Loading

About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Publications -

Rainbow Divider

Chapter 2

Does God Speak To You? Part 2

(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the September-October 1979 issue of the Midnight Cry Messenger.)

The Ministry Of Christ

As in times past God speaks to man today through his conscience, through the creation and, above all, through the ministry of the word. As surely as God called and anointed the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament, he calls and anoints men today. The ministry of Christ given to the church is just as valid today as it was when he ascended up on high and sent the Holy Spirit upon the waiting disciples at Pentecost. Eph. 4:7-16, I Cor. 12:27-28.

This does not mean that everyone claiming to be a minister, or recognized as such, is indeed called of God. Some volunteer, some are persuaded and a few are called. It is my conviction that many of them need to be born again. This is why there is such little life in the churches and among professing Christians. It takes life to beget life. Everything brings forth after its own kind whether it be natural or spiritual.

Although they may be few and far between, God has his anointed servants in the earth today. They may not be recognized by the religious establishment but they are recognized by the Lord. With a spiritual understanding that God has given them they have an insight into the written word that goes far beyond the confines of most of the church world.

The word they preach is full of faith and power. It edifies the saint, convicts the sinner and stirs up the devil in others. It is a manifestation of the kingdom of God resulting in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Rom. 14:17. Because it is often prophetic in nature, it imparts life and foretells the future according to the sovereign purpose of God.

Although this word comes through the anointed lips of mortal men, it is an expression of God’s divine wisdom, love and power. Various translations of the Bible interpret Heb. 4:12 as follows: American Standard Version, “For the word of God is living and active.” Rotherham, “For living is the word of God and energetic.” Weymouth, “For the word of God is full of life and power.” Moffatt, “For the Logos of God is a living thing, active.” Williams, “For God’s message is alive and full of power in action.” Taylor, “For whatever God says to us is full of living power.”

From these translations with their various shades of meaning, we begin to realize that God’s word is more than a vehicle for thought. Laden with divine energy it is an expression or extension of Christ himself. It is actually Christ speaking in and through the church which is his body. Where the word is coming forth by the anointing it is Christ in the midst. Heb. 2:11-12, Matt. 18:20.

The name “Christ” (Christos) means anointed. It was by the anointing or the Spirit of Christ that the prophets spoke in the Old Testament. This is the meaning of Matt. 23:37 where Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

Men must hear the voice of the Son of God if they are to be saved. As surely as Jesus “...cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43) he must speak to men today. It is the ministry given to the church that he speaks through. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

To the disciples Jesus said, “He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.” Matt. 10:40.

This is the way men hear and receive Christ today. His voice is heard through anointed lips. Heb. 3:7-8.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:24-25.

However, there is always a need to make a distinction between the anointed word and the letter of the word. The letter of the word (Bible) can be used, and often is, by demonic spirits who twist and pervert its meaning. This is why any particular group, though using the Bible, can interpret and preach it in such a way as to confirm and propagate their particular doctrines and religious traditions.

The fact that people use the Bible does not mean they have the anointed word of God. The Baptists use the Bible. The Methodists use the Bible. The Presbyterians use the Bible. The Seventh Day Adventists use the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses use the Bible. The Mormons use the Bible. The Catholics use the Bible. The Pentecostals use the Bible. The Charismatics use the Bible. The Children of God (movement) use the Bible. So did Jim Jones and thousands of others.

Don’t let anyone holding the Bible in his hand claiming such great honor and respect for it deceive you. We need to be able to discern whether it is Christ in them using the Bible or antichrist. I John 4:1-4. Remember Jesus said, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matt. 24:5.

The fact that many use the Bible and say that Jesus is the Christ doesn’t mean anything. How else could Satan and his ministers transform themselves into angels of light? II Cor. 11:13-15.

If, as the scripture says, “God is not the author of confusion,” I Cor. 14:33, what is the answer to all this? It is simple. Religion as a whole is made up of Babylon the great and her many harlot daughters. Rev. 17:5.

The much confusion and divergent opinions that exist among these groups speaks for itself. There is no way that all of this can be interpreted as true revelation. If God is not the author of confusion, who is? The answer is found in Rev. 18:2 which says, “...Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

Some of these groups started out with a measure of light which they walked in to begin with. God blessed them and overshadowed them with his presence. By degrees many of them got their eyes off of the Lord and began to glory in their success and their movement. This led to building their own kingdom and making them a name rather than honoring and glorifying the Lord. Gen. 11:1-4.

Since God will not give his glory to another he had to remove his presence from many of these groups. As the Lord removed his presence, there was no oil (Holy Spirit) left to feed the candle of revelation. Without the continuing light of revelation they were filled with darkness. Pro. 4:18. Evil spirits in people began to enter their ranks. In process of time they took over. Dead doctrines, creeds, religious traditions and doctrines of devils (I Tim. 4:1-4) became their message.

