For many people, hearing the audible voice of God — speaking directly to them — is incredibly important. He isn’t “real” somehow if He isn’t physical, tangible, and accessible.
They are encouraged in this belief by celebrity leadership and the lay people snared by them, confidently assuring that God speaks audibly today, and if people aren’t hearing Him, it’s not God’s fault, it’s theirs — they’re too ordinary for God to bother with, or they don’t have enough (or the right kind of) faith, they’re uneducated, out of tune with spirituality, or just too full of doubt. Apparently, it takes a lot of work to get God to notice you, much less involve Himself in your life.
One wonders why Christ bothered with the apostle Thomas, who expressed misgivings about Jesus’ appearing to everyone else in Thomas’ social circle. (John 20: 24-29)
The Jabbering God
Some people, too many of whom write and sell books on their experiences, are so cavalier about their relationship with God that His speaking to them is almost banal:
“God told me today that I really should stop eating eggs. He’s concerned about my diet.”
When you hear story after story involving God, the preacher of the day, and their fireside chats, you start to think that there’s something wrong with you — and quite subtly, you begin to change your goal from learning about God by seeking His truth in Scripture, to earnestly desiring a personal experience, and genuine conversation, of your own. Even if it’s all in your head (and many conversants with God admit this: “He spoke to me — audibly — in my head”), you want this.
But let’s say that God did talk to you, specially. What would He say?
He’s Already Said It
“I love you.”
Well, that’s a focal message in Scripture: 1 John 4: 10 tells us,
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
“I want you to be with Me.”
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.” (John 17: 24)
“You’re not alone. I am with you.”
“I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91: 15)
What could He possibly tell us that He hasn’t already said, over and over, in the Scriptures?
And Other Things, He Didn’t Say
Well, how about this:
“You will be a mighty man of God and your work will usher in my New Kingdom!”
“I am angry with my people, and I want you to explain to them how to follow me,”
“I will give My words to you to tell and teach my people as we enter this new and glorious age.”
These all sound really impressive and grand and authoritative, and in the 30-plus years I’ve been a Christian, I’ve heard some variation or another of them being preached, by various big names to little people, as truth. Before the little people, however, relinquish the autonomy of their minds to the forceful demands of an obnoxiously vociferous, self-appointed prophet, consider these four verses in the Bible:
Four of Many Pertinent Verses
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,” (Revelation 22: 18)
“It is finished!” (John 19: 30)
“God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1: 27)
“The Bereans . . . examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17: 11)
What these verses tell us, in the order that I’ve listed them, is this:
1, 2, 3, 4
1) There are no “Additional Revelations” — everything we need to know, God has already said and written down,
2) Christ completed everything we need to receive salvation and eternal life.,
3) You don’t have to be a genius, celebrity Christian, or theologian to read the Bible and be taught by its truth,
4) Check out everything you’re told about the Scriptures by reading them yourself. You’re smart enough.
The danger of striving to hear God’s audible voice, or following another who assures us that he hears it, is that we confer upon experiences the anointing of truth, based upon nothing more than the word of another human being. More than once Jesus admonished listeners for seeking signs and wonders (“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!” — Matthew 12: 39), and the Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15, warns us that Satan can do miracles, too.
Do you want to know what God has to say to you? Read His word. He hasn’t left anything out.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to stop abdicating their spiritual lives to the kingdoms of this world. The only Father we have is God, and yet too often, we give glory, honor, attention — and money — to human beings who loudly assert that they have a special message that God has given to no one else but them.
If the AntiChrist comes in our generation, we want to recognize him, but if we can’t identify his forerunners, how will we spot the real thing?
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