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Finding Your Own Ministry
by Segun Olumide
10/26/2014 / Christian Living
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
KEYS TO OTHER BIBLE VERSIONS USED:
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NIV-New International Version
TLB-The Living Bible
Gideons-The Gideons International
RSV-Revised Standard Version
NCV-New Century Version
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation;
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version. Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. THE GIFTS, MINISTRIES AND OPERATIONS OF THE GODHEAD
2. FINDING YOUR OWN MINISTRY
3. HOW TO IDENTIFY AN APOSTLE
4. HOW TO IDENTIFY A PROPHET
5. HOW TO IDENTIFY AN EVANGELIST
6. HOW TO IDENTIFY A PASTOR
7. HOW TO IDENTIFY A TEACHER
8. THE SUMMARY
GIFTS, MINISTRIES AND OPERATIONS OF THE GODHEAD
WHILE JESUS GIVES 5 MINISTRY GIFTS, THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES 9 SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND THE FATHER GIVES SOME OPERATIONS
1 Corinthians 14:4-6 reads,
"Now there are DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS, but the same Spirit. And there are DIFFERENCES OF ADMINISTRATIONS, but the same Lord. And there are DIVERSITIES OF OPERATIONS, but it is the same God which worketh all in all"
DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS
These refer to the nine gifts of the Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:7-11). They have been classified into three, namely:
i. Seeing /hearing gifts
- Word of knowledge
- Word of wisdom
- Discerning of spirits
ii. Saying /inspirational gifts
- Divers kinds of tongues
- Interpretation of tongues
iii. Doing /power gifts
- Gifts of healings
- Working of miracles
- Special faith
These gifts are distributed as the Spirit wills but we can desire them (1 Cor. 12:11, Heb. 2:4).
DIFFERENCES OF ADMINISTRATIONS
These refer to the five-fold ministry (see Eph 4:11). They include:
These ministries can neither be desired nor prayed for to receive. The Lord gives them only by his grace (Jeremiah 1:5,1Cor 12:18).
(For a detailed study on each of the five-fold ministry, read the author's books in this series:
Volume 2: The Ministry of An Apostle
Volume 3: The Ministry of A Prophet
Volume 4: The Ministry of An Evangelist
Volume 5: The Ministry of A Pastor
Volume 6: The Ministry of A Teacher)
DIVERSITIES OF OPERATIONS
While the diversities of gifts are from the Holy Spirit, and the differences of administrations are from the Lord Jesus, these diversities of operations are from God, the Father.
Such operations are found in Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 and they include:
i Ministry of Exhortation
(Ministry of a Psalmist, Drama Ministry, Counselling Ministry, Intercessory Ministry, and so on).
ii Ministry of Giving
(Ministry of those giving money and material possessions to promote the interest of God's Kingdom).
iii Ministry of RulingLeadership
(Bishopric, deaconry, Spirit-anointed leadership in the social, economic or political sector).
iv Ministry Of Mercy
(Ministry of those running orphanages, widows' houses, old folks' homes, faith-based hospitals/health centres, faith-based schools, and so on).
(For an elaborate study on these diversities of operations, which are non-five-fold ministry, study the author's book in this series:
Volume7: BIBLICAL MINISTRIES TODAY - WITH QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON MINISTRIES)
FINDING YOUR OWN MINISTRY
There are six parameters for finding your own ministry. Be careful not to take just one or two of them while you leave the others. This may lead to frustration or confusion. These six parameters include:
"There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his tesimony about me is valid.
You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; I mention it that you may be saved.
John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John.
FOR THE VERY WORK WHICH THE FATHER HAS GIVEN ME TO FINISH, AND WHICH I AM DOING, TESTIFIES THAT THE FATHER HAS SENT ME.
And the Father who sent me has himself testifies concerning me" (John 5:32-37, NIV).
Here Jesus identified his 3 witnesses or testifiers, namely:
i. God-inspired man (great witness or testifier) − vs 32-35
ii. God's work (greater witness or testifier) − vs 36
iii. God himself (greatest witness or testifier) − vs 37
I am dwelling on verse 36 which shows that the work or assignment that God gave Jesus to do, and which he was doing then brought RESULTS that testified or bore witness that God sent him to do what he was doing!
Someone said, "Result terminates insult."
That is true because after John had testified of Jesus in John 1:29-34, in his hour of desperation, he sent to ask if Jesus was the one to come or they should expect another person, but to this, Jesus used his RESULTS to reply.
Jesus actually said, "GO BACK AND REPORT TO JOHN WHAT YOU HEAR AND SEE. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me" (Mat 11:4-6, NIV).
As someone else rightly said − I believe Jesus was trying to say: LET THE WORKS REPLY JOHN.
You see, if God has given you a prophetic ministry, for instance, but you decide to run an apostolic ministry, you may have some results. But you will never have the best result, you will never have perfect peace and heaven's full blessing!
That is why you can't judge only by result. you need to judge by all the six parameters in this chapter: result, experience, revelation, and so on.
Laban said, " For I have learned BY EXPERIENCE that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake" (Gen 30:27).
Paul wrote, "AND LET THE PEACE (SOUL HARMONY WHICH COMES) FROM CHRIST RULE (ACT AS UMPIRE CONTINUALLY) IN YOUR HEARTS [DECIDING AND SETTLING WITH FINALITY ALL QUESTIONS THAT ARISE IN YOUR MINDS, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. " (Col 3:15, AMP).
You will experience God's peace in your heart as you execute the ministry he has called you to.
This kind of experience will confirm your area of calling or ministry to you.
If for example, God has given you the ministry of an evangelist, and you begin to move in that direction, you will sense peace deep within you.
But at times, you may sense some uneasiness within you if you are not doing it well or you are in the wrong location or for one reason or the other.
If, however, you neglect that evangelistic ministry and embrace a pastoral calling, you will have a great dissatiafaction or restlessness deep within you. Real peace will elude you until you return to your real ministry assigned you from heaven.
"We have DIFFERENT GIFTS according to the grace given us" (Ro 12:6, NIV).
"For GOD'S GIFTS AND HIS CALL are irrevocable" (Ro 11:29, NIV).
"A MAN'S GIFT maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men" (Pro 18:16).
When God calls a man, He equips him with the necessary spiritual gifts for him to be able to fulfil that call as one of my teachers taught me. I believe that is scriptural (see Ro 11:29).
Check out the gifts of the Spirit operating in your life. If heaven has ordained you as a prophet, for example, you will notice the gift of prophecy, with two of word of knowledge, word of wisdom and discerning of spirits operating in your life and ministry.
