1 Corinthians 12:8-31 Prophecy, Discernment & The Body


Intro Tonight we are continuing our study through the book of 1 Corinthians and for the last several weeks camping out in chapter 12

A)  Focusing in on the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed here in 1 Corinthians 12


B) We have looked at the first 5 of the Gifts listed in verses 8-10 /Wisdom / Knowledge / Faith / Healings & Miracles   <TAPES


C) Tonight we are going to pick up our study starting with PROPHECY/




Now when we hear the Word Prophecy we immediately think of the predicting of future events FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE

A)  And that is how Prophecy is predominately seen in the Old Testament


C)      men were moved by the Lord to predict future events – to a large extent the prophecies dealt with the coming of Jesus Christ


Hebrews 1:1  In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times in various ways (NIV)


2 Peter 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved


D)     Men like Moses and David were used in the area of Prophecy

1)  Moses in Deuteronomy 32 foretells the events that would take place AFTER Israel entered the promised land


E) He tells how they would turn away from God and be scattered among the nations.

Interesting Thing To NOTE:  The people memorized this song.  They grew up singing this song.  And though they knew and sang it often  they fell in the very things that the song warned of.


F)  And it was when they were singing this song in captivity that they realized the reason for their captivity.  <Moses prophesied of all that!!>



DAVID is mentioned in Acts as a prophet of God.

  Acts 2:30-31  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption.


And many of David’s psalms are predictive in nature and content.  Many are messianic…. that is, they deal with the coming Messiah.


So Moses & David were men who moved in the Prophetic ministry although that wasn’t their primary ministry.

A)   Whereas others like Samuel / Elijah / Elisha / Isaiah / Jeremiah / Hosea were called by God to be PROPHETS OF GOD  Very Predictive in ministry



     1)  It is also the Forthtelling of the mind, heart & Word of God to His people


C)  The word PROPHECY derives from a Greek root which means, “to cause to shine,”  and is linked with the prefix “pro” which means “before.” 

     1)  So a person with the gift of prophecy is one who stands before God’s people and causes the Word of God to shine.  God’s Heart REVEALED


D)  The word burns within the heart of those who have this gift and they must get it out!  Jeremiahŕ


E)  This speaking forth the mind of God was also clearly seen in the Old Testament in the Prophetic ministry of men like Isaiah / Jeremiah / Hosea

1)                  Who repeatedly were used to call the People to REPENTENCE


F)  But predominant ministry was foretelling of future events -

     1)  The judgment upon Israel that would come if they didn’t repent as well as some other nations as well as the 1st & 2nd comings of Jesus Christ.



Now in the New Testament we have a reversal of this order.  Where in the Old Testament prophecies were more fore telling than forth telling

A)  New Testament is the opposite – More Forthtelling – or speaking forth the mind & heart of God than it is the predicting of future events


A)   Although there are Prophets in the New Testament.  Agabus is mentioned in Acts 11:28.  Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.


ACTS 21:10  And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.

11  When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”


B)  The Apostle John moved in that predictive aspect when he penned the book of Revelation.  Jesus Matthew 24 – but those are about the only records.

C)  What we see instead are men and women who were used to declare God’s truth & expound God’s word -

     1)  cause it to shine so that people understood.-  Their ministry was more of a GUIDING MINISTRY THAN A PREDICTIVE


D)  take the vision and Run with it !!!!!



Now Paul defines for us the PURPOSE OF THIS GIFT IN 1 Corinthians 14:3  But he who prophecies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.


EDIFICATION = TO BUILD UP /  Word used in Architecture in referring to the establishment of a Building !!!!  Make Firm Solid


EXHORTATION = parakaleo – (PARACLETE)  primarily, “to call to ones side to help / admonish / to urge one to pursue some course of conduct


COMFORT – similar word derived from the same Greek word – Paraklesis = one called to one side.


A)  Important to note this that the word of Prophecy is going to be like that a person who comes to the aid of another – in perfect time of need.

     1)  Out of gas on the side of the road & someone pulls up just at the right time – gives you a lift


B)  That the word of PROPHECY works in much the same way – You come to a Bible study – out of gas – worn out / defeated

     1)  And what is taught is exactly what you needed – filling up tank


C)  Or you are talking with a friend & they share a verse with you – EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEEDED – (read your mind)

     1)  Sunday nights / RETREAT – scripture shared – word of Prophecy – Someone needed to hear exactly that verse / cards / notes / e-mail

     2) Catch simplicity -


D)  Now sometimes – prophecy gets a bad rap – by those who hyper spiritual – talk king James – Oh my people – thou has corrupted thy ways ….

