Prophets!

Acts 2:17-18 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

The Prophet Joel promised God’s Spirit would come with these gifts “in the last days.” The Apostle Peter asserted that this is what happened on the Day of Pentecost nearly two thousand years ago. Does it surprise you to hear him describe the events of Pentecost as “the last days”?

We often hear people talk about our own time as “the last days.” What few people realize is that the last days began with the ministry of Jesus. The Biblical last days run from the first coming of the Savior to his second coming. The last era of human history has been going on for a couple of thousand years. If the Prophet Joel promises that God will pour out his Spirit in the last days, we can still expect to receive his Spirit today.

What’s the difference? Having the Spirit makes us bold to speak. Twice these words say that people “will prophesy.” Even “seeing visions” and “dreaming dreams” has to do with a message from God to share. “Prophesying” isn’t mainly about predicting the future. Read the Old Testament prophets. You will see that most of their messages didn’t deal with the distant future. It dealt with how the people were living now, and how God was reacting to it. It is true the Lord has clued us in about the future of his plan to save the world. But he is not an other-worldly fortune teller, nor are his prophets. Rather, he has an urgent message of life for his people, and he sends his prophets to deliver it.

Who are they? “All people,” “your sons,” “your daughters,” “young men,” “old men,” “servants,” “men and women.” Your pastor serves in a prophetic role. He stands and proclaims God’s word to you. Sometimes our seminary is even referred to as a “school of the prophets.”

But the Spirit’s gift is not limited to the clergy. Notice the inclusivity. Our young people are little prophets–our sons and daughters. Sometimes they deliver the sincerest and purest gospel messages. Have you ever listened to a child tell a friend about Jesus? Have you ever heard them comfort the sick with their simple trust that Jesus loves you? When they stand in front of church and sing the gospel on Sunday morning, do you perceive doubt and disbelief on their faces? Surely our Lord is still pouring his Spirit out on these little prophets and moving them to speak.

How about the rest of you? They say that public speaking is the greatest fear, the most common phobia, from which people suffer. But you don’t have to stand in front of a crowd and preach a sermon for the Spirit to use you to prophesy.

Remember the old mission hymn? “If you cannot speak like angels, if you cannot preach like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus, you can say he died for all.” You can teach a Sunday School lesson. You can sing your faith in the choir. You can invite a friend to church. You parents can lead your children to Jesus with home devotions.

It’s not that complicated. The Spirit is all about the message that Jesus died and rose to save sinners. We have that message, and we have that Spirit. Say something.

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