Ephesians 4:11-13 — So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Five fold ministry exists in the Body to fulfill the three major purposes which can be put together as equipping the church
1.To perfect the saints (train)
2.To edify the church
3.For the work of the ministry
Notice; these five gifts - Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are purposed to “equip God’s people for works of service…” The only way to equip someone for something is to be a living example of it. You cannot equip a person to serve unless you yourself are a better servant than they are. As Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (See Mark 9:35.)
A prophetic word is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to help bring Christians into a place of maturity. God has set within the Church the ministry of the New Testament prophet with special anointing and authority. Through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, He has also established the gift of prophecy to communicate not only in the local church, but also to the entire Body of Christ. And as He inhabits the praises and prayer times of His people, He releases the spirit of prophecy to give testimony to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the earth today! The gift of prophecy is released mainly to admonish or encourage believers. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:14-15, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to your through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.” Personal prophecy, as Paul mentions here, is for the up building and encouragement of individual Christians, and of the Church at large. It was true in the First Century, and it is still true in the Twenty-First Century. Prophecies have been given and many get frustrated and confused when they don’t come to pass. Like a seed planted prophecies need to be watered for them to come to pass. Prophecies need to be prayed on. When a prophecy is released it is your duty to declare prayers on it. When a prophecy is given powers and principalities get to work and start going after it. Take time to listen carefully to this teaching and it will bless you..
In our last episode (Part 1) of this same message, we discussed about the importance of prophecy in the Body of Christ and also the desired or expected qualities of the person delivering the prophetic Word.
In this episode we are discussing about what is expected of the one receiving the prophetic Word.
The recipient of the prophetic Word should;
1) Record, read and meditate upon the Word
2) Study the scriptures to confirm the Word given
3) Follow the witness of the Spirit
4) Remove all hindrances to receiving the promise
5) Wait patiently upon the Lord
6) Allow God to form character in the process
7) Receive God’s promise in faith
“If you have received personal prophecies from the Lord, or your church has received prophetic words, go back and read over them again. If you’ve neglected them, repent and commit yourself to responding in faith instead." “What has the Lord said to you?
Begin to say it with Him. Confess it to yourself over and over again. As you confess God’s word to yourself, you will know by the Spirit when it’s time to act on it.
“Finally, flow with the authority God has placed over you and in you, and join with others to exercise corporate faith — both for the words given to you and for the words given to the whole congregation."
According to 1Corinthians 2 we have several spirits going on within us or just outside of us. They have a restricted influence over us, but we still must make a choice of whose influence we follow. These three spirits that Paul wrote about to the Corinthians are:
The spirit of man,
The spirit of the world,
The spirit of God
Let’s take a further look into each one of these that Paul writes about.
The spirit of man.
Who knows the nastiness of our thoughts except for our own spirit, the spirit of man. For the spirit of man is in tune with the things of the flesh. Our spirit senses hunger, thirst and pain and acts accordingly with a response.
Anyone who has fasted runs into this fact. We allow the spirit of God to take over, thus yielding our hunger to Him. By this we become an overcomer or overcoming the spirit of man. This is the reason it says in 2 Cor 10:5 that we are to be taking every thought captive and bring it into submission to God with our obedience to what Jesus taught us by word and deed.
The spirit of the world. This spirit relies upon what things a man teaches, not the things that God teaches. This would be what Jesus called the traditions of man, which were nailed to the cross (where we should leave them.)
"If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way. First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
- Jesus, in Matthew 5:23-24
God cares how we treat others, especially other children of God. He does not accept worship from anyone who has done wrong to another and has not yet made it right. The greatest commandment is that we should love God with all our hearts and minds, but the second greatest commandment is that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Mt. 22:40).
WHEN OUR ACTIONS DON’T MATCH OUR WORDS.
Prophet Isaiah prophesied saying: ’These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ Matthew 15:7-9 (NKJV)
We often hear people say one thing but their actions don't match their words. In our spiritual lives such hypocrisy is particularly offensive to God.
I. IF YOU "TALK THE TALK" YOU NEED TO "WALK THE WALK"
We read in Luke 6:46 where our Lord asked a straightforward question: "Why do you call me ’Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say."
A person may hide their deception from their fellow man but every attempt to do so with God will inevitably fail.
II. WHY DO MEN ENGAGE IN SUCH DECEPTION?
It stems from a spiritual "heart problem". Our text makes this clear in the phrase: "but their heart is far from Me."
The Bible teaches that what is in the heart of a man determines what kind of a man he is. Consider Proverbs 23:7 "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
God commands us in Deuteronomy 6:5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength."
And Paul reminds us: "For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:10.
III. THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN’S DECEPTION.
If our actions do not support our words that it would be far better if we choose not to speak at all. Paul stressed this point when he wrote: "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?" I Corinthians 14:8.
The Bible offers many principles to aid the process of making decisions that honor God. The following list is not exhaustive, but it does represent many teachings of Scripture.
First, begin with prayer. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” If we should pray in all situations, we should certainly pray in times of decision-making. As we pray, we ask for wisdom (James 1:5).
Second, define the issue. Wise decisions are informed decisions. It is important to understand what options are available. Once the factors are known, options can be further considered and evaluated.
Third, seek biblical wisdom. Some decisions become easy, if there is one clear choice consonant with God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” When we follow the teachings of God’s Word, He guides our path and provides knowledge to make wise choices.
Fourth, seek godly counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Sometimes, consulting with a friend or family member is enough. At other times, consulting with a pastor or other trusted voice can make the difference between a harmful decision and a helpful one.
Fifth, trust the Lord with your decision. In other words, if you’ve made your decision with prayer, sound wisdom and biblical counsel, trust God for the outcome. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Sixth, be willing to admit mistakes and adjust accordingly. In most cases, there is no wisdom in continuing down a wrong path after you have discovered it is wrong. Be willing to admit mistakes or failures and ask God for the grace to change.
Seventh, give praise to God for your success. When your decisions result in personal success, the temptation is to believe it is due to your own power, talent, or genius. However, it is God who blesses our efforts and gives strength. “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
Recommended Resource: Decision Making and the Will of God by Friesen & Maxson
Exodus 2:11-15 (NIV) One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Then next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Moses began to assert himself on behalf of his own people.
I. Our Ways
What might have happened if Moses had actually tried to deliver the children of Israel through a human approach? Thousand's and thousand's would have been slain. It already costed Moses 40 years of exile in Midian working as a Shepherd. Moses succeeded when he allowed God to do it His way.
When God delivered the children of Israel there was not one person lost nor any feeble person among them. Psalm 105:37 (NKJV) He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. God's ways are indisputably better than our ways, so why do we persist in doing things our own ways rather than God's way.
II. God's Ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV) "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.