9-3-23 Kasey Campbell: Prophecy PT2

Spiritual Gifts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  57:22
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Two weeks ago we talked about prophecy. As a quick refresher, prophecy is speaking on God’s behalf. It’s hearing what God says and then communicating it to others. There are two parts that are equally important: the message from God and how we communicate the message. And prophecy is given for edification, exhortation, or comfort. It’s to build us up, to stir us up or push us forward with Jesus, or to bring healing words. And today I want to talk a little more about prophecy. I want to talk a little about the difference between prophecy in the Old and New Testaments, what happened to change it, and how important that change is, and some practical ways to grow in prophecy. But let's pray first before we start. PRAY. The Hebrew word for prophecy has to do with announcing, witnessing, or testifying to something. As we mentioned before, a true prophet biblically is a spokesperson for God’s Covenant. People can be spokesmen for other things, too, besides God. For example, Aaron was a prophet of Moses. Exodus 7:1 AMP Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now hear this: I make you as God to Pharaoh [to declare My will and purpose to him]; and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. In this example, of course, Moses is hearing God and telling Aaron what God says, and Aaron is telling it to Pharaoh. So, though we know Aaron is God’s prophet, (which is true because he’s speaking God’s words), he’s technically a prophet of Moses in this scenario because He’s hearing from Moses and is acting as his spokesperson. If you remember, Moses really did not like public speaking. He felt like he was horrible at it. He hated it so much that he told God it wasn’t such a great idea to send him to Pharaoh. Do you ever try to weasel out of what God has told you to do? It never really works, does it? It didn’t work for Moses. Prophecy PT2 | 1 Exodus 4:10-16 NLT But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” 11 Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” 13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” 14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. 15 Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. 16 Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. Aaron was considered to be Moses' prophet because he was a spokesman for Moses, delivering Moses’ message. The same idea of speaking ‘for’ God is demonstrated through the testimony of Jeremiah the prophet. Jeremiah 1:9 NKJV Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. Prophets of the Lord speak His message to people. And in the Old Testament, there were some pretty strict tests for prophecy. God didn’t want people led astray by false prophets. He still doesn’t, by the way. Paul says that there are still those who try to lead people astray by pretending to speak for God when they really don’t know Him. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NKJV For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. Prophecy PT2 | 2 In the Old Testament, a person had to be known for their prophecy to be accepted. Deuteronomy 18:18 EXB So I will give [raise up for] them a prophet like you, who is one of their own people [relatives; brothers]. This is probably because God wanted people to know whether or not the person who prophesied was walking the talk. In other words, if you don’t know a person’s fruit, you don’t need to listen to them. Is the person trustworthy? Are they really walking with God? You can tell by what they do, not necessarily by what they say. Talk is cheap, as they say. And Jesus was known. He had been a carpenter in Nazareth for a long time. He most likely took over the family business when Joseph died, and was probably taking care of His mother and brothers and leading the family before He decided to go into full-time ministry. His family didn’t like it that much, either, because their reputation was affected. If you remember, they came to see Him, and it was probably to tell Him to tone it down because the Pharisees were getting mad and they were making trouble for the family and the business. The Pharisees even used the fact that they knew Jesus against Him. Matthew 13:54-56 NKJV When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” The Pharisees rejected Jesus because they knew Him. Even though He had walked in the fruit of the Spirit His entire life and was perfect, basically, they rejected Him because they rejected God’s new covenant of repentance leading to eternal life. Prophecy PT2 | 3 So, you can reject a prophecy if it comes from someone you don’t know. That doesn’t mean you have to reject it; you may have a favorite author you like a pastor you listen to, or a person you follow on YouTube or whatever; you can accept what they say as being from God if you want to and you have determined they are trustworthy. It’s just that you don’t have to accept a prophecy as being from God if you don’t know a person’s fruit. Prophesy could be accompanied by signs and wonders, too, but if the prophecy said to follow any other gods or do anything contrary to what the Lord said, it should be rejected. