From the very beginning of the church, Christians have gathered to pray (Acts 4:24; 12:5; 21:5). Miracles happen literally as believers gather in one accord to pray. Prayer meetings are valuable for the church as a whole and for the individuals who participate.
Christians know prayer works because they have encountered a God who declares, “Talk to me and I will listen.” The apostle John confirms this: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Andrew Murray, the great Christian minister and prolific writer, said, “Prayer depends chiefly, almost entirely, on who we think we are praying to.” It is through the discipline of prayer with one another that we develop a growing intimacy with God, and create a spiritual bond with one another. This is one of the most valuable aspects of praying with one another.
We see from the scriptures in Luke chapter 4:18 that Jesus Christ mission was to reach out to the poor, to deliver the captives, to restore sight to the blind, and to lift up the broken hearted. This mission is as relevant today as it was then and we should commit ourselves to fulfilling His mission daily.
Jesus Christ Himself read from the scriptures in Isaiah 61 and this is what He said;
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[b]
The fulfillment was His presence on the earth.
THE MINISTERIAL GIFT OF A PROPHET
1 CORINTHIANS 12:28
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, SECONDARILY PROPHETS....
To stand in the office of a prophet, one is first of all a minister of the gospel, separated and called into the full time ministry
Qualifications of the one who stands in the office of the prophet verses layman who prophesies
1. A prophet is first of all a preacher or a teacher of the Word while a layman prophesying may NOT necessarily be called into the five-fold ministry
2. To stand in the office of a prophet, one must have a more consistent manifestation of the revelation gifts in operation namely word of wisdom, word of knowledge, or discerning of spirits whilst a layman prophesying may not but only delivers or speaks what Holy Spirit gives him or she at the moment
3. A prophet who is called to the full-time ministry can prophesy through the Word of knowledge, Word of wisdom or through discernment while a layman ONLY prophesies under the inspiration of the moment as Holy Spirit directs or wishes
Understanding the three revelation gifts that operates through the ones called in the office of a prophet
1. The Word of wisdom: It is a supernatural revelation by the Spirit of God concerning the divine purpose in the mind and will of God. This always speaks of the future.
2. The Word of knowledge: It is a supernatural revelation by the Spirit of God of facts in the mind of God concerning people, places, or things. This always speaks of the present or past tense.
3. Discerning of spirits: It is a supernatural insight into the realm of spirits. Seeing and hearing in the spirit realm.
Any Holy Ghost filled believer or layman may prophesy, but he or she is NOT a prophet just because he or she prophesies.
The four classes of apostles.
#1. Jesus the Chief Apostle: Jesus Himself is the Chief Apostle and stands in a class by Himself. We find in Hebrews 3:1 that Jesus is called the Apostle (Verse 22) He is referred to as a High Priest of our profession. He was a "Sent One" from the Father to make atonement for the sins of the world. No other apostle (or sent one) will have that calling.
#2. Apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14). These were the twelve apostles who were eyewitnesses of Jesus' life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection (Acts 1:21,22). This was their purpose - to witness Jesus' earthly ministry and to give testimony of His ministry to the world. No one, not even Paul, could be an apostle in the sense the original twelve were.
#3. New Testament Apostles: This includes Paul and Barnabas as in Acts 14:14, The New Testament Apostles also includes several others like:
(a) James the Lord's brother (Gal . 1:19).
(b) Andronicus and Junia (Rom.16:7).
(c) Silvanus and Timotheus (1 Thess. 1:1;2 :6).
(d) Two unnamed brethren (2 Cor.8:23).*
(e) Epaphroditus (Phil.2:25).*
#4. Apostles of Today: It is important to note that there are no foundation-laying apostles today. The foundation has already been laid. The duty of the apostles of today is to build on the foundation already laid by Jesus Christ and by the apostles of the lamb. The work of the modern day apostle also includes founding and establishing local churches in the world; to go into new territory and pioneer churches where there are no churches.
Apart from the Lord Jesus Christ who is the chief apostle, there are some three main divisions in this apostle realm, which we must remember.
Firstly, it is the foundational apostles who wrote the Scripture by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These apostles lived no more after the first century and there can be no other apostle of this type.
Secondly, there were the twelve apostles chosen by the Lord Jesus Himself and sent out in apostolic mission of whom Judas Iscariot became the betrayer of Jesus later and Matthias replaced him by the Lord's sovereign choice through casting lots (Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:23-26; Prov 16:33). These twelve are unique in their calling that will be given to no other person because these twelve have been chosen to symbolically become the twelve foundations of the wall of the holy city of New Jerusalem. On these twelve foundational apostles, their twelve names will be written on the New City - Jerusalem Walls (Rev 21:14). They are also referred to as "Apostles of the lamb"
Thirdly, the apostles who were given to the Church according to (Ephesians 4:11) "The modern day apostles"
The word Apostle, is derived from classical Greek word 'apostolos', meaning "one who is sent away, a messenger or ambassador".
Christian apostles are messengers sent forth by Jesus specifically to proclaim the Truth (gospel) of the kingdom of God. Example; Apostle Paul even though he was the among called "New Testament Apostles" was specifically called by Jesus to preach to the Gentiles (Gal 1:1, 15-17).
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."
"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).