 1 Tim 4:14-16

A. Personal prophecy is never intended to circumvent the revealed written Word of God.

B. Personal prophecy is not a short cut to getting answers from God. It is not a “magic wand” meant to be used to set ourselves or others straight. It will not bring miraculous change to people’s character without them having to respond and submit themselves to the Lord.

C. If we are not prepared to obey the revealed, written Word of God, we may very well forfeit our right to hear a “now” or “new” prophetic word from God.

2. We need to understand the inherent limitations of those who are actively involved in prophetic ministry.

A. Prophetic ministers are not magicians and must not take the place of God in people’s lives.

B. When all our expectations are laid on a single prophetic minister, we can open ourselves to abuse (often unintended).

C. The expectation on a prophetic minister to provide continuous revelation without a break can lead to tiredness, lack of concentration, and pressure to perform, all leading to error and mistakes.

3. We need to understand the inherent limitations in the actual personal prophecies themselves.

A. Prophecy is incomplete. It doesn’t tell the whole story and it doesn’t speak to every aspect of a person’s life. 1 Cor. 13:9

– God only reveals what we need to know in order to do His will in a particular place and time. 2 Kings 4:27ff
– A prophecy is like a piece in a puzzle. It doesn’t give us the whole picture. Gen. 37, 1 Sam. 16
– If there are hidden problems, sins, areas of bondage or disobedience in our lives and yet we receive a personal prophecy that is wholly positive, we cannot assume that the Lord is unconcerned with those areas or that He considers it of no consequence. Ex. 4:19-26
– Sometimes, a personal prophecy may not speak into the part of our lives that we wish it to. It is important at that point not to react with disappointment but rather to trust the Lord, who sees the whole of our lives, and understand that He has a desire to touch a different area.

B. Prophecy is ongoing and developmental.
– The Lord doesn’t speak the totality of His heart to us in a single prophetic word. Instead, He speaks to give us a focus for now and the near future.
As we are faithful to walk in right relationship with God, He may very well release additional prophetic words that confirm, re-emphasis or re-establish or build on concepts and direction given earlier. An example of this can be seen in the life of Abraham.

* Abram receives an initial prophetic word at age 75. Gen. 12:1-5
* Abram receives a second word when he reaches the land of Canaan. Gen. 12:7
* Abram receives a third prophecy that re-emphasizes, instructs and gives new revelation. Gen. 13:14-17
* Abram receives a fourth prophecy that gives new insights as well as strengthens previous words. Gen. 15
* Abram receives a fifth prophecy that brings lots of new revelation and gives him a new name. Gen. 17
* Abraham is the indirect recipient of a sixth prophecy that affects His family and destiny. Gen. 18:17-19
* Abraham receives a seventh prophecy that comes after a time of testing, sealing all the earlier words. Gen. 22:16-18

C. Prophecy is provisional and dependent on obedience. There are no unconditional personal prophecies. They always speak to possibilities, not the inevitability.
– Our lack of response to prophecy can cancel it as it concerns us. Num. 13:1-3, 25-14:1-4, 26-30
– Our continued obedience and submission to the Lord becomes the platform by which God accomplishes His prophetic word in us. Gen. 22:16-18
– Disobedience before the Lord can cancel out prophecies from the Lord. 1 Sam. 9, 10. 13:13-14, 15:23

NOTE: There are unconditional prophecies in the scripture; God does give these kinds of words. However, they are not personal prophecies, but rather corporate words given to large people groups and they speak concerning God’s heart and plan toward man-kind as a whole.

