Robert Morris - Prophets
We're in a series called The Gifts of Jesus. And these are not to be confused with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believe fully, fully in the Person and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, fully. But these many times are lumped in with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they're not the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They're the gifts of Jesus. There are five of them, and he gave them when he ascended. And we covered the first one last week. So if you didn't get that message, if you haven't heard it, please go back and listen because it'll catch you up. And that was apostles, and this week we're going to cover prophets.
So Ephesians 4 verse 11 says, "And He Himself", that's Jesus, "gave some to be apostles, some prophets", that's what we're going to cover this week, "some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". Now, I underlined the word "edifying" also, because to edify means to build or to construct. And so prophets equip, all five of these do this as well, and they edify. And I know edify is not a word we use a lot, but it means they build or they build up.
So here's point number one: Prophets edify the saints. Number one: Prophets edify the saints. Now, we know they equip the saints, but they edify the saints. So do apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Here's the reason I'm making such a big deal about this. Prophets build up the church; they don't tear it down. And there's a whole lot of confusion and a lot of teaching that people think that, "I'm called to be a prophet, which means I'm called to tear down. I'm called to rip up. I'm called to come in and blow in, blow up, and blow out," and that's not true. Prophets are to build the Church, edify. 1 Corinthians 14:3, "But he who prophesies speaks edification", that'd be building up, "exhortation", that would be encouragement, "and comfort to men". So they speak building-up words, they speak encouraging words, and they speak comforting words.
I've had many, many people say to me, "Pastor Robert, we're really troubled because we got this prophecy, and we're very troubled about it". And so I just ask them one question, "Did it comfort you"? Or I could say say, "Did it encourage you? Did it build you up"? And when they say, "No". I say, "Then don't receive it". Because we just read it right there. Are y'all following me? Okay, even though there's a bunch of you, you're being quiet this week. Alright. It says, "he who prophesies, speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort". Prophets do not tear down the Church. And then some people will say, "Well, I'm a little more like an Old Testament prophet". No, you're like what you think an Old Testament prophet is like, 'cause I'm going to read you an Old Testament verse now about some Old Testament prophets, and watch what they were doing.
Ezra 5:1, "Then the prophet". Watch how many times a form of this word is used in a sentence. "Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied..." So there's no doubt what they are and what they were doing. "...to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God..." Not tear down the house of God. "...build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them". What were the prophets helping to do? Build the house of God, not tear down the house of God. Now, I think that people have a misunderstanding of an Old Testament scripture, which I'm going to show you so that if you say, "Well, I still have a little something in me". I'm going to clear it up for you. Okay?
Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;" or "set you apart" is what that means. "I ordained you a prophet to the nations". God speaking to Jeremiah. And then verse nine, he tells him what he's going to do. "Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: 'Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms". Now, that's really important. "'To root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, and to build and to plant.'" He named six things there. Four of them seem negative. I actually used to make an incorrect theological statement. I know that's a shocker, but I was young in the ministry. I used to say, according to this verse, because I'm also a math guy, two thirds of a prophet's ministry is negative, because four out of six were negative It seemed, not positive.
I used to say that. What I didn't understand at that time was the context of the verse. He said, I've set you over kingdoms. And the Bible talks about two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Here's what he's saying. "I've called you to tear down, to throw down, to pull down, and to destroy the kingdom of darkness, and to build and to plant the kingdom of light". God has never called prophets to tear down the body of Christ, or to tear down people. Now, sometimes God uses prophets, and all of us, to speak correction. Even friends, It says. When a friend speaks correction to us, it's healing to us. So, yes, he speaks correction, but he doesn't come to discourage us. He comes to encourage us. And I've told you many times, but it might hit with the first time or maybe the first time you heard it. Encourage simply means to put courage in. Discourage simply means to take courage out. So after you have a conversation with someone, does the person feel more courage or less courage? That will tell you whether you really spoke the word of the Lord, even that we correct or speak the truth in love?
