It can come in the form of verses that is like dropped into your mind, or even seeing visions. Some hear non audible voices in the midst of waiting upon the Lord.
Acts 2:17–18 (ESV)
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
We are now in the end time. Theologically, end time or eschatology started from the resurrection of Christ till the return of Christ. We are 2000 years after that, right in the midst of that. It says in the last days, v17 I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, that’s the key verse. God pouring his Spirit upon all flesh, not only some selected individuals. V18 and they shall prophesy. Prophesying is debated among scholars just exactly what they mean. A prophetic sermon is a sermon that communicates the heartbeat of God at the time as it was preached. Prophecy is relevant and applicable at that time, at that place, to the people concerned. It’s always specific, and not general. To miss the prophetic voice of God, and calling prophecy has ceased is very unfortunate.
1 Corinthians 13:8–12 (ESV)
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Reformed scholars teach that tongues and prophecy have ceased, because perfect has come. Tongues and prophecy in Acts were given after the finished work of Christ! Only after Christ has returned to heaven, he gave gifts to some to be teachers, prophets etc.
Ephesians 4:8–13 (ESV)
8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Christ ascended on high, and he gave gifts to men. What gifts? He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. Charismatics commonly called it as the 5-fold ministry. These gifts were given as Christ ascended back to heaven. Many refer these to just the apostolic ministry of Peter, Paul, and others, and they call us as in the post apostolic age. It is hard to see and read that Jesus gave gifts of these ministries for one generation. There is no context for that, and there is certainly no argument for that. For sure we have not achieved the full maturity in Christ, and there is no way, God suddenly pulled the plug after Peter, James, Paul. Yes, we see a different wave of move of the Spirit now, but that’s no ground to eliminate the offices, therefore.
I will share a testimony of the power of prophetic voice from God. First, when we were about to start our first church in Kuching, a camp speaker who is a pastor from New Zealand, prophesized over me in our church camp in Kuching Malaysia, years ago. Ps Steve Blackmore, who had never met me prior to that, was called by my senior pastor to lay hands on me and prophesize over me as I was torn at that time of seeking to leave the mother church and join a church planting movement round the world. The tension was pulpable, at least for me, with about 200 pairs of eyes watching me holding my first born in my hands at that time. Someone went to call my wife to come. Lo and behold, that pastor laid hands on me, in the presence of God, and with the entire church watching , he prophesied that the Lord has called me to go to a new land, outside of this church, so as to join the work God has called me. It’s just dropped like a bomb upon me barely on the first sentence. As a matter of fact, my senior pastor at that time disagreed with my intension to leave and join the other church planting movement, and here the prophet he invited from New Zealand, a mega church pastor himself, prophesized contrary to what he was hoping, and exactly what I needed. Tears came rolling down my cheeks as I was stunned at the turn of events, I felt a big burden lifted off my chest. I felt God just came down on me by his Spirit. Thereafter my pastor released me to move forward, and my assistant hugged me and blessed me. That’s how we started our journey of church planting in Malaysia.
We went ahead and planted our first indigenous Bahasa Malaysian church consisting 100% of college and high school students within a few months thereafter. It took off within months to reach 60 people, and we saw students would take bus, and walked to our mansion house, in Bampfylde road, Kuching, one of the most expensive zip code with nice trees around. Also at that time, just before I launched the church, my aunt heard that I was seeking a building to start my church, she gladly suggested I rent her mansion house of 6 bedrooms in a half an acre land in a posh land to start the church at less than half the normal rental. I was blown away, and I knew in my heart, this is the Lord. Students came in buses, and would stay overnight on Saturday nights when I would teach them leadership word of God, and the next day our Sunday service. Our worship is through the roof, the energy of these students were unheard of. To the extent there were times, my neighbors would yell at us because we were loud on Saturday night worship that lasts over an hour! My life was totally transformed. I connected with the Holy Spirit, the anointing of God was upon us, and it was a mini revival that’s not seen among students especially the native speaking Bidayuh, and I being a Chinese Malaysian. It was incredible, as God trained me to learn Bahasa in my one year stint in Bintulu in my job posting, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to preach in Bahasa, as I went to study in England and never took Bahasa seriously , in fact failed in my Form 5 Bahasa test.
That’s how marvelous what God did, and it is glorifying God for sure. The spirit of revival was among the students, and I would host camps for them twice a year. All our food and expenses were kept to a minimum with the natives students, and in fact, my wife and I paid for all the food bill of some 50 students that came over night on Saturdays and they ate simple food but with such glad ness and joy!
Today these students continued to grow and many cities have them as their pastors, definitely in the Bahasa church.