Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Prophecy in Our Church

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Barry Johnson

Prophecy in Our Church Prophecy in Our Church

Date 2013-05-05
Series  
Sub-series  
Document (PDF) BFF-20130505-ProphecyInTheChurch.pdf

Call to Worship

 Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”

 Psalm 145:1-13, “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the gracious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations.”

Message

We, Bible Faith Fellowship, are a 21st Century New Testament Church, believing in the full and free movement of the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, freely exercised.

Our Church’s Statement of Faith (website) contains this declaration about our faith in the Holy Spirit: “We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, whose purpose in redemption is to convict of sin, regenerate the repentant believer, guide the believer into understanding the Holy Scriptures, indwell and give gifts to believers as He wills, that they may minister as Christ would to men. We believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and 12:26-28 should operate in the church today which yields to the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe a believer can be baptized in the Holy Spirit during the time Jesus is regenerating him, or anytime subsequent to his regeneration (new birth) experience. We believe that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, is for all believers as promised by John the Baptist, was witnessed by the early disciples of Christ, and is evidenced in the lives of many present day believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. [cf., Luke 11:13; John 7:37-39, 14:16-17; Acts 10:44-47; John 16:13, 7-8.]

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and in 12:26-28, the foundational Scriptures in our Statement of Faith as to the manifestations of the Holy Spirit operating in the church today, to the church today when yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ, we find these instructions:

for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. . . . And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, varieties of tongues.

In the first letter to the church in Corinth, a letter to a church struggling with sin in its midst and not knowing how to deal with it or even if to deal with it, Paul explains the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and emphasizes the importance of the gift of prophecy by showing it second in the order of the appointment, just after appointment of the apostolic gifts, of these gifts in the church.

Not everything in life goes perfectly, when we humans are making the decisions. Even in the church, the world remains a fallen world. Due to some misunderstandings within this Body some time ago, we withdrew the regular placement of the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit in our regular church assemblies. We have been, and remain, in prayer about restoration in our regular church assemblies of this ministry, the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit.

To aid in this prayerful consideration, today, we will re-study the Word of God, as it explains Prophecy in the Church.

First, we must understand and agree that true prophecy will always harmonize with Scripture. Scripture is a way to judge and filter prophecies to validate or invalidate them.

Second, we must understand what prophecy is: (Webster): prophecy in the New Testament is the gift of speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit predictions about the future.

Third, we must understand that there are three sources of prophecy, one is true and pure, and the other two are always impure and untrue, and we should filter, or judge prophetic utterances by reference to each of these three Scriptures, every time:

  1. 2 Peter 1:21 (HS+), “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
  2. Jeremiah 23:16 (human flesh, soul or spirit), “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.’”
  3. Jeremiah 23:13 (Satanic or demonic spirits), “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err.”

All utterances of prophecy must be judged — filtered — by other prophets in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:29 instructs us, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge”. Even Paul, who had received supernatural revelations directly from Jesus, submitted these prophetic revelations to the church leaders for their approval and concurrence, Galatians 1:11:12; 2:1-2, “But I make known to you brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it , but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. . . . Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation and communicated to them (by inference, the apostolic leaders in Jerusalem) that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.”

Scripture thus affirms that we should do the same. Prophecy should be judged by other prophets, pastors and elders. And, also, by individual Christians, depending on their maturity levels. Generally, prophecies should not be given privately, or in secret. Prophecies can always be judged — filtered — first by the leadership before publication in the assembly.

In John 4:24, Jesus speaking to the woman at the well in Samaria, explains that “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” In this context, Jesus was explaining that the worship of God is not confined to the temple or the synagogue, but is everywhere we are, and in all things that we do. That is worship, if done in spirit and in truth.

In Acts 1:8, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses for me.” The power of the Holy Spirit, is transferred in all of His giftings to believers, and is manifest in how the believers use those gifts. It is said that knowledge is power. Faith is an unusual kind of knowledge, because it is based on believed fact, not on scientifically or mathematically proven facts. The gift of prophecy requires the speaker of the prophetic message, and the hearers of the prophetic message, to believe, to have faith, that some future event is in fact going to happen, and that (remember Amos 3:7) God is foretelling the event(s) to and through His prophets, for the edification of the body. A friend of mine says he loves rattlesnakes, because they rattle and give you a warning; they tell you where they are and what is going to happen if you keep on doing what you’re doing. God’s prophets most often give warnings of bad things to come, and often accompanied by the caveat that repentance and God’s mercy are the only things to spare the church, the community, the nation, the world, from the bad things to come.

We need the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit revealed to us and in us and through us, as the Holy Spirit wills, so that through the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit, we will be powered and empowered by the knowledge of the future, that we might have assurance, in the certainty of faith, in the evidence of things not yet seen, but certain to come. If we are acting on certain knowledge from the Holy Spirit — not misled by the flesh of men or the schemes of Satan — then we will have clarity in our choices and can make quality choices for ourselves, and to lead and inform those around us.

Example: Coach and horse. If they never go anywhere, they only exist, they never fulfill their purposes. Prophetic revelations from the HS inform us of our purposes, our timing, and our resources, as well as about what to expect, as we take our being, and step out in faithful obedience into action to accomplish all the good words God prepared for us beforehand that we might walk in.

As a matter of practice, most prophetic utterances are brief, just a minute or a few minutes at most, and are not filled with personal opinions and references and anecdotes. Prophetic messages from the Holy Spirit, to convey the words of God, do not require human opinion or experience. Indeed, human opinion and experience will pollute pure, divine prophecy.

Join us in prayer as we consider restoring the Prophetic Ministry of the Holy Spirit into our regular church assemblies. Let us pray.

God bless you and amen.