HE GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN
by Kennets E. Hargin
God Does Not Put Novices In Positions of Authority
People sometimes ask the question, "Why do we call pastors by their title, but not the other four ministry gifts?" ……
We don't do that so much today, and in one way it gives the impression that these offices no longer function in the Body of Christ. Yet in our day if we did use ministry titles, without scriptural teaching along this line, some people would invariably get into a ditch and get into trouble. I never wanted to be called a prophet myself, because I didn't want to be classed with the false ones. Someone asked me what a false prophet is. For one thing, a false prophet is someone who is trying to operate in that office when he is not called to that office.
Even if a person is a true prophet, it's not always wise to use titles because as I said, usually people get carried away with that. Besides, the ministry doesn't consist in name and title. It consists in power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost. It shouldn't matter to us what people call us or don't call us. We should just want to obey God.
What is important is that people stand in the ministry office they are called to in the power of the Holy Ghost and that their ministry is based solidly on the Word of God. We need all the ministries God has placed in the Body of Christ, no matter what we label them.
Some who do use the title "prophet" today are little more than novices in the ministry. People need to understand that God is not going to put a novice in that office. He's going to prove the minister first before He puts him in any ministry office. And many folks never even move into the fullness of their real calling or ministry in God because they are too unfaithful in the little that God has given them to do.
Jesus said something to me once about this, and it has become more real to me all the time. He said, "Spiritual growth is similar to natural growth."
For example, you knew some things as a teenager and you carried some responsibility. But it was different when you grew up and began being fully responsible as an adult. The same thing is true spiritually.
Those whom God calls to the ministry don't usually get into these offices all at once. Believers don't normally start out in the ministry God eventually has for them. There may be some exceptions to that, but as a normal rule that is true.
We see some reference to this in the Scriptures in Paul's ministry. Paul didn't start out in the ultimate ministry God had for him, which was the apostolic ministry. He was a prophet and a teacher for many years before God separated him for the greater work of the apostolic ministry (Acts 13:1,2).
If you are called to the ministry, don't think you will be the exception to the rule. No, God will prove you before He puts you in the office He has for you.
For example, if God calls you to pastor a church, you may eventually pastor a church of four thousand, but you couldn't start out there. You may have to start out with a congregation of four or forty and build up to four hundred. Actually, you wouldn't be qualified to pastor a church of four thousand when you first start out in the ministry.
It's the same way with the evangelist. He may have to start preaching to just a few people like I did or in the jails. Teachers may have to start out teaching in home meetings. And it may be that they never develop beyond that stage because that is all God has called them to do — it is the ultimate call God has for them.
But the point is, each one called to the fivefold ministry must prove himself faithful right where he is before God can use him to a greater degree. God can't increase the anointing on a person if he is not faithful to what God has already told him to do.
People don't normally start out in the ministry God ultimately has for them because there is a training and a proving time in God. Since spiritual growth is similar to natural growth, a person needs to grow and mature both naturally and spiritually before God will put him in a ministry office because ministry offices carry great responsibility.
God doesn't put novices, those who are untrained and immature in spiritual things, in positions of authority (1 Tim. 3:6).
Phases of Ministry
…… Become what God has called you to be first, and then people will see the anointing of God upon you. The spiritual equipment operating in your life will demonstrate what you are called to do. And you won't have to advertise it either. It will be readily apparent to everyone the office you stand in.
So I was a preacher and then a teacher of the Word, and I pastored for nearly twelve years. But I still didn't stand in the office of the prophet……
What often happens is that the word of knowledge operates occasionally in someone's life, and then they try to operate it at will to make something happen. When they do that, they unconsciously begin to yield to wrong spirits, and they get into trouble spiritually…..
Jesus explained that if you are not in the will of God, then to some extent, you are in disobedience. When you are in disobedience, Satan can attack you. He has a right to attack you when you are in disobedience because you are on his territory…..
Of course there will be tests and trials as long as we are on this earth. But if you're in the perfect will of God, He will see you through every one of them.
If you're not in the perfect will of God, you open a door to the devil. And you will have to repent and obey God before He can move in your behalf as He desires. It's just better to be in the perfect will of God…..
It's all right to advertise your meetings, of course, and let folks know you're in town. But if you are called to the office of the prophet, you don't have to broadcast it all over town. People will find out soon enough if you are really called to that office by the supernatural equipment that operates through you.
