PROPHECY: RULES CAN WE LIVE WITH THEM, OR CAN WE LIVE WITHOUT THEM?
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16)… I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification (1 Corinthians 14:4-6).
Work of Holy Spirit in our lives:
- power to witness Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth
- boldness to preach Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness
- special gifts 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
- spiritual fruit Galatians 5:22-23
Names expressing work of Holy Spirit
- Comforter John 14:26
- Spirit of God Ephesians 4:30
- Spirit of Truth John 14:17
- Advocate -legal term-Lawyer John 14:16
- Teacher John 14:26
- Helper Romans 8:26
MANIFESTATIONS: RESPECTABILITY VERSUS EXTRAVAGANCE (THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTEGRITY AND RESPECTABILITY)
In the war between extravagance and respectability, God always, without exception in the Scriptures, judges respectability and exonerates or justifies extravagance.
The ointment poured on Jesus feet is one example. This extravagant expression of love was worth one year’s salary. The disciples said they could have fed the poor with the money. Feeding the poor was a biblical, respectable activity. Jesus, however, blessed the extravagance.
David wildly danced before the Ark of the Lord wearing a priestly, linen garment rather than his royal robes. Michal, his wife, rebuked him for not being respectable. David replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” David was blessed of God for his extravagance; Michal, the one who esteemed respectability, was cursed by God with barrenness.
The one hundred and twenty people who appeared from the upper room on the day of Pentecost, were accused of drunkenness. Yet, God vindicated them by filling them with power and using them to carry out the purposes of God in the earth.
The evangelical church only sees the first century church and the twenty first century church. Unfortunately, we have amnesia when it comes to church history. We act like God has done nothing, taught nothing, showed us nothing in 2000 years. Much church history teaches us wisdom, reveals God’s activity, and teaches us his ways. These kinds of things occur in every great awakening. Such weird things happened during the past moving of God’s Spirit like jerking, barking, falling, dancing, shouting. All of these manifestations are in Wesley’s ministry as well as, Whitefield’s, Edward’s, Finney’s, the awakening in Wales, and other revivals.
Why does God do it this way? Probably because He wants us to become prophetic. He offends us, tests us, and humbles us. God delivers us from inhibitions. The Spirit fills us with joy, faith, love, and power. I don’t know why He does it this way, through spiritual phenomenon, but I do know why he is doing it: to make us like Jesus.
Check the fruit. Interview those people so affected by the Spirit. If you ask around and question people who have experienced phenomena, you will find that almost without exception the experience is good for people. In these encounters, God reveals His presence, power, and love. The awareness of God’s presence and awesome power becomes real to these seekers. The reality of His presence will accomplish many things in our lives: destroy bondages; deliver from habitual sins; heal cultural infections (rationalism, materialism, faithlessness).
Here are some guidelines when you are dealing with manifestations that may make you uncomfortable:
- Have historical revivals in the past contained these phenomena?
- Check the fruit: interviews will reveal very positive influences and effects on people.
All modern prophecy is imperfect. The use of guidelines for the practicing of the prophetic gifting, like restricting novices from speaking about dates, mate or babies is an intentional act of protection, as the guidelines help to protect the person who is growing in their gifting, keeping them from exaggeration, deception or what I call “propha-lying.” Sometimes people go overboard in their exuberance to be recognized and used ministerially when among other believers. The guidelines help in discipling people into effective ministry.
The problem with some of the “so called” prophetic stuff that passes as prophetic in some circles is that it is nothing more than arrogant, critical, faultfinding bitterness, wrapped in the cloak of “the lone, persecuted truth-telling prophet”. Loren Sandford (John & Paula’s son) addressed that very issue one time, stating: “most prophets are persecuted not because of the content of their message but rather that the prophet is being a turkey.”
Most of these rules and insight came from The Vineyard and are not intended to harm or mute prophetic flow. They also protect the dignity of the person being ministered too, as overblown words can be destructive and can be used of the enemy to create bondage. In my opinion only 85% of what is identified as prophetic words are God inspired at best. This means there has to be a means of judging prophesy and helping people grow, 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent (1 Corinthians 14:29-30). As to its place in Scripture, it is a principle, not a stated objective. To say it isn’t valid on this basis would disqualify many other aspects of life and discipleship.
