Hearing God Speak - Part 1

Posted by Dion Todd March 6th, 2017 4,681 Views 0 Comments

Hearing God Speak - Part 1

Hearing God Speak - Part 1 from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

Today we are going to be starting a new series on: “Hearing God Speak” and some questions that I want to answer are these:
- Is it even possible for an average person to hear God speaking?
- Is it still for today, or was it only for Biblical times?
- In what ways does He speak to us?
- Why would I want to hear?
- How can I tell if it is Him?

The first thing that I want to cover is this: Hearing God’s voice has always been a part of His plan for us. God spoke to all of the great people mentioned in the Bible. He spoke to Adam. He spoke to the murderer Cain. To Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and all the way down the line. God speaks to those that will listen, but not everyone wants to listen. In Exodus, God showed up and told them about the ten commandments. It put the fear of God in them and shook them up so bad, that they asked Him to not speak to them anymore.

Exodus 20:18–21 (NKJV) Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

Moses craved the company of God and he was interested in what God had to say. Yes, he respected God and feared Him, but His desire for God’s presence was more powerful. Moses would plead with God and told Him in Exodus 33:15: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”

Moses had a thirst that the others didn’t have. He had the Psalm 42:1 thirst: “As the deer pants for water, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Nothing else satisfied him. Would God speak to someone with that attitude? You betcha.

In Numbers chapter 11:28, the Spirit of God fell on the elders and they began to prophesy, that is speaking words given to them by the Holy Spirit. Two men were prophesying in the camp and Joshua wanted Moses to stop them, but “Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” Moses wished that all of God’s people had His Spirit rest on them as well.

So yes, in the past, God has spoken to, and through many people. What about the future? Does God really care about the little blokes like us?

Jeremiah 31:33–34 (NKJV) “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD.” That is speaking of us under the new covenant and what is still to come. We are all to know the Lord personally, from the least to the greatest. He wants a relationship with us.

Differences in Priest and Prophets:
Now when I mention the word Prophet, your mind may begin to think of someone predicting the future, but it is a much broader subject than that. To help you understand, I want to take a moment and explain some key differences between a Priest and a Prophet.

A Priest represents the people before God. In the Bible they handled the offerings and burned incense before God, for the people. A Priest would have his back to the people, and his face towards God.

A Prophet represents God to the people. It is the reverse of a priest. They hear the word of God, and then speak it to the people. A Prophet stands with his back to God, facing the people. In simple terms: A Prophets hears God speak, and then shares it with others.

Some teach that Prophets died off, are a thing of the past, but lets look at the Bible. The Prophet Joel told us that a time is coming when God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh:

Joel 2:28–29 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

In Acts chapter 2, when the Apostles were speaking in tongues and prophesying, some people said that they were drunk. Then Peter said, this is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel. The day of Pentecost was only the beginning. Sons, daughters, old men, young men, menservants and maidservants, from the least to the greatest can now carry the Spirit of God and move in prophecy.

When giving instructions to the new church, Paul wrote in: 1 Corinthians 14:5 (NKJV) “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied;” Then in verse 29 he wrote: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” All means all. We can all hear God’s voice today, but like Moses, you gotta want it bad. Like that deer panting for water.

Jesus plainly told us in John 10:27 (NKJV) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Then He said in: John 10:16 (NKJV) “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus was talking about the gentiles who Paul was sent to after His ascension. Jesus said that people would hear “His voice” even after He went to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand. That means that gentiles like us can still hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us today.

The Bible does not tell us otherwise. If anyone tells you that God does not speak today, they are lying to you, practicing a dead religion, and trying to justify their own experience. You never let your experience determine how you interpret the Bible, especially if you are afraid to step out on the water. I learned a long time ago that just because it hasn’t happened at your church, does not mean that God will never do it. I attended a church that taught that prophecy was dead, speaking in tongues was of the devil, and the gifts of the Spirit died with the last Apostle. Then I found a church 15 miles away that moved in all of it, with signs following. People were being healed of cancer and demons came out screaming during the services. So don’t let your faith be limited by your experience so far. Believe the Bible just as it is written. If it does not tell us that something died with the last Apostle, then it didn’t. God didn’t die…

Think of Simeon at the temple in Luke 2:25 (NKJV) It reads: “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Simeon was just your average Joe, not a priest or a prophet, but the Holy Spirit told him that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ. See, God spoke to him about something in his own life that was coming.

Consider Ananias in Acts 9:10 after Saul had been struck blind on the road to Damascus. Ananias was praying when he suddenly had a vision. It reads: “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Ananias, who was just a believer, carried on a conversation with the Lord Jesus long after Jesus had ascended to heaven. For that matter, so did Paul who was struck blind on the road.

