Scripture Reading: Romans 12:6 (New American Standard Bible 1995)
6 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.
Thought for the day:
Yesterday we talked about the diversity that is found within the Body of Christ and about how each one of us is very different and yet united in purpose and direction.
For the remainder of this week, I’m going to discuss some fundamental gifts and some related issues.
There can be no doubt that many spiritual gifts were in operation during the early church years. It’s likely that Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans about 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and therefore also about 30 years after the church was birthed and commissioned at that first Pentecost. All of the spiritual gifts that were so evidenced in the early church were obviously still in operation when Paul penned these words in verse 6 regarding prophecy. The very well-educated scholars who believe that the gifts have ceased consider that once the Scriptures were completed, the gifts became irrelevant as God’s Word is the sole authority and the only voice of God for the church. It seems strange to me why God would choose to include direction for the use of the gifts within the canon of the Scripture if they were going to cease very soon after the instruction was written. Let me make one thing absolutely clear, I do not believe that any word of prophecy given by men is of the same authority as God’s written Word found in the Scripture. However, I do believe that God still speaks to His Church through the gifts of the Spirit. I have heard a prophet speak a word of encouragement to someone foretelling a situation that has proven to be 100% accurate. I see nothing within Scripture that indicates conclusively that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. I see nothing within the experience of the church to indicate that they are no longer valid. My experience is more important than the Word but I believe that the Word is supporting my experience. We stand on the Word and trust God for His leading and direction through the various gifts. I cannot deny that there have been and are abuses of the genuine acts of the Holy Spirit within the Body of Christ. That’s to be expected. Satan is always trying to deceive and to destroy. Let us test everything and hold on to the good.
Prayer and Application:
The whole subject of prophecy is clothed in mystery and in some cases mysticism. That need not be the case. It’s quite a simple thing really, as people are moved by God’s Spirit, they respond in faith and speak out what God is revealing. As Paul says in Corinthians, my prayer also is that we all prophesy!