Prophetic Momentum

Jon Cressey writing mostly about church, prophets and prophecy...

For prophets…

For prophets
The Church I attend, Emmanuel Sheffield is one of many across the UK that has realised the great encouragement the gift and ministry of prophecy brings.

We embrace it because, as we learn from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, prophecy—along with the other gifts (or ‘gracelets’) of the Spirit—builds, encourages, and edifies the church, especially prophecy. So much so that Paul admonishes the Corinthians to eagerly desire to prophesy. That said, as a church, we don’t just want people stepping out in the gifts without keeping them in context with the Bible. If you are one of the people who are faithfully serving the church by stepping out in the gift of prophecy in particular, this is for you.

There is a way that your gifting can have even more impact and be an even greater blessing in the church.

Prophetic ministry isn’t just about speaking boldly; it’s about speaking deeply, with roots that delve into the rich soil of sound theology. When prophets ground their messages in the full scope of Christ’s work—particularly His crucifixion and events such as the dramatic tearing of the temple veil, and many similar events—they communicate not just with passion, but with a perceived sense of accuracy – mostly because the focus is on drawing people’s hearts to Christ. We endeavour to restore hope in the heart of the believer through a scripture-honouring and Christ-exalting approach to the prophetic ministry. These, and other narratives that reflect God’s previous dealings with His people encourage faith and courage. Again, Paul raises the benchmark of encouragement as he looks back on God’s activity with mankind in the Old Testament, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Cor 10:11)

Taking this approach (keeping scripture central) isn’t about adding theological jargon to impress; it’s about ensuring that every call to action, every visionary declaration is anchored in the unshakeable truths of Scripture (against which prophetic ministry is weighed). This approach transforms prophetic ministry from a voice speaking into the wind to a distinct call that resonates in the hearts of its hearers, urging them towards Him where they can find grace and mercy, hope and restoration.

Point in case, and as an example of how prophetic ministry can be enriched in its delivery, consider if you will, a brief reflection on the crucifixion’s deep implications (the example I started earlier). When Jesus declared “It is finished” and surrendered His spirit, the temple veil was torn, symbolically ending the separation between God and humanity.

This act wasn’t just a footnote in theological writing; it was a radical, divine endorsement of accessibility to God, once reserved for the high priest, now open to all. The imagery is powerful and emotive! By rooting prophetic insights in these events, prophets can more effectively speak to unity in the church, direct people unashamedly embrace access to God; engaging and empowering every believer to live out the gospel in vibrant, transformative ways. Intentionally making the Scriptures yield their powerful stories stirs the hearts of God’s people, their faith and their imagination and brings great hope that fosters trust in God. He’s the same, yesterday and forever—and if your encouragement brings to life what He did in the lives of others in the past, it will ignite something for them too.

Always keep things in biblical context!

In the brilliant story of redemption that we are considering as an example, the moment captured in Matthew 27:51 is pivotal. Here, we witness an outpouring of divine approval and joy that resonates deeply within Evangelical, Reformed, and Charismatic theology. As the story unfolds, the Lord Jesus Christ, nearing the completion of His earthly ministry, declares with finality, “It is finished.” It was a declaration that impacted eternity, and changed your life and mine. This profound declaration, spoken from the cross, signals the fullness of the redemptive work entrusted to Him by the Father. It spoke of obedience in the face of terrible suffering and trial, and it was offered to the Father with you and me in mind.

“It is finished!” is a prophetic word the Church needs to hear regularly (we forget so easily and quickly).

The significance of these three words (one in the Greek) cannot be overstated. They mark the fulfilment of centuries of prophetic anticipation and the perfect obedience of the Son to the Father’s will. In response to this climactic moment, something extraordinary occurs: the veil in the temple, a thick curtain that symbolised the separation between a holy God and sinful humanity, is torn in two from top to bottom.  This dramatic act, performed by no human hand but by the sovereign initiative of God Himself, was an awesome indicator and sign that the barrier of sin has been decisively removed.

We can now draw close to God—and He can draw close to us!

The tearing of the veil is a declaration of the accessibility of God’s presence to all who would come by faith in His Son. It speaks of a new and living way opened up through the sacrifice of Jesus, through which we may now approach God with confidence and assurance (Hebrews 10:19-20). It’s an access that is not limited to a specific nation or a chosen few but is extended to all humanity, looking past all cultural, ethnic, and social divides.

I want to draw attention to this because prophetic ministry that is hand in glove with a healthy understanding and regard for theology will be a great treasure and resource for the Church. If you take prophetic ministry or gifting seriously, then the hard work of reading good, solid ‘hard-to-read’ books is absolutely worth it.

When people are found to be discouraged because they are focusing on themselves, the implications of this event (the Cross of Christ) for the church are profound and multifaceted. It underscores the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. No further sacrifices are required; the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus is complete and efficacious for all who believe. It adds a layer of grace upon grace for weary hearts.

Something else—when you consider the open access to God, you can see the practical ramifications for how believers live and interact. The church is called to be a community of reconciliation, mirroring the unifying work of Christ.

In a divided and fractured world, the church stands as a testament to the power of the gospel to break down walls of hostility, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds into a single family of faith (Ephesians 2:14-18).

I am aware I have rambled. To be to the point my intention is to say that prophetic ministry, stirred and initiated by the Holy Spirit is at its best when it draws on the vast treasures of scripture and clothes them in the things (imagery, thoughts, impressions, pictures) that the Spirit brings to mind.

For prophets…
Scroll to top