Now moving in prophecy does not automatically put you in the five fold ministry of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelists, Pastor, Teacher. Those are called offices and not everyone who prophesies is in the office of a Prophet, but that is a longer teaching.

Rhema verses Logos:
There are two Greek words used for “Word of God” in the New Testament: Rhema and Logos. A “rhema” word means a spoken word, an utterance. Logos means the written word, text like in our Bible.

For instance, in Matthew 4:4 Jesus said: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” The “Word” in this verse is the Greek word “rhema” which means that we live by every word that God speaks to us.

The Bible is God’s gift to us, a wonderfully inspired masterpiece, a guidebook that points us to Him, but we are not to worship the creation, instead of the Creator. The Bible (Logos) is not God, it tells us about Him. The pharisees hung tightly to their scriptures, but they had Jesus crucified… Somehow they missed the relationship.

Here are some interesting New Testament scriptures that use Rhema:
* John 8:47 “He who is of God hears God’s Rhema; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
* Luke 1:38 “Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your Rhema.”
* John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My Rhema abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
* Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Rhema of God.”
* Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Rhema of God.”

Remember, Rhema is the spoken word of God. Logos is the written word in our Bible. Now I am not trying to take anything away from our Bible, but I am saying the spoken word of God has been under valued in most churches today.

Hearing God Speak:
I could go on and on about the importance of hearing God. It is a subject that I have spent a lifetime pursuing, but I am preaching to the choir. Let me share some pointers that I have learned along the way that may help you.

Hearing God speak to you is different than listening to the six o’clock news. Unlike the TV, God doesn’t speak if the hearer isn’t listening. You can hear God best when you are in a quiet setting with no distractions, no pressures, and no alternate voices.

When I am writing devotionals or sermons, I come into this prayer room and shut the door, pray in the Spirit for a while, then lay my head on the desk and just listen. Often a message will suddenly download into my Spirit and then I start making notes as it comes to me. There are many ways that God speaks to us, this is just a way that I have found works for me.

Ask God to speak to you, and then write down what He says. You do this by writing down what you are thinking—what comes to your mind. Once you get it down on paper, you can come back and examine the message to determine if it was from God or yourself.

We can learn somethings from Samuel chapter 3:
* When the Lord called to Samuel, he thought that it was Eli, his mentor. I have had the Lord speak to me through a mentors voice before. He doesn’t want to freak us out but to bring comfort, and using a voice that you are familiar with helps put you at ease.

* The Lord is persistent. When Samuel missed his voice the first two times, the Lord kept trying to connect with him until He did. It is OK to miss His voice. He will try again later.

* When Samuel realized it was God speaking he said “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening” then he listened…

Discerning the voices:
I have found that when God speaks to me, there is usually another voice pulling me in a different direction. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life speak to us as well. It is important to know the difference. When an inner voice is clear, purposeful, and does not bring confusion, it is probably from God. When it is disruptive, confusing, and points you in many directions, it is probably not from God. Here are some steps before you begin:

1. Get Ready: Before you ask the Lord to speak, get things in order. Be seated, have your Bible, a journal, and a pen ready to take notes. Take it seriously.

2. Get Focused: If you have something important to share with your best friend, then you would wait until the right time and be sure that you had their attention. You would not share it while they were texting on their phone… Neither will God. If you want Him to speak, pay attention and focus.

3. Get Quiet: In order to hear God, we have to stop talking. In fact, when you are talking you are only repeating the things that you already know, and you are speaking to Someone that knows everything. Also get rid of distractions. Finding somewhere quiet is best. It is difficult to have a conversation with someone that is preoccupied and not paying attention to you. As you get better at it, then you can be still inside and pay attention while riding the bus.

When you are ready, pray and then ask the Lord to speak to you. Listen, and write down whatever comes to mind. Don’t try and think about it yet, just jot down notes. You can come back later and put it to the test. Think shorthand…

Later when you are done, go back over what was said. Was it encouraging, uplifting, sobering, truthful? Did it bring peace or confusion? The Comforter bring comforting words. Is it Biblical?

Use common sense. God’s Rhema word will always agree with the Logos, which is our Bible, 100% of the time. That said He may correct our understanding of it. Example: The Bible tells us not to murder. If a voice is telling you to go murder someone, then obviously it is not from God. If you ask God for something good, He will never give you something bad.

In Matthew 7:7 Jesus told us: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

If you ask God for something good, He will never give you something bad. It is OK to ask Him to speak to you.

Next week we will cover some of the ways that God speaks to us.

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