Tag: prophesy and direction

The Holy Spirit and Missions

Scripture reading for June 19th:  Acts 12:24-13:15

We see the Holy Spirit deeply involved in the missions effort of the early church.  At Antioch, the church met with various prophets and teachers gathering together for worship and fasting.  During a worship service, the Holy Spirit spoke through one of the prophets, giving a word of knowledge and instruction.  “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)  The church continued the time of fasting and worship and then laid hands on these men and sent them on their journey.  The Holy Spirit had already been leading them and this word confirmed that now was the time to go.

They went by boat to the Island of Cyprus.  They went to the Jewish synagogues and preached to the Jews the word of Christ.  As they traveled, they met a Jewish false prophet and sorcerer named Elymas, who was an attendant to Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul of the island.  Sergius Paulus sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.  They were opposed by Elymas and he tried to hinder their ministry.  The Holy Spirit rose up in Saul (Paul), and he looked at this sorcerer and rebuked him: “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!   You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.  Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?  Now the hand of the Lord is against you.  You are going  to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” (Acts 13:10-11)  This blindness came on Elymas immediately and when the Proconsul saw this happen, he believed!

These missionaries traveled from city to city, led by the Holy Spirit.  Their pattern was to go first to the Jews and preach Jesus Christ.  When opposition arose from the Jews and religious spirits, they went to the God-fearing Gentiles who were open to be saved.  (Acts 13:42-48)  This was the word of the Lord that they followed and God through the Holy Spirit brought a harvest  among the Gentiles!  When persecution came up against them, they did what Jesus had taught them, shaking the dust from their feet they went to another city!  (Acts 13:51-52)  Even with the persecution, these disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit!

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Spiritual Direction Through a Word

Scripture reading for November 11th: Acts 13-15

Wouldn’t it be nice to have God just send someone to tell you what He wants you to know?  Have you ever had someone give you a word from the Lord that confirmed something the Lord had been showing you to do?  Do you believe that God knows everything and wants to share some of His knowledge with you?   These and other questions should set us thinking as we read today’s passages from Acts.  God uses people to give words of knowledge and prophesy.  Lets look at the principles for using these “words”.

“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,  Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hand on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3

In this account of the early church at worship and prayer, we find that the Holy Spirit used one of the prophets or teachers to give a word to Barnabas and Saul.  This was not a directive word, but a confirming word.  Note that the Holy Spirit had already called them to this work personally previous to this time.  This word came during a time of corporate worship and the church obediently responded.  They prayed more and fasted and then laid on hands and sent them off on the ministry journey laid out for them by the Holy Spirit.  We find that God has prepared the “good works” and all we need to do is respond in obedience.  (Ephesians 2:10)

When we get a word of knowledge or prophesy spoken over us, we must always test it in several ways.  First, does it line up with what the Lord has been saying already to us?  God doesn’t give second-hand mail!  Second, does it line up with the Word of God and purposes stated in Scripture?   Words must always agree with the written word of God or at least not be in conflict with the revealed will of God.  Next, is the Spirit in you in agreement with that word?  Do others with the Holy Spirit agree and bear witness with the word?  These tests are important before moving on a word.

God does truly direct His children and sometimes uses others to confirm to us a word.  Mary and I experienced this when God spoke to us through two different people about having children in our old age!  One of the words was written down and our son reminded us of it years later.  It helped us confirm our direction and follow God’s leading!  May the Lord direct your life each day by His Holy Spirit!  May you learn to properly discern the will of God!

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