     1)  I have a problem with that for a couple reasons – one you don’t see that in Scripture – in the New Testament/


E) 2nd  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:3 that he who prophecies speaks edification / exhortation & comfort to men.

     1) In other words, prophecy is that which is meant to encourage / build up / and comfort the body !


So when you prophesy you are speaking FOR God to the Church to edify…. You are building up your brothers and sisters.


When you prophesy you are speaking FOR God to the Church, you are encouraging people to trust the Lord and lay hold of the promises of God.


When you prophesy you are speaking FOR God to the Church, you are exhorting people to ACTION.  Exhorting to praise and prayer and service.


When you prophesy you are speaking FOR God to the Church, you are comforting others.  The Holy Spirit works through you to minister comfort to us.



That is the focus of this gift of Prophesy / Chapter 14 see a little more about how this gift works in the body -


The last thing we want to note is the VALIDATION OF A PROPHECY

1 Corinthians 14:29  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.


Prophecy must be judged   3 WAYS

1.)  Does it line up with the revealed Word of God?  /  God will NOT say something CONTRARY to the Written Word of God.  <Cause Word To Shine:>


If it is contrary to the Written Word of God, THEN it is NOT prophecy.


2.)  Does it line up with the FACTS concerning the NATURE of the GIFT  i.e. – EDIFICATION / EXHORTATION  & COMFORT


A)  If a PERSON PROPHESIES & IT does NOT line up with the facts, then it can NOT be God.


3.)  If it is predictive in nature, then you look to see if it comes to pass.



In this area of Judging the Prophecies – the next gift mentioned comes into play – DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

A)  It is significant that this gift is listed immediately following the gift of prophecy.  In this We see God’s Divine order.


B)  Because there have been those throughout history, who have been prophets and have brought forth the Word of God to God’s people.

     1)  There has also always been  FALSE  prophets


C)  For that REASON it is CRUCIAL to have this gift in order to discern truth from lies, the Holy Spirit from demonic spirits,

     1)  because Satan is an extremely good counterfeiter.


D)  Jesus specifically warned in the Last days of false Christs and false prophets who would come on the scene

Matthew 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.


Matthew 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.


1 John 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.


TRY = to test (lit. or fig.); to approve, discern, examine.


So we have this NEED for the gift of the discerning of spirits.


And this gift is often seen in Conjunction with the gifts of Word of Wisdom / Knowledge / Prophecy & the INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES






Acts 5:1-2  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.  2  And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, an brought a certain part and laid it at the apostle’s feet.  3 But Peter said,  “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?


A)  They came with the FALSE PRETENSE that they were giving ALL of the price they had received.

     1)  Peter discerned the lie that he was seeking to perpetrate against the Church in trying to appear as having surrendered all.


B)  Word of Knowledge with the Gift of Discernment


C)  Acts 8  Simon false conversion / wants to buy the gift – Peter again  22  “Repent therefore of this wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  23  For I perceive that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”


D)  Perceive = to stare at – to DISCERN CLEARLY



People with this gift are those who might sense there is something not right with someone when everyone else is gung ho

A)  Had this happen many times – everyone was so excited about a certain minister or musician etc.  (I would be leery) couldn’t get excited


B)  I would feel horrible – so negative  -  After time something revealed


C) This gift is essential for those who are involved in Leadership in the ministry / if you don’t have it - pray

     1)  Don’t receive it make sure you are linked up with someone who does


D)  Seen a lot of people get into trouble / get off base / get sidetracked because they lack this gift !



Now because Chapter 14 deals so specifically with the gift of Prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues – skip next two / deal with them when I get back.

A)  Finish tonight looking at what Paul says in the rest of Chapter 12 – illustrates how the church is to function  Verse 12


B)  Paul uses the human body to build a great analogy of how the Church is to function

     1)  Just as the human body is one living organism made up of many members having different functions


C)  So is the Body of Christ – the Church – all believers / many members having variety of gifts and functions / but still one body – Christ Head.


Now the next thing that Paul does here is he tells us how we become a part of this body of Christ  verse 13

A)  13  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free;  and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.


