Old Testament passage for Tuesday, December 10, 2013: Amos 1:1-3:15
7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken— who can but prophesy?
Amos 3:7-8 (NIV)
Vision precedes action. That's how God works. His prophetic word always goes ahead of us.
This is somewhat like road signs. While traveling down a road, signs tell you what's ahead and how you should drive -- slow down, "curve ahead", "stop". Prophets are called seers. They see what's ahead. They see what others do not see.
Ephesians 4:11-12 states, 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (ESV). Needless to say, these verses find varied interpretation in the larger Body of Christ, but I believe they describe that which has been called Five-Fold Ministry. God raises up five distinct expressions of leadership ministry that He ordains to equip and lead His Church. Those five are:
None of these expressions of ministry is complete unto itself. They are all co-dependent.
The two most controversial are APOSTLES and PROPHETS. Traditionally, many have relegated PROPHETS to the Old Testament. Anyone claiming to be a prophet is considered on the lunatic fringe. Similarly, APOSTLES have been limited to New Testament/Early Church days. That leaves EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, and TEACHERS as the only ordained ministry left for us today.
I do not believe that prophets exist today similar to Isaiah or Jeremiah who will write Scripture. But, I do know that New Testament prophets exist today, and prophetic ministry does still take place. God raises up unique individuals who have a gift mix to hear from God and speak His special word into current situation.
In like fashion, there are no apostles today like the original Twelve. But, there are apostles who operate in our day. They are ground-breakers, church-planters, sent on a mission to expand the Kingdom. The Latin word for "apostle" is "misseo" from which we get "missionary."
Apostles today are not Scripture-writers. They are church-planters and missionaries. They give oversight to a relational sphere of churches. Their job is not to dictate but to serve.
Prophets are used by God to help see the road ahead. Prophets are gifted to hear from God the "now" word He is speaking. They are mouthpieces -- the eyes and ears of the Body of Christ.
All of us are so prone to fall into ruts. We get into a certain pattern and lose vibrancy. God speaks to us through prophets to stir us up. He sends His apostles to pave the way for growth and expansion.
It should be our daily prayer to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. His quickened word will always bring life and hope. This is both personal and corporate. SPEAK LORD, FOR YOUR SERVANT LISTENS!