Prophecy Series, Encouraging Words Only Fallacy

Posted on June 21, 2015

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A very common doctrine among some of the spirit filled movement is that God gives encouraging words to us exclusively in this, the church age.  This doctrine trains people to give prophetic words that encourage others and that the prophets of the Old Testament and their ways are gone now. This doctrine is based on this passage.

I Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

As in most cases if you use just one passage and ignore the rest of the Bible you can come up with all kinds of doctrines that do not match God’s heart, commandments, and love for us. Often today some of the ministries that are on television that are the most popular are the “feel good” preachers and some of the largest churches are same only messages of encouragement and almost never dealing with error in the personal life, essentially the “Encouraging Word” doctrine is the same. I will show you through scripture both in teaching and examples how not all prophecy is pleasing to the ear.

Cessationism  

Cessationism is the doctrine held by much of the church world today that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased in the world today. They teach that healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and all the gifts of the Spirit were available for a season to launch the church and are rare at best today and mostly do not exist in the church today. In essence those that believe in only encouraging words in prophecy have joined party to this group saying God would never use prophecy as he commonly did for thousands of years.  On a side note, fear of a corrective word causing problems in the church for being wrong or not received well has also lead this group to silence corrective kind of words.  Everyone walks away happy when all you do is deliver encouraging words. Who could not be happy with God loves you and wants you to prosper?

Review, The Purpose of Prophecy

As I shared in the first post of this prophecy series, prophecy’s purpose is always about God’s plan for an individual, family, local group, and all the way up to a nation and the world. Prophecies are hidden things of God given to man to show us how to please God and follow His will more accurately.  On occasion in both Old and New Testament the prophecy could be viewed as encouraging but more often prophecy was given to correct the course to God’s will and often was the delivery of seemingly impossible tasks.

A Matter of Perspective

You can say that all prophecy is encouraging if you are willing to totally die to self and do everything God gives you to do. Here in America especially we are used to so much “Me Time” that we set goals for our lives on our own and often only call on God when times get tough.

Jonah

Jonah received a prophetic word to go give notice to Nineveh and he was so discouraged at what he was told to do that he ran from God. Then once Jonah did what he was told to do and prophecy to the people of Nineveh the people repented and the greatest revival in history took place and instead of Jonah being encouraged he was angry.  We often hear it said from Hebrews that God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever which is true and we need to apply that same truth in how God in what kinds of prophetic words come today.

New Testament Discouraging Words

Again, no matter what the word is it should be encouraging if you are sold out 100% to God.  If you have a secular life apart from your life as a believer then many words become harder to receive and even discouraging.  The Apostle Paul received a word that would have put most of us in severe dread and in the process of organizing a team of intercessors to change God’s plan.

Acts 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Not only did Agabus prophecy in words he used a visual aid of taking Paul’s girdle/belt and tied Paul up to give him a sample of what was going to happen.  As Paul says in the next few verses he was not discouraged but willing to do anything God asked him to do. You might make excuses why such this was an exception to the “Encouraging Word Doctrine” but there are many examples of God moving in the earth and through people’s lives that were harsh realities to accomplish God’s will.

Acts 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

 

Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

In a sinking ship Paul warned those about to get into a life boat that they would die if they did not remain in the ship.  How discouraging would it be that a prisoner tells you that if you do what makes the most sense you will die? In the first passage above Paul warned of potential doom and the word used is “Admonished.”  Admonish is not a common word or action in the church today with all the encouraging going on.

John 21: 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Even Jesus prophesied to Peter of an unpleasant death was waiting him in the future if he lived his live like he should. Often we say Jesus is the high-water mark of the life of a believer and our ultimate example how to live and minister, and this same Jesus prophesied words not pleasant to hear.

Angels Prophesy Hard Words

As Peter set in prison an angel came and loosed them then told his to go and preach at the temple which would potentially get him killed or back into prison at the least.

Acts 5: 19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Many today have trouble when angels are mentioned today as if it’s not biblical for an angel to come to a believer and speak to them. This angel came and helped them and prophetically gave them their next assignment. Not believing in the interaction of angels for us today is just another aspect of Cessationism.

Validation

Encouraging words are easy to validate because they mostly are simple and echo scripture which are common to use. A more difficult word is usually more difficult to accept.  God is so good and so far ahead of us that he has given us a system of validation.  First off any prophecy has to agree with the written word of God, this is primary and foremost.  The second way to validate a word is when the word comes from two or more sources.

I Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

Genesis 41: 32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

II Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Any word that you have received only once it is wise to put it to pray and ask God to confirm the word from another source. You could receive a word that God has called you to be an evangelist which would agree with the Bible as a legitimate call but being an evangelist may not be your call and it would be wise to get that word confirmed.  In most cases people receive many words confirming their call.

Watch for more in this series, Putting Prophecy to Use, False Prophets…

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