As we look throughout the Bible, we see that God reveals Himself as a communicator. In Genesis 1:3 it says:
“And God said...”
And this same thing is repeated in verse 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24 and 26.
As we move through history we find that the church in the 1st century heard God speak and walked in His ways. One way they knew the path they should walk, was that they stayed open to and expected the voice of God to confirm and direct them as they journeyed with Him. They believed that God communicated continually and they listened for His word – they sought to be a Spirit-led community of believers. In fact, Paul encouraged the church at Rome with these words:
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
If we’re going to talk about being Spirit-led, we have to introduce a word used in the Bible and that word is prophecy.
Prophecy is simply “A message from God not known by natural means but by divine revelation.”
As we study the scriptures, we find that God speaks to us in several ways – two of the primary ways are:
1. Through the Bible. The written Word of God is the highest form of God’s communication. All other communication must be evaluated on the basis of the written word of God. (2 Peter 1:20-21).
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2. Through prophecy. The gift of prophecy is a spiritual gift that is resident within certain believers who, on a regular basis, hear from God and speak on His behalf to build up, encourage and comfort God’s people. (1 Corinthians 12:4,6; 13:2)
New Testament prophets are different than Old Testament prophets. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come upon certain individuals and they would speak on the level of Scripture because God’s people could not hear the voice of God. Christ had not yet come and a prophet was necessary to hear from Him.
In the New Testament, Christ has come and opened up the channels of communication again and once saved, we can all hear God’s voice.
Even though we have the ability to hear God’s voice, it’s not without error. We can mishear, misinterpret, and misunderstand His word to us. So God speaks in a variety of ways so that the mouth of two or three witnesses can establish every word spoken to us and over us.
Prophets, like teachers or shepherds, are designed to make sure believers are equipped to walk in God’s ways. So, what does that look like?
Acts 13 gives us a snapshot of a gathering in a local church where God spoke to individuals through leaders who prophesy:
“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3
We are given an amazing snapshot of the ministry of prophets in a congregation and we see how the community of believers sought to hear the voice of God and be Spirit-led in all they did. It’s this very Acts 13 model that has shaped CBC for more than 65 years.
Much of who we are has come about as God has spoken through men & women of God over the years. Missionaries are on the field, entire aspects of ministry such as PBC and all of our church planting efforts – all came as God stirred the heart of the church, spoke to us, and we launched out in faith.
This weekend, we’ve dedicated every service to hearing God’s voice. We’re going to worship, seek the Lord, press in and specific individuals will be ministered to in every service by a gathering of prophets. We’re believing that God will speak to them, and speak to us as a church.
So what do we need to do?
We need to come hungry, passionate, prayerful, ready, and expectant. Let’s go into this weekend expecting great things and expect that the Lord will speak to us. Let’s also come believing that God won’t just speak to those receiving prophetic ministry, but that He also has a word for all of us! We need to be hungry to know the will of God. We desire to do all that God has designed for us, both individually and corporately. Let’s stir our faith, open up a notebook ready to write down what God speaks, and open our spiritual ears as God speaks.