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The Old Testament prophets were not so much spokesmen for the future as they were for their generation.

They were also the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.

Text

Amos 3:7-8 (AMP)

7 Surely the Lord God does nothing Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] To His servants the prophets.

8 The lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?

Scripture Reading

Amos 3:3-8 (AMP)

Prayer

Father, you have provided the night for rest, and you have created the day for work.

You have given us the privilege of giving.

Keep us ever mindful that part of Christian growth is investing ourselves, through our money, in sharing the gospel here at home and around the world.

Draw our hearts to you so that we may love your kingdom and recognise our place as citizens in it.

Use the money that we bring for spreading the gospel message.

Bless those who will be enabled to work for you because we bring our gifts this morning.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

Today we are talking about Prophets – Yesterday and Today.

The roll call of Israel’s prophets includes its most illustrious heroes, from Abraham to Jesus.

In one sense, all of God’s leaders are prophets, since the Hebrew word “nabi, which is translated “prophet,” comes from a Hebrew root meaning “to speak”.

Abraham in Genesis 20:7 (AMP)

7 So now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her [to him], know that you shall die, you and all who are yours (your household).

And Moses in Deuteronomy 34:10 (AMP)

10 Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

Miriam and Deborah also prophesied.

Included in Israel’s history is another group that Bible scholars call “false prophets.”

Jesus used the term “false prophets” in His Sermon on the Mount in. Matthew 7:15 (AMP)

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

These false prophets were intensely nationalistic and were optimistic concerning the nation’s destiny whether or not it’s people obeyed the Lord’s commands.

A true prophet was distinguished by saying “thus saith the Lord,” which was his authority for preaching.

On the other hand, each prophet had his own individuality and was related in a definite way to the time in which he lived.

He saw the future and interpreted it in the light of God’s will.

Yet he also saw the present and declared god’s purpose for his own generation.

We should never debate whether the prophets were “foretellers or forth tellers,” because in fact they were both, uniquely equipped by God and infallibly guided by Him.

  1. The prophet as a person.
  1. God did more than send messages to Israel.

He sent people.

The sermon someone delivers is never any stronger than the life they lead.

People watch us and see how we live and the kind of life we lead.

The greatest sermon you will ever preach is the life you live.

We need people to say that’s my Pastor, he is a man who lives what he preaches.

B. God’s prophets were people of unquestionable integrity.

There was absolutely no question about their moral standards.

For one of God’s prophets to be dishonest was completely out of the question.

Your actions should speak so loudly people cant hear a word you say.

2. The prophet as a called person.

  1. Old Testament prophets shared our thing in common.

Each was called of God.

These calls did not all come in the same way.

Isaiah’s call came within the dignity and refinement of the temple ritual.

Amos was called in the bleak desert as he pondered the injustice that prevailed in the land.

Hosea’s call came in the aftermath of a broken heart and broken home when his wife had been unfaithful.

Jeremiah was called when he was a young boy, hardly able to cope with the situation.

Habakkuk’s call came as he pondered God’s seeming indifference to the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous.

B. Each of these calls has one unifying fact.

The prophet was not to speak in his own name or in his own strength.

God vaccinated Isaiah against being overly optimistic when he volunteered for service.

On the other hand, He immunised Jeremiah against discouragement when the reluctant young man hesitated to take on such a difficult assignment.

I read somewhere about the call of a prophet and it said something along the lines of “the call of the eternal  must ring through the rooms of his soul as clearly as a gunshot through a valley.”

When the Devine calling rests upon a prophet, he has no alternative.

But unless a man is called to be a prophet, he should remain a Christian layman and not attempt to do something God has not called him to be or do.

God’s prophets have been called, they have no alternative, they must be prophets.

3. The prophet’s message.

If we wanted to summarise the prophetic message in one phrase, we could say that the Old Testament prophet’s task was to keep before the people the character and nature of God.

In doing this, he included every aspect of the truth revealed to him in order that he might fully present it to the people.

Three things were always present in the prophet’s message.

  1. God is Holy.

Any definition of deity must begin with this indisputable truth.

The word holy means “other than,” but it also means more.

The moral nature of God is included in His Holiness.

A people will become like the god they worship.

This is why the Canaanites were extremely immoral people.

Their god was a sex symbol, and their worship was tied up with physical immorality, even the rituals of service itself being nothing more than an orgy.

butIsrael’s God never had a character flaw.

Whatever else the prophet said, his message was never inconsistent with this basic truth about his God.

B. God is active in history.

He punishes the wicked and vindicates the righteous.

To a prophet, the greatest heresy imaginable would have been to presume that God was absent from His world and incapable of intervening at given moment.

God established law for running His world, but He was never subject to those laws.

God stood in the shadows, always keeping watch over His own people and always present to punish evil.

C. God is merciful and redemptive.

Both Old Testament prophets and modern day preachers are responsible for condemning sin, but they must also communicate God’s love and mercy for repentant sinners.

A vital part of every Old Testament prophet’s message was God’s redemptive work.

God had chosen the Jewish nation as an instrument to bring the Redeemer into the world.

To the Jews, He was the promised Messiah.

Each prophet made his own distinct contribution concerning the Messiah, and the messages of all the prophets were linked by a unity of theme.

God would intervene in history and bring deliverance to sinful people. 

Conclusion.

The prophets of Israel were probably the nation’s greatest contribution to the world besides Jesus Christ Himself.

No other group of people or organisation can compare with them.

We cannot draw an exact line of comparison between Israel’s prophets and today’s preachers, but many similarities might be present.

True prophetic preaching is more than merely predicting events in detail.

Prophetic preaching comes from men who strongly support God’s will.

They speak forth God’s word for the day in which they live.

Firmly yet lovingly they warn a sinful world that sin will bring destruction and that forgiveness is available to those who turn to Jesus Christ.

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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