A)  Now this shouldn’t be confused with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit


B)  This is what Jesus referred to as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit  John 14

     1) 3 aspects  WITH  /  IN  UPON


C)  Disciples point of conversion came in John 20  Saw resurrected Lord – Breathed & said Receive ye Holy SpiritJesus say receive you do - CONVERSION


D)  But after this Acts 1:4 Jesus said to go to Jerusalem & wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon you

4  “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard from Me;  5  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”


3rd aspect – Baptism - UPON

A)  Wording is important – 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaks of being Baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ - CONVERSION


B) Acts 1:5 Speaks of being Baptized WITH the Holy Spirit by Jesus

Matthew 3:11  “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.



So here we see the 3 fold working of the Holy Spirit WITH / IN / UPON

A)  With us convicting of sin / In – baptizing us into the body,

     1) Upon – filling us with the Spirit so that we are both “in Christ” and He is “in us,” that constitutes the mystery and the marvel of the church.


B)That is what the church is.  It is not a group of religious people gathered together to enjoy certain functions.


C)  It is a group of people who share the same life, who belong to the same Lord, who are filled with the same Spirit

     1), and who are intended to function together to change the world by the life of God.  That is the work of the church.


D)  The apostle goes on in the next few verses to make this crystal clear by explaining to us just how it works.


E)  He describes how the body functions, and in doing so he deals with 3 major problems,  3 mental attitudes that often come up in the Church.



The first one is the feeling of insignificance.

A) I wonder how many people here have said to themselves or felt at one time,  “I love to come to church but I don’t feel there is anything I can do.  I can’t contribute to the work of the church because I don’t have any abilities.  Others know so much more than I.”


B)  Paul deals with that very attitude here !!  Verses 14-20


C)  Paul says that if the foot were to say – I can’t do what the hand can do – I can’t wiggle my toes like the hand does the fingers

1)                  Therefore I don’t belong to the body


D)  Not True – couldn’t walk or stand -


Thumb – short & pudgy – not like other fingers –

A)  Couldn’t grab things / write etc


B)  There is no insignificant part of the body – [Big toe] – couldn’t stand


C)  So too there is no insignificant part of the Body of Christ




A)  We have the wrong idea of what work of the church is, and this is why people begin to feel this way.


B)  There are many today who have the concept that the real work of the church is getting together and having a great meeting on Sundays / Wednesday.

     1)  where we come together and enjoy learning from the Scriptures and fellowshipping with one another.


C)  And, as this concept goes, people who lead these meetings have certain gifts.  They are the Ministers

     !)  They have to keep everything in order etc.  Others in the congregation look at them and say,  “That is the work of the church.  I can’t do any of those things, therefore I really have no part to play in the church.”


D)  But that is not the work of the church at all.  Train up to equip to do the work of the ministry out there.  This is merely part of the training program.

     1)  We do not come to church to fulfill the work of the church.  We come here to get ready to fulfill I out there.


E)  the work of the church  preach the Gospel  /  bring the Love of Jesus  /  to reach out to the broken-hearted out in the world, to give deliverance to the captives, to open the eyes of the blind, and to preach the good news to the poor and despairing of heart.


F)  Now if that is your mindset, there is definitely something – for everyone





A)  All different / gifted differently by Design – what if all an EYE – no hearing - Gross


B)  Youth Pastor – Football – Eye ball - gross



Now the 2nd problem Paul deals with that surfaces in a church, is an INDEPENDENT SPIRIT  verse 21

A)  Eye can’t say …….


A)  No Lone Rangers in the Body –




A)  Our Problem – we esteem gifts – that are the most out in the open / presentable as the ones that are the most important


B)  The ones that are less visible as less important – note those which seem weaker – that is our problem



     1)  I could live without an Arm / Leg / Finger / eye / all presentable parts


D)  But not a Heart  /  not a brain



In the Body of Christ – Heart – Prayer warriors  /  Brain – gift of Govt. Nerves - Helps

A)  We would be nowhere without those gifts


26      And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  27  Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.


A)      Notice that he does not say all “should” suffer with it, or all “should” be honored together.  He says they actually are.


B)  Say Christian in the Limelight – is found to be in Sin – guess what we all suffer – we grieve / also affects our witness

     1)  It affects our witness & Testimony -


C)  That is why I say – living in sin / bad witness / lousy worker / don’t even call yourself a Christian - / affects me


A)  But if a Christian is honored – makes the rest of us look good too!  We benefit


Verses 27-31