There are a lot of people speaking a "thus says the Lord" or a "God told me" word today. God clearly uses His people to help speak to His people. Here’s the key. We must use a filter when we hear these words that suppose to have come from God. What’s the filter? The Bible, God's Spirit, and God's Character are the filters. If anyone preachers, teaches, or speaks to you something and it does not agree with the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the Character of God, it is safe to conclude that it is not from God.
We live in a day when so many Christians preface every statement they make with, “The Lord told me”. How are we supposed to deal with this? Well, first and foremost what they say must be judged according to the Bible and cannot violate the Word or Character of God.
It does not matter how religious the people look or how sincere they talk or cry when they speak about God. It does not matter how good they may make you feel or how good the word they give makes you feel. It doesn’t matter if they have thousands of people lapping up their every word. It doesn’t even matter if you feel "convicted" by their words. God never contradicts His Holy Word or His Holy Character. Everything you experience and learn in this life should be filtered with the Bible. I actually had a leader in the church say one time, “You might as well close that Bible, I don’t want to hear it, I know what I believe”. How dangerous is this?
Now, with that said, there are some awesome preachers and teachers out there that God speaks through in a clear prophetic way. Even though this is not always the case, when someone goes to a church service, fellowship, or house church meeting it is assumed that they are pursuing God. We also assume that God will reward those who are seeking Him by using His servants to help know God and experience God.
There is a saying I picked up somewhere in my ministry years that has served me well. It goes like this. “Not everyone who walks in your doors is sent by God, is seeking God, and love you. Not everyone who walks out your doors is backslidden or angry with you.”
If you are listening to someone and you feel convicted by what they are saying and if what is being said agrees with the Word of God and the Character of God, then you can be confident that it is God speaking to you through that person. A feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is a strong "Wow, that is really true”, feeling. So the conviction test is one that leads us to repentance and reconciliation. If the conviction leads us to judgment and condemnation then it is most likely from the accuser of the brethren.
Another way to judge a word spoken to you by someone is what I call the “glory” test. Not only must the word not contradict the Word or Character of God, but it must give glory to the Father. I have had to many words spoken over me that exalted me, exalted worldly success, or exalted the person speaking. God warns us many times in Scriptures about flattery and giving glory to the flesh.
1. There will be false prophets, apostles, pastors, and teachers. There will be false Christs.
We are in this stage NOW! It is not as bad as it is going to get. We will see it grow as more and more false religious leaders appear. There area two stages here. First the false leaders and false Christs will appear, then we will see that they gain a great following and lead many astray.
Matthew 24:5 ESV For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray.
Matthew 24:11 ESV And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
Matthew 24:23-24 ESV Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. (24) For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Jeremiah 14:14 ESV And the LORD said to me: "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.
Jeremiah 23:25-27 ESV I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' (26) How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, (27) who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?
2. There will be wars, rumors of wars and nations will rise against nations.
Currently we have war ships posted in many places around the globe because of what we call "hot spots" where war can start in a moment. The worlds is walking on egg shells wondering not if, but when World War III will start.
Matthew 24:6-7 ESV And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. (7) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
Mark 13:7-8 ESV And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. (8) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Luke 21:9-10 ESV And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once." (10) Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
3. There will be unbelievable earthquakes in strange places, famines, pestilences, and strange signs in the skies.
I want to properly identify the word pestilence. It is a contagious or infectious epidemic outbreak of a deadly disease that is devastating like the bubonic plague was. It is also a contagious epidemic outbreak of an evil influence or idea that is morally, emotionally, and spiritually devastating. We are currently seeing this being fulfilled. Many of the diseases that are across the globe are kept quiet in the media and need to be researched to find the name of the disease and the extent of the outbreak. Once these reaches full stage there will be no way the outbreaks can be hidden.
The epidemic evil influences and ideas are already at work. Sexual immorality, anti-Christian and anti-Bible influences are epidemic now.
Luke 21:11 ESV There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
4. Christians being arrested, thrown in prison, or killed.
This is happening but not world-wide yet. However, this mindset is sweeping quickly across the globe. Europe and America will soon experience this.
Mark 13:9-10 ESV "But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. (10) And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
Matthew 24:9-10 ESV "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. (10) And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.
Luke 21:12-19 ESV But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. (13) This will be your opportunity to bear witness. (14) Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, (15) for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. (16) You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. (17) You will be hated by all for my name's sake. (18) But not a hair of your head will perish. (19) By your endurance you will gain your lives.
THE TRUE PROPHET:
We have a lot of so-called prophets running amuck in these days which we live. They are quick to "give a word" from the Lord. But praise God there are also really true prophetic believers walking among us. Those who are more concerned with standing before God and pleasing HIM than bowing before man and pleasing them with a "word-for-today" message.
The significance of the true Biblical Prophet lies not only in what they say but also in what they did and who they are. They are men who stood “face to face with man” while being “faced by God.” The true Prophet affirms and reflects the mind, will, and ways of God to the people and faced the consequences of doing so. The true Prophet is a man who has an internal struggle with his mental knowledge and facts, versus the supernatural Words from God that has been imparted to him.
A true Prophet has the realization that the Words he speaks forth defies both the religious theology and intellectual psychology of man. A true Prophet has the realization that the Words he speaks forth defies the social and cultural climate of the day and stands against the immoral and amoral condition of mankind both individually and to a nation.
His words are revelation, response, and spontaneity. The true Prophet is a person who is a mouthpiece and voices the truth on the behalf of the King of Glory and not a microphone echoing people-pleasing messages as a hireling. He is a voice to the nations and not an echo of the world or the religious system.
He is endowed and empowered with a mission, and backed with the power of a Word which is not his own. The Word of God echoes in the voice of the true Prophet. The main task of the true Prophet is not the artificial fluff and duff that we see today in the so-called prophetic voice. The main task of the true Prophet is to convey a Divine Way. He does not offer “his opinion” or “his point of view” or a "self-help message." His call is not a call to compromise to the world or be tolerant to the ways of sin.
When the true Prophet speaks it is "God's point of view” and a spiritual rudder to an immoral ship. This is because he speaks from God’s perspective as he perceives it from his own situation. The true Prophet considers the times he lives in and considers the ways of the people. The true Prophet expounds not only the VIEW of God but the ATTITUDE of God. These are the things that we keep in mind when we ask, “What are the features that set the Prophets apart?” “What constitutes their uniqueness?” For we need the true Biblical Prophet to walk among us today and call the nation back to God through repentance.
Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV
(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,
THE HOW LONG:
(13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
(14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.