Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves with the same resolve, because anyone who has suffered in his body is done with sin. Consequently, he does not live out his remaining time on earth for human passions, but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-2 -Berean Study Bible-
What most informs your Christian walk? Is it a moment-to-moment guidance from the Lord? Do you acknowledge Him in all your ways and He directs your steps? Prov 3:5-8 How do you discern His leading, His voice from your own voice, that of the world, and finally the enemy who presents himself as an angel of light? 2 Cor 11:14 Is your spiritual guidance system primarily informed by the voice of contemporary teachers and prophets? Do you emphasize dreams, visions and seers, and books written by contemporary authors? Are you wooed by anointing such that you exalt a man?
The Bible is clear that there is a gift of prophecy. 1 Cor 12:1-11. The office of the prophet in the New Testament is more ambiguous. We see Pastors, evangelists, teachers, and even apostles operating as part of the fivefold ministry. Eph 4:11 I have yet to see a genuine contemporary prophet who operates as part of a fivefold ministry. I’ve seen patently false prophets and I have seen individuals with a prophetic gift. Others mislabel words of knowledge, and words of wisdom as prophecy. I could be totally wrong and if so then please correct me, but every self-proclaimed prophet I have personally encountered is operating on his own with little to no accountability to anyone. Anyone claiming to hold the office of a prophet and utters the words “Thus Saith The Lord!” apart from the Word of God must realize that the standards for doing so have not changed.
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’ when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. Deut 18:18-22
Still, there is something known as prophetic preaching. Prophetic preaching is first and foremost FIRMLY rooted in God’s WORD, which is the testimony of Jesus. Rev 19:10 It is not “a new thing” or an extra-biblical thing proclaimed on YouTube or sold on Amazon. It tends to be countercultural in that it calls out that which is and is not of God within the House of God. It may expound on Biblical prophecy but it is not limited to the prophetic. The foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; Eph 2:20 is its inspiration and source. True Prophetic preaching does not depart from God’s Word because the Bible is a blueprint and map of God’s plan from before the foundations of the world Eph 1:4-10 until the establishment of a new heavens and new earth. Rev 21 It is only through His word as taught by Holy Spirit John 16:13 that we can come to know the mystery of His will.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. Eph 1:7-12
The word is a mirror that shows us who we are in light of Him 1 Cor 13:12 and the image of His son into which He is conforming us. Rom 8:29 The word is the prophetic lens through which we should view and interpret all prophecy, history, and current events while we are still sojourners on Earth. Phil 3:20 Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 Still, this mainly refers to the fact that God has revealed the bulk of His plans to five major prophets and twelve minor ones. Again I could be wrong but I suspect that any genuine contemporary prophecy is rooted in the promise Gabriel gave to Daniel regarding the increase in knowledge and understanding of what was written and sealed up. Dan 12:4 and Dan 12:10. There is some horrific heretical stuff labeled as prophetic coming out on the internet today.
If you are one whose faith walk is primarily steered by dreams, visions, prophecies, and books from celebrity prophet pulpits then I would exhort you to carefully study and meditate on Jeremiah 14, 23, and 28. I am not a cessationist. I’m not discounting all prophecy dreams and visions. I’ve just seen too many proclamations of God’s will apart from His Word. Hence I would plead with you to use the above scriptures as a lens through which you view and consider what you hear.
For they are a rebellious people, lying children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 30:9-11
Is their message rooted in scripture exegeted in context? Is it about Jesus, and the testimony of Jesus? Is Jesus even mentioned? Or are people simply in awe of a man?
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev 19:10
Why am I coming so hard against the prophetic?
Let’s just say that if my destination is due north and I am off course by 22 degrees east, I don’t steer harder east to get back on course.
Again, I am not going to go to the opposite extreme and quench the spirit and limit God. Off course by 22 degrees to the west is no better than the same error to the east. The Bible says the gift of prophecy is real.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thess 5:19-22
The operative question is “How do we filter the good from the evil, the genuine from the fake?”
Jesus’ first admonition when the disciples inquired about His return was, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Deceive is planáō – roam (from safety, truth, or virtue):–go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way. Christ is Christos – anointed. To be anointed means to have authority. That authority is first and foremost to proclaim
“Thus Saith The Lord!”
Pay close attention to your own emotional responses when listening to another human being speak about God. Are you compelled to exalt the man? Or is the man increasingly diminished such that you forget him entirely because you are so awed by God? John 3:30
If pastor Billy Bob claims to be a Prophet and proclaims “Thus saith the Lord” then he better not miss it. If he does then the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. Deut 18:18-22. On the other hand, if Bobby Sue in Billy Bob’s congregation has a prophetic gift and says “I feel like the Lord is saying…” or “I think I heard the Lord tell me…” and she is wrong then Bobby Sue is not a liar. She just missed it like we all miss it. The words “I feel like…” or “I think…? invite confirmation or correction. The difference between the two is in the assignment of an office and the assumption of authority. Pastor Billy Bob exalts himself by putting himself on equal footing with the Word that God exalts above all His name. Psalms 138:2 Bobby Sue is simply trying to make sense of what God is speaking amidst at least three other voices. It’s unlikely that anyone will put Bobby Sue on a pedestal and forgo searching the scriptures to see if what she said is true. Acts 17:11
People put Billy Bob Prophets on pedestals every day.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2
The cross marks our proverbial true north as we sojourn the earth. The cross is the hinge upon which everything in the Christian walk hangs. Hence Paul resolved to know nothing apart from it. And Peter exhorted us to arm ourselves with the same resolve by which Jesus suffered and endured the cross.
“We understand the value of suffering in the Christian life. Learning to love requires willingness to suffer for the sake of righteousness. Discipline and testing make saints out of us, and produce in us holiness, without which we will not see God’s face and share His glory. With Paul we rejoice in our weaknesses, for when we are weak we are strong.” Value #4 of 5 CORE VALUES OF IRIS GLOBAL
Interestingly, Suffering in some form is mentioned sixty-eight times in the New Testament, and Blessing just twenty-one. If we are going to arm ourselves with the same resolve as Jesus then we need to study and meditate on what He endured.
And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:40-42
How often do we encounter suffering and tragedy and pray like Jesus in Gethsemene? Jesus did not tell His disciples to pray for deliverance from suffering but that they would not fall into temptation. Temptation to what? I think it was the temptation to quit. When Jesus sent Cornilieus to heal Saul / Paul’s blindness it wasn’t to pour out blessings but to tell Paul all that he must suffer. Acts 9:16 If they persecuted Jesus then why would we assume the same won’t happen to us? John 15:20 If the same might happen to us then why don’t we ever talk about it as a church? Arm ourselves with the same resolve does not mean arming ourselves with prophetic feel-good fluff. Arming myself means asking how I can finish well. Arm yourself means asking the Lord to show me how I could be tempted such that I might fail to endure and overcome. Mat 24:13, Rev 21:7-9
For you have spent enough time in the past carrying out the same desires as the Gentiles: living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry. Because of this, they consider it strange of you not to plunge with them into the same flood of reckless indiscretion, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:3-5 -Berean Study Bible-