The message of repentance
will take us through the impending judgement to the vision of glory. Prophetic
ministry is threefold: the message of repentance we hear, the burden of
judgement we feel, and the vision of glory we shall see. Prophets have
ears that hear the counsel of God, hearts that feel his purposes, and eyes
that see the future. Prophets see the end from the beginning and know
the ways of perfect love to get there! So great, so needed their ministry,
that GOD CAN DO NOTHING EXCEPT HE TELL HIS PROPHETS (Amos 3:7). Churches
are founded upon apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20), men who flow in
the mother river of revelation - the new, now words of a living God. Who
can awake the church today out of the spirit of deep sleep in England?
A stupour, a mental and spiritual blindness that has come upon preachers
as well as congregations (see Isaiah 29:9,10). Who can bring a fresh revelation
of Jesus Christ and him crucified? Who can correct the flood of charismatic
heresies of the past ten years? Who can build the wall of our Lord’s testimony
and travail with weepings? There is only one answer. Prophets.
Before we go any further
I must tell you where I am coming from. Born again, all of grace in
a Wigan “Coronation Street” bedroom in 1973 I was quick to embrace evangelical
doctrine, until God broke the mould in 1975, the second week in August,
and filled me with the Holy Spirit. Tongues gushed forth, but I knew the
dove had come to rest on me, and had a sense Christ actually was indwelling,
within my spirit. Soon after this I needed deliverance ministry, and the
demons departed in his mighty name. My desire for truth took me to the
Bible college of Wales where Arthur Neil and Ieaun Jones lay the foundation
of teaching ministry while the example of Samuel Howells in prayer spoke
deeply to my heart. I am convinced, then as now, that praying goes beyond
preaching, in the sense that spiritual breakthrough has to happen
before we behave what we believe. After a painful two years as an evangelical
curate with charismatic leanings, God had to break the mould again. In
1981-2 I discovered a discipline in intercessory prayer through praying
in other tongues and the vital importance of the word confirmed with signs.
Increasingly I see the sense
of holiness teaching in Romans 6, 2 Corinthians 4 and Philippians 3. So,
in short, I’m a mongrel, but going on, thirsting for the word of the truth
of the gospel. That is not the evangelical word (although our foundations
must be there!).
It’s not the charismatic
word because there will come a day when those truths will not carry you
on, because they usually deny death to self teaching by paying only lip-service
to it. Truth you know by intimately experiencing it, will set you free
from doctrinal prejudice, and your particular church mould. Who can cause
us to experience truth? Apostles and prophets of the Paul, Barnabas, Apollos,
Agabus kind. God is restoring those of the rare kind in the church today.
We hold fast to the Head, Jesus, by joints (Ephesians 4 Ministries) and
ligaments (Romans 12 gifts), as Colossians 2:19 exhorts.
Prophetic ministry comes
on three levels. Firstly, Agabus (Acts 11:27-30, 21:10-14), the Ephesian
4 prophet. God makes a man a prophet. Elijah. Isaiah. Ezekiel. John the
Baptist. Very few are called to this hard road of power, purity and persecution
- “Some prophets”. We know that gift of prophecy doesn’t qualify you to
the ministry of prophet. Philip’s daughters prophesied with sweet voices
of encouragement, comfort and edification. Agabus came to Paul out of the
blue, with no etiquette, to blow the cobwebs away with a THUS SAITH THE
LORD. He was sent by the Spirit to bring a surprise reminder to Paul, to
light up the reality of a past encounter. The Spirit had already spoken
to the apostle concerning persecution and crisis in every city. He was
not to return on furlough to Jerusalem. He was going to come to the worse
crisis. The human element in God’s people (Acts 21:4) was beginning to
confuse Paul. They prophesied not to go to Jerusalem because their emotions
were not yet cross-centered (21:12,13). How much prophecy today in guidance
is incorrect because the living word has not divided soul and spirit? Soulish
gifts cause havoc. That’s why Agabus was needed to stir up memories in
the background of Paul’s mind.
How easy it is to forget
revelation when many dear saints in need press upon you. Agabus quickened
Paul in the expedition and execution of the will of God. There was an abrupt
end to fellowship (Acts 21:13). Sheltered fellowship is a false refuge
when the Lord wants to thrust us out. Ties of human sympathy are the strongest
in preventing us from doing the will of God. Paul said “What do you mean
by weeping and breaking my heart?” He loved them but it was time to go
and face the prospect charged with hazard. Prophets like Agabus, help us
to face the cross. The criterion for the will of God is the cross - the
surrender of yourself wholly for God. May we renounce our self-leadings,
and depend on the Holy Spirit through true prophets.
2 Chronicles 20:20 is a great
principle - believe HIS prophets and prosper. Did Paul prosper in going
to Jerusalem? Yes, because it took him to Rome to write the most sublime
epistles - Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians - the apex of divine revelation.
Agabus proved to be God’s prophet; in establishing the purpose of God.
His prophetic THUS SAITH THE LORD seemed to bring everything to an end
for Paul at Jerusalem. But no, his room in Rome became an anteroom of heaven.
The prophet brings the principle of the Cross before the resurrection in
2. PHILIP’S DAUGHTERS
The gift of prophecy is to
do five things.
(1) Edification this
means to build up or charge up like a battery. From edification we get
the word “edifice” of a building. Anointed prophecy will strengthen you
in your inner man.
(1 Corinthians 14:3).
(2) Exhortation calls you
nearer the holy standards of the word of God. It measures our behaviour
against the plumbline of the word. It includes warning and correction,
not in terms of doctrine or emphasis of a particular set or group, but
the balanced word. Truth must be spoken in love. Jesus was full of truth
and grace. Truth is one arm looking for another. Truth and trust……etc.
(3) Comfort is speaking tenderly
to. Here is prophecy coming to you from the Spirit of counsel. God’s people
need comfort when they suffer so they can minister comfort to those who
also suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). These verses say something very profound.
YOUR EXPERIENCES ARE NOT PRIMARILY FOR YOU!
(4) To convict of sin (1
Corinthians 14:25,26) How we need meetings where we fall on our faces convinced
that God is speaking straight into our hearts! The glory of God as the
perceptible presence of Jesus must enter in. We need the spiritual breakthrough
of repentance today. Prophecy from Father’s heart is one way toward this.
(5) To learn (1 Corinthians
14:31) When certain people function under the unction of the Spirit we
learn. Those deep in prayer, deep in doctrine, who know the Cross work
in their lives will prophesy anointed truth so we learn the words and ways
of God. Shallow prophecy always follows shallow teaching. Where groups
hear meat as well as milk, the depth of prophecy will deepen. Prayer fellowship
with the risen Lord must occur for true prophecy. Also remember that better
Christian books will contain new, now words of prophecy to teach us.
3. SIMEON (Luke 2:25-35)
The third level of prophecy
is that God made man a prophet. God’s nature is to come through the new
creation man. Even Moses in the old covenant lamented:
ALL the Lord’s people were prophets and that
the Lord would put
his Spirit upon them!” (Numbers 10:29).
Simeon was a prophet
in a general sense because the Holy Spirit clothed him, gave him revelation,
and led him into the temple in perfect timing. He had a revelation that
before he died he would handle the Lord’s Christ. Every one born again
is a priest - someone through whom God can come, and a prophet -
someone through whom God can speak. Has your calling been revealed to you?
What will you see or handle of the Lord Jesus?
Fulfillment came to Simeon
in old age and then he spoke a personal prophecy to Mary:
“a sword will pierce through
your own soul also”.
When THE SPIRIT COMES UPON
THEN THE SWORD WILL PIERCE THROUGH. The Holy Spirit leads to the Cross.
Mary knew many crosses. Her heart must have felt Joseph’s indecision, whether
to go through and marry her. She suffered the years in Egypt as a refugee.
She knew the personal stigma of her pregnancy after leaving Elizabeth in
the hill country. (Luke 1:56). She knew the sword enter her emotions at
the beginning of his ministry at Cana on a wedding day when he seemed to
be saying - “woman, don’t presume to tell me what to do”. She must have
heard the insults of the Pharisees who believed Jesus was born of fornication
(see John 8:41,48). The natural ties were severed in Matthew 12:47-50 when
Jesus proclaimed that anyone could be his mother, brother, sister by DOING
the will of God. Proximity to Jesus will cost you - the sword will go through
your heart if you obey the revelation God has given you.
So the Simeon kind of word
was fulfilled many times. Anyone with a prayer life and filled with the
Holy Spirit can be used in this way. Perhaps unwittingly. If it is from
God the fulfillment will be real. Paul wanted all to prophesy (1 Corinthians
14:5). God will make some a prophet in the Ephesians 4 sense. And God made
man a prophet…..to show forth the present mind of God, or to speak like
Simeon did. There are mysteries here, for even a man’s tragedy can be a
parable of how Jesus feels about the church. I remember a brother who married
a beautiful believer, but they couldn’t have sexual relations, due to previous
sexual abuse. It seemed to him a parable of how Jesus could not penetrate
his bride with his Lordship. Even in intense personal suffering there is
a parallel in the spirit realm. Are we aware of the sword that pierces
our heart for the purpose to refine us and annihilate self? True prophecy
is to make God’s people learn the way of the Cross.
The church either accepts
or rejects prophetic ministry, which has been sent by God. The mark of
prophetic succession is persecution. If the local body INCLUDES the prophet
then RESTORATION will be the result. If the local body EXCLUDES the prophet,
the tendency will be toward DESOLATION. However, the prophet sent
by God will face some forms of persecution. He comes to bring the message
of crucifixion of self, new areas of the work of the Holy Spirit, to develop
ministries particularly prayer. He will be an automatic target of the enemy!
(a) EXCLUSION (Luke 13:31-35)
Herod killed John the Baptist,
and after that Jesus would not speak to him. Those who throw stones of
criticism, stones of opinion, stones of resentment against true prophets
will not hear from God. Jesus answered Herod not a word, because he beheaded
John. A fox is cruel, cunning and works at night. Evil spirits have similar
characteristics and will come against the prophet.
Today the prophetic voice
that convicts of sin in the camp is being spurned. The end result will
be desolation for certain evangelical and charismatic and holiness churches.
Prophets who are true to the heart of the Father want to gather God’s people
into the name and nature of Jesus.
They want the bride to make
herself ready, to become a perfect man, the full stature of Christ. But
some are unwilling to come under the wings of healing and righteousness.
Prophets are usually excluded
when they approach rulers. Zechariah was stoned for standing for
the truth (2 Chronicles 24:20,21). God sent a prophet to Amaziah
who did the most amazing act of schizophrenia in the Bible (2 Chronicles
25:14-16). The Bible has ample evidence of exclusion, and the resulting
(b) INCLUSION (Acts 3:18-26)
When the message of repentance
is obeyed, restoration will come. God wants to restore, to bring back all
things to their original purpose. The phrase “restoration of all things”
really means the born again universe. The land will no longer mourn for
sin in the millenium. The new heaven and new earth will be Eden restored,
an age of innocence, harmony, total security and love. The Old Testament
prophets share this vision of glory, a new golden age, a spiritual honeymoon
with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem for a thousand years. Hallelujah!
“Him you shall hear” (Acts
3:22). That’s the focus of the prophets to get us to hear the Master. We
are sons of the prophets and the covenant. A covenant is a legal, binding
pact between two parties. God writes the terms or the conditions to every
covenant. As we obey the conditions of the promise we enter the inheritance,
the blessing. Prophets get God’s people to pray and to obey. The first
blessing (Acts 13:26) is the conviction of sin as a revelation of the Holy
These two tendencies are
seen in the life of Josiah. 2 Chronicles 34 and 35 (most of it) are a great
testimony to the king who humbled himself to hear God speak, taught the
words of the covenant and purged Judah of occultism. But the end was a
strange destruction because he didn’t recognize the voice of God through
a foreign King (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). From the chariot of rebellion he
went to the chariot of death. Most of Josiah’s life was restoration but
the end was desolation.
