Posts Tagged ‘exhortation’

Prophetic Preaching

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent Me.” (John 7:16)

Jesus consistently preached under the anointing of God, as we see in the above verse. Yet the key to being prophetic is that Jesus’ message carried the weight of supernatural creativity, breakthrough and fulfillment.  A prophetic preacher may use the gifts of teaching, exhortation and prophecy in a variety of ways; but the power of the message itself, will shift the atmosphere (Rom. 1:16-17). That is what makes it prophetic!

“And take the … sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God” (Eph 6:17)

Prophetic Preaching contains a ‘Now’ Word:

The prophetic gift is employed to make known the thoughts, purpose and intent of God. Prophetic preaching has a sense of immediacy. In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘rhema’ primarily refers to the spoken word that carries power in its ‘utterance’, whereas ‘logos’ primarily refers to the written word, the logic of God or His thought process. Prophetic teaching and preaching releases the rhema of God’s “Spirit-breathed”, current Word. It is designed to reveal the Father’s “Now Word”, making known something that if believed would come forth. It answers the question, ‘What is God’s Word to us in this season?’

Example: The Apostle Paul said, “the word is near you even in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith that we preach” (Rom. 10:8). He goes on to say that if you act on it by confessing and believing, you will be saved… You will be transformed!

What happens in prophetic preaching is that we are drawn into an experience by the conviction of the Holy Spirit as well as the will to believe and step into its power. It sets a Kairos moment… the opportune time for change and transformation. Prophetic preaching opens doorways into heavenly blessing, revelation and assignments.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor 2:13)

Based on Spiritual Revelation:

Prophetic preaching is inspired by the Holy Spirit through the means of revelation. The word ‘revelation’ in the New Testament Greek, apokalupsis, means an ‘uncovering’ or ‘disclosure’. In other words, God is revealing something by His Spirit that is not known by natural means… its a mystery. There is often a call to action or a need to respond and activate the Word received by the hearer. This is why we place a high priority on seasons of prayer or altar times, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts when the atmosphere has been shifted in a room or auditorium. This may be to align one’s heart or actions, to pay attention to a timely warning or submit to guidance. When we do not position ourselves for God’s present or future plans, we often miss our opportunity. The consistent results of the prophetic instructions of God are for transformation and breakthrough.

Notice these two examples:

  1. “The children of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do… and all their brethren were at their command” (1 Chron. 12:32)
  2. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Mt. 7:28-29)

Prophetic Preaching Carries Authority:

This authority is not based upon the preacher’s gift, but on the basis of being entrusted with a message from God Himself. Throughout Scripture, the instruction given through a prophet brought breakthrough for God’s people. This included strategic guidance in a time of warfare (2 Chron. 20:14-17), a word of action in crisis (Gen 41:25-46) or a specific declaration of breakthrough (2 Kings 7:1-2). Prophetic preaching is of great value when a shift is needed to bring the Kingdom of God and push back against the darkness that floods our vision.

Empowering the Church:

“Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.”  (Acts 15:32)

The outcome of prophetic preaching, just as with all prophetic ministry, is that the Church and its leadership is built up, strengthened and empowered. (1 Cor 14:3-4)

Carrying Glory

“And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” So David would not move the ark with him into the City of David, but took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.” (1 Chro. 13:11-14)

It was quite a shock… as King David comes to recognize that the Glory of the Lord cannot be handled with a casual attitude. Everything seemed to be going great until the ox stumbles, causing it to shift on the new cart. That’s when a man named Uzzah reaches out to stabilize the ark. And as he touched it, God’s wrath pours from the ark killing Uzzah and ruining the day. The event was tragic… and the blood was on King David’s hands. This was his first official activity designed to celebrate God’s choice of him as king and his unique leadership over Jerusalem as well as the Nation of Israel. The people knew he was a great warrior, but leading a nation required additional skills… like humility and a sense of stewardship. This parade included thousands of soldiers, leaders from all parts of the country, and months of planning. When you realize what a public embarrassment and significant failure this event was, we understand why the Scripture says “David was angry”.

