In my last post I explained why the gift of tongues used in church was not an effective tool to bring new believers to Christ. Instead, the Apostle Paul says that it is the gift of prophecy instead that should be used to convict unbelievers of sin and the need for repentance. “Prophecy,” as used here, simply means the clear speaking of God’s commandments in words that can be easily understood. A prophet does not necessarily need to have a personal vision from God; a prophet can be someone who preaches God’s commandments out of the Bible.
Here is how the gift of prophecy in a church brings unbelievers to Christ:
But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” (I Corinthians 14:24-25 NIV)
It is important for an unbeliever or an inquirer who comes in to church to hear the gospel message clearly. In a healthy church everyone is prophesying, that means that everyone knows true doctrine and are speaking it clearly in an orderly fashion. They are not arguing with each other or speaking out of turn, but they are openly worshiping and praising God for His blessings. When a sincere seeker hears them talk about Jesus and the cross, he is convicted of sin and brought under judgment of all, and the secrets of his heart are laid bare. He sees that he is a sinner, and that God really does forgive sins through the blood of Christ. Once the Holy Spirit has convicted their hearts through the clear preaching of the truth, they may very literally fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”