9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Jer. 1:9-11
Today there are prophets popping up all over the church landscape, and it appears they have a message that is very different from the one that Jeremiah had. I wonder why that should be so.
At any rate, people are running to these preachers and their ministries at breakneck speed, something which is not possible if these prophets were preaching the same message that Jeremiah was sent to preach. You cannot preach the message that Jeremiah preached and have people running to you. On the contrary, the minute they hear your gospel they will scatter like flies – and speak evil of you in the process.
Today’s prophets are prophesying the sweetest things to God’s people. They prophesy things like: “Thus saith the Lord, you will get a promotion at your job!”, or,
“I see money coming to you right now!”
“God says you will have a baby within the year!”
“The Lord is blessing you right now! Receive!!”
All are biblically valid words.
And so the congregation goes, “Prophesy, man of God!!”
“Speak, servant of the living God!”
(One prophet was actually introduced as “a man and a half”!)
But the prophet Jeremiah was not given such sweet words to preach. He was given some very unsavory words to deliver to God’s people, the nation of Israel. God told him that through the Word that He had given him, He had put him there purposely to “root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down…” Afterwards, the Lord told him, he would build and plant. That’s pretty tough language.
As a result Jeremiah received no accolades from the Israelites. On the contrary, he was persecuted.
Let us, right from the beginning, set the precedent that, if God was tough on His people under the Old Covenant, how much tougher do you think He is going to be on us under the New? I believe He will be much more harder on us. And yet we behave as if God is going to deal with us like eggshells!
God is not going to deal with anyone like eggshells. The first assignment that Jeremiah was given as a prophet was to see in the Spirit how God would deal with wayward Israel: Jeremiah saw an almond rod; and we know a rod stands for chastisement. God was telling Jeremiah that He was preparing to chastise, or punish, Israel.
The gospel comes to destroy something, and to set up something else in its place. The gospel of the cross – which is the singular gospel that was revealed to the Apostle Paul for the church – comes to destroy the flesh. It comes against the flesh. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not flesh-friendly.
After it has pulled down the flesh, the gospel then establishes the spiritual Kingdom of God in a man’s heart and life. The two things, the flesh and the Spirit, are mutually incompatible.
That is why when someone – a preacher of the gospel – solicits money to buy a 65 million-dollar private jet, like I heard lately on the Pentecostal grapevine, the spotlight has of necessity to turn on him. We are a spiritual people and when you hear such a “big bang” in the flesh you need to look closely at what you just heard. You ponder how much of such a ‘gospel’ is flesh and how much is Spirit. The scales weigh heavily on the flesh side!
It is unfortunately that these are the people around whom a vast majority of the pentecostal world revolves!!
When we preach or live out a gospel apart from the gospel of the cross of Christ, it is like we are declaring that God is reinstating the same thing He came to destroy! But you cannot destroy something and replace it again with the same thing!!
But if we are truly serious about following Christ, the first thing that we must acknowledge is what our Lord Jesus Himself said: “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mk. 8:34).
Notice, “Whosoever”. It is a personal choice or decision.
We ought to realize just how important the church is to God. And God has put these two ministries, the apostle and the prophet, in the church in order to lay God’s spiritual foundation in the church. The Bible says that the church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).
These Godly ministries do not come to pamper the flesh. They come to deal with the flesh. They come to destroy this body of the flesh, so they may establish God’s spiritual Kingdom in men and women.
In this post we just looked at the office of the prophet. If a prophet does not deal with the flesh in his prophesying, he is not a prophet of God. He will bring many things into the church, he will even bring temporal blessings upon people’s lives; but he will not bring the life of Christ into the church, for this life can only come about where there is a death of the flesh through the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ.
[Below: A prophet warns God’s people. The true foundation for the church is Christ, and Him crucified]]