Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unity # 9: That The Love With Which You Loved Me May Be In Them…

Unity # 9: THAT The Love With Which You LoveD Me May Be In Them…
These Song: Who is Like You
Dear Father,
      I praise You for Your deep love for Your people. You never stop doing good on our behalf. Your Rod and Your Staff comfort us. Please increase the fear of the Lord within our hearts. I want to fear You Father, for then I am protected from every wicked snare. Make the Image of Your glory and splendor so magnificent in our hearts that nothing appeals to our hearts except Your unfailing love. Day after day we cry out for the restoration and redemption of Your people. I have heard of Your great deeds. Please renew them in our time. The deeper our understanding of Your precepts and doctrines, the greater is the depth our worship. Your Truth inspires and enlivens our hearts.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Dear Beloved,

            Our Lord and Savior has given us a new commandment: that we love one another, even as Christ has loved us, so we are to love one another. By this, all men will know that we are His disciples, if we have love for one another. (John 13:34-35) Love is our only distinct asset as followers of Christ. For love is the fulfillment of all the law of God (Rom 10:13) and through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for (Prov 16:6). Hated stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions (Prov 10:13). Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred (Prov 15:17). As we consider the people around us and the ways that they bring benefit to our soul, remember those people who have loved us unconditionally. Remember those who have loved us at all times, the brother born for adversity (Prov 17:17), whose open rebuke of love was better than the false love that conceals the dangerous deceptions within us (Prov 27:5). Greater love has no one than Christ who laid down His life for us, only to take it up again.

            This letter will discuss some parts of God’s Word which show us how and why love characterizes and authenticates us as true children to God. To summarize, we are able to love because God first loved us and continually pours His love into our hearts by His Spirit. His love in us:
·       perfects our unity
·       makes our joy complete
·       purifies our hearts
·       grants us assurance of our salvation
·       removes the feelings of condemnation in our hearts
·       opens the eyes of our hearts to see the Truth of God’s Word and our current circumstances with the Light of Christ
·       causes us to ask and receive according to His will
·       prevents us from being deceived
·       shows that we have been truly born again and are thus saved
·       is manifested in physical ways for the saints
·       allows us to overcome the world.
            Just as the Father has loved Christ, Christ has loved us; He commands us to abide in His love. If we keep His commandments, we will abide in His love; just as Christ has kept His Father’s commandments and abides in His love. He tells us these things so that His joy may be in us, and so that our joy may be made full. (John 15:9-11) The love of the Father for His Son is exceedingly great and He was pleased to let all His fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile to Him all of us, making peace through His blood shed on the cross (Col 1:19-20) Through Christ’s blood we are reconciled to the Father and the Father Himself loves us, because we have loved Christ and have believed that He came from the Father (John 16:27).

            The glory which was given to Christ by His Father has been given by Christ to us so that we may be ONE just as the Father and Son are One. Dear saints, the unity among us must be as strong as the Oneness of the Trinity! This is God’s will for us. Christ is in us and the Father is in Christ that we may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that the Father sent Christ and has loved us even as He has loved Christ. Christ desires for us who are given to Him to be with Him where He is so that we may see His glory which the Father has given Him. For the Father has loved Him before the foundation of the world. Though the world has not known the righteous Father, Christ knows Him and we have known that the Father sent Christ. Christ has made the Father’s Name known to us and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which the Father loved Christ may be in us, and that Christ may be in us. (John 17:22-26)

            How great is the love that the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. (1 John 3:1-2) No eye has seen, ear heard, or mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, yet He reveals it to us by His Spirit in us (1 Cor 2:9-10).  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. As we have our hope fixed on Christ, we purify ourselves, just as Christ is pure. (1 John 3:2-3).

            Beloved, we should not be surprised if the world hates us. We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the people of God. If we do not love we abide in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and we know that no murderer has eternal Life abiding in him. We know love by this, that Christ laid down His Life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If we have the world’s materials of money, possessions, time, and strength, and see our Spiritual family in need and close our heart against them, how does the love of God abide in us? We are His little children, and we are commanded not to love with word or with tongue, but in deed and Truth. By this we will know that we are of the Truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1 John 3:13-24)

the Love of Christ within us Enables us to OBEY God’s Law

            Beloved, this is not a new commandment, but an old commandment which God has set in place from the beginning. For the Law of God was founded on His eternal unfailing love which has existed from beginning to end. The old commandment is the Word which we have heard. On the other hand, He is writing a new commandment to us, which is true in Christ and in us, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. When we are controlled by love, we are able to see clearly and understand the Truth of God’s Word, but when we harbor hatred, our perspective is clouded and we are unable to discern situations and people in a Truthful way. The one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:7-11) We are unable to understand or believe the Truth, unless we love as Christ did.

            Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. If we are unable to love, we have not been born of God and are not saved, though we may feel that we are. By this is the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation, that is, the atonement or expiation, for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  (1 John 4:7-12) How do we love with Christ’s love? God has poured His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He has given us (Rom 5:5) By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (I John 4:13)

            If we have truly confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in us, and we in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so also we are in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love because He first loved us. If we say that we love God and hate our brother, we would be a liar. For the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God who he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love His brother also. (1 John 4:15-21)

the Love of Christ within Us and the Resulting Obedience to His Commands Gives US Assurance of OUR Salvation

            Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:1-4)

Excellent Messages
Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul Audio Series (recommended by Anand’s friend, David)
Jesus Makes up for Every Sacrifice Article by David Mathis
Many Healthy Recipes by Preethi (this is not an “excellent message”)

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Valid Questions of Christianity are Invalidly Answered by Free Grace Theology

Valid Questions of Christianity are Invalidly Answered by Free Grace Theology

11 Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. 12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. Isaiah 45

This document lists the questions that arise in the minds of Christ-seeking people, the heretical way in which FGT answers them, and how Scriptures address these questions. Please understand that my understanding of the true answers to these questions has not been perfected and we will likely be pursuing the Mind of Christ in these areas for our lifetime. 

