Summary: listening for only God's voice
Have you ever watched the Antiques Roadshow on PBS? This is the show were individuals are able to take antiques and have them a evaluated with are worth. One of the show’s most famous discoveries was a Seymour mahogany card table from Boston, bought at a garage sale for $25. She later sold the table for over half a million dollars. Sometimes the appraisers tell people they’ve brought in a priceless heirloom, and sometimes they burst some bubbles, revealing items appearing to be valuable as worthless.
Friends, it’s our job as Christians to appraise viewpoints as to whether they come from God or some other source. How many of us have ever questioned the voices we here in our hearts or in our heads? I’m not the only one who has this am I? When you pray and are asking God for something specific and you hear the voices in your head, questioning if the response is of your own selfishness, the devil or is it God Himself?
Read 1 John 4:1-6
Hearing the voice of God is something that every believer wants to do, at least that’s what we say, right? But the truth is; Hearing the voice God, at least in this lifetime is not always easy.
In our scripture this morning, John tells us to test every spirit. Not only the ones in our own heads and hearts, but the ones that we listen to every Sunday and whatever else we use to help us grow spiritually, scripturally, anything that encourages or urges change in one’s life.
In the Old Testament, there were several tests to determine whether prophets came from God: Did their short-term predictions come to pass? Did they use pagan divination methods? Did their teachings match the Scriptures? What about their ethical conduct? And did reliable sources weigh and confirm their beliefs?
This morning, I would like to suggest seven tests that you can apply that, I believe, will greatly increase the likelihood that God is speaking to you, for if it truly is from God, you want to obey, even things that seem illogical at times.
1 - Does it Agree with the Bible?
God has never and will never contradict His written word. Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but MY words will not pass away." God will never tell you to violate anything in this book, never.
Again in Hebrews 13: 8&9a, scripture states - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teaching…”
God is not going to lay anything on your heart to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible.
2 - Does it Make Me More Like Christ
Philippians 2:5 "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,"
Jesus is the standard by which we measure everything we do. God says very clearly in the Bible that His goal for your life is to make you like Jesus.
In deciding if a thought, impression, desire, call it whatever you would like is from God or our flesh, we must decide if we are being led by the Holy Spirit or our own fleshly desires.
But what does that look like? See Galatians 5:16 to 24 - 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Being like Christ means being led by the Spirit.
3 - Does My Church Family Confirm It?
When we accept Christ as our savior, we are placed in fellowship and unity with God, but that is not all.
We are also place in a relationship with others that have also come to faith in Christ.
Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”