This was their fall as they became the habitation or dwelling place of devils. Rev. 18:2. Many of the demon-inspired cults and splinter groups began with a spirit of rebellion as they split off from the existing church system. After all, there was only one church after Pentecost.

In some measure the entire present day church world is under the influence of the apostasy. Like the Laodicean church they glory in their prosperity and think they have need of nothing when indeed they are spiritually destitute. Rev. 3:14-19. This is why it is well nigh impossible for a sinner to be converted in the average church today.

Thank God, as long as there is one soul whose conscience is not so seared that he can’t hear the voice of the Son of God there will be some place where they can hear sufficient truth to believe and be saved. However, these places are not on every corner. Those desiring God must seek and search for his truth with all their hearts. Jer. 29:13.

In this hour you will not find help in most churches or religious establishments. People in them will have to come out if they get help. Jesus took the blind man out of the town of Bethsaida before ministering to him. After healing the man Jesus told him to not go back into the town, neither tell anyone who was going into Bethsaida. Mark 8:22-26. He would not permit any further witness in this place. Much of our religious world has reached this place.

No matter how much conscience-stricken man considers God as he observes the creation or the circumstances of life he has to come to faith to be saved. Heb. 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Faith to be saved cannot come by reading a book, a tract or the Bible itself. Men must hear the gospel preached in the power of the Holy Ghost. This is why Rom. 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

To the church at Corinth Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Cor. 2:4-5.

This scripture makes a distinction between man’s faith standing in the wisdom of men and standing in the power of God. The testimony of God or the word can be with excellency of speech and wisdom and yet devoid of the power of God. I Cor. 2:1. No doubt this is the form of godliness that denies the power thereof that Paul spoke of in II Tim. 3:5. This is also the difference between the ministry of the Spirit and the ministry of the letter of the word. II Cor. 3:6.

I have noticed during these thirty-one years of ministering God’s word an increasing emphasis on ministers having a degree. More and more even small churches want a pastor that has a seminary degree.

Many congregations actually feel that it takes a man with a degree to minister God’s word. I’m afraid prestige has become a big factor in congregations with this outlook. This attitude breeds contempt for preachers without a degree. Excellency of speech is more important to the modern church world than the power and demonstration of the Spirit. Being spiritually blind they do not understand that it is “...not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zech. 4:6.

The Bible Today

Although we have said much about the letter of the word and how the scriptures are twisted and perverted by some, let me hasten to add that the Bible is the Book of books to the man of God. Primarily the Holy Spirit uses the Bible when God speaks to man. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Tim. 3:16-17.

In matters that require wisdom in our personal lives it is not always possible to get a “Thus saith the Lord” from the scriptures. For example: If we need wisdom concerning a trip we need to make, we could not find a verse of scripture that says, “Thou shalt go to New York.”

Conditions

To get wisdom from God for personal direction which he promises to us liberally, James 1:5, we must acknowledge him in all our ways. Pro. 3:6. This can only be done when we realize that God alone understands and has all the answers. Isa. 40:28. Of necessity we must realize that we know nothing as we ought to. I Cor. 8:3.

Secondly, we must desire to do the Lord’s will regardless of our own opinions or feelings in the matter. John 7:17. This is a very difficult place for most people to come to. Very few are free from selfish motivation that influences their wills. Most of mankind cannot believe in nor receive Jesus Christ because their wills are not free.

It could be religious bondage like the Jews or the bondage of natural, selfish desire. We cannot, nor will we, die to our own selfish wills until, by revelation, we see Christ. When we see Christ we will see the kingdom of God. Matt. 16:13-19, John 6:68-69, II Cor. 4:3-4 and John 3:3.

Man cannot will to do the will of God without the revelation of Christ. This is the revelation that caused Peter to say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:68. This is the rock upon which the church is built, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against. This is what makes God real to us and enables us to endure in times of great trial. Heb. 11:24-27.

Thirdly, we need to wait on the Lord until light comes. Isa. 50:10-11. Waiting on the Lord can be a very trying experience. Most of us are impatient by nature. When in a state of indecision we are prone to anxiety and fear. It is in this state that we become vulnerable to false revelation and do the wrong thing. We need to ever remember that God has a purpose in such delays. When this purpose is accomplished he will give us such light as we need. James 1:2-8.

This light may come in the form of a word of wisdom from God. This could come directly to our heart by the Holy Spirit or through a human vessel we have contact with. It could be through the preached word of God by the ministry.

Sometimes this wisdom comes by a peace or spiritual rest that witnesses to our heart that we are in the will of God as we move in a certain direction. The Lord said to Moses, “...my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Ex. 33:14.

The rest that comes from God’s presence is a very important factor in being led of the Lord. I have learned over the years that when the Lord wants to lead me in a certain direction he stirs up my spirit and causes me to think of the thing he wants me to do.

However, I have learned to not be too quick in responding to such urging lest it be the enemy instead of the Lord. After sufficient prayer over the matter the Lord ministers faith to my heart to either drop the thing or surrender to move in the direction indicated. In either case the Holy Spirit ministers peace and rest to my heart and I know I’m in the will of God.

