Summary: God speaks through His Word, the Bible. He uses teachers to educate and guide. He also speaks through impressions He leaves in our mind and the pain of life experiences.
[Adapted from the free sermons by Rich Warren]
We started the series on "Conversing with God" last week, on ‘How to hear God speaks”.
• We talked about the importance of our attitudes, because whether we get the message or not depend very much on our attitude.
• Jesus illustrated it with the parable of the sower, telling us these 4 differing attitudes toward God’s Word.
1. One is the closed mind, on the path. We want to cultivate an open mind.
2. Two, the shallow ground, no root. We need to allocate time to listen.
3. Three, among the thorns or weeds. Too preoccupied, so we need to eliminate the distractions. Weeds grow out of neglect.
4. Finally, we want to cooperate with what God says. It is only when we really listen and obey, that our life can be changed and become fruitful.
Today, we're going to look specifically at how God talks to you.
• When we talk about people listening to God and God talking to people, usually people sees this as something very mystical, something unusual or only for a selected few.
• But the fact is God does that all the time, to anyone He cares about. The Christian God is a speaking God.
The Time magazine once published an issue with the headline that said, "God is dead".
• The next day reporters gathered at Billy Graham's home and said, "Is God dead, Dr Graham?"
• He said "Are you kidding? I just talked to Him."
• Any of us can talk to God and God wants to talk to you. The Bible says that God made us that way, with the ability to tune into Him, to hear Him. It's nothing unusual. All of us can do it.
God wants to talk with you because you can't have a relationship without communication.
So HOW DOES GOD TALK TO US?
• God is not limited to any single way. The Bible shows some really spectacular ways.
• God spoke once through a burning bush. God spoke through a cloud (on Mt Sinai). He often spoke through angels. He even spoke to Balaam through a donkey. He spoke through dreams.
We're going to identify the FOUR most common ways that God speaks to us.
1. GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE BIBLE. This is the number one way God speaks.
2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Today, God has given us the clearest form of revelation - His written Word.
• God inspired His people to pen down all that He wants us to know.
• The Bible is not just a good collection of wonderful thoughts and ideas, but the very words of God, in Greek, "God breathed."
That means that the Bible is absolutely reliable. It can be counted on.
• It does not just ‘contain’ the Word of God but they are the very Words of God itself.
• We need to get into it because that’s the fundamental way God speaks to you.
• If you are not hearing Him, one clear reason would be because you are not reading it.
If God designed the Bible to be the message that ‘teach, warn, correct and train’ us in life, then we need to get into it.
• This is why it's so important to have a daily quiet time where you set down for 5, 10, 15 minutes - it doesn't matter the amount of time - and you let God talk to you through His Word.
• If you're not doing that on a daily basis, you're missing the number one way God wants to talk to you. The Bible is the manufacturer’s manual for life.
2. GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH TEACHERS (Mentors, Counsellors, Pastors…)
More than half of the Bible is written by prophets and teachers. Almost half of NT is the teachings of Paul.
• God uses people – people who are acquainted with His Word, who have encountered God and experienced Him.
• We see God using people to pen down His Word, and people to speak His Word.
Eph 4:11-13 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Paul says in 1 Cor 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”