This week we are studying the gift of prophecy and what it means to be prophetic. We started this conversation in on the Everyday Jesus podcast. You can catch up by clicking the play button on the player below:
Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, says that prophecy was given to the church for three purposes: edification, exhortation and consolation. Today, let’s look at edification. Edification, simply put, is “building up”. Prophecy is supposed to build up the church.
So what does that look like in the life of the church? First, I think we need to get rid of the idea that prophecy will only happen in the church service. You see in the book of Acts that prophecy takes place in the public square (Acts 2) as well as in small groups of people (Acts 21).
So while prophecy can and should take place in the body of the local church, it should also become a part of our daily lives. We should be seeking for ways to build up others through prophecy in our daily walk with Christ.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
In this passage we see Paul talking about the different individuals that God has placed in the church, but pay attention to their purpose. It’s to build up the body of Christ. So individuals in the church, using the gifts that God has given them, will build up the body of Christ. And how long will this take place? “Until we all reach unity in the faith and in knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of Christ.”
God wants Christians to be mature. In order to be mature, we must use the spiritual gift of prophecy to help build up the body. When we see a body of believers that is immature, what should be our first question? Where are the individuals that are supposed to be using their gifts to build up the church? Are they doing that?
The gift of prophecy is a special gift within the church. It grants power to the church to reveal the heart of God. It gives guidance for people within the church. It builds unity in the body as people seek after a common goal. It brings knowledge. And it greatly matures a congregation in their walk with Christ.