Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spiritual Gifts pt8: Prophecy

By Bill Gothard

Who in Scripture best illustrates the motivational gift of Prophecy?

* Peter

What guidelines are given for the gift of prophecy in Romans 12:9?

* Love without hypocrisy
* Abhor (detest) evil
* Cling to good

What basic principle does the prophet most need to exercise?

* Clear Conscience

Why is this true?

* It allows the prophet to speak the truth with love.


* Need to express themselves

Prophets need to express their thoughts and ideas verbally, especially when matters of right and wrong are involved. In the written account of the Gospels, Peter spoke more often than any other disciple. He also became the spokesman for the early Church. (See Acts 2:14; 3:12; 4:8; 11:4)

* Quick impressions of people

Prophets tend to make quick judgments on what they see and hear. They also tend to express their views before others speak. In the Gospels, Peter spoke first more than any other disciple. (See Mathew 14:28; 15:15; 16:16; 16:33; 17:4; 19:27; John 6:38; 13:6)

* Alertness to dishonesty

Prophets have an amazing ability to sense when someone or something is not what it appears to be. They react harshly to any form of deception or dishonesty. Peter must have sensed deception in Ananias and Sapphira since he was prompted to question them about it. His condemnation resulted in their deaths. (See Acts 5:3-10)

* Desire for justice

Prophets tend to cut off those who sin so that justice will be done and others will be warned. Peter desired to cut off his offenders, and he asked Jesus how often he would have to forgive them. (See Matthew 18:21) A prophet knows that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

* Open about their own faults

Prophets are as open about their own failures as they want others to be about theirs. When Christ appeared to the disciples, Peter fell on his knees and said, “…Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).

* Wholehearted involvement

Once prophets are committed to a cause, they are wholeheartedly involved in it. Within the context of their commitment, they are quick to respond to situations and opportunities. When Peter recognized Jesus walking on the water, he asked Jesus to bid him to come. (See Matthew 14:28)

* Loyalty to truth vs. people

Prophets are loyal to truth even if it means cutting off relationships. When Jesus asked the disciples if they were also going to leave Him, Peter replied that he would stay because Christ had the words of eternal life. (See John 6:67-69)

* Willingness to suffer for right

Prophets are eager to suffer when it comes to standing for the truth or doing what is right. Peter rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus when he was beaten for obeying God rather than men. (See Acts 5:29-42)

* Persuasive in defining truth

Prophets have a special ability to be articulate in defining what is right and what is wrong. Great conviction was brought to thousands on the Day of Pentecost when Peter pointed out, “…Ye have taken [Jesus], and by wicked hands have crucified and slain [Him]” (Acts 2:23).


* Exposing without restoring

A prophet’s primary concern about stopping the spread of evil tends to cause him to expose a sinner rather than restore him. In so doing, the prophet will fail a test of spirituality. (See Galatians 6:1) The prophet, however, believes that exposure of sin is the first step of restoration.

* Jumping to conclusions

Prophets tend to draw conclusions from a few known facts. Once a hasty conclusion has been made, prophets tend to look for confirming evidence. This action can result in their taking words and actions of the accused out of context in order to prove their points.

* Reacting harshly to sinners

When a prophet sees sin, he tends to denounce it so strongly that it appears to others as an “overkill.” After exposing the sin, the prophet tends to expect immediate repentance regardless of whether his rebuke was given in love or was even fully accurate. His motive in magnifying sin is to promote repentance.

* Being unforgiving

It is very difficult for a prophet to make a separation between sin and the sinner. Therefore, he tends to reject them both with equal vigor. Those who hear his harshness interpret his denunciations as angry tirades. Peter’s epistles provide a balance of truth and love.

* Condemning themselves

The harsh judgments which prophets have for others, they also have for themselves. They tend to be extremely self-critical and feel worthless when they fail. After Peter denied Jesus, the heavenly messenger knew his need for reassurance and said, “…Go…tell his disciples and Peter…” (Mark 16:7).

* Being impetuous

Because of his tendency to make quick decisions, a prophet can be very impulsive and can vacillate between extremes. At first Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet; then he asked Jesus to wash his whole body. (See John 13:6-10)

* Cutting off people who fail

Whenever prophets see or hear something that is wrong, they feel responsible to speak out against it. It does not occur to them to ask: “Whose responsibility is this? Do I have all the facts? Do I need to take action at this time?”

* Lacking tactfulness in rebuke

Prophets tend to be painfully direct when correcting others, no matter who they are. This bluntness can cause the prophet embarrassment, as when Peter rebuked Jesus for telling the disciples of His death. (See Mark 8:31-32)

* Dwelling on the negative

Prophets tend to divide everything into two classes--right or wrong. Once they label a person or activity, that judgment tends to be fixed in their minds, and they often feel compelled to persuade others to agree with them.


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