Last week we studied the revelatory gifts. This week we will learn about the three communication gifts. They are tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy. Let us begin by looking at the gift of tongues. There are three different kinds of tongues.
1. tongues along with the interpretation of tongues,
2. different kinds of tongues, or diverse tongues,
3. the prayer language of those filled with the Spirit.
TONGUES WITH INTERPRETATION
This gifting is usually exercised during a service or public setting. Any time this form of tongues is manifested, someone will also be given the gifting to interpret the message. For whatever reason, this gifting was experienced more during the Pentecostal movement than it is now. I don’t know if it is because the prophetic movement restored the prophets, and God can freely speak to His church at will today, or maybe it’s because the nine gifts of the Spirit have been restored to the whole church, and all can speak in tongues and prophesy now. I know I’ve only witnessed this gift in operation five or six times myself. I think a form of this happens in Praise at times, however.
DIFEERENT KINDS OF TONGUES
This gift was experienced in the upper room in Acts 2:4-8.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?”
There are many missionaries that have experienced this gift. They would speak in their own language in some cases, and those they were preaching to would hear in their native tongue. Then there are also reports where the missionary spoke in tongues, and the congregation heard the message in their own language, much as in Acts.
This form of tongues is the voice of our spirit. It talks directly to God. We don’t understand what is being said, but I do know that the gifts will flow much easier as our spirit communicates directly with the Father. Also, when we don’t know what to pray through our natural mind, our spirit man can pray for us, as it is tapped into the mind of Christ. The Word also tells us that as we pray in the spirit, we are edified, it lifts us up and rejuvenates us.
When you look at all that is accomplished through speaking in tongues, you can see why the enemy tries to snuff it out of the church!
There are five different methods of prophecy that God uses to talk to His church.
1. office of Prophet
2. prophetic preaching
3. prophetic presbytery
4. gift of prophecy
5. Spirit of prophecy
OFFICE OF PROPHET
The ministry of the prophet in the church is not at all the gift of prophecy. It is the gifting of Christ Himself through people He selects to be in that office. They may prophesy through song, mime, dance, etc, as well as the spoken word. The office of prophet does the following:
1. provides direction
3. pronounces judgment
4. moves in revelation knowledge
5. helps lay the foundation of the church
6. imparts an anointing that releases the gifts
7. God releases the secrets He wishes to share with the church through the prophet. (Amos 3:7)
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
Again, the prophet does not prophesy because of a gift. They prophesy because they are a prophet, anytime, anywhere, any place God wishes to speak. They are a part of the headship ministry of the fivefold government of God.
Prophetic prophecy is more than getting the mind of the Lord as to what to teach. It’s preaching using the precise words or illustrations God gives the speaker. Preachers commonly receive training on how to prepare a message and how to deliver them in the old church. It’s called pulpit speech in seminary. I'm not saying this method is wrong or even lacking in some way, but it’s not prophetic. We may start out with a prepared message, but when the prophetic enters in it’s specific for now or for someone, it’s spontaneous and the Holy Spirit is working through you. There is a special anointing on it that you become aware of.
Prophetic presbyteries commonly perform such duties as confirming those called to leadership ministry in the church. Many times they prophesy over ordinations to the fivefold ministry. They can lay hands on those wishing to be activated into the gifts or to accomplish some God-ordained job. These are usually the elders of the church.
GIFT OF PROPHECY
The gift of prophecy is just that, a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not an office appointed by Jesus as in the office of prophet. The gifting is activated and easier to manifest in the company of prophets. Anyone filled with the Holy Spirit can work in this gift. It is for edification, exhortation and comfort, not rebuke or chastening. The prophetic word of correction comes from the office of prophet only.
THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY AND PROPHETIC PRAISE
The spirit of prophecy is different from both the office of Prophet and the gift. It is the anointing of Jesus within the person that arises on special occasions where there is a special anointing. This anointing can come on anyone, but only works in the company of prophets. In other words, anyone can work in prophecy in this anointing. The prophecy can be spoken or sung. When sung, it is know as prophetic Praise. There are different functions and levels of authority, depending on who is doing the singing. We will study this song and activate everyone in it pretty soon.
RULES GOVERNING THE PROPHETIC
1. Never prophesy to a person without there being a way to preserve the prophecy. When God speaks, should that not be worthy of recording or writing His message? The Bible says, “let one prophesy and the others judge the prophecy as to its validity.” People will sometimes speak from their intellect for instance, and add “thus says the Lord” to get their way. A religious spirit will also cause a person to say, “God told me” and this is supposed to make you afraid to stop them from what they want to do, or what they want you to do. The prophets will know immediately, it’s their gifting to judge these matters. If a person has a word for you and they are not interested in having it judged, ignore the word. If a person waits until you are outside, away from covering, to give it, ignore the word because it sure cannot be trusted when given through a rebellious spirit. All personal prophecy should be given under the supervision of a pastor, elder, or prophet to provide a witness by those that are spiritually mature.
2. While all may prophesy about judgment, it is reserved for the mature prophets who function in the office of prophet and are recognized as elders in the church, to pronounce judgment or correction on a person, place or circumstance. Prophets that are not called to the offices and body members should prophesy to edify and encourage, not give correction or direction. Their prophecy should exhort and comfort only.
3. Prophecy is subject to the prophet. What this means is, even though you know God wants to speak, you can hold on to that prophecy until proper covering is there to judge, and a way provided to capture it.
4. Prophecy will never contradict the Bible. If you are given a word that contradicts the Word of God, disregard it.
5. Do not give a word to someone if it benefits you. A false prophet is not a person that accidentally misses God or speaks from their soul man unintentionally. A false prophet is a person that prophesies for their own gain. Balaam sold out Israel for his own gain and is referred to as a false prophet. One that gives a false word is just immature.
6. Everywhere you see the prophets referred to in the Word they are for the most part called “holy” prophets. The gifting that is bestowed on prophetic people is to hear into the supernatural. Depending on our walk, we can hear from either the kingdom of darkness, or the Kingdom of Light. Walk in repentance, separate from those that are of the world except to minister to them. God says, “be holy as I am holy”! Act like a man or woman of God at all times and you will be ready to work in all the gifts spontaneously as needed.
OPERATE IN THE GIFTS THROUGH A SERVANT’S HEART
We need to manifest the fruit of the Spirit when operating in the gifts. They are not toys designed to give mystical thrills to the spiritually bored. Characteristics of a mature child of God include: accountability, submissiveness to those in authority, teachable, loyal, faithful, humble, loving, promoters of God’s Kingdom (not their own), reverent towards God, respectful towards their brothers and sisters, co-operativeness and willing to help with the work, true servants like Christ who washed the feet of His disciples.
Characteristics of immaturity include: harshness, condemning natures, rash, cruel, independent, unteachable personalities, condescending, are not moved by the infirmity of others, find it hard to work with those in leadership, often think that obeying God requires that they disobey God’s people. These immature ones are more of a problem than a blessing. We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are. So these unfruitful ones can have no place in ministry or leadership of any kind until they learn to produce better fruit than those mentioned above.
SOME WILL NOT ACTIVATE THE NEW ONES IN THE GIFTS
I personally believe in activating those that are still in the early stages of their walk in the gifts as this allows God to begin using them in their area of anointing. This brings, I feel, a rewarding and fulfilling dimension to their walk. It adds stability and depth as it gives a sense of purpose in the Kingdom, and a joy in knowing they can hear from their heavenly Father, and have a part in the restoration of His Kingdom. The gifts are free for all to help one another so let’s practice using them. Remember, when God gets ready to do great things on earth, He needs a human to be His instrument for its fulfillment. Let’s be those instruments!