Quite often churches and groups of people get frustrated because they long to see a Prophetic Move of God in their midst but don’t see it. Sometimes we are told in Scripture as much what not to do as we are told what to do. I want to examine some of those things we are told not to do in this blog.
“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NASB (Emphasis Mine)
“Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NLT (Emphasis Mine)
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand don’t be gullible. Check out everything. Keep only what’s good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 The Message (Emphasis Mine)
“Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the (Holy) Spirit. Do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets-do not depreciate prophetic revelations nor despise inspired instruction or exhortation of warning. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 The Amplified (Emphasis Mine)
From verse 20, from the different translations we have quoted we see:
‘DON’T DESPISE PROPHETIC UTTERANCES’ ‘DON’T SCOFF AT PROPHECIES’ ‘DON’T STIFLE THOSE WHO HAVE A WORD FROM THE MASTER’ ‘DON’T SPURN THE GIFTS AND UTTERANCES OF THE PROPHETS’ ‘DON’T DEPRECIATE PROPHETIC REVELATIONS’ ‘DON’T DESPISE INSPIRED INSTRUCTION OR EXHORTATION’.
Again it is important for us to remember that if the Apostle Paul is telling us not to do something that must mean that we have the ability to do that thing or else he would not tell us not to do it. Another thing to bear in mind is that many times in his writings to the churches Paul was writing to correct some error or errors that were prevalent within the church that he was writing to. In that respect his correction to the church at Thessalonica would be applicable to us today.
Could you imagine that the Apostle Paul would have to write to the church to not DESPISE Prophetic Utterance? To me that seems just unthinkable, especially in light of what the word despise means. Webster’s Dictionary defines despise like this: to dislike (something or someone) very much; to look down on with contempt or aversion; to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful. Now after looking at all of those meanings for the word despise it is clear that Paul was saying something pretty strong.
How could anybody in the church dislike Prophecy very much? How could we look down on it with contempt or think it was negligible? How could we think that Prophecy was worthless or distasteful? Yet this is the attitude that Paul was writing to correct.
But we can go on; the New Living Translation used the word scoff. Webster’s Dictionary defines scoff as: an expression of scorn, derision, or contempt; an object of scorn, mockery, or derision. That mockery is the one that gets me. Mockery means to make fun of. I can’t imagine anyone making fun of the Prophetic can you? But yet Paul is admonishing us not to do it.
Then we come to The Message which said don’t stifle those who have a word from the master. Webster’s Dictionary defines stifle as: to not allow yourself to do or express (something); to stop (someone) from doing or expressing something. Can you imagine not allowing someone who has a word from the master to give the word that they have? Selah!
Then we come to The Amplified which hits us with the words: spurn, depreciate and again the word despise. Spurn is not a word we use every day now is it? Webster’s Dictionary defines spurn as: to refuse to accept (someone or something that you do not think deserves your respect, attention, affection, etc.); to tread sharply or heavily upon; to reject with disdain or contempt. So we are not to spurn or refuse to accept, or reject with disdain the gifts and utterances of the Prophets. Yikes!
Then we get don’t depreciate prophetic revelations. Webster defines depreciate as: to decrease in value; to describe (something) as having little value; to lower in estimation or esteem. So when Paul said to not depreciate prophetic revelations; he was saying to not decrease the value of them, or to not lower your esteem for them, or to not see them as having little or no value. Are you getting the seriousness of what the Apostle Paul is saying about our attitudes toward the Prophetic?
The last thing The Amplified touched on was the word despise again. Paul said don’t despise inspired instruction or exhortation. I want you to notice that Paul is talking about those words that are INSPIRED, which means they are from God, we are not talking about something that came from too much pepperoni pizza here. Again despise carries that meaning of disliking something very much, I would dare say it even borders on hate. How could anyone despise the real genuine Prophetic?
I want to address some things here that maybe are not quite as pronounced as these things are the way the Apostle Paul brings them out in Scripture. Yet they are quite akin and closely related, just a little more subtle. Maybe you might say to me, well Mike, I really don’t hate the Prophetic, I just don’t think much of it. Have you ever heard in all of your years in the Kingdom: Oh that’s no big deal, that’s just a Prophecy? Or have you heard, well old Brother so and so is just Prophesying again?
Well I sure have! And every time I do I have this sudden urge to be like Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the TV show NCIS and give somebody what he normally gives (a smack upside the head) to Tony DiNozzo. Does anybody know what I am talking about? I just feel that Gibbs anointing coming on me when I hear statements like that! How dare we say that’s just a Prophecy! Folks if you think it is no big deal that it is just a Prophecy…than you need to get a revelation of what Prophecy really is!
What do we mean when we say, well old Brother so and so is just Prophesying again? Thank God old Brother so and so is doing it and if you had half a brain you would want to do it too. Didn’t the word say: “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy”? 1 Corinthians 14:1 NASB (Emphasis Mine) We are supposed to want to Prophesy!
I want to delve into another area that I have touched upon briefly but I want to hit it a little harder. This is one area that really bothers me with many circles in the Body of Christ. Even those that somewhat believe in the Prophetic are guilty of this one. Have you ever heard anywhere in any circle: Well you are not part of the leadership so you can’t Prophesy here? How about pulling a Scripture that says know those that labor among you so far out of context that you give the Word of God a hermeneutical hernia?
How did The Message put it? “…and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master…” Is that plain enough for you? But you are not part of this house. “…and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master…” But you have not been recognized. “…and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master…” Are you hearing me? If we have practices that are contrary to Scripture, we can forget about having the Prophetic Move of God in our house.
Now I am not saying that we don’t follow protocol. I am not saying we don’t have things done decently and in order. We have already dealt with those issues in this blog quite clearly. We are to be submitted to God and to God ordained authority. However, I am tired of controlling leaders who don’t or won’t empower and allow the people of God to exercise and operate in the things that God has anointed and gifted them for.
Too many are just afraid that someone is going to make a mistake and then they are going to have to fix and correct the mistake. So rather than be a Spiritual Father that is empowering, training and raising up the next generation; we sit like a superstar Christian that others should want to be like all the while keeping them in bondage and ourselves contrary to New Testament practice. You might say Mike you are being awful strong, how can you make such dogmatic statements? Because I can read what the New Testament Pattern for church life should resemble:
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” 1 Corinthians 14:26 NASB (Emphasis Mine)
Each one is the key phrase in that verse. Each one should have something to contribute.
“For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.” 1 Corinthians 14:31 NASB (Emphasis Mine)
How many can Prophesy? You can all Prophesy! But you are not part of the leadership. “…and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master…” Folks let’s be honest, some of us have some practices we need to correct. We have not been paying attention to the Apostle Paul’s don’ts.
I have found that the greatest flow and stream of the Prophetic with the greatest revelation comes in an atmosphere where not only is it welcomed, but people are encouraged to participate. That is an atmosphere of love, unity and instruction that the Spirit of God delights to manifest Himself in.
If we have indifference towards the Gifts of the Spirit in general, and specifically towards Prophetic Utterance we can forget about having a move of God in the church. There will not be a Prophetic stream in our midst. You can’t stop the flow and the stream by your attitudes and your actions and then think that your prayers for it will override those attitudes and actions that you have already displayed. Those attitudes and actions will nullify your prayer. Turn it around and open your services to whomever God desires to use and just see what God will do.