1. When I look around me at professing believers, most of them are carnal. Are they all going to hell? 

FGT tells us that as long as these professing believers affirmed the Gospel in their minds for at least a moment in their lives, then Christ will never allow them to go to hell, though they live a continuous unrepentant life until death. FGT allows for professing believers to continue living like the rest of the world and to still be eternally secure. 
Jesus tells us that we should enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13-14) He tells us to strive to enter through the narrow door, for many will seek to enter and not be able to (Luke 19:24). God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:5). Christ gave us parables of the separation of the goats and sheep (Matt 25:31-33), the tares growing among the wheat until the harvest time when they will be separated (Matt 13:24-30), and the good and bad fish separated after being drawn up in a net (Matt 13:47-50). 

Thus, it is Scriptural for there to be many false carnal professing believers among us. Eternal life comes through the narrow GATE and the narrow WAY. Many try to enter and will not be able to. The resulting heartache that we experience is also Scriptural (James 4:9, Lam 3, etc.) and we have a Comforter. 

2. I know someone who professed Christ as Savior, fell away from God, and finally died. I want to have hope that God showed compassion to save his/her soul? 

FGT brings false comfort, again, by conveying that the moment of initial profession of faith was enough to arouse God’s salvaging compassion. 
 The Bible tells us that in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. (Heb 4:6-7) A man is enslaved to that which overcomes him. If someone has escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and is again entangled in them AND OVERCOME, the last state has become worse for that person than the first. It would be better not to have known the way of righteousness than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to that person. Such a person is like a dog that returns to its own vomit and a sow, after washing, who returns to wallowing in the mud (1 Peter 2:19-22). The falling away of such people shows that they were never true children of God (1 John 2:19). We also know that we are prone to misjudging others and that no one can snatch the true sheep from the Father’s Hand (John 10) and that to a true sheep’s Master, he stands or falls, and God is able to make him stand (Rom 14:4). We also know that He grants the full reward [eternal Life] to those who are called [regenerated] in their last hour (Matt 20:9) 

We may still have hope that God in His compassion saved our beloved deceased. We know that He can save His sheep in their last hour by regenerating their souls. We know that He can bring about repentance before their death. But the Scriptures grant us no hope that a continually unrepentant person will be saved. In fact, their slavery to sin shows that they have re- crucified Christ, put Christ to shame, and that their final state is worse that the initial state. We must trust in God’s character [and desire for His glorification and the fulfillment of His will] more than our desire for certain people to go to heaven. And we are called to pray and labor for both. 

3. There are many verses that seem to indicate that a Christian cannot sin. For example, “a good tree cannot produce bad Fruit” (matt 7:18), “no one who is born oF god sins” (1 John 5:18), etc. but all the Christians that I know including myself sin numerous times daily. So these types of verses cannot possibly be a test of true faith? 

FGT tried to alleviate this dilemma by inventing a new way of interpreting Scriptures. All references to states of righteousness and carnality within verses written to
groups of believers are proposed to be referring only to believers. Thus the concept of tiers of Christians arose, with the righteous states referring to the top tier(s) and the unrighteous state referring to the bottom tier(s). 

The Scriptures indicate that a true sheep may sin, but cannot continue to sin. John writes to the little children that they should not sin, but if anyone sins there is Christ, the Advocate with the Father, who speaks to the Father in our defense. He tells us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He tells us that there is sin not leading to death that may be prayed for and God will grant life to the one who commits such sin.  (I John 1:9, 2:1, 5:16) The Bible also tells us that when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. In this condemnation our assurance comes from our knowledge that we are of the Truth because we love in deed and in Truth. James tells us that if we turn a sinner from the error of his WAY, we save his soul and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:20). And as we read the Psalms, it is exceedingly clear that the people of God have sinned and commit sins that do not lead to death. But the necessary element for the naming of a sin as that which “does not lead to death” is the acknowledgement of guilt, the humble, broken, and contrite spirit, the child-like faith, the changing of the mind/heart away from deception and back to the belief in the Gospel and proclamation of Christ as Lord in Word and deed.  

The purpose of convicting examination Scriptures is to bring the straying believer back to the grace that leads to repentance and to restore communion with God. This is aligned with the Spirit’s guarantee of our eternal inheritance. Until the Spirit brings about sincere repentance, a straying believer SHOULD question their authenticity (i.e. working out his/her salvation with fear and trembling), while trusting that God will surely bring him/her to repentance. He/she should be like Micah who says “Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a Light for me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He WILL bring me out into the Light, and I will see His righteousness”. (Micah 7:8-9) Another purpose of Scriptural tests of Christianity is to cause the believer to be affirmed in his/her sonship of the Father. Such a believer who practices truth comes into the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been WROUGHT IN GOD (John 3:21). When the believer passes such Scriptural examinations, he/she is completely aware that it is the grace of God that has allowed it. 
4. If a true Christians keeps Christ as the Lord, that is, the ultimate Master, of his/her life, then how can I know if I have kept Him as the Lord of my life? I feel like there is a measure of holiness that I need in order to have “Christ as Lord”. And then we are right back
to a “works-oriented gospel”, not the Gospel of grace that we read of in the Scriptures. 

