We hear a lot of messages today. Some sound plausible, some do not. But, how do we know a true prophecy is from God? I can suggest two ways.
Answer 1: The answer comes right from I John 4.1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
We are not to believe everything we hear, but we are admonished to try the spirits. This means that we need to be firm in our basic understanding, and then make sure that what we hear agrees with the Bible. This also means not to believe your pastor just because it was said from the pulpit. We really should study it for ourselves. A study method is shown in 2 Timothy 3:16:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
You may have heard the saying that “The Bible is a fiddle, you can play any tune one it”. But a true student of the Bible wouldn’t agree. The Bible shouldn’t contradict itself. The 2 Timothy scripture is saying to read more than just one verse and attempt to make sense of it. The profit comes in studying entire topics. Take these topics and discuss it with others of like understanding. Then we should see that Bible scriptures do not contradict other Bible scriptures. If they do, then maybe it takes more study before making a “thought” or “idea” your personal dogma.
A simple example of taking a topic/scripture out of context would be Luke 14:26,
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
This scripture on its own is instructing us to hate our parents. But a student of the Bible would understand the deeper meaning to “Love Less” your parents than you love the Lord. Taking a single thought out of context can lead to a misguided understanding.
Likewise, we shouldn’t take an idea we hear from a Pastor/Prophet and agree with it, unless it harmonizes with rest of the Bible.
Answer 2: Does your pastor/prophet talk about Christ’s upcoming Kingdom? He should.
It says in Acts 3:21, “ …Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Every Holy Prophet should be preaching the message of the times of restitution. If that Pastor/Prophet doesn’t incorporate that message, maybe we shouldn’t be listening to his instruction.