Growing up in a “Spirit-Filled" church the move of the Holy Spirit, miracles and prophecy were as common place in our doctrine of beliefs as the Trinity, tithing and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As I have matured I have also grown to appreciate what I have witnessed with my own eyes and shared with others hoping the contagious message of Christ would find fertile ground in their soul.
There are also “unique characteristics" found mostly in Spirit-Filled churches that most other churches shutter at the very mention of the word. One such “unique characteristic" is the gift of prophecy. Initially, when it comes to prophecy, many of us think of people speaking in the Kings English followed by riddles and Scripture wrapped up in heart-felt delivery. Though I would be the last of which to discount how the Lord desires to speak to His children I would like to address some abuses of the “P" word while also re-applying some much needed fear of the Lord.
As with the gift of miracles God allows His Holy Spirit to be exerted, on and through man, to deliver a resounding message using the gift of prophecy. (See last week's challenge: Miracles) However, there is a unique quality often “hushed under the carpet" of most Spirit-Filled churches, and absent from most prominent prophets today. The lack of humility combined with the fear of the Lord have become a crucial “missing link" in bonding the gift of prophecy to the church of today.
In the late 20th and 21st Century it has become to “Church Chic" to be a prophet or some derivative thereof. Today I have even heard people claiming to have “anointing" that can only be Scripturally supported by inserting ones-self in the role of Jesus Christ, a questionable practice to be certain. Still such practices have not resulted in modern day church elders and pastors attempting to bring balance to a proven work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the church has helped feed the desire for “prophetic" declarations Scriptural or not.
To establish God's placement of prophecy see Jude 14-15, Numbers 12:6-8, Deuteronomy 18:18. Yes, God uses prophecy to speak to man and show us our need for His clear and revealed Word. According to Unger's Bible Dictionary ¼ of the Bible specifically addresses the “honest treatment of prophecy and warning of excess and abuse. "
2 Peter 1:21, Jeremiah 23:16, Ezekiel 13:3, Exodus 4:16, 7: 1-2 apply what is necessary for those operating in the office of prophet and the gift prophecy. Again, it comes back to a fear of the Lord! The Biblical prophet was responsible to speak the Word of the Lord and address the people's transgressions, give them hope of pardon and consolation and be as watchmen to warn of the times. (See Isaiah 58:1, Ezekiel 22:2, Micah 3:8, Ezekiel 3:17, Jeremiah 6:17)
What prophecy is not is a platform for an individual to fortune tell, promise riches, or speak for the Lord out of the mind of man! Prophecy was always and should continue as a verbal reminder of:
Instead of “throwing the baby out with the bath water" let us treat the move of the prophetic, as well as those mortal agents who serve God, with the absolute fear of the Lord. If we are to be speaking His Word then we need to be careful not to be those guilty of misquoting or inventing the Spirit of God so we may appear to possess a gifting that the Spirit only determines to whom and how much is given. Let us all stay open the move of the Holy Spirit but respectfully cautious as we render worship, homage and obedience to Him!
Blessings to you all, Pastor Joshua
Location: 810 Del Rio Pike at 10:30 am
Pastor Joshua Johnian