The Scriptures tell us to encourage others by edifying, exhorting, and comforting (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Proverbs 12:25; Job 4:4; Romans 14:19; 15:4; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 14:26, 31). We can do this through the spirit of prophecy and the gift of prophecy. Last week we looked at the spirit of prophecy, which is the first level or dimension of prophecy available for all believers (Revelation 19:10).
The Word testifies or reveals Jesus and carries the spirit of prophecy (John 5:39). When you speak or write Bible verses when giving your testimony, you are testifying about Jesus. When you give testimony to what Jesus has done in your life, it is saying that He can do it again and encourages those listening to you. They can draw spiritual strength, hope, and insight through your testimony.
The gift of prophecy is the second and next level or dimension of prophecy that we will examine. There are nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit known as the Holy Spirit’s gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. They are to profit all and are given to believers as He wills to bless others and for service. The gift of prophecy is one of the Holy Spirit’s nine gifts received through the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4 – 11 (NKJV)
The prophecy gift is one of the three utterances or vocal gifts – gifts that say something (prophecy, different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues). Prophecy is the most important and the best gift of the three gifts of utterance because it is complete in and of itself (1 Corinthians 14:1-5). Its purpose is to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort to the body of Christ and for instruction and learning. It is not to call out sins.
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 1 Corinthians 14:3 (NKJV)
For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NKJV)
- Edify – to build up, i.e., the church (1 Corinthians 14:4)
- Exhortation – to encourage; entreaty (earnest or humble request), urging to do something
- Comfort – Christ speaking tenderness and care; consolation
All inspired utterance is a prophecy in some form or another. But the spiritual gift of prophecy isn’t preaching (which is to proclaim, announce, cry or tell). Prophecy gets people’s attention, but it doesn’t save them (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). People weren’t saved on the Day of Pentecost until Peter preached to them. When the Holy Spirit is giving utterance, He will always exalt Jesus’s name, and it will be apparent that He is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3).
This prophecy gift should not be confused with a prophecy spoken from a person in the prophet’s office through the vehicle of prophecy. There is NO revelation or foretelling/prediction of the future with this gift. There is only forth-telling/bring it to pass) with simple prophecy, just edification (to build up), exhortation (calling nearer to God), and comfort (NOT correction or discomfort). Don’t misuse use this gift.
Those not called to be prophets should stay within the limits of edification, exhortation, and comfort. Those who go beyond their level of grace without additional equipping will bring confusion to the body of Christ.
The gift of prophecy works with other gifts to fully release God’s plan, such as the word of knowledge that may be partnered with the gifts of healings to bring healing or deliverance; the word of wisdom providing strategy and instruction or prophecy speaking to salvation, restoration, and destiny.
We can stir up the gift (2 Timothy 1:6) or yield to the spirit of prophecy and speak out from the additional strength of this gift as well. Each level or dimension of prophecy builds upon the previous one. There are levels of strength of the gift depending upon the measure of grace received by the person who has the gift.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith. Romans 12:6 (NKJV)
You can use the gift of prophecy in your prayer life and praise to God as well as corporately in the church as the Spirit wills.
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19 (NKJV)
Some believe that prophecy has been done away with by referring to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. But that will only happen when that which is perfect has come. Prophecy will cease when Jesus comes again (He is the perfect One), and it will not need to continue into eternity. When He comes, prophecy will not be necessary!
We receive the gift of prophecy through the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Let’s first look at the two-fold work of the Holy Spirit available to all believers. His indwelling Presence and infilling power. Each is a separate and definite experience (Samaritan believers – Acts 8:5-8; 12-17), (Saul’s conversion – Acts 9:1-9, 17; Romans 10:13), (Cornelius’ household – Acts 10:45-46; 11:13-15), (Ephesian disciples – Acts 19:1-7).
The Holy Spirit dwells within us through the new birth when His indwelling Presence comes into our hearts when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
- Our spirit is re-born with the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 2:12)
- Our bodies become His Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)
- He will dwell in us forever (John 14:16-17; Ephesians 1:13-14)
We receive the Holy Spirit’s infilling power through the baptism with the Holy Spirit when He comes upon us. Jesus promised His disciples and all believers they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8).