Prophecy Series- Lesson 7: Guidelines For Prophecy

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[size=large]Guidelines For Prophecy[/size]

1. When operating in prophetic ministry, it is important to embrace appropriate guidelines. 1 Cor. 14:1, 26-40

2. When receiving a prophetic word, we should determine what kind of prophetic word it is.

CONSIDER SOME IDENTIFYING QUESTIONS:
A. Is it a “community word” or a “personal word?”
– A community word is when God wants to speak to a group, a church, a city, a nation, etc.
– A personal word is when God wants to speak directly into an individual’s life and circumstance.
– There is no such thing as a private word. Taking people off into a private corner to give them a prophetic word or prophesying outside the environment of public settings and the accountability of our spiritual leaders is poor practice and lacks integrity. God works in the light, not in the shadows. Matt, 10:26-27; Luke 12:3; 1 John 1:5

B. Is the prophecy inspiration or revelation?
– “Inspirational prophecy” brings refreshing, encouragement, and comfort. It moves people to worship and to follow hard after God. It releases the joy of the Lord, brings peace, causes faith to raise and produces a reverence for God. 1 Cor. 14:3
– A prophecy that is more than inspirational may contain elements of correction and/or new direction. This is “revelational prophecy,” and we need it to stay on course. Pr. 29:18

2. Revelational prophecy calls for particular guidelines and safeguards so that the word is properly received and acted on.

A. For revelational prophecy to have it’s God-ordained influence and impact, churches need to operate in a true foundation of love. 1 Cor. 14:1; 16:14
– Our hearts need to be constantly focused on loving one another, preferring one another, honoring one another, spurring one another on, encouraging one another and so forth. John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-13, 13:8-10, 14:13, 15:7; 1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:2-3, 32, 5:21; Col. 3:12-17; 1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13, 10:23-25; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:8, 4:9, 5:5, 1 John 3:11,23, 4:7-12
– Even the Trinity operates on this basis. Matt. 6:9; 17:5; John 5:19-20, 8:28, 12:50, 14:13, 15:26; John 16:7

B. Revelational prophecy should be submitted to local church leaders before being given. Hab. 2:1-3
– It is good, appropriate, and even necessary to write down such prophecies so that they can be studied, prayer over and digested. 1 Thess. 5:19-22
– Such words are submitted to church leaders because it is the God-ordained role of pastors and elders to lead local churches, not prophetic ministers. Titus 1:5-9
– Prophetic ministers need to work in concert with and in submission to pastors as it relates to local church government and direction. These type of ministries are not in competition, they are not set against one another, but are meant to complement each other and flow together.
– When this type of prophecy is left with appropriate leadership, the accountability for the word passes from the giver to the receiver. It is not the prophetic speaker’s role to ensure that people act on the word to their specification. Their role is to submit the word and then continue to walk in a Spirit of love toward people and obedience before God. It is the leaders who will give account to the Lord for the response. At the very least, they should take it seriously enough to judge.

– NOTE: Remember from Lesson Six, that frustration is an enemy of prophetic ministry and to following the Lord in general. When we allow our frustration with others to become a wedge between us, we have fallen prey to the demonic. The enemy’s purpose is to divide and rule. The Holy Spirit wants to increase our love and friendship. The enemy will work to make the issue seem more vital than it actually is. The unity of the Spirit among believers is more precious to God than any issue. When facing this kind of tension, the first step to receiving the prophetic word is always to lay the issue aside for a period of time until relationships, love and friendships, and our commitments to one another have been renewed. – These thoughts are borrowed from Graham Cooke, Developing Your Prophetic Gifting, (Sovereign World Ltd, Renew Books, a division of Gospel Light), 1994, p. 95)

– When revelation prophecy has been weighed, judged and approved by the church leadership, it can be released into the church with a sense of unity and joy that the Lord will use it to take the ministry to the next level.

