Summary: Jesus is speaking to us today. Are we listening? This is the fourth in a series of messages explaining how Jesus communicates to us today
How Jesus Speaks Through the Supernatural II
Series: Hearing Jesus Speak Today
September 12, 2010
Last week I started out with a statement of fact. God is supernatural, and so you would expect Him to speak and act in a supernatural way. In a way that’s beyond our physical senses of sight & touch. Jesus quoted Isa.6 in Mt.13:14-16 when he said…”You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. He’s telling us here that if we’re going to stubbornly insist on hearing and understanding God with our human capabilities, we’re never going to hear or see a thing! Instead, if we’re going to get anywhere with God, we’re going to have to depend on the spiritual, supernatural senses, provided to us by God!
So last week we started out by talking about how God is able to communicate and speak to us audibly when He wants to. We said that when God DOES speak audibly, He does it to make sure we understand exactly what He wants us to do Because it’s usually at critical turning point in our lives or in the life of His church. That’s why He spoke outloud, so everyone could hear him at Jesus’ baptism, transfiguration, and crucifixion . He didn’t want any confusion as to WHO Jesus was! That’s why He did it for Paul on the Damascus Road… this was a crucial juncture in His churches direction.
This morning I want to continue with 3 more ways that God can get a hold of us, when we let him. Dreams and visions, impressions and other people. Now there's a lot of confusion about how we receive dreams, visions, impressions and ‘words of knowledge” from God. Some people have a problem distinguishing God’s voice from a bad pizza they had the night before. Basically…there are two extremes you need avoid when thinking about God’s supernatural communications: one is the rationalist, & the other is the mystic.
The “rationalist” denies that God ever speaks to us through the mind. He says God only speaks through the Bible and never any other way. The “mystic” on the otherhand, thinks every little feeling they get is from God. And of course, that’s obviously wrong too. I think both extremes are unfortunate and unnecessarily confusing. The rationalist, who thinks "God never gives me a dream, impression or prophecy" misses out on God's counsel, His comfort, His care and concern. They miss out on God’s challenges and the adventure of His guidance through life’s maze. On the other hand, the mystic who thinks that every impression they get is from God, tends to make a lot of stupid mistakes and embarrass themselves. They say, "God told me to do this, or God told me that" and eventually end up chasing their own tail! Often, they’re too proud to admit they “missed it” when they go belly up. So, be very careful what you attribute to God’s name! I use the phrase, “God told me”... very rarely. because when you say that, you’re setting yourself up to be a false prophet. And the penalty for mis-representing God in the OT was a free ticket to a rock concert! …Only, YOU were the main event! You got ‘stoned”, but with real rocks!
So the 2nd way that God can supernaturally speak to us is when…
2. God speaks through DREAMS AND VISIONS
Let me distinguish between a “dream” and a “vision”…Dreams are images- that have thoughts and emotions attached to them. We actually “see” while we’re asleep. The images might tell a very clear story, or they might not make any sense at all. “Visions” on the otherhand are dreams that we have while we’re awake. For years when I prayed I would have these mental images come into my head and I’d get frustrated and a little guilty about them. I thought I was day-dreaming and I was ashamed of how they were getting in the way of my praying! It wasn’t until just recently, that I realized that I wasn’t day-dreaming…God was giving me visions! I was trying to ignore them, while God was trying to get my attention! McFLY!!! So I started paying attention and all the sudden I realized that these pictures in my mind were giving me insights and directions from God!
In the bible it was common for God to speak to people through dreams and visions. Especially the prophets. It was the regular way God spoke to them. (Num.12:6). In fact, the absence of dreams and visions in the bible was usually a sign of God’s judgment during a time of apostasy. (Micah 3:6-7) Unfortunately, today, many people when they hear that Jesus spoke to them using a dream, put them in the same category as a “palm reader” or some kind of “religious nut job”. Dreams and visions have fallen on hard times in our highly rationalistic, western world today. But dreams are more common than you might think. For example, did you know that the inventor of the modern sewing machine, (Elias Howe) credited his invention to a dream? The difference is… in biblical times, people knew that God spoke frequently though dreams and visions… so they took them seriously. Examples…Jacob dreamed about a ladder that went into heaven, Joseph dreamed about his future, Daniel dreamed about the future of our world. Peter had a vision about a sheet being lowered down from heaven…John had a vision about how the world would end…. and the list goes on and on. So dreams & visions have always been an important way God communicates with His people, the problem is… we’re not listening anymore! ( READ Job 33:14-18).