I remember years ago, years and years ago, there was someone that I felt like that the enemy was trying to use, and the guy was a really good guy. I mean, he was a good guy, but I felt like the enemy had gotten in. And I talked to Pastor Jack Hayford about it, And Pastor Jack said, "Robert, you can be gracious with the person, but don't be gracious with the spirit". And what I realized he meant was, remember, this is a person that Jesus died for, that Jesus loves, that is a son of God. You be gracious when you talk with him, but when you get on your knees, you don't be gracious with that spirit. You rebuke that spirit, and you take authority over that spirit, and you tear down the kingdom of darkness while you build up the kingdom of God.
When you see a friend or your spouse being attacked by a spirit, anger or bitterness or unforgiveness or resentment, it may be even toward you, or fear or anxiety or worry or lust or pride. I'm talking about... Now, stay with me. Even a spouse, when you see your spouse being attacked by a spirit of lust or pride or anger or bitterness, or it might even be directed toward you. Listen to me. Don't attack the person. Attack the spirit in prayer. Build up and encourage the person. See, Debbie has done that for me for many, many years. When she would see me under attack, she would encourage me. "You're a great man of God. You do great things. God uses you". Even though I was under attack. But when she got on her knees, she took authority over that demonic spirit that was coming against her husband and against her family.
So number one: Prophets edify the saints. Here's number two: Prophets equip the saints. Now remember, all five do this. "He Himself," Jesus, "gave gifts to men," or mankind. Remember, that word is humanity. Pastor Josh just preached on it. He gave gifts to all of us, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. So all of them equip the saints. But, if I said to you, "What do prophets do"? Most would answer, "Prophesy". Okay. All saints prophesy. That's part of the work of the ministry. I'm literally going to show you a verse in a moment that says all can prophesy. I'm going to show it to you. But prophets don't prophesy as prophets. They prophesy as saints. As prophets, according to Ephesians 4, they equip the saints for the work of the ministry. You follow me?
And we saw a moment ago that when you prophesy, the main thing is you encourage people. So prophets equip us to hear God and to encourage people with a word from the Lord. Now, it's not on the same level as the Bible, obviously, but many times we say something to someone, and they'll say to us something like this, "You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today". Or we feel like sending them a card and putting a scripture on it, and they call us or write us or text us back and say, "That's the exact scripture, when I got your card, that I had in my quiet time that morning". That's, you prophesied. There's no way out of 31,103 scriptures that you're smart enough to get the same scripture the same day. But the Holy Spirit is. So that's prophesying. That's ministering someone the word of the Lord.
Acts 15 verse 32, "Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words". It didn't say they tore down and weakened the brethren. It said they built them up and they strengthened them. This is all through Scripture. Beware of people who say they are prophets, but they tear down the Church. Beware. Let me just help you a little bit further. They have blogs. Did that help you? And their whole blog is to tear down people in the Church. Isn't that amazing? And they think they're on a mission from God to tear down people in the Church. How deceived. Beware of people who tear down the Church, and tear down leaders in the Church. And don't think, "Well, he just must have read a blog about himself". Okay, that's something, I don't want to talk about them, although there are enough out there to not read, so. Beware of fortune tellers, men and women who say they're prophets, but their whole thing is to tell the fortune, tell the future. Prophets equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
Now, there are times when God tells us, Agabus did this. We read the scripture last week about something in the future. That's, yes, yes. God does do that sometimes. But mainly he comes to encourage and prophets' main job, their main job is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. That's where I've got to keep you. I've been around church a long time now, and I've been in ministry leadership for a long time. I've been around long enough to know that there are some prophets that every January they're going to give us a word about what's going to happen that year. And I've been around long enough to know they're going to say something big is going to happen in the spring, and something big is going to happen in the fall.
Can I tell you something? Something big happens every spring, and something big happens every fall. And then they take the credit for it. Then they say, "That was my prophecy. That was what I was talking about". You can't imagine how many prophets said when COVID hit, they were telling us, as leaders of the church, pastors, and pastors of large congregations in America, they were telling us, "God gave me a word about this, that something was going to hit in April". I thought, "Well, it didn't quite hit in April. It hit a little before April". But something big was going to happen. And those same prophets said, "But the Lord told me it's going to pass over by Passover". Passover is what we would call Easter in the Christian Church. Right, okay? And I'm not saying it's not called that in a Christian Church. I mean, Christian Church don't recognize because they don't study their Jewish heritage.
