The Greatest of These
Most of us have read and heard many messages on 1Corinthians 13. This is where we are reminded that the greatest of all gifts is LOVE. The Word of God states that if we have various gifts without exercising this most important gift of love, then these other gifts will profit us nothing.
In the very next chapter of 1Corinthians, Paul's first 2 words again command us to "pursue love." This means we should follow after love. Although this IS the most important and greatest gift that Christ has called us to show to others, let us concentrate on another command Paul gives to us in chapter 14 today. Most of us are doing our best to exemplify to others the love of God, but are most of us desiring other spiritual gifts? Let's meditate for a moment on 1Corinthians 14:1,3. These verses state, "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men."
Why does Paul ESPECIALLY want us to desire the gift of prophecy? The answer is found in verse 3..."But he who prophesies speaks EDIFICATION and EXHORTATION and COMFORT to men." The word "prophecy" in the original Greek not only means "to foretell events," but also means "to speak under inspiration." Our inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit. This is why it is so important to be filled with the Spirit each and every day. Without Him, we cannot be inspired to edify, exhort, or comfort His people.
So, how exactly does this gift of prophecy benefit the body of Christ? Let's take a look at the 3 ways given in the above verses...
One way it benefits others is by bringing others EDIFICATION. In the original Greek, edification includes "confirmation" and "building." The dictionary definition is "the instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually." Practically speaking... when we are filled with God's Spirit and sense the need to share a verse with someone, this could be a way that God wants to use us to confirm His will in the life of another. This is edification to a brother/sister in Christ. It is an encouraging word that confirms God's will or presence and builds another up in the name of the Lord.
Another way this gift benefits the body is through EXHORTATION. In the original Greek, exhortation means "imploration." The dictionary definition is "an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something." This is what Pastor Bob does each week that he teaches us the Word of God. By God's Spirit, he urges us to walk in the truth being taught. Those of us that truly benefit from his exhortations each week are those that actually practice what he implores us to do. We can benefit individuals in the body when we implore them to do right...as long as we are being led by the Spirit (and not ourselves).
The last way from the above verses that this gift of prophecy benefits others is by COMFORT. In the original Greek, comfort means "consolation." The dictionary definition is " to soothe in grief, to help feel at ease, to reassure." Again, we can see this take place when we offer to pray for someone else. I know that
I find comfort and reassurance just knowing that people are praying for me. This is one reason we keep a prayer list every week. We want you all to know that you have people WILLING and READY to pray with you and/or for you.
When we take the time to consider and look to the needs of others, then the gift of prophecy is truly beneficial in every way. If we would all team together and pray for the opportunity daily to use the gift of prophecy for the glory of God, then we will be drawing others ever nearer to our precious Savior. So again, this is the reason that Paul would rather us desire the gift of prophecy...because it is a gift that profits others...which is a gift all about LOVE...the greatest gift of all!!!!