Be a prophet of God!

Do you really believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

We should strive to not be deceived. Therefore, we should always ask ourselves the difficult questions, so that when someone else asks us the difficult questions we will be prepared.

So are you ready to hear a difficult question?

For example, we say we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but do we really believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

If we believe, which gifts do we have? Which gifts are we currently exercising? Or is our belief mere intellectual belief, which is absolutely useless?

If we really believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit will we not be eager to know what our gifts are and want to begin using them?

If we are not exercising any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit how can we say that we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Of what use is our belief?

James said that faith without works is dead. If our belief in the gifts of the Holy Spirit does not result in us exercising the gifts then our belief in the doctrine is worthless.

The gift of prophecy is a very important gift in any church

Now consider the gift of prophecy – the gift that I want to focus on today.

1 Cor 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Prophets are very important in any church, second only to apostles (i.e. those who start a church in a place where Christ is unknown). That is because if you don’t have prophets you don’t have any timely divine guidance. You can be going astray and you will not even know it.

Having no prophets in the church is like driving on a narrow road with cliffs on both sides in a heavy dust storm. That is the situation with a vast majority of churches today.

As we go through life, we can often go astray. If there is no one to warn us of traps and of God’s impending judgment then we suffer much. A church’s health can depend on its prophets.

For a long period (several hundred years) between Joshua and Samuel there were no major prophets in Israel. They people went astray.

Pr 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.

Remember what happened when Jonah the prophet finally obeyed God and told the people of Nineveh that God would destroy them? They repented and an entire city (120,000 children, so nearly half a million people) was saved from death.

Jon 1:1-2 1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

Does God speak that way to you? Would you not want to be responsible for saving the lives of half a million people?

Do you know when David began counting the people?

1 Chron 12:1 Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.

There was no great prophet during that time to immediately stop David. There was a thirty year gap between Samuel and Nathan, and this probably happened during that time.

So David counted Israel. This displeased God, and then God struck Israel. Then David knew that he was wrong, and asked God to forgive him. God had to communicate to David his options for punishment through Gad the seer. Then tragedy struck Israel and 70,000 men fell. If there were a prophet to warn David the moment he began counting, think of how much that would have helped.

Now consider what happened when Nathan the prophet was alive. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. But he didn’t confess his sin. Instead he tried to hide it. Now if there were no prophet God would have struck Israel again, and killed David. But God sent Nathan to David and David repented. Thus David was spared, and later, through David’s son Solomon the temple was built.

That is the value of a prophet.

What is prophecy?

Prophecy is saying to another the things that God wants them to hear so that they may be edified, exhorted and consoled.

1 Cor 14:3-4 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.

What is the effect of prophecy?

When you prophesy, the secrets of people’s hearts must be disclosed so that those who doubt that God is among you now become sure. In addition, they become convicted and are called to account.

1 Cor 14:24-25 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

The gift of prophecy is a privilege of the New Testament

In the Old Testament, not everyone had opportunity to prophesy. But God spoke through the prophet Joel, saying that everyone can have the opportunity to prophesy. We should make use of this privilege.

Ac 2:17-18 17 `AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, `THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.

Note how the period after Christ rose is called the last days. Peter refers to Joel when he explains why the people were prophesying at Pentecost. So Joel’s words were fulfilled in the period of the church. Therefore we can understand that the last days are not just the final seven years before Jesus comes again.

Earnestly desire the gift of prophecy

God’s word will always accomplish its task (Is 55:10-11). The gift of prophecy is the ability to discern what God wants to say to the church and to say it. It is a great privilege to be a prophet of the living God.

Is 55:10-11 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding {in the matter} for which I sent it."

Because of the importance of the gift of prophecy, God has asked us to earnestly desire it.

1 Cor 12:31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

1 Cor 14:1-5 1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.

1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.

In the Old Testament you could not choose to be a prophet; instead, God choose you. For example, God chose Samuel.

In the New Testament we are asked to desire certain gifts. There is some element of choice. Do we make use of that?

With choice comes responsibility. If we don’t prophesy and influence the building of the church, it is our fault.

God commands us to earnestly desire the gift of prophecy. This is a command. God doesn’t say that if you’re happy and you know it then desire to prophesy.

Not just desire it, but to earnestly desire it!

The word from the Lord is rare

Nowadays, a lot of preaching and teaching is not a word from the Lord, but a word from man. The word of the Lord is rare today. This is a fulfillment of Amos’s prophecy.

Amos 8:11-12 11 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find {it.}"

This passage is not speaking about the written word (as there are a lot of Bibles) but the spoken word (the word that is heard).

The greatest need of the church today is prophets who have the word of the Lord. Today, it is here that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few.

Believe in what God can do through you

The word of the Lord was rare in the days of Samuel. Yet God raised up a prophet in that time and let none of his words fail.

