Gifted: Prophecy

Gifted: Prophecy

Author: Gareth Russell Date: Sunday, June 14, 2015 Campus:

Gifted: Prophecy
Grand Union Vineyard Church
Sunday 14th June 2015

As a church we believe that the God we worship a God who speaks. And God can speak in all sorts of ways, in Job 33:14 it says “God does speak—sometimes one way and sometimes another—even though people may not understand it.”

This series, we are focusing on the gifts of the Spirit. As Alan said last week, each of don’t necessarily have all the gifts but rather each gift is given according to how the Holy Spirit wants to give.

But this week we are talking about prophecy. And I have to say as I have read the Bible, as I have studied this topic, I think this is one gift that everyone can have.

Does God speak to me? Yes, absolutely. Just as Job says, one way or another way He does, though you may not have perceived it.

The problem we have is that we are not tuned in. Just like a radio dial that is slightly off the right setting we are sometimes not tuned properly to what God is saying.

Hearing from God is not for the few but for every person who follows Jesus. In the Old Testament it wasn’t. In the Old Testament it was a select few who might prophesy.

Moses was a prophet and had been the only person through whom God had spoken. But God spoke to Moses and one day anointed 70 others, some of the people of Israel were alarmed because they felt it was Moses job.

But in Numbers 11:29, Moses says ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!’

And so it would. A few individuals throughout the Old Testament were anointed, but this would change. Joel was another prophet and chapter 2 and verses 27 and 28 of his book, God says “And in those days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

The great news is that those days are THESE days.

Paul refers to this on the day of Pentecost that these days have begun. Everyone gets to hear God’s spirit and begin to prophesy.

Last year, Gareth Brocklebank was at New Wine which is a Christian conference held in Shepton Mallett. One evening, he was sat at the back of the venue listening to the speaker when he saw the word “Cambodia” over the woman in front of him. It was incredibly vivid.

He ignored it to begin with but then shared it with Lauren and Lucy Hartslied to ask whether they thought he should share it with the lady.

No sooner had he told them the picture he saw, than the Leader of New Wine who had not been on stage that evening, walked on stage and said, "God's told me that someone is wanting confirmation about a word about Cambodia. This is your confirmation."

Gareth was blown away and immediately tapped the lady on the shoulder and shared the picture. It turns out that couple had been considering whether or not to adopt a child from Cambodia and they were looking for confirmation.

John Wimber, who founded and led the Vineyard movement until his death, said this: “Prophecy is declaring the message of God to his church for the purpose of edification.”

1 Corinthians 14:1: says “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. and in v39, Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy.

I don’t know about you but I am EAGER to hear God’s voice and I am EAGER to speak words of prophecy.

It is a gift that Paul says we should especially desire. Our church believes that God speaks, not just in His written word but live. Not just on Sundays, but also in Union Groups.

People also send us prophetic words by email. In verse 3 of 1 Cor 14, Paul says “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”

Many of you may have had that experience. When someone has had a word you have known that that word was for you. How many of you have had that experience?

Encouragement is their primary purpose, sometimes there are warnings but even those are given to build people up.

So, if someone does have a word for you how should you respond. In verse 29, Paul writes “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

When someone gives a prophetic word we shouldn’t just accept it as the voice of God but rather we should weigh up whether it is God speaking.

We are all human. We hope that what we feel is the voice of God, is actually the voice of God but sometimes that word or picture may mostly be God and a little bit of the person, or it may be mostly the person and a little God.

In 1 Thessalonions 5:20-22 it says, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.” in the Message version it reads, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.”

Test them, hold onto what is good, reject what is harmful. Ask yourself how did it resonate with your spirit?

Years ago, before I met Andi I had a woman say to me that she felt God saying that we were meant to get married. Some of you may have had that experience. Here’s the thing, if you don’t fancy them it’s unlikely to be God. Just very politely tell them thanks but no thanks.

Only a few months ago, I was given a word by a pretty significant church leader in this country. And the moment he gave the word, I feel a real heaviness. I couldn’t shift it. If the word was right, it would have meant sigificant change in my life, but I weighed it up. I also spoke to a couple of trusted and wise friends confidentially and they confirmed what I had felt that the word was not of God.

He wasn’t trying to cause harm. He just took a risk, stepped out and gave the word and after consideration I didn’t feel it was God.

Wayne Grudem described prophesy as, “spontaneous revelations reported in human words”. Sometimes it resonates, sometimes it falls to the ground. And that’s ok. We are totally comfortable with people having the guts to share something they think God is speaking to them about, it takes guts but it still needs to be weighed.

At the end of a service we often have a time of prayer and sometimes people will have a word or picture for you. If you are praying, and you think you have a word or picture take that risk. We all could do with getting out of our comfort zone.

