PROPHETS AND THE GIFT OF PROPHECY

Teaching Outline by Terry Somerville

 

The gift of prophecy and the ministry office of the prophet have been with the church since Pentecost. But recently God has poured forth the gift of prophecy in a fresh way. Many now have faith for it and are receiving these gifts and ministries. The gift of prophecy is not the same as being a prophet.

 

THE GIFT OF PROPHECY

PROPHECY IS A GIFT OF THE SPIRIT

 

1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

As a gift of the Spirit the operation of a gift of prophecy is to bring forth an inspired utterance. That is, the Holy Spirit reveals the heart of God through a thought, a vision, an audible voice, or an impression.

 

PURPOSE OF THE GIFT OF PROPHECY IS TO ENCOURAGE THE CHURCH

 

1 Cor. 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1Co 14:3,4 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. (AV)

 

EDIFICATION 3619 oikodome {oy-kod-om-ay’}

 

AV - occurrences: edifying 7, building 6, edification 4, wherewith (one) may edify 1; 18

1) (the act of) building, building up

2) metaph. edifying, edification

2a) the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness

3) a building (i.e. the thing built, edifice)

 

EXHORTATION 3874 paraklesis {par-ak’-lay-sis}

 

Occurrences AV - consolation 14, exhortation 8, comfort 6, intreaty 1; 29

1) a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)

2) importation, supplication, entreaty

3) exhortation, admonition, encouragement

4) consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment 4a) thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)

5) persuasive discourse, stirring address

5a) instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse

 

COMFORT 3889 paramuthia {par-am-oo-thee’-ah}

 

Occurrences AV - comfort 1; 1

1) any address, whether made for the purpose of persuading, or of arousing and stimulating, or of calming and consoling

1a) consolation, comfort

 

The Gift of Prophecy is not a word of knowledge! (knowing something by the Spirit) It is not a word of Wisdom (knowing what to do by the Spirit) It is a gift of edification for the church. (Like tongues is a gift for edification of the individual)

 

THE OFFICE OF PROPHET

The office of the prophet in the New Testament is one of the five fold ministries. It must be handled as seriously as one would approach being a pastor. It is a calling of God. It requires a time of divine preparation. It needs to be recognized by and in mutual submission to other five fold ministries. Lone Ranger prophet are false prophets.

 

1. Definition Of A Prophets Words

1a) a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring

the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events

1b) Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets

1b1) of the prediction of events relating to Christ’s kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions pertaining to it, the spirit of prophecy,the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due

1b2) of the endowment and speech of the Christian teachers called prophets

1b3) the gifts and utterances of these prophets, esp. of the predictions of the works of which, set apart to teach the gospel, will accomplish for the kingdom of Christ

 

2. Prophets Are God’s Gift To The Church

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (AV)

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Prophets are called by God. Everyone cans prophecy, but only God calls prophets into ministry. Beware of self-proclaimed prophets.

 

3. Prophets And Apostles Establish The Church

Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; (AV) .

The ministry of prophets establishes the church as they declare God’s plans and purposes.

4. Prophets Equip The Church Imparting Gifts By Prophecy

1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

 

5. Prophets Reveal The Hidden Plans Of God, And Warn Of Danger

Am 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

 

7. Some Differences Between New And Old Testament Prophets

  • O.T. prophets were ministers of the law , N.T. prophets are ministers of Grace
  • O.T. leaders are prophets, priests and kings. N.T. leaders are five-fold ministries.

 

 

THE DANGER OF FALSE PROPHETS

In both the old and New Testament we are repeatedly warned about false prophets. They are in the church. They may do miracles! The issue here is not the power to prophecy etc, it is the character and teaching.

Mt 7:15¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves

Mt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

TESTS OF PROPHETS - LOOK AT WHO THEY ARE!

Eze 13:3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets have been like foxes among ruins, O Israel.5 You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the LORD.6 They have spoken falsehood and divined a lie; they say, 'Says the LORD,' when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfil their word.7 Have you not seen a delusive vision, and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, 'Says the LORD,' although I have not spoken?"

 

  1. Their Teaching and Prophecies Must Be Biblical

1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. (AV)

2Pe 2:1¶ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (AV)

 

A false prophet will teach doctrine or practice contrary to scripture, even denying Christ Of course, the Holy Spirit would not contradict himself by prophesying something contrary to scripture.

 

 

2. The Spirit of the prophet must be of God

1Jo 4:1¶ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Jer 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

Jer 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

Watch out! It will be spiritual! But false prophets prophecy by their own spirit or another spirit, but not the Holy Spirit. They will speak their own mind as if it is from God, and try to control people by their prophecies.

Mt 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many

 

3.True Prophets Must Live Holy Lives and Teach Holiness

Like anyone in the ministry, a true prophets life must be and example of holiness and decency. There is no other standard.

Re 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

A false prophet will excuse the flesh, particularly prophesying approval of sexual immorality, . False prophets often direct people into their lusts!

 

 

4. A True Prophets Ministry Has the Character of Redemption.

He intercedes for the saints, weeps over sin, patiently works to perfect the saints.

Eph.4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

False prophets promote themselves. "Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess" They are angry when they are not received.

False prophets operate under the law rather than grace. They criticize , attack and condemn over sin, rather than weep and plead for repentance. Jonah was rebuked by the Lord for his lack of compassion on Niniveh.

They are driven to control meetings not respecting leadership or letting themselves be tested.

1 Cor. 14: 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

 

RULES OF CONDUCT

 

  1. We Must Have Love
  2. 1 Cor.13: 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

  3. We Must Have Order
  4. 1Cor 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted

    1Cor.14: 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge. 30 if any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

    (This is referring to prophets not just simple prophecy, but is still applicable)

    1Cor.14: 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

  5. We Must Discern The Prophecy

1Cor.14: 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge (discern)

Prophecy is discerned on the basis of:

  • The Word of God
  • The spirit of the prophecy
  • The character of the message
  • The lifestyle of the speaker

DISCERNING PROPHECY – SOURCES & TESTS

Prophetic inspiration can come from many things.

Spiritual Perception. A person who is spiritually sensitive can percive spiritual things even as a child, before being born again. This is not the gift of prophecy from the Holy Spirit as some teach. It is our spirit receiving things in the spiritual realm. Just because its from the spirit realm doesn’t mean its God!

 

Sources of Prophecy

 

  1. The prophets own heart - caused by a deceitful heart Ez 13:2 …say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Jer 23:16 They speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. Jer 23: 26 they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
  2. The prophets own spirit - Ez 13:3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
  3. A demon Jeremiah 23:13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err"
  4. Another persons spirit – sometimes we simply "read" the other persons spirit and desires
  5. The Lord

Spiritual Noise Often young prophets perceive lots of spiritual "noise" in a meeting – demons, desires, their own ambitions. They need to distinguish between simply hearing in the spirit and the voice of the Lord.

 

Paul teaches the church how to grow in hearing. In 1 Corinthians 14

 

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh (discern) what is said.

30 If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.

31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged;

32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.

 

The Tests of Prophets and Prophecy

1 Thessalonians 5:21 but test everything; hold fast what is good,

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

 

 

  1. The Word Of God – does it fit the Word of God ? Psalms 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
  2.  

  3. The spirit of the prophecy – does it bear witness of Christ in word and spirit? 1John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
  4.  

  5. The character of the message – Does it lead to holiness? Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
  6.  

  7. Confirmation - Do other prophets and prophecy agree? 1Cor.14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh(discern) what is said.
  8.  

  9. The character of the messenger – A clean vessel

 

  • Lust Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness:

 

  • Ambition 21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.