1 Sam 3:1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.

1 Sam 3:19 Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail.

Can you have faith that God will do the same today for you as He did for Samuel? Can you believe that God will do that through you?

According to your faith be it done unto you.

Mt 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."

Ask and you shall receive.

Lk 11:9-13 9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

You do not receive because you do not ask, or you ask with the wrong motives.

Jas 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

The requirements for being a prophet of God

If you really desire to be a prophet of God here are some things to work on.

Cleanse your speech

Learn to cleanse your speech and abstain from wickedness.

2 Tm 2:19-21 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness." 20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

If you purify your speech then your speech can be used by God.

So how do you purify your speech?

Speak less. You will sin less.

Pro 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.

When you speak, you should speak the truth. God’s word is truth and you cannot speak God’s word if you have a habit of lying.

Pr 12:19 Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.

Learn not to exaggerate and twist words, in order to give a false description. Speak the whole truth, not just part of it, so that people are not deceived to think higher of you than they should, especially at work.

Speak simply and directly

Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.

Mt 5:37 "But let your statement be, `Yes, yes' or `No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.

Anything beyond these is of the evil one! You want to be speaking what the Lord tells you to speak, not what the evil one tells you to speak.

When asked a question, respond directly, or don’t respond at all. Don’t dodge or lie or exaggerate.

If you are wrong say that you are wrong. Don’t say, "My thoughts were a bit premature" or something that softens the damage to your ego.

Listen to the voice of God and then speak

1 Sam 3:9 And Eli said to Samuel, "Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Come into the presence of the Lord to get a word from Him.

Is 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Have a sensitive conscience. Admit your sin (especially in speech) before God. Accept the forgiveness of God. God won’t speak to you if your conscience is not clear.

Is 6:5-8 5 Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth {with it} and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

If you can’t accept God’s rebuke, reproof and correction, how can you be God’s spokesman to rebuke, reprove and correct somebody else?

No true prophet of God was concerned about offending man.

If you want to speak for God you are bound to offend men because not all men have faith.

No true prophet of God was tactful.

There is a time for tact, but a true prophet should never sacrifice clarity for tact.

Be courageous to speak all of God’s word no matter what the cost

In 1 Sam 3:11-18 we read how the first message God gave Samuel was probably the most difficult one. This was because Samuel had to tell Eli (the man who looked after him since he was a child, and the man who showed him how to listen to God’s voice (1 Sam 3:9)) that God was going to punish him.

Samuel was afraid (1 Sam 3:15) but he told Eli everything (1 Sam 3:18). To do that he had to be prepared to face Eli’s wrath. But he was courageous and trusted in the Lord.

A prophet has to be willing to tell people in authority that they are wrong. Later, Samuel had to tell King Saul that he was wrong. The prophet Nathan had to do the same for King David.

When God rejected Saul, Samuel had to tell Saul that God rejected him. This was difficult for Samuel but he did it (1 Sam 15:11,35).

When God wanted Nathan to confront David about his sin Nathan had to do it and pass judgment over David. He risked his life and did it. After all, if David killed Uriah to hide his sin, what would stop him from killing Nathan too?

Interestingly, you never find God calling Saul a man after his own heart, but God called David a man after his own heart. This is even though Saul did not commit adultery or kill an innocent man like David did.

What was the difference?

It is not the greatness of the mess you make, but your willingness to admit it without making excuses that qualifies you to lead God’s people.

When God raised the matter of Saul’s sin through Samuel, King Saul tried to make excuses (1 Sam 15) because he feared man more than God, and did not want to publicly admit his error. He wanted to look good, and God rejected him.

On the other hand, when God raised the matter of David’s sin through Nathan, King David publicly acknowledged his sin. God forgave him and did not kill him nor reject his as king.

Be ready to be persecuted

The true prophets of God were always persecuted and usually killed – mostly by the false church.

Mean what you say to God and men

This is one area to keep your conscience clear.

When you tell someone that you will pray for them, do you remember to pray for them?

When you sing, "I lift up my hands," do you lift up your hands?

If you have messed up, confess it and move on.

Desire to help people

The gift of prophecy is given to edify, exhort and comfort the church. If we have no desire to do these things then why should God give us the gift of prophecy?

Be willing to stand alone

If we haven’t conquered the desire to seek the approval of men then we cannot be the spokesperson of God. If Samuel was looking for Eli’s or David’s or Saul’s approval he would not have been able to be a prophet to them.

A prophet is never recognized in his hometown.

All the prophets were unpopular because the Word of God goes against the desires of man. God’s ways are not man’s ways (Is 55:8,9).

People have a tendency to get drawn to those who tickle their ears, not to prophets (2 Tm 4:3-4).

2 Tm 4:3-4 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Study Scripture

See what God’s prophets were like, and how they handled different situations.

See the kind of message they spoke, so that you can discern whether your message is from God or your own mind.


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