C. Prophetic ministers who release words of revelational prophecy, giving either correction or direction, need to pay heed to their character more than ever. 1 Thes. 5:21; Luke 12:48
– We need to allow transparent access into our relationships, marriages, sexuality, finances, parenting, civility, how we run our homes and/or ministries if we are going to dare to step into revelational prophecy. Our private life matters! People can’t keep us accountable, we have to make ourselves accountable.
– No one’s individual character is 100% right, but there should be a place for honesty and character development. True humility will eagerly submit to issues of correction and repentance. James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6
– People who continue in blatant sin while trying to exercise spiritual gifts will discover an ever increasing gap in their personality, resulting in spiritual failure, emotional collapse, and sometimes mental breakdown, physical illness, relational difficulties and even a complete moral slide. Matt. 7:15-23

D. When receiving revelation prophecy, we should prayerfully consider the appropriate interpretation and application of what has been shared.
– When a prophetic word does not make sense to us, we should not try to impose our own interpretation.
– Prophetic words that don’t seem to fit should be placed on a side “shelf.” They should be remembered, but not focused on; they should not become the center of our attention.
– We should take the central issue, however, and use it as a basis for prayer.
Always remember that God has a divine timing for all things. The right word, correctly understand and received, can still go awry if we get ahead of God’s time table. We should focus on being ready, on being the kind of people that God can work through. Timing belongs to God, preparation belongs to us. 2 Tim. 2:15

Prophecy Series – Lesson 6: The Practice of Prophecy

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[size=large]The Practice of Prophecy[/size]

1. The Holy Spirit operates spiritual gifts in our lives as He wills, but we should place ourselves in the flow of His gifts through preparation, expectation and operation.

2. Prophecy comes into our lives in a variety of different ways and it is good not to get locked into any one particular way. We should stay open and with our hearts and spirits to anything that the Lord may want to do.

A. WAYS THAT PROPHECY CAN COME TO US:
-Visions. Some visions use ordinary, unremarkable things. Jer. 1:11-12 Others use strange, supernatural images. Acts. 10:9ff. Either way, God has a heart-felt, prophetic message.
-Dreams. Dreams are often symbolic. God likes to speak in parables and riddles so that we have to draw near to Him to understand them. Numbers 12:6; Job 33:14-15; Gen. 41; Dan. 1:17, 2:1-49
– Impressions. God will give us an inner conviction about something.
– Seeing/Hearing Words. We should ask the Lord what He wants to say about these things.
– Trances. This occurs as someone appears to “zone-out.” Actually, God has opened another reality to them. Acts 22:17-21
– Through Scripture. God may prompt us to share a verse and the Spirit uses that to speak the Lord’s heart directly to a person.

B. When listening for the voice of God, we must learn to be still. The doesn’t necessarily meant that we should go off to a quiet place (though that can help), but rather that we need to learn to still the clamoring inside of us. Ps. 46:10

3. When receiving prophecy, we need to really listen for what God is wanting to say.

A. Prophecy is often in two parts: diagnosis (what the problem is, what is happening) and prognosis (what God is saying, what is to come).
– It is not enough to point out what is wrong if we have no heart to lead to recovery.
– If we should receive something diagnostic, we should then step back into our spirit and ask the Lord questions: ‘Why are You showing me this?” – “What do You want me to do?” – “What is it that You want to say about this?”

B. There are three elements to prophecy. 1 Cor. 12:4-11

DIAGNOSTIC:
The Word of Knowledge – the sharing of information which opens up the issue.

PROGNOSTIC:
The Word of Prophecy- God speaking/revealing His heart regarding the issue.
The Word of Wisdom – how we are to respond to God.

4. When receiving prophecy, we should be sensitive to the Lord’s direction concerning what we are to do with it.

OPTIONS WITH EXPRESSING PROPHECY:
A. Make it a matter of prayer. Dan. 9:1-3
– Is there something more that God wants to say? Are both the diagnosis and the prognosis clear?
– Is the Lord working to stir up more intercession regarding a certain situation or issue?
– Should it be submitted to the church leadership for further prayer, reflection and analysis?

