And having sought out the disciples, we (Paul and his posse) stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they (the disciples at Tyre) were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem….On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea and we entered the house of Phillip the evangelist (who was one of the seven) and stayed with him. He (Phillip) had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us he (Agabus) took Paul’s belt…and said “Thus says the Holy Spirit…” etc. etc. Acts 21:4 and v. 8-11.
Ah, the function of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. How we miss them in contemporary Christianity as it is practiced in America…
I long for the Church to be made whole again. Not that the Church doesn’t function after a sort, or not that it isn’t a beacon in our local community. Our Lord Jesus is in charge of the state of the Local Churches everywhere. It is because I read in the Word (God’s testimony of Himself and His plans and intentions) of a similar but also different picture of the Local Church.
Note that reading on (in Chapter 20 as well as throughout the balance of 21 and into 22) that the prophetic word spoken by the daughters of Phillip and Agabus didn’t make a difference on Paul’s conviction and decision to continue to Jerusalem. Why? Don’t know-scripture doesn’t say. My guess is that Paul had a different (and deeper?) word from God to continue despite the communicated cost.
The result in this case doesn’t matter: the Girls and Aggy-baby were faithful to the Holy Spirit. That is what I take away…
At another time Paul wrote to a church who was having issues with practicing the Gifts. “I got a Gift, lookit what I can do with it…” and certainly abused the Gifts until that Church received a just reputation: “What a bunch of weirdos…” and brought dishonor on the Name of Jesus in that community. But Paul, being a wise master builder, didn’t give up on this aspect of the character of the local Church. Paul identified with them as practicing Gifts himself and encouraged them to pursue them even more—but, Paul said, let me give you a guardrail or two (see 1st Cor 12, 13 and 14 as well as the rest of the NT). However, in chapter 14 of 1st Corinthians (right after the Love chapter #13) he wrote: “Pursue Spiritual Gifts” and then a particular focus “but especially that you prophecy.”
I think that we have lost that injunction over the decades. I grew up in Christianity as a Charismatic, I saw (and shamefully in spots) participated in overzealousness and abuse. You could count me among those crazy Corinthians back then. Now I sort of identify as Reformed (Calvinist if you recognize that better) and with a significant Charismatic component in my Christianity. Now, older and a tiny bit wiser, I pray for the Holy Spirit to alight in our Community again, the Gospel being preached, folks turning away from their sin and pursuing fully the Lord Jesus and His coming Kingdom. While they are at that, progressing and maturing as Biblical disciples in every aspect-including 1 Cor 14.
Come Holy Spirit, Come. Illuminate our hearts. Make us thirst for Your Presence in our daily life-from the morning that Your Mercy shows anew to the Peace You give us as we lay our heads down each night. Make us, take charge of our growth and the process of our maturity, and cause us to be consumed with You. Make us FAITHFUL disciples of You. AMEN.