Summary: Principles for discerning God’s voice are discussed. What are characteristics of God and His ways that help us know He is speaking to us?
Hearing God: Spiritual Sensitivity
Series: Hearing God for Guidance #4
This morning we will conclude our series on Hearing God. We have seen certain safeguards that God has provided so that we are not deceived or misled in our pursuit of His will. This morning we want to focus on the intuitive, inner voice of the Spirit. As Spirit-filled believers how can we nurture sensitivity to God’s voice? I want to share with you a few principles for hearing God’s voice in our inner spirit.
I. Expect God to Speak to You!
Hebrews 11:6 tells us “...it is impossible to please God without faith....” Everything in our relationship with God depends upon faith. We live by faith. We walk by faith. We expect God to speak to us because of our relationship with Him. It is the most natural thing in the world for a parent to communicate with his or her child. Can you imagine a parent refusing to speak to his children? It is your Father’s good pleasure to interact with you. Love compels Him to do so.
One way the enemy robs us of our inheritance is to convince us of a lie. And one lie he uses is to tell us God wouldn’t speak to us. “He might speak to others but I am not spiritual enough—I mess up too much—etc., etc.” I notice that the Psalmist affirms his confidence in God’s willingness to do His part. Ps 48:14 “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Ps 23:1-3 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
You don’t have to be a super-saint to hear from your Heavenly Father. Expect to hear from Him. Listen for His voice in your heart. Jesus said, (John 10:27) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Very often God is speaking but because people don’t expect Him to speak they don’t listen. They dismiss it as just their own ideas. Some people have the problem of thinking every idea they have is from God. Others have the problem of thinking none of their thoughts are from God. God is speaking to His children. We just need to learn how to distinguish His voice from other voices—especially our own feelings and ideas.
II. Understand How God Speaks!
We have already said a lot about that in previous messages. But realize that God has many ways of communicating to us. Acts 2:17 “’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.’” That verse alone identifies three ways God speaks: through visions, dreams, and prophecy. We see that kind of supernatural activity all through the Bible and there is nothing to indicate that God no longer does such things. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The gifts of the Spirit spoken of in 1Corinthians 12 are for today. We need a supernatural gospel today as much as we ever have. We have a supernatural enemy and we are not going to defeat him with carnal weapons. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God.
I want to show you a video clip of William Branham operating in the word of knowledge. The segment you are about to see is from the DVD series, “God’s Generals.” Show God’s Generals: William Branham (Vol.8) (0:34:03) to (0:37:53). Sunday after next we are going to see this whole clip and draw some lessons from Branham’s experience. His gift was very unusual but real. My great uncle was in some of his meetings and saw first hand the amazing miracles God worked.
I believe in miracles. But there is a subtle danger that we must avoid. Signs will follow those who believe. But we are to follow Jesus not signs. Once people know that God does work spectacular miracles there is a tendency for people to seek the thrill of the spectacular rather than simply seeking the will of the Father. The distinction is more important than it might sound. Luke 11:29-30 “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.’” As we obey God spectacular things will happen at times. But we are not just seeking spectacular things to excite our flesh. We are seeking God and sometimes He does work in a spectacular way.