B. Share it. Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 14:1, 39-40
– Prayerfully consider if the prophecy is for someone else or for yourself. As a general rule, however, if w are eagerly desiring to prophecy, then we should expect that God will want to use us.
– All sharing with others should be done in a public setting.
– Consider how it should be shared. Should it be written down first? Should an appointment be made with other spiritual leaders? Is the Lord stirring a prophetic song, action, artwork or other expression?
– Remember that humility goes a long way. It is a good idea to preface sharing with something akin to: “I sense that the Lord would say this.” Ask for confirmation from the one(s) receiving.
– Be careful of King James style English or a sense of manipulation that some may feel through the dogmatic use of “Thus saith the Lord,” OR “God told me that…”
– Recognize that prophecy does not have to be some grandiose message. Many times God may prompt us to utter what might be obvious to anyone else, but is still what is needed in a specific moment. Prophecy speaks spirit to spirit as well as speaking to our minds.

5. At all times, it is important that we avoid negativity and judgmentalism when sharing prophecy. 1 Cor. 14:3

A. If we find it easy to give hard, negative words then there is something wrong in our spirits and in our understanding of the grace and goodness of God.

B. There is always a tension between where we are with God and where we are going (the ideal). Proper prophetic ministry will look to find a way to lift others toward the ideal. Healthy prophetic ministers will help build others toward the purposes of God.

C. We must recognize that frustration is an enemy to prophetic ministry.
– When frustration with getting others to “shape-up” begins to cloud our ability to maintain compassion and a loving heart, we are out of balance and our prophecies will be tainted.
– A prophecy must always be “Good News,” even if that news is “repent.”
– Prophecy will always work to strengthen and restore people’s dignity and respect.
– Frustration with others can also have a tendency to cause us to separate ourselves from relationships. That separation can contribute to a self-centered, rejection spirit. When the heart is not regularly open to the unconditional love of God flowing into it, prophetic ministers (like any other gifted minister) will have the tendency to become temperamental, overly emotional and otherwise abnormal.

6. When sharing prophecy, our focus should be on the Lord, not on people. We are not to be led by what we see or understand in the natural, but rather by the Spirit of God. 2 Cor. 5:7

A. When we allow prophecies to be shaped by how recipients look (the way they are sitting/standing, their clothes/appearance, or their general disposition/air), we ended up with a very soulish, human inspired prophetic word. It may sound spiritual, but will have no true revelation from God.

B. We should find our peace in the Lord alone. This is why we must maintain right relationship with Him at all times.

7. Though our attention for receiving prophecy should be on the Lord, we should be aware of how people are receiving. 1 Cor. 16:14

A. Are they overwhelmed by our lengthy use of words? We need to keep the main thing the main thing.

B. If we are going to ask the Lord to regularly use us to speak His heart into others’ lives, we should work to see that these words are recorded. Use of tape recorder, or good notes by a third person, help recipients remember what was said and allow for greater reflection and accountability.

Prophecy Series – Lesson 5: First Steps In Prophecy

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[size=large]First Steps In Prophecy[/size]

1. God’s desire is that all of us would operate in the gift of prophecy. Therefore, we must be willing to grow in giftedness, maintaining a teachable and humble heart. Prophetic gifts can be imparted in a moment. Prophetic character must be developed over time. 1 Cor. 14:1; John 3:29-30

A. Each of us should recognize that we are all fallible people, subject to pain, disillusionment, hurts, dreams, ambitions, longings and desires. All of these things can adversely influence prophetic words in ways God never intended.

B. The only way to really trust that we will not dishonor the Lord, shame the ministry, or disrupt the Body of Christ, is to embrace a lifestyle of humility. Col. 3:12-17
– Making mistakes in prophetic ministry is inevitable. 1 Thes. 5:19-21
– When we maintain humble hearts, God gives us the grace to face our failings and make things right. James 4:6-10; 5:16a

C. We should ask the Lord to sift our hearts and fill us with His compassion for people, so that our motivations are always to build up, encourage and comfort, bringing the life-giving Kingdom of God to others, and not merely to validate ourselves, our spirituality or our ministry. Philip. 2:3-11

2. As we earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, it is important to recognize the importance of prophetic preparation, expectation and operation.

