Updated: Jun 3, 2019
September 19, 2016
The prophetic ministry is intended to do three primary things. Encourage Strengthen Comfort That may not sound very supernatural, but in fact it is so vibrant, mystery filled and tangible to the advance of spiritual life and power for every believer, that it is second only to LOVE.
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you might prophecy.” I Corinthians 14:1
The Church, as an ambassadorial family of Christ, is called to carry the prophetic testimony of Jesus (Rev 19:7). Called to demonstrate and carry the presence of God in the Kingdom, we are invited to be a living vibrant people full of understanding in the Spirit.
As I understand walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), the Spirit himself is constantly working to quicken us in the will of the Father. He is also uniquely and consistently pointing us to first love devotion for the Lord Jesus. (John 16:12-14)
It is through the prophetic ministry, rhema words, dreams, visions and corresponding Scripture, that we gain understanding of the times and seasons. As we listen to the Spirit regularly and steward the prophetic grace given to us, we come into a greater abundance of words, insight and understanding for the seasons ahead.
Many believers are not oriented to capture and reap the abundant harvest of grace and encouragement available to them through the ministry of prophecy.
Yet is was a core reality in the life of Paul the Apostle.
“This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.…” I Timothy 1:18
Here is how I’ve seen prophecy played out many times.
We receive important prophetic words and ministry (I Corinthians 14:1,24-25). Cut to the heart in a personal word, our hearts are activated in the love of God and the reality that he knows our present day and moment (I Corinthians 14:24-25). We come alive! We awaken to the reality of what is common in the Kingdom of God. Life, abundance, rivers of living water and a sense of deep connection with the Lord, are the fruit of good prophetic ministry. God’s voice, his express communication to the heart, and the overwhelming witness of his love, fill the heart in the process. The Father’s intention fills heart, mind, soul and strength with both grace sufficient for the word and love and faith to walk in it. Amazing.
Then just as we were quickened we quickly forget.
For the many reasons we face, hindrance, desire, understanding, opposition, we lose track of the rhema words given to us. And so, we loose track of the vibrant and compelling heart driven love to walk in the will of the Father. Granted the most important words to keep are those given to us in Scripture. Believers are equally lax at dwelling richlyin the Word of Christ. (Col 3). Without a solid Scripture foundation pursuing rhema words can be fruitless.
Jesus gave us understanding of how we lose sight of the words of God in all it's forms. Mark 4 1. The Enemy snatches them from our hearts upon arrival. 2. Tribulation and Persecution arises on account of the word and we fall away.
We loose sight of Rhema. 3. The word is choked by the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things. All these lead to a lack of fruitfulness.
The heart that benefits from rhema words is the one that “hears the word” and “accepts it” after it is weighed.
Establishing this way of walking will ensure progress and growth in the Lord. With this posture toward Scripture and placing on top a solid stewardship of rhema words, the believer can thrive in abundance and ever flowing rivers of living water. The Lord is so good at giving us direction and speaking his desires for us.
Granted and vitally important, we are to test all words against the witness of Scripture, good sound teaching, and simple devotion to Jesus.What is the spirit and motivation being called forth behind the word?
Most rhema comes as confirmation of what we already know in our hearts; have already heard via dreams or the voice of God. I Corinthians 14:24-25
“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account byall, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”
The atmosphere created by love and prophecy is alive with the testimony of Jesus. The glory of his “heart revealing grace” brings incredible encouragement and revives the Saints powerfully. The goal is to learn to breath the air of heaven. It is filled with every word from the mouth of God. If we lose sight of the prophetic in discerning the times, discerning our own walk, it is inevitable that our way is not lit as well as it could be.
Acts 21:10-14 gives us an example of prophetic ministry to encourage and strengthen.
Paul was well aware of the Lord’s direction in his return to Jerusalem. He had also had previous warnings regarding what might occur there. (Acts 20:23–24; 21:4) As he went on toward Jerusalem the rhema words increased and were more specific. Driven by love those with prophetic unction want to see Paul walk in the fullness of his election.
Paul did not submit to the believers interpretations of the words they gave him. Why?