Yet, after three months of David’s discouragement, he learns about the blessing of God resting upon the house of Obed-Edom. This was where the ark was left when the journey was delayed. It was in these days that David began to truly grasp the value of the Glory of God. As a man after God’s heart, he made some foolish mistakes. His second attempt to bring the ark into Jerusalem reveals some important principles for carrying the Glory. Now, he would take a different approach to accomplish a task in which he felt a more humble sense of destiny and passion to complete.

1st. Obey God’s Word:

The first principle of carrying the Glory of God and overcoming failure is to submit to Scripture. After failing to bring the ark to Jerusalem, David researched the Scriptures to discover the specific instructions for transporting the ark (1 Chro. 15:1-2). This revelation has enormous application for New Testament believers. What does God require of the born again, Spirit-filled believer in order that there is a sense of humility and stewardship… that we obey God’s Word!

2nd. Be Sensitive to God’s Purpose:

At the first effort, David was dressed as a king, because he wanted to display his military exploits. By the time of the second attempt, David grew in his knowledge of the Glory, at the cost of one of his soldiers lives. God requires humility before He allows us to have access to His Glory. So the king of Israel refused to wear the royal garments. Instead he wore the same linen garment as a common priest. The second journey was all about God, and less about David!

Scholars believe Psalm 24 was sung as the ark was being brought into the city. It asks the question, “Who is the King of Glory?” The answer illustrates the effort to move all attention away from King David and give praise to Almighty God. “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8) and again “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory!” (Ps. 24:10). To carry the Glory of God, we must treat the sacred with reverent sensitivity and walk in an awareness of who the King of Glory really is.

3rd. Sanctify Your Heart:

Part of being sensitive to the heart of God is preparing yourself through the renewal of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2) or sanctification, which means to be made holy or set apart for divine purpose. The Bible describes David’s exhortation, and it was for the priests to “consecrate themselves” in preparation for carrying the ark of God (1 Chro. 15:12-15). As New Testament priests we must also allow God to cleanse us and sanctify ourselves daily, so that His Glory will manifest in our lives. The Bible says if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9-10), so that we will have the hope of walking in His Glory (Rom. 5:1-2). The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to cleanse himself to be a vessel of honor, made holy, useful to the master and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 2:21).

Powerful Words of Jesus:

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” (Jn. 16:1)

Clearly, it was the desire of the Lord, Himself that we would not stumble in our effort to walk in the Glory of God. Yet Glory is not freely given… it must be stewarded and maintained as our life is being transformed. In other words, it will increase as we will grow in our ability to carry the “weight” of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6 & 16-18). The more you behold His Glory, the more you will grow and be able to carry. We are told, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). Scripture also explains that it is “Christ in you” that is “the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).

Today if we will hear His voice – He is calling us to carry the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord to the nations! (Hab. 2:14)

Prophetic Clarity

In the bush regions of Uganda

In the bush regions of Uganda

“Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy… he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Cor. 14:1 & 3)

Over the past 20 years, the Lord has graced us with better understanding of prophetic ministry. We have seen a wonderful restoration of the ministry of the prophet in our day… and for that I am grateful. Gone are the days where there is no word from heaven and the image of prophets are simply a picture of Elijah with a long, grey beard in a flowing robe. I believe that now God wants to raise the prophetic standard in our churches and train us to hear with clarity and precision.

The Standard of Clarity:

Hearing the voice of God with clarity and understanding the anointing of the Holy Spirit are the pre-requisites to speaking words that edify, exhort and comfort the people of God. It takes experience and knowledge of God’s Word to become consistent and it is a life long pursuit. Here are some thoughts about raising the standard of prophetic ministry.

1. All may prophesy, but not all are prophets. We must release the prophetic in our fellowships and begin to allow more freedom of expression. We can learn how to identify the difference between someone who is simply prophesying a word of encouragement and someone who has a prophetic ministry. But we cannot grow in our understanding without vital experience in spiritual revelation. One way to test the gift of the prophet is by measuring the accuracy and authority by which the person speaks (1 Jn. 4:1). Some well meaning individuals, who lack maturity will use a harsh tone or “old fashion” pentecostal tone. But true prophets speak the word of the Lord with clarity, as if it is the very word of God (1 Pe. 4:10-11).

