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1. Introduction

The lifestyle of the prophet is crucial to the prophet’s calling because God desires to give us more authority than our current level. Therefore, growing into the next level of glory requires allowing God to develop our character.

The lifestyle of the prophet is the second in this series on the prophet’s ministry. Understanding New Testament prophecy and the gift of prophecy are prerequisites to understanding the prophet. This is because we need to be proficient in these before God chooses us as prophets.

Because we declare the oracle of God when we prophesy, being aware of how we speak is critical to our ministry as a prophet or prophetess. The devil wants to destroy our prophetic authority, so awareness of his schemes is crucial to the next step. In this lesson, we will use the teaching of the Apostle Peter from the first chapter of his second epistle, where he declares:

knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 2:20-21

 


2. Set Apart to God


A. Sanctification

When we are called and chosen as a prophet of God, we are set apart to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Biblically, set apart is termed sanctification. Separated means that your lifestyle as a prophet is no longer your own. Being a prophet means you may be misunderstood by many. If you are going to be a prophet to more than your local area, you may go places and do things that make no sense to other people, but in the end, they will see the fruit and realise that it was the hand of God.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5

B. Escaping the Corruption of the World

In his teaching of character, Peter starts with separation from the world.

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Peter 1:4

Prophets declare the exceedingly great and precious promises of God prophetically. So they must not love the things of this world above their love for God. James puts it this way.

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4

In the lifestyle of prophets, we do not want to make the Holy Spirit jealous!

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

James 4:5

C. Sanctification Also Means Holiness

Sanctification is not just living a life separated from the world unto God. It also means a lifestyle of holiness.

Holiness comes from the Greek word ἅγιος hagios; which means pure or morally blameless. For this reason, prophetic people need to allow God to grow them from glory to glory, not just in our gifts but also in our character.


D. Victory Over Sin

Therefore being sanctified includes having victory over sin.


3. Lifestyle of Faith and Boldness


A. Faith and Boldness

Peter continues in his second epistle by referring chronologically to the first of the character requirements – faith.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

2 Peter 1:5-7

Faith is the first requirement for any prophetic ministry.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:6

When we operate with boldness and faith, there is a reward for us in seeing God confirm the prophetic word.

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Hebrews 10:35

Although faith is the start of this journey, it must always result in more significant character development. Personally, my greatest triumphs of faith result in more significant trials that develop character. We find that once we have grown from faith to love, we restart the process at a new level of glory and faith:

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8

God wants us to grow from faith to faith:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:17

and grace to grace:

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6


4. Lifestyle of Virtue

Next in the prophet’s lifestyle character progression is virtue.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,

2 Peter 1:5

Virtue differs from English, meaning “behaviour of high moral standards.”
In the New Testament, virtue comes from the Greek word ἀρέτη aretē; which means manliness (valour), i.e. excellence.


A. Manliness

We need courage if we want to walk in a prophet’s office. Our peers may misunderstand us, including our leaders. Misunderstandings require courage if we are to take our promised land:

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

Joshua 1:6-7

For example, Paul confronted Peter in front of Barnabas and the other Jews.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

Galatians 2:11-12

Peter, by his actions, was compelling Gentiles to live like Jews.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Galatians 2:14

B. Excellence

The other meaning of the Greek word for virtue is excellence. God wants us to use excellence in our gifts.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8

We are not to take the gift for granted but to wait on it by studying the gift, different prophets in the Bible and prophetic leaders whom we respect.


5. Growing in Knowledge

Next in Peter’s ascension to glory is knowledge:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,

2 Peter 1:5

A. Diligence in Knowledge

It is necessary not just to read the word of God through a prophetic view but also to have a sound theological basis. Our lifestyle as a prophet must include hunger for the word of God. Peter uses the phrase diligence above. Paul says the same to his “son” Timothy:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

B. Theology Determines Prophecy

An example of wrong theology causing false prophecy happened at the start of the Covid19 outbreak, where even the most well-recognised prophets erred, because of faulty theology. I first noted Covid in December of 2019. I prophetically warned people from January 20th 2020, that this would be a long pandemic (people were only warning of an epidemic at that time). Then in February, ten well-known prophets with worldwide recognised ministries prophesied the end of Covid by Passover 2020. As Passover approached with no sign of finishing, they changed it to Pentecost 2020. Pentecost, of course, passed as well, with the pandemic only worsening.
Why did they make this error that brought the prophetic ministry into disrepute? Because false theology may result in false prophecies. The written word of God must precede God’s prophetic word. These prophets believed that Jewish feasts, like the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles, are still active today, which is not true as they have been fulfilled in Christ. Because they believed they were still active, they prophesied out of their minds instead of the Spirit. If theologically, they had positioned themselves correctly in the word of God, they would not have made this mistake.

