THE religious spirit
In Jesus day, the Pharisees had many followers. But that did not mean that they stood for the truth. They even perverted the law of Moses to suit their own ends. For every message whether true or false, there are disciples.
Hebrews 13:9 says: “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.”
It is of utter most importance to ensure that Jesus is always the central focus of every message we preach. Let’s return to the doctrine of our Lord Jesus.
Hebrews 6:1-2 says: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.
“. . . of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
Levels of prophecy
No single individual can claim that they have full knowledge and understanding of the future or the mysteries of God, because God does not reveal all His secret plans to any particular individual.
1 Corinthians 13:9 states: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.”
We must be careful when someone gives us an entire futuristic plan in minute detail for our own lives or for the church as each person who operates with a prophetic anointing is never given a full plan from God. There are four levels of the prophetic that God uses today to speak to His church.
The simple prophetic – those who edify, comfort and exhort
The prophetic gifting
The prophetic ministry
The prophetic office
Level one – the simple prophetic
This is within the scope of the following scripture. 1 Corinthians 14:3: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
According to the New Testament, the simple prophetic gift is a gift to all members of the body of Christ who want it. It is a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit and does not emanate from a person’s human psychic.
To function in this gift, the person must be saved and filled with God’s spirit. All members of the body of Christ can function in this gift.
1 Corinthians 14:31: says “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”
It does not include correction, new direction or predictive element. It merely comforts, exhorts and edifies and all Christians are entitled to this gift. One can stand before the assembly or church and read a Psalm that comforts, edifies and exhorts the congregants.
Reading the below listed scripture is a good example.
Psalm 23 :1-6: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Should one try to engage in prediction at this level, the results are disastrous, people are hurt and the name of Christ is brought into disrepute.
Level two – the prophetic gifting
In this category or level, believers regularly receive impressions, dreams or other types of revelation. These are usually symbolic being in form of parables or riddles.
1 Corinthians 2:12 reads: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
This level receives more information than level one, but lacks clarity in understanding what they receive. Most so-called prophets in Zimbabwe are in level one and two and they have no ability to predict or reveal anything.
However, because of ignorance and the desire to be famous like those who stand in the prophetic office (level four), they engage in revelation that comes from their heads (human spirit) or the spirit of Satan and the results are a national disaster.
Level three – prophetic ministry
These believers are those whose giftings have been recognised, nurtured and commissioned for regular ministry in the local church.
Still in this category there is a strong prophetic element in what they receive, but it is possible to discern much of the interpretation and application of the revelation.
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 reads: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
The prophetic office
Ephesians 4:11 says: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers . . .”
Ephesians 4:7,8 notes: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
“Therefore, He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men’.”
To understand the function, purpose and calling of the present-day prophet, we must first have an understanding of the five- fold ministry.
Ephesians 4:12-16 says: “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.
“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.
“From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The five-fold ministry, including the prophetic, will do the following in the body of Christ.
To be continued . . .