Summary: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations” Jer. 1:5.
Theme: Ordained to be a prophet
Text: Jer. 1:4-10; 1 Cor. 13:1-12; Lk. 4:22-30
It is God’s desire that His people prophesy. His desire came to pass on the Day of Pentecost when Joel’s prophesy was fulfilled. “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” Joel 2:28. Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of this gift of prophecy is different from the ministry of prophets in the prophetic office. Prophets speak for God. All who prophesy are not prophets, however all prophets prophesy. Not everyone is called to be a prophet but every believer is called to prophesy having received the gift of prophesy from the Holy Spirit.
A prophet called to the prophetic office speaks for God. He says what God tells him to say. He foretells the future only when God reveals His purposes for the future.
A true prophet receives revelations from God. These are supernatural revelations of the Holy Spirit that could not be known by the natural mind. He also receives supernatural instruction concerning what action is required to solve a problem for which there seems no natural answer. A true prophet has the gift of discerning spirits. By the discerning of spirits, a prophet will know whether a particular manifestation is from the Holy Spirit, from the human spirit or from an evil spirit.
The prophetic office is given by God and not man with a purpose and plan for your life that is different from every other person. Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office. It is impossible for someone to proclaim he is a prophet with a prophetic office and thereby be one. “And no man takes this honour to himself, but he that is called of God” Heb. 5:4. When Jeremiah tried to resist, the Lord said, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you”. God had plans for Jeremiah that Jeremiah could not understand at the time. “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” Jer. 1:10. When Jeremiah spoke the words of the Lord it was as if the Lord was speaking Himself and history is a testimony that everything written in verse 10 came to pass. The prophetic office is not an easy one as many assume today. Jeremiah spoke God’s word even when he knew the consequences for displeasing the king. The false prophets were rewarded and he almost died in a cistern. In recent years there are many self anointed and self appointed prophets at work in the Church. No man takes this honour to himself; it is a call of God.
There are some who are called to the prophetic office but all believers are called to prophesy, to the prophetic ministry. Some of these gifts are available to all who prophesy and we need to be careful of their misuse. The prophetic ministry according to 1 Cor. 14:3 consists simply of “speaking to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the Church this prophetic ministry serves to build up the members. Encouragement serves to stir up the believers and improves their participation in the activities of the Church. Even unbelievers need encouragement to come to Church. A very important prophetic ministry of believers is that of consolation. There are many people in our Churches that are just waiting to hear a word that will comfort them and cheer them up.
We often underestimate the need to encourage and comfort others. A woman who needed to hear about the love of God had her life transformed when a believer told her about God’s love for her. She became a devote Christian and wrote the book “I dared to call Him Father” In this book, Bilquis Sheikh, describes the unusual journey of a prominent Muslim woman from Pakistan coming to a personal relationship with Christ. Her disappointment with life led her to carefully study the Koran to find purpose and hope in life. When she failed to find what she was looking for in the Koran her attention was directed to the Bible. In it she soon discovered that God loved her and Christ died for her. She accepted God’s message of hope and surrendered her life to Christ. She suffered persecution for her faith both emotionally, materially, and socially. In spite of everything, she spent the rest of her life testifying to the Muslim world about Christ. If a word of prophesy to a Muslim could dare her to call God Father, how about the many believers who are just waiting for a word of exhortation and consolation? We are not all called to the office of a prophet but we are all called to edify, exhort and console. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit who we received when we accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord.