Does God Still Speak? – Part 2

fire16

God speaks to us today from the pages of the written word of God.  Whenever we read the Bible we are reading God’s word to His creation. If you want to know the will of God for your life then you must look to the pages of Scripture. Anyone or anything that we hear that is beyond the clear revelation of Scripture is to be rejected. On this Cessationists and Continuationists agree. It is the next areas that we disagree on.

God speaks in a still small voice. In the following passage we see Elijah the prophet seeking to hear from the Lord. This is a great example of how we need to listen for the voice of God in a manner that is not always spectacular.

In the following passage God speaks to Elijah audibly. While God does on occasion speak to people in an audible voice, this is by no means the most common manner of His speaking. Even if someone does hear an audible voice, they still need measure what is said by the written word of God, as He is never going to tell us something that does not agree with His written word.

1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV) Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lordpassed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

God speaks through the voice of the human spirit.  We are a spiritual being, yet most people focus completely upon the mind and body. We are actually a triune being comprised of a spirit, soul, and body. While our body is growing older and perishing because of the effects of sin, our spirit is renewed daily by the power of the Spirit of God within us.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

The Holy Spirit literally physically indwells every child of God, and as such speaks to us through our human spirit that is born again by the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 8:15-16) This voice comes to us through divinely inspired thoughts. These are distinguished from our own ideas because we realize that they are often something that we would never have thought up by our own human understanding.

John 16:13-15 (NKJV)…However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. {14} “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. {15} “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

John 10:27 (NKJV) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

God speaks by the leading of an inward witness. Romans 8:15-16 (NKJV) For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

The inward witness is by far the most common way that God leads us today. This is when we just know something intuitively to be right. There may all sorts of turmoil going on around us but in our innermost being we have peace. This is what some might call intuition, or simply a knowing. I believe that this knowing comes from the innermost being of a person or their bellies because the Holy Spirit does not live in our heads, or rely upon human intellect to lead us. In ancient days people believed that the heart of man, that is the innermost being of man were his bowels.

John 7:38-39a (NKJV) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart (belly KJV) will flow rivers of living water.”39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…

God can speak though angels, but normally does so in times of great trial or danger. While we are never instructed to seek after angels, we certainly know that they are real and that they are servants of the Lord to aid in the business of advancing God’s Kingdom.

There are obviously different kinds of angelic beings as described throughout the Scriptures. One of the most common angelic visitations that people have in Scripture is angels bringing messages from God. Here again we must recognize that a true angel of God is never going to declare something that contradicts the clear teachings of Scripture. An angel of the Lord will never undermine the authority of the Bible, the divine or incarnate nature of Christ, or declare another gospel apart from Christ, and Christ alone.

Galatians 1:8 (NKJV) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

1 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV)…For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

I mention these passages because we need to be very cautious of anyone who declares that they have received a message from an angelic visitation. We need to measure what they say very carefully against the authority of God’s word. With this said, we should realize that angelic visitations have not only happened as mentioned throughout both the Old and New Testament periods, they have taken places at various times throughout church history, even up until today.

Hebrews 1:13-14 (NKJV) But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool?14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Angels serve the body of Christ in many ways by protecting us from danger, bringing spiritual strength (although usually unseen) and at times by bringing divine messages. You will notice that these times of messages from an angel were pertaining to very extraordinary circumstances. For example, God’s Messianic messenger the angel Gabriel brought the word about Messiah to Daniel, Mary & Joseph, and John the Baptist’s father Zacharias, as well as the shepherds. (Daniel 8-9, Luke 1)

The apostle Paul spoke of an angel of the Lord that brought him a message of assurance during a great storm at sea.

Acts 27:22-24 (NKJV) And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

God can speak and confirm His direction through a word of wisdom. A word of wisdom is a revelation of future events or wisdom about something about the future. This is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as declared in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12.

A word of wisdom should not be mistaken with wisdom that is acquired through life experience, or even such as the wisdom that God granted King Solomon. This is a word or a short glimpse of the wisdom of God for a specific moment. We could call this a supernatural revelation from God for a specific situation in someone’s life.

Many people try to interpret these spiritual gifts as the gift of knowledge or the gift of wisdom. However if you read the book of Proverbs you can readily see that godly knowledge or godly wisdom can be acquired by any believer who will seek after and fear God. The gifts of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12 are given for a specific purpose at a particular moment.

The easiest way to distinguish between a ‘word of knowledge’ and a ‘word of wisdom’ is this simple rule of thumb. A ‘word of knowledge’ pertains to certain knowledge of facts concerning something that has taken place in the past, while a ‘word of wisdom’ pertains to understanding about what to do in the future. The following are two very clear examples of these gifts in manifestation. Take note that the first deals entirely with the past and present, while the second deals entirely with the future.

A word of knowledge: John 4:16-17 (NKJV) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Jesus knew this woman’s situation by divine revelation through a ‘word of knowledge.’ Notice that He does not have any revelation about her future.

A word of wisdom: Acts 21:10-12 (NKJV)And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Notice that Agabus, the prophet of God revealed what would happen in the future. This is a ‘word of wisdom’concerning future events. He was giving the apostle Paul a warning of what would happen if he went to Jerusalem.

God speaks through His people. As in the previous examples we can easily see that God has often involved people to deliver His messages. While the ministry of the Prophet is clearly the most notable example of this means of communication, God often speaks to us through preaching of the word via, a pastor or other minister. He also uses our friends or family members to speak His messages as well. Actually, anyone who has the Spirit of God within them can speak a word from the Lord to us at any time.

Most people are looking for the spectacular and miss the supernatural. I have had brothers and sisters in the Lord on numerous occasions give me instructions from the Word of God, or godly council that was just as readily the voice of God speaking through them as if Jesus Himself had spoken the message.

1 Corinthians 2:13-15 (NLT) When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. {14} But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. {15} We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can’t understand us at all.

God speaks through visions and Dreams: While Cessationists may deny that God still uses dreams and visions to direct His people, there is no evidence in Scripture that this method of revelation ever ended. While not every dream is God breathed, I believe that many people have dreams that are clearly from God. Actually throughout history God has revealed amazing ideas and inventions to people while they were dreaming.

Genesis 3:10 (NKJV) “And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted.

Acts 2:16-18 (NKJV) But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

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