Episode 1. Is God Still Speaking
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Let me ask you a question – is God still speaking to us here and now Today? And if so – how? Well – what are the answers? If God is indeed still speaking, shouldn’t we be listening? Imagine …
Let me ask you a question – is God still speaking to us here and now today? And if so, how? Well … what are the answers? If God is indeed still speaking, shouldn’t we be listening? Imagine what a difference it could make in our lives, to know His will for our lives.
Now here’s a question that these days pretty much divides the church down the middle. Are you ready? Here it is. Does God still speak today? Whoa. The controversy that that little question creates, the division it creates, is huge. There are some who can tell you that the only way that God speaks today, the single only way, is through the Bible. Read the Bible, that’s God’s Word, that’s how He speaks.
Then at the kind of opposite end of the spectrum we have Christians who claim to have seen signs and wonders, to have so called words of knowledge and prophecies over their lives. I even know one man whose pastor constantly claims to have visions of Jesus. Well, man, what do you do with that? How do we understand that?
And then there’s little old you and me. And if you’re anything like me, deep inside there’s a desire that burns for God. Something that’s hard to explain, a hunger after God Himself, and a yearning that can’t be satisfied by a dry, academic, cerebral answer to the question, “Does God still speak today?” You won’t be dismissed by shallow responses either and nor will sensational claims quench the thirst I have after Christ Himself.
And so that’s why this week and next week on the program we’re going to explore this question: “Does God still speak today and if so how?”
I don’t know about you but I do hunger after God. I ache to know Him, to experience Him, to hear Him speak into my life and I know that there are many, many more people on this earth who feel exactly the same. I want to live my life out completely for Him; everything that I am, everything that I have; all my hopes, all my dreams to serve Him with the absolute complete lot. And it’s not because I’m some great guy. Believe you me, I’m not. It’s because I’ve tasted the sweetness of God’s love – “the many splendid love of Christ” as A. W. Tozer calls its. I’ve tasted His goodness and His joy and His peace and you know what? I want more.
And so I want to hear my God speak because any relationship that means something, that has value to it, is based on communication. And not just one way communication, it has to be two way communication. A marriage is headed for divorce when there’s a stony silence between husband and wife. If all they do is to communicate on a transactional basis about the mundane things of life and they no longer communicate heart to heart, then friend, unless they do something about that their marriage is headed towards divorce.
That’s because a rich relationship is founded on intimate communication. It’s true in a marriage and it’s true in our relationship with God. So the question is: is God still speaking today?
Well, over the coming couple of weeks as we explore that, let me tell you where I’m coming from. In my experience God speaks to me and to others in many different ways. In fact I’ve grouped those into nine different ways that God speaks today.
But experience, you see experience isn’t the be all and end all. We have emotions: they go up, they go down. Sometimes we’re at the top of our game and yet others days, well frankly, let’s be honest, we’re off with the pixies. So whilst we may experience God speaking through prophecies, through signs, through dreams, all sorts of different ways, I believe with all my heart, the truth, God’s chosen way of revealing Himself to us, of providing us with a rock solid basis for understanding Him and understanding our experience of Him is His Word.
This thing they call the Bible is inspired by Him, written through human beings for sure – each of the 66 books of the Bible are written in different times in history and under different circumstances and for specific purposes, but together those 66 books are the inspired Word of God. It is God speaking to the generations that have gone before us, and to us and to the generations that will come after us.
And you see God never contradicts Himself. He never says one thing over here and does something else over there. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So if anyone whether it’s me or anyone else, claims to have heard from God in a certain way, then:
a. Does the Bible say that’s how God communicates with us, because if it doesn’t then friend, at the very least, I am very, very suspicious this person has indeed heard from God at all.
b. If this person claims to have heard from God and acts on it or shares what God has allegedly said to Him or to her, is it consistent with the Word of God, the whole counsel of God? Because if God says one thing and some so called prophet comes up with some so called revelation that contradicts God’s Word, then forget it. That ain’t God talking. It makes sense.
When we step into this realm of God speaking with us about specific things happening in our lives, in the lives of the people around us, then we’re stepping into territory which is rich and fertile on the one hand if it’s God speaking. I for one want to hear God. But on the other hand, it’s open to manipulation. It’s open to subjectivity.
This approach is summed up in this Biblical principle. It comes from 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 verses 19-22:
Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise the words of prophets but test everything. Hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.
In other words, don’t ignore God speaking through His Spirit, don’t despise the words of the prophets but at the same time sift it, test it. Hold onto the good stuff, the stuff you know is from God and ditch the stuff that is evil.
So is God still speaking? I believe absolutely! Jesus. John Chapter 10 verse 1:
Very truly I tell you, anyone doesn’t enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way, is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all his own he goes ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger but will run from him because they don’t know the voice of strangers. Jesus used this figure of speech with them but they didn’t understand what he was saying.
And again John Chapter 14 beginning and verse 15:
If you love me you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father and he will give you an advocate to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you and he’ll be with you.
And then in John Chapter 15 verse 26:
When this advocate, this Spirit comes whom I will send to you from the Father the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.
John Chapter 16 verse 14:
He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and he will declare it to you.
Is God still in the business of speaking to his people through his Spirit today? Are we meant to hear the voice of Jesus Christ? Are we meant to discern his voice? Absolutely. That’s exactly what Jesus promised would happen, over and over and over again. It’s promised in the Bible.
But as we read back there in 1st Thessalonians whilst the Spirit is at work speaking and declaring and we shouldn’t quench him, when people claim to be speaking on God’s behalf, then we’d better test it to make sure that it is from God. And I guess that’s at the heart of what we’re going to be talking about over these coming days and weeks – discovering how to hear God speaking into our lives. It’s powerful stuff.