Monday, September 15, 2014

The Importance of Prophecy Sermon

Bible Is Prophecy 

Revelation 12:11 “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.”

In America today there is a common agreement that prophecy does not need to be studied because it is "divisive" and does not promote “Good Christian Living.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve been even been asked to not preach about prophecy. The fact is, the early Christians pointed to fulfilled and future prophecy as a call to Christian living.

Lesser context and Greater Context –

The Greater Context is the story of Jesus – What is fascinating about the story of Jesus is that it is a 3 Part Play: Act I – the Messiah before the Incarnation, Act II - Jesus during the Incarnation, and Act III - Christ our Coming King

If the Bible was a tapestry, prophecy is the main threads God used to weave it with. Prophecy is the truth about what God is going to do that validates who He is.

Prophecy is the proof that God provided to demonstrate His power to those who watch for His involvement in the world.
   1.      When you study the Bible you cannot avoid Prophecy
a.      If you think you can avoid prophecy, you are sadly mistaken…
                                                    i.     Genesis – 3:13 and following a prophecy of Jesus, Genesis 12:3-7 Abraham,  Joseph’s bones
                                                   ii.     Exodus – is the story of Moses, a prophet, 12:46 no bone broken on Messiah, Joseph’s bones fulfilled
                                                  iii.     Leviticus – 26:44 people of Israel will never be completely destroyed
                                                  iv.     Numbers – Serpent 21:8-9, Star out of Jacob 24:17-19
                                                   v.     Deuteronomy – Cursed on a Tree 21:23, a veiled prophecy pointing to Jesus
1.      In fact Moses is called the “Greatest Prophet who ever lived” by Deuteronomy 34:10, so we must reject everything he wrote.
2.      Now remember there are people who believe we should not study prophecy, but we need to be reminded that Prophecy is very important.
                                                  vi.     Joshua – Joshua going into the land was a fulfillment of prophecy, can’t preach this!
                                                vii.     Judges –  whole bunch of Prophets like Deborah, Judges 6:8 “the Lord sent a prophet to remind Israel…”
                                               viii.     Ruth – Is prophetic because it is important to understand the coming of David, and also the coming of the Messiah the “son of David”, Kinsman redeemer is a prophetic picture of Christ.
                                                  ix.     I Samuel – Samuel is a prophet
                                                   x.     II Samuel – Throne of David Established Forever 7:12-13, 16, 25-29
                                                  xi.     I Kings – Elijah the prophet, can’t talk about him
                                                xii.     II Kings –  Elisha the prophet, can’t talk about him
                                               xiii.     I Chronicles – 17:11-14 throne of David established forever
                                               xiv.     II Chronicles – 21:7 Throne of David messiah, son of Obed the prophet 15, prophecies of the exile into Babylon
                                                xv.     Ezra – Fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy in chapter 1, Zechariah son of Edo ch5, Haggai ch 6
                                               xvi.     Nehemiah – Fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy
                                              xvii.     Esther – Setting the prophetic fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy and “for such a time as this” is a prophetic statement
1.      We made it through the historical books, but couldn’t avoid prophecy. Believe it or not, there are people who believe we should not study prophecy, but again we need to be reminded that Prophecy is very important. We’re about to find out that we can’t even get through the Wisdom literature without running into prophecy. Here are a couple examples:
                                            xviii.     Job – Promised redeemer 19:25-27
                                               xix.     Psalms – Soldiers cast lots and hands and feet pierced and mocked 22:7-18, over 30 other psalms that are prophetic about Jesus
                                                xx.     Proverbs – 29:18 where there is no revelation (prophetic vision) the people perish, in fact the proverbs are a type of minor prophecy about what comes from living a godly life.  
                                               xxi.     Ecclesiastes – There is nothing new under the sun is a prophetic statement, 12:13-14 prophecy of the coming judgment
1.      Now we’ve made it to a section of the Bible that is called the Prophets. But if we were to follow the advice of modern Americans, we would have to skip all of these guys, so I guess we won’t talk about them.
                                              xxii.     Isaiah – Malachi – All Prophets can’t preach on them, let’s not read that he was going to be flogged and spit on, a meek servant in Isaiah 40, 42 and 50 and 53, gotta skip that stuff, even though that is how we witness to Jews. So we’ve just covered the entire OT and every single bit of it is tinted with prophecy.
1.      Thank God, for the most part there is very little prophecy in the New Testament! Well, that isn’t true. For those who want to avoid Prophecy, they will be hard pressed to dodge it in the New Testament as well.
