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A prophet is first of all a publisher of the will of God. Vision and inspection are preparatory works, where prophesy is the execution of the office.
Today the faithful minister of the word of God must receive his information and instruction from the Spirit of God in order to his preaching or prophesying.
The Westminster Form of Church Government refers to the pastor's function in the church first of all as that of prophesying. The Directory for the Public Worship of God states that he must do his work painfully, plainly, faithfully, wisely, gravely, affectionately, and as one taught by God. The people of God are taught in Scripture the necessity of trying the spirits (1 John 4:1).
Thus it is that every true minister of God must have a lawful calling.
He must know how to apply his prophecy to his hearers, such that he speaks to men "edification, exhortation, and comfort."
The purpose or aim of the minister must be to seek God's glory, not his own or that of his hearers.
The thing prophesied must come to pass, meaning the minister must not preach presumptuously; i.e. without having a true calling from God.
Finally, the minister must be sanctified by the Holy Spirit and fitted by God with the graces necessary to the task of calling sinners from darkness to light.
The ignorant are not fit. The minister must speak the truth, meaning he must first know it.
The hearer is responsibile to receive sound doctrine at the minister's mouth. [See Outside link]
Sent by God or not? A biblical message about what it is a true prophet and a false prophet, the difference between a man called to ministry by the Lord and sent by Him with His message and a self-appointed man, who speaks from himself.
Dr. Richard Bacon was born in 1946 and has been married to wife Debby since 1971. He received his education at Memphis State University (BA), now University of Memphis, Whitefield Seminary (M.A.R.; M.Div.; and Ph.D.), and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Th.M; Th.D.). His...