August 29, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Prophetic Utterances Today
“Do not despise prophetic utterances;”
1 Thessalonians 5:20
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I hear many people talking as if they were prophets. They tell me that they died, saw a great light, or felt a warm feeling, or spoke with loved ones who have died. They tell me they no longer fear death, because of what they have seen and experienced. Among Christians, I hear that a person had a word of prophecy for another Christian. So many people claiming to be prophets, both within the church and outside the church. Who do you believe and why are so many people claiming, on way or another, to be prophets?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:20, Paul writes to the Thessalonians not to despise prophetic utterances. Some people argue today that the New Testament gift of prophecy comes in two types: an authoritative type, where the prophet always speaks the truth. The other type of prophecy, according to this group, only contains some truth, mixed with error. If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that the entire Bible only contains information about one type of spiritual gift of prophecy, and God only speaks the truth. True prophets prophesy truthfully, and false prophets mix some truth with some error. In the last times, many false prophets will arise that will deceive many people (Matthew 24:11). Those false prophets will even perform signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect (Mark 13:22). Every prophet should be tested against the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 provides the death penalty for every dreamer or false prophet that entices people to serve any God but the true and living God of the Bible. Furthermore, the Bible says: “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him and cling to Him.” Therefore, every person who claims to have a prophecy from God should be examined by the other prophets to test whether their claim to have revelation from God agrees with Scripture, God’s complete revelation for all men (1 Corinthians 14:28-33; 1 John 4:1-6).
Therefore, in 1 Thessalonians 5:20, we know from the early church practice that two or three prophets may arise with their claim of a revelation from God. Remember, at that time, the New Testament had not been completely written and circulated among the churches. The churches relied upon God teaching them directly, with revelations through the twelve apostles, and also from prophets within the church. The issue, however, would always be whether the prophet was truly speaking a revelation from God. The others in the church, and particularly the prophets and elders, would evaluate the content of the prophet’s message. The rule from Deuteronomy would still apply in the minds of many people, and so prophets may be more reluctant to speak. The main point, however, seems to be that the Thessalonians should not grow tired of hearing prophecies to the point where they despise any further prophetic utterances. Revelation from God opens the mysteries of God to the people, and expands the knowledge of God and His plans in the assembly of believers.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we allow our spiritual gifts to edify other believers.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we do not despise prophetic utterance, or any other proper use of spiritual gifts.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we inhibit the proper display of spiritual gifts.
Application for Today
Today, I want to use my spiritual gifts to the glory of God, and encourage each of my friends in Christ to use their spiritual gifts. What are your spiritual gifts and are you using them to the glory of God today?