Summary: God speaks in dreams, visions, impressions and thoughts, or so writes the writer of Proverbs. But how can you tell if the voice is really Gods. Use these seven steps to test the Spirits. (Portions from a published sermon by Rick Warren)
I. We are working through a series on how to hear God’s voice.
A. Hearing the voice of God is something that every believer wants to do, at least that’s what we say.
B. Hearing the voice God, at least in this lifetime is not always easy though.
II. When we read the Bible, and if we believe the Bible is really God’s word, then many things are pretty cut and dried; we don’t have to wonder,
A. Don’t lie, cheat or steal,
B. Stay away from people that might tempt you to do something that you know you shouldn’t do.
C. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind...AND love your neighbor as yourself.” so Christ says in Matthew, and who wants to argue with Jesus.
D. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” so it is written in the Book of Acts.
III. But we all have probably heard it from time to time.
A. Some preacher, or someone you respect says, “God told me...” thus and so.
B. In my quiet time this morning, God spoke to my heart and said.
C. And what God said to them was not something that was black and white in scripture.
IV. I even had a gentlemen come up to me one time and tell me, “God spoke to me and said you should resign as pastor and I am supposed to become the pastor.”
A. That didn’t happen here by the way,
B. My response to him was, “That’s great, but wouldn’t God also tell me that.”
V. How do we know when something is from God or not, especially when it is not a specific direction from scripture?
A. Trust your teacher, right? We not necessarily,
B. John writes 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 " circle the words “test it."
VI. And we can’t necessarily go with the idea that it is logical either, for God has certainly asked some people to do some things that seem totally illogical by human reasoning.
VII. Especially when it comes to thoughts and impressions that are not specifically spelled out in scripture, it is imperative that we be able to test and distinguish what is really from God and what might well be a false word.
VIII. This morning, I want to give you seven tests that you can apply that will greatly increase the likelihood that God is speaking to you, for if it truly is from God, you want to obey, even the illogical things.
IX. First, “Does It Agree With The Bible? 1 - Does it Agree with the Bible?
I. God never contradicts His written word. Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." God will never tell you to violate anything in this book. Never.
II. Again in Hebrews 13, scripture states - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings;”
III. God is not going to lay on your heart to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible.
IV. Allow me to give you an example.
A. Consider a friend of mine that recently opened his own business.
1. Now he is a Christian that has always been active in his church.
a. He was always present at Sunday services, regularly attended bible study, and served in various capacities, even as a Deacon.
b. But he had the opportunity to open this business and work for himself.
2. But his business is now open on Sunday, and his evenings are spent making sells, to the extent that he is no longer “able” to fellowship,
a. But he has peace,
b. God gave him this opportunity, so it can’t be wrong.
B. But scripture states, - “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25
1. I can worship anyplace - YES.
2. I don’t have to go to church in order to worship - YES.
C. But would God really say it’s OK to stop altogether?
D. Are there other options?
V. For those in the dating process, what should be the first criteria for a potential mate?
A. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2nd Cor. 6:14)
B. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; (1 Thess. 4:3)