FGT tried to ease this uncertainty of self-holiness by removing the requirement for saved Christians to live as though Christ is Lord over their lives.  

The Scriptures make it clear that the salvation of the true sheep is based exclusively on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Because Christ lived a perfect life and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice, God looks upon the true sheep as clothed in the garments of salvation and clothed in the righteous robe of Christ (Is 61:10). Those who repent and believe the Gospel are granted eternal Life because of Christ’s righteousness that comes to them by faith. Such saving faith always results in obedience to the commands of God, not just His commands to refrain from unholy practices, but the commands to love God and to love His people. The ocean of holiness extends infinitely beyond the seashore of obedience to the law/restriction of the flesh. The ocean of holiness delves into the riches of His glorious love, joy, peace, grace, comfort… Someone who has truly believed the Gospel cannot be a slave to sin. There is no way to simultaneously believe the Gospel and to remain enslaved to sin. Yes, Christians stumble, even numerous times, but God will lift up the righteous faithfully and justly. A righteous man stumbles seven times and rises again (Prov 24:16). Why does 1 John 1:9 say that God is faithful and JUST to forgive us? In God’s justice, He no longer sees us or treats us as guilty, but rather treats us as beloved and righteous. And because He is omnipotent and loving, He is working, amidst our repeated failures, to perfect righteousness in us. Every experience of our post-regenerate lives is ordained by God IN LOVE and is part of His PROGRESSIVE sanctification process for His children. Because of God’s justice, this must be so. Only if God were unjust, would He allow their lives to be lived in continual resistance to His Spirit, for then He would not be treating them as though they are covered in Christ’s righteousness. Jesus prayed, “I in them, and You in Me, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and have loved them, even as You have loved Me (John 17:23).  

Though humbled repentant sheep may feel that they are far from keeping Christ as the Lord of their whole lives, CHRIST IS THEIR LORD. And because He is their just Lord He is powerfully working in them all the time to keep them in the faith and to perfect their obedience.  

5. How can I ever have eternal security and assurance of my right standing with God if holiness is the mark of a true believer? I never feel holy enough. Does that mean I can never be eternally secure?

FGT tried to give people assurance of salvation by their past profession of faith or past conversion experience. The problem is that FGT does not indicate what sufficient proof for a true conversion experience is since it makes no requirement for the maintenance of faith and the resulting obedience until the end.

God’s desire for His children is not for them to shrink back and be destroyed, but to believe and be saved. In fact He tells us that His righteous one will live by faith, but if we shrink back, His Soul finds no pleasure in us. The true sheep are those who have “faith to the preserving of the soul”. (Heb 10:37-39) It is God’s will for His children to be fully assured of His promise of eternal Life. But this assurance does not come from the [faint] memory of a past experience, but rather from the continuing assurance of the Spirit inside of them. The Spirit Himself confirms to us that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). When we listened to the Gospel of our salvation, and also believed It, we were sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own people, to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:13-14). Because the Spirit lives in us and is continually working to bring us back to the cross, back to true faith, back to repentance, back to the throne of grace, to bring holiness to completion in us, to comfort us, to convict us, to reveal the righteousness of the Father, to remind us of the coming judgment [that the prince of the world stands condemned], to pour the love of the Father into our hearts, we have assurance. If we tell God “I want eternal security right now”. He tells us “Believe in My Gospel, by which your sin is atoned for and I treat you as righteous and beloved”. And tomorrow if we also tell God, “I want eternal security right now”, the Spirit will keep on revealing the Truth of the Gospel again and again until the very end of our lives as believers. 

The Spirit’s work in our hearts with the Sword of the Word of God day after day gives us assurance day after day. And if we do not sense this work of the Spirit, may be plead with Him to bring us back to grace and repentance so that we may continue in the assurance that we once had. Do we want assurance now? Then may we believe the Gospel NOW! And again, true belief in the Gospel is incompatible with a life lived without progressive sanctification.   

Upon deeper examination, we find that the doctrine of Free Grace Theology is in [almost direct] contradiction to the whole Counsel of the Word of God.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Peripheral issues of “Free Grace Theology”