2. Prophetic people need patience. Just because you have received a message from God doesn’t mean you are to speak it forth. You must learn the right timing in which to prophesy. Unless the word is spoken at the right time or “kairos” moment, it will likely fall on deaf ears. Hold the word, pray into it, let it develop and expand and at the right time deliver it with a sense of boldness. It will carry a fresh anointing and accomplish what it was sent to do, because it was set in its proper season. It helps to look at examples in Scripture, like the Sons of Issachar (Gen. 49:14-15) who were Jacob’s descendants. They were prophetic people who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chron. 12:32). They spoke into key events with clarity and eventually their descendants were influential in King David’s reign in Jerusalem. 

3. If you have no prayer life, you have no prophetic ministry. In order to “be a voice”, you must first hear God’s voice. Scripture makes it clear that we must abide in Christ in order to know the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). “The Lion roars, who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8). In other words, first the Lion of the Tribe of Judah must roar, and then those who hear it begin to prophesy. I know that sounds simplistic, but believe me when I say it is a problem, when our standard is accuracy and edification.

4. Let the prophetic word come sharp and clear. The Spirit doesn’t author confusion, so if you don’t understand the meaning or interpretation of something then it’s possible that you should not share it. Words without interpretation are not edifying to people. I personally enjoy hearing about rainbows, clouds and exciting visions, but we must recognize that some of these things only leave a person that much more confused. I understand there are occasions where the meaning of a vision is not disclosed, but someone else should have the interpretation. God is not hiding anything from us (Jn 15:15), we can always ask for the interpretation. Be patient and God will speak with clarity (1 Cor. 2:10-12).

“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)

5. We are Dependant Upon Revelation. The prophetic ministry puts a demand upon revelation. Its a ministry that has its roots in pursuing God in such a way that He begins to reveal the secrets of His heart (Prov. 25:2).  I am not talking about revelation beyond that found in the Scriptures. No, but within the revelation already given – and God knows it is bigger than our imagination! The Holy Spirit still moves to reveal what “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard” (1 Cor. 2:9). This is the role of prophetic ministry… to bring others an unfolding revelation. It was there all the time, but somehow hidden. God is doing new things and the only way we can see it is to shift the way we see (Mt. 4:17). 

Liberty:

That is the wonder of a life in the Spirit. It is a life of constant new discovery and everything that once was mystery is full of surprise and wonder. A life set on the Holy Spirit can never be static; it is full of liberty and freedom. God’s thoughts are beyond limit. We cannot reach the place where Truth is no longer enlarging our perception of who He is… nor who we are in Him. This is our liberty in Christ, to listen to the Holy Spirit and become activated in something bigger than ourselves.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17)

Rooting Out Bitterness

There are many reasons bitterness takes root in a person’s life; from hurts of the past, to words spoken in the heat of the moment. But no matter how these feelings are set in the heart, the potential damage is enormous. We can miss the grace of God! Bitter roots release defilement in the heart and lead us to miss the grace of God (Heb 12:15). 

Bitterness opens the door to demonic strongholds by poisoning the perceptions of our heart.

 

The Apostle Paul tells us to get rid of these roots, as they work against our ability to be kind toward others and forgive them as part of the Christian lifestyle (Eph 4:30-5:2). His exhortation is that we should “walk in love” and “imitate God as dear children”; recognizing the incredible gift of love God has expressed to us through Jesus Christ, upon the cross.

Jesus said “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

We must reject self pity and determine to let go of our hurt toward people even when we could justify our emotional feelings. Notice how Jesus expresses His pain upon the cross… forgiveness! He is not holding on to any perceived unfair treatment; but contends for the Father’s forgiveness on the grounds of ignorance.

 Their ignorance becomes a platform to display the highest ethic held in the Christian Faith, that of sacrificial love.

The most effective way to root out bitterness is to become rooted in love (Eph 3:17-19). Love suffers long and is kind… it does not seek its own… thinks no evil… does not rejoice in iniquity… bears all things… and never fails… this is our spiritual root system (1 Cor 13:4-8). Love is by nature sacrificial and when our hearts are permeated by the love of God we are more than equipped… we are supernatural and free.

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