PREPARATION: Waiting On God Is. 40:27-31; Luke 10:38-42

A. All spiritual gifts are given as the Holy Spirit chooses, but we should choose to prepare ourselves for prophetic ministry by allowing Him to develop our character.
– Prayer is a vital key in prophetic preparation. Prayer and prophecy are similarly linked in their communication process. Both should involve listening before talking. It’s time we choose to orchestrate our day around prayer instead of trying to fit prayer into our day. Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 9:28, 11:1, 18:1; John. 8:28; Eph. 6:18

What small adjustment could you make right now to become more centered in prayer?

– Meditating on the Word renews our mind and retrains our brain. Additionally, rehearsing the interventions of God in our lives builds our faith. The things we choose to dwell on have significant correlations to our trust and hope in God. Ps. 119:9-11, 15-16, 27-28, 97-99, 148, ; Rom. 12:1-2

What small adjustment could you make right now to ensure regular space in your life to meditate on the Word of God and His blessings in your life?

– Speaking in tongues brings strength and stamina to our spiritual lives, building us up in our faith. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, praying in tongues leads to the divine expectation that God is breaking onto the scene and is about to do something. 1 Cor. 14:4; Eph. 6:18; Jude 1:20
-How can you let speaking in tongues become a more deliberate part of your day?

EXPECTATION: Confidently Desiring The Supernatural Acts 1:8

B. Although the Holy Spirit gives and operates spiritual gifts, His distribution is not random. He works with those who are determined to seek the Father and who expect Him to come and move in power. Acts 1:4, 2:14, Jer. 29:13
– It is only right to expect that when we practice the Lord’s presence in our lives and call on the name of Jesus that He really does dwell among us and will touch others through us.
– If we truly believe that we are called to zealously pursue the gift of prophecy, then we should expect that God wants to speak into a particular situation, that He can speak into an individual’s life, and that He will speak through us if we will let Him.

OPERATION: Choosing To Step Out In Faith Matt. 17:20, 21:21

C. It is the Holy Spirit who operates spiritual gifts and empowers us with prophecy, so we should begin by asking Him to burden us with the things that burden Him. Our motivation for ministry should conform to His.
– When we begin to share in the Lord’s heart for a specific person or situation, we will also develop a sense of conviction regarding what the Lord wants to say and do.
– The motive, form and content of the prophetic word comes from the Lord. The will and desire to express it comes from us. Jonah 1:1-3
– Sometimes we need to stir up the gift of God that is within us. A burden from the Lord, combined with a sense of expectation, will move us to step out in faith. If we believe that God can speak and wants to speak, we need to be willing to put ourselves in the place where God can use us. 2 Tim. 1:6-7

Prophecy Series – Lesson 4: The Value of Prophecy

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[size=large]The Value Of Prophecy[/size]

1. Prophecy restores people’s dignity and self-respect.
A. An individual’s sense of self-worth is often falsely based on the expressed opinions of people, personal performance, previous experiences, and historical patterns of thinking.
B. Prophecy reveals God’s thoughts and makes them personal. 1 John 4:15-16
C. Prophecy reminds us of all that God has provided in Christ Jesus. Rev. 19:10

2. Prophecy strengthens, encourages and comforts the church. 1 Cor. 14:3
A. When we have greater revelation of who God is, we have energy and strength for today.
B. When we have the certainty of God’s perspective, we have hope for tomorrow.

3. Prophecy can bring correction and warning. Rev. 2 and 3
A. This type of prophecy should be administered under the guidance of church leadership.
B. This type of prophecy should be written out so that it can be tested and judged.

4. Prophecy can provide direction and enhance vision. Prov. 29:18
A. Should be confirmed by others.
B. Should be obviously centered in the written Word of God.

5. Prophecy gives us an agenda for prayer.
A. One of the most sensible things we can do is find out what God wants to do and then ask Him to do it. Prophecy can give us this kind of understanding. 1 John 5:14-15
B. We should ask the Lord to speak to us not only concerning our lives and families, but also concerning our church, our community, civic government, schools, and national leaders and etc.