For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it?

Jeremiah 23:18

True prophets are men and women of the Word of God, not relying on what they have believed but constantly studying the Bible to ensure they are theologically correct. Prophets need to submit themselves to both teachers and apostles.


6. Wisdom and the prophet

Next in the growing of character is self-control:

to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,

2 Peter 1:6

I think of self-control through the nature of wisdom.


A. Faith and Wisdom

Because of the prophet’s governmental and foundational aspects, faith and wisdom are essential to the lifestyle of the prophet/prophetess.

We have already seen the importance of faith and boldness as a prophet, the first part of the character God wants to develop in them. Now let us look at wisdom.


B. Mystery of his Will

In Fellowship of the Mystery of His Will, we learnt that the prime responsibility of the church is to display to principalities and powers the authority to overcome evil spirits. We all, including the prophets, have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to destroy the enemy’s works.

There are two sides to ministry.

to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him

Ephesians 3:10-12

On one side, faith and boldness, and on the other side, wisdom are essential to effective ministry.


C. Wisdom

Wisdom is essential when we minister in the office of the prophet. Sometimes the gift can be incredibly sharp and clear, and we think we have the interpretation. However, Paul warns us that we need to be aware we do not see everything as perfectly as we think we do:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

1 Corinthians 13:9

Therefore, even as an experienced prophet, it is wise to wait on God for the interpretation, the timing, who it is for, and how it will be delivered. I will often ask God-specific questions, allowing the peace of God to lead me. By doing this, God promises to assist us in delivering the prophecy to the right persons, at the right time, with the correct interpretation, and delivered accurately.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5


7. Perseverance and Prophets

in Peter’s list, after self-control comes perseverance.

to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,

2 Peter 1:6

Being a prophet means there will be periods of being hidden away by God and then times of just standing still.


A. Hidden

God may hide the prophet from the public or church eye for extended times, often with little prophetic voice. It does not mean that we do not fellowship with the saints, but that we may find ourselves separated from people, alone with God.

So [Elijah] went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

1 Kings 17:5-7

A personal example of perseverance has been when I had not preached for years! God would not allow me to preach because God wanted to eliminate my desire for prominence and significance. It is hard for someone who wants to be significant for God to go through this trial, but necessary so that our desires do not drive us for prominence or significance.


B. Standing

Sometimes the lifestyle of the prophet requires perseverance by staying in a place until the prophet’s authority causes strongholds to break. The prophet has an anointing to possess the land.

We see an example of this in the first prophet mentioned in the Bible, Abraham, who did little to
the area of prophecy.

Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for [Abraham] is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

Genesis 20:7

Most of his prophesying was walking the land that others would later possess. His walking was a prophetic act.

Christine and I co-laboured with God to see revival come to the Yolngu people. Once the revival was well underway, we were sent to a town called Ramingining, the centre of witchcraft for Australasia. The revival continued to grow all around us except for in Ramingining. By standing, we saw God bring the breakthrough we had been looking for: o see people no longer following a mixture of Jesus and their ancestral spirits. They decided only to follow Jesus and turn away from worshipping the evil spirits. When we left the field six years later, all the Yolngu villages followed Jesus.


8. Godly Lifestyle

In the passage from Peter’s second epistle, we find that the prophet’s lifestyle requires godliness after self-control.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,

2 Peter 1:5-7

Godliness is essential to the ministry of the prophet.


A. Bridling the Tongue

Because the prophet can have great authority to speak into existence things that are not yet in existence (for example, couples unable to have children, able to have a child), the prophet must learn how to control their tongue. Our tongue needs to be sanctified and set apart to God.

Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

James 3:4-5

It means that the standard of language from the prophet must be higher than others. Others may consider swearing unimportant, but the prophet must consider even these things breaching their separation unto God.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Ephesian 4:29

I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the prophet watching their tongue. We must keep in the forefront of our minds that we are the mouthpiece of God.