They may not begin to operate immediately you receive the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in an unknown tongue.
God may be adding them to you one at a time over a period of 10, 20 or 30 years depending on some divine and human factors.
For example, you need to be faithful with a particular gift so that God can take you to a higher level in the same gift or so that he can add another gift to you. Can God trust you with spiritual gifts?
It was said that Evangelist Kathryn Kulhman walked in her greatest healing anointing in the last 10 years of her life (1966-1976) because God could trust her with such an incredible anointing. She was faithful with little so she eventually got much. Yes there is healing anointing, and there is healing anointing!
In Mat 25:23 (NIV) the Master said to the servant: "Well done good and FAITHFUL SERVANT! You have been FAITHFUL WITH A FEW THINGS; I will put you IN CHARGE OF MANY THINGS"
See, truly the gift of a man opens doors for him and ushers him into the presence of great people, however, the man's character will help to keep the doors open and retain in the presence of the great (Pro 18:16)!
4. SOUND COUNSEL
Solomon noted: "Every purpose is established by COUNSEL: and with good advice make war" (Pro 20:18).
He also wrote: "Where no COUNSEL is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Pro 11:14).
Again he revealed: "Without COUNSEL purposes are disappointed, but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" (Pro 15:22).
I counselled a young minister sometime ago who was confused about his ministry. He came from another denomination. As I was speaking with him, a kind of depression or heaviness he had had for awhile just lifted off him. So he was relieved by the Spirit of God, yes the Spirit of Counsel (Isaiah 11:2). And God gave him some clarity that day. Glory to God!
5. INNER DESIRE
Pro 20:27 says: "THE SPIRIT OF MAN is the candle of the LORD"
The disciples of Jesus remembered that it was written about HIM: "The ZEAL of thine house has eaten me up" (John 2:17).
There is right and wrong zeal (see Phil 3:6). Zeal, desire or passion can originate from your spirit . It can also originate from your soul or body (flesh).
Only the zeal that originates from your spirit is from God who lives in your spirit, which he uses as a candle or lamp to direct, lead or guide you in this dark world.
Your inner desire speaks of the desire, passion or zeal emanating from your spirit.
That consuming inner passion is a pointer in the direction of your ministry. For example, I am a preacher, apostle and teacher by calling. As a result, sometimes I have the consuming desire to minister to the Body of Christ at large striving to help release the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.
I have passion to assist other pastors in their calling by practically visiting them, not just by writing books, articles and tracts.
Some months ago, we went to help a minister to disciple the church workers and members. People from other churches came, too. The program lasted about 4 Saturdays and 3 Sundays.
Sometimes, I see myself as a pastor of pastors.
If you sense God leading you in your spirit into a particular assignment with an inner desire, just obey him because your spirit is the lamp of his guidance.
One of the most respected ministers in the world wrote, "I receive God's guidance through a deep desire in my heart. When I pray, God gives me a deep desire to do His willBut I would never go by desire onlyBut when you pray and wait, after one week or two weeks the desire of the flesh, the desire of the devil, will disappear. They cannot stand the test of patience..."
This may be a direct revelation from God. It may also be an indirect revelation from him through other people.
Jesus said, "There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his tesimony about me is valid.
YOU HAVE SENT TO JOHN AND HE HAS TESTIFIED TO THE TRUTH. NOT THAT I ACCEPT HUMAN TESTIMONY; I MENTION IT THAT YOU MAY BE SAVED.
JOHN WAS A LAMP THAT BURNED AND GAVE LIGHT, AND YOU CHOSE FOR A TIME TO ENJOY HIS LIGHT. I HAVE TESTIMONY WEIGHTIER THAN THAT OF JOHN.
For the very work which the Father has given me to finish, and which i am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.
AND THE FATHER WHO SENT ME HAS HIMSELF TESTIFIES CONCERNING ME" (John 5:32-37, NIV).
So verse 37 above speaks of God himself testifying of Jesus while verses 32 to 36a tells us about John the Baptist testifying of Jesus.
Direct revelation is always stronger than indirect revelation. Don't ever start a ministry because someone told you to start. They may have a vision, dream or prophecy for you. But you need a leading or revelation from God personally. It may be just a knowing in your heart, an intuition or an impression. Sometimes it may be a revelation.
I knew for years that I had a call into the fivefold ministry. Before long, it became clear that I have been called to be a teacher of the word.
Nevertheless my primary calling was never clear to me. I loved to be a prophet. Then in 2004 a young prophetic man prophesied that I have been given a prophetic-apostolic assignment.
But in 2006, I had a vision in which I saw a Bible opened to the Acts of the Apostles with the words: APOSTOLIC CALL written on one of the pages.
Then in 2009 or so, an angel was sent to some people on earth. But as he was going. He passed my back and said to me: "APOSTLE FROM THE BACK."
Then a prophetess said God told her that I am an apostle to the nations. Also a prophet gave me a word from God that I am an apostle.
So you can see how direct and indirect revelation can help you know your calling or ministry.
Revelation in this context can be vision, dream, prophecy, and so on. But revelation has a different meaning from vision (see 2 Cor 12:1). But let's just put them all together as revelation here.
(Mnemonic: REG SIR)
R - Result
E - Experience
G - Gifting
S - Sound Counsel
I - Inner Desire
R - Revelation
HOW TO IDENTIFY AN APOSTLE
1. HE HAS PROFOUND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH THE LORD RESULTING IN APOSTOLIC REVELATIONS.
"Paul, an apostle sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by REVELATION from Jesus Christ" (Gal 1:1, 11-12, NIV).
Paul evidently had profound personal experience with the Lord resulting in his awesome revelations from the Lord.
An apostle today may not receive revelations the way Paul did because he (Paul) was a foundational apostle whose revelations constitute more than half of the New Testament books (see Ephesians 3:2-7).
The twelve apostles of the Lamb had apostolic revelations, too. Apostolic revelations are known to break the generational shackles of human traditions, religion and lethargy!
The Bible says of the early Church, under the leadership of the twelve:
"They devoted themselves to THE APOSTLES' TEACHINGS" (Act 2:42, NIV).
You see, an apostle's personal experience with the Lord being profound doesn't necessarily mean he or she must see the Lord as some would argue.
Their argument is based on what Paul wrote some believers:
"Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?"(1 Cor 9:1).
Yes, Paul was an apostle. Yes, he was free. Yes, he had seen Jesus. Yes, they were his work in the Lord!
Paul was considering different issues here for there is no link between being an apostle and being free or seeing the Lord. Does it mean everyone who is free or has seen the Lord is an apostle? No, a billion times no!
