This is a really important insight. John Maxwell would articulate the insight above with the words, ‘Everyone communicates, few connect’. I’ve observed many anointed people over my lifetime but what separates those who hit the bullseye of people’s hearts and those who don’t is their ability to communicate what that anointing is. Your communication carries your anointing into people’s hearts. You maybe greatly anointed but if you are unable to articulate to others in an effective way, your anointing is inhibited. The anointing is the person and power of the Holy Spirit on you and in you for the purpose to which he has called and gifted you. The anointing is linked to your calling, gifting and purpose. Develop your capacity to communicate cause it will either help or hinder the potential of your anointing to minister to people’s lives effectively.
I bumped into the prophetic ministry the first time I preached as a teenager. During and after my message, God showed up and revealed himself powerfully through the prophetic word with dramatic results. For me prophecy is very intuitive and for many years, I just had the ignorance and the boldness to share with people what I saw and heard God saying. Since those early days I have grown in my understanding and maturity in operating in the Spirit of prophecy.
Prophecy is a gift, not an award. The Holy Spirit distributes individually as he wills, not as we earn (1 Cor 12:11). The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of our spiritual maturity. The gifts of the Spirit are evidence of God’s grace lavished upon us.
Prophecy is to be earnestly desired. Paul exhorts us, ‘Earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy’ (1 Cor 14:1). Anyone who is saved and baptised in the Spirit can receive grace to prophesy.
The purpose of prophecy is to encourage the church. ‘The one who prophesies speaks to people for their edification, encouragement and comfort’ (1 Cor 14:3). Edification means to build up. Exhortation means to call near. Comfort means to cheer up. We’ve got to prophesy the answer, not the problem.
Prophecy is both foretelling and forth telling. Foretelling is to know the future as in Acts 11:28 when Agabus prophesied a famine before it actually happened. Forth telling is to cause the future as in Ezekiel 37 when the prophet prophesied to the dry bones and a creative miracle took place. Prophecy has power within it to create that which has been declared. A word of knowledge is not the same as a prophecy as it is a revelation of supernatural knowledge about the past, or present or an unknown fact.
Prophecy reveals God’s heart and mind. Prophets are known as God’s friends because God shares his secrets with them. Prophets are associates of God, an active extension of Yahweh himself. Too many people look for a word from God, rather than a relationship. Look for a relationship with God and the word will take care of itself.
3 parts to Prophecy = Revelation is the first part. God’s revelation comes through a variety of ways (dream, vision, words, angels, creation, scripture, tongues, impression). Interpretation is the second part and is often the part that the prophesier won’t always get. The last part is the application, so what? What is the person to do with what they have received.
Revelation 19:10 The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.
The office of a prophet is a life calling. Most prophets are called at birth or when they are born again (salvation). It is primarily the Lords choosing, not something you seek to become, however if called, you have a responsibility to develop your gift. Some notable prophetic ministries have identified that it can take as long as 14-15 years for a person to develop into a prophet after being called.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men… And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Eph 4:7, 11)
The five fold ministry is outlined in the above passage and the office of the prophet is one of the ministries that God has established for the governmental leadership of the church. To be a prophet is a calling. To minister in prophecy is a gift. When a person ministers in the gift of prophecy, the gift is the ability to prophesy. The words themselves are the gift. When a person is a prophet, they themselves are the gift. A prophet is a gift to the church.
Apart from a foundation of character, there are actually 3 components to any mature and fruitful ministry. These are:
- Calling – Calling gives identity. Paul was called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (1 Cor 1:1).
- Gifting – Gifting gives ability. ‘As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ (1 Pet 4:10).
- Anointing – Anointing gives purpose. It was prophesied of Jesus, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners’ (Is 61:1).
The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable but the anointing of the Lord ebbs and flows according to the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit. The calling on your life describes who you are. The anointing of God provides you with your purpose in life and the gifts that God has given to you becomes the ability in which you accomplish his purposes.
Through grace we receive the abilities of the Holy Spirit. These abilities equip us to work in the harvest. Grace is not just undeserved favour; it is also the operational power of God.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
I think we underestimate the power of impartation through the laying on of hands. Paul said to Timothy by way of reminder to ‘stir up the gift within you, which you received through the laying on of hands.’ Although the gifts are imparted through the laying on of hands, you still must receive them from the one who imparts them to you by faith. 2 key things will determine the strength and flavour of your gifts:
- The proportion of your faith determines how much grace you receive to operate in the gifts. The greater amount of faith you have inside you, the stronger the gifts will operate through you.
- The type and level of grace that is resident in the one who is imparting the gift to you will determine what gift is given to you.
Kris Vallotton shares, ‘Grace and faith works like bringing an empty cup to a coke machine. The coke machine determines the flavour of the drink, just as the grace on a person’s life who imparts the gift to us determines the grace we receive. The amount of the drink we are able to receive is determined by the size of the cup that we bring to the coke machine (our faith). ‘ (Basic Training for Prophetic Ministry)
It’s imperative that we stay within the boundaries of our own faith and not try to copy another person’s faith. When Peter stepped out of the boat, he operated in faith. If the other disciples attempted the same action based on presumption of Peter’s faith, then they would have sunk into the water immediately. Think soberly of yourself, according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned to you.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not awards! We cannot earn them. Because the gifts are not a mark of maturity, we do not have to wait for our lives to be in perfect order to receive them. Nonetheless, we are instructed to earnestly desire which means, to passionately and intentionally pursue them.
Acts 13:27 ‘For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognise him nor understand the voices of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.’
Have you ever thought about how much of the bible is made up of prophecy? Approximately 50% of Scripture is prophetic literature. A lot of OT prophecy is contained within the Gospels themselves, with Jesus quoting the prophet Isaiah, more than any other OT prophet.
For believers who are planted in a local church and hearing God’s Word regularly preached, are we really hearing God’s voice and obeying it or are we so distracted by our own stuff that we, like Israel, miss His voice?
There is ‘The Voice’ in the prophets which may be missed, a meaning not apprehended. The ‘voices of the prophets’ in Acts 13 implies something just beyond mere words but the very voice of God. It’s the ‘VOICE’ of the prophets we need to hear. Big things hang upon hearing God’s voice above all the other voices.
Failure to hear may lead to irreparable loss, such as it did for the Jews when Paul announced in Acts 13:46 that he was turning to the Gentiles, due to the hardness of heart in Israel. The Gentiles response in Acts in V48 to Paul’s announcement is indicative of that fact that it is a great thing to hear and obey God’s voice.
I personally believe that the most important word in the bible isn’t love, faith or grace but ‘HEAR’. Everything in the kingdom is predicated upon how and what you HEAR. The Parable of the Sower emphasises the central importance of HEARING God’s Word.
Are you hearing his voice or are you present bodily but absent spiritually when the prophets are being proclaimed from the pulpit? I pray that God would give us an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church in this generation.