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The Prophets

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Prophets”

Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

August 1, 2021

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever gone to hear someone speak or sing or something like that it takes a while to get to the person you want to hear? I remember going to Christian concerts at Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland when I was a teenager. The concerts would always start with the opening band, but I was always looking forward to hearing from the main attraction. Or, just recently I went to a conference and there were several preachers, but I really wanted to hear from Dr. Tony Evans. Maybe you’ve been on a trip away from home and you can’t wait to get home and speak to your family. You just want to hear from them. 

Well, listen, church: we should want to hear from God, shouldn’t we? If He is our Lord, if He is our Father, if He is our King, we should want to hear from Him!

In the days of old, the primary way that God would speak to His people was through the prophets. God would often have a message for His people and He would deliver that message through His prophets. 

We are continuing our series called, “A Journey through the Old Testament.” Today, we’re learning about the prophets.[on screen]

Before we go any further, let’s pray to God and ask Him to speak to us now through His Word. 


As we study the prophets of the Old Testament, we are going to look at the major elements, the major truths, and how the Gospel speaks to us through this aspect of the Old Testament. 

So, first, let’s look at the . . . 

I. Major elements [on screen]

1. God gave prophets to His people to deliver His word to them. [on screen]

Very simply, the prophets were regular people whom God called to deliver His message. 

Most of the time, the prophets were called to deliver God’s word to God’s people. At other times, God’s prophets delivered His message to neighboring nations. 

God called many different types of people to be prophets. For instance, there were some prophets like Elisha who were trained to be prophets from a very young age. There were other prophets, such as Amos who was a shepherd, who  had normal lives, but God called them to be a prophet in the middle of all they were doing. 

By the way, we need to distinguish between the people who are prophets and the books of the Bible that are labeled “the Prophets.”  There are books of prophecy in the Bible. We often call these “major prophets” and “minor prophets.” We don’t call them that because some are more important than others. Rather, the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentation, Daniel, and Ezekiel) are longer than the others, so they’re called major. Hosea through Malachi are shorter, so we call them the minor prophets. 

There are, however, certainly some more famous people who were prophets like Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Elijah. 

So, that’s a little bit about who the prophets were. 

Also, we learn of that . . .

2. The prophets served during the same time as the kings. [on screen]

The prophet often spoke the message of God to the king and the king was to lead the people. In other words, the prophet represented God and the king represented the people.

Sometimes there were good interactions between the king and the prophet, such as when Nathan called David to repentance in 2 Samuel 12. 

Other times, things did not go so smoothly between the prophets and the kings, such as when Elijah and King Ahab had a confrontation in 1 Kings 18.

Let’s read about this because there’s so old-fashioned biblical trash-talking, or taunting, in 1 Kings 18:17-18. It says, “When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, the one ruining Israel?’ He replied, ‘I have not ruined Israel, but you and your father’s family have, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals.’” [on screen]

This was before “your mama” insults. This was a “your daddy” insult. Elijah spoke ill of King Ahab and his father’s household because they were leading God’s people astray. It’s sufficient to say that Elijah and Ahab didn’t get along. Elijah was representing what God had to say, while King Ahab was supposed to be leading the people in the ways of God. 

So, the prophets served as voices of God for the kings. Sometimes they listened, oftentimes they did not. 

Next, we learn that . . .

3. Prophets had different gifts or functions. [on screen]

Some prophets predicted the future. This is called foretelling. These prophets would tell God’s people, and others, about something that had not yet happened, but would happen later. This kind of prophets would include prophets such as Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, Malachi, and more. 

Some prophets stated the Lord’s word on a current matter. This is called forth-telling. This kind of prophets would include prophets such as Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and more. 

Also, some of the prophets were primarily writing prophets, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah; while others were primarily speaking prophets, such as Elijah and Jonah. 

So, we need to realize that not all prophets were the same!

Also, we discover that . . .

4. There were false prophets among God’s people. [on screen]

For example, we learn in 1 Kings 22 that there were four hundred prophets who were false prophets. 1 Kings 22:6 says, “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, ‘Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ And they said, ‘Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’”[on screen] We learn later that one true prophet, Micaiah, told the king the truth about this matter, while the four hundred prophets were false prophesying. 

We also see that Moses warned the people of Israel that there would be false prophets. In Deuteronomy 18:22, we read, “When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”[on screen]

We also see that . . . 

5. The time of the prophets of old ended with John the Baptizer.[on screen]

Remember, John the Baptizer’s ministry was compared to the ministry of Elijah. In fact, Malachi 4:5 says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” [on screen] Malachi is prophesying quite a while after Elijah lived on the earth; he’s prophesying about John the Baptizer, who would be a prophet like Elijah. 

