Harnessing the Power of the Tongue
For the Glory of God
Key Verses: Proverbs 18:21, Psalm 141:3, Psalm 19:14
Lesson #10 ~ Preaching or Prophesying
This lesson was a challenge to make it different and unique to the lesson on teaching. Part of the process as I developed these lessons was taking all 12 of them at once and apportioning which subjects would be covered in which lessons. Preaching and teaching are similar, but scripture treats them differently.
In this first section, I tried to properly define prophesying, which most people think a prophecy is a prediction of the future. A prophecy can include a prediction of the future, but for the most part, a prophecy was a message from God. Prophecy is pretty much preaching, or simply put, speaking for God.
I. Prophecy, what is it? Not necessarily foretelling, but always forth-telling.
A. Jeremiah 1:4-7 ~ Speaking for God
B. I Samuel 3:19-21 ~ God revealing Himself
C. Deuteronomy 18:15-22 ~ Signs may accompany the word to confirm they are from God
D. Revelation 19:9-10 ~ The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, see also Luke 24:27 Note: this point is particularly important because a simple message like “Jesus is the Savior” is in fact a prophecy, a message from God.
II. Insightful examples from scripture
A. Isaiah ~ Matthew 13:10-17, Isaiah 6:8-10. Isaiah was told ahead of time that people would not believe his message. Note: before you give a message that you truly believe is from God, ask yourself, “Is it going to be okay if no one accepts the message?”
B. Jeremiah ~ Jeremiah 20:9. If ever he decided not to speak God’s word, he could not contain himself.
C. Ezekiel ~ Ezekiel 3:26-27, 24:27, 33:22. For a time, Ezekiel could only speak when God gave him a specific message. He was unable to speak at any other time.
D. Eldad and Medad ~ Numbers 11:24-29. People tend to look down on prophets who are speaking God’s message if they are outside a certain criteria, see also Mark 8:38-40, Luke 9:49-50. Note: This is especially true about people within certain denominations. I’ll pick on Baptists since that is my denomination. Many Baptists do not believe that any _______ (fill in the blank with a certain denomination) can speak God’s message, or if they do, they have a lot of it wrong. That is simply not true. Read the above passages. God doesn’t need your permission to speak through anyone.
III. The Beginnings of Prophecy My point in this first section was to get students of scripture accustomed to looking for prophecy even if the word prophecy isn’t used.
A. Adam, the first prophet ~ Genesis 3:20. Adam proclaimed his wife’s name to be Eve because she would be the mother of all living. But this was at a time just before they exited the garden of Eden and Eve had no children.
B. Abel, his blood still speaks ~ Genesis 4:10, Hebrews 11:4. The blood of Abel spoke of the greater sacrifice of Christ. Note: I would like to write a series titled The Gospel of Abel.
C. Enoch, seventh from Adam ~ Genesis 5:22-24, Hebrews 11:5, Jude 14-15. Enoch was a prophet who walked with God.
D. Lamech ~ Genesis 5:29. While Lamech’s words are not called prophecy, they speak for God, they tell the future of his son, Noah, that the curse of the ground would be addressed in some way. This was fulfilled in Genesis 8:21.
E. Abraham ~ Genesis 20:7. Abraham is the first person called a prophet in scripture.
IV. Principles for the Church
A. Romans 12:6 ~ Prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts.
B. I Corinthians 12:4-11 ~ All spiritual gifts, including prophecy, are from the Holy Spirit.
C. I Peter 4:11 ~ Speak as if from the LORD Himself, so that He receives the glory.
D. Haggai 1:13 ~ It doesn’t have to be a long message. Note: Just so you don’t have to look it up, the entirety of Haggai’s message for that day was ,”I am with you,” says the LORD. Imagine coming for a full sermon and getting that. Would that be enough for you?
E. Acts 21:8-9, I Corinthians 11:5 ~ Includes women. See also Exodus 15:20-21, Judges 4:4, II Kings 22:14-20, Isaiah 8:3, Luke 2:36. Note: I have tried to treat the subject of women teaching and preaching with great respect. It should be obvious throughout scriptures that there were women who spoke for God. This is not to be confused with whether the church should have women elders or pastors. That is another subject. I see people advocating for women elders and pastors, but quite often the passages that they turn to are those that prove that there are women prophets, which is a different role. Below, I show that even though women can experience the gift of prophecy, it is different according to those scripture, see below.
V. How preaching & prophesying is supposed to work in the church ~ I Corinthians 14
A. I Corinthians 14:1-25 ~ It should be in a way that everyone can understand.
B. I Corinthians 14:26-31 ~ It should be well regulated, one at a time.
C. I Corinthians 14:32-33 ~ The spiritual gift of prophecy will never get out of control.
D. I Corinthians 14:34-35 ~ Women have a different role in some way, see also I Timothy 2:9-15. Note: This is tricky and I almost hate to use that word because the Bible shouldn’t be tricky. Women can give God’s messages. Women have spoken for God on numerous occasions. But these scriptures are still here outlining the role of women in some way.
E. I Corinthians 14:36-38 ~ No one has a corner on the voice of God.
F. I Corinthians 14:39 ~ Earnestly desire to speak for God, to prophesy. Note: What do you earnestly desire? Is it to be God’s voice?
G. I Corinthians 14:40 ~ It should be done decently and in order. Greek word for decently is Euschemonos, a compound word literally meaning good scheme, or good habits. The schema of a man was their entirety.
VI. How can we speak for God? Here I gave an overall picture of my lesson plan. I started out on the negative side of the way we use our tongues. Then the middle portion of lessons were about choices. Then the final four lessons focus solely on using our tongues for the higher gifts. Only 2 more lessons after this.
A. Put aside using our tongue for the things that we know displeases God.
B. Choose to use our tongues for God’s glory
1. Blessing, not cursing
2. Speaking wisdom, not speaking foolishness
3. Building up, not tearing down
C. Pursue after the higher gifts
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman