The dictionary defines “prophet” as “one who speaks for God.” In the Old Testament, we read of a number of prophets – men such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. None of these men had been to Prophet School. None asked for the job. When first called by God, none of them had a very impressive resume. Several were teenagers. Their credentials were pretty thin.
Nevertheless, God called each to deliver His message to His people. You’ve heard the aphorism how God does this. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Usually, the message was soundly rejected. God called his disobedient people back to faithfulness. He called them to repentance. He warned them that their lives were sinful and their religious leaders were corrupt. But God’s warnings were ignored. The prophets who delivered God’s warnings were despised and rejected by the people. Some were stoned. Some were killed.
Why was God constantly calling His people to repentance? Because He loved them and wanted a relationship with them. The Old Testament is one long story of disobedience and then repentance. Of sin and then reconciliation.
These prophets were despised and scorned because they challenged the religious system and decried the cultural evils and the sexual and social sins of the time. They preached God’s judgment on a sinful people who rejected Him.
So, our question is this: do we still have prophets today? Of course we do. The word doesn’t just apply to men who lived 2,000 years ago. Then, who are today’s prophets? Who teaches and preaches that our society today is bankrupt? Who preaches that we’ve rejected God and fallen again into sexual immorality? Who’s warning us that killing 65 million babies is wrong? Who’s warning us that the world is rejecting God and He’s calling us to repentance? Who’s telling us the things that we don’t want to hear?
The way we can know who God’s true prophets are today is, I believe, very simple. The ability to know the truth of God is built into our hearts by the very God who created us. Every one of us is born with a “God-shaped hole in our heart.” Each of us has the need to worship what is holy, to worship a higher power. We Christians do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit who helps us know, to discern, to recognize, and to accept God’s truth. It’s the same Spirit who helps convict us of those things that are wrong and to reject those things that we know aren’t of God.
Make no mistake about it – in addition to God’s true prophets, there are many false prophets in our world. Some are dressed in religious clothing. They look and sound “official” but their words aren’t God’s truth. Some even have religious titles such as Pastor, Priest, and Bishop.
To discern God’s true prophets from the many false prophets requires us to test their message against what we know to be God’s truth. We must test the message against God’s Word – Holy Scripture. Are the words consistent with what God, Himself, tells us in His Word? If a pastor’s or priest’s words aren’t consistent with God’s Word, then we can know they’re a false prophet.
But, let us be very careful. We cannot claim to accept the true prophet if we insist on rejecting the message – even if it’s a message we don’t want to hear.
Come hear God’s Word faithfully preached every Sunday at Trinity. And bring your Bible. Our worship is traditional Anglican liturgy with traditional and contemporary music. We teach God’s Word to our children and teens. We’re just 10 minutes west of Cedar Park and Leander in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. TrinityChurchLagoVista.org.