                                            xxiii.     Matthew – 1:18, 1:22 prophecy fulfilled, 3 (John prophecies His coming) of course there are all of the prophetic parables, and then there is Matthew 24, and we’re not even going to address the fact that the parables of Matthew 25 are Entirely Prophetic in nature. First two parables he prefaces with “the kingdom of Heaven is like” what is that? Oh yeah, Christ’s kingdom, which is established in the millennial reign when He returns. Then the final parable in many Bibles expressly says something like “The Final Judgment” again a very prophetic event. Finally, Matthew even ends with “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” A prophetic statement if there ever was one.
                                            xxiv.     Mark – 1:2 – “It began just as the Prophet Isaiah had written…” Hmmm. Prophecy. 8:31 Prophecy about His own death. Mark 13 – Jesus Foretells the Future, 14:27 prophecy of Jesus predicting Peter’s denial before it happened. 16:18 a possible prophecy about Paul and Luke
                                              xxv.     Luke – Luke chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all prophetic in nature. In fact, Luke defers to prophecy again and again to validate Jesus’ ministry. So we have to throw Luke out. Luke 6:24 prophecy, Luke chapters 9 and 10 both contain prophetic passages, Luke 11 refers back to the prophet Jonah. Luke 12 second coming, Luke 17:20 and following is prophetic, Luke 19, 20, 21 and 22 prophetic, Luke 24 references the prophets
                                            xxvi.     John – John 1 again begins with Prophecy. John 3:16 OUR FAVORITE MEMORY VERSE is prophetic, because He hadn’t died yet! Can’t preach John 3:16. John 4:21 prophecy, John 5:24-25 prophecy, John 5:39 (all of the scriptures OT point to Jesus) well we already established that but here you see Jesus say it outright, chapters 6, 7, 8 and 10 all hinge on prophecy. 11:25 another prophecy, in fact chapters 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 are all prophetic in nature. 18, 19 and 20 are all fulfillments of prophecy of the prophets. Even in 21 we have a prophecy to Peter.
1.      We’ve gone through all of the Gospels, and you cannot separate prophecy from the gospels. I’m sorry for those who do not want to study prophecy, but we’ll have to not study the Gospels either.
                                           xxvii.     Acts – Acts 1 starts with 2 prophecies, and establishes that the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus talked about is not just a spiritual kingdom in our hearts, but a physical kingdom that will one day be established on earth. 1:16 “the scriptures had to be fulfilled”, Acts 2 fulfillment of prophecy, chapter 3 expounds on OT prophets, chapter 4 prophetic, chapter 5 power of prophecy, chapter 7 preaches through the prophets, chapter 8 fulfillment of prophecy of Jesus, chapter 10 another fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, chapter 12 more fulfillment of prophecy, 13:23 prophecy deferred to, 13:40-41 prophecy “Look you mockers! Be amazed and die!” they did not want people to scoff at prophecy. Acts 18:10 a direct prophecy to Paul, 28 snakebite prophecy of Jesus, Acts even ends with a prophecy from the OT.
1.      I know you’ve heard people tell you Prophecy isn’t important. But aren’t they even reading their Bibles? How can you avoid it? I know, let’s just stick to the Epistles, they have so very little prophecy we can safely hang out there to avoid prophecy. But wait…
                                          xxviii.     Romans – Chapter 1 sets up this info comes from the prophets who spoke long ago and then he spend the rest of the book expounding on what the prophets established. Romans 2:5 “because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” This is the world Apokalypsios which we get the world Apocalypse from. And is another name for the book of Revelation. Because it is Christ who is revealed. This word is also used as another way of saying “a prophecy” in other parts of the Epistles. But again, 2:5 is a prophetic statement. Later, we have Abraham, we have the future glory, we have Israel’s selection all of these are prophetic events that Paul is expounding on. Salvation in chapter 10 was prophesied. Chapter 15 Paul uses the prophecies to establish the authority of his teaching on these matters. Verse 26 the second to the last verse in Romans appeals to the prophecies to prove his point.
                                            xxix.     I Corinthians – A big chunk of this book is prophetic about the 2nd coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. Chapter 1 opens with an appeal to the prophecy of the 2nd coming and how we must be strong to endure persecution until that day comes! Chapter 10 appeals to prophecy, Chapter 14 is about the continuation of prophecy for the Church, Chapter 15 is all about prophecy, Paul even concludes the letter with an appeal to the second coming
                                              xxx.     II Corinthians – Opens with the suffering that was prophesied by Jesus and the Prophets, chapters 2-5 are an exposition on the Prophecies of the Old Testament and how they are fulfilled in Christ. 12 shows that Paul had prophetic visions
                                            xxxi.     Galatians – 1:3 “Just as the Father has planned,” an appeal to prophecy.  Chapter 3 appeals to both the law and the prophets, chapter 4 is an appeal to Isaiah to strengthen his case 6:8 a prophecy of what comes from living a sinful life