Well, it didn't pass over by Passover. So then the same prophet said, "Well, what I meant was that it was going to begin to pass over by Passover, but it will be in our rearview mirror by Pentecost". They literally said that. Pentecost, I taught on this last year, Passover to Pentecost is how many days? You better remember this. 50 days. Well, it wasn't in our rearview mirror 2020, 50 days after Easter. It's just now starting to get a little more in the rearview mirror. And we still have a long way to go, but we've come a long way. I'm just saying beware because they say, "I'm a prophet, and so that means I can tell the future, or God gives me insight".
Please hear me. It fulfills a need in them to be important. And I'm going to tell you, it'd be a whole lot better if they would equip the saints for the work of the ministry and send the saints out to do the ministry than to try to draw attention to themselves. It'd be a whole lot better. So let me just show you a scripture about the guys that want to tell the future. Deuteronomy 18 verse 9. "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead".
Let me sum that up for you: spooky people. I have not appointed spooky people for you. "For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you", watch this, "the Lord your God has not appointed [spooky people] for you". But here's what he has appointed. Verse 15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet", capital P, "like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him", capital H, "you shall hear". Hope they'll put that... Oh, they didn't put... Oh, they put, here it here it is, "Him". They did capitalize it. That's good. I just wanted... I knew you guys would, but I just want to make sure because this is a New Testament reference. This is a New Testament reference to Jesus. Anytime it's referencing Jesus or God, it should be capitalized. Okay.
And let me show you the New Testament scripture. Acts 3:22, "For Moses truly said to the fathers," That's what we just read. "'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet", capital P, "like me from your midst. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.'" I don't have time to read all of Acts 3, but it's talking about Jesus. Let me tell you what God has appointed for us; not spooky people. He's appointed Jesus, who was not spooky. Let me show you another prophet in the New Testament and tell you about him. I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands, but his name was Joses. The reason I said that is because probably 99% of you don't recognize him, but you're going to be shocked at who this actually is. Acts 4:36, "And Joses, who was also named", what? You ever heard of Paul and Barnabas, the first missionary team? "Who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement)". In other words, here's what they said. If encouragement had a son, he'd be you.
Paul was an apostle. We know from Scripture and study. Barnabas was a prophet, and yet they called him Son of Encouragement, not Son of Discouragement and bad news. but he was a New Testament prophet. I told a lady, a server at a restaurant one time, I sometimes, I get words for people and so do you. So if you say, "Well, I'm not getting words". Well, I'm going to tell you how you can. I'm going to tell you what you can do to learn to get words, and that we can learn to hear from God to encourage people. But the server was at our table and I kept getting a strong thing, and I said, "Hey, I have to tell you something". I said, "Right now, the Lord told me he wants to encourage you. You're in a battle for your son's safety, and God is going to win the battle for you so your son will be safe". She started crying. She was going through a divorce from an abusive man, and she was trying to get custody of her son. That's God, because there's no way I could have known that. And it encouraged her. So God wants to do that through you.
So here's point number three: How can I be a prophet? In other words, you. "How can I be a prophet"? Now, I'm not talking about one who equips others. I'm talking about one who encourages others. See, because prophets equip us to encourage. Apostles equip us to be sent with a message. That's what we covered last week. Prophets equip us to be able to learn to hear God and speak God's word to encourage others. Did everyone hear that? Because that's really important. I've got to say it again. Apostles equip us to be sent with a message. Prophets equip us to hear God, to encourage others with a word from God. Alright, so how can I be a prophet or an encourager? It's very, very simple. It's so simple, it's unbelievable. All you have to do is make yourself available to be equipped, because prophets are gifts from Jesus. These are gifts. Jesus Himself, and He Himself gave apostles, prophets, evangelists. He Himself. These are gifts that Jesus gave us with the ability to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. That's how easy it is.
So you just make yourself available to be equipped. That's it. And to be discipled. Guess what? You're ready for this? I'm saying make yourself available to be equipped. This is going to shock you. Guess what? We have Equipping classes. We have small groups to be discipled because you need to be discipled, and you need to grow in God's Word, and you grow in prophecy. We're going to see in a moment that we learn to prophesy. We don't start out as being the best prophets or the best encouragers. We just learn. We grow in it. We grow in everything we do. You remember, I used to travel. For a season,I spoke in very large churches, and large coliseums and things, but for a while I spoke in very small churches. Very small, very small. I had a guy tell me one time, a pastor tell me how to get to his church. He said, "Come down this road out of town. And when you see where the old oak tree used to be, turn left".
