PROPHETIC AND THE POWER OF GUIDELINES
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)
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, But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men, (1 Corinthians 14:2-4). This statement by Paul is preceded by the kicker concerning spiritual gifts and how they operate in our lives. It always comes down to a desire to be used by God, Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 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 14:1-5).
Prophesy must always be given in love and encouragement. It will rarely, if ever be personally 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. 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). diermēneúō (from 1223 /diá, “thoroughly across, to the other side,” which intensifies 2059 /hermēneúō, “interpret”) – properly, thoroughly interpret, accurately (fully) explain. Prophetic ministry is always about giving, like all ministry, which is contrary to our usual taker attitudes. Dia: a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act, Thayer’s Definition
- Through: of place/with/in
- of time: throughout/during
- of means: by/by the means of
through: the ground or reason by which something is or is not done
by reason of/on account of/because of for this reason/therefore/on this account
I had someone ask me, “what about the prophet getting up and speaking an errant pastor, and then being universally escorted out of the sanctuary? Correction is always supposed to be private first. The guidelines Jesus established in Matthew 18:15-19 are major keys that help us understand how we present public correction or words. Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
Dealing with a Sinning Brother
Correct correction isn’t an option. Nor is the challenge to live correctly. This is a Jesus mandate. A public forum isn’t the first rule, it’s the last rule. There are other biblical proscriptions as well that apply, like being in submission to the place where the ‘word’ and the revelation are supposed to apply, being in relationship, being recognized as credible, etc. Without those aspects, words of correction should never be entertained or released. It has been my observation that there are numerous persons who have deep psychological issues and trauma who need public forums to vent and let out their frustrations for lack of recognition, lack of credibility, lack of accomplishment, etc. Many who see themselves as prophetic are people living on a yesterday word that wasn’t a real God Word, which leads to frustration, alienation and disillusioned affections and frustrations with the LORD that are directed at people they perceive as being what they should have been.
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.
POWER OF PROPHETIC SAFEGUARDS
In order to have a safe environment for revival and prophetic flow, there are safety measures we have put in place. 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.
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.”
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.
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.
POWER OF PROPHETIC RESPONSIBILITY
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.
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. Luke 15:3-5, So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Words given often have good intent but little prophetic content. Or just because a word comes and everything seems to go in the “opposite direction” doesn’t mean the word is false. That is called “prophet process” and if you listen too or read Graham Cooke he teaches that this is a part of the process at times.
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. In order to raise up a company of prophets, learning to move in the prophetic requires a humble and teachable spirit to accept correction. Discernment and hearing God’s voice must 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.