The Prophet’s Voice (Part 8)
The next ministry for a church prophet is exhortation. The English word is defined online as “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something; a speech or written passage intended to persuade, inspire, or encourage; language intended to incite and encourage; an utterance, discourse, or address conveying urgent advice or recommendations.” The Greek word translated as exhortation is paraklesis, meaning “a calling to one’s side, to one’s aid.” Interestingly, Jesus called Himself and the Holy Spirit parakletos, from the same root word for “exhortation.” (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7)
This is important for a church prophet to understand because our work of “exhortation” must come from the Holy Parakletos rather than from ourselves. What equips any Christian to urge, persuade, inspire, incite, or advise anyone else? The Holy Spirit does that work and as long as the church prophet is coming alongside of another person and communicating to them what the Spirit says, we can truthfully say that we are ministering “in the Spirit.” No one knows the things of God “except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11), so we MUST hear from the Spirit to know what God is saying to us and others.
The Apostle Paul understood the importance of the ministry of exhortation in churches. Here’s what he wrote to the Thessalonians about his ministry.
“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Notice how Paul included the ministries of comforting and charging with that of exhortation. Remember that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are Comforters (parakletos). Paul explained that his ministry to the Thessalonians included exhortation, comfort, and charging. The word “exhorted” is parakalountes. The word “comforted” is paramuthoumenoi (“speaking closely with tenderness”). The word “charged” is marturomenoi (“testify, witness” based on evidence – the word “martyr” comes from the root noun martus). Paul was so bold as to say that the Thessalonians were “witnesses” (martures), and God also, of “how devoutly and justly and blamelessly” he, Silas and Timothy had behaved themselves toward those who believed.
Church prophets should expect certain results from their ministry. Paul addresses those in 1 Thessalonians 2 – “that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” There is the “holy goal” of all ministry, that God’s people would “walk worthy” of God. The Greek words are peripatein humas axios – “conduct your behavior humans in the sphere of being worth the weight” of God.
How much does God weigh? Seriously. How much does He weigh? How much something weighs is an ancient idea of what something was worth. The idea of axios (“worthy”) and axioo (“worthily”) in a Christian’s life is connected to God’s weight (worth), so it is an important question to answer. Here are some answers from God’s Word.
“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:4
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.” Hebrews 3:1-3
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth. Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:8-13
No question that God is WORTHY! His weight and worth are greater than that of the universe, which God created. So, what does that mean to a prophet of the church? Look at what the Apostle Paul said about the humble heart of the prophet John the Baptist.
“And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.” Acts 13:25
Humility before God is where we begin walking “worthy” of God. Look at what Paul told the Christians in ancient Corinth.
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:9
Paul wrote Christians about the importance of conducting their lives in a manner “worthy” of God’s worth. He “exhorted” them to live out their lives with God’s worth always in view.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.” Philippians 1:27-28
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
In the next part of our study we will learn from the Chief Prophet, Jesus Christ, how to exhort the Church, which is His Body.
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.”