The Christian life is a life of faith. But faith is powerful only when its object is God. For someone to strap explosives on their body and blow themselves up for what they believe takes great faith but if the object of that faith is false then it is misplaced faith.
In order that we might believe in Him God has revealed Himself to us. He has done this through the created order (Roman 1:20); through the prophets and the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). The record of God’s revelation is the inspired word of God and the Holy Spirit is ever present to confirm His truth. God can and does reveal His presence to us today and when He does both believers and unbelievers will see it.
Throughout the book of Acts we see the mention of signs and wonders being done. These signs and wonders are the result of God’s overt activity. When signs and wonders took place the Bible says, “they were all amazed and marveled” (Acts 2:7), and “they were all amazed and perplexed” (Acts 2:12), and “they were filled with wonder and amazement” (Acts 3:10). It seems clear that God used signs and wonders to demonstrate that He was real and present. He got people’s attention so they would hear the gospel and believe.
In 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 we see that God continues to demonstrate the reality of His presence in the church through the gift of prophecy.
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
Wayne Grudem in his book, The Gift of Prophecy defines prophecy in the New Testament as “speaking merely human words to report something God brings to mind.” In the above passage the prophecy spoken in the worship service at Corinth revealed the secrets of an unbeliever’s heart. It is this knowledge about the secrets of his heart acquired by supernatural means that convinces the outsider, the unbeliever, of God’s presence. He is so convinced that he “falls down on his face” to worship God and says, “God is truly among you.”
The church is a place where God wants to demonstrate His presence. He wants believers as well as unbelievers to know that He is real. The Holy Spirit’s activity in distributing the gift of prophecy is one of the ways God makes Himself known. The church would be a much more dynamic place if on a regular basis God revealed His presence and His blessings through the gift of prophecy. This is why Paul encourages the believers at Corinth to seek the greater gifts especially prophecy. “But earnestly desire the best gifts...pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts but especially that you may prophesy” (! Corinthians 12:31; 14:1). It is the gift of prophecy more than any other gift that makes the reality of God’s presence known in the assembly.
God is not hesitant to show us that He is among us to bless us. He is waiting upon a people who will walk before Him in faith and obedience. Then He will make Himself known in powerful ways. Let us pray for such manifestations that will result in people falling on their faces in conviction and crying out in affirmation, “God is truly among you.”