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 16-21, 38-39), and all believers can receive His power today. He is still here and hasn’t left (Acts 2:32-33)!
Some churches believe that you receive all of the Holy Spirit there is to have when you become born-again. This belief is partially correct because there is a work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth. But it is not the same as the in-filling of the Holy Spirit or enduement of power from on high, which is a work of the Holy Spirit in baptism.
Some believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit passed away with the last apostle because they say there’s no one else to pass on the Holy Spirit. However, in Acts 9:10-12, 17 we see an ordinary believer who laid hands on another believer to receive the Holy Spirit, i.e., Ananias laid hands on Saul (later named Paul). We see this continue for all who believe today (Acts 2:39).
The Holy Spirit upon us is the gateway into the supernatural. As we learn to lean on the Holy Spirit, the Greater One who dwells within us (1 John 4:4), and as we are filled with Him (Ephesians 5:18), the power of God is available to us (Acts 4:31). Then the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit can operate through us as the Spirit wills.
You don’t have to earn a gift but receive and open! Jesus gave us the fullness of all He is and has as a gift through the cross of Calvary so that we can receive the fullness of the in-filling of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. The gifts from the Holy Spirit are grace gifts and are received by grace through faith, just like all the other gifts from God. He gives gifts to be a blessing to others, but they do not represent a believer’s maturity. We should operate these gifts through the Spirit and in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).
So, we must allow the Lord to develop our character to use these gifts appropriately. They are available to every believer through the baptism with the Holy Spirit; however, we must wait upon the unction and direction of the Holy Spirit for the manifestation of these spiritual gifts. Praise and worship, and teaching and preaching of the word bring the manifestation of the Holy Spirit more readily.
Baptism with the Holy Spirit
The baptism with the Holy Spirit means immersion or in-filling with the Spirit’s life and power, and Jesus is the one who is doing the baptizing (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8). It is empowering for service reproducing the ministry of Jesus, including signs, wonders, and miracles! As believers and children of the King, we are to enforce His Kingdom on the earth, but we need a power greater than our own to serve and minister Christ’s Kingdom here. Not only does His Presence dwell within us, but He flows through us!
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is received by faith in the Word of God, just like all the other blessings of God (not by our feelings); (2 Corinthians 5:7). Remember, it is not only an experience but the reality of the person of the Holy Spirit in us and working through us. The Bible reveals different ways that people receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, i.e., by asking, by prayer and by the laying on of hands, etc. (Luke 11:9-13; Acts 8:14-17; 10:44-46; 19:6).
We see in Acts 2:1-4 that baptism with the Holy Spirit brought the initial evidence of speaking in tongues (a heavenly language or language unknown to the one speaking) followed by boldness (Acts 4:13, 31). Some believe that speaking in tongues is of the devil, not God. But speaking in tongues is by the Holy Spirit. When we speak in tongues, we’re not talking to men but to God; however, in the spirit, we are speaking mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:2-4). Speaking in tongues edifies or builds us up and refreshes us (1 Corinthians 14:4; Jude 1:20; Isaiah 28:11-12). We do not need to be fearful. We need to trust Jesus and receive this gift by faith.
Receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit
You can receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit right now. God has already given the Holy Spirit, and it is now up to the believer to receive God’s gift. We don’t need to beg God because the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost and has been here ever since. We only need to receive Him (Acts 8:14-15; 19:1-6). Any believer is ready to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit immediately. Salvation is the only qualification, not anything else, e.g., what you have or haven’t done, what you wear, etc. Every believer needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit because they will receive power to help them (Acts 1:8).
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:37-38 (NKJV)
We receive power from on high or the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the same Holy Spirit who re-created our spirit when we became born again and also raised Jesus from the dead! We can experience more of God when He brings the fullness of God to us (Ephesians 3:19-20).
