Throughout the history of the Christian church people have often landed on one side or another when it comes to their view on prophecy. For some, prophecy is no longer needed or valid. Their reasoning comes primarily from 1 Corinthians 13:8 -13, where Paul the Apostle writes……”Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears….”
Some interpret this to mean that prophecy will pass away when perfection comes (perfection being the completion of the New Testament). Some feel that prophecy is no longer needed now that we have the word of God in full. But, this cannot be proven from this passage for several reasons that I cannot explain here for brevity sake.
The other side of the argument elevates spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, above the word of God itself. One proof text often used for this is 1 Corinthians 14:1-5. This is the other extreme.
I think the Bible is very balanced in its view of the spiritual gifts and I believe it is very clear that those gifts mentioned in scripture are intended for use until the return of Jesus Himself for His church. Spiritual gifts are intended to edify the church by building it up in Jesus Christ.
In fact, in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 Paul says, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.?
But how do we know when a prophecy is from God or not? This is a very good question and very important as well. In the Old Testament the prophets were tested (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22). And it is clear that the New Testament wants the prophecy tested as well.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul commands us to test everything (the context relates to prophecies). And, in 1 Corinthians 12:10 Paul mentions the gift of discerning between spirits, and again in 1 Corinthians 14:29 Paul says, “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.”
How do we weigh carefully what is said? While we wish we had an abundance of passages that speak to this subject we do not, but we do have a couple in particular. In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, in a context where some of them have been badly shaken by a misrepresentation of his teaching about the Day of the Lord, Paul exhorts them to “stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”
According to Gordon Fee in his fabulous book God’s Empowering Presence, there are at least two tests given in scripture that we can employ: One test is to measure it against the word of God already present in scripture. No prophecy can contradict the word of God as given in scripture and Paul was referring to the scriptures of the NT as they were coming into being through him and others.
Second, in 1 Corinthians 14:3 Paul specifically says that the one who prophesies speaks edification, encouragement (or exhortation), and comfort. This is the test of purpose,as well as content, and has to do with its helpfulness to the believing community.
At first this seems undesirable – to leave it to individual churches to weigh the words of those who prophesy in their assemblies! But, when you think about it God is asking us to do this all the time with everything and He’s given us His Holy Spirit to make that possible.
He is always asking us to discern good from evil, to put off the evil and keep the good. In fact, Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth!
But when he,the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guideyou into all truth.For he will not speak on his own authority,but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell youwhat is to come” (John 16:30-34).
I believe the Church needs her people to be using their spiritual gifts to engage the enemy in this cosmic conflict we are in. I look forward always to hearing from people who receive a word from God for me and/or our church. Learn to listen to His voice and then share what He says to you!
Come join us for a Sunday service and experience the Holy Spirit as He inhabits the praises of His people. You can join us and Sunday in Wyckoff at 9 am or 10:45 am or in Bridgewater at 11 am.
People who live in the following towns have easy access to Powerhouse Christian Church: Bridgewater, Wyckoff, Franklin Lakes, Oakland, Wayne, Hawthorne, Prospect Park, Haledon, North Haledon, Paterson, Midland Park, Glen Rock, Fair Lawn, Saddle Brook, Paramus, Ho-ho-kus, River Edge, New Milford, Bergenfield, Oradell, Westwood, Cliffwood Lake, Closter, Ridgewood, Washington, Allendale, Upper Saddle River, Saddle River, Ramsey, Mahwah, Pompton Lakes, Pompton Plains, Wanaque, Haskell and more.