Today, we continue our discussion on the gift of prophecy that was started on the Everyday Jesus podcast, which can be found by clicking the play button on the player below:
Let’s discuss one of the primary results of the Holy Spirit, which is to proclaim the Word of God. In multiple instances in the Book of Acts we see that when the Holy Spirit moves, prophecy is the result. It’s important to note that when God promised to pour out his Spirit in Joel, the result was predicted to be prophetic visions and dreams. Peter in his sermon at Pentecost, quoted Joel saying that this was being fulfilled on that day. And from that day forward we see the Holy Spirit moving incredibly on God’s people throughout the book of Acts.
“Out of 59 references to the Spirit of God in Acts, 36 are unequivocally linked to prophetic activity. . . . no less than twenty-one of the twenty-eight chapters portray some sort of prophetic activity taking place,” says author Gary Tyra in his book, the Holy Spirit in Mission.
We can see quite clearly that in the early church, prophecy was a key part of it’s daily life and it’s expansion. The Holy Spirit guided the daily activity of the church via the gift of prophecy on many occasions. It’s easy for us, those who have forgotten the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, to look at this as something only for the early church, but the promise of Joel was that the end times would be filled with these types of outpourings.
There’s a popular saying today, attributed to St. Francis Assisi, which encourages us to “preach the gospel always. If necessary use words.” And while I can agree with some of the sentiment in this statement, meaning that we should be living out the implications of the gospel and it should be visible to those around us, but at the same time, the gospel was meant to be proclaimed. And honestly, I think our culture today struggles more with people who speak up than with those who just quietly live good lives.
Today’s culture is one where people are scared to speak out. If you are against abortion or homosexual marriage and you admit that, then the politically correct police come to get you. They disown you and feed you to the wolves. Your friends distance themselves from you. You get kicked off Facebook or Twitter. It’s a big deal to speak up in today’s culture. And it was no different in the 1st century. Why do you think Peter and John were continually being thrown in jail? It’s not because they were hurting anyway, it’s not because they weren’t living the gospel, it was because they were proclaiming it.
Prophecy is counter cultural. Prophecy divides the wheat and the chaff. Prophecy causes you to get off the fence. You can’t be neutral. The prophetic doesn’t allow for neutrality. Why? Because God isn’t neutral. The great hero of our faith Joshua comes to the Captain of the Lord’s Armies and he says, are you for us or for our enemies? The Captain answers neither. He was for God. Neutrality is a myth. You are either for God or against Him.
The question remains…are you for Him?