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Today I want to look at the purpose and heart of a prophet. Prophets are called of God for a very specific purpose. They are called to warn God’s people of coming judgment. Their ministries are not appreciated by many people because they want to continue in their sin.
If you listen well to a prophet you will see his heart. The desire of a prophet’s heart is not to condemn those to whom he preaches, it is to turn them back to God, it is to bring revival. Those who follow this ministry know that the burden of my heart, the reason I left the mission field, is to see revival in North America.
Revival can only come through national repentance. A verse that I often use to show what it needed is 2 Chronicles 7:14. This verse is a call to God’s people to turn back to God. It is a call to repentance.
If you study your Bible you will see that it is full of judgment and of warnings. This type of preaching was not popular in Bible times and it is not popular today. Our preacher training schools are teaching young preachers not to preach on judgment or sin or all those ugly things. People are repelled by those things. Just preach the love of God. We are being taught that the Gospel must be packaged like soap, it must be made attractive, we must emphasize that God is love.
What do we do with passages like John 15:19-21 in which Jesus warns us that we will be hated of the world? We also have 2 Timothy 3:12 which tells us that those who will live godly shall suffer persecution. Are we to deceive people by telling them that if they come to Christ everything will be good in their lives?
We are often told that those who tell the truth and warn of danger are fear mongers, hate mongers, etc. Every effort is made to marginalize those who warn of the dangers we face if we don’t turn back to God.
Does the Bible teach about God’s love and the joy that comes with becoming a Christian? Of course it does. However, it teaches that happiness and joy come from being in Christ, not from having no trials and tribulations.
Jesus preached more on Hell than on Heaven. He gave many warnings. To see the language He used toward the religious leaders of His day read passages like Matthew 12:34, Matthew 23:27, 33, Luke 11:44, and John 2:14-17.
Read the books of the prophets in the Old Testament. You will find a constant theme, that of warning of coming judgment. Psalm 7:11 says, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”
Let us just quickly look at some of this in the Old Testament:
Isaiah: To the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem – He outlined their sins and described judgment “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.”
Jeremiah and Lamentations: Known as the weeping Prophet. He preached to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He lamented how God’s people disobeyed God. Reproving Prophet, he said ”I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me”
Hosea: Contemporary to Isaiah to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. I call him The Picture Prophet, he dealt with Israel chasing after other gods – Hosea married a Harlot. He showed how miserable God was with her constant betrayals – He pictured God’s mercy – Buying his whoring wife back out of slavery
Joe: This book has three Chapters
1. Warning of judgment “For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.”
2. Repentance – “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”
3. Deliverance — “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim”
Amos: Another prophet to Israel – Contemporary of Hosea.
· Chap 1-2 Calls them to account and judges them for their Idolatry
· Chap 3-4 Calls them to Repentance
· Chap 5 Rejects their empty, hypocritical worship and sacrifices
· Chap 6 – 7 Describes God’s judgment and desolation coming upon them
· Chap 8-9 Concludes with a promise of the setting up of the Messiah’s kingdom
Jonah and Nahum: Jonah gave the warning and saw their repentance. This displeased him and he wanted to die. Nahum, later describes the destruction of Ninevah.
Obadiah – Micah – Habakkuk – Zephaniah – Haggai – Zechariah – Malachi
These all bemoaned sin and warned of coming judgment. They described calamities by pestilence, famine, and enemies.
Ezekiel and Daniel: They prophesied to the children of Israel while in Captivity. 70 years of captivity by two nations — Asyrians and then the Babylonians. Ezekiel in the beginning of Captivity and Daniel near the later end.
The reason the prophets brought these messages of warning is in the hope that the people would repent and turn back to God. They knew that if they did God would forgive their sin and return His blessing upon them.
My point is that much of the Bible is filled with warning of judgment, not love, peace and happiness. Jesus spoke more on Hell than on Heaven.
There are also prophets in the New Testament. Ephesians 4:11 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”
You will notice that there are four groups given.
The apostles are the church planters. They are given authority to start churches. They are the missionaries, the ones sent out by the churches.
We see those who are called apostles who were not part of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. In Acts 4:36 & Acts 14:14 Barnabas called an apostle. In Romans 16:7 Andronicus and Junia are called Apostles in Rome. In 1 Corinthians 1:1 Sosthenes is called and apostle.
The difference between the Apostles of Christ and the Apostles who minister today is a question of authority. The Apostles of Christ directly from Christ himself. The apostles today get their authority from their sending church. Acts 13:2-3 says “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
Prophets – I will come back to this in a moment.
Evangelist – Preachers who bring the Lost to Christ for Salvation.
Pastor/Teacher – Notice this each office is broken up with a comma. One who feeds, teaches, admonishes, and edifies the flock.
Now lets look at the New Testament prophets. Their ministry is the same as those of the Old Testament. They see, error and passionately go after it. They denounce all error and they mark, or points out, those who propagate it. We see the command to do this in passages like Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
The New Testament prophet not only points out error and false teaching, he calls people back to the Lord. He encourages a return to the Scriptures and the precepts of God.
To a large extent, this is the purpose of Fortress of Faith. We expose error, mark those who propagate it, and encourage our listeners and readers to repent an turn back to God.
The prophet warns of God’s curse upon those who preach another Gospel. Galatians 1:8-9 says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
These two verses tell how important this subject is. Any other Gospel will send people to Hell. To make sure that the Galatians understood the importance he said it twice.
This was strong language. God wants us to know that He is serious about keeping truth pure. Remember this, a half truth is a whole lie. God wants His churches to earnestly contend for the faith. This can only be done if we expose error.
There is a growing movement to suppress the truth in favor of unity and peace. They say we should only preach love and joy. The want us to believe that we should always preach a positive message. When they do this they show their ignorance of the Scriptures.
Most of you who listen to our broadcasts and read this blog show that the message resonates as truth in your hearts. I believe that this shows that you have God’s Spirit in your hearts.
Those of you who oppose this ministry and our message, who say it is hateful and un-Christian and who want us to only preach God’s love and joy are not led by God’s Spirit. If you were you would see that we are doing what the Scriptures command us to do. You would see that we are following the example of Christ as we pointed out earlier.
If you study your Bible you will see that before God brings judgment He always raises up preachers who will warn of that judgment. God has called me off of the mission field and back to America because He has allowed me to see things over there that are now happening here. I have seen the rise of Islam in Europe and God has called me back to America to warn you before it is too late.
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