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 NKJV “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. In the Old Testament, false prophets were killed. We obviously don’t do that today, but we’re also supposed to reject prophesy if the future is predicted and it doesn’t come true. Deuteronomy 18:21-22 NLT “But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the LORD?’ 22 If the prophet speaks in the LORD’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the LORD did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared. Basically, in the Old Testament, there was a very strict and very high standard for anyone who prophesied and said they were speaking for God. If you were wrong, you were killed, because that’s a serious thing to speak for God if you really aren’t. But a change took place. Prophecy PT2 | 4 Moses longed for this change, Joel said it would happen, and on Pentecost, it finally arrived. God gave the gift of prophecy to everyone. God gave the ability to be His spokesman to everyone. Joel 2:28-29 NKJV “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. God has now given everyone who accepts Jesus and is filled with the Holy Spirit the gift of prophecy, (or the ability to hear His voice and speak His words). Throughout history, there have always been prophets, but they were very special people and quite rare. Their assignment was to remind people of the covenants God made through Abraham and David. They warned that disobedience would bring a curse, but that obedience would bring a blessing. Their counsel and prophetic words weren’t necessarily followed much while they were alive, but because what they said would happen happened, their writings were preserved as scripture and future generations looked back and realized that God had spoken to them. The Bible says that Abraham, David, and Moses were prophets. It was a person’s capacity to hear God and faithfully speak His message that made them a prophet. There was a high standard - one wrong statement, and you were killed. But that line of Old Testament prophets came to an end. John the Baptist was the last one. Matthew 11:13 NKJV For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. John the Baptist was the last great spokesman for the covenants, declaring that God had shown him that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the One we had all been waiting for. What Jesus did on the cross and by His resurrection has Prophecy PT2 | 5 profoundly changed the way we can relate to God. He made it possible for the Holy Spirit to live inside our physical bodies just like He dwelt in the tabernacle and in the temple. Now, each one of us can have a deep, personal relationship with God; we can hear His voice, and we can speak His words. Jeremiah 31:34 NLT And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Through Jeremiah, God promised that His New Covenant would apply to every one of His people, from the least to the greatest. So, for those of us who have received the New Covenant, or salvation through Jesus, everything has changed, including prophecy. Those few people on whom the Holy Spirit rested have been replaced by us by you and me, by all of God’s people, because we are each a living temple of the Holy Spirit, empowered to proclaim the blessings of the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood that God has made available to everyone. Jesus has come. His death on the cross removed the barrier of our sins, and His resurrection proved it. Then, as the ascended Lord, He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside every man, woman, and child who was willing to repent and believe in Him. From that moment on, not only could all prophesy, but we could all also walk in every type of ministry that Jesus walked in. We need to understand this deep, profound change that took place because of the New Covenant, or else we may find ourselves drifting back into Old Covenant thinking. By that, I mean that we can fall back into rules-based thinking, or we can live passively just waiting for someone else to ‘do ministry’ or speak uplifting, encouraging, or comforting words to people in Jesus' Name. Prophecy PT2 | 6 If we lose sight of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that Jesus sacrifice on the cross made possible, or if we don’t realize what actually happened to us when we were filled with or baptized in the Holy Spirit, we can forget that the Giver of all gifts lives inside of us, and we’ll wait passively for a few special, rare people to tell us what God says. We were never meant to coast on other people’s revelation. We were never meant to be removed from God, His voice, and His presence. We were designed to live in the presence of the Holy Spirit and move and speak by His voice, and without His help, we’re doomed to fail in every important area of our lives. And with the change from Old to New Covenant, God has done some things for you and me. He’s given you a new heart. Ezekiel 36:25-26 NKJV Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Every teaching in the New Testament is designed to lead a person to Jesus so their heart can be changed or it speaks to people where it’s assumed this heart change has taken place. The Bible is not a self-help book. God doesn’t try to teach untransformed, worldly people how to be better. He doesn’t tell people who don’t know Jesus to try harder to be ‘good people.’ God doesn’t say that grace covers people who have never repented of their sins. Unlimited grace is promised only to those who have had a ‘heart of stone’ replaced with a ‘heart of flesh,’ to those who want to please God, and to people who have become children of God. Actually, to announce unlimited grace to someone who hasn’t had a heart change towards the Lord just encourages them to keep sinning and doing whatever they want. It calms any worry that God might hold them accountable for their actions. Prophecy PT2 | 7 But to the true child of God, the one who longs to obey the Father but sometimes becomes overwhelmed by the power of temptation, the message of God’s grace proclaims the New Covenant; it announces God’s patience while we learn to find victory over temptation and guarantee’s God’s help through the struggles. So God has given us new hearts. Would you say, “I have a new heart.” You also have a new power. Paul says that even when a person has a new heart and wants to please God, it’s impossible to do without the Holy Spirit’s help. He says that someone who doesn’t know how to draw on God’s power will be overwhelmed by forces too great to resist and will end up saying something like this: Romans 7:14-25 NLT So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Prophecy PT2 | 8 But if you keep reading, Paul doesn’t leave us in frustration. He reminds those who are in Christ that we’re not under condemnation anymore. Then, He points us toward the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and tells us how powerful He is. He’s trying to help us see that the Holy Spirit, who is now living inside of us, is so far more powerful than any sinful impulses that originate from our sinful nature or our dying bodies. When we learn how to let the Holy Spirit strengthen us, we find we’re able to put to death the deeds of the flesh and obey God much more effectively and quickly. Would you say ‘The Holy Spirit gives me the power to obey.’ The new you has a new heart and a new power. You are forgiven, you have a new heart, and your body has been made clean as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, there is no sin barrier separating you from God, and you can hear His voice. We’re able to recognize the work of Jesus in ourselves and in others. We can move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we can prophesy. And I want to close with some practical ways to help us grow in prophecy, or speaking God’s words to others. Paul wants us to speak in tongues, and he wants us to prophesy, and this is what we should expect as part of God’s new covenant. So here are a few practical steps we can take to grow in our capacity to prophecy. Again, it takes the boldness to step out, but also the humility to learn and grow. ● Learn the character of God. By continually reading the Bible, a person learns how to answer this question: What would God say? Only when we know scripture, are committed to it, and submitted to it, are we safe to prophesy. ● Learn the voice of God: Be meditating on a passage of scripture until you receive inspiration, and you’ll learn to recognize the difference Prophecy PT2 | 9 between your thoughts and God’s thoughts. ● Learn the voice of your flesh: By trial and error and with honest self-evaluation, you can learn from your successes and mistakes. How many people refuse self-reflection or self-evaluation? ● Learn to submit to a community of believers: Only those who submit to others and can receive correction and constructive feedback are healthy enough to prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:29 KJ21 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. Literally, let the corporate body use the ‘discernment of spirits.’ Or, to say that in a different way, does the Holy Spirit in me and the body of Christ line up with what you’re saying? It's kind of scary to get up and share with the possibility of the church saying, ‘No, I don’t think that’s of God, isn’t it?’ It’s the white blood cells saying that something is off - it’s the body protecting the body. No one is above being evaluated. ● Guard and grow in your integrity of heart: There can be a fine line between our flesh and the Spirit, between what we want to say and what God is actually saying (some end up trying to manipulate, please, or force something to happen) ● Learn to recognize what God is doing in a church service: Observe what’s happening in church and engage so you can weigh whether or not your word interrupts what God is saying or what He is doing. God is looking for beauty, order, and flow. However, prophecy is not Prophecy PT2 | 10 limited to being in church. ● Learn to ask if the word is just meant for you, or the corporate body: Ask yourself, ‘Who is God speaking this to, and why?’ Sometimes, what we hear from God is for us personally, not everyone else. ● Learn when to stop: Say what God gives and then stop. Don’t use a prophecy as an opportunity to preach to people, talk about your agenda, or teach. ● Learn to be careful about directive prophecies: Don’t tell people what to do. In the New Covenant, since God speaks to all, we don’t need directive prophecies the same way people did before Jesus came. Avoid telling people about the future unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ve heard correctly. God has given us a new heart and a new power. He has enabled us to hear from Him and to walk in the same ministry capacity that He did. As we grow in hearing His voice, let’s also grow in speaking edification, exhortation, and comfort to one another. Prophecy PT2 | 11
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