I remember thinking, "Are there grieving squirrels"? I mean, how will I know where the old oak tree used to be? And then he actually told me, Debby heard this. He told me, he said, "And then you're going to be going down this road, and you're going to cross a bridge. When you cross the bridge, two big white dogs are going to chase your car". Anyone ever seen that? When you're walking or something, a dog the whole way, and then when he gets in the fence, he just stops and goes back? Okay. He said, "Two big white dogs are going to chase your car. When they stop, turn left". Happened just like he said. So I spoke in some very small churches. So I heard some prophecies from people who were learning to prophesy. Okay, okay. And they're kind of humorous.
So one guy said, he stood up in the church and he said, "As I was with my servant Noah when he parted the Red Sea, I will be with thee". Noah didn't part the Red Sea. That was Moses. Another fella said, "As I said in my Word, in 1 Corinthians, or was it 2 Corinthians? Well, God knows where it was". And then I didn't hear this one. A friend of mine heard this one, but he was in Alabama, and this fella stood and prophesied. "Thus says the Lord, 'I know you're scaert.'" Had a "t" on the end, "scaert". "I know you're scaert. Sometimes I get scaert myself.'" It's not real doctrinally sound, nor is it very encouraging that sometimes the Lord gets "scaert" himself. Okay? But we can all learn to prophesy.
Here's the verse. 1 Corinthians 14:31, "For you can all prophesy". Do you see that? That's the Bible. You can all encourage people. And I'll tell you in a minute why it is "encourage". "...one by one, that all may learn". So you can all learn. Watch, "...and all may be encouraged". See, if prophecy didn't mean to encourage, then he would say, You can all prophesy that all may be discouraged, that all may feel bad about themselves. No, you can all prophesy, that all may feel good about themselves and be encouraged, and you can all learn. You can all prophesy, and you can all learn.
I was ministering at church one time, and I was there to learn to prophesy. And the older prophets were teaching me. It was a presbytery service. And they had already prophesied over this young lady, but they said to me, "Now, if you get a word at any point, you share it". And I just kept getting this word and kept getting this word, but I was too scared. I was a very young man. And finally, they had already, all three, They'd already prophesied over her, And she got up and she was walking away, and all of a sudden I just said to her, "You do too have a good testimony". I mean, I just couldn't stop. It just came out of me. And she stopped and turned around, and I said, "You were raised by very Godly parents. You were raised in the church. You gave your life to the Lord at an early age. But you think because you've never gotten drunk, and you've never done drugs that you don't have a good testimony. But you do have a good testimony, and you are called to be a missionary". And the whole church stood up and started applauding.
What I found out later was, she was the pastor's daughter. I'm glad I said that you had godly parents. "And your parents were alcoholics". You know, I'm glad I didn't say... She had stood in front of the church and she said, "I'm asking for God to say to me, next week, I'm a presbytery candidate, I'm asking for God to say one thing". She said, "I don't feel like I have a good testimony. I was raised by godly parents, as you know. I got saved when I was young. I've never gotten drunk. I've never done drugs. So I don't feel like I have a good testimony, but I feel like I'm called to be a missionary". You can all learn, and you can all encourage people that others can be encouraged also because Jesus, when he ascended, gave gifts, five gifts, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. I want you to buy your heads and close your eyes.
I want you just take a moment like we do at the end of every message and just say, "Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me through this message"? Just ask him. You'll be surprised how God wants to speak to his children, all of us. The Bible says, "My sheep hear my voice". That's Jesus. John 10:27. Jesus said,Jesus said it, so we can't argue with it, "My sheep hear my voice". He told us, when the Holy Spirit comes, he's going to tell you things. He's going to speak to you. He's going to tell you things. So just take a moment. "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"? And it could be that he's saying, make yourself available to be equipped and to learn so you can do the work of the ministry so you can encourage others.
Lord, I want to tell you, thank you for these gifts, the gifts of Jesus, the one you yourself gave as you ascended. And Lord, I ask that you make us all open and available to be equipped to do the work of the ministry, in Jesus' name, amen.