A prophet is divinely inspired to communicate and confirm Gods will to his people and to disclose their future direction, agenda, motivation or intent to them, prophets should only be deemed to be such and recognized in that office as a result of their godly character, maturity, wisdom and integrity.
There are many who call themselves prophets, but their lives do not portray the character or the wisdom that the true ministry gift of a prophet both deserves and demands, then secondly, men are not prophets simply because they believe they are. On the contrary men are given the responsibility of that office directly by the Lord himself and indirectly by the people whom they serve and oversee. These very same people recognize and respect that gifting or anointing of God with its resident authority upon the life and ministry of these endowed church leaders. These men must not demand but must earn the title of prophet, because they have been faithful in fulfilling the role and displaying the qualities that mark a true prophet. The scripture referring to the primary level of leadership (Deacon) states let a man serve and then let him be named among the people.
Foundations of Christ’s church
Paul when writing to the Ephesian church stated, “ the church is established or built upon a foundation of apostles of apostles and prophets. EPH 2.20. Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone or literally the final authority to whom all men (apostles and prophets also) must bow and yield. Here is demonstrated the principle of the inverted pyramid mentioned in Isaiah 9;6 A body has two shoulders supporting the head, but those two should carry the other three gifts on them evangelist, pastor and teacher and they in turn carry the burden of those below them on their shoulders.
Many men and ministries aspire to these elevated positions but unless they attain the qualifications and characteristics of these highly esteemed and honourable positions they deceive themselves. The higher you rise the lower you will serve, not be served. They are deceived if they think they can operate in the gifting without the credibility and impartation of God to do so. By contrast the book of Revelation chapter 2 verse 2 commends the church there for not being deceived and taken in by those who call themselves apostles and prophets but who are really not as they claim.
The Greek text uses the thought of pseudo apostles and prophets meaning they look like the real thing but are not, they are actually counterfeit, or false, a mirage. They run declaring they have something to say but their lives reveal, they have little wisdom and in most cases have neither the knowledge nor the credibility and much less the integrity required to speak as such.
Why we need foundations
A building is only as strong as its foundation and if the foundation is weak then the building is also, but if the foundation is strong then so is the building. Jesus spoke much about building your foundations on solid rock certainly not on sand Math 7;24. The Greek word for building is the word edifice from which we get the direct translation of the word into English which is EDIFY.
So everything that is done in the church should be done with the pure motivation to edify and build up, especially in regard to the ministry or service of prophesying. There has been much disrepute, brought upon the church by unwise and unscrupulous men and women and it will continue more and more so till the coming of the Lord. This is why God is particularly concerned with the character and caliber of those who are placed in positions of responsibility to guide and govern his church.
We are not to be swayed by what a man calls himself but only by the example of what his life demonstrates or in other words as Jesus put it, we are not to make our evaluations concerning an individual especially a so called leader based on what he proclaims to be his gift. On the contrary we are make our evaluation based upon his fruit which is the actual evidence of integrity and character that motivates his life style.
Foolish Christians falsely claim we are not to judge someone, that is wrong, the Bible instructs us to judge all things and to only hold on to or keep those things which are right and just. What we are instructed not to do is to judge in such a way as to condemn an individual or to write him off. There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and we are to constantly administer or exemplify them and we are to counsel others to exemplify them also especially leaders. Fruit in this case does not refer to his achievements in ministry but it absolutely refers to his character. Mathew 7;13 – 23 speaks volumes concerning this and also much about those who call themselves prophets but whom the Lord actually disowns.