OUR PROPHETIC CALLING

 

Everything God has done on this earth... the creation,
the call of Israel as a nation, has been done by means of

a spoken word.   Out in the universe God speaks ... it is done.

 

"Let there be light ....... there's light.

 

Here among men God speaks... someone believes,

heaven opens ... it is done.

 

"Receive your sight ... your sins are forgiven...
go in peace."

 

When God speaks we live, when God is silent we die.
Or to put it another way, when our hearts are tender,
we hear God speak. When our hearts are hard, heaven
turns to brass.

 

When God speaks again and again and again and nobody

listens, there is likely to follow a famine of the word. Such a

famine, which lasted for more than 400 years was introduced

by these closing verses of the Old Testament.

 

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
before the great and terrible day of the
Lord comes.   And he will turn the hearts of
fathers to their children and the hearts of
children to their fathers, lest I come and
smite the land with a curse." Malachi
4:5-6

 

..a promise of a prophetic word ... then nothing for 400 years.

 

Then, as the people of Israel were languishing under
yet another foreign oppressor, with Roman garrisons
stationed in every major city in Palestine, an old
priest named Zechariah goes into the temple one day
to perform his religious duties and suddenly the
400
year silence is broken.

 

Now while he was serving as priest before
God when his division was on duty, according
to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to

him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord
and burn incense. And the whole multitude
of the people were praying outside at the
hour of incense. And there appeared to him
an angel of the Lord standing on the right
side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah
was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell
upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not
be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is
heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you
a son, and you shall call his name John. And
you will have joy and gladness, and many will
rejoice at his birth; for he will be great
before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine
nor strong drink, and he will be filled with
the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
And he will turn many of the sons of Israel
to the Lord their God, and he will go before
him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the
disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make
ready for the Lord a people prepared."

Luke 1:8-17

 

These words of Gabriel to Zechariah match the final prophecy
of Malachi,

 

"He will go before him in the spirit and power

of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to

the children and the disobedient to the wisdom

of the just to make ready for the Lord a people

prepared."

 

This is a description of the calling of Zechariah's son,

John the Baptist, the final prophet of the old covenant.

 

But it is also a clear description of the calling of every
prophet of the new covenant, every follower of Jesus....
the calling of the Body of Christ. We are to go before
Jesus in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way
for him. The spirit and power of Elijah is the spirit and
power of a living word from God. And we don't have to
wait 400 years for a prophetic word, we're getting it now.

 

- What is it that causes us to meet Jesus in
this place?

 

- What is it that brings the power of Calvary
into our midst?

... a living word from God that
opens our minds.

 

- What is it that turns the bread and wine into
the body and blood of the Lamb of God?

 

...the word that brings us into
communion with him.

 

- What is it that opens our eyes to see the kingdom,

   that opens our ears to hear the voice of the Lamb?

                            

                            ...the word ... the living word
                                      of God.

The word is already here,

- it burns in our hearts,
- it burns on our lips.

 

When that word of God, which is spirit and life,
that word which can shake the earth,

                                          split the rocks and stir up
oceans, is allowed to move through our mouths, it is a
prophetic word ... a word coming out of a human mouth

that has divine authority.   Or when that word is allowed
to flow through our lives in some kind of action,

 

- a look,

- a gesture,

- an act of foot washing,
- an act of courage,

 

        that too is a prophetic word.

 

There are two basic facts which we need to get clear if
we are to fulfill our calling here in this Body:

 

First, we need to get clear that the one thing that draws
us together and holds us together in Jesus is his, prophetic

word ... nothing else!   Whether we meet together like this,

or gather in a home for Bible study, the only thing that draws

and holds us is a word from God coming through

human mouths, human lives.

 

Second, our only, purpose for being on this earth, now
that we have been drawn together into the Body, is to be
a prophetic word to the world ... to go before him in the
spirit and power of Elijah and turn hearts, to make ready
for the Lord a people prepared.  

 

1. The one thing that draws us together and holds us
together in Jesus is the prophetic word.

 

John 6 is a revelation of how people are drawn to Jesus.

 

- It begins with multitudes being drawn to Jesus

  because of the signs which he did on those who

  were diseased .... but the signs don't hold them.

 

- It continues with multitudes being drawn to Jesus
because they ate their fill of bread ... but the
bread doesn't hold them.

 

- John 6 ends with a handful being drawn to Jesus

because of his word. And this handful drawn by

the word is the only group that stays with him.