Several dangers need to be
mentioned because false prophets are in the church displaying their charisma
but not their character. See Matthew 7:15-20. The fruit of the life must
be right living. Sometimes prophets can use their charisma as a cover to
conceal defects in character.
1. Prophesying logos.
Prophecy to be anointed must come as a river, bubbling up from the central
depths of the spirit of man or woman. To speak in the form of prophecy
as mental truth is exhorting - the Romans 12 gift. We often fail to make
the distinction. True prophecy is an operation of the Holy Spirit, flowing
forth like an artesian well. You cannot stop it. The words have to be uttered.
Speaking logos truth is not true prophecy. The word is not being highlighted
by the Holy Spirit…….therefore it is knowledge and not life.
2. No inner witness.
True prophecy will have an inner registration. Luke 1:39-41 is a beautiful
example. The babe John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb at the greeting of Mary.
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. True prophecy will quicken your
mortal body or clarify your mind or bring liberty to your will or will
purify your emotions. There is inner witness (Romans 8:16).
3. Loquacity. Sometimes
people utter “prophecy” from a talkative spirit. Check the prophets life.
Do they know the dealings of God? Have they been to a personal Cherith?
Elijah was a solitary man, not driven to the loneliness of the wilderness,
but enjoyed being alone with God, proving his provision; supernaturally
given. We prophecy according to faith (Romans 12:6), and not because we
enjoy the sound of our own voice.
4. No conditional back-up.
Beware of prophecy with no conditions. God is not an automatic blesser
of mankind. Too many prophecies contain grand visions of glory, love, comfort,
dominion. Remember Ecclesiastes 5:3 - a dream comes through hard work.
Only the diligent will rule and be rich says Proverbs. Every promise has
a condition. True prophecy will mention repentance and judgement as well
as love and glory.
5. No submission to husband
/ elders. To submit is to yield up your preference (not your principle)
in loving self sacrifice. Beware of women with dominating, manipulating
schemes. The Jezebel spirit will attempt to teach through prophecy. It
will draw away disciples after itself, causing havoc, immorality, and occultism.
God’s order is important. What is the priority for a married person? GOD
- MARRIAGE - FAMILY - CHURCH - MINISTRY. If the ministry has taken second
place to God (or in some cases become of first importance), the seeds of
desolation are being sown. We must be wise. This is why the single status
should be elevated in our churches, because much more scope for ministry
can occur. It is easier being a bond slave to Jesus, laying your life down
for the church, performing and perfecting your holy calling when you are
1. Love. (1 Corinthians
13:2) Without it we are nothing. Love is not dreaming up nice things for
people, but active compassion. Love is the ability to make the problem
you encounter come to the cure of the Cross. That was the great demonstration
of love. Do we identify with the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Prophecy
that is only truth uttered can be hard, cold, lifeless. Righteousness and
truth demanded the cross. Love and mercy provided the cross. Love is not
sentiment, but an allegiance to the cross. After Pentecost, Peter flowed
in agape, a self sacrificial love. Before Pentecost it was phileo, a fondness,
preference, a hero worship for Jesus where Peter himself was in support
of the Lord. After Pentecost the love of God came through him without self-effort,
but in the power of the Holy Spirit. The word must divide soul and spirit.
(Hebrews 4:12). Soul love cannot bring the purposes of God into another
life. Sentiment has no energizing power, no moral urgency. Agape never
2. Faith (Romans 12:6)
Our faith is extending our life to prove the loyalty of God’s word. God
has given us all the measure of faith…...the kind of faith that he operated
when he spoke Pluto, Neptune, Earth into being. The worlds were equipped
and furnished by the word of God. (Hebrews 11:3). The creative power of
the God kind of faith set the stars in their courses, produced the Himalayas,
made night and day. NOW FAITH is the substance, the undergirding of things
hoped for. We hope for the fulfillment of the promises. Faith is certainty
the word of God will work for us personally. NOW FAITH IS the evidence,
the confirmation of things not seen. What evidence? The evidence is the
title deed. The property you own becomes yours when you sign the title
deed. When we were born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave
us all the promises in Christ Jesus. They are YES (true) and AMEN (a creative
reality) for the believer. Jesus signed the title deed when he voluntarily
shed his blood on the Cross. He gave you the confidence to own all the
promises of God. The words of spirit and life belong TO YOU! As soon as
we obey the condition of the promise and believe; the seed of that promise
in our hearts will produce; things not seen will happen. The unseen promise
will materialize through faith. The prophet must believe the prophecy,
and so must the person receiving it. To believe is to be and live in that
prophecy. Our faith level will determine the outworking of prophecy.
3. Fire (Jeremiah
5:14) How can words burn into the hearts of God’s people unless the
prophet has experienced the fire of the Holy Spirit?. . . a burning spirit
(Isaiah 4:4), is needed to extract the precious from the vile. HE SHALL
BAPTIZE YOU IN HOLY SPIRIT IN FIRE preached John. Fire is the most important
part to Baptism of the Holy Spirit and in England the least known. A new
zeal and new perfect love can oniy be in our hearts as the blood and the
fire do a work of cleansing and purging. Malachi 3:1-3 is for those last
days, so that we as priests may offer praise, thanks, and good works in
righteousness. When we know fire, then prophecy will take God’s people
higher. The fire burned Isaiah’s lips; there was a WOE and a LO before
the commission of GO. God forgive us if we attempt mission by any other
4.Humility (2 Kings
5) Namaan was angry that Elisha had not personally seen him, but
the word has gone forth to bathe seven times in the Jordan. His pride didn’t
like that one either! To obey the living word, we may have to lose our
dignity to receive our deliverance. Humility is before honour (Phil 2:5-10).
5. Obedience (James
1:22) To hear only is to build on sand. Obedience will be blessed.
The most tragic story of disobedience is found in 1 Kings 13 where we read
of the danger of an older prophet bringing advice contrary to the revealed
will of God. Disobedience to the logos word is sin. Disobedience to the
rhema, specific word of God to you personally is rebellion. When God leaves
a prophet he is worthless.
6. Patience (Hebrews
6:12, James 5:10) Abiding under trials with consistency is vital
for the prophet and for those who receive prophecy. Sometimes God’s presence
will leave us, so he can see what is in our heart. If we suffer for doing
good we must take it patiently. Character is formed through patience, and
the promise of God comes to us when we are ready to handle its responsibility.
Look at the patience of Jeremiah, Ezekiel - both men viewed as failures
in the world, but through the suffering of patience saw their prophecies
come to pass.
There are seven tests to
judge the source of prophecy.
(a) Deuteronomy 18:22
- does it come to pass? The word of wisdom related to future events
within prophecy must come
to pass. Acts 11:28 is a good example. Now there is an area of
difficulty. Say, a prophecy with a clear condition is disobeyed by the
one receiving it. Then the fulfillment is certainly hindered until the
(b) 1 John 4:2, Luke 1:44
Inner witness. The demons did know Jesus had come in the flesh (Mark 1:24).
Scripture is not contradictory. A free translation of the verse in John’s
letter reads…..“every spirit that goes on confessing that Jesus has come
in your sense realm is of God.” You see mediums can nod and agree with
the message of salvation, without it touching their heart. A minister can
pray eloquently an evangelical kind of prayer and yet not be born from
above. Inner witness, the Holy Spirit bearing with our spirit, will bring
a release to our thoughts, wills and emotions. True prophecy will have
a quickening effect upon us.
(c) I John 4:4
Does the prophecy have the effect that you want to overcome the world spirit,
that refuses to acknowledge Jesus as Lord? Does it cleanse you?
(d) Revelation 19:10
The testimony of Jesus is the spirit behind the prophecy, not the prophecy
itself. Know the gentle, Lamb spirit that refuses to retaliate. Also know
the Lion spirit of boldness and challenge. Prophecy must have the comfort
of the Holy Spirit and the challenge of the Lordship of Christ.
(e) Revelation 22:18,19
Is the prophecy adding or taking away from Scripture? True rhema will back
up the principles of the logos word. Sadly, much charismatic prophecy fails
this simple test. Obviously prophecy from someone soaked in Scripture carries
more weight than utterances from a novice. Yet this may not always be the
case. Freshness in the Spirit is vital and some mature believers have lost
the spontaneous anointing.
(f) I Corinthians 14:29-33
The time is upon us when we must obey this clear teaching. There is safety
in a multitude of counsellors and a few prophets! Do other gifted members
in the body witness to the prophecy?
(g) Matthew 7:15-20
If the fruit is right, the roots are in the Lord Jesus. Does the man or
woman display charisma only? The supernatural alone is NOT the attestation
of something coming from God. Note James and Jambre (2 Timothy 3:8,9 Exodus
7:11,12,22 and Exodus 8:7,19). Beware of the prophet who continually draws
attention to himself. The annihilation of self brings a greater infilling
of the Holy Spirit.
In the eyes of God the success
of any believer, any group, any mission, any church is NOT eloquent preaching,
charismatic gift or natural sagacity or manipulative skills, but the depth
of God’s dealings in the heart. Your heart is a garden of flowers and weeds.
“UNITE MY HEART, O LORD,
TO FEAR YOUR NAME”, cried the Psalmist. Make it your prayer today, tomorrow
for the next year! Unite, bring into one focus all the discordant elements
of your personality. God is single, one God (Deuteronomy 6:4) we are double…flesh
and Spirit (John 3:6). There is the battle of Romans 7:15-25 which we all
have to encounter and win if Jesus is to be Lord. We can be like Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde. The Gadarene demoniac had 6000 personalties! We may have
quite a few.
We need the dealings of God
to drive out demons. Mary had seven cast out and was the first evangelist.
We need the dealings of God in the sin area and with the angry, jealous,
critical, lustful, ambitious self-life!
Whatever level of prophecy
we operate on (ministry, gift or general), we must have the dealings of
God. Isaiah had dramatic dealings. The concentration of sin on his tongue
had to know the purging fire. Ezekiel did not grumble over the food arrangements
(4:15) nor did he shed tears over the removal of his wife (24:16). The
sufferings of Jeremiah were a continual dealing by the hand of God. The
Cross principle “so death works IN us, but life IN you” must be at work
for the purity of anointing to flow.
There is no ABC of how to
be a prophet. The dealings will be different with all of us. Both Jeremiah
and Ezekiel were priests and failures. Both Isaiah and Daniel were aristocratic
figures who knew success while they lived. All four, however had dramatic
Daniel serves as a good pattern.
He lived through four reigns: Nebuchadnezzar, Belthazzar, Darius and Cyrus.
He outlived them and OUT THOUGHT them! When the church is corrupt you overcome
in Christ. Israel was corrupt, in captivity, but Daniel overcame. The power
to overcome came because he had successfully overcome the battles
of body, soul and spirit. Daniel won the first round - the desire of his
body to eat good food. The basis for victory is to break habits. You must
conquer your appetite. If there is plain living there will be high thinking.
The second round was the battle for the mind. Daniel knew alertness and
discipline in prayer despite busy schedules in court life. God gave him
the interpretation. The third round was the battle for the spirit. Everybody
had to prostrate themselves to worship the king. True believers will answer
in accordance with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3:16-18). The
ultimate test of history is worship: who will you serve: Satan or the Lord?
Are you brave enough to withstand
the evil day? Can you face the wrath of the antichrist? Yes the Holy Spirit
can give you wisdom and a mouth to answer the accusations that will come
against you. We need the dealings of God AS NEVER BEFORE. Without them,
we will betray the Lord Jesus. The pursuit of the human race is either
to be abased by worshipping Satan or purified by worshipping God. Prophetic
ministry will come back in these last days to make the Bride ready for
this glorious return. Seek, desire, covet earnestly the gift of prophecy.
Come to the Cross. Be being filled with the Holy Spirit. Submit to your
redeemer and resist the devil! Through repentance and judgement we will
come to glory.
Readings on Prophecy
1 Cor 14:1 : “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially
that you may prophesy.”
What is a prophet? What are
his qualifications? Can everyone prophesy, or should it be the spiritual
few? Is a prophet simply one who prophesies? In the next few days we will
be considering these questions.
