Last Days Prophetic Ministry
THE BIG IDEA: God wants His church to become a prophetic people who hear His voice, and proclaim His living word to others. When we do this, we will see people encouraged, comforted, and set free.
“Unlike me, the people of the Bible heard God speak in a variety of ways. He spoke through an audible voice, through dreams, visions, circumstances, inner impressions, prophets, angels, and other ways, as well as through Scripture. But after God wrote the Bible, He apparently went mute…It is hard to read a book everyday that tells how God supernaturally intervenes in the lives of His children, and yet see no practical relevance for these supernatural phenomena in our present experience.” (Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God).[i]
Let’s look again at the day of Pentecost, when Jesus started His church. This was the very first message preached in the new church:
“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath.” (Acts 2:16-19a).
When Peter preached this sermon, he said, “We’re living in the last days.” If they were living in the last days two thousand years ago, then we are living in the last of the last days today. We are closer to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus than the church has ever been in its history. God has communicated his heart’s desire for His church. He wants to pour out His Spirit on all believers – men and women, adults and children, rich and poor. He wants us to prophesy – to hear what He’s saying – and speak His Word to others. He wants us to encounter the prophetic realm of revelation that includes visions, dreams and angels. God never intended for his church to be a group of story keepers, passing down from generation to generation the accounts of what He did in the past. God desires all of His people to know Him personally and intimately. We can have encounters with God today.
God wants us to be a prophetic church and to flow in the gifts of the Spirit. He wants us to hear His voice.
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21).
Hear the heart of God the Father: He knows there are people in our world who are lost, hurting and broken. Because they don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, life doesn’t work for them, and they don’t know the hope and peace that come from Him alone. When we speak a prophetic word to people, not just words on a page, but the living rhema word of God, it will set them free. (The word rhema refers to the spoken word of God, versus the logos, which is the written word of God). We must contend to see the prophetic ministry restored in the church, to see people encouraged, comforted, and set free.
Two examples of prophetic people in Acts:
Two ordinary people in the church were used by God in an extraordinary way. Neither of them were pastors, teachers, or missionaries. They were simply two men who believed God still spoke to people, and they were powerfully used by the Lord. If God can work through them, He can work through you, too.
Stephen was a regular guy in the church who waited on tables. He was a servant who cared for widows. Let’s look at how Stephen encountered the prophetic realm:
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56).
We need to be anointed with fresh oil if we want to encounter the prophetic realms of revelation. When Stephen was filled with the Spirit, he saw an open Heaven, the glory of God, and a vision of Jesus. Prophecy is more than just predicting the future. God opened Stephen’s eyes to see right into Heaven where he saw the glory of God. Now that’s a prophetic encounter! This is more than just a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge. Prophecy is about hearing God’s voice and seeing His face and going deeper in our relationship with Him.
I don’t just want to go to church on Sunday and sing some songs and hear some stories about what God did thousands of years ago. I want to have a real and vibrant relationship with Jesus that makes a difference in my every day life. That’s what happened with the disciples in the Book of Acts – they had life-changing encounters with God.
Philip was another of those seven waiters like Stephen, just another regular Christian who heard that he could be used by God. Philip went out in obedience to the command of Jesus to preach the Gospel and heal the sick, and the Lord went out with him, confirming His Word with many signs and wonders. As he preached about Jesus inSamaria, people were saved, healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit, and there was great joy in the city.
“So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.” (Acts 8:25-26).
Touched by an Angel:
When you read through Acts, you will see many stories of the activities of angels. From Genesis to Revelation, the whole Bible is full of stories of God’s people who encountered these heavenly messengers. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2,kjv). Angels are real! There are angels among us, heavenly helpers sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout Acts we see angels setting people free from prison (5:19 and 12:7) and bringing people messages from the Lord (Acts 10:3-6 and 27:23-24). Don’t be surprised if one day you see an angel.
When I was a youth pastor, we took a group of young people out to a rustic old camp at Chilliwack Lake every summer. The purpose was to encounter God. During those times, we had so many incredible visitations from the Lord. He pulled back the curtain to allow several of our students and youth leaders to see visions of angels. A fourteen year old boy had a vision of the throne room of Heaven, with angels flying around the throne. One night as we were worshiping on the beach, my oldest son Caleb saw angels, too.
I realize as I’m sharing these stories that many people won’t believe what I’m saying. They don’t believe in angels, and they don’t believe angels appear to people any more. Church – we’ve got to stop being doubters, and we’ve got to start being believers. When someone gives a testimony of an encounter they’ve had with the Lord, let’s respond with a hearty yes and amen!
During the time our church building in Beausejour was under renovation, we met in a local high school. One Sunday a couple of the worship team members said, “Pastor Chris, as we were worshiping today, I heard angels singing and praising the Lord with us.” I didn’t say, “That’s just silly. You must have been hearing things. You must have had too much coffee before the service.” No. I said, “That’s awesome!” Even though I didn’t hear it myself, I absolutely believed that testimony.
Throughout the history of the world, angels have been operating. Sometimes the Lord has allowed people to see those angels and be aware of their presence. This is what happened to Philip one day as he engaged the prophetic realms of revelation. An angel spoke to him and said, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
“So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalemto worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:27-31).
After Philip heard an angel speak to him, he responded in faith and obedience, and the Holy Spirit spoke to him, giving him further instructions. He told Philip to go to a chariot and witness to an Ethiopian. He didn’t say, “I don’t know if this is really the Lord. What if I make a mistake? I’m so afraid, I don’t want to mess up, so Lord, please send someone else!” When God said “GO,” Philip responded by running to do His will. Because Philip obeyed that prophetic voice, God gave him an opportunity to minister salvation to someone.
Sometimes when God speaks to us, we’re so bound by fear that we begin to rationalize and say, “What if it’s not God really speaking to me? What if I make a mistake?” Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. “A mistake proves that someone stopped talking long enough to do something.” We can talk about it all we want and say, “I want to change the world. I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” but never try it. It’s time to stop talking about it, and just do it. When we step out in faith, desiring to hear the voice of the Lord, we will make some mistakes along the way, and that’s okay.
One of the greatest athletes of all time is a basketball player named Michael Jordan. When he was in high school, he was cut from his basketball team. If anyone had an excuse to give up, it was him. “The coach said I’m no good, I guess I’ll go try golf or something like that instead.” He didn’t do that. He refused to admit defeat and he wouldn’t give up. He said, “I’m going to play to win. The day I stop improving is the day I walk away from the game.” He made a commitment to shoot 300 baskets every day, and because of his perseverance, he succeeded. We need to have that same heart attitude when we step out to be used by the Lord in the prophetic realm.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:35-38).
Because Philip was led by the Spirit, he had an opportunity to lead someone to the Lord. We need to learn to listen for that still small voice, and obey it. God is always speaking, and He wants us to learn how to hear His voice. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). For the remainder of this chapter, we are going to look at the basics of prophecy, to get ready to be released by the Lord to step out into the prophetic realm.
Pastor Chris Jordan
[i] Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God. (Zondervan, 1998).