1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Thursday, 27 May 2021
"Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies." -1Thes 5:19-20
What is Prophecy?... 'the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation. (1Cor.14:3). The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges records it this way- 'What is revelation on God’s part, is prophecy in its human instrument. “Prophecy” bears to “revelation” the same relation as “teaching” to “knowledge” (1Cor.12:6), the former being the utterance and outcome of the latter. Prediction, to which we limit the term in common speech, is but a part—and not an essential part—of Prophecy, in its Biblical sense. It is, etymologically, the forth-speaking of what was otherwise unknown and hidden in the mind of God.'
The above key verses quoted are not standalone statements. Instead, we need to understand it in the context in which it is written. The two letters to Thessalonians were written with an inherent theme of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Being this major theme as the background; everything else told in this letter bears its anchor. In today's reading, we see very simple and clear instructions for the conduct of a Christian; inclusive of all sections of his life.
A sanctified life is directed and equipped by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon the Church as tongues of fire on the Day of Pentecost. Paul here admonishes the church not to quench the fire of the Spirit. It is a fire deep within the soul of every born-again Christian, which needs to be allowed to freely work its way to the total sanctification of the person. One prominent way the Spirit of God works is by prophecy. God reveals things to the human mind through prophecy so as to put them to practice. All these are done by the Lord with the motive, to give heavenly guidance to His children in the way of total sanctification as it is prayed by Paul. "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Thes. 5:23)
We are also cautioned by the Lord to be careful. As we know against every work of the Lord, the enemy of our soul brings in counterfeit strategy.1 John 4:1 [NLT] says: “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” Hence there are also false prophecies. We need to take precaution before accepting the prophecies we hear -"but test everything; hold fast what is good.”(1Thes. 5:21)
Children of God need to take a special interest in studying what the Scripture reveals about prophecy and prophets. It is very clearly written by Paul in the 14th chapter of 1st Corinthians. Prophecy from the Lord clearly directs the steps of the saint in the divine direction to become like our Lord (Rom. 8:29). If this being the outcome, then we can be sure it is from the Lord. It is also advisable to see if the directions r