                                           xxxii.     Ephesians – 1:4 even before the world, God chose us…” a type of prophecy. 1:17 may God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation (that’s that apocalypse word again, in other words, a spirit of prophecy). 3:5 plan revealed to the prophets. Chapter 5 quoting the prophets.  
                                          xxxiii.     Philippians –  1:6 Return of Jesus is when the good work is finished , Chapter 2 long quote from the prophets, Chapter 3 prophecies that we will be changed when Jesus Returns to place all under His control (pretty strong proof of a Post Trib rapture).
                                          xxxiv.     Colossians – First two chapters hinge on the fulfillment of the prophecies, ends with the fulfillment of prophecies as they are in prison.
                                           xxxv.     I Thessalonians – chapters 4 and 5 are all prophecy
                                          xxxvi.     II Thessalonians – chapters 1 and 2 are all prophecy and no the theory that people were quitting their jobs and waiting for Jesus is not true. The Church Fathers taught that the Thessalonians were surprised by the persecution they were beginning to endure and thought that they had perhaps missed the rapture and were really worried because they thought Jesus had “left them behind!” So Paul had to give them specific instructions that proved they had not been “left behind,” and in fact wouldn’t be because the Tribulation of the Saints had to come before the Return of the Lord.
                                        xxxvii.     I Timothy – 1:18 Timothy’s entire ministry was predicated by Prophecy. Guess we have to throw his books out.
                                       xxxviii.     II Timothy – 1:9 pointing to God’s plan, a plan revealed by the prophets and accomplished in Jesus Christ. Again a prophetic statement. Chapter 3 is a warning about the Last Days. Chapter 4 is about the 2nd Coming.
                                          xxxix.     Titus – 1:2 a prophecy fulfilled 1:3 points to the fulfillment of God’s plans. You cannot extricate prophecy from the message of the Gospel, they are intertwined.
                                                  xl.     Philemon – not really prophecy, but it does speak of persecution in Verse 13 which was prophesied by both the prophets and Jesus. So even an innocuous book like Philemon is a fulfillment of prophecy.
                                                xli.     Hebrews – Drips with prophecy. Chapter 1 is quote after quote from the prophets and the Psalms. Chapters 2 – 8 uses the prophecies of the OT to validate the teaching about Jesus, chapter 9 expands on this. Chapter 10 appeals to the prophets too, and chapter 11 is entirely about the lives of faith. Faith is demonstrated as acting on a promise made by God before the promise is even fulfilled, that takes prophecy in order for that to even happen.
                                               xlii.     James – 1:12 James appeals to the prophecy of the coming reward to set up his entire teaching on Christian living. All Biblical truth is predicated and founded on the proclamation of one of God’s prophets. “Do I do anything without telling one of my prophets first?” Amos 3:7, James is an example of this. James gives his own prophecy in 3:18 of what will come from living a godly life. He ends his book by using a prophet’s prayer life as an example of faith.
                                              xliii.     I Peter – This book is all about living a Christian life because the Day of Judgment is coming! Peter starts with prophecy, uses prophetic passages from the OT and then ends with prophecy all to make the point that we need to be living a godly life.
                                              xliv.     II Peter – Peter continues his prophetic theme by expounding on true prophets and false prophets and then warns again of the coming judgment.
                                               xlv.     I John – Gives us one of the most powerful passages to understand the coming Antichrist, and even coins the term Antichrist. He even goes on in chapter 4 to discuss how to discern false prophets. This is a very prophetic book.
                                              xlvi.     II John – 2 John is a powerful warning about the spirit of the antichrist and about continuing in the truth. This is a prophetic warning because he gives the familiar prophetic “if…then…” arguments. Even though it is a small book, it is still tainted with prophecy.
                                            xlvii.     III John – Again John is fulfilling the role of a prophet here by correcting bad behavior that is going on in some of the churches. He also speaks of the brothers who were traveling teachers who were prophesied by Jesus and commissioned by Him. Not entirely prophetic, but still colored by the prophetic message.
                                           xlviii.     Jude – Then we have Jude which quotes from the apocalyptic book of Enoch 1 in the opening section, and the entire book is a warning about the end to come. All prophecy.
                                              xlix.     Revelation - All Prophecy Can’t Read This – Notice that the Book of Revelation is an expansion of the Matthew Chapter 24. Notice also that Jesus came to John, the last living disciple in a long vision unlike anything else we see in the New Testament, but which mimics how God visited the prophets of the Old Testament. This book/vision was apparently so important that Jesus, after His ascension into heaven, and nearly 60 years after Pentecost. So when you tell me to move on to Matthew 25, perhaps you need to go to Jesus and tell Him to move onto Matthew 25.