And with this handful Jesus shakes the earth.

 

"No one can come to me unless the Father who
sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at
the last day."   John
6:44

 

And how does the Father draw people to Jesus? Not with
the signs ... not with the bread...but with the word.

 

"It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall
all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard
and learned from the
father comes to me.

John 6:45

 

- We hear and learn by the word.

 

"It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is
of no avail; the words that I have spoken to
you are spirit and life.   John
6:63

 

             - "The words that I speak....."

 

             After this many of his disciples drew back and

no longer went about with him. Jesus said to
the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall
we go? You have the words of eternal life;
and we have believed, and have come to know,
that you are the Holy One of God."

John 6:66-69

 

- ...The word .... the word .... the word.

 

There are people who have been drawn among us because
of Jesus' signs.

 

- Jesus touched them.
- Jesus healed them.

 

But these signs were given to bring them under the power
of the word. If they keep reaching for the signs and
ignoring the word they will soon drift away again....
many have.

 

There are people who have been drawn among us because

of Jesus' bread ... Jesus met some need in their lives.

But this need was met to encourage them to come to him

and listen to his word. If they never get beyond the

meeting of their own needs and listen to Jesus' word

and submit, they will soon drift away .... many have.

 

But there are people who have been drawn among us because
of Jesus' word. They came to him to hear him speak
words that are spirit and life.

 

- They receive his words....

- They eat them and drink them....
- They absorb them....

- They incorporate them into their lives....
- They submit to them....

 

These are the ones who are answering a prophetic calling,
and they are being equipped to go before the Lord in

the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn hearts to make
ready for the Lord a people prepared.

 

2. The only purpose for our being on this earth, now
that we have been drawn together into the Body, is
to be
a prophetic word to the world.

 

Those disciples who stuck with Jesus when multitudes
turned and walked away, stayed because they knew that the
word Jesus was speaking to them had put them under a
calling ... a prophetic calling.   And if we want to under-
stand that prophetic calling we turn to John
7. John 7 is
a revelation of the source of our authority.  If we are
prophets, if we are a prophetic people, we are under an
authority which is not our own and which is absolutely
confirmed by the God who gives it to us.

 

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up
into the temple and taught.  The Jews marveled
at it, saying, "How is it that this man has
learning, when he has never studied?"  So Jesus
answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but
his who sent me; if any man's will is to do his
will, he shall know whether the teaching is from
God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own
glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who
sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood."  

                                                         John 7:14-18

 

A prophet never, never, never promotes himself/herself.

He seeks only the glory of the God who sent him. And when
he seeks the glory of the God who sent him, he has a word
from God. If you are committed to Jesus, in submission to
Jesus, obeying Jesus, you have his word burning in your
heart right now. You don't have to wring your hands and
wait for it.... you have it!

 

On the last day of the feast, the great day,
Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one
thirst, let him come to me and drink.  He who
believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out
of his heart shall flow rivers of living water."'
John
7:37-38

 

....rivers of living water .... a prophetic word coming forth
from our mouths and from our lives. Not just from one or
two of
us ... all of us!   Rivers of living water coming
forth, not two years down the road, but now!

 

ďOh, but God hasn't given me a pulpit.

God hasn't given me a platform. God hasnít even given

me a soapbox to stand on and proclaim his word.Ē

 

The place where you are ... where you work,

                                      where you live,

                                      where you mingle...thatís your

pulpit. That's the place where you are to go before the
Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah. And as you speak
the word which is already in you from God,

 

                     - speak it with your mouth,

                   - speak it with your life,

 

hearts will turn... people will be drawn by the word of God in you

and you will make ready for the Lord a people prepared.

 

   "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before
the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And
he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children
and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I
come and smite the land with a curse."

 

- Elijah the prophet is no longer a wild-eyed man
roaming around Mt. Carmel and shaking up an evil
King Ahab.

 

     - Elijah the prophet is no longer a man down by the

            Jordan is camel's hair end a leather girdle calling

            Israel to repent.

 

- Elijah the prophet is now a people all over
the earth who live their lives under a
prophetic calling ... drawn by a living word
from God ... driven by that word ... anointed
by that word.

 

They go before Jesus in the spirit and power of Elijah
and turn hearts to him and make ready for the Lord a
people prepared.

 

It is our privilege to be part of that Elijah body if we
will allow ourselves to be drawn and driven by the word
which God has already put into our hearts .... drawn by
nothing else ... driven by nothing else.