Where novices get into trouble is that they go out and tell everyone they are called to a ministry office when they've never even operated in that office or they are just a beginner in it!
As the old saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Are you first and foremost a preacher or a teacher of the Word? Do your prophecies come to pass? Do they line up with the Word of God? Are you teachable and easy to be entreated? Or do you cause strife and problems everywhere you go….. Let your ministry first be proved. The Bible says, ". . . let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone ..." (Gal. 6:4).
Just because gifts of the Spirit operate through you occasionally, that doesn't make you a prophet. Any Spirit-filled believer may have an occasional manifestation of revelation gifts as the need arises. After all, the Holy Ghost is in believers, and He manifests Himself through the gifts of the Spirit to meet the needs of people.
But there is a vast difference between an occasional manifestation of a revelation gift and a person who is called to a fivefold ministry office through whom spiritual gifts operate on a more consistent basis. That's where some folks are missing it today.
Of course, the Bible encourages all believers to covet to prophesy. First Corinthians 14:31 says, ". . . ye may all prophesy one by one...." But there are no revelation gifts — word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits — manifested in the simple gift of prophecy.
For example, in Acts 21:9 it says that Philip had four daughters "which did prophesy." But they didn't stand in the office of the prophet just because they prophesied.
Some folks see a prophet operate in some of the more spectacular demonstrations of the revelation gifts of the Spirit, and they think they can do that too. Then they try to prophesy using revelation gifts, and they are either prophesying in the flesh or they are inspired by occult powers.
Folks who are called to the office of the prophet are called to a full-time ministry office. They are called and set apart by God to the ministry. They can't call themselves or set themselves in a ministry office.
No Prophets in the Laity
You see, that's why there are no prophets among what we call the laity. Those in the laity aren't spiritually equipped, nor do they have the anointing to stand in a ministry office.
Some people among the laity claim they are prophets, but they aren't. They can't be because that is a ministry office, equipped supernaturally by God with spiritual gifts or endowments. Only God can equip a person with spiritual gifts and set him into a ministry office.
Ministry offices are for those called to the full-time ministry. The prophet is a ministry gift to the Body of Christ. Of course, a person called to the ministry can stand in more than one office, as he is called by God and equipped by the Holy Spirit.
However, pastors are not normally called to the office of the prophet for several reasons. First, there is no record in the Bible of a pastor who was also a prophet.
[JUST BECAUSE THERE IS NO RECORD SPELLED OUT DOES NOT MEAN IT IS NEVER DONE; THE AUTHOR HAS JUST SAID A PERSON CAN STAND IN MORE THAN ONE OFFICE. PAUL WAS AT TIMES A PASTOR/TEACHER, AN EVANGELIST, AND A PROPHET, - SOMETIMES ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME - Keith Hunt]
Second, the prophet's ministry seems to be more of a roving ministry, like that of the evangelist's ministry. For example, in the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel taught in a circuit (1 Sam. 7:16) and traveled from place to place.
[MAYBE AT TIMES BUT IT IS NOT WRITTEN IN STONE - Keith Hunt]
Third, when a pastor is called to the pastoral office, that is his first calling or ministry. You understand that as the need might arise, God could move a pastor over into the prophetic ministry temporarily at times to minister. But that would not be his main call. The pastoral ministry is his first priority.
[YES OF COURSE THE PASTOR’S MAIN FUNCTION IS TO PASTOR, TEACH AND PREACH GOD’S WORD; PROPHETIC UNDERSTANDING WOULD BE SECONDARY - Keith Hunt]
….. The office of the prophet is a distinct office, equipped with a more consistent manifestation of revelation gifts of the Spirit. And it would be a person's main ministry, just as pastoring is the pastor's main ministry.
[NOPE NOT SO; PROPHETS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WERE MAINLY PREACHERS AND TEACHERS OF THE BASIC TRUTHS OF GOD, BRINGING PEOPLE TO SERVING GOD IN TRUTH AND SPIRIT, THEN SECONDARY, FORETELLING WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO A NATION OR NATIONS IF THEY CONTINUE IN SIN AND DO WICKEDNESS - Keith Hunt]
Let God Set You in Your Place In the Body of Christ
If you think God has called you to a ministry office, even the office of the prophet, let Him put you into that office. You couldn't step into it immediately anyway. You wouldn't be ready for it, and you would make a mess of it if you tried to put yourself into that office. But God will add to your spiritual maturity here a little and there a little as He sees fit.