It doesn’t matter how you receive the baptism with the Spirit that Jesus gives. He knows the way that you need to receive Him. Each person’s encounter is unique and special. Some speak in tongues right away. Some need the laying on of hands for an increase in their faith. Anyone can lay hands on another in faith as a point of contact because God honors faith (Hebrews 11:1). Some ask in prayer by themselves or need to have an agreement in prayer with another.
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts 19:6 (NKJV)
“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11 – 13 (NKJV)
In the late 1980s, I had a hunger for more of God, and so I prayed and asked Jesus for the baptism with the Holy Spirit I had received teaching about, but I had a difficult time accepting speaking in tongues by faith. I had grown up in a church that believed speaking in tongues was just for the early church. When the Holy Spirit gave me a word or phrase, and I would speak it out, the devil would whisper into my thoughts and say that it was “just me” making up words and not the Holy Spirit speaking them through me. However, I knew I had received the baptism with the Holy Spirit because I had a new boldness and power in my walk with the Lord and sharing Him with others.
It wasn’t until 2014, when I realized I wasn’t living the abundant life that Jesus came to give me, that I understood that speaking and praying in tongues was part of the abundant life. The Holy Spirit only prays the perfect will of God and knows His mind completely (1 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 8:27). I had been allowing the devil to rob me in this area by believing his lies about it. I started listening to teachers in the Word to build up my faith concerning speaking in tongues (i.e., Joseph Prince; Kenneth Copeland; Kenneth E. Hagin; Bill Winston, etc.). I began speaking and praying in tongues, and now I speak and pray in tongues freely!
Whichever way you choose to receive Him, expect the Holy Spirit to come upon you and move upon your vocal cords and put supernatural words on your lips. Open your mouth and be ready to use your own mouth and vocal cords, for the Holy Spirit will give the utterance. Yield and give voice to that utterance. At the same time, tell God in your heart, “I am receiving the Holy Spirit right now by faith.“
Speak these words out in cooperation with the Holy Spirit as He gives supernatural utterance. Put action to your faith by giving voice to the unction of the Holy Spirit. You do the speaking as you yield to Him. DO NOT speak one word in your natural language. When the Spirit of God moves on your tongue and lips, lift your voice and put sound to it regardless of how it sounds. Open your mouth in faith. He will give you supernatural words!
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in our spirit or inner man, not by our natural mind, intellect, or reasoning. He may show you a word or phrase in a language you don’t know. Speak it out. He will give you more to speak as you start putting your voice and lips to what He gives you. We allow the Holy Spirit to speak and pray through our spirit as we will, and as He gives us utterance and inspiration (Acts 2:4; Romans 8:26-27). He doesn’t just take over. Don’t allow the devil to bring fear into your life to keep you from experiencing this wonderful gift!
If you obey these promptings of the Holy Spirit, you will find yourself speaking with tongues. Speaking with tongues isn’t entirely you, and it isn’t entirely the Holy Spirit but is a cooperation between you and Him. Focus on yielding to the Holy Spirit. Speak the words and the language the Holy Spirit gives you, continuing to praise God and speak to God with those supernatural words until the language becomes more and more fluent.
If you would like to receive the fullness of God by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, you can have a Pastor or ministry leader pray for you, lay hands on you, or you can pray this prayer out loud yourself:
In the name of Jesus, I ask you to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. I fully expect to receive by faith power from on high and to speak with other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gives me utterance. Thank you for pouring out the Holy Spirit upon me and immersing me in Him.
In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Baptism with the Holy Spirit brings lasting power. We receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit by faith and not by our feelings. Therefore, we don’t measure power by feelings or by what we see. When circumstances call for the need for His power and gifts, He supplies them to us as the need arises and as He wills.
The Holy Spirit is fully present, whether we feel Him or not. His gifts and power do not depend on our ability to feel them. The Holy Spirit will never leave us (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). We can receive His fresh infilling each day or as desired! The Lord may baptize us anew before an assignment and to increase the anointing (Ephesians 5:18).
Ask the Lord to give you a word of encouragement, exhortation, or comfort for someone and stir up the gift within you (2 Timothy 1:6)!
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NKJV)
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 17 (NKJV)