The PeriPheral issues of “Free Grace Theology”
This document lists items which are often mistaken to be a part of the conflict between Free Grace Theology/The Teacher’s View (FGT) and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Listed below are issues to avoid focusing too much on because they are not an integral part of the fallacy with the FGT doctrine. 
1. The conflict does not involve whether or not salvation is by 100% grace. Both views agree that salvation is a free gift granted by grace through faith, not of works. 
However, the true Gospel involves the certain progression in sanctification in all believers as a result of this free gift. Thus, the progress in sanctification is itself a free gift. The FGT view states that this pre-death progress in sanctification is distinct from post-death eternal Life and is not present in all believers.  
2. The conflict does not involve the use of perilous hypothetical discussion. Rather, the conflict involves differences in understanding of the Scriptures’ descriptions of regenerate and unregenerate souls. We consider the many “If anyone…”, “Everyone who…”, “The man who…”, etc. statements in the Bible. 
3. The conflict does not involve whether eternal security is granted to all believers, but rather whether a person is saved in the first place.  
The true Gospel involves the maintenance of a believer’s faith until the end. Thus a true child of God will be kept in the faith until the end. If someone falls away, this is proof that the person was never a true child of God (1 John 2:19). The FGT view assumes that eternal security is granted to all who have had at least a moment of intellectual affirmation of the Gospel at some point in their lives. 
4. The conflict does not involve whether we have a right to pass condemnation/judgment charges on professing believers. Both views agree that final judgment is left to the righteous Judge, and we can only speak the Word of God and show Christ’s love to all, rebuking in love when necessary. 
5. This conflict does not involve whether or not a Christian can fall into sin, go astray, or commit a terrible crime. Both views agree that Christians do sin, and God forgives the sin of His children. However, the true Gospel removes the possibility for a Christian to continue in sin without repentance. We do not know the exact amount of time that God will allow His child to go astray, but we know that He will bring them to repentance, and that He allows this straying to reveal His glory and power in the face of the child’s weakness as He perfects obedience in him/her. The FGT view suggests that not only can a saved person fall into sin, but he/she can remain astray from God with no repentance until death.  
6. The conflict does not involve whether there are differences in maturity and progress in the process of sanctification among true believers. Both views agree that there is a broad range of maturity among believers and that believers are at different places in their journeys of sanctification.  
However, the true Gospel involves the certain progression in the Spirit-driven sanctification process for all believers. The FGT view suggests that though God initiates the sanctification process in all believers, some believers choose not to respond, and thus do not progress to any degree in the sanctification process.  
7. The conflict does not involve a dispute about the desire of God for the sanctification of His children. Both views agree that God desires for all of His children to be sanctified. 
The true Gospel involves the omnipotent result of God’s desire for His children to progress in the sanctification process: their increasing holiness. Whereas, the FGT view suggests that God’s desire for His children’s’ progress in holiness is not fulfilled in some of His children.  
8. The conflict does not involve whether or not there are professing believers who are not truly saved. Both views agree that there are professing believers who do not have faith, and are thus not saved. 
9. This conflict does not involve whether or not the sinful flesh is present in true believers. Both views agree that the sinful flesh remnant is present in true believers and should be resisted. 
However, the true Gospel involves the daily death to the sinful nature and the certain growth in submission to the Spirit rather than to the desires of the flesh. The FGT view suggests that some Christians remain exclusively in the flesh until death. The FGT view also believes that the sinful man is not dead, but remains alive, whereas the true Gospel involves the death of sinful man with Christ at the time of regeneration.
10. The conflict does not involve whether or not God’s disciplinary action is present towards all His children. Both views agree that God disciplines all of His children. 
However, the true Gospel involves the effectiveness of this certain discipline in the lives of all believers. The Father’s perfect and effective discipline results in the increased sharing of the child in the Father’s holiness. The FGT view suggests that though God disciplines all of His children, this discipline is not effective for some individuals. 

Why is Free Grace Theology so dangerous?

The understanding of the nature of a truly regenerate child of God has been dying in our nation in the recent time. The heresy of the modern day church culture is the granting of eternal security to professing unregenerate believers. Among large numbers of professing believers, there are a surprisingly smaller number of regenerate saved souls. The FGT doctrine seeks to bandage this fatal heresy and to whitewash this darkness. For those who are not brought to their senses and who do not repent, their false assurance will result in damnation. Rather than to proclaim the heretical FGT doctrine, we have a great need to preach to our churches about true conversion. Much of the New Testament explains the life of obedience that always results from true conversion. There is a Spiritual demand to preach on the characteristics of a truly regenerate soul. And for us who seek eternal security, may we continue in our belief in the Gospel. True belief in the Gospel always results in obedience. And when we are convicted as we read the Scriptural examinations/tests of our faith, may we seek Christ ever more strongly, and plead with Him to give us more faith and a deepening understanding of His Gospel, the fountain from which we draw each hour. As God tells us, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13), “The one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37), “None of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (Ps 34:22), that He “is patient with you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9), “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy- laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). When the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our inheritance, we understand that because the Spirit continues to convict us, inspire repentance and obedience, comfort, counsel, teach, lead…us, we know that we are His children and are known by Him. Without experiencing the ongoing work of the Spirit, the Scriptures grant us no assurance of eternal Life.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Spirit of Prophecy

The Spirit of Prophecy
 “The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” (Rev 19:10)
Table of Contents
I.         Introduction (2)

II.        False Prophets (3-4)

III.      The Testimony of Jesus (5-7)

IV.      Communication of God’s Word to Certain People in a Certain Place at a Certain Time (8-9)

V.        Specific Prophecies (10-14)

VI.      Testing the Spirits: Jesus Came in the Flesh (15-17)

VII.    The Life of Jesus Sustains the Spirits of Prophets (18-22)

I.         Introduction
This book describes some of what I have learned in my journey of understanding the gift of prophecy, a gift of grace. I am certain that God will continue to teach me and refine me in my understanding of this gift in the time ahead. The conclusion of this document is that exercising the gift of prophecy is essentially speaking the Word of God [the Holy Scriptures] to the right people at the right time in the right place as the Spirit leads for the purpose of perfecting the saints in the knowledge of Christ and the maturity and stature of His fullness (Eph 4:13). In a sense all believers will prophecy, or speak forth the Divine things of God. As we preach the Gospel, encourage and exhort one another, and testify to the grace that we have been shown, we are indeed speaking forth the Divine things of God. The prophet Joel testified and the apostle Peter preached that in the last days God said that He will pour out His Spirit on all mankind, and their sons and daughters will prophecy, and their young men will see visions and their old men will see dreams…and it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:17-21). If anyone of us speaks we are to do so as speaking the very utterances of God (1 Peter 4:11). In the Revelations quote above, we read that the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Understanding of this statement will cause the dispelling of many false notions of the intention of prophecy and give us gratefulness for the Spirit’s use of this gift in the process of our conformance to His Image.

II.        False Prophets
Many among us are cautious, even frightened at the thought of words of prophecy. Our minds may immediately go to past events where people prophesied the time of the rapture, the end of the world, financial/worldly prosperity, etc. and the prophecies fell through and the prophets were later deemed as false. They are as Jeremiah describes: leading people into futility, speaking a vision of their own imagination, not from the Mouth of the Lord. They speak to people who despise God and promise them peace telling them that calamity will not come upon them (Jer  23:16-17). Our red flags should go up whenever someone prophecies peace. For we know that only if what the prophet who promises peace speaks comes true can he be known as having been sent from the Lord (Jer 28:9). There are many who prophecy falsely in the Name of God and speak about false dreams and their own “oracles” which they call the “oracles of the Lord”. Every man’s own oracle becomes the oracle and they pervert the Words of the Living God. They run forward with their own words when God did not send them. Of their prophecies God says, “What does straw have in common with grain?” God is against these false prophets who lead His people astray with falsehoods and reckless boasting. He will forget them and cast them from His Presence. He will put an everlasting reproach on them and they will experience everlasting humiliation which will not be forgotten. (Jer 23:25-39) Moses told the Israelites that the prophet who speaks presumptuously in the Name of God must die (Deut 18:20). The closing of the Book of Revelations warns of the damnation that falls on anyone who adds or takes away words from the Book (Rev 22:18-19). The judgment of a false prophet is dire, and there were several times in the past year when I was overcome with a fear that caused me to plead with God to protect me from speaking my own oracles rather than the oracles of God.
            So should we disregard all prophets and their words because so many of them speak according to their own thoughts and imaginations? Paul writes to the Thessalonians that they should not quench the Spirit or despise prophetic utterances. But they should examine everything carefully, hold fast to what is good, and abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess 5:19-22). God tells us that if His prophets had stood in His council, He would have announced His Words to His people through them. They would have turned them back from their evil way. (Jer 23:22) God says, “Let him who has My Word speak My Word in Truth” and that His Word is like fire and a hammer that shatters a rock (Jer 23:28-29). God tells us, “21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deut 18)

III.      The Testimony of Jesus
            Exalted far above all other professing prophets and in Whom are all true prophets completely grounded is the Son of God: Jesus Christ. He is the One of whom God told Moses, “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My Words which He shall speak in My Name, I Myself will require it of Him”. (Deut 18:18-19) Jesus Himself is the very Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus said:
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 31 “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. John 5
            Jesus came to us with the Words of conviction and Truth. He offered to us the message of salvation, warning, and admonition. He did not teach us how to be prosperous in a worldly way or to flee from earthly disaster, but rather He warned us to flee from the coming judgments of God by believing in the Son. He told us that we will have troubles in the world, but that He has overcome the world and thus we may take courage (John 16:33). He did not tell us how to please men in a worldly way, but told us that we will be hated by all men because of His Name, and that we do not need to fear because He will be with us to the End of the Age (Mark 13:13). He taught us to pray; He told us to be watchful and ready for the Lord’s coming. He commanded us to love and to serve. Dear saint, remember the Words of Jesus. He was not speaking to appeal to the desires of the flesh or to attain earthly glorification for Himself, but He spoke only as the Father told Him to. His Words were saturated with grace and Truth. AND THE SPIRIT OF ALL TRUE PROPHECY COMES OUT OF THIS TESTIMONY OF JESUS. Christ’s works testified that the Father had sent Him (John 5:36). For the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner (John 5:19). His testimony was received from the Father and spoken so that we may be saved (John 5:34).
            Though Christ was the King of Prophecy, many did not receive His Words and He was without honor even in His own hometown (Mark 6:4). He says to those religious leaders who did not believe:
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5
            For those of us who feel compelled in our spirits that we have the gift of prophecy, the primary role we have is to seek Christ in His Word and in prayer. An awesome reverence of the just wrath of God should compel us to cry out, “May I never speak a single word unto damnation, but I pray that You show mercy to my soul on Your Day of Judgment because of the Blood of the Lamb!” Above all else we must seek to understand the Gospel and the Council of the Word of God. We must labor in the Spirit to bring holiness to completion in our lives, to be conformed to the Image of Christ, and to be filled with humility and love. In all these things we are contained in the Presence of God and walking by the Spirit. Then, if the Spirit chooses, He will lead us to speak to certain people in a certain place at a certain time. And what He will lead us to say will not convey anything different or in addition to the very Words that we find in our Bibles. The words will never appeal to the desires of the flesh or to desires for carnal prosperity in our listeners. Our prophetic utterances will be the words of conviction, comfort, warning, exhortation, hope, and love that we read in the Bible.