Our attitude to this gift
of God should be evident from 1 Cor 14:1, quoted above. We are to earnestly
desire to prophesy, to track down this gift like a missile after a Mirage
jet. Paul did not rebuke the Corinthians, despite all their carnality,
for seeking manifestations of the Spirit. But in verse 12 of chapter 14
he says, “let it be for the edification of the church that you seek.” So
long as our desire is God-centred and not self-centred, the blessing will
come from prophecy, and so we must encourage ourselves to seek.
Verse 39 (KJV) exhorts us
to COVET the gift. The unusual Greek word used, zeloo, gives us our words
‘zealous’ and ‘zealot’ and means to strive after with a holy jealousy.
We perhaps understand ‘covet’ to mean the unhealthy desire to possess what
others have, but this is not the sense of the Greek word. God would have
us set our heart on the best, and part of that best is the gift of prophetic
Before Pentecost, the followers
of Jesus were set apart to seek the Lord and to wait on him for the ‘power
from on high’. But this waiting was not a passive lounging about. It involved
zeal. The disciples were concentrating all their attention and energies
on the promise of the Spirit. They were ‘earnestly desiring’. So, with
our seeking. The Lord cannot bless indifferent, casual enquiries.
Though the concept of ‘tarrying’
for the Spirit has fallen out of fashion, the need for dedication, soul-searching
and a process of submission to the will of God is still with us, and no
spiritual gift comes without it. Gifts do come by grace but God rewards
the diligent. The diligent in prophecy will have spiritual richness (Proverbs
13:4), and will know spiritual rulership (Proverbs 12:24). Are you determined
to humble yourself in fasting, seek God’s face, and pray in the Spirit
as never before?
DAY 2 Rev 19:10
: “I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have
the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the
spirit of prophecy.”
True prophecy always exalts
Jesus. The inspirational breath behind an utterance from God is one of
testimony to the One who is Truth, and it will speak of the Lamb spirit
of Jesus or the Lion of Judah, our Lord. As well as this, true prophecy
opens our eyes and hearts along with our ears to more of Jesus. No matter
how obscure the content; no matter how particular it is to a certain situation,
the underlying truth of it will be rooted in the person or work of God
Any manifestation of the
Holy Spirit will tend to draw us closer to God, and this should be applied
as one test of true prophecy. The Holy Spirit’s work, according to the
words of the Lord, is to guide us into all truth, to glorify Jesus, to
convict of sin, of righteousness and of judgement, and to take what is
of Jesus and declare it to us (Jn 16:8-15). Thus, we can expect prophecy,
which is of the Holy Spirit, to do these very things.
He leads us again and again
to the work of the Cross. Repentance and agape love are the foundations
of this manifestation of the Spirit. It is an abuse of prophecy to point
the finger, to accuse or to condemn, and a harsh word which leaves no room
for mercy is often the product of a judgemental mind, not the Holy Spirit.
Even when secrets are revealed to believers concerning the state of their
hearts, there should always be a way out, an escape to mercy at the throne
of grace. The problem with harsh prophecies is often a hardness of heart
in the one who is speaking. All prophecy is a mixture of the pure word
of God and the expression of the human heart, and the purity of a word
from God will be proportional to brokenness of the heart before God. Oddly,
we can only have a broken heart if we are whole-hearted! If our devotion
to the Lord is half-hearted, then our prophecy will be impure. HE IS LORD
(1 Corinthians 12:3) is the basis for all true manifestations. Are we obedient
up to the light we have received? If so, our utterances will know the dew
from heaven. The Spirit of truth testifies to that which is under the Lordship
of Jesus Christ.
DAY 3 Cor 14:31
/ 12:29 Eph 4:11 : “For you can all prophesy one
by one…..…. Are all prophets?……...
And he gave some to be prophets.”
Confusion often arises from
the seemingly contradictory statements of Paul about prophets and prophecy.
In one place he encourages ALL to prophecy, and then seems to say that
only some have this gift. What is the answer?
There is a difference between
a prophet and one who prophesies, between the MINISTRY of a prophet, and
the MANIFESTATION OF THE GIFT. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available
to all, whereas the specialist ministry is the product of a time of training
in the things of the Spirit, and is a calling to a life-style.
The major prophets of the
Old Testament were men who experienced, through deep prayer-lives, something
of God beyond normal perception, and placed it in contrast to the character
||saw GREATNESS of God
|SMALLNESS of man
||saw GOODNESS of God
|WICKEDNESS of man
||saw GLORY of God
|SHAME of man
||saw GOVERNMENT of God
| FOLLY of man
These men were experienced
in the discerning of spirits, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.
Isaiah saw the Lord; Daniel had great wisdom and perception; Jeremiah had
great knowledge. Their lives demonstrated their ministry. This is not so
for one who simply uses a gift of prophecy. The four major prophets were
all men of the Cross. Isaiah was concerned with the condesension of God.
This is the clearest revelation of the Incarnation. Ezekiel, the prophet
of hope, because although Israel was taken captive, God still showed them
glory. Jeremiah was the prophet of contradiction. A holy God can meet
you in wickedness and sin. Daniel was the prophet of the second coming:
God’s Kingdom will be established.
DAY 4 Acts 21:9,10
“Now this man (Philip the
Evangelist) had four virgin daughters who prophesied. And as we stayed
for many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.”
Agabus is an example in the
New Testament of a man who had the calling and ministry of a prophet. Note
that, although Philip’s four daughters prophesied, they were not prophets.
Agabus is one of the prophets from Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 11:27, who
“showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine.”
The word of the Lord by Agabus
was (1) predictive, and (2) demonstrative. He, by his actions, demonstrated
what would befall Paul in Jerusalem, as the Old Testament prophets before
him had demonstrated the events leading up to the exile. Isaiah walked
naked and barefoot for three years for “a sign and a wonder against Egypt
and Ethiopia” (Is 20:3); Ezekiel lay on his left and right side according
to the number of years of judgement (Ezek 4:4-6); Hosea demonstrated Israel’s
spiritual adultery by taking a “wife of harlotry” (Hos 1:2-9). These men
were not occasionally prophesying, but living lives of prophetic meaning.
The content of the demonstration
of Agabus was a confirmation of all that the Spirit had been saying to
Paul. (Acts 20:23). But there was a difference in his delivery and intention.
The purity of his prophetic word shows that he had erased all sense of
self-interest from his ministry, and learnt how to quell his own emotions.
By contrast, the Tyre believers who also spoke ‘through the Spirit’ counselled
Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. The moving of the Spirit was indeed upon
them to prophesy, but they mixed their own feelings with the word, and
tried to reason with Paul, They were all too aware of their own sorrow
and sense of loss.
Every prophecy is a mixture
of the human spirit and the spirit of God; We cannot prophesy purely, unless
we have crucified our emotions. Agabus spoke the word of God and left Paul
to exercise his power of choice. Those who, by their prophesying, seek
to influence and dictate the actions of others are power-hungry. They have
mixed the word of the Lord with a spirit of domination.
DAY 5 1 Cor
14:29 : “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”
There is never an indication
in scripture that we are to accept prophecies without question. However
bold, thrilling or powerful they appear, they are to be ‘judged’. This
word, DIAKRINO in Greek, is made up of DIA -‘right through, throughout’,
and KRINO –
‘to separate, choose, pick
out, estimate, distinguish and discern’. So, the process of judging a prophecy
is to discern the good from the bad, picking each word over thoroughly
to separate the meat from the bones. In the course of one prophecy, there
may be sentences, passages, whole sections belonging to the class of human
exhortation rather than the ‘rhema’ word of God, and we must sharpen up
our spiritual senses by practise to distinguish the prophetic from the
The verse in 1 John 4:1,2
tells us to “test the spirits, whether they are from God”. There are three
spiritual areas, the satanic, the Godly, and the human, and we are exhorted
to distinguish between them. That which is of God confesses that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh. The indwelling Holy Spirit is unique to Christianity,
and only true prophecy will manifest Jesus in the midst. His presence changes
us, challenges us, consoles us. True prophecy effects a wonderful transformation
from fear to faith, from dullness to expectation, by the power of the Holy
The presence of the Redeemer
will cause some contemplation of the Cross, a fresh appreciation of the
atonement. The presence of ‘another Jesus’ however (2 Cor 11:4) will
exalt the flesh and titillate the senses. There are those in the Church
who are prophesying in a ‘different spirit’ of a ‘different gospel’. The
Bible calls these ‘false prophets’. Their power comes from a deceiving
spirit and their aim is to entice unwary believers into bondage and error.
Jesus says of them in Matt 7:23 : “I NEVER knew you.” These false
prophets have never known Jesus as Redeemer, never submitted to the Cross,
never denied self, nor come willingly into the service of God. They have
power, but it is not the power of God. Only believers who are constantly
‘judging’ will be able to spot the difference, and so escape deception.
If you love the truth you will escape deception (2 Thess 2:10). Our discernment
must always be in line with the word that will judge everything (see John
DAY 6 1 Cor
14:3 : “He who prophesies speaks edification, and exhortation and comfort
The gift of prophecy can
easily be turned on, but does it fit in with the flow of the meeting or
does it disturb, confuse, divert? Let the Body of Christ be the judge.
Paul rebuked the Corinthians
for being undiscerning:
“Do you not know that the
saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are
you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall
judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life. Is it so,
that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able
to judge between his brethren?”
(1 Cor 6:2-5).
Now, Paul was here expecting
the Christians to make wise decisions on matters that affected the lives
of believers. When a man or woman stands to prophesy in the church, is
that church able to judge the effect this person will have on the fellowship
as a whole?
Sensitivity to the spirit
is essential. Just as vital is sensitivity to each other and to the general
trend of the meeting. We are members of Christ and of one another. If we
are ‘in love’ with one another and concerned for each other’s welfare,
we must apply the test of fellowship to prophecy. There are those who make
use of a gift of prophecy - even a genuine one to dominate a church. This
person gathers followers for himself, being in love with his own personality
instead of the family of God. What does the scripture say?
“If anyone thinks that he
knows anything, he knows nothing yet” (1 Cor 8:2);
“For if anyone thinks himself
to be something, when he is nothing,
he deceives himself”
“Endeavouring to keep the
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph
“Submitting to one another
in the fear of God.” (Eph 5:21).
Satan is a master of division.
True prophecy will not scatter but gather saints into the purpose of God.
The Holy Spirit is ONLY ONE SOURCE. There is no second opinion. True prophecy
edifies the Body of Christ, comforts, challenges and cheers. It flows in
the same directions as the fellowship, making God’s work there a harmonious
whole. Beware the Jezebel spirit that flatters and teaches via prophecy
(Rev 2:20-22). It will ruin unity and always seek to divide leadership,
and usurp man’s authority. Jezebel said to Ahab “I will give you Naboth’s
vineyard.” Women can prophesy and teach. The real meaning of 1 Timothy
2:12 is that a woman cannot teach from her self-working authority.
DAY 7 1 Cor
“If anything is revealed
to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. . . the spirits of the
prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not the Author of confusion,
but of peace.”
There is often a mistake
made by young Christians moving into the realm of prophecy. This is to
confuse demonic mediumship with prophetic utterance. Many who have had
no experience of the supernatural but the occult, think that the movement
of the Holy Spirit is just like that of a demonic spirit, which speaks
through a willing mouth.
Some, believing this to be
the way of prophecy, have opened themselves up to spirits of deception,
and led others astray. Others, more cautious, have avoided danger, but
have also missed the gift of prophecy by misunderstanding the means
by which God works. They think that, because God has not moved upon their
tongues to speak through them, that they have failed.
But the Word of God says,
“the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” In other words,
the human spirit, through which the anointed word flows, is under our control
at all times. No word of God is so urgent that it just MUST be voiced there
and then. Any sense of compulsion is of the devil, not of the Holy Spirit.
God guides, prompts and inspires, with our full co-operation; the devil
drives, urges and usurps, taking control of the faculties for himself.
