A Prophetic Word to Living Faith
Sunday, January 9, 2005
I want to share a few things with the body here that I felt the Lord wants to share with you this morning from the book of Acts (chapters 11 and 13). I felt the Lord speaking to me about the church at Antioch. It was a comparison that the Lord was giving me with what He is doing here, what He has been doing here, what He is going to continue to do here, and what is the will of God for here. I call it the Antioch type of church and this is what I’m going to refer to you guys as - an Antioch type of vision, an Antioch type of church. You can see it in Acts 11 and Acts 13. There were great numbers being taught in Antioch. There were great numbers coming to the Lord. The grace of God was with them. That’s evident in Acts 11. I hope as I am saying this - may it just be confirming, may it just be the spirit of the Lord confirming His heart and His work, His grace that is already in you and among you.
There is in the church in Antioch an international effect of that church. Brothers and sisters, God’s purpose from the very beginning for the church of Antioch was that they were going to be those who were sent out to the nations. But first you see in Antioch, diversity. It was a diverse church ethnically. You go into the book of Galatians. That’s where you see that Paul confronts Peter for prejudice concerning the Gentiles. When the Jews came down, Peter separated himself from the Gentiles and Paul confronted him right to his face. He said “No, no, you’re not going to be prejudiced against the Gentile brothers.” So, Antioch was the kind of church that had diversity. There were all the dynamics of the life of the Son operating through the church. There was the beauty of all the barriers broken down. The racial and gender barriers were broken down and Jesus was being manifest, Jesus was being taught. Life in Christ was being taught, and so thus, there was this international effect to it.
I know you know this, but let me encourage you, ethnically, to be diverse. We see this in the church at Antioch - strong, biblical teaching. Christ laid His foundation, but from the very inception of that church, there was the international purpose of God over the church. Teams would go forth to the nations, and that’s exactly what happens in Acts 13, because the church at Antioch represents an international vision, not just local. Yes, local. Strong local, as we can see in Acts 11, but that which is strong locally also begins to go forth into the nations. Those teams which were to be sent out - I just want to confirm to you that this is the will of God.
He said to me that you guys are exactly - and I’ve never said that to a church before - where He wants you. And I’m not talking about location. I’m talking about that He is doing exactly what He wants to be doing among you. It doesn’t mean we’re not growing. I’m not saying that, but may it just comfort your hearts, you are exactly where He wants you to be. He’s doing exactly what He wants to be doing among you right now. I don’t come with some great thing to say: “You need to do this or that…” I wouldn’t do that anyway publicly. I’d share something of that nature privately. But I’m simply saying to you, there is an Antioch type of vision. It was from the very inception God’s purpose. It is God’s purpose, it is God’s plan, and it is God’s desire.
So, I want to encourage you with that in Acts chapters 11 and 13 - the diversity and yet the beauty of their focus, and the oneness that they have in Christ. There is great diversity and yet there is the oneness of that life, that oneness of the Son, the oneness of their faith; and that’s the oneness of Him that is in them, filling them. So, that’s Antioch in the New Testament. And, I just want to say again - the Lord has you exactly where He wants, doing exactly what He wants through you right now. So, there’s no sweat.
The Proper Alignment of Prophetic Ministry in the Church
Now, I had something that happened before I came up that I want to share as best I can. It’s unusual, but it happened about four years ago and it was specific then. I didn’t catch it at first. I’ll just be honest with you. It deals with a word called “alignment.” Alignment. What actually happened to me was that my back went out of alignment for about five days. I stumbled around the house for about five days while my back was out of alignment. That hadn’t happened to me since 2001. So I thought, “Lord, what am I going to do? You’re going to have to heal me before I come here.” Or, you guys were going to need to wheel me around in a wheelchair or something! That’s how bad it was. So, the final day before I came up here, the Lord speaks to me and He says very simply, “It’s about alignment in the body here, alignment in this body.” After He said that, He healed me, and so here I am.
Well, that wasn’t all He showed me. What He showed me was very specific, and believe me, this is not a negative word. This is a positive word, but it does deal with the prophetic. It is just too easy, prophetically, to think that the prophetic has a larger place, and the need of a larger place, than what it has. This is a heart thing now, to where the prophetic can become so much of a focus within us, within our heart’s desire, that it begins to get out of alignment with the full purposes of Christ in His body; to where it becomes so important and we think it’s more important than other things, and suddenly it begins to skew out, tries to rise up. The prophetic is important. The prophetic has a place. The prophetic has a purpose as the testimony of Jesus, but no more importance than what God’s full purposes are with His body and the other parts of the body. No doubt the prophetic is a part. Here I am sharing prophetic things - you know I believe that. But what is easy is to get into our hearts and minds sometimes that it needs a larger place than other places. No, it’s a part, but it has boundaries, and it has limitations. We don’t want to take it away, but we want to understand it as the part that it is and not try to make it into a whole. Do you understand what I’m saying? To make it bigger than what it’s meant to be is to get it out of alignment with the rest of the body and the purpose of God in the body. This is not negative. It’s not meant to crush something.
No, what I’m trying to say is that, in the purposes of alignment in the body, understand the prophetic for what it is and the purposes of God in it. But it must not become exaggerated or greater than what it’s meant to be. If that happens, then there is going to be misalignment in the body. God wants to bring us back into proper alignment, to see it in the light of the whole of His body, in all that He desires to manifest of Himself through His body. Not just in the prophetic word, but in all the manifestations of Christ in and through His body.
When we see it as the whole, then it’s not - and this is easy if you’re a prophetic person. You appreciate what the Lord is doing with you, sometimes at the expense of seeing other things. We see what God is doing with us and speaking to us so prominently, and we think that must be the most important thing. I assure you that it isn’t! No, it’s all that He is doing in the body that is important. Amen? He wants ALL of the parts of the body to line up with His purpose and His mandate, and this isn’t a big thing.
I don’t believe that things are bad out of alignment right now. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that things are all out of whack here. I am saying that there is an alignment in the heart that God wants us to speak about and bring into understanding. Yes, the prophetic is important, but it is not extraordinarily important. See what I’m saying? Yes, it is needed, but not at the expense of everything else. Yes, the Lord wants it to be operating, but we can get to the place where unless this operates then this and this is not going to happen, etc. See, that’s way overboard in our understanding of the prophetic.
God, I believe, in this season of time, is doing this very thing. He’s focusing upon His body the fullness of Him that fills that body, every part of that body. Just come into the agreement of God and understand that it’s not just this part and that part, but it’s the whole that He’s after, the building up of the whole. We have to see the whole of the body and what God is doing, and appreciate what God is doing through the various members of the body. It’s that kind of season the Lord is focusing on - the entirety of His body - so we can walk and live in appreciation for what God is doing in each other (the revelation of Christ which is there), not looking down on each other. Amen.
Now, one other thing before I close. This word came to me about “be ready”. It was real simple. That’s the word He said to me: “Be ready.” Here’s what I think it means. Be ready! You’ve seen growth; you’re going to continue to see growth; and (I say this cautiously) even more numerical growth. All I’m saying to you is that it is not over - your numerical growth is not over. Be ready. This does not mean to be in a hurry, or a rush, but be ready for what the Lord is doing and desires to do. It is growth beyond just numerical growth - there’s growth in the Lord, the Lord growing you up to the fullness of who He is. That’s our main focus, but yes, there will be further numerical growth for this gathering, this local body of Christ. There’s going to be diversity that comes with that, and more outreach, in what I was being shown. More outreach in different areas, locations, those types of things. Be ready in heart and spirit for what the Lord is doing and wants to do. Amen.
Words by Malcolm Webber:
Just before we go, I want to be sure that we’re really listening and taking seriously what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. Terry was a little more open in sharing those revelations in the second meeting than he was in the first. But he’s very understated in the way that he shares prophetic revelation. This is because he has had a lot of dramatic supernatural experiences - all of the dramatic prophetic experiences - but as you can tell, he doesn’t talk about it much these days, and that’s because he has seen the abuse and the pride and the arrogance and the hype and all that stuff. And he’s so wanting to, as he did today, preach the Lord Jesus Christ, His person; not himself, but the Lord Jesus - the reality of Him in us, in the church. And so I want us to understand the significance of what God spoke.
Terry shared that God spoke to him the words “get ready”. That came in an audible voice to Terry last night as he was asleep in our house, and this is God confirming our direction as a church. You know, Terry, you don’t know this, but what the Lord had spoken to us for the year is “local impact”, and He spoke that to us over a year ago - that 2005 would be a year of local impact. I didn’t want to share that with you - I just didn’t want to bias anything that you would or wouldn’t say. And so God is speaking to us, dear friends. He’s confirming our focus on local impact here, that He wants to give us fruitfulness and increase - increase in the area of diversity, of spiritual increase, but also winning the lost.
Then when Terry shared about his back…for five days he had this affliction in his back, and he was wondering how he was going to be able to drive up here. He drove up here on Friday. On Thursday, God spoke to him that this back situation was a picture of our church - of Living Faith, of our church family - and as Terry heard that and understood that, he was instantly healed. This was a very dramatic, profound event - prophetic event - through which God wants us to hear His word to us as a body. I think the area of “alignment” is not a corrective word, as Terry shared, it’s not saying that things are way out of whack. He primarily applied it to the prophetic, but it is a caution and it is a word from God to not allow ourselves to get out of focus, out of alignment. And I think it also applies to the church, that we hold all things in balance, in the whole picture of the body.
And then I was very encouraged by Terry saying that the Lord told him that as a church we’re where God wants us to be. Of course we know that that is not saying that we’re perfect. We know that God is a little smarter than that! But it is an affirmation that our general direction is sound, and we should be encouraged by that.
Then Terry spoke about how God has called us to be an Antioch kind of church, and this is the same word, the same picture, that Michael Sullivant used on several occasions when he came. When Michael came to us and shared that, he was speaking completely from a blank slate. When we have prophetic people come in, I don’t share with them a bunch of stuff. I don’t tell them what we’re doing or what we’re thinking or where we’re going, because I don’t want to try to give these little hints on what I want them to say. If God wants to use them, it’s fine if He does, or if He doesn’t, it’s okay. But if He wants to, then we want them to be able to come just from a blank slate. So Terry and I had not discussed this before, this idea about the global and the local outreach, but also the international ministry. So it was without any influence from me that he shared that. We talked about this last night - he shared these things with me last night. And I assumed that “you’ve talked to Michael about this, haven’t you?” I said that, and he said they hadn’t discussed the church at all. This was totally again from a blank slate. God has allowed our brother to come into our midst and say this to us, and confirm this direction that He has called us, to be engaged in the nations in a significant way, as well as locally.
Now we know that - and we’ve been doing this since the beginning of the church - but it’s something that God keeps affirming to us, keeps speaking to us, and I suppose that sooner or later we’ll listen, and maybe He can talk about something else. But I think these revelations from our brother here are very significant, and because of the understated, subtle way that he shared them with us, I didn’t want them to just slide by and we say, “Oh, that’s nice.” God has spoken to us in a very significant way here today and we need to embrace this and take this seriously. Praise God! Mighty days, huh? Amen!