Keep things simple!
- Do not project what God has been doing in your life onto the person or group with whom you are prophesying.
- It is best to present prophetic insight in such a way that the person feels free to say “no, thank you” to what you have spoken, (we are not to control, manipulate, or pressure), Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:28-30).
- Remember that personal prophecy is conditional.
- These guidelines are used by virtually every major credible Renewal group, including Toronto, Redding, Pasadena, Randy Clark, John Paul Jackson and others as a basis to help people, not restrict them. I would say their use has been successful, not a dismal failure.
FINDING THE FORMULA – Prophecy is affected by free will, as we have a choice in accepting or rejecting it, and we have the responsibility to judge prophecy. When prophecy has an element of correction or direction, it should only come from those who are flowing in the ministry and who carry the primary responsibilities of oversight (pastors/Elders), as it their responsibility to give proper direction, But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men, (1 Corinthians 14:2-4).
Prophesy must always be given in love and encouragement. It will rarely, if ever be corrective in nature. The Lord’s voice is loving and gentle and quickens the heart. As we practice our giftings, the voice of the Lord becomes very clear in the midst of the loud, clunky and pushy voice of the enemy. If we are not sure about a word, we can certainly say so.
There are certain flags that will be taught to watch for as we start walking in the prophetic. There is a balance between exercising caution and walking in obedience to the Lord’s call on your life. We have a responsibility to give a word when it is from the Lord. It is important to realize too, that the prophetic is a very beautiful and extraordinary gift especially when given in maturity and covered in God’s love, and often gives hope to the hurting. The enemy does not want us to walk proficiently in this call. That is why it is important to be teachable while learning to walk in this gift. Practicing in a safe environment will ensure clearer discernment of the Lord’s voice. Perfect love casts out fear.
The Bible is telling us in that portion of scripture that there are three things that God will do when he is giving prophetic words:
- Prophesy is for edification. Edification means to strengthen, to build up in the faith, to profit spiritually. So when a prophetic word is spoken, it’s for the purpose of your edification, building you up, it’s for you to profit spiritually. Now if you discover somebody prophesying and suddenly you are drained, you are burdened, it actually pulls you down – it’s not a word from God because the Bible says the purpose of prophecy is to build you up and encourage you. You should come out of an experience with a prophetic word feeling charged up and ready to go. But if a prophetic word takes away your faith and you feel drained, it’s a word you want to discount.
- Prophetic words are for exhortation. The Greek word is paraclesis, it means somebody who is called along to help. It’s for encouragement. And by the way did you know that the bible uses the word paraclete or paraclesis for the comforter the Holy Spirit. So when you are prophesying in the area of exhortation, you are functioning in the function of the Holy Ghost, coming alongside somebody, beginning to give them encouragement, beginning to bring fire and building up saying you know you can make it, you can do it. When you speak that word into somebody’s life they begin to say thank you so much, you don’t know what I have been going through, that word has just made my life, you just made my day – you are functioning as an extension of the Holy Ghost
- Prophesy is for comfort. The Greek word is paramuthia; it means to draw near in order to speak soothingly, comfortingly, consoling. It’s an appeal and an entreaty
So you find the threefold purpose of prophetic words in the New Testament are all positive. They are words of hope, words of encouragement, not these shenanigans that are passed around and act like they have been drawn from the pages of the OT and they are breathing fire, spitting and they are like demon manifesting. That is not NT prophetic words.
Is there a possibility that the prophetic word is tainted or it’s biased? Tainting simply means this; if because of my past experience, if because of what I think or how I have been conditioned I can taint the prophetic word; for example somebody who has been abused may begin to speak a prophetic word that is harsh and judgmental. So you have to say is there a tainting.
FINDING FREEDOM- The prophetic expression of ‘gift’ or chrism is designed for edification and encouragement. Prophetic insight and truly prophetic people would see an end of gossip, slander and snipping. PROPHETIC RESTORATION Genesis 2:8-10, And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
RE-ISSUANCE OF INTIMACY- The fragrant aroma of Heaven comes from a place apart from receiving; it comes from an offering of remembrance. BARRIERS TO A PROPHETIC LIFE:
- The question of location and the call to prophetic intimacy
- The question of information and the exchange of the source of intimacy
- The question of activity that violates intimacy
- The question of prophetic responsibility
Father’s Voice– God desires to speak to all of His children. It is our responsibility to prophesy the Father’s love, and not our own flesh so that all may know HIM. We must always “test the spirits” to assure that we are following after His love for them. The Lord is faithful to teach us HIS WAY of doing things. As we are faithful to move in obedience, our giftings are perfected in His love.
