Session 15: God Can and Will Use Anyone
1. The Biggest Challenge is also the Best Answer
- Sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and Jesus has come to reconcile us (Romans 5:18, Ephesians 2:8,9). The only way to obtain the incredible gift of salvation is to be connected to Jesus.
- We can know Him through the Bible, but unfortunately “Christians” have given a wrong picture of God. However, if as Christians, we’re connected to God, then we can indeed be a powerful witness for Him as He’s called us to be (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).
- This evidenced by the fact that a survey by NADEI (North American Division Evangelism Institute) in 2008 shows that 70-90% of respondents said that they came to church and to Christ because of a friend or relative.
- We are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1-3); throughout history since the separation due to sin, God has used all sorts of people to point back to Him. These include Moses, Paul and even lesser known people like the young, unnamed servant girl who spoke up for God to Naaman (2 Kings).
- In being connected to God, we can speak powerfully and mightily for Him as we exhibit good fruits (Matthew 7:16,18; Galatians 5:22-25); we are also equipped with the gifts of spirit (Romans 12:4-8, Ephesians 4:8,11-16, 1 Corinthians 12)
2. The Gift of Prophecy
- The gift of prophecy is the only spiritual gift that’s mentioned in all three listings of the gifts as above. Jesus has warned that there will be many false prophets that will arise in the last days (Matthew 24:24), and some will even come from within and among us (2 Peter 2:1)
- Since this is such an important matter, we would do well to pay attention to it.
- The biblical definition of prophet isn’t just limited to one who foretells the future.
- Aaron (Exodus 7:1-2) is called a prophet (Hebrew word = aybin" navi), which actually means “spokesperson”.
- 1 Samuel 9:9 describes a prophet as a “seer” (Hebrew word = ha,(ro roeh).
- A prophet can also be a leader (Judges 4:4) and a female (Miriam - Exodus 15:20,21; Huldah - 2 Kings 22:14, Anna - Luke 2:36-39)
- Generally speaking, there are four different kinds of prophets –
i. Prophets who wrote some of the Bible
- Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, John
ii. Prophets whose messages and ministry are preserved in the Bible, but didn’t write any books of the Bible
- Elijah and Elisha (1 and 2 Kings)
-Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29)
-Shemaiah (2 Chronicles 12:15)
-Jasher (Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18)
iii. Prophets who gave oral testimonies but whose words were not preserved
-70 elders (Numbers 11:24,25)
-A Group that joined Saul (1 Samuel 10:5,6,10)
-Prophets hidden in the caves by Obadiah (1 Kings 18:4,13)
-The four daughters of Phillip (Acts 21:9)
iv. New Prophets
-A spiritual gift (Romans 12:6, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:10)
-The last days (Joel 2:28)
3. Identifying a True Prophet of God
- Whatever is spoken / communicated must be in harmony with God’s word (Isaiah 8:20)
- If the future is foretold, the predictions must come to pass (Jeremiah 28:9)
- Edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:3-4)
- Exalts Jesus Christ (1 John 4:1-2)
- Bears good fruit (Matthew 7:16,18)
4. Prophets in the last days
- The Bible is clear that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and that “your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28).
- I believe that the time is NOW; we can trace this back to the Great Religious Awakening of the 19th century, when the Bible was opened and prophecy studied carefully.
- William Miller and his followers predicted that Jesus would come on October 22nd 1844, but they were of course wrong. However, it was the event that they got wrong, not the date. They had incorrectly interpreted Daniel 8:14 and the cleansing of the Sanctuary (this is a full study in and of itself!)
- It was during this time that God chose to restore the gift of prophecy.
5. Ellen White
- In choosing a prophet, one would certainly not choose someone who is naturally proud and ambitious, embarrassed and secretive about spiritual concerns, terrified of dying and being lost and anxious about salvation. Add to the fact that she was struck in the face by a rock at 9 years old and went into a 3-week coma (she was bedridden for many weeks), while developing terminal tuberculosis and became pale, sickly and underweight… this was not someone whom one would naturally give the gift of prophecy (and plus she only had a Grade 3 education!).
- However, as Ellen Harmon was converted, God gave her visions and dreams and she and her husband James White both dedicated their lives to serving God.
- For 70 years she spoke, wrote, taught and counselled for God, all this while making sure to point back to the “Greater Light” of the Bible (Colporteur Ministry, p125) and that we should “cling to it as it reads” (Selected Messages Book 1, p18).
- She is the most translated American author (male or female), and the third most translated author in history, writing over 100,000 pages or 25 million words, including letters, diaries, periodical articles, pamphlets and books.
- She wrote extensively on health as well, amongst other things, and the New York Independent (August 23, 1915) describes her thus – “She showed no spiritual pride and she sought no filthy lucre. She lived the live and did the work of a worthy prophetesss, the most admirable of the American succession.”
- For more on Ellen White, please go to http://whiteestate.org/
Ellen White certainly had a special gift that God gave her in order to further His kingdom; the point is again simply this – God can and will used anyone. His ultimate purpose is get as many ready for heaven as possible; as long as we’re connected to Him, God can and will use mightily for His glory.