The Service Gift of Prophecy

God’s Gifts of Service, Ministry, and Caring for the Needs of Others in the Church

Romans 12
MP3 Audio



I.         Introduction


A.      The List of Service Gifts (Romans 12:6-8)


1.        Prophecy – Speaking Up for God

2.        Teaching – Instructing People

3.        Ministry / Helps – Supporting Weaker Brethren

4.        Exhorting – Urging and Encouraging Others

5.        Giving – Sharing With Others

6.        Governments / Ruling – Governing and Managing People

7.        Mercy – Showing Compassion on Others


B.       What are these gifts?


1.        They are Motivational gifts – things that God has us doing to bless the people in our church

2.        They encourage and motivate believers into stronger living for the Lord Jesus

3.        A church full of people with these gifts is the most blessed!


C.       There is a companion list of emphasis that goes with each gift in Romans 12:9-21. This list is almost more important that the gifts themselves – they represent the things to beware of and things to develop with a gift. They constrain us! They are the Operating Instructions that go along with the gifts! Without this list, the gifts of prophecy, teaching, ministry, exhorting, giving, governing, and mercy won’t work at all! Or they will be used wrongly!


II.       Message – The Service Gift of Prophecy


A.      Best Definition (Description) of the Gift.


1.        It is more than just proclaiming truth (Eph 4:14,15)


a.        That’s what preaching is

b.       And every Christian is to preach the truth – openly proclaim it (Mk 16:15; 1Cor 1:21)


2.        It is speaking for God – being used as a mouthpiece by God – saying what He would say if He were in your shoes

3.        The gift of prophecy is a supernatural urging to speak up for God


a.        It used to mean speaking things prophetically – warning people of their sins, and of coming judgments (i.e., Jonah warning “Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed!”

b.       Now, today, it means speaking practically – still warning people of their sins and of coming judgments, but knowing that you don’t know people’s hearts like the OT prophets did, and you don’t know exactly what will happen in the near future. You just know that judgment is going to fall!


4.        This is absolutely THE best gift of all the gifts given to the Christian (1Cor 14:1)


B.       Best Example of the Gift.


1.        The Apostle Paul had the Gift of Prophecy (1Cor 13:1,2) – in its fullness.

2.        There are many false prophets (Matt 7:22,23) and false prophecies


C.       Important Truths About the Gift.


1.        The Gift of Prophecy is NOT the same thing as the Gift of a Prophet


a.        One is given to many people, men and women

b.       The other was given to the first century church, and they were only temporary


2.        There are NO more new prophecies at all (1Cor 13:8-10; Rev 22:18,19)

3.        Not everyone has this gift – a church needs a good balance of all these gifts

4.        The most important aspect of the Gift of Prophecy is NOT the ability to tell the future, but rather to WARN about the future (Col 1:27,28)


D.      Characteristics and Misuses of this Gift


1.        What guidelines are given for the gift of prophecy in Romans 12:9?



b.       ABHOR EVIL

c.        CLING TO GOOD


2.        What is the most important need for this gift to work best?



b.       Why? A clear conscience allows the person to speak the truth boldly without hesitation.

c.        Beware that the devil will work his hardest to defile your conscience to keep this from happening!






They expose sin or deception in others for the purpose of reconciliation (they hate dishonesty, and deception)

They tend to jump to conclusions

They speak a timely word from God causing conviction, repentance, and edification

They tend to react harshly towards sin and sinners

They see biblical truth that others often fall to see, and challenge them to live according to that truth

They tend to be impatient with others

They warn of God's immediate or future judgment if there is no repentance

They are very unforgiving

They well understand God's heart and mind through all the experiences that the Lord has taken them through (David)

They tend to cut off people who fail

They are willing to suffer when it comes to standing for the truth or doing what is right. Peter rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus when he was beaten for obeying God rather than men. (Acts 5:29-42)

They often dwell more on the negative


3.        A person with this gift is usually: Discerning, Authoritative, Convicting, Confronting, Critical, Determined, Courageous, Uncompromising

4.        Note - all of the above characteristics, AND misuses show up in Paul’s life!

5.        People with this gift:


a.        Need to be aware that listeners may reject the message if not spoken with love and compassion (Eph 4:15)

b.       Need to avoid pride which can create a demanding or discouraging spirit that hinders the gift

c.        Should remember that discernment and Scripture must support and agree with each expression of truth (prophecy)


E.       Best Application of the Gift – the real purpose of this gift (1Cor 14:3,4)


1.        To use words that Christ would use to edify, exhort, and comfort people, especially believers

2.        People with this gift are needed in the church for:


a.        Preaching and Preachers

b.       Sunday School Teaching

c.        Counselling

d.       Writing books and articles about the Christian Life, and the truths of the Bible

e.        Bible Study Leaders


F.       Best Way to Examine Prophecies (1Thes 5:20,21)


1.        Encourage people with this gift – they may be hard to get along with, but they are desperately needed

2.        Prove/Test everything a person that speaks with authority from God says – as the Bereans did (Acts 17:10-12)


a.        It has to match the Bible

b.       They must allow for other people to test it and make sure it is right – not be a maverick (1Cor 14:29-32)


G.       Test Yourself:


1.        Do you have a strong opinion about right and wrong that you have to verbalise to people?

2.        Do you make quick judgments about people especially from first impressions?

3.        Can you sense when people are lying to you, and are you usually right?

4.        Do you desire justice more than compassion?

5.        Are you loyal to the truth more than to people?

6.        Are you willing to suffer for standing up for right and against wrong?

7.        Do you love God’s Word and fight anyone who would try and change it or water it down, or twist it to their own designs?

8.        Do you have a sense that the Lord is constantly directing your life into and through specific situations, in order to get you to say and do what he would say and do if He were in your shoes?

9.        If you answered YES to most if not all of the above questions, you probably have the gift of prophecy

10.     If you answered YES to only a few of the above questions, that is fine! You probably have another Service Gift from God. And will see yourself having that gift instead of this one

11.     If you don’t understand these thoughts and questions, then that ALSO is fine! You still will have another Service Gift from God. And you will relate to that gift much easier – trust me!


H.      Without THE gift of God (eternal life), none of this matters (Romans 6:23)!


1.        Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth to save you from the GUILT and POWER of your sins and to RECONCILE you unto God.

2.        Through faith in the shed blood of Jesus you will escape the wrath to come and joyfully look forward to heaven--and you'll live an overcoming life. God will be your Father instead of your enemy--but only because of something God calls a gift

3.        For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

4.        and that gift, that was feely given for the whole world was through the blood of Jesus.

5.        “...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)

6.        THAT is the greatest gift of all time! AND the most neglected! Most are trying to get forgiveness by their best efforts (Eph 2:8,9). Some are trying to live good and clean lives (Isa 64:6). But none are without sin, and all are commanded to be born again (John 3:3). You need that gift


III.     Conclusion


A.      If you have NOT been born again, today is the day

B.       If you are saved, born again – then you have received a special gift to serve the Lord with. Maybe it is the gift of speaking for God – being used as a mouthpiece by God – saying what He would say if He were in your shoes, warning people of their sins and of coming judgments.

C.       Maybe your gift is NOT that of speaking for God. Maybe it is Teaching, or ministry, or exhorting, or giving, or governing, or  mercy.

D.      You’ll have to come back next Sunday, and learn some more from the Bible, to see just what it may be.

E.       And THEN, you are going be challenged to start using that gift for the Lord Jesus throughout every day

F.       And THAT is when you will start enjoying the life more abundant that Jesus promised His followers!


Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church

Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland