The Prophet Pays a Price

Several years ago, I took a spiritual gifts test. I’ve taken others since, and they all reveal the same thing. My spiritual gift is prophet. The spiritual gift of prophet is not so much foretelling as it is forth-telling. The prophet sees a problem and addresses it. Such was the role of the prophets in Israel. The Old Testament prophets called God’s people to repentance, revival, and renewal. They could not and would not settle for status quo.

 

Manley Beasley once told me the difference between the gift of discernment and the gift of prophet. The person with discernment can tell you what a specific problem is, whereas the person with the prophet gift can tell you there’s a problem, although they may not be able to identify it exactly. This is not natural intuition, but a spiritual inclination.

 

Being a prophet was never an easy calling, then or now. To be prophetic (And I’m in no way referring to what the new age, pseudo- psychic, television gurus call a prophet – they don’t have a clue.) is to call sin, sin. It is to say, without apology or reservation, “Thus saith the Lord.”

 

To be honest, it is a tough call…and calling. Yet, there is nothing un-Christlike about being dogmatic. We expect our doctors to be dogmatic in recommending dosages and pharmacists to be dogmatic in filling the prescriptions. We want judges who are dogmatic in upholding law and order. Preachers, whether they have the gift of prophet or not, should be dogmatic. To turn black and white into grey doesn’t honor God, it just makes sinners feel better about themselves.

 

Amos was the troubler from Tekoa. He disturbed the peace, caused a ruckus, and upset the local denominational leaders. He assumed the right to speak for Jehovah, to judge sin, to call names, and to point out the farce in the worship services. Nobody saw anything wrong with their religion until Amos turned in his sermon outline. Dr. Havner said, “Amos was not a prophet by profession (I was no prophet…7:14), nor by parentage (…neither was I a prophet’s son…v. 14); he was a prophet by providence (…the Lord took me…v. 15).” What better credentials does any man need?

 

When I get weary of this calling, I have to remember that I asked for it. I told Dr. Havner I wanted a portion of his mantle. He laid hands on me and prayed that it would be so. To be honest, there are some days when I’ve wondered about that youthful request. He told me there was a price to pay – at times, it seems very high. Yet, it is my calling, my purpose, the life God marked out for me. To fall back from such a calling would be to walk out of the will of God.

 

Read these words by Vance Havner:

 

“The preacher who jests and jokes with his people all week will soon find that he cannot stand in his pulpit on Sunday with power to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. He may be the life of the party but it will be the death of the prophet. Popularity has killed more prophets than persecution. A true pastor must not only feed the flock, he must warn the flock. He must not only be zealous, but jealous.”

 

“A preacher should have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros. His problem is how to toughen his hide without hardening his heart. Preaching the truth makes people either sad, mad, or glad. Too many people today leave church on Sunday neither sad, mad, nor glad; they go out as they came in. Better go out mad than just go out!”

 

“The true preacher is best measured not by how many bouquets have been pinned on him but by how many brickbats have been pitched at him. Prophets have been on the receiving end of mud more than medals.”

 

Our Lord Jesus was the Divine Disturber. He disturbed the status quo, calling self-righteous religious people “children of the devil.” He preached on hell more than anyone in the Bible. He confronted Pharisees and embraced pagans. He upset the apple cart in His Father’s house: “It shall be called a house of prayer.” Religious people will either run from a prophet or try to destroy him – only the remnant receives the prophet.

 

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea, and John the Baptist all preached repentance to the church – to God’s people. Their message wasn’t to pagans, but to the priests, Levites, and Pharisees – people who had memorized the first five books of the Bible. The last words of Jesus to His church were prophetic. “I will remove,” “I will fight,” “I will kill,” “I will come as a thief,” “I will spit you out of my mouth” – all alternatives to repentance. His prophetic Word to the church was, “Repent or else.”

 

Joseph Parker said, “The man whose message is ‘repent’ sets himself against his age, and will be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man…off with his head! You had better not preach repentance until you have pledged your head to Heaven!”

 

When America is finally and fully judged, the blame will be placed at the door of the professing church…and gutless pastors. As long as preachers care more about popularity than being prophetic, more about making people happy than calling them to holiness, we cannot point fingers at the President, Congress, Humanists, abortionists, or homosexuals. The problem is within American Christianity. We will not receive a biblically prophetic word. Until the church hears and heeds, nothing will change. To refuse the prophet is to request divine judgment. The prophet’s calling is lonely, sometimes discouraging (read the Old Testament prophets), and usually misunderstood. The only reason a true prophet speaks is he is compelled by God, broken by sin, and he desires God’s people to experience God’s best. Yet, that kind of preaching cost John the Baptist his head. Ouch…

10 thoughts on “The Prophet Pays a Price

  1. I do not envy the calling, but am thankful for those who are so called. Blessed by your ministry and your life. You do not stand alone. God has reserved many who have not bowed the knee to the god of this age. May He give us the strength to stand.