So, the word of God requires
that we are in full use of all our faculties - mind, body and spirit, whereas
a demonic word given through a medium requires just the opposite, complete
passivity. The Holy Spirit quickens our mortal body, but the devilish spirit
seeks to bind our faculties and take them over for his own use. A prophet
is not a robot. He does not go into a trance. He is using his own brain,
tongue and emotions at the same time as he speaks the word of God. This
means that he can hesitate, stop, re-start, interject his own thoughts,
or even abandon the prophecy altogether, at his own volition. And, if he
does not open his mouth and use his tongue in obedience to the prompting
of the Spirit, the prophecy will pass from him.
Prayer preparation before
the public meeting is the priority for all prophets, so they may be sensitive
DAY 8 Rev 22:18,19
: “If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that
are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the
book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life…..”
There are serious consequences
for anyone tampering with the word of God. The warning above specifically
covers the Book of Revelation, but it reminds us how careful we must be
not to wander out of God’s spoken word of prophecy into the realm of the
flesh. It also provides a further test of true prophecy: God’s spoken word
will never contradict God’s written word. Genuine prophecy is always based
on scripture; we need a good factual knowledge of the Bible, therefore,
to be able to ‘judge’ correctly.
Prophecies illustrate and
illuminate what God has said before. Their freshness or seeming ‘newness’
is just because our minds were previously dull to the voice of God. They
do not reveal ‘new’ doctrines. So many destructive heresies could have
been nipped in the bud if believers had ‘judged’ the enticing new revelation
being presented in a prophetic format. Anything startling or unexpected
should be considered most carefully, and it is best to pray for confirmation
before accepting such a word, though God sometimes catches us unawares.
But anything plainly contrary to scripture must be rejected, however powerfully
- or perhaps, humbly - spoken.
We live in an age of deceitful
charm. Recently, a religious leader said that, “war is a tragic record
of the past, and is not on the agenda for the future.” A Christian politician
called this statement ‘prophetic’. Yet any student of the Word knows this
is false by turning up such passages as Matthew 24:6-8 or Luke 21:20-24.
Whatever scriptures are interlaced with a prophecy must be appropriate,
spontaneous and full of the quickening power of the Spirit.
The balance of Scripture
is vital. Did you know the pre-tribulation view of the rapture came from
a prophecy in 1830? J. N. Darby endorsed it; George Mueller refused it.
Most today accept escaping before the reign of the Antichrist, but the
balance of Scripture has been broken. The depth of prophecy is proportional
to the depth of Bible truth in the prophet.
DAY 9 Gal 5:22
: “The fruit of the Spirit is……..goodness”
Prophecy is the fruit of
the prophet’s walk with God. The content of a genuine prophecy, therefore,
should demonstrate the Spirit of goodness, but we must discern what is
good and what is a mere parading of a benevolent personality. False prophets
APPEAR good - they wear the clothing of sheep, that is, of believers. But
inwardly they are ravenous wolves seeking to devour the flock. One small
point of interest here: the disguise of the false prophet is the clothing
of the SHEEP, not of the SHEPHERD. This is not to say that our leaders
cannot lead us astray, but a reminder that we should exercise the same
Christian caution towards our fellow believers as towards our pastors and
Jesus counsels us to “know
them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes, or figs from
thistles?…….a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matt 7:15-20). Some of
the rotten fruit that falls from the tree of deceivers is described for
us in the Bible:
Persuasive heresies (Matt
24:11) false signs and wonders (Mark 13:22) heretical doctrines which bring
the truth into disrepute (2 Peter 2:2) secrecy and hypocrisy (2 Tim 3:6
/ 2 Pet 2:1) covetousness - desire for money, power, influence, popularity
etc - (2 Pet 2:3) vanity, pride and foolishness (2 Tim 3:7-9 / 2 Pet 2:18,19)
worldliness (1 Jn 4:5) and the end result - bondage
(2 Pet 2:19).
Paul knew that after he had
gone, from the fellowship of believers men would rise up, speaking misleading
things, to draw away the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30). These
are men who dominate the flock and teach slavish submission. Teaching which
exhorts the Christian wife to participate in the ungodly practices of her
unbelieving husband does not come from the Holy Spirit of goodness. Beware
such leaders who lack the fruit of the Spirit and prophesy to boost their
ministry. The greatness of leaders is to be found in their relationship
to Jesus and the holiness of their personal lives, not in their ministry.
So we need to discern the source and the life behind each prophecy, looking
for the good fruit of the Spirit. Esteem GOODNESS of character above GIFTING
of charisma. One test is always the logos word. Rhema must NEVER contradict
the logos principles of the written word. If it does, then pride……the very
curse of hell has entered the mind or heart of the one who has prophesied.
DAY 10 1 Cor
13:2 : “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
The sort of love Paul spoke
of here was the sacrificial love of God which is showered into our hearts
when we are born again. Emotional love, affection, sentiment, sympathy
- these are the loves of the soul of man, and sexual love is of the body.
But the love of God is spiritual love, pure and without selfishness. Since
God IS love, everything he does is based on his love. Without it, we fall
very short of his intentions.
Prophecy is of no lasting
value without God’s love, for that love seeks to build up the Church, bind
up its wounds, bring forgiveness and healing, and do good to all around
(Acts 9:36-42). Love is goodness in action, the Word of God in DEED as
well as in TRUTH. Prophecy that flows from a heart of Agape love deserves
our close attention, because it will minister Spirit and life. Many prophesies
seek to arouse emotional reactions of awe, respect, even fear, or they
stimulate only the soulish aspects of love, such as fondness towards the
Word of God or affection for the fellowship. True prophecy, spoken out
of a heart of love, goes like an arrow to the heart of the matter and breaks
down all the barriers we erect against God.
The letter of 1st John is
full of the practical use of Agape love. When we are moving in God’s love,
we know him, we obey his commandments, we discern error, we love the brethren,
we lose all fear of judgement. The prophecies which come forth out of a
heart of love demonstrate these qualities. Even a sharp word or rebuke,
spoken in love, carries the mark of authenticity, for we instinctively
recognise the Spirit of Jesus behind those words of chastisement. We know
that God’s love sent Jesus to the Cross, and in his Body that same love
chastens and disciplines us. False prophecy, on the other hand, is incapable
of conveying the tenderness of God’s love, because the enemy is incapable
of agape love. The Father heart of love in a prophet will pray the purposes
of God into being for other lives. This is turning a knowledge of mysteries
into a real ministry……..getting others to go for Jesus Christ.
IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE DEAD, YOU CAN HOLD
FAST TO THE HEAD.
The Cross of Jesus Christ
deals with every problem. There law, sin, self, the world, the devil are
finished forces. He descended to deal with every human problem. He ascended
so we may finish his heavenly ministry here on earth. These are twin pivots
of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The cross of Jesus Christ is the route
to glory, the road to ministry, the rendezvous of all testimony.
Helping grace with law.
Not resting wholly on work of
Christ. FINALITY of the
to deal with law (2:14)
self (2:11, 3:3,5)
therefore not capable of
carrying out all his ministry
Angels as links in a chain
(Christ as a link). ALL FULNESS of Godhead bodily in him. Contemporary
Gnosticism is the New Age heresy. Heresy is skilful intermingling of truth
The cross is God’s NO to
man’s YES. God says NO to the devil by Jesus spoiling the principalities
and powers. In effect this was more than stripping them of their rank,
but actually tearing them off his body as it hung on the cross. He had
been made sin, giving the demons a legal access to his very person. HE
SPOILED THEM because his spirit was still pure, spotless as the lamb of
Because man has a satanically
inspired nature before he comes to be born again, he will always say yes
to the enemy, the self-life, the world and the law as a means to approach
God. The Cross finished this massive deception. The Cross also says YES
to man’s NO. We are unable to fulfill the words of Jesus without a radical
change of inner disposition. We need a new heart, a new spirit. If we know
we are dead to law, self and the world, we can hold fast to the head of
all things to the church, the Lord Jesus Christ.
These cross truths are vital
when we come to the matter of ministry. For testimony (what Christ has
done in us) precedes ministry (Christ through us in the power of the Holy
Spirit). Testimony is allowing the cross to overcome our problems so that
Christ is in us the hope of glory. Christ is not an outside adviser to
the Spirit filled saint, but an inside advertiser.
So TESTIMONY precedes MINISTRY
(we can only minister what we are by grace). MINISTRY is proportional to
TESTIMONY (we cannot go beyond what we are in him, we minister according
to our proportion of faith).
Today many ministers of
the gospel are on the brink of serious disease, emotional fragmentation
elements of doublemindedness, because the cross of Jesus Christ is not
seen as the very back bone to all ministry. When the cross deals with I
(human personality) and flesh (natural affections) then you can have a
ministry. But flesh as Luther said always wants to be exalted before it
is crucified. The heresies of Judaism and Gnosticism invade the church
today in subtle forms. Legalism atrophies much reformed church practice
while licence has shared much charismatic experience. Heresies take away
from the completeness of Christ. We insult God if we think the cross is
not enough to bring ministry out of testimony. We disgrace Christ if we
add law to grace, or see grace as license. Jesus went through the Cross
to be the federal head of a new humanity, of a new breed, a new creation.
So we must live in the death of Christ to the old man (Colossians 3:5).
A new revelation of the
cross will salvage many ministries. Hundreds of preachers today need a
new repentance before refreshment can come again from their ministry. We
are coming to a dead end in this nation. Big names are played out from
schedules so busy that flesh (the old life) has fulfilled them. The word
must be manifest, shown forth as life from heaven by preaching. (Colossians
4:3,4; Titus 1:3). Listen to Paul. He asked the church at Colossea to pray
also for us, the apostolic team. Epaphras prayed for the church that they
have full conviction concerning the will of God. He laboured in prayers
poured out from the heart (Colossians 4:12). God grant the Holy Spirit
give to ministers fresh revelation of the Cross. Prayer DOES NOT CHANGE
THINGS. IT CHANGES YOU FIRST by leading to Calvary so wrong attitudes,
strong desires of the flesh and opinions can be removed, so the Spirit
of Christ may birth more of the beauty of the new creation.
We are COMPLETE IN HIM,
positionally, by our standing in Christ. We must realize our position,
our legal status, by entering the vital reality of it. A key is shown in
Colossians 2:9,10. The performance of our completeness, wholeness, security
only happens as we enter the spiritual warfare and overcome unseen
principalities and powers. Too many sermons overemphasize what we are in
Christ, without showing the route to how this be a reality in our lives.
Colossians 3:3 “FOR YOU DIED”
— thats our position. Colossians 2:20 “IF YOU DIED...” — thats judging
us whether our position is our performance. Have we died from the world-spirit
that refuses to acknowledge Jesus as Lord? The world may talk of him as
Saviour, but never as Lord. We cannot say we are complete in him if the
world is still an attractive force to us. God hates hypocrisy and is coming
to judge the church with the plumbline of his word.
The persuasive words of
the world-spirit can anchor our souls in deception (Colossians 2:4). Those
rudiments or orderly, fundamental spirits of evil are waiting to hold us
down to views and opinions detrimental to the advance of the gospel. We
must cast DOWN and pull DOWN from our minds the strongholds of thoughts
instigated by evil spirits. Win the battle of your mind. How are we rooted
and built up in him? (see Colossians 2:7). by a preprogrammed mind
full of the word of God. Words in conflict with the word of God will bring
unbelief. Philosophy, psychology and humanism will cheat the believer of
their inheritance. We are nourished by the sincere milk of the word. Faith
knows no other foundation than the word. The word will WORK if those who
believe (1 Thess.2:13). If you believe you will be established (Isaiah
7:9) so we are rooted in Christ by HEARING, READING, STUDYING, MEMORIZING
and MEDITATING the word. We are transformed in a process of metamorphosis.
Like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, we change from the basic
principles of the world to the renewed mind. (Romans 12:2 and Colossians
2:8). “Reasonable service” in Romans 12:1 is really our service of the
word in the Greek., We must be renewed in our minds in order to proove
the GOOD ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT will of God. Grasping the word includes
Through meditation we will
experience Colossians 3:16 — “let the word of Christ dwell IN you richly
in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” That
is our private responsibility — to be built up in him. Take a word break
not a tea break! Make much of the word of God.