2. HE CAN FUNCTION IN ALL OTHERS OF THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY OFFICES EFFECTIVELY AS THOSE STANDING IN THEM, AS THE NEED ARISES.
Paul, as an apostle operated in all the five ministry gift offices.
Firstly, he was primarily an apostle to the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:8).
Secondly, he stood in the office of a prophet as the need arose. For example, he wrote, "I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord" (2 Cor 12:1). Visions and revelations are common with prophets, though, we have different types of prophets. (For a detailed study on prophets, read volume 3: "The Ministry Of A Prophet" in this series).
Thirdly, he stood in the office of an evangelist as the occasion demanded. He had evangelistic meetings from city to city and won a large number of people to the Lord (see Acts 14:21, Acts 19:11-20, Acts 28:23-31).
Remember he told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, too! He was telling Timothy to use the office of an evangelist temporarily or to execute the ministry of an evangelist when necessary, not to become an evangelist permanently (see 2 Tim 4:5).
Fourthly, he pastored churches temporarily until he had trained capable hands to carry on with the pastorate (Acts 14:21-23, Acts15:36, 41, Acts 20:17-38).
Lastly, he was divinely appointed a teacher as part of his commission from the Lord. That's why he wrote, "And of this Gospel I was appointed a herald (preacher) and an apostle and A TEACHER" (2 Tim 1:11, NIV).
Similarly, Peter, as an apostle, functioned in the prophetic office (Acts 1:15-22, Acts 2:14-36, Acts 10:9-21). He moved in the evangelistic office sometimes (Acts 2:37-41, Acts 3:12-26, Acts 4:1-4, Acts 10:34-48). He pastored temporarily (John 21:16, NIV, Acts 2: 42-47, Acts 4:32-37). He was a teacher as part of his call (Acts 2:42; see his two epistles, too).
3. HE HAS REMARKABLE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, ESPECIALLY THE POWER GIFTS OPERATING THROUGH HIM WITH CONTINUED MANIFESTATION.
"Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in SIGNS, WONDERS and MIGHTY DEEDS (2 Cor 12:12).
"and many WONDERS AND SIGNS were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43
"The apostles performed many MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS among the people" (Acts 5:12, NIV).
Paul acknowledged in the first Scripture above that signs, wonders and miracles (mighty deeds) are signs or marks of an apostle. I know some apostles walk more in the miraculous than other apostles.
If a man who claims to be an apostle but lacks signs, wonders and miracles following his ministry, he is a false apostle.
The apostles of the Early Church were marked by these. Even Jesus was not an exception.
Does it mean then that anyone who has signs, wonders and miracles is automatically an apostle? No, a billion times no! This is just one out of many other factors for determining an apostle.
The ministries of people like John G. Lake, John Alexander Dowie, William F. Kumuyi, Benson Idahosa, Enoch Adeboye, Joseph Ayo Babalola, among others exemplify the true apostolic call and commission with incredible signs, wonders and miracles following.
I remember reading the biography of John G. Lake, a great apostle to Africa. That man breathed in and our miracles! On one occasion, a six-year-old, born with a closed head, was brought to him. The skull was said to be 'pushed' upwards like a house roof, with a long forehead and an extended back of the head. The little boy was consequently dumb and paralyzed on his right side.
Through John Lake's ministry, however, "the bones softened, the head expanded, the skull was reduced to its normal size, the paralysis disappeared and the dumbness was gone. He spoke like other children and afterwards attended the public school." 1
4. HE CAN PLANT CHURCHES SUCCESSFULLY.
An apostle can plant or start churches through his preaching. Paul and Barnabas planted many churches through preaching the Gospel.
Paul wrote Timo, "Whereunto I am ordained A PREACHER, and AN APOSTLE..., a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity" (1 Tim 2:7, see also 2Tim 1:11).
Anyone who is called an apostle but who lacks the divine enablement to plant churches directly or indirectly is not a true apostle.
An evangelist can have crusades but he is not called to plant churches. That was why Peter and John, with true apostolic mantles, were sent to Samaria to plant a church or congregate the new converts after Philip's evangelistic crusade there (see Acts 8:5-25).
That doesn't mean that every church planter is an apostle! That's unbiblical! Some ministers, prophets or pastors could plant churches, too, but as the Lord directs!
You see, an apostle should be able to plant churches successfully as part of his mandate. He should be able to get churches started. But only churches founded on the right foundation of the authority of the Word and leading of the Spirit will stand the test of time.
In fact, his first attempt may not be encouraging, but he must never give up until he is up the ladder of success. All he needs is to give it all it takes.
One of the most outstanding apostles in contemporary times, who is based in Asia, said he had packed up his things to quit his ministry or pastorate in the early days, I think over eight times, believing God had not called him because it looked like he wasn't going to make it.
It almost appeared as if nothing was working for him. Those were the hard trying times. But eventually, God gave him a breakthrough. Today, he leads the biggest church in the world!
5. HE CAN BUILD UP CHURCHES SUCCESSFULLY.
Apart from planting or starting churches successfully, an apostle can also build up or strengthen those churches through sound teaching of the Word of God.
"Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, STRENTHENING THE DISCIPLES AND ENCOURAGING THEM TO REMAIN TRUE TO THE FAITH" (Acts 14:21-22, NIV).
"He (Paul) went through Syria and Cilicia STRENGHENING THE CHURCHES" (Acts 15:41, NIV).
Unlike church planting which can take a short time like a few hours or days, church building takes longer like months or years. In fact, building up the church takes our life time for it is a gradual, continuous process.
Actually, an apostle can build up churches successfully by staying put in places long enough to strengthen new churches until he can turn them over to pastors or qualified elders (not deacons) who will serve as temporary pastors (see Acts 18:9-11, Acts 19:1-21, Acts 20:17-38).
Also they can do so by sometimes visiting those churches to strengthen and encourage them. They can even send people with apostolic impartation (see Acts 14:21-22, Acts 16:4-5, Philippians 2:19-23).
God greatly used Barnabas and Saul to build up the church in Antioch through sound teaching of the Word (before their commissioning) so much so that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch (see Acts 11:9-26).
There is a wide difference between a Christian and a believer. While a believer is someone who is born-again, a Christian is a Christ-like person who thinks, talks, dresses, walks and acts like Christ.
It is sad news that many of the people who are supposed to be Christians today are mere believers.
Apostles can also help build up churches planted by others.
6. HE CAN GOVERN ALL THE CHURCHES UNDER HIM EFFECTIVELY WITH GOD'S AUTHORITY.
An apostle is respected and feared in a godly manner for his apostolic authority that backs up his commission. He does not fear oppositions from inside or outside the churches in his care. Neither does he try to govern them with the arms of flesh.