  2. In Sunday School yesterday, someone asked, “Where are the Jeremiah’s today? You are one…and there are lots…I have taken those same personality tests and it comes up on me…try being a woman who is speaking truth to other women!!!! Cat fight!! :-) But it is a calling. I pray that you and all others called will stand strong in the fight for holiness!!

  3. I agree with the importance of the Word in partnership with repentant people. I have always had a hurting heart for God’s lost and loitering people both in and out of the church. I have always felt if I could just get someone to see, for even a moment, God through the eyes of love that He implants in us at the moment of true salvation, that they would refuse to live any other way. It trully helps for the world to see your heart transparently laid out like this. With of all the success and growth of you, Sherwood, and it’s many ministries it gives due respect and glory to God when your words, writings, teachings, and actions can demonstrate a Godly shaped humility. I commend you because sincerity, with clarity, is a modern day rarity. God Bless You and continue to strengthen you, Pastor Catt. . . .

  4. My dear brother, I am right there with you in every respect as “a prophet” burdened for the fancy free lifestyle that so many who profess the name of Christ in America are living, and in reality … ‘demanding’. The prophetic message of one, so called of God, has never been a welcome message UNTIL the church once again falls comfortably at the feet of Jesus. I am reminded that in the six-fold message given to Jeremiah (1:10), four of the six parts of his message were seen as negative – ‘to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down’ and only two seen as positive – ‘to build, and to plant.’ Somewhere in our desire to be “seeker sensitive” we have become “seeker driven” and to a large degree allowed lost, or at best, carnal people to determine focus & methodology within the church, which He purchased with His own blood.
    There must first be birthed in our hearts, by the Spirit of God, a holy dissatisfaction with business as usual and an insatiable desire for the glory of God to take center stage in our hearts and in our service. I say, “Amen” to your heart’s desire and join mine with you. There is a small group of pastors that I join my heart with every Monday morning at 7:14 (based on II Chron. 7:14) to cry out to God that once again, He would by His Spirit invade our comfortable “Christianity” and call us back to His holiness. Oh, may He increase, and may we decrease!
    Blessings! Tim

  5. pastor catt thank god that you were called to preach the word of god to everyone that listens and not just hears you. your sermons and your church have touched my heart and you are blessed with the knowledge to interpret the bible so that when we listen to you we can fully understand how god wants us to live. amen. and god bless u

  6. The wounds inflicted on Prophets will be healed in Heaven so well that even the scars will be gone! You do a great job presenting prophetic .messages in new and innovative ways.

  7. I read Psalm 69 this morning and thought of you and decided to come here. Your calling is a lonely one but you are called. Those hungry for a word of God come for it — those who have itching ears will go elsewhere to have ears to be scratched. I thank God Almighty for a pastor who cares more about what God thinks than man. Oh what a burden you must bear – one we do not know or understand and yet, I am grateful that God has made you for such a time as this and that my family and I are allowed to seek God with you as we pray in agony on what our country has become and as we fear the precipice that we are sliding towards. God doesn’t blame the world — but “my people who are called by my name.”

    These words are from Psalm 69 – hope you consider reading this passage today – have a feeling the shoe might fit for you these days:

    But I am poor, sorrowful, and in pain; let Your salvation, O
    God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him
    with thanksgiving, And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a bullock
    that has horns and hoofs. The humble shall see it and be glad; you who seek God,
    inquiring for and requiring Him [as your first need], let
    your hearts revive and live! For the Lord hears the poor and needy
    and despises not His prisoners (His miserable and wounded ones). Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that
    moves in them. (Psalm 69:29-34 AMP)’

    Praying for you today. Totally convicted of my own prayerlessness for leaders in my life — Stephen Kendrick’s call was a humble one to pray – but also to act. We can’t blame if we don’t call on God’s name on behalf of those we are criticizing. We are TOLD to pray and we just don’t.

    Thank you for speaking God’s word. For every critic, there are those of us convicted, heartbroken, and totally resonating in every fiber of our being that we are experiencing a movement of God. We know not where He will lead but may it be away from our selfishness, self centeredness, and idolatry in a world that sounds a whole lot like Judges.

    For some reason, my heart leaps as I think about our church reading through the entire Bible in the next week. Something is happening — actually – if we get out of the way — SomeOne is showing up. May we be servants and not obstacles. Praying for you today.

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