First, in our roles to rule and reign with Jesus as Kings and Priests, we are called to be responsible Kingdom citizens. The weight of walking after the Spirit falls to our discernment in community. (James 3:14-18) Ultimately Paul had to weigh the interpretations given in light of what he already knew the Spirit was speaking to him. Typically we are “already on the way” directed by the Lord. In Paul's story, each word brought confirmation of his way and that he would face difficulty. Confirmation after confirmation came to him as he approached Jerusalem. There were also interpretations that might have dissuaded him from finishing the journey. As I read the account, the words appear to be given as “warnings” or with deep concern for Paul’s safety. Paul continued on the face of these interpretations. My sense is he was confirmed in going to Jerusalem and provided comfort of what might happen. When it did he was at rest in the Lord and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
There are many interpretations of this process for Paul, both negative and positive. The important thing to see is that God was speaking, the Saints were alive in the Voice of God and love, and there was a measure of accuracy. Paul weighed the words. He continued on in the conviction of the Lord’s leading he had received when he set out. And so we see the process and the human element involved. The key is in the new covenant we are called to walk after the Spirit with a good conscience and with sincere devotion and love. Every believer will account for their own walk and witness. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Here are a few key assumptions.
The Spirit is amazingly faithful to provide direction and insight. ( John 16:12-14) The key factor is our continued engagement with life and Grace through faith. It is provided through stewarding and walking out the words we receive and the Word of Scripture.
God’s world and the Way in Jesus is replete and overwhelming in the volume of His VOICE. Mountains, stars, his Word of Scripture, the Faithful who carry his voice, and our ever expanding glory to glory faith to faith relationship with him, echoes daily his resounding glory. The world is alive with the prophetic testimony of the Lord Jesus. (Rev 19:10) This is the atmosphere we are called to abide in; deep in connection, rich in volume, abiding in the Lord Jesus as our everyday practice.
God never stops speaking The Kingdom and our King are actively working for our success as Son’s and Daughters. God never stops speaking. Yes, he often speaks on many subjects but the one we would love to hear first. Yet, even in this there is mystery, seeking, knocking and ongoing abiding that calls us deeper and deeper into knowing Jesus. We are treasure hunters and seekers of his face. He is perfectly able to lead us into walking by faith and not by sight. It’s part of his ways.
What is prophetic ministry?
I have been asked this many times. It is a great question. The answer is as rich as the traditions and expressions of prophecy and prophetic ministry throughout the Scripture. Graham Cooke’s book Developing Your Prophetic Gifting is my first recommendation to explore the wider subject. There are many excellent books out there.
When I speak or write about the prophetic ministry I am really speaking about the boundless environment of the Kingdom of God and the Voice of the Spirit given to believers for encouragement, strengthening and comfort.
I am "seeing with the Spirit's unction" into the environment of the Kingdom of God through the life of Jesus, the Apostles, and Saints today. The Spirit is a living and active voice; one of guidance, direction, insight and understanding.
Spiritual environments evaporate without the living water of this vital, clearly important ministry of the Spirit.
As we begin to see the vibrant nature of the Kingdom of God and the incredible repleteness of the Voice of God for us today, we see that the prophetic is like air to the motion of the Kingdom. As we follow and move with the direction of the Spirit, walking in the Spirit as Paul says, we both need understanding and find it available in abundance. To him who is given more will be given…..
The stewarding of what we are given is a key piece in keeping the streams of living water open and flowing. Act on the word of God. Receive more. It is a simple way of obedience and love.
I’m not talking about end times interpretation of Scripture. The interpretation of the end times coming of Christ Jesus is a vital study. It is given as encouragement for believers in the face of patient endurance and hope as we walk and believe for a building built by God. But it is not the full scope of prophetic ministry seen in the New Testament. I cannot address these topics here but point you to some resources at the end of this e-book. Some see prophecy only as foretelling, but it is much more than that. In fact the primary job of a prophet is to teach others to live, breath and move in the prophetic grace of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:11-14). Prophets are not to do all the work as a front stage expert. It is to equip the body of Christ in the ministry of the prophetic. Fivefold ministry is called to impart the anointing of grace upon them so that the Bride of Christ can widen in effective expression and glory through faith.
At times the prophetic ministry helps us understand what lies ahead. (John 16:12-14) I see this passage as the Spirit helping us to understand the way ahead. As we walk with him, reflect on the past and present, he speaks of the future.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you."
This topic is vast and rich and richly rewarding. I will be writing more about Prophetic Ministry here and on my other blogs. My Goals is to bring Stewarding the Prophetic Testimony of Jesus to life into the wider dialogue of the Saints. I will be posting sections and blog posts on the topic over the next month.
What seasonal characteristics lie ahead? What is the Spirit leading us toward? When understood, these points of encouragement will help us walk in deeper understanding, purpose and power in bringing the light of the Gospel to the World around us? What follows is just that. Weigh it for witness and confirmation. Keep what is encouraging and let the rest go. Above all pursue Jesus with first love zeal and walk in Word and Spirit in the abundant life in 2016 and beyond!