But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
Thoughts for Today:The word "prophecy" comes from two Greek words: "PRO" and "PHAINO". "PRO" means "before", and "PHAINO" means "cause to shine". In the Bible, this term is most often used in relation to the Word of God. Therefore, someone who is "prophesying" is one before the Word of God and causes it to shine. It is taking the message of God and illuminating it in such a way that it both attracts and motivates people by its truth. Peter said it this way (2 Peter 1:19, NKJV): "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
Previously, Paul told us that prophesying is designed to edify believers. Therefore, because it is truth (communicated in clear language), it has a beneficial effect on any unbeliever who is present. Here is the four part effect upon the unbeliever that Paul describes in our passage today:
1. It convicts or convinces;
2. It forces some sort of self-evaluation;
3. It discloses what they don't know about their own hearts;
4. It calls for acknowledgment.
Prophesy reveals the reality of where someone is spiritually. I have seen this happen literally hundreds of times when unbelievers come to a church service and listen to the Word of God being taught to believers. At first they are concerned, then convicted, and finally (because they've been awakened to the truth of the Gospel) -- they come to the Lord. So many conversions have come about this way I have lost count.
Prophesying is the acknowledgment and professing of divine activity with human words and rationality. There is nothing disorderly about it (unlike speaking in tongues), because it is conducted in a language that everyone understands.
Questions to Ponder:When was the last time you invited an unbeliever to church? This is one of the ways the Lord calls people into relationship with Him. It is how He reveals His truth -- through prophecy during a church sermon. Will you invite someone next week?