6. Prophecy opens up the teaching of the Word and confirms preaching.
A. God is in the business of revealing mysteries, and taking us deeper in our discipleship and understanding. 1 Cor. 13:2, Eph. 3:4-5
B. Flashes of insight that come as a result of prophecy should cause to study the Scripture for confirmation. 1 Cor. 13:9

7. Prophecy can create breakthroughs in evangelism.
A. God first and foremost desire is to save the lost. 1 Tim 2:3-4
B. Where prophecy flows regularly, the result can be loving conviction that produces change in an unbeliever. 1 Cor. 14:24,25

8. Prophecy can release the church into new doctrines, emphasis or practices. Rev. 2 and 3
A. These kinds of doctrines will not be new to The Church, but may be new to a particular church.
B. This kind of prophecy is meant to result in individual and/or corporate changes that help the church receive what God is wanting to do.

9. Prophecy can give insight into counseling situations.
A. Prophecy helps us zero in on the real issues. 1 Chron. 28:9; Prov. 20:27
B. The supernatural ministry of the Spirit helps expose lies, deception, blame-shifting and cover-ups.

10. Prophecy contributes to an atmosphere and attitude of thanksgiving and praise.
A. When we know we’ve heard from God, we know we have the things we ask of Him. 1 John 5:14-15
B. When we know what God is up to in our midst, we have reason to rejoice. Rom. 8:31

11. Prophecy gives a real boost to faith. Rom. 10:17
A. The revealed heart of God to an individual, family, church, and etc., can help overcome unbelief, cynicism, and negativity.
B. NOTE: When encountering mistrust and suspicion, we should choose to rest in the Lord and avoid the temptation to create something spectacular.

12. Prophecy plays a crucial role in spiritual warfare.
A. Prophecy is meant to provide strength for battles against the enemy. 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Chron. 20:14-17
B. Prophecy helps us to trust in the Lord for victory instead of relying on our own abilities. Josh. 6:1-5

Prophecy Series – Lesson 3: Understanding Prophecy

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[size=large]Understanding Prophecy[/size]

[size=small][u]DEFINITIONS:[/u]
Prophecy: The supernatural revealing of God’s heart, will, plan and/or purpose. 1 Cor. 12:10, 14:1,6

Prophesy: To express supernatural revelation from God. 1 Sam. 10:6-7; Ezk. 37:4,9; Acts 2:17-18

Prophetic: A collective term used to describe the overall revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit, including, but not limited to: word of knowledge, prophecy, word of wisdom, tongues with interpretation, discerning of spirits, dreams, visions, trances. [i](1 Cor. 12:8-10; word of knowledge: John 1:48-50; word of wisdom: Acts 23:11; tongues with interpretation: 1 Cor. 14:13; discerning of spirits: Acts 16:17-18; 1 John 4:1, dreams: Acts 2:17; Mt. 2:22; visions: 2 Cor. 12:1; Acts 18:9; trances: Acts 10:10; Acts 22)[/i][/size]

1. Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:10

A. It does not belong to people, people do not own this gift. 1 Cor. 12:4-7

B. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to people at His own discretion and timing.

C. Anyone can be used in the gift of prophecy provided that they are a born-again believer, filled with the Holy Spirit, and open to moving in the supernatural. Acts 2:17-18; 1 Cor. 14:31
– It is not for just some people; it’s not dependent on age.
– It is not a reward for faithful years of service.
– It is a gift given freely by the Holy Spirit.
– For prophetic gifts to flow well, they require humility before God, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and real compassion for others. (1 Thess. 5:19-21)
– Prophetic gifts can and should be developed, studied and practiced. We can train our senses and spirits to prophesy more accurately and with greater sensitivity. (1 Cor. 14:1,20; 1 Thess. 5:19-21; Heb. 5:14)

