Christianity 201

November 6, 2017

Developing the Discernment to Call Out False Prophets

I am grateful for the writers and musicians who speak into my spiritual life. But it’s only through God’s Word that I have a framework to know if they speak from God authentically. I need to be assured that their words resonate with scripture before I allow them to resonate with me.

Today we return to Todd Sepulveda who lives in Houston and writes at Glorify God • Magnify Him in This World. Click the title to read at source.

All the Voices

Scripture

Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie!
Jeremiah 28:15 NET

Observation
Believers need to understand that not everything that proclaims to be from the Lord is truly from the Lord.

In Bible times, there were prophets whose message was different from each other. Both proclaimed to be prophets of God. Both proclaimed to have a message from God. But both had very different messages, one from God, one from wishful thinking.

Because people don’t necessarily want to hear a message of repentance and becoming holy, they usually listened to the false prophets. They listened to the wrong prophet.

At the most basic level, people who followed the false prophets we’re lazy. They didn’t care to know what the Word of God said. They didn’t examine or question the religious leaders. They new Jewish history, but they thought they were different.

And today, we have more access to the Word of God than any other time in history. Are you trusting what others say, or are you getting in the Word for yourself?

Application
There are so many voices vying for our attention. As a Believer, you should want the only voice you respond to, to be the true voice of God.

This means that you need to know Him, His Word, His presence!

Don’t rely on someone else to give you insight into spiritual matters only. Don’t fall into the trap of false teaching and false prophets, because there is much out there today! Don’t be lazy!

Start reading the Word today! Start praying today! Start walking with Him on a deeper level today. Nothing else compares.

Prayer
Lord, I desire to know You fully. Reveal Yourself to me as I read Your Word and I pray. Show me Your ways.

 

September 17, 2013

How God Spoke to Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

God is trying to get our attention

John 3:31-36 (J. B. Phillips translation) 

31-36 “The one who comes from above is naturally above everybody. The one who arises from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks from the earth. The one who comes from Heaven is above all others and he bears witness to what he has seen and heard—yet no one is accepting his testimony. Yet if a man does accept it, he is acknowledging the fact that God is true. For the one whom God sent speaks the authentic words of God—and there can be no measuring of the Spirit given to him! The Father loves the Son and has put everything into his hand. The man who believes in the Son has eternal life. The man who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; he lives under the anger of God.”

The title for today’s reading is actually a bit of a teaser; I have no specific story to tell, but it’s interesting what happens to our perceptions on this topic when the situation becomes subjective and personal. Consider the difference between the two possible titles I had for today:

  • How God Speaks to Us
  • How God Spoke to Me

The former sounds generally instructive, but the latter sounds like a personal testimony which may or may not be beneficial to all.  Last year, I wrote about this on another blog:

I think there is a potential for degrees of fallibility when it comes to hearing from God. I offer this as something others can refine further:

(1) The reading of scripture. If it’s in context and the translation is reliable there should be little margin for error as to what God is speaking. For many people, the list stops here. There is no room for the other propose methodology whereby God’s will and God’s ways are communicated. Admittedly, everything else listed below should not conflict with scripture. All scripture is God-breathed (II Tim 3:16)

(2) “I think what God is saying to us is…” Form employed by a pastor in a sermon after a week (or more) of study on a particular passage or theme. Includes not only what the passage is saying in general, but what the pastor feels it addresses in the local church context. The pastor usually uses the form “I think…” or “I believe…” however; he (or she) is not claiming divine inspiration.

(3) “The saith the Lord…” Words of prophecy and knowledge (or interpretation of tongues) as spoken in Pentecostal or Charismatic meetings can sometimes get off the rails, but are generally received as reliable in a majority of cases. Not generally recorded or transcribed, though some elements may be remembered by that local church for years to come, such as a church I attended for two years in my late teens which had a prophecy ‘spoken over’ the congregation that they would influence the world, but would not be known for it. In many ways, this prophecy materialized.

(4) First person speech. The literary form used in God Calling by A. J. Russell or Jesus Calling by Sarah Young hasn’t been vetted by a pastor’s arduous study or a local congregation, but has been seen by editors and publishers. Still, nobody knows the identity of the “Two Listeners” of the book A. J. Russell compiled. (Are there interviews with Sarah Young someone can provide a link to?) This could just be a stylistic variant on (2) above, but it brings with it the presumption of inspiration, and is, in my opinion, at best very risky.

(5) Dreams and visions. Given usually to an individual and distinct from (2) and (3) above, and usually highly subjective, though God does speak through these and other similar means.

(6) The general revelation of nature. Psalm 19 — The heavens declare the Glory of God — describes this as “speech” as the creation proclaims God’s existence. Ranks with (1) above in terms of its purity, but listed last here as so few outside the faith “listen to” the message the heavens are speaking, and so few of us within the faith take the time to appreciate its constant reminder of God’s greatness. If this one is (1a) then certainly we’d also want to include as (1b) the inner witness or voice of the Holy Spirit; provided our hearts are properly tuned to the Spirit’s frequency; as this also becomes partially subjective, as Paul’s use of “I believe I have the mind of the Lord…” (italics added) in I Cor. 7: 39-40 I’m also not sure how the inner voice of the spirit (or even the revelation of nature) would fit with those most strongly committed to sola scriptura. Furthermore, the general revelation of nature often compels some people to attribute creation to other gods, other powers, and other sources. Also, we usually demand that any ‘inner voices’ people experience submit to the revelation of scripture; the two cannot conflict.

Questions:

  • To whom is the passage from John 3 at the top of this article referring?  Can it have broader application?
  • Have you ever found yourself in a church, a Bible study, or even a conversation where you weren’t sure if a message, a teaching, a directive, etc., was truly from God; i.e. if it could truly be trusted? 
  • What about circumstances? We all agree that many times God speaks through our individual situations so… how reliable, as in the cartoon above, are pain, suffering and trials as a potential means God is using to get our attention? Is pain God’s megahone?