IV.      Communication of God’s Word to Certain People in a Certain Place at a Certain Time:
I have learned some lessons in communicating God’s messages to His people. There were numerous instances where I felt God’s call to proclaim a warning or encouragement to people or groups of people. For those of you who preach sermons or lead Bible studies [or me when writing letters or speaking to the Awana girls] we often find that as we cry out to God on our knees with our Bibles nearby, the Spirit is so faithful to give us God’s Message for the audience of interest. And after we receive the message, we feel a certainty of God’s call to preach on this passage, to proclaim this aspect of the Gospel, to warn the people of this idol, etc. It is a compelling that is so strong that it cannot be denied. Furthermore, God is gracious to confirm this call in various ways. We will hear numerous Bible passages that convey the message during the time period of compellation. We will hear people allude to these topics in their testimonies and prayer requests. We will hear of events which reveal that this message is coming at the opportune time. God will purify our hearts and cause us to exalt His Name as we speak out His Words. After we give the message people will tell us that God has convicted or encouraged them. They will praise God for speaking to them through us…
Without a doubt, we would be right in saying, “I have a message from God for you” just as the good old Testament prophets said, “Thus says the Lord…”. However, there a few reasons why I have decided not to use this statement in my writing or words [though I had a few times in the past] other than with my immediate family and a few close people who know me well. One reason is that we are not to speak anything other than what the Bible conveys and the Word of God authenticates itself ; there is no need for me to authenticate myself by saying, “I have a message from God for you”. The Word of God is living and active and the listener will be convicted by the Spirit inside of them that God has spoken to them without me needing to say that my message is from God.Secondly, there are some God-fearing people whom I know will be immediately turned off by this statement to the point where they will not weigh what is said next. They rightly assume that most professing prophets speak presumptuously or based on a human intuition; they are afraid of or resistant to hearing something conjured in the flesh. Thirdly, there are some instances where we ourselves would be compelled by a self-derived intuition rather than the Spirit’s leading. One important aspect to remember here is that as long as we only convey the Truth of God’s Word, then even if our compellation was based on our own intuition, we will do no harm. And we know that as we speak the Word in faith, His Word will not return to God empty without accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent (Is 55:11). Thus, whatever you feel the Spirit is calling you to say to His people, remain in His Word.

V.        Specific Prophecies
            There are numerous instances in the old testament and a few instances in the new testament where prophets spoke specific messages with regard to impending earthly events. God, after He  spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days [after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit] has spoken to us in His Son, who He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Heb 1:1-2). These verses indicate that the primary means by which God speaks now is through the Testimony of His Son. Thus, we are again reminded that the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of all true prophecy. So, the question we may ask is whether God will reveal specific earthly details through the prophets who exist among us now. In the book of Acts, a prophet Agabus began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world and this took place in the reign of Claudius. The disciples contributed according to their means to provide relief to the brethren in Judea. (Acts 11:28-30) When Paul was to go to Jerusalem, Agabus took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said that the Holy Spirit says that the Jews in Jerusalem would bind Paul and deliver him to the Gentiles. Paul responded that he was ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the Name of Jesus. Those who were weeping and pleading with Paul not to go eventually fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (Acts 21:10-14). Similarly Peter prophesied the death of Ananius and Sapphira in Acts 5. So it is very possible that God would give specific messages to His prophets today. Let us consider several aspects of such specific prophecy:
Let us remember the sole purpose of the exercising of the gift of prophecy: so that we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13). Recall Paul’s words to the Corinthians about the experience of an unbeliever who enters into a gathering of prophesying believers: he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secret of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you (1 Cor 14:24-25). The purpose of prophecy is for conviction, exhortation, and encouragement [through the Word] of the believers as they come to the faith, turn back to Him when they go astray, and remain in the faith to the end. The counsel of the Word of God conveys to us that God’s purpose is for His people to learn to be content in whatever circumstances He allows, with humble means or prosperity, in any and every circumstance they are to learn the secret of being filled and going hungry, of having abundance and suffering need. Their knowledge of Christ in His love and their conformance to His Image is to be so great that their hearts say, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. (Phil 4:11-13) Even though Agabus prophesied to Paul about the persecution he would face in Jerusalem, Paul still went! He was willing to be bound and to die for the sake of the Gospel.  Thus, even if a specific prophecy concerning a future event is given to us, we are not given freedom to act in accordance to the desires of the flesh for earthly comfort and security. These messages do not give believers a license to escape the persecution and trials that God may be calling them to go through for the sake of Christ. Our goal is to obey and please our master. If He wants us to provide physical relief to the other saints or to go through physical persecution, then we must follow our Lord in these things.
Secondly, if the Spirit of God gives a specific prophecy concerning impending earthly events to a prophet, the message is from God.  This concept is exemplified by Peter’s words, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as speaking the utterances of God” (1 Peter 4:11). Thus, specific prophecies, if they are presented to prophets by the Holy Spirit at the present time, are contained in His Truth. This is not to say that the prophetic discourses of believers [either forth/fore-telling] carry the authority of the Word of God or that they can add to the Word of God. The Word of God is complete and sufficient. The words of good prophets are still potentially fallible; carnality may be interwoven with their messages. (more on this in the next 2 paragraphs)
Thirdly, we are told not to believe every spirit, but to test spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this we know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist who is already in the world. We are from God and have overcome them because greater is He who is in us that he who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak and from the world and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6; see ch VI)
Fourthly, when Paul told the Thessalonians to examine everything carefully, hold fast to what is good and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thess 5:21-22), we understand that even when true believers prophecy, there is a potential for error [I know from experience] and the believers are to weigh what is said in accordance with the Word of God, the ultimate Standard for all prophecy. Paul instructed the Corinthian church to let 2 or 3 prophecy individually and to have the others pass judgment so that all may learn and be exhorted. The spirits of the prophets are in the hands of the prophets. (1 Cor 14:29-33) Even the words of true believing prophets who have the Holy Spirit living in them must be judged by the Word of God. One mark of a true prophet is that when he is confronted by the error of his words with the Word of God [by the Spirit or another person’s rebuke], he will repent and set right before the people of God his error. For example, when Paul stood before the Jewish council and said, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day, the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to Ananias, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck? Those watching said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” Thus, Paul submitted to the Word of God over his own.
Finally, the Scriptures are very clear on how we are to prepare for calamity. We are not called to prepare by knowing the future, as those who consult fortunetellers seek to do. Rather Jesus tells us to build our house on the Rock of Christ so that when storms come, we will be upheld (Matt 7:24-25). We are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, to put on the full armor of God, so that we will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil and to resist him in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Eph 6:10,13) Jesus told us to pray that we would be able to escape all the things that are to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36). In Revelations 14:12 we are told, “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” The way we prepare for the future is by having a pure, patient, enduring, and patient heart…a heart that finds such joy and satisfaction in the glory and love of Christ, that nothing can shake its contented faith. Those who build their lives on His Word are secured.
In the three mentioned cases of foretelling prophecy in the new testament, there was never an emphasis on satisfying personal earthly desires. In the case of Agabus predicting the famine, the people’s response was to gather resources to help the other believing Jews. In the case of Agabus prophesying the persecution that Paul would experience, Paul’s Spirit-driven direction to preach the Gospel was not altered. In the case of Peter predicting Ananias and Sapphira’s death, I imagine that Peter was filled with heartache, reverence, and Godly admonition for the other believers as he spoke. Contrast these outcomes to the purposes of earthly fortune telling for storing up personal riches and protecting self from danger… Remember, the exaltation of Christ and the conformance of His people into His Image for the revelation of His glory to the world is the purpose of all Divine gifting.