Paul silenced the opposition of a sorcerer against his first apostolic outreach by his apostolic authority (see Acts 13:4-12).
Later, when there was a report of sexual immorality in one of the churches he established, he simply wrote them,
"Even though I am not physically present, I am with you IN SPIRIT. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you IN SPIRIT, and the POWER of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature (the flesh) may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (1 Cor 5:3-5, NIV; see also 1 Timothy 1:19-20).
Peter also walked in a high degree of apostolic authority. Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead instantly before him for telling what some today would call a white lie (see Acts 5:1-11)!
The problem today is that some of the so-called apostles are seriously lacking in the apostolic authority. They use manipulation and charismatic witchcraft to govern the people under them.
A true apostle is authoritative, that is, behaving and speaking in a confident determined loving, caring way that makes people respect and obey him, but not authoritarian, that is, strictly forcing people to obey him.
I read about a pastor under the great apostle, Ayo Babalola of the Christ Apostolic Church, who rebelled and appropriated the church branch he shepherded.
When the news came to the apostle, he refrained those who wanted to go there and remove him by force and retrieve the church belongings. He told them to leave the pastor that ants and pests would ultimately occupy the house at the end.
You see, the apostolic authority does not wrestle with flesh and blood!
It happened exactly like that as the entire congregation deserted the pastor because of an out-break of an epidemic in the church. This self-willed pastor later died mysteriously.2
7. HE CAN ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP UNDER HIS GOVERNANCE IN ALL THE CHURCHES.
"Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in EACH CHURCH and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust" (Acts 14:23, NIV).
The twelve apostles ordained elders and deacons in the Jerusalem Church (Acts 6:1-6, Acts 15:22).
Paul instructed Timo and Titus to ordain elders (that is, bishops or overseers) and/or deacons in some churches following some divine directives (Titus 1:5-9, 1Timothy 3:1-15).
You remember, Paul began his work in Ephesus with about twelve people. They were born-again but he had to minister to them to receive the Holy Ghost. He continued feeding and training them with the Word of God and they kept increasing. After some time, some of his trainees became elders (improvised pastors) of the church.
Before he eventually left for Jerusalem, he sent for those elders of the Ephesian Church while he was in Miletus. He convened a church leaders' conference to charge, challenge and warn them as well as to commit them unto God and his Word of grace and to pray with them (see Acts 19:1-10, Acts 20:17-38).
8. HE DOESN'T HAVE A RESIDING MINSTRY LIKE A PASTOR, BUT HAS A TRAVELING MINSTRY.
Paul, for instance, was not a resident pastor but a travelling apostle. He had quite some missionary journeys. He travelled from town to town and from city to city.
He never stayed beyond 3 years in any location (Read Acts 16:4, Acts 19:8-10, Acts 18:9-11, 18-23, Acts 20:17-18,31, Acts 28:30-31, Acts 15:36).
Some true apostles today have sadly resigned themselves to the pastorate because of the security and benefits pastors enjoy. That explains why a higher degree of apostolic anointing and authority are lacking in their lives.
I read about a woman who carried an apostolic anointing to pioneer new works in certain places. In fact, her husband got born-again in one of her services. Later, he left his business and gave support to his wife's ministry.
This woman preached from place to place. The husband would lead the songs. So they would have an evangelistic crusade for about two to three weeks or more until they have got some people saved.
They would stay in a particular place so long that she would begin a church. The husband, being a building contractor would handle building the church's physical structure.
This woman confessed, "If I stayed more than two years in any place, the work would start to fail because I'm not called to be a pastor. So I would just stay long enough to start a church, and then I would turn it over to a pastor."3
9. HE HAS PASSION, VISION AND MISSION FOR WORLD EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLING THE NATIONS FROM THIS PRIMARY PLACE OF ASSIGNMENT.
"Later Jesus appeared to the ElevenHe said to them, 'Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the good news to ALL CREATION" (Mk 16:14-15, NIV).
"Then the ELEVEN DISCIPLES went to Galilee Then Jesus came to them and said, 'Therefore go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS' " read Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus told the eleven apostles to witness to His resurrection from Jerusalem to all Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:1-8).
From all these Scriptures, there is a clear indication that the apostolic call is a call to world evangelization and discipling.
Even Jesus, the Greatest Apostle of all times, died for the whole wide world (Jn 3:16). He has always had a world vision. God raised apostolic ministries to play a crucial role in world evangelizations and discipling.
An apostle true to his call will go to the nations at the bidding or leading of the Spirit. He will even train and send missionaries to places he may never personally reach.
In all these Scriptures, we see that Jesus Christ sent the apostles to the nations but for many years they remained mostly in Jerusalem as their comfort zone (Acts 8:1), though, Peter had two missionary journeys in the Book of Acts. John was with him on one of the trips (see Acts 8:14-25; Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:1-48).
Church history, however, had it that they eventually moved out of Jerusalem. For instance, Matthew preached in Egypt; Bartholomew preached to the Indians; Simon, the Zealot ministered in the continents of Africa and Europe (Mauritania and Britain); Thomas reached out to the Medes, Persians, and so on.
Apostolic men like T.L. Osborn, Benson Idahosa, Enoch Adeboye, Dick Inverson, William Kumuyi, David Yonggi Cho and many more exemplify ministers with a world vision!
10. HE HAS A DIVINE ENDOWMENT OF PATIENCE (IMPARTING THE GRACE TO SUFFER HARDSHIP AND PERSECUTION).
"Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all PATIENCE, in signs, and wonders, and might deeds" (2 Cor 12:12).
An apostle is divinely endowed with patience or perseverance which graces him to suffer hardship, persecution and the like, which all accompany his call.
We see in the second Scripture above that suffering is not disconnected from an apostolic call.
This can be buttressed by Jesus' statement to Ananias that he had called Saul of Tarsus to suffer as an apostle.
Jesus literally told Ananias about Saul, "I will show him how much HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME" (see Acts 9:16).
So suffering is a 'must', a necessity, not a probability, for the apostolic office.
Even Jesus the Apostle of our confession learnt obedience through suffering and was made perfect through the same (see Hebrews 5:8, Hebrews 2:10).
When Paul was disproving the authority of false apostles who were challenging his own true authority, he boasted in his numerous sufferings. He used his hardship to defend his apostolic grace (2Corinthians 11:5-33; 2Corinthians 12:1-12).
An apostle should be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12)! If you read the whole chapter where Paul wrote, "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in ALL PATIENCE" (KJV) or "The things that mark an apostlewere done among you with GREAT PERSEVERANCE" (NIV), then you will understand he was talking about patience or perseverance in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties (see 2 Corinthians 12:8-12).
