Dr. Stephen Phinney
OCCUPATIONAL GIFTS | PROPHECY
And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. (Luke 4:24)
No truer statement. Prophets uncover the sins of culture, community, and individuals. Furthermore, each is known for requiring repentance. Jesus certainly was known for this while in ministry.
Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." (Mark 6:4)
Out of all the functional gifts, you would think that a prophet would be honored by their hometown, relatives, and household members. Sad to say, they are not. As you will learn in our article today, prophets are loud, immovable, and usually right. No one likes living with a “know it all.” While you would think the masses would appreciate a worker in Christ who understands tomorrow’s news today, most are threatened by such workers. The ultimate reason is – prophets force change while deluding the excuses of being content with worldly ideologies.
Occupation is a job or profession in action, state, or period of occupying or being occupied by the Holy Spirit. When we use the term "occupational gifts," we refer to the gifts that the Holy Spirit uses to manifest Himself. The fact that the Holy Spirit comes into our bodies when we become born-again puts us in a position of being living vessels for God. God designs this vessel for a specific purpose and "calling" in mind. Your occupation in ministry is your calling.
Let's look at our first occupational gift, prophecy.
Prophecy is a reception and declaration of a Word from the Lord through the direct prompting of the Holy Spirit and the human instrument He uses. The person with this gift has a special ability to clearly understand past, present & future prophecies already stated in the Holy Scriptures.
True prophecy builds up and edifies. It builds up because God is always building up the Body of Christ. This person may bring encouragement to the church using strong words. (1 Corinthians 14:3) God uses this person to bring rebukes to Body members, as well as the church as a whole (1 Corinthians 1:9-10). The person who is blessed with this gift frequently functions under direct revelations of God (1 Corinthians 14:29-31). Prophets shed new light on the fullness of our salvation or warnings to those with fake salvations. This person will tend to "preach to the nations."
Prophets build up because they are an overt picture of what a believer represents (1 Corinthians 14:22-25). Prophets often reveal whether God is present in an assembly, thereby confirming the believer in his faith and even causing the unbeliever to confess God's Presence (v24).
Prophets also build up because they lay bare the heart's secrets (1 Corinthians 14:22-25). Therefore, they intimidate many Body members. Prophets are usually loved or "hated" due to this. Prophets normally prevent people from hiding behind masks or pretending to be righteous when they are not. Where prophets are, honesty and integrity are indispensable (Ananias and Sapphira- Acts 5).
Most Common Persecution: Direct assaults from hard-hearted individuals through isolation, insults, and at times, physical retribution.
God uses Prophets to show the people there is a God of Judgment and Grace!
If walking after the flesh, people with the gift of prophecy can become dictatorial, domineering, demanding, get upset when things don't go their way, are intense about things that don't matter, and can be too forceful, too direct, and often are accused of being bossy.
They are tough on people who do not understand authority or accept challenges. They can be afflicted with weaknesses (to keep them humble before the Lord) and have a problem tolerating weak or sick people. They have problems accepting indecisive or lazy people when walking after the flesh.
Prophets expect people to think quickly, gain understanding quickly, and expect most people to keep up with them (Isaiah 30:30).
Primary liability is that they tend to think they can "foretell" the future. In the New Testament, prophets can rewind existing prophecies – not foretell new ones.
Places of Service
1. Offer personal prophetic insights to individuals
2. Preach to the nations
3. Offer church-wide prophecies to the Body of Christ as a whole
4. Church promotions
5. Message(s) to the Body of Christ
6. Offer teachings on the "end-times."
7. Church activist in the political arena
8. Evangelism campaigns
· I Cor. 12:10, 28
· Eph. 4:11 – 14
· Romans 12:6
· Luke 7:26
· Acts 15:32
· Acts 21:9 – 11
True prophets are to receive “double honor” when functioning within the parameters of the Holy Spirit. If or when a prophet functions through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, they become one of the most valuable resources to the Body of Christ. However, they become the church's worst enemy when they use this gift to advance themselves. Most importantly, prophets are vulnerable to God’s discipline when proclaiming prophecies that either don’t reinforce the Lord’s existing prophecies or use God’s prophecies in a self-life modality.