VI.      Testing the Spirits: Jesus Came in the Flesh
            The manner in which spirits are to be tested is described in 1 John 4:1-4: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God and is the spirit of the antichrist. The spirits of the antichrist are from the world, speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. These spirits do not listen to us who are from God. By this we know the spirit of Truth and error.
            So, there are two key aspects of testing spirits here. Firstly, the spirit must acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. And secondly the spirit must listen to us who are from God. False spirits deny that Christ has come in the flesh and they do not listen to us when we speak the Word of God through the Spirit.
            The concept of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh encompasses all who Jesus is and all that He did when He came to earth.The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and the apostles saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH (John 1:14). Since we as God’s children share in flesh and blood, Christ Himself also partook of the same, so that through His death He might render him powerless who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb 2:14). For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through our flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3). Christ told us that He is from above, that He is not of the world, and that unless we believe that He is the One He claims to be, we would die in our sins (John 8:23). He said that if we believe we have eternal Life, and that He is the Bread of Life that came down out of heaven so that we may eat of it and live forever. The bread which He gave for the life of the world is His flesh. (John 6:47-51). Furthermore, He told us that unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we have no life in ourselves. But if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we have eternal Life, He will raise us up on the last day, we abide in Him and He in us, and we will live because of Him. His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink. (John 6:52-58)
            In the days of His flesh, Christ offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One who is able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety (Heb 5:7). Apart from His salvation, none of us could ever have been pious enough to be heard by God. On the cross, Christ abolished in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might create unity among His people, Jews and Gentiles, thus establishing peace (Eph 2:15).  Now we have confidence to enter the Holy Place of the Presence of God the Father through His blood by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh (Heb 10:20).
            After He died on the cross, He was raised to Life. His heart was glad and His tongue exulted, moreover, His flesh lived in hope because God would not abandon His soul to Hades or allow His Holy One to see decay. Jesus was raised to life and His apostles are witnesses. (Acts 2:26-32) He told them to see His hands and feet, that He was He Himself. He told them to touch and see Him, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as they saw that He had (Luke 24:39).
            Now, for all those who are regenerated, they live not on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God (Matt 4:4). They have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in them; the life which they now live in their flesh, they live by faith in the Son of God, who loved them and gave Himself up for them (Gal 2:20). We who live off of the Bread of Life are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:11). Christ calls us as His Bride to be part of His own body. No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourished and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church (Eph 5:29).
            Thus, any spirit that rejects the components of Christ coming in the flesh is a spirit of the anti-christ. Often these spirits appeal to the desires of our flesh for material gain and various forms of earthly prosperity rather than to the all-satisfying love of Christ. Sometimes these spirits deny the power of the Holy Spirit to work in people to will and to act according to God’s good purpose and to seal them for the Day of Redemption. Sometimes these spirits appeal to the self-righteousnessof people causing them to have a sense of boasting in self rather than in the cross. Sometimes these spirits appeal to the human intellect, thus neglecting the Mind of Christ that is given to the body of Christ. Sometimes these spirits cause dissent and deny the unifying power of the Gospel. The result of the work of Christ to live a perfect life, die, and rise again in the life of true believers is neglected by these spirits. That is, the fullness of joy and obedience in love that are to characterize believers may be de-emphasized by these spirits and replaced for human mechanisms. These spirits not only leave out, or worse yet, explicitly deny, various parts of Christ’s work and Being, but they refuse to listen to those who speak by the Holy Spirit about the Truth.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2