It is important that we practice and that we hone our sensitivity to what is the voice of God and what is not the voice of God.

But sometimes prophecy can confirm something you have already been thinking and that can be incredibly helpful

As you know, later in the year we are planning on starting an evening service - and truth be told, as a leadership team we have been considering this for at least a year.

A few months ago, I was at New Life Church and they had an evening of prophecy with a gifted guy from Bedford called Julian Adams. I had never met him before and he knew nothing about our church.

He was scanning the room as he waited to hear from God and he picked me out. He said a load of words of prophecy but at one point he stopped and he said, “You are considering a second service, aren’t you? In the evening, I think”

“That is something you should definitely do. I can see music, and candles, and atmosphere and the presence of God. That is definitely of God.”

It was something we were considering, but to get that stamp of approval, that confirmation, that word directly from God was just incredible and it has certainly accelerated our thinking and planning on when that service begins.

But it’s not always in a public or small group setting that God speaks, sometimes God can speak to you personally.

Maybe just in the time day-to-day you spend with him you hear his voice. Sometimes you may have words for the church and it can be a directive word. If it is a directive word then it is best not to share that from the front but rather email that to us. We take those words, and we pray and weigh it up as a leadership team. And they can be very helpful in confirming or challenging a particular direction.

As a church I believe we are always to be eagerly desiring to hear the voice of God. In my experience if people are not eager to hear the voice of God, then God seems to be rather quieter than if they were really passionate about it.

And as 1 Thessalonians said, we shouldn’t treat them with contempt. Hosea was a prophet, around 730 B.C. He had to bring some pretty strong words to the people of Israel as they had turned from God and he predicted that they would be conquered by the Assyrians. They ignored him and a few years later they were indeed conquered.

In Hosea 9:7, it reads, “The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac.”

The people of the day assumed him a maniac and foolish. Outside the church, people today may respond favourably, others may think you are crazy. Even in other churches they may think you are foolish, as their understanding may be that God spoke in and through the Bible but that he no longer speaks today.”

You may not have been taken seriously. It can feel foolish.

There are also those who can be dangerous.

There are those who in the name of prophecy have said some outrageous things and they need to be helped as they can be damaging to the people of God.

But Hosea says the prophet and inspired man can be viewed as a maniac or fool.

I don’t know what you think about when you think about an “inspired man of God”. You may think of Elijah.

In 1 Kings 19:11-12, God says to Elijah, “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Imagine the scene. Elijah’s hair is flowing, his robe is looking all dramatic, he is holding his walking stick toward the sky….

But we read on….”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”

God then spoke.

It wasn’t in the hurricane. It wasn’t in the earthquake. It wasn’t in the fire. It was a gentle whisper, a still small voice.

Much of the time we don’t hear God because of how busy and noisy our life is. It is only when we are still that we hear the whisper.

We only hear the still small voice when we are “still and small” Whispering is an intimate form of communication - it suggests we know each other well, there is an closeness to the communication.

It requires that we slow down. It requires that we listen. Going back to Hosea. He described himself as “inspired” The Hebrew word “inspired” is Ruach meaning breath. But hear the hebrew word breath is here turned into a noun to become “breathed upon” - the inspired man was the breathed upon man/person.

Hosea’s imagery means this, when you are having an intimate conversation with a friend, youwhisper to them, when you do that you feel their breath across your face.

It’s a picture of intimacy, closeness, depth of relationship . The Holy Spirit is not an “it”, it’s a person, a person we can know. This is not a thing that we connect through ouija boards or tarot cards, this is the person of God who are in relationship with.

We can only hear that whisper when we have an intimacy of relationship with God. That time with God may have been squeezed, or even squeezed out. But it needs that time. That commitment. To develop relationship. To know the person you are in relationship with.

A.W. Tozer once said, “It is [dangerous] to be so busy that you have no time to wait on God.”

No matter how long we have know the Lord, we know him much greater and what he is thinking when we spend time with him.

He is not distant, he is living within us.

But we need to create that time, that space and that connection through dedicated regular moments with Him.

Comments has a 3 day event 2-4 July focussing on prophecy/blessings. Speakers include Rev Dr Russ Parker and Wes & Carol Hall. More details in the School of Prophecy section.

Reading "Find Your Voice - developing the prophetic in you and your church" by David Oliver. He says this.."Church leaders can't build churches, neither can church programmes. What builds the church is our eagerness to seek God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
Thought this appropriate given our sermon series!

We have got the gifted conditions by the God with the prophecy conditions as we have to be chronic of the need with this one. Not be as for the further of the details we have only from the website then not be contaminating as well.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; by