to our series on Learning to Hear God's Voice. The last sermon was on three ways
you can hear God speak. One of the ways we talked about is that God gives us impressions in our mind. So today, I want to talk about: “How to recognize God’s voice.”
If God gives me
impressions, how do I know when they're really from God. How do I know I'm not
just talking to myself. Do you ever do that? I like to talk to myself. I
like to have somebody intelligent to talk to. So I talk to myself all the
time! I've found it very easy to confuse my desires with God's will. The
Bible says Satan can talk to us. We can read things and they get put in our
mind and we think that it's God, but it's just Time magazine.
I John 4:1 "Don't
always believe everything you heart 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 distinguish God's voice. We've got
to figure out if it's really God or not.
I want to give
you three ways to test an impression. Three ways to know if it's really God
talking to you or not. They form a filter and they're all inter related. You
can't pick and choose. If an impression does not pass all three of these tests
you know it's not from God. You can disqualify it.
On the other hand
if you apply these three tests to an idea or impression that you've got and it
passes all three, you can know with absolute certainty you've heard from God.
The first way to
test an impression is to ask the question:
1. DOES IT
AGREE WITH THE BIBLE?
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
violate anything in this book. Never. God will never tell you to ignore or
disobey anything in this book. He doesn't say one thing one time, and another
thing another time. God is consistent. If He said it in the past, He's going
to say it in the future. He is always consistent. He is never inconsistent.
The Bible tells us very clearly, "Pay your taxes" so God is not going
to give you the impression... "the government wastes your money anyway so
just cheat, lie about it because they're not going to use it the right way
anyway." God would never tell you that. We always get into trouble when
we doubt God's word, when we don't listen to what it says.
God will never
tell you to do something inconsistent with what He's already said. Most of
God's will for your life is already right here in this book. You don't even
have to pray about it. Just do what it says. Some asks me "Do you pray
about getting up in the morning and going to church?" No, I don't. I
just get up. I don't pray about tithing, I just do it. I don't pray about
telling other people the good news, I just do it. Because it's right here in
God's word. When you build your life on this book, you're going to ask the right
questions. If you don't build your life on this book, you're going to miss
God's will much of the time.
So the first step
is to check it out in the Bible. The second step is to ask the question:
2. DOES IT
MAKE ME MORE LIKE CHRIST?
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. God says very clearly in the
Bible that His goal for your life is to make you like Jesus. Not to be a god
but to be godly. To have character, to have love, joy, peace, patience, all the
qualities that Jesus had -- in your life. He would never tell you to do
anything that contradicts or would hinder you from reaching that goal.
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 or
selfish ambition. The wisdom that comes from God is pure, peace loving,
considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere." 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 fame, instant wealth, instant comfort it's not from God. God doesn't
give you ideas for self promotion, self serving, selfish ambition.
On the other
hand, if the thought is pure then it's from God. If you get an impure thought
that one obviously isn't from God.
His wisdom is
peace loving. Ideas from God promote harmony rather than conflict. If you get
an idea that's going to promote conflict it's probably not from God. It's
considerate. You have to think what would this idea do to other people? Would
it hurt them or harm them? Would it build them up or tear them down? Encourage
them or discourage them?
If an idea is
genuinely from God, the Bible says it's considerate. It's considerate of how
other people think. A lot of people say, "God told me to do this"
and they just bowl over everybody and don't care how it hurts anybody. Because
"God told them to do it." God didn't tell them to do something like
that. The Bible says God's wisdom is considerate. So you don't be dogmatic.
If you've really heard from God you're not going to be arrogant and bragging
about it. Some people think they've heard from God but their behavior shows
they really haven't because they're self righteous, egotistical and always
putting everybody else down. "God told me this and therefore you're
God's wisdom is
full of mercy. If you've really heard an idea from God it's going to cause you
to be more gracious towards people rather than judgmental. If after I've heard
from God, it makes me more judgmental, and put you down, and tell you what
you're doing wrong and always criticizing you, you didn't hear from God.
That's not the way Jesus lived. Jesus is our model.
question: Would Jesus do this? First, does it square up with the Bible?
Second, Does it make me more like Christ? Would Jesus do this?
That's the second
way to test an impression.
The final way to
test an impression is to ask:
3. DO I SENSE
GOD'S PEACE ABOUT IT?
14:33 "God is not the author of confusion." So if you're
feeling confused that confusion is not coming from God. It may be coming from
yourself or other people, but it's not coming from God. If you feel pressured
and overwhelmed and driven to make a hasty decision, a major decision in life,
and you're very pressured to make it, question it. That's not the way God
works. There's not one single example in the Bible where God says,
"Rush!" to a major decision. Not one. So question it. The Bible
says God is patient. God would rather have you make the right decision than
have you make the quick decision. We even say that when you're considering
coming to Christ. Take the time to make the right decision. I believe if you
listen to what God has to say, you will inevitably come to the right conclusion
that you need to give your life to Christ and live your life the way God made
you to live, fulfilling your purpose.
pressured, if you're stressed out, that pressure and stress are not coming from
God. Not at all! It's coming from inside you, or from the devil, or from some
other source. Do you want your kids to feel stressed out, pressured? No.
Neither does your heavenly Father. The only time you're going to feel stressed
out and pressured is when He's told you something to do and you don't do it.
That's going to create stress in your life. That's going to create pressure --
when you know the right thing to do and you keep procrastinating. Satan drives
us compulsively while God's spirit draws us compassionately, gently.
Colossians 3;1 "Let
the peace of God rule in your hearts." If God is genuinely speaking
to you and you think this idea is from God, it's going to bring peace to your
heart IF you follow it. God's Spirit produces a calm spirit. Worry and anxiety
are never from God. Never. In the Bible it says, "Don't worry!" We
are commanded not to worry! If you get an idea that is a worry, it's not from
God! God would never give you an idea that He's commanded you not to have.
You need to look for His peace.
There is nothing
more vital in your life than you hear from God. Nothing. Because you were
wired and made to have a relationship with God and if you miss that you miss
the purpose you were made for.
The secret to
hearing God clearly is get to know Him better and better every day. The more
you understand Him, the better you know Him, the easier it is to hear His voice
in a split second when He wants to talk to you. Get to know God better and
better every day.
You may think
you've never heard God speak to you. That's a good indication that you don't
have a relationship to Him. John 8:47 "He who belongs to God hears
what God says." The reason you don't hear is that you don't belong to
God. If you've never heard God it means you need to establish a relationship
to Him. And that's real easy to do and I can lead you in a prayer this morning
that will help you take that step.
Others of you are
believers and in the past God's voice was very clear to you at different times
but right now it's been a little fuzzy, a little distant.
something that is wrong in your life that has come between you and God and
until you deal with that, the channel is blocked.
Your heart has
grown hard and you're not as sensitive to God as you used to be. Come home to
Jesus Christ. Come home and say Jesus, "I want that relationship that I
had before. I want to be able to talk to You and hear You and I want You to
lead me and guide me and help me avoid all these mistakes in life. Direct me
in the right way."