VII.    The Life of Jesus Sustains the Spirits of Prophets
            Being a true prophet is by no means a glorious, prosperous, or immediately satisfying experience in an earthly sense. But true prophets are not looking for these things. Jesus said that He does not accept praise from men and that those who speak on their own do so to gain honor for themselves, but those who speak for the honor of the One who sent them are men of Truth and there is no unrighteousness in them (John 7:18. A true prophet may be without honor in his own hometown (Luke 4:24). Jesus said that we are blessed when we are insulted, persecuted, and spoken evil against because of the Name of Christ for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before us (Matt 5:11-12). The attitudes of the ungodly towards prophets cannot be good and is often murderous.
            There is an image in the Bible given to Ezekiel and John: God gives them a scroll to eat which tastes sweet like honey. However, it turns sour in their stomach [Ez 3:3, Rev 10:9]. I am not sure about the exact meaning of this picture, but it has resonated with my experiences with receiving and delivering the messages of God to His people. When God gives the message, the message is the voice of the Good Shepherd and my soul finds great delight in it. For His messages are loving calls for His disobedient people to return to Him, words of comfort, peace, love, restoration, salvation… Often, I can understand the great hope and prospect of the message for the audience and imagine the outcome of their reception by His Spirit. His messages from His Word also firstly benefit my own heart and soul. As I write the message, the Truth resonates with my new heart and mind. For the people of God are Spiritually discerned to understand what God has freely given His people (1 Cor 2:14). But it is often the case that after the message has been presented, people refuse to accept it. Rejection of the message is manifested in several ways. People may intellectually affirm the Truth, but refuse to be changed in heart. As God told Ezekiel, “31 They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. 32 Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.” (Ez 33:31-32) They may disbelieve, ignore, or fail to understand the message. The anguish and despair that comes over the prophet in the face of the hardened hearts of listeners may be the sourness in the stomach that occurs later on. More importantly, if these people refuse to repent, then the judgment of God looms over them, and we see small forms of His judgment even in our lives as those around us face the consequences of their sin: guilt, despair, reckless living, sorrow, anger, etc. And the knowledge of His coming wrath that remains over the unsaved may be exceedingly sour. As the apostle Paul said about his Jewish brothers, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:1-3)
16 Your Words were found and I ate them,
And Your Words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
17 I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers,
Nor did I exult.
Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone,
For You filled me with indignation.
18 Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream
With water that is unreliable? Jer 15
            In the midst of the anguish of the prophet, there is a quiet relief of the Holy Spirit, the comfort of God’s eternal covenant of love, and the knowledge that He brings justice to victory for His people. We are reminded of Elijah who cried out to God, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (I King 19:20). God did not speak to him through the great and strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He spoke through a gentle blowing wind and comforted Elijah that there were 7000 people in Israel who had not worshipped Baal. (1 Kings 19:11-13, 18) One of the greatest comforts for the downtrodden prophet is the presence of the remnant amidst an otherwise idolatrous people.
            The life of Jesus revives the true prophets day after day. Just as Jesus suffered outside the camp in order to sanctify us, we go to Him outside the camp bearing the reproach that He bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. (Heb 13:12-14) The heart’s desire of the true prophet is that “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:10-11) As King David says, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your Word has revived me” (Ps 119:50).
19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.” Lam 3
            My experiences in carrying the messages from God’ heart are characterized by a type of reverence for the honor and glory of God that dispels all of my fleshly inclinations for human love and honor. I become blind to all political and relational dynamics of the peoples. My sole focus becomes to uphold the Truth of God’s Word in the hearts of His people. Every other striving is put to rest, as God calls the prophet to wait for His deliverance and to be faithful to deliver His Words to the people. The inner zeal that possesses the true prophet is relentless. The Word of God is like a seal on the heart and on the arm. For love is as strong as death. Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. (SoS 8:6) The messages of the prophets control their hearts, thus affecting their character, the words of their mouth, their demeanor, and their countenance. Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame (Ps 34:5). God told the prophets to speak worthy, not worthless, words and to make their faces harder than flint and not to turn to the people but to let them turn to them (Ez 3:9, Jer 15:19). They are to be a bronze fortified wall against the idolatry of the peoples. Though the peoples fight against them, they will not be overcome by them for God is with them to save and rescue them. (Jer 15:20)
            God often takes His prophets on a journey during their periods of prophecy in which the aspects of the particular prophecy are manifested in certain ways in the life of the prophet. That is, God gives prophets a taste of their message through experience(s) in their own lives. For example, the prophet Hosea was commanded by God to be faithful and forgiving to his unfaithful wife as a picture of God’s faithfulness to the adulterous and idolatrous Israelites. Similarly Ezekiel was given a strict diet by which he would physically waste away to show that the Israelites were wasting away in their sin. God trains and teaches prophets as He gives them messages for the people. Their experiences refine their character, humble them, conforming them into the Image of Christ. A result is that the prophet’s messages are drenched in personal conviction and depth of insight through the Holy Spirit.
            There is an internal struggle that I have experienced, especially with prophetic warning against idolatry, of maintaining both GRACE and TRUTH. We remember that the King of prophets, Christ, was filled with grace and Truth. The words of the prophets are in many cases words of rebuke, admonition, and calls to repentance and restoration. When a prophet lacks grace he/she will likely have the type of human anger and pride that does not bring about the righteousness of God (James 1:20). If the prophet refuses to speak the Truth, though it brings sorrowful conviction to true believers and anger within the ungodly, then he/she is accountable as the watchman who sees the sword coming and does not blow the horn to warn the people (Ez. 33:6). It is a sin for prophets not to speak words of conviction and rebuke when God commands them to. It is a sin for a prophet to speak even the Truth without love, humility, and grace. I know that any words of conviction or rebuke from me must be preceded by extensive labor in prayer with tears and love on behalf of those whom I would be speaking to. I tell myself not to dare to speak against the actions and heart conditions of the people of God if I have not wept for them and pleaded on behalf of their souls before God and been filled with a deep agape for them. The true prophet must feel and possess the heart of God towards the people.

My conclusion is that the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.
More than anything, we strive to obey Him and to love as He did. I want to be like Him, whatever that means I have to do. He is my firstborn elder Brother. 

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