Summary: Does God speak to us today? If he does, how does he speak?
Most people today who claim to be Christians also claim to have a close association with the Father. These people vary greatly in their religious backgrounds and in their desire to please the Lord. From time to time you hear about some of these people who have a religious "experience". What usually seems to happen is the individual is spoken to by God (they claim) or they see some sort of vision. From this "experience" the person knows that God has appointed him or her to a certain destiny. There is some task, they think, that God wants them to accomplish. This raises some important questions. Does God speak to us today? If he does, how does he speak? How do we know if a message is from God? These are the questions we will answer in this article.
Hebrews 1:1-2, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;"
From this particular verse it becomes very clear that God does not speak to us today in the same way he did in times past.
You can probably recall several incidents in the Old Testament in which God spoke directly to an individual or He appeared to someone in a dream or vision. God spoke directly to Abraham. He told Abraham in Genesis 12:1 to go out from his country to a place that God would show him. God spoke directly to Moses. God gave Moses the Law when he was on Mount Sinai. God spoke to Jacob in a dream (Gen. 31:11) and many others as well.
Today, however, things are different. God doesn't speak to us by prophets. How does He speak to us? He speaks to us by or through His Son Jesus Christ.
So how do we know what Jesus Christ says or has said to us? We know that we must listen to Jesus because He has all authority (Matthew 28:18). Jesus told the apostles in John 13:20, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives him who sent Me." Who was it that Jesus was going to send that the people were to receive? It was the apostles. In John 20:21 Jesus said, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
How does Jesus speak to us? He speaks to us through the apostles. This brings another interesting question to mind, however. Since all the apostles have died, how can they speak to us? The apostle Paul answers this question in Ephesians 3:3-5, "that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;" Notice what Paul says. By referring to this revelation that was made known to him, you can understand his insight into the mystery of Christ. How wonderful it is to know that we can understand the mystery of Christ. How can we understand this mystery? We can understand by reading. Paul said in Galatians 1:11-12, "For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." This revelation that was revealed to Paul and the other apostles, wasn't their teaching or some other man's teaching but the teaching of Jesus Christ. He speaks to us through His word. We can know and have assurance that the word of God, the Bible, is how God speaks to us today. His word was revealed to the apostles and through inspiration they wrote it down. This is what we have today to guide our lives. Truly Peter was right when he said in II Peter 1:21, "for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
We do not have Jesus Christ physically on this earth to speak to us. We do not have the apostles here on earth to tell us how to live our lives. What we do have, however, is God's word, the Bible. We need to put people who claim that God speaks to them to the test. Paul said in Galatians 1:8-9, "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed." If someone says that God spoke to them and told him to do this or that, we can know that it is false if it is different than what the scriptures say. John said in I John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." How do we test the spirits? Look at vs. 6, "We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." If it agrees with what the apostles taught, then it is true, otherwise we know these individuals are false teachers.