When Paul began his teaching concerning Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:1, he stated that “concerning spiritual gifts brethren I would not have you to be ignorant” and he ended that particular teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:40 that “all things be done decently and in order.” These are both key verses to the operation of the prophetic in the church which was the heart of the teaching. In order for us to truly operate effectively in the gift of prophecy, there needs to be some good solid teaching that brings true understanding to the use and function of the prophetic gift in the church and that use and operation of the prophetic gift must be done decently and in order.
We need to realize that there is a difference between the gift of prophecy and the office gift of the prophet. There is a different realm of responsibility and authority. Not everybody that prophesies is a prophet, but every prophet prophesies.
The office gift of the prophet will carry much more power and authority in sound and deed, but additionally, someone who is in the office gift will be recognized and hold a form of leadership role. Prophets will raise up other people in their gifting, both in training and impartation. Many times a prophet will lead or be a part of a prophetic company and will be recognized as such. A prophet can lay hands on another prophet imparting and mentoring like Elisha and Elijah. A prophet can lay hands on and anoint a king or government leader like Samuel anointed King David. A prophet may prophesy direction both individually and corporately to the church, and occasionally bring correction in love. In the Old and New Testament the prophets declared judgment. As noted in Acts 13, prophets can, at the prompting of the Spirit, lay hands on, anoint and launch ministers into their assignments and calling as they did with Barnabus and Saul.
An individual who moves in the gift of prophecy, and not the office gift of the prophet, needs to adhere to the New Testament model for the prophetic in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort.” As individuals who operate in the gift of prophecy or the office of the prophet, I have to understand that when I come into a church, fellowship or meeting, that God has ordained a leader in that house and in many cases that leader is called a pastor. But, if I intend to operate in my gifting, I need to operate under the proper spiritual authority God ordained in that house.
If I feel like I’m going to operate in my gift, I need to make myself known to the pastor and see if that particular congregation is open to having someone bring a prophetic utterance and if so, what do they consider the proper time and timing for the use of the gift. You can only imagine how a pastor might feel who has someone in his meeting, unknown to him, stand up in the middle of the service, belting out a word, possibly even of gloom and doom over the Lords people, who he is responsible for protecting. If we are going to be recognized and effective at bringing the gift back into the body, we are going to have to work together closely, the pastor and the prophet, respecting one another and our gifting, callings and responsibilities. There is a commanded blessing in unity and many times people utilizing their gift in a disorderly manner, in the wrong timing or in the wrong way brings confusion and we know that, Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion.