1. To have a personal revelation of Jesus Christ.B. Matthew 16:13-17
2. To know Him and to make Him known; to carry a testimony of Christ – this is the primary purpose of the prophetic.
3. To know the future is not the primary focus of the prophetic.
1. [Jesus] said to them [disciples] "But who do you say that I am?" (v. 15).C. I Corinthians 12:3
2. And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16).
3. ..."Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father Who is in Heaven" (v. 17).
4. Peter's bold confession of who Jesus was came by prophetic revelation, not by natural understanding.
5. It takes God to know God!
1. Paul said, "...No one can say 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit."D. The True Prophetic Pierces Defenses
2. The true prophetic purpose is to reveal the Lordship of Jesus.
1. Read John 1:35-51 – In this passage, Nathanael's barriers are overcome by piercing revelation of words of knowledge and discerning of spirits through Jesus.
2. John 4:7-26 – In this lesson of the woman at the well, we see demonstrated how the prophetic pierces our defenses and barriers (Photo courtesy: Simon Dewey):
a. She was a woman.3. Revelatory gifts are like anti-tank missiles used to shatter the enemy's schemes, expose darkness, and release freedom to the captives.
b. She was met by a single man.
c. They were not of the same race.
d. She was a "half-breed" Samaritan.
e. She worshipped false gods.
f. She was an adulteress.
g. She was deceitful, having lied and withheld the truth.
h. True prophetic revelation broke down the defenses and she responded to His message.
i. She acknowledged Him as a Prophet and recognized Him as the Messiah.
A. Reasons Why Snares and Hostility Abound
1. Because of the sin of man. The original sin of man is rebellion against God's Word. In the heart of man, there is hostility towards the entrance of God's Word. The Holy Spirit does an intrusive work. Note the revelatory word does not compete with the Word of God – i.e. the Scriptures – it compliments it!)B. The By-Product of Hostility On the Prophet
2. Because of the offensive way it is packaged.
a. I Corinthians 1:26-28 – God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise.3. Because of the method God chooses to reveal Himself. Numbers 12:6 tells us that He speaks in veiled ways prophetically through dreams and visions. Stumbling blocks are often placed in the pathway to create a seeking heart and the grace of humility.
b. God's package was often offensive:
i. Moses grew up as an Egyptian prince in Pharaoh's house.c. God offends the mind to reveal the heart.
ii. Peter was sent to the Jews,
iii. and Paul, a Jew, was sent to the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:7-8).
4. Because of the lack of appreciation. The three-stage process of revelation, interpretation, and application can equal a three-stage problem.
1. Now, the risk is not in promoting the prophetic (in a wrong way), but of putting them to death with the sword of the tongue.C. Personal Snares
2. A prophetic person might react to the hostility and become:
a. Adversarial3. The people then begin to refuse the prophet and his word – often, then, the prophetic person reacts accordingly.
b. Outside of the ranks of the Church
c. Judgmental in the words released
d. Isolated and unsubmitted
4. God's intention, though, is for the prophetic (as well as for the other ministries) to operate in a team-context of peers and friends, with mutual support being a blessing to one another. The safety net of a caring community and team ministry is a vital and necessary ingredient.
1. There can often be confusion over the issues of personal identity and security.
a. Your identity is who you are. We must cultivate an understanding of who Christ is in us and who we are in Him as our foundation for life and ministry.2. As a result of personal internal snares:
b. Your function is what you do. But let us proceed wisely here, as our foundation in life and in the Body of Christ will go through many changes. A measure of significance is found in our placement, but our proper identity must be found in Christ.
c. You are not what you do!
d. You are loved because of grace, not because of how well you perform or how dynamic your gifting may be.
a. The prophetic person can become stubborn and dogmatic – not so much because he is so rebellious and wicked but because he is just trying to survive!3. Misconceptions about the release of the prophetic message:
b. Extravagant attempts then come forth claiming "God says" everything. These can be said louder, longer, with more emotion.
c. An unteachable spirit can settle in, "I hear from God! I learn from no man!"
a. You are going to have a "public ministry" becomes the goal. This is the wrong goal and idea. First you are called to function at home, at work, at school, and then elsewhere according to His will.
b. People often have the misconception that one of the highest forms of prophetic release is the spontaneous and ecstatic word that is spoken. Instead, one of the highest forms of prophetic release is intercession.
c. What is the prophetic presence and gifting for, then? It is first of all for you!
d. Our goal is not to be known by being right or the best. Our goal is that Jesus Christ may be made known! With proper foundations in place, proper ministry may proceed forth.
Test every spirit to see if it is from God. What ideas, concepts, teachings, or information are coming forth? What is the "heart" of the issue? Is the Cross of Jesus presented as the source of life?
B. Don't Be a Prophecy Junkie!
The revelatory word compliments and does not compete with the Word of God. Be a Word-aholic first! Let the revelatory gifting be the icing on the cake – not the main course.
C. Understand the Nature of the Prophetic
1. Most words are invitations to respond to God with conditions that first be met. Few are declarations that something will automatically come into being.
2. Few are immediate, "now" words. Most are words that help us in the process of becoming.
3. Few words get us out of our dilemma. They are used to shed light, comfort, and encouragement to continue on. There are no shortcuts with God!
4. Direct your faith on the God of the Word. Your focus is not on the promise but on the God who promised. When our faith is misplaced, it produces fantasy and unreal expectations.
5. Realize the clarity and cost equation. What God counts as significant will often have great opposition by the enemy. Paul was warned repeatedly of how much he would suffer for Christ's sake. Every promise contains a cost.
6. Give room for "time lapse." As most words are invitations toward an end, there is a duration of time in between while the person is being prepared for the promise.
7. Knowledge is not our primary goal! The prophetic words are tokens or signposts pointing the way to the One Who is the answer.
Do not put out [despise, quench] the Spirit's fire [prophecy, passion, zeal]...with contempt (NIV). Due to errors, failures, and abuses, the temptation can be to despise the whole mess! But hold on! Don't put out the Holy Spirit's fire by overreacting (see I Thessalonians 5:19-20).
B. II Thessalonians 2:2
1. Do not become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy.C. Hold Fast To That Which Is Good!
2. There are two ditches to avoid:
a. Discarding, rejecting, and becoming unsettled by the prophetic.
b. Being enamored and captivated by it.
It is worth the journey. Great benefit will come as we cultivate the character needed to carry the gift (see Ephesians 4:1; I Timothy 2:2).
Dr. James W. Goll
Encounters Network • Prayer Storm • Compassion Acts Team