An anonymous and a famous 'apostle of China' reportedly said, "The first sign of an apostle is one who is still standing when everyone else has fallen down from the pressure, discouragement or hopelessness of a situation."
HOW TO IDENTIFY A PROPHET
1. HE HAS THE SIMPLE GIFT OF PROPHECY MANIFESTING ON A CONTINUED BASIS.
Prophecy is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is a divinely inspired utterance or speech (not in an unknown tongue) but in a known tongue or language.
1 Cor 14:3 reads:
"But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort."
You see, this simple gift of prophecy is mainly to edify (build up), exhort (draw near to God) and comfort others. It usually does not foretell or predict future events. Rather it's full of rhema that will strengthen, encourage and comfort one's spirit.
A true prophet must have the manifestation of the Spirit in the area of prophecy on a continued basis. He is inspired by God to speak His Mind in a known tongue so that others can be built up, drawn near to God and comforted!
Not everyone who prophesies, however, is a prophet! The Bible speaks of Philip's four daughters who prophesied. Does that mean they were prophetesses? No, a million times no! (see Acts 21:9).
Actually any believer can prophesy as the Spirit wills but not every believer is a prophet (see 1 Cor.12:29, 1 Cor. 14:24).
Even a prophet can't prophesy at will. He can't operate it like an engine which one turns on and off as one wishes. This gift of prophecy comes into manifestation as the Spirit wills. After all, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit − manifestation of the Spirit!
Or is it a gift or manifestation of any man or woman? Thank God we don't have to operate it but the Spirit operates it through us as he wishes or desires (see 1 Cor. 12:4, 7, 11).
2. HE ALSO HAS ANY TWO OF THE 'SEEING' GIFTS MANIFESTING ON A CONTINUED BASIS.
On one occasion, the Lord appeared to Kenneth E. Hagin and told him that a New Testament prophet should have the gift of prophecy as well as two of the three seeing gifts (that is, any two of these: word of knowledge, word of wisdom and discerning of spirits) operating consistently in his life.
Hosea 12:10 reads:
"I have also spoken by the prophets and I have multiplied VISIONS, and used SIMILITUDES, BY THE MINISTRY OF THE PROPHETS."
It can be inferred from the scripture above that a prophet has visions [inspired pictures] and revelations [similitudes].
Paul moved in the prophetic ministry as an apostle because all true apostles can move in the other four of the five-fold ministry offices as the Spirit leads.
So he wrote, "I will come to VISIONS and REVELATIONS of the Lord" (2 Cor 12:1).
The Greek word translated 'revelations' here is 'apokalupsis' which means 'uncovering, unveiling or disclosing the hidden knowledge of God by God to His people, because it cannot be known in any other way but by God's help.'
Dr Vine summarized it thus: "(It) depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God to His church."
Some prophets have more visions and fewer revelations while some others have more revelations and fewer visions.
Visions are seeings (or pictures) while revelations are sayings (or words). I love the way the NIV puts Hosea 12:10, "I spoke to the prophets, gave them any VISIONS and told PARABLES through them."
What are prophetic parables? They are inspired saying or revelations. [Please see the prophetic parable and prophecy of Nathan to rebuke David after he had killed Uriah and taken his wife in 2 Samuel 12:1-14.]
The word of knowledge, word of wisdom and discerning of spirits usually come in a vision form. They also come in form of words or voices.
The word of knowledge is a supernatural insight about people and their present or past activities or experiences, while the word of wisdom is a supernatural insight using objects like plants, animals, and so on to bring about coded messages with hidden meanings about future events or happenings (see Dan 7-8, Zechariah 4-5).
I have dealt with how to interpret some coded messages with hidden meanings in visions and dreams in my books "The Ministry of a Prophet" and "How to Interpret Dreams and Visions".
Furthermore, the discerning of spirits is a supernatural insight into the spirit realm. Hence it may involve seeing God's Spirit, angels (for they are ministering spirits − Hebrews 1:14), Satan and his demons, human spirits, and so on.
3. HE HAS COMPLEX GIFT OF PROPHECY − THE WORD OF THE LORD.
1 Sam 3:7, 20-21 reads:
"Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was THE WORD OF THE LORD yet revealed unto him
"And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that SAMUEL WAS ESTABLISHED TO BE A PROPHET OF THE LORD.
"And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by THE WORD OF THE LORD."
Just as there is a simple gift of prophecy, so is there as complex gift of it. That complex gift is a distinguishing hallmark borne by God's prophets.
This complex gift of prophecy is the word of the LORD as shown in the Scripture above. That's why the prophets would say: 'And THE WORD OF THE LORD came to me saying'
Remember that the word of the LORD (or of God) came to John the Baptist in the wilderness and he became a prophetic crying voice right in the wilderness. He was an inspired preacher (see Luke 3:2-6, 7-8).
This complex gift can foretell future events or give exact and detailed revelations about people or things. It transcends the simple gift (of prophecy) which basically edifies, exhorts and comforts.
So it is revelatory in nature. In other words, while the simple gift of prophecy is forth telling in nature, the complex gift is foretelling in nature.
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul began with the simple gift and wound up with the complex gift − which is a mark of a prophet.
Prophets can reveal the past, present or future by the word of the LORD through the Spirit of God (see 1 Cor. 14:1-6, 29-33).
4. HE BRINGS DIVINE DIRECTION TO PEOPLE (ESPECIALLY GOD'S PEOPLE) INDIVIDUALLY OR COLLECTIVELY.
"The mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been REVEALED by the Spirit to God's Holy APOSTLES AND PROHETS (Eph 3:4-5, NIV).
"Surely the sovereign LORD does nothing without REVEALING his plan to his servants THE PROHETS" (Amos 3:7, NIV).
Prophets generally have revelations and visions as already explained. A prophet can receive revelations and see visions. In other words, God speaks revelations to him or through him, but shows him visions.
We see from these scriptures above and many others that God can bring direction to the saints and the sinners through the prophetic ministry. God reveals His mind to prophets and they reveal it to individuals or groups as God leads them.
But some will say, "A prophet should not give divine direction to people, especially saints in the New Testament." That is not scriptural.
Barnabas and Saul were separated (commissioned unto the Gospel through the ministry of one or more prophets (see Acts 13:1-3).
Agabus, a prophet in the Early Church directed the saints away from being overwhelmed by a severe famine. He did not direct them away from the famine itself but from its devastating effect! His prophecy got them prepared for it so much so that they even sent relief to their brethren in Judea (see Acts 11:27-30).
