Summary: Sermon looks at 7 tests to see if an impression is from God or not. (Acknowledgement - Rick Warren)
HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE
Learning to Hear God’s Voice - Part 3 of 4
I John 4:1-3 (Living Bible)
o We’re continuing in our series on How to hear God’s voice. Last week we talked about four ways you can hear God speak. One of the ways is God gives us impressions in our mind.
o But if God gives me impressions, how do I know when they’re really from God?
o Because the Bible says Satan can also talk to us.
o If were talking about who to marry or a major career change, this is a major issue. We need to hear from God. So how do I know when it’s really God speaking to me?
o 1 John 4:1 "Don’t always believe everything you hear just because somebody says it’s a message from God. Test it first to see if it really is." Circle "test it." The Bible says we must learn to discern whether God is speaking or some other voice.
o There are seven ways to test an impression. They form a filter and they’re all necessary.
o If the impression passes this evaluation you can know be assured that God is speaking to you.
o Here we go. Here is the test.
1. DOES IT AGREE WITH THE BIBLE?
o God never contradicts His written word. Luke 21:33 "heaven and earth will pass away but My words will never pass away." God will never tell you to ignore or violate anything in this book. Never.
o God doesn’t say one thing one day and another thing the next. He is always consistent.
o For example, the Bible tells us very clearly, "Pay your taxes" so God is not going to give you the impression... "the government wastes your money anyways so just cheat on your Income Tax return
o That is not from God because it’s inconsistent with what He’s already said in the Bible.
o You don’t even have to pray about it, but you have to pay your taxes.
o I do not need to ask God whether I should serve in this church. The answer is yes, the Bible says everyone has a spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ.
o I never pray about tithing, I just do it.
o I don’t pray about telling other people the good news, I just do it.
o Because it’s right here in God’s word.
o So the first step is to check it out. It’s better to memorize it. Then God can bring those verses to mind.
2. DOES IT MAKE ME MORE LIKE CHRIST?
o Philippians 2:5 "In your lives you must think and act like Jesus Christ." Jesus is the standard by which we measure everything we do.
o Our goal is to live Christ centred Spirit filled lives
o To have love, joy, peace, patience, all the qualities that Jesus had -- in our lives. He would never tell you to do anything that contradicts or would hinder you from reaching that goal.
o A practical application of what Christ likeness is in James 3 "If you harbor envy and selfish ambition, such wisdom doesn’t come from heaven. In other words, you know that impression doesn’t come from God if it causes bitterness, envy, selfish ambition, or division in the local church.
o The wisdom that comes from God is pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere."
o These are filters that you can test the idea. God’s wisdom is not selfish ambition. If you get an idea of how to promote yourself in a better way or how to achieve instant wealth, instant comfort it’s not from God.
o He gives you ideas to be more Christ like
o One person shared something this week
o She shared a picture the Holy Spirit gave her – the clouds were the darkness, the spiritual strongholds in the area
o I said what are those strongholds
o She said they are the strongholds of greed and materialism
o People feel like they do not need God in this area
o She is praying for revival in the area
o Now how do we test this? What she shared with me, is it from God or not?
o My first question is ‘Is it consistent with scripture?
o Jesus said "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
o This area is full of Christians who no longer attend a church
o They feel they do not need God – they work, buy stuff and party
o So her impression was consistent with scripture
o His wisdom is peace loving. Ideas from God promote harmony rather than conflict.
o If all the unchurched Christians came back to the church and put Christ first and prayed it would bring healing and harmony to the area