Today as I was driving home from work, God started to speak to me about releasing several prophetic words to the church in America. I felt a very sober atmosphere in the car as He spoke to me. It’s an atmosphere that I haven’t felt in quite a while. I knew that whatever was about to be heard by my ears would be rather intense and that this was not only a word for the body of Christ but for me as well. It seems, throughout scripture, that the prophetic words God releases to men and women of God have a profound impact on the listener and prophetic person and not just the recipient of the word.
God tells the prophet to eat the scroll, not only to speak it and deliver it but also to ingest and receive nutrition first. That’s the danger of releasing words before their season and delivering words too quickly. Many times we want to feel the thrill of prophetic ministry and in our youthfulness and inexperience we exchange responsibility for thrill. This is why accountability and mentoring is so important in prophetic ministry. We need those who have ministered in this manner for years before to come alongside us and guide us in the things of the Spirit.
God began to say to me, “The church thinks it knows about grace but it does not. The church also thinks it knows about righteousness but it does not. The grace that they think they know is really controlled complacency. The righteousness they think they walk in is the sin of appearance without the reality of holiness. Yet so many are engaged in arguments and debates with these two sides yet they are guilty of the sin of both. Those that are opposed to too much grace being given are guilty of the sin of appearance; they look like they are following all the rules, doing the right things but do not possess holiness and are not actually set apart. Those that are opposed to legalism, works and the performance of righteousness are guilty of controlled complacency; they offer a false grace to those imprisoned and held in slavery to sin and never free people from sin but perform planned ignorance of compromise. They suppose that if they are patient with the sin of these people in their lives, sin will disappear and righteousness will take shape with little or no effort on their part. This is not grace. It may be their version but it isn’t worthy of the same word I use.
In both of these groups, they are guilty of the sin of the priest, Eli and his sons. Eli’s sons were wicked and would sleep with prostitutes and the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting and defile the offering causing people to despise giving the offering because they would take the best parts of the meat for themselves.”
I was struck with such of an awareness of the presence of the God and also the mercy with which we live in. I immediately realized that many parts of my life should be removed from the place of complacency. I asked the Holy Spirit to come and empower me even more to be transformed and to be increasingly set apart for the purposes of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I came home and began to read about the life of the prophet, Samuel, one of the many men in the bible that I relate to. Samuel heard the audible voice of the Lord very early in his life and ministered before the Lord as a child. When I was 22, I made a decision to follow Christ and surrender my life to Him. That very night, I heard the audible voice of God call me by name and this continued on Feb 22 of the next two years. Just like Samuel, I heard the audible voice of the Lord call me three times and the last time, God revealed to me my calling and what my life was meant for. God truly met me in the child likeness of my early years just like the prophet Samuel. I had no idea what I was doing and in many cases I still don’t. I learned that it was ok if I didn’t and the Father simply wanted me close to Him; ministering before Him like Samuel.
I believe what the Lord is communicating to the church in this season is a warning to not be guilty of the sin of Eli. Eli’s role as priest of the tabernacle was a profound responsibility. He was in charge of making sure the Tabernacle was run and kept holy and that the priests were ministering to people and administering the worship of God appropriately. Instead the sons of Eli were engaging in intense sin because of their position. They were having sex out of covenant with various women at the very entrance to Holy ground. The tabernacle of meeting at that time was a very holy location for the people of God. It is where many would come to bring various offerings to the Lord. Eli’s sons were defiling the offering by removing the choice cuts of meat from it. This essentially removed all substance from the offering, as the point of making an offering was to offer your best to God. If the best parts of the meat were being removed, God was receiving the leftovers.
This was very serious sin and it was up to Eli to confront his sons and hold them accountable. Eli only confronted them after he heard bad reports from several people including another man of God, presumably a prophet or anointed servant of the Lord. Even when they were confronted and did not give heed to the words of their father, nothing was done. Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel and warned Eli of danger and destruction because of his sons’ sins and Eli’s response was the OT version of “it is what it is”; and so, it was.
How does this translate to the modern warning the Lord is giving many leaders and priests in the body of Christ today? Very simply put, false grace is rampant in the church. This fake grace is not grace at all and isn’t even worthy of the description of the word, grace. God’s grace is an immeasurable force in our lives and relationship with God and so defining it as a currency or number is absurd. Grace doesn’t look the same for every person or every situation in life. When we hear the word grace, what most people immediately visualize is the action of mercy; to deal mercifully with someone. For example, it was the mercy of God to forgive our debt of sin; it was the grace of God to give us resurrection life.
Grace does not in any way ignore sin. It is actually violently opposed to the bondage and slavery of sin in the Christian’s life. A “grace” that empowers ongoing sin in the believer’s life is the plan of the enemy to use revelation against us by adding a slight perversion. To some grace is mercy and forgiveness and a complete pardon of the wages of iniquity. To another grace is forgiveness but also justice; a justice that requires the individual to respond obediently and pursue health. Grace is like water; it fits and adapts to each of us as if we are containers. If you experience freedom of sin, then you can be sure you are being met with grace.
The other side of this issue that the Lord is addressing is false righteousness and specifically the sin of appearance. Many people, in reaction to a false grace ideology, go to the other extreme and deny grace the place of its redemptive power. Instead they insist on the appearance of holiness but lack its substance. It’s like someone who mimics tough talking fighters and thugs but has no fighting skills, guns, ammunition or any real experience being a tough guy. They may look the part but if you had x-ray glasses you would see the lack of any real substance. Much like the sons of Eli, they have the priestly position but their character is extremely lacking and though they wear the robes and the garments of someone who loves and ministers to God, they DO NOT know the Lord.
Obedience is vital, but it must be sincere otherwise we are not obeying the Lord but trying to buy a position of power. We are attempting to bribe God. Maybe if we don’t watch these movies or don’t listen to this music, God will give us a higher position before men. See, this attitude doesn’t desire the love of God or intimacy with God but rather prominence before the eyes of men. It is as ritualistic and evil as the building and worship of wooden idols. We are looking only for the benefits of being associated with God and not for truly knowing Him.
Ok, now its time for good news! God is sending out Samuels, modern-day prophets who will know the voice of the Lord and declare hope to sinning priesthood. It was said of Samuel that not one word that he spoke fell to the ground empty. Imagine if we had a company of prophetic voices whose words never left unfulfilled but carried weight and substantial power! Imagine the power of these prayers!
Yes, God is releasing a new wave of prophetic ministers who can hear from God; speak with authority and whose identity is grounded in sitting before the Lord. We need more ministers who live from the secret place and understand that it’s not a season but the purpose of life! They minister to the Lord and before Him, not to men and before men.