D. Knowing that all spirit-filled Christians can prophesy does NOT make everyone who does so a prophet.

THERE CAN BE MANY STAGES OF PROPHETIC GIFTING:
– The emerging prophetic gift; the general display of encouragement, edification and comfort. 1Cor. 12:3
– The developing prophetic gift; possibly with increasing dreams, visions, word pictures and more.
– The immature prophetic gift; no longer teachable, absence of a humble heart, works from a need for personal validation, a lack of accountability.
– The mature prophetic gift; proven over time, on-going prophetic ministry, consistently conforms to the Word, coupled with strong words of knowledge and words of wisdom.
– The office of a prophet; platform opens to numerous locales, heart desire to raise up other prophetic ministers, words for people groups as well as individuals, proven training coupled with trials and tribulations. Eph. 4:11-14

E. Each of us are commanded to pursue the gift of prophecy. 1 Cor. 14:1

2. The Lord delights in expressing His heart toward us and making His thoughts plain.

A. A prophetic word should never contradict or countermand the Scripture. 1 Peter 1:19-21

B. There is a place for both the plain teaching of Scripture and the revelation of God’s heart through prophecy. We should look for each according to what is needed.
– Teaching: helps us to gain a fuller understanding of God’s principles for life, spiritual growth, and active service.
– Prophecy: imparts the expressed purpose of God into our current situation.

Prophecy Series – Lesson 2: Adding Strength To The Body

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[size=large]Adding Strength To The Body[/size]

1. The Lord is building His church. Matt. 16:17-19
A. The church is the Lord’s idea. Matt. 16:17-19
B. The Lord wants His church strong. 1 Cor. 12:28-31; 14:1-5; 14:12

SIX ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE GOD’S HEART FOR HIS CHURCH:
Unified. Whole. Healthy. Active. Effective. Growing.

C. The Lord has released a variety of ministries to equip and strengthen His church. Eph. 4:7-16

2. The Lord wants to use prophetic ministry to build His church. 1 Cor. 14:26

[u]DEFINITIONS:[/u]

Prophecy: The supernatural revealing of God’s heart, will, plan and/or purpose. 1 Cor. 12:10, 14:1,6

Prophesy: To express supernatural revelation from God. 1 Sam. 10:6-7; Ezk. 37:4,9; Acts 2:17-18

Prophetic: A collective term used to describe the overall revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit, including, but not limited to: word of knowledge, prophecy, word of wisdom, tongues with interpretation, discerning of spirits, dreams, visions, trances. [i](1 Cor. 12:8-10; word of knowledge: John 1:48-50; word of wisdom: Acts 23:11; tongues with interpretation: 1 Cor. 14:13; discerning of spirits: Acts 16:17-18; 1 John 4:1, dreams: Acts 2:17; Mt. 2:22; visions: 2 Cor. 12:1; Acts 18:9; trances: Acts 10:10; Acts 22[/i])

A. God is a personal God. Ps. 139:13; John 3:16
B. He wants to speak to us on a personal level, both individually and corporately.
C. God uses prophetic ministry to speak to people, revealing His heart for them. Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 14:22-25

Prophecy and “the prophetic” are meant to reveal the Lord, to reveal His purposes and draw people to Him. The emphasis is on “forth-telling,” more than “fore-telling.”

All prophecy is given to build-up (to edify, strengthen and fortify), to encourage (to draw some closer to God, to lift up, to offer defense against the enemy) and to comfort (to console and bring peace). 1 Cor. 14:3

3. Because the Lord is committed to seeing His church reach its destiny, He commands us all to zealously pursue prophetic gifts. 1 Cor. 14:1
A. Some degree of prophetic ministry is meant for each of us.
B. A heart that truly loves will be eager to see others strengthen, encouraged and comforted.

[u]ACTIVATION:[/u]
Read through 1 Cor. 12, 13 and 14. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His heart concerning prophetic ministry.
Begin to ask the Lord how He wants to use you to purposely strengthen the church.
Consider reading one of the following as a way of increasing your understanding of prophetic gifts:
Prophetic Intercession, by Barbara Wentroble
Growing In The Prophetic, by Mike Bickle
Developing Your Prophetic Gifting, by Graham Cooke
User Friendly Prophecy: Guidelines for the Effective Use of Prophecy, by Larry Randolph