Sometimes, a preventive prophecy can help to avert famine, death, drought, war, accident, earthquake, and so on if we would repent of our sins, obey God and pray fervently!
Much later the same Agabus directed Paul to prepare himself for the oppositions awaiting him in Jerusalem. Neither Agabus nor JESUS told Paul not to go Jerusalem (see Acts 21:10-15, Acts 23:11).
A careful study of the books of the New Testament reveals that we are neither to seek prophets nor worship them for prophecies or guidance. We are to seek and worship God and be led by His Spirit (see Rom 8:14).
As we seek and worship Him individually and collectively, however, His mind is made known to us.
I believe each believer needs to spend enough time seeking and worshipping God in private, and then we can receive guidance from him as individuals.
More than that, one of the great needs in the Church world today is worship or praise meeting where the saints can seek and worship or praise God together, and then expect Him to minister to them especially via prophets by the Spirit of prophecy (Acts 13:1-4, Revelation 19:10).
We also need prophetic meetings in which prophets are ministering with genuine prophetic anointing to prefect [that is, mature] the saints, prepare and release them for their work of ministry and to edify [that is, build up] the body of Christ, not to defraud them of their money or what money can buy (see Eph 4:11-12, 16).
5. HE BRINGS DIVINE TIMELY WARNING TOWARDS REPENTANCE TO PEOPLE (ESPECIALLY GOD'S PEOPLE) INDIVIDUALLY OR COLLECTIVELY.
Whenever Israel went astray, God usually sent one or more prophets to bring divine timely warning towards repentance to them.
Jonah was sent to call the whole city of Nineveh to repentance, Isaiah and Jeremiah called nations to repentance. Jesus and John, his forerunner, came preaching 'REPENT (have a change of mind) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (see Mt 3:1-2, Mt 4:17).
Interestingly, when Jesus appeared to John the Beloved, on the Island of Patmos, He sent him to the leaders of the seven churches in Asia. He asked him to warn five out of the seven churches with the word REPENT (see Rev 2:4-5, Rev 2:14-16, Rev 2:20-22, Rev 3:1-3, Rev 3:15-20).
Unfortunately, many of the so-called prophets nowadays would hardly mention the word 'repent.' Some of them wrongly believe they are sent to prophesy money into and out of others' pockets.
Sad to say, today, people don't need to grieve for their sins any more. Repentance is now an old school message. People are now being deceived into prosperity without God's eternal purpose in view! I believe God wants His people to be prosperous, in their spirit, soul and body but when we seek first prosperity, rather than seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness expecting God to add other things to us, there is deception (see Mt 6:31-33, Deut 28:1-2).
I remember meeting a prophet who told me what was on my mind. I was shocked because he told me a deep thing about myself which I hardly shared with others. It was a challenge I'd been facing for years.
So I was moved that I sowed some money into his life. Many days later, he rang me up on phone and I went to see him; but to my amazement, he wanted to make some money out of me. He should have told me he needed money but he cunningly asked me to do something that would involve money. It was very urgent and difficult! He put pressure on me!
God warned us through Paul, "AND DON'T GIVE RELUCTANTLY OR IN RESPONSE TO PRESSURE. 'For God loves a person who gives cheerfully' " (2Cor 9:7b, NLT).
I left him that day without giving him the money and of course, that was the end of our relationship. Beware of charlatans. Choose the people you associate with because sooner or later their good or bad influence rubs off on you.
1Cor 15:33 (NLT) reads, "Don't be fooled by those who say such things, 'FOR BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER.' "
The Gospel is not a means to make money, but to make people who and what God had predestined them to be from the foundation of the world so that their lives could be meaningful now in this world and more importantly in eternity!
A PROPHET'S EMPHASIS IS A CALL TO REPENTANCE
"Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through ALL THE PROPHETS AND ALL THE SEERS, saying, TURN FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS AND KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS AND MY STATUTES, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers and which I sent to you by MY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS" (2 Kings 17:13, AMP).
He said to the LORD, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You, the Lord, are God, AND HAVE TURNED THEIR HEARTS BACK [TO YOU]" (1 Kings 18:37, AMP).
Thus saith the LORD, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: RETURN UNTO ME; for I have redeemed thee" (Is 44:22).
Thus saith the LORD, "RETURN, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings" (Jer 3:22).
"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; REPENT, and TURN YOURSELF from your idols and TURN AWAY your faces from all your abominations" (Ezek 14:6).
Daniel said to the LORD, "Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favour of the LORD our God by TURNING FROM OUR SINS AND GIVING ATTENTION TO YOUR TRUTH" (Dan 9:13, NIV).
He prophesied, "So now COME BACK TO YOUR GOD. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him" (Hos 12:6, NLT).
"Therefore also now saith the LORD, TURN YE EVEN TO ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
AND REND YOUR HEART, and not your garments, and TURN UNTO THE LORD YOUR GOD: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil" (Joel 2:12-13).
"Now this is what the LORD says to the family of Israel: 'COME BACK TO ME AND LIVE' " (Amos 5:4, NLT).
"And the word [of the LORD through Jonah] came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh saying LET MAN BEAST BE COVERED WITH SACKCLOTH AND CRY MIGHTILY UNTO GOD. YEA, LET THEM TURN EVERY ONE FROM HIS EVIL WAY, AND FROM THE VIOLENCE THAT IS IN THEIR HANDS" (Jonah 3:6-8).
"Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; TURN YE UNTO ME, saith the LORD of hosts, and I WILL TURN UNTO YOU, saith the LORD of hosts.
Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; TURN YE NOW FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS, AND FROM YOUR EVIL DOINGS: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD" (Zech 1:3-4).
" ' RETURN TO ME, AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU,' says the LORD Almighty" (Mal 3:7, NIV).
JOHN, THE BAPTIST
He came preaching, "REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Mat 3:2, NIV).
"From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is near' " (Mat 4:17, NIV).
JUDAS AND SILAS
"And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, EXHORTED [Greek: parakaleo, which means CALLED NEAR (TO GOD); CALLED TO THE SIDE (OF GOD); DREW NEAR TO (GOD)] the brethren with many words, and confirmed them" (Acts 15:32).
JOHN, THE PROPHETIC APOSTLE
TO THE CHURCH LEADER IN EPHESUS
The Lord said, "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! REPENT and do the things you did at first. If you do not REPENT, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place" (Rev 2:4-5, NIV).
TO THE CHURCH LEADER IN PERGAMUM
The Lord said, "REPENT therefore! Otherwise, I will come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth" (Rev 2:16, NIV).
