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Ministering to One Another through New Testament Prophecy

By Joel Comiskey

Winter 2016

Two visitors came to our cell group one night. We knew that one of them was a non-believer, and we weren’t sure about the other person’s relationship to Christ. Even with the visitors in the group, we continued the normal order of meeting, knowing that the best form of evangelism was the Holy Spirit’s presence. Eventually, one of the small-group members asked if he could share an impression with those who were present. He turned to the single mother with the child who had come for the first time, and said, “Could I share with you?” and then he proceeded to tell her that Jesus loved her and saw no shame in her life.

My eyes filled with tears because his word was so totally on the mark. What the person who prophesied didn’t know was that this woman had felt a great deal of shame, having never married the father of her only child. She didn’t feel accepted in many circles, but to suddenly have God Himself speak to her in such a way touched her heart very deeply. God showed up in the small-group setting, and she left changed and excited about God again.

Many cell leaders seem to think that the presence of non-Christians will hinder the flow of a community, but my experience is that just the opposite occurs. When non-Christians enter the room, there’s a new flow, a new zeal, a new desire to share. The Spirit is the One who gives the supernatural power and grace needed to penetrate a lost world for Jesus. All of the gifts of the Spirit are the inheritance of the entire body of Christ (In my books “The Spirit Filled Small Group” and “Discover” I talk about the gifts of the Spirit in the small group).

The gift of prophecy does not only relate to future revelation. Far more prophecies deal with present realities than with future visions. The meaning of the Greek word prophesy simply means “to speak forth.” Those who speak forth have received a personal message from God that applies to a concrete situation. The Spirit of God then takes over the message and directs it to the larger body.

Prophesy will never contradict the inerrant Word of God. Unfortunately because those who are communicating God’s message remain sinful human beings, sometimes the message from God is skewed—this is why discernment is needed. The Scriptures tell us that we should always test the prophecies to make sure they are in line with Scripture (1 Corinthians 14:29–33).

When a person in the small group discloses a need, there is suddenly a reason to minister. Spiritual gifts are exercised when there is a need. When no needs are present, people don’t feel an urgency to use their gifts and minister to others. But when a need arises, suddenly everyone wants to get involved—and this is exciting. As each person begins to minister to and love those around him, there’s a new sense of power and anointing.

Further reading on this topic: Comiskey's book Cell Church Solutions: Transforming the Church in North America dedicates and entire chapter to explain the place of spiritual gifts in cell life. This book can be ordered HERE or by calling 1-888-344-CELL.

ENDNOTES

[1] Carl George, How to Break Growth Barriers, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993), p. 136.

[2] Normally, ONE speaker preaches ONE sermon per Sunday. I was surprised—and initially offended--after I preached a 50-minute translated sermon in a large church in Russia last Sunday and another pastor stood up to preach a second sermon! There are always exceptions but you understand my point.