The Church Needs Prophets
Paul taught that every church should have gifted prophets – just like every church should have gifted leaders, teachers, exhorters, givers, servers, and mercy showers. So, where are they? Where are the prophets? The Church today is way out of balance and the lack of prophets’ voices may be one of the reasons. God has used prophets for thousands of years to communicate His Truth to the world. He told Paul to tell the Church, the Body of Christ, that He was going to continue using prophets in the Church.
But What Will They Say?
So, what will a person with the gift of prophecy say today? What they hear God say today. What does God say today? What Jesus says today.
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” Hebrews 1:1-2
In these last days (and we are in the last days), God speaks to us through Jesus Christ. He is the Chief Prophet of the Church. It’s clear from Matthew 1 to Revelation 22 that God is speaking to us in these last days “by His Son.” Everything the Church needs to fight the good fight and battle the forces of evil is found in the pages of the New Testament. We need prophets in churches who understand that, know how to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth, and proclaim it with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4 that when Jesus ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:7-10
This reminds us of what King David wrote in Psalm 68. During ancient times a victorious warrior king would return with his soldiers, captive enemy soldiers, and those of the king’s soldiers who had been taken captive by the enemy that the king had freed. Those soldiers were known as “recaptured captives.” Once the king returned to his capital city, he would receive as gifts those things he had acquired in battle and then give those gifts to his people.
“You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there. Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah. Our God is the God of salvation; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” Psalm 68:18-20
This is a beautiful picture of what Christ did for us. The enemy (Satan) took the human race that God Created captive. The Son of God came to earth in the likeness of humans and defeated the enemy through the shedding of His Blood on the Cross. Jesus ascended on high (returned to His Capital City), was highly exalted by God and given the Name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9), led captivity captive (recaptured the captives), received the spoils of the great battle He won, and gave gifts to men. Hallelujah!
You and I are among those who Christ made free through His Death on the Cross. He was buried (descended into the lower parts of the earth), rose from the dead, ascended back to Heaven and took His rightful place next to God the Father on the Throne. You and I are recaptured captives to the glory of God!
Gifts To Men
What gifts did Jesus give to men?
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers …” Ephesians 4:11
Why did Jesus give them to the Body of Christ?
“… for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ 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; 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, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—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 4:12-16
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are “gifts” (doma – Greek noun that means “a gift, a present”) from Jesus to His Body. The purpose for Jesus giving these gifts is to build up (edify) the Body of Christ “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 … may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”
Notice the goals:
- 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
- May grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ
Does anything stand out to you here? Everything is about Christ! The goal is Christ! The reason is Christ!
A true church prophet will not have another message. It will always be about Christ! It will never be about them or their programs or their aspirations or their earthly passions. The message of a true prophet of the Church will be about Christ – what Christ thinks – what Christ feels – what Christ wants. Nothing else – nothing less.
A true prophet of God in your church will confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and will test the spirit of anyone who says otherwise.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3
The Apostles warned believers that people would come to them with false teachings for the purpose of destroying the faith of many. A true church prophet will point out false teaching and help protect the church from false prophets and teachers.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31
“But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:12-14
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-3
So, where does a young prophet go to learn how to speak for God powerfully and effectively?
1. To the Word of God
2. To the Son of God
3. To the prophets of God
4. To the people of God
5. To the enemies of God
In our next study we’ll see what the young prophet will learn from the Word of God.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”