TO THE CHURCH LEADER IN THYATIRA
The Lord said, "I have given her [self-acclaimed Prophet Jezebel] time to REPENT of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they REPENT of her ways" (Rev 2:21-22, NIV).
TO THE CHURCH LEADER IN SARDIS
The Lord said, "Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. REPENT AND TURN TO ME AGAIN. If you don't wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief" (Rev 3:3, NLT).
TO THE CHURCH LEADER IN LAODICEA
The Lord said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and REPENT " (Rev 3:19, NIV).
6. HE PREACHES WITH A CONTINUED DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.
"Worship God! For THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY" (Rev 19:10).
"And Judas and Silas, BEING PROPHETS ALSO THEMSELVES, EXHORTED THE BRETHREN WITH MANY WORDS, AND CONFIRMED THEM" (Acts 15:32).
SO THE ELDERS OF THE JEWS CONTINUED TO BUILD AND PROSPER UNDER THE PREACHING OF HAGGAI THE PROPHET AND ZECHARIAH [the prophet], a descendant of Iddo" (Ezra. 6:14, see also Ezra 5:1-2).
Paul acknowledged that he was first a preacher, then an apostle. Similarly all true prophets must realize that they are first preachers, then prophets (see 1Tim 2:7, 2 Tim 1:11).
A prophet's primary assignment to others is to preach the Word. Really, God never sent us to work spiritual gifts. Rather, he sent us to preach the word, which He will confirm with signs following through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit and the authority of the name of Jesus (see Mk 16:15-20, Heb 2:1-4).
While the elders were building the house of the LORD, the prophets were busy preaching prophetically. These prophets (Haggai and Zechariah) did not participate directly in the building. How does that translate to our situation today?
This means the pastors are supposed to shepherd the flock while prophets assist them through prophetic preachings, and perhaps teachings, too.
Sad to say, many prophets are functioning in the pastoral office which is not their calling. Friend, a prophet is not called to pastor a church, but to preach the word.
Some other prophets have derailed from their calling by putting the gifts of the Spirit before the preaching of the word. That means, in their ministries they emphasize visions, dreams, prophecies, miracles and so on at the expense of preaching the word.
These things are needed but they will cause us great problem if we ever put them above the Word.
I know a prophet who had been a blessing to me personally. God has used him to alter the course of my life and ministry. I have even ministered in their meetings. But over the years, I am sorry to say that he had lost his effective in the ministry.
A pastor friend and I were discussing him when my friend, who knows him better than I do, said the prophet's problem was that he put too much emphasis on visions. People could come to him expecting him to see visions about them. But he wasn't careful enough. He wanted to impress the people. I think he must be regretting it now!
If you are called to be a prophet, just preach the Word − develop your preaching ministry study the word to show yourself approved unto God as a workman who needs not be ashamed but rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
Then expect God to operate the gifts the Spirit through you as He wills. This prophet didn't develop his preaching anointing as he should have. He seemed to have an attitude of "I' m not a Bible teacher. I am a prophet. I'm not supposed to study the Bible as such in order to preach."
All prophets are preachers, but not all prophets are teachers. For example, William Branham was a preacher and prophet but Kenneth E. Hagin was a preacher, prophet and teacher.
Branham got into big trouble when he forced himself into the office of a teacher while Hagin was restless and troubled in his spirit when he did not want to embrace his call to the teaching ministry in those earlier days!
So a prophet should preach with a continued demonstration of the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. The ministry of John and Baptist clearly exemplified this. His preaching was God's mind for the hour. It was like prophecy. Actually, prophetic preachings and teachings are prophecies (see Luke 3:3-18, John 1:32-34).
In fact, the Scriptures are a more sure word of prophecy. Peter wrote, "WE HAVE ALSO A MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY; WHEREUNTO YE DO WELL THAT YE TAKE HEED, AS UNTO A LIGHT THAT SHINETH IN A DARK PLACE, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2 Pet 1:19).
In the second opening Scripture above (Acts 15:32), Prophets Judas and Silas didn't go about giving out prophecies to everyone rather they focused on speaking the word of GOD to the saints in order to exhort and confirm them to draw them nearer to God [not to man or money] and to establish them in the faith. They were truly New Testament prophets.
7. HE STANDS IN THE GAP AND MAKES UP THE HEDGE FOR GOD'S PEOPLE TO STAND FIRM.
Ezekiel 13:1−2 9 (NIV), 5 (KJV) reads:
"The word of LORD came to me: son of man, prophesy against the prophets of the Israel who are now prophesyingYe have not GONE UP INTO THE GAPS, neither MADE UP THE HEDGE for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
We see in the Scripture above that God appoints prophets to stand in the gap as well as make up the hedge for His people His church. Simply put, to stand in the gap is to intercede in prayer for God's people while to make up the hedge (or wall) is to restore God's people through the ministry of the word (see also Ezekiel 22:30).
A true prophet has a strong passion for intercession (for the saints). He equally has a burden to see the church restored as he preaches and /or teaches the pure word of God.
Abraham was a prophet who stood in the gap for Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33) and for Abimelech (Genesis 20:1-18).
Samuel interceded ceaselessly for the Israelites and he instructed them faithfully in the way of the Lord (see 1 Sam 12:23-25, 1 Sam 7:5).
Moses was a great intercessor and wonderful preacher and teacher of the words of the Law (Deut 31:19-30, Deut 32:1-2, Exo 32:30-35, Numb 14:1-25).
One of the leading prophetic voices in this nation was once abroad several years ago when God told him to go back to Nigeria (being his primary place of assignment): "Go pray, preach and prophesy until revival comes!" That was Dr. Tunde Bakare.
The Bible shows us that a prophet should have a remarkable anointing to pray, preach and prophesy!
HOW TO IDENTIFY AN EVANGELIST
1. HE HAS A DIVINE ABILITY WHICH COMPELS A SINNER TO MAKE A PERSONAL DECISION FOR CHRIST.
"When the crowds HEARD Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, THEY ALL PAID CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT HE SAID
But when THEY BELIEVED PHILIP AS HE PREACHED THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN" (Acts 8:6, 12, NIV).
An evangelist certainly carries an anointing through which he 'compel' (or pulls the spirit of a sinner) to make a personal decision for Christ.
That doesn't mean he goes about trying to force people to accept Christ against their human will. Man is a free moral being. He is not a robot that can't make its own choices.
You see, salvation is not by force, it is by faith through grace (see Eph 2:8-9).
Rather an evangelist's compelling anointing makes God's word in his mouth cut through the heart of a sinner like a sword.
Philip as an evangelist had that divine ability which drives a sinner to make a personal decision for Christ. Read our opening Scripture again.