Publicly, to be joined to
the Head, to hold fast to Jesus in these days of mounting pressure and
deception we are nourished by JOINTS and LIGAMENTS (see Colossians 2:19).
From Ephesians 4:16 we can see that joints are the five fold ministry of
apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher. These men as gifts to the
body of Christ build up the inner life. God brings increase to the body
through such men and women. Its important to ask God to show you who to
listen to. I have personally found Derek Prince, G.W. North and Morris
Cerullo a great strengthening. We don’t hold fast to the Head by listening
to one man every week, We don’t hold fast to the Head by listening to amateurs
who work five days a week, have a busy family life, then stand up on a
Sunday thinking their sermon is doing God a favour.
If you want to be a preacher
it takes the whole life. Any Ephesians 4 Ministry worths its salt is FULL
TIME for God.
Now ligaments must hold
the joints together, and the ligaments are local Romans 12 gifts in the
church that cement the truths with love. We cannot live exclusively on
a diet of meaty Ephesians 4 Ministries. There is a need for local believers
to develop their Romans 12 role. So the increase comes. Colossians 2:20,
the next verse, says “therefore IF YOU DIED.., from the basic principles
of the world. . .Are you dead to worldly ideas?
A recent Christian magazine
had an article called The Winners’ Edge. The seven points revealed no cross,
no openness to the Spirits leading and no love, “Dress and look your best
at all times” is often good advice, but sometimes we need to dress according
to the occasion. Rees Howells had to become a tramp to win tramps. The
second slogan was “take inventory of your triumphs and positive attributes”,
which will tend to pride. “Volunteer your name first when meeting people”
is self sufficient psychology not biblical Christianity. “Never compare
yourself with others. Set your own standards”.., perhaps neglects
the truth we always are to compare our performance with the laws of
the Kingdom (Matthew 5-7). “Use encouraging words when describing yourself
to others” is hardly bearing one anothers burdens so fulfilling the law
of Christ. “Look people in the eyes” can become a fixity of gaze which
can bring mediumistic conditions”. “Always plan your work, and work your
plan” tends to doing something FOR GOD rather than, doing something BY
Are you dead to the basic
principles of the world? If you know you are dead, you can hold fast to
the HEAD. That means the mother river of revelation can come to you. Jesus
brings freshness to the crucified life. Believer, repent of possibility
thinking; repent of the extremes of the faith gospel. Repent of not making
repentance the first word in the gospel. Pray “unite my heart 0 Lord to
fear your name.” No longer be doubleminded by being a man pleaser. Do whatever
you do AS TO THE LORD and NOT TO MEN, knowing that from the Lord you will
receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ. Set
your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Accept the annhilation
of self, because if we are not dead in his death in areas of our lives
then the enemy still has a hold on us.
IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE DEAD
YOU CAN HOLD FAST TO THE
HEAD. Hallelujah! Then our
testimony will be preserved and our ministry will deepen.
THE HOLY CALLING
The holy thing about you
and me is our calling. Most believers know they are saved, but don’t know
they are called. 2 Timothy 1:9 gets our thinking straight. We are saved
and called in the grace and purpose of God. Its a calling before time began.
Once a surgeon, an architect and a politician were arguing who had the
oldest profession. The surgeon said he was there when Adam was cut open
and produced Eve. The architect said he was there when God created order
out of chaos. The politician declared he made the chaos! But you and me
have the oldest profession — the holy calling.
In 1 Peter calling has five
facets. They illustrate perfectly the true grace that Peter is underlining
in his epistle.
1. PURITY. 1 Peter
Our first calling is holiness,
not by works but through the cross. There is grace at the revelation of
Jesus Christ. Romans 6:6 is a revelation. It speaks of co-crucifixion,
the body of sin being done away with, once and for all. This unit of evil,
or Mr. Indweller Sin is not temporarily put out of action, not repressed,
but severed by an instaneous act of God’s power. The same tense of the
verb is used in 2 Corinthians 3:14, where the veil of religious blindness
is lifted completely away. In Christ, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit
the veil is taken away. How we need all the Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal,
Baptist, Restoration and Faith veils TAKEN AWAY, so that clarity of mind
in seeing truth and liberty of will in doing the truth can happen.
True grace deals drastically
with the old man in the believer. To be pure AS HE IS, to be righteous
AS HE IS, to be in the world AS HE (WAS) jis declared by John to be possible.
Impossible we think! By grace its HIM POSSIBLE. By grace alone we
will win the battle of our minds and stop conforming ourselves to the strong
desires of the old man along wrong lines. So often we need deliverance
from evil spirits before the truth can renew our minds.
John 8:31,32 are great truths.
As we continue in the word of God, the Holy Spirit can bring us into the
reality of truth. The connecting conjunction between these two verses “AND”
is a key. YOU SHALL KNOW (or intimately experience) the truth (or reality
of Jesus Christ). Its one thing being in it! Its one thing looking at the
word, being fascinated by it and enthralled, quite another dimension for
the truth to act in you. The word of truth has SANCTIFYING power (John
17:17). That is power to separate you :mm the world-spirit and separate
you unto the Lord. We are holy in our ~ndu~t as we think holy. The word
must find place in our heart, dwell richly
~ with wisdom, be truth
in our inward parts. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reveals If you put value on God’s
word, it will put value on you! Thats the value of Mark 4:24, 25.
Remember bees in the summer.
They don’t fly over flowers enjoying their colour to get honey. They come
into the flower, bypass the stamens, and extract the pollen. The word has
divine power once it is in our spirits. There it will build holiness. To
know the TRUTH setting FREE, we (or most of us) need to be delivered from
evil spirits. You cannot be holy, if other personalties are restless within.
Deliverance is not the goal, but the gateway to holiness.
Obadiah 1:17 has the order.
DELIVERANCE, HOLINESS then God can trust us with the INHERITANCE. We are
called to be holy, without blame before him, in love.
2. PRIESTHOOD 1 Peter
We are a chosen generation,
picked out for God’s own interests. Priesthood is being someone whom through
God can come. We are ministering priests, with two callings. We minister
unto the Lord so he can minister through us. We come through the precious
blood to receive the precious promise so that the precious faith can be
tested by fire. Precious is a key word in 1 Peter and describes our function
as priests beautifully.
We are a royal priesthood.
Many believers think they are just worms. They take this idea from Psalm
22:6. Here the word for worms is special because it was a worm used by
kings to dye their garments scarlet. These worms were squeezed to produce
the scarlet dye. When pressure and affliction come to us, allowed by a
Sovereign God, then do we act with royal dignity? Even if you think yourself
just a little squirming worm, then get Isa 41:14,15 behind your ribs!
“Fear not you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel (or N.T.
equivalent “the church”,
I will help you, says the
I will make you into a new
with sharp teeth. .
God can change a worm into
a combine harvester. Some worms need to become world wide evangelists!
Get a big vision from the Holy Spirit. Fast and pray. Prepare yourself
before you go that anointed conference. God will speak if your heart is
submissive and you will pay the price for Holy Ghost ministry. We need
to be poured out ones ~Philippians 2:17), priests who lay down their lives
for the brethren and the lost.
The job of priests is praise,
that weapon that imposes silence on the enemy. The counsellor must move
in praise before the problems are spoken. Praise makes God the centre of
the situation. By exalting the character of God and by mentioning his names
we give the Lord the opportunity to speak. Four stages in true priesthood
in counselling or teaching or praying together:praise; mention the
problem briefly; find a relevant promise of Scripture;
prayer. Prayer is pouring
out of the heart, a reflex reaction to the problem shared. Prayer should
bring us to the sanctuary stillness, where revelation can come. Prayer
can be based on a promise, but if no leading to Scripture, just pray. The
Lord may bring a passage or verse or perhaps a prophecy. This is a practical
path to priesthood. We are priests when born again. To realize it takes
3. PERSECUTION 1 Peter
Pure priests shall be persecuted!
Look at the spheres of persecution in the life of Jesus. (1) PILATE (world)
washes hands, doesn’t want to be bothered. (2) CAIAPHAS (religion) if loses
the argument, will start a riot. (3) JUDAS (disciple) abuses the intimacy
the Lord Jesus gives. When we do good and suffer for it we are to take
it patiently. Christ left us an example. The word example here is the same
word as in Romans 6:17 “delivered” or entrusted.” The Romans had the form
of doctrine that was cross-centered. Another word is “moulded.” In Romans
6 they were moulded by the truths of co-crucifixion, making the death of
Jesus their awn.
Again, the word “example”
is also used in John 20:25, where it denotes “nailprint”, or the “print”
of the nails. The godly shall suffer persecution. Vengeance is the deepest
rooted sins of the old man. God watches our reaction in times of persecution.
A strange thing may be happening to you. Something new to you (1 Peter
4:12). Our reaction as priests is to rejoice..
(1 Peter 4:13). We must
suffer according to the will of God (1 Peter 4:19). That is not poverty,
nor sickness. . . but the scope is huge. Jesus is not our example, but
praise God, our substitute, in the areas of health and provision.
4. PRODUCING THE PROOF
1 Peter 3:8,9
We are called to inherit
and be a blessing. We will produce the proof of resurrection life as we
go through the testings and trials. Satan may be afflicting you, but in
that very thing, God is testing our hearts. He removed his presence from
Hezekiah to see what was in his heart. Under pressure we can still go on
showing love. This is the radical superiority of true Christianity. The
blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. This is where some of the mystics
proove that they were not mistakes. Read Guyon’s autobiography. Read St.
John of the Cross “Dark Night of the Soul.” Read Molinos “The Spiritual
Guide.” They pursued their Lord although they were reviled, imprisoned,
scorned. You sense with Madame Guyon she knew a perfect love that could
not return evil for evil.
Here is the place of Stephen,
whose face shone like an angel when the stones started flying. The rapture
spirit was in Stephen. He knew and his opposers knew that the words of
Jesus came from his lips. John 17:8 is alarming and will be more and more
true as the end of the age comes nearer.
The same words Father gave
Jesus, our Lord can give to you and me. They will hate us, but his word
will be a blessing that can never pass away.
5. PARADISE 1 Peter
The devil has two jobs. He
goes to third heaven to accuse us before Almighty God. He comes down to
earth to tempt, to hinder, to deceive, to lie, to murder, to divide, to
devour. We are TO RESIST HIM. This is part of our holy calling. We are
not on the defensive by passive resistance. We attack with weapons of our
warfare: praise, binding and loosing, the spoken word, the blood of Jesus,
prophecy (1 Timothy 1:18), intercession which means literally “to impinge
by violence.” We resist Satan offensively so the God of all grace can settle
and establish us. If you fail to enter the warfare, you will not know the
welfare. As Rutherford said “we can’t steal into heaven without a conflict
or a cross.” We have to suffer for a while. This includes coming under
the wrath of the antichrist. The order in Matthew 24 is very clear —the
rapture comes after the desecration of the holy place and the cosmic blackout.
The worldwide reign of antichrist will have to be encountered. Don’t panic.
The God of all grace will strengthen you. A NEW STRENGTH in the inner man
is coming to the wise virgins. God will prepare the church for the coming
onslaught of persecution. True grace comes from the Cross. Cheap grace
misses out Calvary. Our path to paradise is through suffering. Here is
a true grace statement. Say it aloud:
PURE PRIESTS WILL BE PERSECUTED
BUT TAKE IT PATIENTLY, PRODUCING THE PROOF OF JESUS PEDIGREE ON THE PATH
All the P’s in 1 Peter,
including precious. God’s way to peace is through tribulation (Acts 14:22).
He cannot wave a magic wand over the world and bring harmony. The fall
of Satan and the fall of man are real. God lives in only two homes: highest
heaven and a broken contrite heart (Isaiah 57:15).
Check out Joel 2:31 and
Matthew 24:29, and be aware we have awesome things to go through before
the rapture. Come out of passivity and into priesthood.
It’s the last minutes of
the last hour of the last days. Know your holy calling and do the job God
gave you to do.
