Derek Prince - Listen To This If You'd Like To Be Involved In Ministry
I run into quite a lot of people today who want to claim to be prophets. But I’m not sure that they’re following the scriptural pattern, because there’s nothing very glamorous about being a prophet according to the Bible. It’s painful. It means isolation, persecution. I preached once in Africa, in Ghana, on the ministries of the body: apostles, prophets, evangelists... I had an audience of, I think, three thousand people, mostly young men, it was wonderful.
So after I dealt with the ministry of the apostle for quite a while, I said: How many of you would like to be apostles? Does anybody have an NIV here that I can borrow for a moment, someone close to me? I’ll give it back, I promise. Thank you very much. So, a lot of them put their hands up. I said: Wait a moment, let me read you the job description before you apply. I turned to 1 Corinthians 4, which is very vivid in the NIV. This is what it says... I think it applies really to the contemporary, Charismatic people. I used to call it the Charismatic movement but I don’t because I don’t think it’s moving anywhere. It was but it’s got bogged down somewhere.
All right, this is 1 Corinthians 4, beginning at verse 8: "Already you have all you want", addressed to the Corinthian Christians, "already you have become rich", they’ve had the full gospel... Did you ever hear of the perversion of the full business... full Gospel business men's movement? Which is the full business men's Gospel I love those brothers, I've spoken for them many times, but...
"You have become kings, and that without us. How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you. For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ. We are weak but you are strong. You are honored, we are dishonored. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answered kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world".
That’s the New Testament description of an apostle. If you want a description of what it’s like to be a prophet, I think you can find it in Hebrews. Since we’re there, Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 11, the last 2 verses. This is the prophetic ministry. "They were stoned, they were sawn in two", that was Isaiah, "they were put to death by the sword, they went about in sheepskins and goat skins, destitute, persecuted and ill treated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground".
How many want to be prophets? What’s needed? I didn’t hear you. Endurance, that’s right. We’ll go on now with what we were reading here. We’ll go back to verse 10 of James 5: "My brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering and patience". Not an example of glamour, but of suffering. "Indeed, we count them blessed who endure. You’ve heard of the perseverance", notice that word, "of Job, and seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful".
If you go through those verses you’ll find the theme is patience, perseverance, endurance. And that’s the pattern for the people of God who are preparing for the return of the Lord. I have to say that I preach these words to myself as much as anybody here. I tremble often when I hear the irresponsible way in which people are talking today about ministries and gifts. It’s tough to have a ministry in the body of Christ. The more harm you do the devil the more he’ll fight against you. If you’re not prepared for conflict and agony, just resign.