The Heart of the Father– Ministry starts with having the heart of the Father. The pastoral heart, the shepherd who goes after the one, leaving the 99. Scripture says, “the spirit of prophecy is Jesus” Revelation 19:10, And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This means several things that may not automatically come to mind. One is, we speak what the Father is doing. The second, that it is given in the spirit of our Lord Jesus, in love, in truth and in power when we prophesy correctly. When we achieve the place where we are abiding in Him, we have union, becoming continually “spirit led”. This is achieved by continually yielding, completely surrendering our will to His will.
Prophetic Responsibility- Bill Johnson teaches that there is a dual responsibility when it comes to prophecy on both sides: giving and receiving prophecy. The one prophesying has to recognize that the LORD desires to speak to each and every one of His children, and to those who have not yet been redeemed. We can trust that God will speak in a situation if the attitudes of the heart are correct. When we yield over to Holy Spirit, we can trust that He will speak. We must then be careful to give the prophecy in the purest form given by Holy Spirit. There are many scriptures against false prophesy and giving words to people in the Lord’s name, when it is not the Lord.
FINDING THE MARGINS- The proper use of the prophetic mantle moves against the negative and releases the positive. Jesus became nameless and faceless in order for the Father to be made known. We can reject those prophets or so called prophetic people, that seem to prophesy out of the flesh or pride or even envy. These are called curses, and we do not have to receive a word just because someone says they are prophetic. Guard your heart and mind against these kind. Give grace in all things and correct them if led by Holy Spirit. God abhors a false prophet.
It says in Scripture to honor the prophets. Part of the reason is that a prophet goes through an incredible amount of testing until they are like gold, able to be trusted by the Lord. These ones are anointed of the Lord, and must be honored and prayed for, just as you would a leader or Pastor in the church. Honor a prophet and receive a prophet’s reward.
The Lord is constantly refining us like gold. He is raising up an end time generation that will be effective and mighty in power against the powers of darkness. He will use prophetic gifts to speak to those desiring a God of the Supernatural, that is revealed in POWER. As we submit to the Lord in obedience and humility, we will be trusted with anointing to bless others.
Importance of Prophecy & Prophets– The Lord does nothing without first telling His prophets. We desire to establish a “safe” place for the prophetic to take place. In scripture, the relationship of the prophet, or eagle, was to act as “watchman on the walls” in close relationship with governmental authority. An example of this is King David and Nathan the prophet. As the Lord brings you to a place of prophetic activation, we encourage “practice” and freedom in this environment.
Leadership Oversight– Leadership will need to closely oversee and instruct each person as the Lord leads. Along with the freedom to prophecy in this closed environment, there is also responsibility when moving in prophetic gifts and a level of maturity and healing is required to be able to give pure prophetic words without filtering in our own “paradigms”. Therefore, careful instruction in prophecy will be given. Learning to move in the prophetic will require a humble and teachable spirit to accept correction. Discernment and hearing God’s voice will be emphasized. Training and release will need to occur before a person will be asked to minister outside of this close setting. In time, a person with a prophetic gift will be able to give and receive prophecy with the correct attitudes of the heart, spiritual maturity, without fear and move in the flow of Holy Spirit’s pure stream of love for the body and for “nonbelievers”.
It is the receiver’s responsibility to receive a word from a prophetic person, encouraging them in their gift if they are new to it. They then must submit this to the Lord and ask Him to confirm it. We must be careful not to receive it in our spirit automatically, as woundings can occur and doors can be opened in the spirit. It is important to understand that the Lord will continually build upon something He is telling you. It will not just happen once. Most of the time, when you receive a word, it will be in confirmation of something He is already telling you.
- Discerning of spirits enables believers to distinguish – by means of spiritual insight – the motivating spirit behind certain words or deeds, be it human, demonic, or divine.