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you will not be popular 

Introduction:

The role, function and purpose of prophets is often clouded and considered to be confined only to the Old Testament and to a certain extent this is true, but it is not the full picture.
Despite popular opinion in certain places, prophets are still with us today and their ministries are vitally important.

Our presentation is lengthy, because there is much content to cover. It may seem at times that we are repeating ourselves, but only doing so to emphasise truth. It is a way that God uses to teach us.
 

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

This declaration of scripture is found in Revelation 19:10 and because it is recorded, we cannot take away from what has been said, nor can we put anything in there that God did not inspire.
It is so serious a matter that the Lord said-

I say to every man to whose ears have come the words of this prophet’s book, If any man makes an addition to them, God will put on him the punishments which are in this book: Revelation 22:18.

What is recorded in scripture is there for a purpose. Paul said-

all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

The purpose is to bring us to a state of maturity in Christ and so be complete in Him and equipped for every good work.

To bring us into this state, God has provided many tools, aids and gifts. Some are natural talents and abilities and others are spiritual. Natural abilities like education, whilst good and commendable, are not necessarily the basis on which Jesus founded His Church.
In fact, they can be a hindrance. Whilst we acknowledge the training and abilities of learned men and women, especially in the areas of theology, we are mindful that most theological training is often denominationally and intellectually based, with little scope for the work of The Holy Spirit to reveal truth, or give revelation knowledge.

If the natural mind of man is at enmity with God according to scripture, we cannot reason out the things of God by natural means—they must be spiritually discerned. When Jesus stated that He would build His Church, it was not based on a man, an organization or a structure, but on revelation. Peter saw by revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Lord said that the Father had revealed it to Peter (Matthew 16:17).

Unfortunately, many denominational groups have tried to alter scripture to suit their own beliefs. They essentially try to tear out certain pages they do not like and add their own and so the opening statement is indeed serious. Once this starts happening, where does it stop? Where does one draw the line?

To facilitate this building of His Church, we have been given a range of gifts. The Holy Spirit gave us nine gifts as listed in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. They are still as valid today as they were when Paul wrote about them. He wrote to a church that had many problems, like faction fighting, marital problems, morality issues, erroneous attitudes towards the Lord’s supper and the misuse and excess of exercising the gifts of the Spirit. He advised them to fix things up and taught on the correct usage of those gifts.

Paul also spoke in Romans 12 of other ministry gifts. He spoke of ministries of helps that are also vital. Without such good people, like those who render very needed and valuable practical assistance and those who guide and steer us in governmental manners, those of us in full time ministry would have work overload. Deacons were appointed in Acts chapter six to take some of the workload off ministers. Deacons were not to function as controlling board bodies or preach the Gospel, although they can as Philip did. Deacons are to help the members of the church in practical manners so that ministers can concentrate on the ministry proper.


A common denominator with all gifts is that they come via the conduit of the Holy Spirit and that they operate in faith and by love. Love, or charity is not a “gift”, but is the nature or character of God and is one of the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-25. A major problem often seen today is that people believe that love is all we need and that we are to love everyone. On the surface it sounds good, but in fact, it is how many new-age practitioners and others operate.
It removes the power and authority vested in a genuine Spirit-filled believer by the Lord and makes them weak and ineffective, despite their assertions. My advice is to look for the lasting fruit. Check it out.

Jesus also gave us Gifts that we call the Five Ascension Gift Ministries who are grace gifts as seen in Ephesians 4:9-14, one of which is the office of a prophet. These ministry gifts are men (no gender implied) and if we consider what Revelation 19:10 states, they in essence testify or point to Jesus. This is true with John the Baptist who pointed to Jesus.

The Lord  stated in Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:28 that John was the greatest prophet to have walked on the earth.

Prophets point to God and they function as His mouthpieces or representatives. Therefore it would be wise to see how prophets are called and appointed by God, for on this basis, we can gain a little understanding of who they are, what they are like and what they do. The genuine prophetic ministry is just as valid today, although it may take on a slightly different from to an Old Testament prophet.

From the outset, we need to understand that no man can take it upon himself to become a prophet and that no other man or organization can appoint someone to this office.
This applies to all of the ministry gifts.

God told Jeremiah that He knew him before he was born, sanctified (set apart) and ordained him to become a prophet. This is found in Jeremiah 1:5. Jeremiah, like the other prophets, did not choose this role for himself and tried to avoid this call, making all kinds of feeble excuses. When God Called Moses, he also made excuses, so becoming a prophet is not a vocational choice. Neither is becoming a pastor or a teacher or an evangelist.

It is God, not man who makes the choice. He calls, anoints, ordains and commissions men for their tasks and we are to  recognize that. Jesus chose, called, appointed and trained His people for the ministry that He gave them. He started with twelve men (one of whom betrayed Him) and we know from Luke 10:1 that He had 70 other men. We know from John 6:60-71 that many of His disciples left him. On the Day of Pentecost, 120 of His followers, including His mother Mary, attended the prayer meeting when the Holy Ghost came.

Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that 500 brethren saw Jesus after His resurrection, so we cannot continue believing that He had only 12 disciples. Similarly, we cannot believe the fallacy that prophets are no longer with us. I wonder what other assumptions and misconceptions we have been exposed to. The oft misquoted scripture saying that such things are no longer valid today, saying things like  “That which is perfect has come” definitely cannot refer to the Church, because the Church is still a work in progress. We are far from unity.

We are far from walking in complete love. We are far from walking in the fullness of the stature of the Man Christ Jesus, in the unity of faith, a perfect man with real knowledge of the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is still teaching us.

Prophets in our day are still with us and their ministries are vital.

They have a specific role in the Church and will function to the day Jesus returns.

As we look at prophets today, we shall see that they reveal things and that they are God’s friends.

Treat them well.

In our presentation, we shall look at the following:

  • Titles
  • Why God chooses and uses Prophets
  • Who or what is a prophet
  • What are Prophets like?
  • Prophets are called and ordained by God
  • Prophets battle and wait
  • What do Prophets do?
Titles Why God chooses and uses Prophets Who or what is a Prophet? What are Prophets like? Prophets are called and ordained by God Prophets battle and wait What do Prophets do?

If you are not a prophet, then receive a prophet and you will receive the reward accordingly.

Prophets can and do speak plainly, sometimes behave differently to most church folk and tend to have a more solitary life than other folk. It is not because they are rude or anything like that, but because they “tune in to God” and do not care if they are popular or not. Their focus is on pleasing the Lord and, something often lacking, doing their best to be obedient to Him.

This is why I said that if you are a prophet, you will not be popular.

It may explain why you are the way you are and why things have happened in your life the way they did.
I hope that this has been useful...

Robert


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