[IT WAS MANY YEARS AS A STUDENT AND LEARNER OF THE BIBLE, AND EXPERIENCES IN ADULT LIFE, BEFORE GOD BROUGHT ME TO THE FUNCTION OFFICE AS PASTOR AND TEACHER; THEN SOME YEARS WENT BY BEFORE THE LORD GAVE ME THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE IN DETAIL, AND THAT WAS THROUGH MANY MANY HOURS SPENT IN DETAILED STUDY, OVER MANY MONTHS, ACTUALLY SOME MANY YEARS. ALL THAT STUDY IS NOW FOUND UNDER THE HEADING ON THIS WEBSITE CALLED “PROPHECY” - Keith Hunt]
If God does want to set you into the office of the prophet, allow Him to do it. As you are faithful to do what He gives you as you are maturing spiritually, eventually when He sees He can trust you with it, He will set you into that office.
If you are a novice in spiritual things, just be faithful to do what God has called you to do today. Be diligent to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
There was a reason the Spirit of God said through the Apostle Paul not to put a novice in an office. A novice is too easily lifted up in pride, and that opens a door to the devil: ". . . lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6).
Many novices have tried to enter the office of the prophet themselves. Many were lifted up in pride when Satan tempted them, and their lives and ministries were destroyed. Some probably sensed the calling of God in their spirits to the prophet's office, but instead of waiting for God to set them in that office, they tried to rush into it themselves.
Also, the Body of Christ needs to realize that ministering in the office of the prophet carries an awesome responsibility; that is one reason it isn't for novices.
Some folks say, "I wish I could operate in the office of the prophet." Oh, dear Lord! If they really had the opportunity, they probably wouldn't wish that because of the awesome responsibility that goes along with it……
And sometimes as the Spirit of God wills, I know the reason they are sick. It is an awesome responsibility to be used in revelation gifts of the Spirit and minister accurately according to the Holy Spirit's leading. Folks, this office is not for novices!
That's why you need to let God develop you and your ministry, whatever it may be. As God prepares you, people will recognize the gift of God in you. If you think God has called you to the prophetic office, study and show yourself approved, grow and mature spiritually, and be faithful as you serve Him in other capacities. God will mature you and prove you before he puts you in positions of increased responsibility.
Just trust in the wisdom of God and know that as you do your part and prepare yourself in the Word, God in His wisdom will do His part. He will lead and guide you, and if you are called to that office, He will mature you, both naturally and spiritually first before He sets you into that office.
READ THAT AGAIN—— SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS NEEDED BEFORE SOMEONE IS BROUGHT INTO THE NEW TESTAMENT FUNCTION OF ANY OF THE OFFICES IN THE MINISTRY. AND THIS IS REALLY TRUE OF THE PASTOR/TEACHER OFFICE. TO PASTOR A CONGREGATION, WITH ALL THE VARIOUS TRIALS AND DIFFICULTIES AND PROBLEMS THAT ARISE; IT TAKES MATURITY IN THE PHYSICAL THINGS OF LIFE, AS WELL AS MATURITY IN SPIRITUALITY. HAVING THE GIFT OF PROPHECY, WHICH CAN BE BOTH INSPIRED PREACHING AND FORETELLING, IS NOT LIKE TAKING CARE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. BEING AN EVANGELIST, WHICH IS INSPIRED PREACHING TO THE UN-CONVERTED, IS NOT LIKE TAKING CARE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. BEING AN APOSTLE—- ONE SENT FORTH TO DIFFERENT CHURCHES OF GOD AROUND THE WORLD, IS ALSO NOT LIKE BEING A SHEPHERD OVER A CHURCH OR CHURCHES OF GOD. THIS IS WHY PAUL SAID ONE OF THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE MINISTRY OF SHEPHERDING OVER A CONGREGATION, CANNOT, SHOULD NOT BE, A NOVICE—— EXPERIENCE IN THIS PHYSICAL LIFE AND GROWTH IN THE WORD AND SPIRITUAL THINGS OF GOD, IS A MUST FOR SUCH A FUNCTION.