Cheap grace never tells
you of your cross and your conflict and true picture of end-times. For
an excellent survey of the last days I recommend Paul Tan’s book “In power
and Glory.” We come to paradise through many perils, but as you discover
your calling He will help you and take you home.
HOW TO BE A PREACHER
Preaching is more than sharing
a word. It is the great divine call of God and needs a revival in England.
It is still the divine method of winning souls to Christ, edifying the
body of Christ and the precursor to signs and wonders ministry. I’ve just
been talking to two young men about their future in Christian work. God
has called them both: One to preach, one to pastor. How do we become a
preacher? What are the steps to be taken to impart words of spirit and
life and change the thinking of a spectrum of humanity?
Divine call is the first
and almost only essential. Seeing Christ in the Word of God to become a
knower of spiritual things means that the author of God’s Word, the Holy
Spirit is having His way with you in your life. This is beyond theological
seminary and most evangelical Bible Colleges. We need men to be Spirit-taught,
and to walk and live in the Spirit. They must overcome the devil with the
Word of God before they can preach to others the unsearchable riches of
Christ. Ministry is proportional to receiving mercy.
“Therefore since we have
this ministry as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart”
2 Cor 4:1
When we receive from Jesus
what we never can deserve; the gifts of repentance, faith and the
Holy Spirit, then our ministry begins. So preaching the gospel begins at
the same point. We impart only what we have experienced of Jesus Christ.
We may preach true light beyond our experience from time to time but it
will never impart the reality of truth which sets free. So the call of
God on a life is of prime importance. Our only wise God sees the end from
the beginning. He knows the origin and future even if to us it all appears
hazy. The call of God to preach is confirmed by the body of Christ. As
soon as a vicar said to me it’s a case of woe unto me if I didn’t preach
the gospel, I knew that God had spoken months before. The way the call
works out may not be what we have in mind, but God, rich in mercy, equips
once that call has been settled in our spirits by the Holy Spirit.
Practical steps must follow
the supernatural quickening. What are they? Bible college? A lively fellowship?
Part-time courses and conferences? Remain in my job? There is no prescribed
way, only a step-by-step walk in faith. Whatever way, there are certain
1’ Keep close to the Word
of God. Meditate it, pray it
2 Avoid talkativeness, gossip,
3 Exercise forgiveness and
walk in love
4 Be part of an Ephesians
4 ministry (financial and prayer support, go to conferences, read their
(5) Join a local fellowship
that knows how to move on with the cloud (i.e. doesn’t get stuck year after
year with the same revelation)
(6) Develop your personal
devotion with intercession in tongues, praying for missionaries, and worship
in spirit and truth
(7) Be willing to do the
first works, (deeds of love and caring in the
community.) People will
listen to a man who exhibits compassion.
Remember these steps don’t
give you a call or even produce a call in you, but will develop your calling.
Now what sets a preacher
apart is an experience of the Holy Spirit with fire. Luke 3:16 must be
known. And to know for oneself what deliverance ministry is will certainly
benefit the man who in the very nature of preaching has to face the demonic.
There is no substitute for a mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit. Afterwards
you will see things in a new way. You will see something of the difference
between the character of God and the conduct of man. Yes the preacher must
observe human nature as well as know the content of the Bible. The preacher
must be aware of a vast range of literature, newspaper cuttings, film,
politics Etc... because he has to find illustration and make the message
live in a relevant manner. The baptism of the Holy Spirit releases personality
and we need to be liberated in order to be a blessing to different kinds
of people. I’m more and more convinced that this experience is essential
to all forms of ministry. This plunge into the life and power of God has
so many ramifications. The prayer life is deepened, the gifts of 1 Corinthians
12 open up, sonship rights can be realised, the authority of the believer
is deepened, God’s love begins to reach out to others, as well as the rivers
of joy, peace, self-control.
A wise Puritan said three
things made him a preacher: the Word of God, prayer and temptation. The
Word of God must work in him the holy and faith hereditary of Jesus. The
dispositions of the Son of God must flow from the preacher. How is this
(1) By study of the
Word : 2 Timothy 2:15
(2) By reading of
the Word : Ephesians 5:26, 27
(3) By hearing the
Word : Romans 10:17
(4) By memorising
the Word : Psalm 119:11
(5) By meditation
Psalm 1:2, 3 Joshua 1:8
Think of your hand. Four
fingers cannot grasp a Bible. You need your thumb. The first four ways
of getting into the Word are incomplete without the thumb of meditation.
Meditation will cause the Word to grow and incubate in the garden of your
heart. These five disciplines will make a man or woman a preacher of the
Word of God.
Secondly, prayer. Without
it our words lack unction, our messages will be second-hand or lifeless
letter. We live in strange days of paradox and irony.
I personally know well certain
Christian groups who believe in the power of prayer and yet will spend
more time in discussing the possibilities that lie before them. There
is a great need for praying leadership rather than committees and elders
who merely discuss then ask God to bless the latest idea. After ten years
varying ministry I am more convinced than ever that God only blesses the
Word He speaks to our hearts. The rest is the water of human self-effort
rather than the wine of a joyfilled, implicit obedience.
The greatest labour of any
preacher is the intercession. To intercede means to be violent against
the enemy and situation. He or she must go exceedingly above the situation
to confer with the Lord Jesus. We wrestle against demons
— we must overthrow unseen
forces of darkness. Some use Scripture as an excuse not to fight, like
the popular text of Exodus 14:13, not understanding the context or the
new covenant. The Lord has to intervene supernaturally and make the Red
Sea deliverance for the Israelites; doom for the Egyptians. The chosen
ones had nothing to fight with. In the new covenant God has prepared weapons
to combat the enemy and it’s up to us to use them. We bind and loose, we
resist the devil, we cast down imaginations, we do the wrestling. The victory
has been GIVEN by the Lord Jesus paralysing the death dealing power of
the enemy but it IS APPLIED by spiritual warfare. Any preacher who does
not make preparation against the enemy is a waste of money, time and sermons!
Thirdly, temptation. How
can the enticement of a pull from the enemy to make us live like the world
make a good preacher? Jesus won the battles of the wilderness before He
preached the Sermon on the Mount. When every temptation known to man was
at an end He went forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a difference
between the wilderness as a place and wilderness experiences. It was unbelief,
worry, mumblings that prevented Israel from getting into Canaan in God’s
ideal timetable. The wilderness experience is due to our sin and Satan’s
counterfeiting voice. However there is a wilderness place: A Midian for
Moses, a Cherith for Elijah, an Arabia for Paul — and every preacher needs
one or two of those in his earthly pilgrimage. The temptation to go back
to a previous type of existence can come in the wilderness to the Christian
worker. But we desire a better country, a better resurrection, a better
covenant based on better promises. The sovereign God allows temptation
to test where our heart and treasure are placed. God tests, the devil tempts.
The temptation to make a name for yourself comes to experienced ministers
of the gospel. The devil is no fool, but wise; he’s not ugly but can appear
attractive right and proper. The temptation to sin is different for
all of us. We overcome by the Word of God in order to prove Him so that
we may preach under the anointing of the Spirit.
Preachers need the revelation
of the Cross in their lives and visions of Cavalry:
•Death works in me but life
in you’ 2 Cor. 4:12
There is life for a look
at the crucified one because the life of Jesus is released at the Cross.
We also need the cross to penetrate its working power into our lives. I
remember the bitter pain of failing to enter Anglican Orders in 1975 as
a young believer. Yet that loss was necessary. In the next few months I
began to speak in tongues, times of fasting and prayer opened up, that
all led to a deeper revelation of God. The one thing I didn’t want to happen
triggered a relationship with Jesus that was better. The calamity of failure
was a necessity of fulfilment. Count all things loss that you may gain
Christ. The Cross is the only way to glory. All men of God had born to
them what God breathed out. It’s not a matter of holy preachers with beautiful
thoughts. The reality of the truth was lived out in the life. Only the
Cross produces this and our cry at the throne of grace can only be: who
is sufficient for these things? Only by grace we can share His glory, and
grace comes from the poverty of the Cross. The more we enter grace the
more we know the glory. Glory has the personal price of death working in
us. The preacher must know the 2 Corinthians 4 Cross principle if the anointing
is to remain on his ministry. Do you remember the case of Gary Gilmour
who claimed the death sentence although life imprisonment beckoned as the
easier choice. We must accept the death sentence of Romans 6. If we refuse
the death position with Christ and the outworking of that position in our
actual lives, two things follow:
(a) doctrinal error possibilities.
Among charismatic ministries look at the extreme doctrine positions Satan
pushes some into. Certain submission teaching went too far in the early
1980’s. A lot of deliverance was over the top. Some took faith line on
healing and insisted the flock shouldn’t go to doctors with real casualties.
Signs and Wonders have occasionally gone out of control with the transference
of evil spirits. A huge lack of spiritual discernment has attended much
that has begun in the Spirit but then ended in the flesh. The church stays
fresh, vibrant and steadfast through doctrine first, then fellowship (Acts
(b) a dead ministry. Look
at the preachers who refuse the death-working power of the Cross in their
lives. They cannot raise the spiritually dead to regeneration. They exhibit
soulishness and use their personalities to sway the people, or advertise
themselves to the detriment of the glory of God. Jesus will never push
the sanctifying work of the Cross: we must echo John “I must decrease,
He must increase.” Saul sat on the throne for 40 years, but only reigned
in his first year when still under the anointing of the Spirit. How many
ministers lead churches in the Spirit for a period then sadly fall away!
Preachers, more than anyone else need the revelation of Cavalry and a spirit
of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Jesus to live in the
daily freshness of heavenly reality. God has to ruin us before He can release
us in relation to ourselves. I’m glad God ruined me after two sterile years
as a curate. Out of the hurt and bewilderment came a ministry in the Holy
Spirit. May we all be open enough to have new dealings with God so that
He may graciously lead us on.
The death of Christ is not
a dead entity or tragic cul-de-sac. It works. The glory of the indweller
Christ can emerge from our spirits. We are persecuted; people are against
preachers, but we are not forsaken. We preachers are a workshop where death
works. We see a sovereign Lord and that “all things are for our sakes”
(2 Corinthians 4:15). There is no situation where Jesus claims exemptlonlEverything
is for our benefit provided we see the circumstances and environment
as God-planned. There is a divine reason for the mental, social, spiritual
suffering. Grace makes the affliction light as a feather. The thing that
seems to work against us is really working for us. And this affliction,
or employee is very profitable, there is a tremendous return. O come Holy
Spirit reveal the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:17 to my heart. Whatever the
preacher goes through he will not give up God or the vision that was given
to him. May we know the elevation of spirit Stephen experienced when the
stones were flying! His face shone like an angel — that grace and glory
may flow through us when preaching the Word of God! Stones of accusation,
doubt and under-cutting fly to-day against the Spirit-filled preacher.
The identification in Christ’s death is the only answer. Your congregation
can kill your ministry with evil report. The preachers sent from God has
a rod, and can use it in the Spirit, to bring order and humbling. Preachers
must give life to the congregation through words of spirit and life in
counselling, in the teaching class, in prayers and in preaching.
One last word. A director
of a huge company recently amazed people by declaring the number one quality
he looked for in managers was toughness. The same is true for preachers:
mental and physical toughness is vital. The ministry is long hours; fairly
unhealthy sitting for most of the day; decisions to be made quickly and
with discernment; the need for a clear mind; the constant ability to communicate
in speech or writing; the need to discern; the power to concentrate on
the essential. There are many parallels. God grant England a new generation
of diligent, determined disciples who will spend the time in training,
who will heed the divine call, who will be filled with the Holy Spirit
in order to be poured out for a needy world.
Ezekiel prophesied as he
was commanded. (Ezek. 37:7). The living word has the authority of a commandment.
Jesus spoke personal instruction through the Holy Spirit to the sent ones
in the forty days. (Acts 1:2). The preachers must have ears to hear the
living, creative word. Obedience to these words will bring glory; the perceptible
presence of Jesus Christ will come. (Leviticus 9:6). All prophetic ministry
must hear words of revelation, mission, church life and deliverance. We
are strengthened and equipped by the commands of the living word. This
is beyond all mental knowledge that merely puffs up.
1 REVELATION John
Abiding in Jesus is the
abounding life. “Conscious communion with Him will result in unconscious
communication of Him” said a great teacher. We make our home in God’s love
by keeping the commandments. We obey the words of spirit and life. We are
not straining the brain to keep obeying the ten commandments of the old
covenant. They are to bring us to Christ; they cannot produce Christ-life;
they are for the immoral, unrighteous, ungodly, the sinner before conversion.
(1 Timothy 1:9,10).
The motivation of our service
is love not law. We are to love one another as Jesus loved. We are to lay
down our lives for the brethren. Our friendship to Jesus is tested by our
obedience to the commands we hear in the Spirit. Will we do the revelation?
In John 15:15 we get a big surprise. God the Father, God the Son and God
the Holy Spirit are no longer mysteries... “for ALL THINGS I heard from
my Father I have made KNOWN, to you.” Ministers of the gospel are mystery
revealers! (see Ephesians 3:8-10), But revelation has a price — it is always
attacked, because it does the devil harm. John 16:1 in one version says
“these things of the Holy Spirit GUARD against the breakdown of your faith.
The Holy Spirit knows Jesus perfectly. The words of John 14, 15, 16 guard
us against enemy attack. We must receive rhema revelation in order
to relay it in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Thessalonians were a young
church who needed to be kept from the evil one. It was the word that did
the work in those who believed. (1 Thess
(a) The word was RHEMA (1
Peter said “heed my rhema”
(Acts 2:14). Its the specific now word of a living God for a specific situation.
Rhema cannot be destroyed (1 Peter 1:25), has creative power (Luke 1:37),
can easily be remembered (Acts 11:16), brings faith (Romans 10:17), is
a sword to defeat the enemy (Ephesians 6:17). The word in the Holy Spirit
can achieve much. These rhema words act as new testament commandments.
Obedience brings blessing.
(b) The word was RECEIVED
(1 Thess 1:6)
Despite the context of outer
conflict (Acts 17:1-5), the seed was received. Resisting truth will
stop our love for Jesus. Teachable spirit is important today. Too often
we become clones of a certain line of truth and close our minds to revelation
that doesn’t come from a certain group. Inner joy was the sign that this
church were receiving progressive revelation. The traditional set of mind
or the rocky heart refuses to accept the word on a deep level. The wayside
heart that has been rejected, manipulated or dominated cannot receive the
word. Deliverance and inner healing must often come before the word is
(c) The word was RELAYED
(1 Thess 1:8)
All the saints do the work
of ministry! (Ephesians 4:12). The apostles were excited that the Thessalonians
had done the number one job of evangelism. Paul was pleased they didn’t
need special ministries. People witness best when they are under three
years old in the Lord. Zeal is when the revelation is fresh. The commission
of the church is mission. Don’t grab the phone for the evangelist. Every
believer should sound forth the gospel.
2 MISSION Matthew
Failure to fulfill the commission,
the command to go, is bringing many churches into the perimeter of cursing.
Key word in Acts is GO. Jesus makes His selection of those who are to go.
He does not call for volunteers. We are to respond to the command according
to His predestined purpose. Here are some key thoughts on the command to
go and fulfill the great commission.
(a) MAKING NEW ROADS
We need revelation knowledge
to know the new adventure (Isaiah 43:18,19). Don’t look back to the former
things. Living commands from Jesus equip us for the future. God can make
a road where there seems to be only wilderness. Go on His creative word
to your heart. This is faith risking —the meat and drink to true missionaries.
(b) INVENTING NEW SOLUTIONS
The command for teamwork
separated Paul and Barnabas to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people will not
appreciate the new departure in your life. They don’t see the wisdom of
God in inventing a new solution. Between Acts 10 and Acts 15 there was
a nine year delay for the vision to Peter to become corporately verified!
If the thing is of God, others will come round to it... but it may take
(c) SOWING NEW SEEDS (2 Timothy
New areas of truth must
be taught. Longer we stay in ministry, the greater
the danger of losing vision.
Are we aware of God’s emphasis.., the will of
God to our generation? (see
Acts 13:36). Deliverance; Death to Self; The Renewed Mind; Apostolic outreach;
Five-fold ministry; Intercession; Body ministry and many other seeds must
be sown for maturing churches.
(d) SUPPLYING NEW FINANCE
(2 Corinthians 9:6-14)
The command to give is missed
by many saints. We are TO LIVE TO GIVE. Joy in the divine loan of Proverbs
19:17. Be blessed by your current account of tithing opening the windows
of heaven. To give one tenth to God is a command (Malachi 3:6-10). Invest
in your deposit account by giving to Christian work. (Matthew 19:27-29).
The Macedonian church were poor, but by the principle of giving and receiving
they reached the great promise of Philippians 4:19. Cornelius gave and
was spiritually blessed. Ananais and Sapphira took back part of the price
and were cursed. Our attitude to money determines far more than we realise
in the spiritual realm.
(e) INSPIRING NEW PRAYER
If you want God to be in
sovereign control of your life you must intercede in the Holy Spirit. These
great prayer verses come before Romans 8:28. There is a strong link. The
Holy Spirit must be given place to come together with us AGAINST our weakness.
Prayer begins with weakness, or our inability to produce a result. Mission
succeeds or fails according to our response to God’s command to pray. Epaphras
knew the burden of God to pray that the Colossians would stand complete
in all the will of God. Perhaps he prayed Colossians 1:9-12 for them like
the apostle. Make those verses a new prayer for your friends.
(f) OPENING NEW DOORS Acts
The imposition of the Holy
Spirit was like a command not to preach the word in Asia. God can close
some doors we by ourselves would have walked through, in order to open
new ones. Prayer opens up doors of utterance (see Ephesians 6:19 and Colossians
4:3). When Peter and Cornelius both got praying, revelation came and a
new door opened. Acts 10 was a great pivot in the early church. Cornelius
knew Peter had received “things commanded you by God,” and could receive
them because his heart has been prepared by prayer. Sharing the right word
at the right time is a great blessing for all. The church changed course
(a) Jerusalem to Antioch
as its centre.
(b) Jews to all men.
(c) One man ministry to
The new door is often opposed
to the old doors we have, gone through. Notice the contradiction in Peter’s
first sentence to Cornelius (Acts 10:34 “in truth I perceive that God shows
no partiality”). For ten years after Pentecost, despite the success of
his soul winning, Peter had respect of persons and a Jewish mentality.
How many Spirit-filled believers today get stuck to old prejudices, outmoded
conventions, and unrenewed thinking. After the stirrings of the Spirit,
we need to do the commands of revelation. After Paul was converted, he
had to know God’s geography to meet up with Ananias and receive God’s message
(g) NOURISHING NEW SOULS
Evangelism in the New Testament
never stopped at new birth (Acts 14:2 6-28). The nurturing of new souls
is vital. The implanted word takes months to save the soul (emotions, thoughts,
decisions). I had a two year battle after conversion to get to the truth
and for the truth to grip me... the loneliness and confusion of those days
could have been avoided if a born again believer had taken an hour a week
in giving me Bible studies. The apostles strengthened the disciples in
teaching (Acts 14:22).
3 CHURCH LIFE (2 Thessalonians
True spirituality is not
how many sermons we hear or conferences we attend. Even good meetings can
keep us away from really knowing God in the depths. What really counts
is our obedience to the commands (2 Thess 3:4). We must withdraw from disobedient
believers (v6), admonishing them but not keeping company with them (vl4.
15). Preservation of holy church life is an issue today because carnality
ruins church life. The great determination of God is Jesus Christ and Him
crucified. The dilemma of the church is carnality. A little leaven leavens
the lump. I’ve known charismatic churches lack discipline and fall into
deception and immorality. Commandments are God’s way forward to making
Jesus Lord. The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, good
conscience and sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5). Motives outside Jesus Christ
are unclean. The Holy Spirit broods over the fellowship that knows and
teaches the pure heart. Unite my heart to fear Thy name is schizophrenia’s
prayer. (Psalm 86:11). The Lord your God is one. But we are double — flesh
and spirit, the two factions warring and lusting against each other. The
annhilation of self, of the angry, jealous, critical, ambitious, worldly
self, must begin to occur if church life is to be safe. The destiny of
your church is dependant on the dealings of God in the inner recesses of
the human heart — in the leader’s heart AND in your heart. Unite my heart
is the prayer for today. 0 Lord bring into ONE FOCUS all the discordant
elements of my heart, my personality.
Carnal believers enjoy remaining
double personalities. We could go further and say many believers also suffer
from demons, which add to the turmoil and confusion of their lives. 1 Corinthians
5:9-13 is a strong and neglected passage. We cannot eat with certain believers
— the sexually immoral, the covetous, the extortioners, the idolaters,
the drunkard, the reviler. We don’t keep company with those who are greedy
for money, those who secretly worship at the shrine of TV, those who are
Freemason believers those who practise sexual uncleanness. Romans 16:17
includes the divisive, and those who bring offenses to your spirit, who
hurt you inwardly by the abuse of their mouth. 2 Timothy 3 verses 1 to
5 catalogue 18 characteristics of the church goer who denies the power
of God. Note believers who resist the work of the Holy Spirit continually.
Self is on the throne of their lives. Avoid them. Withdraw from believers
who are still caught up in permissiveness, who love money, self, and pleasure.
Beware ministers who want to make merchandize out of God’s flock. Be a
Timothy and follow Paul’s doctrine and manner of life (2 Timothy 3:10).
Don’t fear the commands of Jesus Christ. Rejoice in their wisdom. Obey
1 Thessalonians 4:11.
4 DELIVERANCE Mark
Here is a very practical
area of commandments. “For with authority He commands even the unclean
spirits, and they obey Him.” Authority is related to many areas — the word
of God, the anointing of the Spirit, death to self, and especially our
walk. Jesus never wasted a word or an action but was 100 per cent dependant
on Father. That’s why the demons had to come out.
We need divine preparation
in deliverance ministry to get results. We need to fast and pray. The person
needing help must walk in forgiveness, confess sin and be desperate to
be delivered. God allows the teaching Spirit and the Spirit of counsel
to attend deliverance sessions, because ideal preparation is rare. With
Jesus they came out WITH A WORD. With us its usually some counselling and
some shouting! Why the difference? Firstly, the Master came to the frontlines
of battle already prepared in prayer. He had been in glory before the command
of Mark 9:25. After the vision can we take the verity (the truth) into
the demon possessed valley? Blessing lives next door to responsibility.
Deliverance is successful if we are prepared, knowing the word the Lord
Jesus puts in our heart for the situation. Secondly, because of the normalcy
of sin in the camp today, counsel must usually precede prayer. Sound ministry
follows sound teaching, whether in public or private deliverance.
THE X’s of EXORCISM
(1) EXPOSURE: We must
know what the demon is. We beat against the air if we are not specific.
Sometimes the degree of exactness has to go to unfamiliar names when dealing
with the occult. To command out the spirit of ouija or divination may not
be enough in some cases. After a 3 day fast in 1987 the Lord began to give
me occult names, and as the word of knowledge was applied these spirits
were exposed and expelled. Deliverance should be relatively straightforward
when the conditions are right. There is a ripeness about ministry — the
knowing of those who minister, and the spiritual committment of those who
need the help. The binding of strong men: Antichrist, Jezebel and Death
and Hades may have to de done in the name of Jesus before a demon will
manifest. Let the Lord Jesus guide you. Sometimes demons will manifest
and shake the head or shout “no” to the command of expulsion. Thats a good
sign — they are on their way out. Just keep pressurizing them. If they
remain, check sin, self, and occult renounciation areas, also unforgiveness.
Demons will not expose themselves unless they have to. Always deal with
the ground they are on. Lead people in prayers based on 1 John 1:7-9 and
Romans 6:6-11. You may have to command it to be exposed in the name of
Jesus Christ the Lord.
