Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 & 14
Have you ever considered that "prophecy" is a
spiritual gift much like teaching? We see all types
of teachers, from poor to great. Do only great
teachers and great prophets have the spiritual gift?
Or, is the gift something given in different
amounts? Sometimes a person with a great gift knows
it and wants to do things their way. Is that how the
church should operate? If the Holy Spirit is
speaking to them, shouldn't we follow? How can we
even tell the difference between spiritual gifts and
natural gifts that might not be so spiritual? Let's
dive into our lesson and see what we can learn about
spiritual gifts and prophecy!
Gifts For The Church
4:11-13. As you look at these verses,
what seems to be the goal for each believer? (Three
goals are mentioned: a)Unity in faith; b)Unity in
the knowledge of Jesus; and, c) Maturity.)
How do believers get to this goal? (We are
instructed for "works of service.")
Does that seem odd - that teaching us how to
work increases our faith, knowledge and maturity?
What is the goal for the church? ("The body
of Christ may be built up.")
If the first goal is unity, if the goal is to
build the church, why would different people be
given different gifts?
Would different gifts foster competition and
jealousy? (That seems to be the way of the world.)
What operational model does God give us for our
church? (The parts of the human body. He says the
unity of the church comes from each member using his
gifts in cooperation with everyone else.)
What mental attitude is key to making this
work? (Not to have an exaggerated view of your own
How are our gifts determined? (Not by us. They are
"gifts" and they come by God's grace.)
Let's be honest here. Do most of the leaders
you see have natural gifts instead of spiritual
gifts? That is, are the leaders in your church also
leaders in their place of work?
Is this an important distinction? (Who gave
us our natural gifts? God! How many deserved to be
born smart? Musically talented? Gifted in speaking?
All of our gifts, whether natural or spiritual, come
from God and are given by grace. Thus, there should
be no pride connected with the gift - just a sense
Gift of Prophecy
Let's assume that you do not seem to have
been born with too many natural or spiritual gifts.
Can you get more spiritual gifts by asking? (Read
14:1. We are told to "eagerly desire"
spiritual gifts. If we could not obtain them (or
obtain more), there would be no reason to desire
Notice that the gift of prophecy is a gift of
high importance. What is the prophetic gift? If we
are supposed to desire it, how do we know when we
get it? Is it telling the future? (What we have seen
in the last two lessons is that a human relays a
story or a message from God. The message could be
anything - including a statement about the future.)
14:2-4. How does this help us to
understand the gift of prophecy? (It seems to be a
very broad gift. The prophet gives messages to
strengthen, encourage and comfort the church.)
Does this sound like a preacher to you? (If
your church leader is inspired by the Holy Spirit,
then this is an exercise of the gift of prophecy.)
Let's explore this more by looking again at
where it says that if you have the gift of
prophesying, you should use it "in proportion to
[your] faith." What does that mean?
Would it mean that you could be a partial or
"sometimes" prophet because of limited faith?
Would a "low faith" prophet have low quality
prophecies? A "high faith" prophet have gold
standard prophecies? (We learned last week in our
discussion of Moses, Aaron and Miriam, that there
are different quality levels of prophets. That
quality level reflected the level of their walk with
Look again at
This is a warning against conceit, but it also seems
to indicate that our spiritual gift(s) grow with our
faith. Does this support the idea of a "partial"
prophet or "low faith" prophet? (Yes. Acting in
accord with our level of faith keeps us from being
conceited. If we are growing as a prophet, we need
to refrain from claiming to have more than we are
given. Listeners need to understand that growth will
False Prophets and False Gifts
If we are right to understand the Bible as
allowing for "low faith" prophets, how can we trust
them? How can we distinguish a low faith true
prophet from a false prophet or false gift? Do false
prophets and counterfeit gifts even exist?
12:1-3. Does this suggest that a "spirit"
can speak to us that is not the Holy Spirit? (Yes.)
What is the test for determining who is
speaking through the prophet? (It seems to be a
pretty low test - whether the prophet uplifts Jesus.
If they uplift Jesus, then they are reflecting the
Spirit of God.)
Does this mean that you can be a "low faith"
part-time prophet, with sometimes jumbled, but
nevertheless "pro-Jesus" statements and still be a
12:7-12. Is there another way to
determine true from false prophets and gifts?
(Notice that verse 10 tells us that distinguishing
"between spirits" is itself a spiritual gift.)
What does that suggest we should do when we
are uncertain about the origin of a prophecy or
gift? (Make our own judgment based on whether it
promotes the cause of Christ and find someone in the
church who has a gift for distinguishing spirits.)
There is a debate in the Christian church
over whether the gift of tongues, other than
speaking in a foreign language, is a counterfeit
gift. Let's decide this by simply looking at the
Is this the gift of tongues? (Yes.)
Was this gift of tongues the ability to speak in a
foreign language? (This is clearly speaking in
Would this gift build up the church? (Of
course. It helped many people to understand the
disciples' gospel message.)
12:7-10 again. Is this gift of tongues
speaking in a foreign language?
If it is speaking in a foreign language, why
would you need a spiritual gift to interpret?
Why interpret at all? If you are speaking to
a group, and not all speak the same language, if the
gift of tongues is speaking so that each person
would understand his language, no interpreter would
be needed, right?
13:1. Which foreign language is the
tongue of angels? Would this be Italian? French?
14:1-2. What language does God speak? Was
this the language spoken at Pentecost in Acts 2? (It
cannot be the Acts 2 gift because it says "no one
[but God] understands.")
What does it mean to "utter mysteries" with
14:3-5. Is this gift of tongues
understood by others? (No. This gift "edifies" the
person, not others.)
If I started speaking Italian with no
Italians around, would that edify me?
14:13-15. What does it mean to pray in
the spirit and not the mind?
If you spoke a foreign language, would that
bypass your mind? (No. Just because your speaking
comes out in some other language does not mean your
brain is not working to communicate a certain
We previously learned that spiritual gifts
are intended to build up the members of the church
and the church in general. How could an "unknown"
tongue, that is not understood by others, and not
really understood by the person, build up church
members? (Read again 1 Corinthians 14:2-4 and
14:14-15. I do not know how to understand
these verses other than to mean that there is some
sort of prayer language between our spirit and God.
This gift is for the personal benefit of the
Friend, will you ask God to give you faith
and spiritual gifts so that you can bless the
Next week: The Gift of Prophecy and God's