Summary: The five-fold ministry is important to the Church fulfilling her end-time destiny. The prophet serves to declare that Jesus is the source of all gifts, including the miracle of new life itself.
The Office of the Prophet
Intro.: Every month hundreds of pastors resign their churches and leave the ministry. There are many reasons for this but I believe the most significant is “unreasonable expectations”. In most churches, the pastor is expected to function in every role- prophet, priest & king. He is expected to provide complete organizational, relational and spiritual leadership. The church expects him to be A,P,E,P&T all rolled up into one. Pastors are expected to carry the full burden of ministry and they are breaking under the strain en masse.
Apostles are sent to establish order. Prophets speak for God to build up the body
Evangelists declare the good news to the lost Pastors shepherd, lead, protect and feed the sheep Teachers instruct in truth, revealing instruction, guidance, enlightenment, doctrine, direction and knowledge.
READ: Eph. 4:11-12, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Numbers 12:6b, “When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.”
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets”.
Illustration: Remember the analogy of the RR companies, their westward expansion, and the workings of the five-fold ministry. The Apostle is like the surveyor & tracklayer, the prophet is the “engine crew” the evangelist is the conductor, the pastor is the porter and the teacher is the tour guide. Today I’m going to focus on the prophet. After new track was laid, the RR began to fire up the engine boilers so that they could begin shipping. The ministry of the prophet is like the “engine crew” which is comprised of the engineer, who keeps the train on the right track and the fireman, who stokes the engine and keeps the fire burning so that the train has the power to move down the tracks.
The prophet is probably the least understood ministry gift in the church and yet it is second in God’s list. You see, if we refuse to receive an apostle, we refuse order, but if we refuse to receive a prophet, we refuse destiny! The church then exists as an addendum to the present society. The prophet voice in the church is the key to the church’s destiny and power. The prophet has the ability to see things that are not seen. He doesn’t focus on the circumstances (the mess), but on God’s solution.
I. The Authority of the Prophet
A. When a prophet is received, he brings with him a two-fold authority
1. First, an authority to bring the church to an awareness of the “NOW” of God
a. A prophet reminds us that God is, now just that He was
2. Second, an authority that brings the church back to the fear of the Lord.
a. Sadly, there is very little fear of the Lord in today (in or out of church)
1. The world no longer respects the Lord or His day
2. The fear of the Lord is lacking in the church today also
NOTE: Many believers have a shallow commitment to the Lord that allows them to constantly rationalize and justify attitudes, behavior and lifestyles that go against God’s will. Because there is little understanding of God’s expectations, there is only a limited respect for His holiness.
II. The Marks of a Prophet
A. A ministry that exhorts and strengthens the disciples
B. A message that appeals not to the flesh, but to the spirit
C. Accurate prophetic insight, not just generalities
D. Spiritual discernment in the lives of others
E. The ability to judge other prophetic giftings and manifestations
III. The Ministry of the Prophet
A. Prophetic assurance
1. This helps us understand that we are “God-appointed”
B. Prophetic Power
1. The “real” thing is what people are looking for today
2. Many have tried church and found it to be clueless and dead
C. Prophetic Teaching
1. Prophetic teaching usually comes in one of three ways:
a. Covenental theology – all O.T. is approached as prophecy (shadow)
1. The reality must exist before the shadow
2. A shadow is only a representation of something fuller and greater
b. Creation Theology – thru Christ, God began a new “creation”
c. Judgment Theology – God’s justice is to bring us to repentance
Concl.: Ultimately, the office of prophet serves to declare that Jesus is the source of all gifts, including the miracle of new life itself. When paired, the apostle and the prophet together form a spiritual “dynamic duo.” We find an example of this in Acts 2 when God paired Paul the Apostle and Silas the prophet. As they traveled together their ministry multiplied because of their joint recognition and acceptance of one another’s gifting.