(2) EXPLANATION: There
is no substitute for a real working knowledge of Scripture. We have to
explain the Cross to stubborn demons. If passivity is addressed, then the
Scripture “He set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem” may have the
effect of loosing its grip. I say “may” because there are no hard and fast
rules here, we must be open to specific leading of the Spirit. Get to know
the basic Cross words of victory like Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:15, 1
John 3:8, Revelation 12:11. Remind the demons of their utter defeat and
the final irrevocable victory of the Lord Jesus. Its sometimes right to
explain where they are going to as well! However, command ministry to principalities
and powers must be done by the spiritually mature. This is not a ministry
for novices, but for those sensitive to the sword of Scripture the Holy
(3) EXPULSION Acts
16:16-18: We command in the name of Jesus sometimes by a loud voice, sometimes
with a whisper. There are two ways of blowing up a bomb — by exploding
or diffusing it. We must have the childlike spirit of humility to be constantly
used in this ministry. Pride will come before destruction. I knew a minister
in deliverance who admitted to erections when he laid hands on women. That
is a ministry headed for destruction. We need to acknowledge the blood
of Jesus Christ and experience its cleansing power. Virtue leaves us when
demons leave through the name of Jesus. We need cleansing and quickening.
Demons may leave through a concentration of pain in the mind or body, by
yawns, through stiff fingers, shreiking or coughing or perhaps silently.
There will be an inner registration of peace in your spirit if they have
been expelled. If they don’t come out check self centeredness, failure
to break with occult, curses, and soul-ties.
(4) EXHILARATION Romans
8:11: The indweller Holy Spirit wants to exhilarate you with joy or rest.
Sleeplessness, depression, apathy can easily follow deliverance ministers.
After ministry a time of praise or worship is beneficial. Make God the
center of your thoughts and emotions. Make Jesus central to your being.
Always be teachable and listen to Bible teaching from the ministries. Live
in the word of God to keep free yourself. Submit to God and resist the
devil by praise and prayer. Come under discipline of the local body of
Christ. Itinerant exorcists without a home church are in great danger..
. increasingly they will find it difficult to put on the garment of praise.
We are commanded to praise as a duty; it imposes silence on the enemy (Psalm
8:2). Encourage the one who has been delivered to show gratitude to God.
Its surprising how few really thank Jesus from their own will.
So the command of deliverance
is needed today as never before, because Satan knows his time is short.
God commands everyone to repent and believe the gospel. We need to be delivered
from curses and evil spirit activity if we are to hear Holy Ghost revelation.
As we obey, church life and mission can be entered so the Kingdom of God
increases as more enter new life. May God give wisdom to see the sequence
of the Holy Spirit. Church life will remain carnal if there is no deliverance.
Mission will never be fruitful unless they are the commandments through
the Holy Spirit to the sent ones. (Acts 1:2). God grant a new inner obedience
because Jesus knew the commandments from Father were eternal life! (John
12:50). We are to speak LIFE, the words we hear in the ear should be declared
publicly. May we know the open ear to hear the life in His voice. LOVE’S
The Bride is making herself
ready to be a comparable helpmeet for the coming King. The slowly maturing
process is taking centuries amid the onslaught of the enemy and an increasingly
selfish society. Whatever the circumstances of your church, BELIEVE the
body of Christ is becoming STRONG IN FAITH and BEAUTIFUL IN LOVE. Always
see that as God’s ultimate purpose.
The central problem at the
end of the twentieth century is that we have a spastic church. We hear
the Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, but fail to obey His directives. Messages
pour out through Ephesian 4 ministries, but the arms, and feet and hands
do something else. We were born rebels and after being born again still
have that unit of evil, the monster of the old man lurking within. Our
head is in heaven and we do not let Him rule over us. Where Jesus is Lord
the Holy Spirit can move. Is He slowly leaving the capitalist world of
Europe and North America and coming in power to the third world? Love’s
body is stronger and more beautiful in parts of Africa, Asia and South
America than in England.
The gospel of God has been
adulterated, watered down by human reason, psychology and many heresies.
The cure of the Cross is not generally applied in charismatic circles.
Holy Ghost praying is rare, so the mother river of revelation has almost
dried up. Check Acts 4:24-33.. . the lifeblood of the early church. Three
steps are clear.
1. the disciples moved God
2. God moved upon the disciples
3. the church moved the
There is no other path to
revival than this principle. The result was economic balance in the redeemed
community (v34, 35). We are a long way from that in England.
We need the Holy Spirit
to give us travail and tears (Acts 20: 19, 31). . . a real influx from
the Spirit of God to give us the Father’s heart. Where is the travail Meeting?
We need God to break up the fallow ground in us. Where is the meeting when
we are truly led of the Holy Spirit to discover Jesus Himself? To gather
together in His name is to be drawn by the Spirit into the nature of Jesus.
We need to seek God for Himself. The answer is not more celebrations, more
marches, more conferences, more crusades, more magazines, more sermons,
but MORE of GOD! Our prayers are often unanswered because we have been
full of our ambitions, our requests, our desire. Look at Acts 4 praying
by the corporate church... YOUR servant David, YOUR holy servant Jesus,
YOUR purpose, YOUR word, YOUR hand to heal! May God permeate our spirits
with worship so He can be the center of our prayers.
1. Corinthians is a letter
to a carnal church from a spiritual man. The man of suffering who EXPERIENCED
2 Corinthians could tell the church of God’s interest: Jesus Christ and
Him crucified. It took fifteen chapters for Paul to get from the cross
to the resurrection. In his letter to the Ephesians only fifteen verses
(1:7 to 1:22). To Corinth Paul keeps saying “now concerning this’’
and ‘‘now concerning that’’. The church was self—manufactured, charismatic,
like a building on sand unable to stand against the storms. They were not
much further on than the disciples at the Cross who forsook the Lord, and
refused to believe the resurrection. Despite the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
self was still on the throne at Corinth. Dilema of the church now as then:
CARNALITY. The determination of God was CRUCIFIXION. Only the Cross could
transform them. We need to repent of charismatic hero-worship (1 Corinthians
3:1-4). We are to seek the Lord’s face and humble ourselves. We have not
got it. Prayer begins by admitting our weakness (Romans 8:26). Let’s get
back to the cross. Faith will attend to the word of God and intend to do
it only when we have repented of our carnality.
Just because we cast out
demons we think we are right with the Lord Jesus and moving on with God.
However the disciples could cast out evil spirits (Luke 9:1) and yet were
evil (Luke 11:13). The monster of self, the doubleheartedness of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde had not yet been destroyed. The outer mantle of anointing
can fall on servants of the Lord without deep dealings of the Holy Spirit
within. This is happening everywhere today. Outer power and ministry, but
little or no inner character and life. The Cross in the life of the believer
can change all that. Study this map of the key issues in 1 Corinthians.
PHILEO BAP TISM (10)
BREAKING BREAD (11)
P.S. Figures in brackets
denote the chapter.
(A) THE MYSTIC BODY.
The church is weak because
the natural mind has been ascendant. The church is powerful when the mind
of Christ has been revealed and obeyed. Too often there is mixture — carnality,
doing something for God, but not doing through God. Love’s body, the church,
the mystic body moves in power only when gifts of the Holy Spirit are seen
in the context of holy communion (chapter 11) and love (chapter 13). The
church will be spiritual and full of power when the gifts and character
come together! Charisma and character will be beautiful together. Spiritual
beauty means feeding on Jesus (communion) before functioning in the gifts.
Check the charisma and fruit lists of 1 Corinthians 12 and Galatians 5.
DISCERNING of SPIRITS
Do you see a balance
in these orders of gift and fruit? If you have wisdom but no love you cannot
have a pastor’s heart. If you operate words of knowledge but no joy, your
teaching will become second-hand and gradually lack revelation. If you
have faith but no peace your striving will bring times of stress in the
family and domination of others. If you move in healing but fail the patience
test you will probably make merchandise out of God’s flock. Note 2 Corionthians
12:12 its signs and perseverance. Some hide their lack of character behind
charisma. If there are tongues but no meekness, no dependance upon the
Holy Spirlit either passivity or deception will creep in. God wants a spiritual
church of power. True power comes from a foundation of holiness and obedience.
The charisma minus intercessory prayer is self-indulgence. We all want
resurrection life. There’s a price to pay. We must know Jesus as Lord (1
Cor. 12:3) as Love (chapter 13) and as Logic (chapter 14). We need to learn
these truths together.
(B) YOUR BODY
Paul warns about trouble
in the flesh for those who marry. To the mature Ephesians he rejoices in
marriage as a parable of Christ and the church. Yet in 1 Corinthians 7:4
he puts the principle of agape in an eros context, “the wife does not have
authority over her body, but the husband. Likewise the husband does not
have authority over his own body, but the wife”. We are not free to please
ourselves. We are not free to squander money or take believers to court!
We are to glorify God in our bodies by fleeing fornication and refusing
to be brought under the power of the appetites. When the body is for the
Lord, then the Lord’s overcoming power will be for the body! (1 Corinthians
Have you ever consecrated
your body, presenting it in the presence of the Lord for Him, for God’s
own interests? Our bodies are a mixture of dust and divinity.., they were
formed by a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit. How much more is our body
the Lord’s property by right of redemption! He bought us out of the market
place of sin, never to be sold there again! Let’s pray together.
O heavenly Father, through
the blood of Jesus I come to present my body as a ilvlng sacrifice. I thank
you that the altar sanctifies the gift — and your love and presence now
sets me apart to serve you. I want to prophesy your life thrnugh me. Meet
with me in my spirit and reveal the self-love that stops the gospel of
God through me. Turn me and I will be turned back to you. Show me my sins,
examine my heart, and come with your cleansing soap and quickeninr fire.
Burn all my dross. As I wait I know you will act. I decide to flee sexual
immorality. Give me strength to cast down imaginations. Teach me to discipline
my body in Jesus name. Amen”.
The conscretion of our bodies
is part of the Lordship of Jesus. He needs our eves to see need, our hands
to do the works of God, our mouths to speak prophetic truth and our feet
There is a great battle
or tension WITHIN the church today. Flesh versus Spirit, soul versus spirit,
ego versus true humility. The work of the Holy Spirit is greatly hindered
in love’s body. Carnality must be exposed. True spirituality can only come
through new revelations of the Cross of our Lord Jesus. Prophets are needed
as never before. The stones will fly against them.
Yet, they will be strengthened
by the Holy Spirit to denounce sin in the camp. The Lord waits to refine
and purify the church. The judgement of the Lord is upon the church before
it comes upon the nation.
says to leaders and congregations everywhere —“Your prophets have seen
for you False and deceptive visions They have not uncovered your iniquity
To bring back your captives, But have envisioned for you false prophecies
and delusions" Lamentations 2:14.
If you are going to heal
love’s body you must bring a message of repentance today. Many true ministries
are being forced out of the church. Many false ministries have risen to
places of power and pre-eminence. Before the true anointed gifts of the
Holy Spirit can come and correct us and heal and guide us, sin must be
dealt with. Self must be annhilated, for God’s love to flow again. Prophetic
ministry is the call of the 1990’s to the church of England. Many will
refuse it, just like the dismissal of Enoch’s preaching. SEEK HIS FACE.
BE ONE OF THE RARE KIND. DO THE REVELATION. Then
the Lord Jesus will make
you strong in faith and beautiful in love. Hearts of faith and love will
keep following Jesus to the end of this age.
“Move ME my children says
the Holy One. And I will move upon you, again by My Spirit. You were born
again to pray. You were filled with the Holy Spirit to worship in spirit
and truth and prophecy. You were set free from demons in order to enter
the spiritual warfare. You were healed of rejection, sorrow and many things,
to love the lost and teach the truth in My love. Come to the Cross where
all sin, all self, all precepts, all laws, all demons were forever finished.
Break up the fallow ground and I will rain righteousness upon you. Then
My Father heart of care and prayer will be in your hearts as you repent
and you will go forth in My name to the people and places I appoint to
you. Move me by prayer and I will move upon you to move others to Me.”
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