Matthew 24 is the book end of the Bible – to move on past that is to reject the power that proves the Gospel message is true.

It is even more important to study prophecy today, because many of the events that we have been warned about as being prophetic markers are starting to see fulfillment within our day, and it shows us that the time is nearer than we want to admit. Here are a few:

Israel becoming a Nation
Damascus under attack
Euphrates drying up after thousands of years flowing freely
Animals dying off
Rise of lawlessness all over the globe
The increase of knowledge
The increase of travel that Daniel spoke about
Scientist talking a lot about Marking people via a chip or a tattoo of some type
One world currency being studied and almost being attained by the internet
Muslim world calling for a caliphate, which mimics the Biblical antichrist in many ways
Jews calling for a temple – which Paul prophesied would be there
Sanhedrin and Holy Priesthood is in waiting to be part of that temple
Global scope of sinfulness
Increase of disease and famine
False Christs – In my book Hard Rain, I mentioned that over the last 2,000 years 70 people have claimed to be Jesus – but of that list of 70 people over 35 of them have been during my lifetime!
Apostasy of the Church – people in the church will not endure sound doctrine
Finally, they will scoff at prophecy
               1 Thess. 5:20 – do not scoff at prophecies
2 Peter 3:3 - Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.
Jude 1:18 - They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires.

It is very dangerous to reject prophecy, because when you scoff at prophecy, you reject the work of the Holy Spirit of God – Revelation 19:10 the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.

Please be careful about scoffing at prophecy and about avoiding the study of Prophecy. It is vital, and only getting more and more vital as time ticks on.