B. Blessing and Cursing

Because God wants to give us authority, we need to be careful not to curse people. If we start cursing, God will not give us more dominion because He does not want the prophet’s authority used for the wrong purpose.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.

James 3:8-9

While on the mission field, a prophetess killed a man’s wife by misusing her prophetic gift. Some watching thought the prophecy must have been God because the woman died. However, that was not the case. Because the couple did not understand this was a false prophecy, the husband and wife incorrectly believed the words she spoke. Their belief in the prophecy empowered the devil to kill the woman, as she gave up living because “God had spoken” She died within a fortnight because she believed the lie. We must never use our prophetic gift to curse people.


C. Oracle of God

When we are prophesying, being careful about speaking is even more critical. Referring to the proclamation ministries, the apostle Peter reminds us that we speak as God’s mouthpiece when we minister as prophets or prophetesses.

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.

1 Peter 4:11


9. Being Kind

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

2 Peter 1:5-7

Brotherly kindness is being kind regularly, very different from a single act of kindness to a stranger in need. Brotherly kindness is an ongoing sacrifice to those who live around us, our immediate family, a work colleague, or a close neighbour. It stands to reason that this integrity is placed on Peter’s list after we have attained a high level of self-control!


A. Essential to Teamwork

Living and working in a team situation requires self-sacrifice and understanding of our brother’s point of view. We need to help those around us by giving them encouragement and praise instead of being critical.


B. Apostle Paul’s Unkindness

Paul is an example of someone who failed the test of brotherly kindness. He had an argument with Barnabas about taking John Mark along on their missionary journey. Barnabas was an encourager and showed brotherly kindness, extending grace to John Mark:

Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark.

Acts 15:37

Because John Mark had previously deserted Paul on the last trip, Paul wasn’t keen on giving him a second chance.

But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.

Acts 15:38

As a result, Paul and Barnabas separated:

Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;

Acts 15:39

Paul was in the wrong and paid the price of not having any friends except for Luke in his later years, asking John Mark to reunite with him. It seems Paul only wanted to be reunited because John Mark was helpful to Paul in the ministry.

Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.

2 Timothy 4:11

By having a lifestyle of kindness, the prophet will be more effective in seeing breakthroughs by building an effective team around them.


10. Lifestyle of Love

The last step in the cycle that Peter talks about is love:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

2 Peter 1:5-7

Having a lifestyle of love will ensure the prophet does not speak in a manner that displeases or dishonours God.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:8

And

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2
 


11. Prophets and Ethics


A. Itinerant Ministry

When a prophet is ministering in a church, but not as the senior leader, the prophet needs to remember that although they may be the second in importance when it comes to ministry gifts, they must be subject to the local church where they are ministering.


B. Respecting Other Ministry Gifts

Because prophets hear and see into the spiritual realm clearer than others, there are risks for the prophet. The prophet needs to stay humble and respect the views of the other ministries. In particular, the teacher is one whom the prophet will have difficulty appreciating. Yet they are potentially the most important to them, ensuring the prophet does not prophesy out of incorrect theology or become too “spiritual”, seeing things of their mind rather than the mind of God. Some prophets have gone astray, being seduced by demons and transforming themselves into angels of light.


12. Summary of the Lifestyle of the Prophet

In New Testament Prophecy, we discovered what prophecy in the new covenant looks like. We then looked at the gift of prophecy and the prophet’s ministry. In this lesson, we have learned:

  • The lifestyle of the prophet is separated from the world and separated unto God.
  • It is a lifestyle of victory over sin.
  • The lifestyle of the prophet requires a balance of character and gifting.
  • It requires faith, boldness, and courage.
  • Wisdom must balance faith if prophets are to dispossess the devil’s territory successfully.
  • There needs to be a thorough understanding of theology because if theology is faulty, the prophecy will be a mixture of God and the person’s mind.
  • The prophet needs to control the tongue if they want to grow in their authority and influence.
  • Brotherly kindness and love are essential to the office of the prophet.
  • We must maintain a high level of ethical integrity with the other ministry gifts.

Finally, in these two series on prophecy, we will look at the spirit of Jezebel and the prophet’s authority to displace this spirit.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

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