After John, came the awesome day of the Lord that Malachi prophesied about! After John, came the greatest prophet, Jesus the Messiah!

The need for the prophets of old was gone because God has spoken through Jesus and He has given us His Holy Spirit!

Hebrews 1:1-2a speaks to this. It says, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son.” [on screen]

Now, God can still use people to speak His message. After all, I hope that’s what I’m doing most weeks. However, while God still uses people to prophesy in different ways, the office of prophet, like the Old Testament prophets, is now obsolete.

Jesus is now our Prophet, as He is our King. 

Acts 3:19-23 says, “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah. Heaven must receive him until the time of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning. Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to everything he tells you. And everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be completely cut off from the people. [on screen]

Jesus is the One whom Moses spoke of and He is the One whom the author of Hebrews points us to. He is now our great prophet. 

Now, let’s talk about some . . .

II. Major truths [on screen]

1. The major message of the prophets is that God’s people need Him and they need to be faithful to Him. [on screen]

The prophets continually called God’s people back to Him; that was their message. For example, Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.’” [on screen]

The prophets also declared judgment when God’s people were not faithful. For example, listen to the words of Amos 2:6, “The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Israel for three crimes, even four, because they sell a righteous person for silver and a needy person for a pair of sandals.” [on screen]

Further, the prophets point to the need for the Messiah to come and bring the people to God and give them power to be faithful. For example, Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.” [on screen]

God’s people need Him and they need to be faithful to Him. That was the message of the prophets and that should be a message for us as well. 

That takes us to the second major truth:

2. God’s people need to hear from God. [on screen]

If we are truly God’s people, we should truly want to hear from God. 

A good team wants to hear from their coach. A good organization wants to hear from the CEO. A good church wants to hear from their pastor. A good follower of God wants to hear from God. 

Psalm 1:1-3 reminds of this: How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. [on screen]

The final major truth is . . .

3. God is still appointing people to speak His word. [on screen]

Any of us can prophesy in the sense that we can declare the word of God from God’s Word. That’s what I try to do every week (although it’s different than Old Testament prophecy).

At times, God’s Spirit may even give us a supernaturally inspired word to share with someone (we must be careful here; this should never contradict the Bible).

Although God has spoken most powerfully through the coming of Jesus, and God communicates to us primarily through the Bible, God does still speak to His people and through His people. 

Finally, let us see how . . .

III. The Gospel speaks [on screen]

1. All that was prophesied concerning Jesus has come to pass and is coming to pass. [on screen]

Jesus was the very fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 5:17, “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” [on screen]

Indeed, the very promises of God are found in Jesus. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in him. Therefore, through him we also say ‘Amen’ to the glory of God. [on screen]

The culmination of all the messages of all the prophets find its fulfillment in Jesus!

The second Gospel truth is that . . . 

2. God has spoken to us most clearly through the Gospel. [on screen]

As we read earlier in Hebrews 1:1-2a: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son.” [on screen]

The prophets of old were called by God so that His people would know what He is saying to them. Listen, church: what Jesus accomplished through the Gospel made it possible for the world to know what God is saying to them!

We can know God better than ever because Jesus came to the earth, lived a perfectly righteous life, was condemned to death on the cross in our place, was buried in the ground, and rose from the dead. 

God has spoken to us through the Gospel!

Concluding Thoughts:

The role of the prophets was very simple: take God’s message to God’s people. 

That takes us to our bottom line for today’s sermon:

Bottom Line: The prophets of God declared the word of God to the people of God[on screen]


When the people of Israel and Judah wanted to hear from God, they needed to listen to God’s prophets. Sometimes they paid attention, sometimes they didn’t. 

Church, let us value and desire the word of God in our lives. May we truly desire to hear from God!

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Listen to the word of God[on screen]

Are you listening when God is speaking to you? Are you reading the Bible and listening for God? Do you read it at all? When you read it, do you pause and reflect upon it? Do you listen for God to speak to you during the worship service and in your small groups? 

Are you listening to the word of God? Challenge yourself this week to start doing so?

2. Speak the word of God[on screen]

As I said earlier, we can still speak the word of God today! Not only can we, but we should! We are to bring the message of God not only to His people in the Church but to the entire world!

Don’t be like the prophet Jonah who refused to speak the word of God to the people of Nineveh; commit to obediently speak the word of God, this week and beyond. 


We need the word of God; we need to hear from God; we need God in our lives. 

Do you remember the way that I said God was best known to us today? Through Jesus!

Listen to what Jesus Himself said in John 14:9, “The one who has seen me has seen the Father.”

The apostle John said of Jesus in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word!

You need God. You need the word of God, and it’s found in Jesus. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.