That does not mean everyone an evangelist preaches the gospel to will make a decision for Christ.
Even Jesus, the Evangelist of evangelists could not get everyone he ministered repented.
The Scripture says, "Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT REPENT" (Mt 11:20, NIV).
An adage says, "If you preach with fire in your mouth, those who will go to hell will still go."
What makes one an evangelist? It's neither the title nor mere human ordination without heaven's appointment. It's the anointing that makes the difference.
Can you imagine someone who claims to be an evangelist but who has never won a single sinner to Christ?
Charles G. Finney was one the greatest evangelists that ever walked the earth. He got born-again in the morning of 10th October, 1821 and was baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire in the evening of the same day (Mt 3:11).
He immediately discovered that he was clothed with great power so much so that sharing a few words with people led to their immediate conversion to Christ.
He had that divine ability which compels an unbeliever to believe in Christ. Notice that I didn't say that compels an unbeliever to belong to a religious group.
Joining a religious body does not mean one is in Christ, that is, one is born-again one is joined to the Lord Jesus.
Paul wrote, "But if you give yourself to the Lord, YOU AND CHRIST ARE JOINED TOGETHER AS ONE PERSON
Therefore IF ANY PERSON IS [ingrafted] IN CHRIST (the Messiah) HE IS A NEW CREATION (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (1 Cor 6:17, TLB, 2Cor 5:17, AMP).
Finney admitted, "My words seemed to fasten like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this. Oftentimes, a word dropped without my remembering it would fasten conviction, and often result in almost immediate conversion."
2. HE HAS THE GIFT OF EVANGELISM WITHOUT THE INTENTION OF PLANTING CHURCHES AND/OR GOVERNING THEM AS PART OF HIS WORK.
Almost immediately after Philip's evangelistic meeting in Samaria, he left for another place without planting a church.
The Scripture says, "Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go south to the road the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza'" (Acts 8:29, NIV).
This was where he won the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ. After he had baptized his new convert, "the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and TRAVELLED ABOUT, PREACHING THE GOSPEL in all the towns until he reached Caesarea" (Acts 8:39-40, NIV).
It's crystal clear that Philip had the gift of evangelism without the intention of planting and/or governing churches.
Anyone who claims to be an evangelist but who goes about planting and/or governing churches alongside conducting evangelistic meetings has moved out of his divine calling into another person's ministry.
I can guarantee you that any truly anointed evangelist who ventures or veers into planting and/or governing churches will sooner or later lose his evangelistic anointing.
That could be the simple reason why the power of God upon some evangelists is 'leaking' gradually.
Thank God for an evangelist like Kathryn Kuhlman. Though at the early stage of her ministry, she built churches nevertheless by the time she understood her calling better she stopped doing that.
As her ministry progressed, she admitted that God didn't call her into planting or governing churches. She realized that her ministry was not to be restricted to any particular physical church structure (building).
She understood that she was not anointed by God to be another pastor, though she assisted many churches financially.
Evangelists like Smith Wigglesworth, Charles Finney, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, among others understood that God did not call them into church planting and governing.
We see a similar thing in today's evangelists like Reinhard Bonnke, Uma Ukpai, Tim Storey, and so on.
3. HE HAS A BURNING PASSION TO SEE SINNERS COME TO CHRIST THROUGH HIM.
"Philip went down to a city in Samaria and PROCLAIMED THE CHRIST there" (Acts 8:5, NIV).
An evangelist has a passion or zeal to see sinners embrace Jesus. Unless he sees this, he is restless in his spirit.
I know every believer is supposed to have a passion to see others come to Christ. But an evangelist has it more. It is well-pronounced in his ministry.
The zeal or fervor consumes or eats him up. Sometimes he senses it in a low degree. At other times, he experiences it in a high degree.
That passion, you know, can become almost unbearable. It can be likened to the zeal of Jesus when he went to clear or cleanse the temple.
The Scripture says that the zeal for God's house consumed him (Jn 2:17).
So the passion for lost souls the zeal to see unbelievers accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour consumed an evangelist.
If he doesn't win the lost to Christ, he feels like a dying man.
I remember the story an English evangelist. He backslid for about two years because he couldn't manage well his success in business as a plumber.
After those years, he repented and his fellowship with God was restored. And as he waited on God was restored. And as he waited on God for ten good days, his evangelistic passion was restored.
He confessed to a friend later, "I was willing to wait an hour any day to have an interview with anyone about his salvation."
4. HE HAS A BURNING PASSION TO SEE SINNERS COME TO CHRIST THROUGH FELLOW BELIEVERS.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another" (Pro 27:17, NIV).
One of the things I have learnt over the years about passion or zeal is that is contagious or infectious.
Just as someone can be infected with leprosy by touching a leper, so can a believer be positively infected with godly passion for lost souls by coming in contact with a real evangelist.
Reading a Holy Spirit-inspired book on evangelism or soul winning by an evangelist can infect one with this zeal.
Reinhard Bonnke wrote "Evangelism By Fire" for that purpose. Tommy Lee Osborn had this in mind when he wrote "Join This Chariot," "Soulwinning" and "The Purpose of Pentecost."
Virtually every time Reinhard Bonnke conducts his evening evangelistic meetings targeted at sinners in a particular region, he conducts morning Fire Conference for saints, especially for pastors, evangelists, teachers, and so on in that same region to ignite their passion for the lost.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
For example, Luke 4:43-44 gives us a hint on his evangelistic ministry. He went through the towns and villages ministering the word and healing but when he saw the multitudes scattered and fainted, he had compassion on them.
Then he told his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, TO SEND OUT WORKERS INTO HARVEST FIELD" (see Mt 9:35-38, NIV).
He did not allow his zeal to burn out but he quickly fuelled the passion of his disciples and sent them out in twos to win the lost (Mt 10).
Jesus who was the Greatest Evangelist of all time definitely infected his disciples with a consuming zeal or burning passion which he had, to win the lost.
It spread fast from the twelve, then to the seventy, and I believe, later to the one hundred and twenty, and eventually to thousands, millions or billions of people the world over (see Lk 9 Lk 10)!
5. HE IGNITES THE FIRE OF REVIVAL AMONG BELIEVERS.
Paul wrote, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, EVANGELISTS; and some, pastors and teachers;
FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINSTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST" (Eph 4:11-12).
You see, Jesus gave the five ministry gifts, listed above for threefold purpose as indicated here.
That means all the five ministry gifts, evangelists included are given to perfect (mature) the saints, to prepare (and release) the saints to their respective work of ministry and to edify (build up) the body of Christ as each member d
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