6. Its Fulfillment
Another question we need to ask concerning prophecy is: “did it come to pass?” Of course, we need to remember that many times prophecy is conditional. We once received this prophetic word: “The way you treat the broken and the hurting, the disillusioned and the disenfranchised, will determine when I bring in the millionaires.” This word immediately changed our focus. This was a promise, but it was conditional. Other times, prophecy may come without any conditions at all.
7. The Spirit Of The Message Itself
In Ezekiel 3, God told the prophet to speak to a certain group of people. Originally, he was upset. He was going there in bitterness of spirit, really planning to let them have it. However, God stopped him and commanded him to sit among the people for seven days before he gave the message. After sitting there for seven days his attitude softened, and God allowed Him to give the message. This doesn’t just apply to prophecy. Sometimes, as a pastor, you can preach a right message with a wrong spirit. Don’t focus on the people that give you trouble. Focus on the ones that God has used to bless your life and ministry. This will help keep your heart soft and your spirit right.
Let The Prophets Speak
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The most prevalent warnings about end times (Matt. 24) concern deception and false prophets. The issues in the church today that are most concerning to me are two-fold: mixture and extremes. If I hear a message with a mixture of truth and doctrinal error, a mixture of faith and manipulation in its spiritual presence, I am alerted that something is amiss in the presenter. Many messages in this hour take positional truths to extremes never designed to carry them. Grace preached to the exclusion of truth tells me there may be a sin problem in the presenter. Faith preached without love can lead to legalism or manipulation betraying the motive of the preacher. Many ministries preach one message only, resulting in an unbalanced body with one giant appendage. The church must be neither naive or judgmental in this season, but cry out for discernment as never before.
When dealing with prophetic individuals within the church, we need to know the character of the people we receive from: their morals, their track record, and their relationships. There is safety in the sheepfold and danger in isolation. Praying in the Spirit (Jude 20), studying the Word, and maintaining close relationships with mature believers will help us discern the spirit of error and the spirit of truth.
When proven prophetic words are given in the church they should be recorded and rehearsed in order for the fulfillment to be received. But remember - the word of the Lord will always come with conditions such as repentance to be met or promises to be believed. Paul's spells it out in 1 Timothy 4:14-16.
The goal of prophetic ministry is revealed in Peter's second epistle. “Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.”
Endeavor to hear ‘the voice’, in the Word, by the Spirit, from prophetic vessels, through leadership, and we will be empowered to live more effective lives and bring glory to our heavenly Father.