Religious Phenomena

Even today the Lord uses dreams, visions and, on occasions, sends an angel to us. However, I personally believe that angels are often used to minister to us even though we are not aware of it. Heb. 1:13-14. It is only on rare occasions that God allows us to see the angel that ministers to us.

This is because man is so proud he is subject to let the enemy exalt him because of his phenomenal experience. Even Paul, the great apostle, was given a thorn in the flesh to humble him lest he be exalted above measure. II Cor. 12:7.

Religious phenomena such as visions, dreams, angelic visitations, prophecy, discerning of spirits and other manifestations of the Spirit are discounted by formal Christianity. Those who believe in it are accused of witchcraft or, at best, ignorant religious fanaticism. And it is true that demonic power is responsible for much of the religious phenomena claimed by such groups.

However there are true phenomena given by the Lord as well as delusive phenomena given by satanic power. True phenomena are sovereignly given by the Lord to his people in times of great stress or need. It is a people who love the Lord and believe in Elijah’s God. Although they believe in supernatural phenomena, they walk by faith and neither seek nor ask for signs and wonders.

Satanically inspired phenomena come to those who love not the truth that they might be saved. II Thess. 2:9-12. Not rooted and grounded in the word of God, yet religious, such people are open to the deceptions of Satan through religious phenomena.

By nature man is religious. He is prone to embrace something religious -- either good or bad. By nature he is also a rebel and hates the truth that would set him free.

Religion that offers him a hope of heaven that does not cross his will and demand repentance appeals to him. When such religion is attended by supernatural phenomena it is especially appealing to the religious rebel.

This being the day of man’s greatest rebellion against God in rejection of truth he is more open and receptive to supernatural religious delusion than ever before. Satan is being enthroned in the temple of God (heart of man) like never before. II Thess. 2:3-4.

This is the reason for such a revival of the occult. Witchcraft, spiritualism and astrology have become popular and respectable. There is an increase of the cults with their doctrines of devils. Sound in the faith people like Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians are being brought together with the Pentecostals and the Catholics through the phenomena of speaking in tongues.

This is the basis of fellowship and the drawing power of the Charismatic movement that is uniting and bringing together many divisions of religion. The basis of fellowship is not what you believe nor Christ and him crucified, but have you received the baptism and spoken in tongues?

In the midst of this hodge podge of counterfeit religious phenomena inspired and brought forth by the power of darkness there is a genuine.

We need to beware of and examine every supernatural experience by the word of God. It is also good to be in fellowship with a church with spiritual discernment that can examine our experience.

Any experience that exalts a person or group and causes them to feel spiritually superior is suspect.

Any experience that supposedly replaces the Bible or goes beyond its revelation in matters of faith and practice is suspect.

Any experience that eliminates the necessity of prayer and dependence upon God for help and wisdom is suspect. It is significant that the fortuneteller and the clairvoyant offer you such wisdom.

Any experience that causes division and leads to independent action apart from the church is suspect.

Any experience that causes an individual to become contentious and resist correction and counsel from the church is suspect.

In spite of the fact that Satan counterfeits everything that God does like Pharaoh’s sorcerers and magicians of Egypt (Exodus 7:10-13), there is a genuine. If we walk in reverence and fear of the Lord and in harmony and fellowship with our brother we will know the difference.

The Scriptures

In the matter of needed wisdom for us personally, don’t rule out the possibility of God using the scriptures to speak to you. You would be surprised at the depth of wisdom in the scriptures that can be used for this purpose.

I personally believe that this is the number one means God has ordained to use to speak to his people. The more scripture we learn and hide away in our hearts the easier it is for God to speak to us on a given occasion. David knew how important this was when he said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Ps. 119:105. Read also Ps. 119:11, 92, 93, and 130.

I cannot overemphasize the need of God’s word for those who desire intimate communion with the Lord. This is why it is so important to study the word without your religious glasses on.

Some study the Bible through Baptist glasses, some study it through Pentecostal glasses and some study it through Jehovah’s Witness glasses. And some, even though they belong to a church, don’t take time to study it at all. Like some who denied personal study of the Bible to the laity, they leave the study of the Bible to their clergy.

This is also why it is so important to have a ministry that is not restricted or confined to some religious prison house, behind walls of doctrine, creeds and religious tradition. Isaiah 42:22-25. If people are to be set free they have to have a ministry that is free. Jesus was a perfect example of such a ministry.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19.

As we observe Jesus’ life and ministry we notice that he constantly used the word of God. Over and over again in reference to the scriptures Jesus would say, “...it is written....” Matt. 11:10, Mark 7:6, Luke 7:27 and John 6:31. Jesus came against each of the three great temptations of Satan on the mount with the scriptures by saying, “...Satan, it is written....” Matt. 4:1-11.

Those who believe in and honor the word will be honored by the Lord. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21.

To have his commandments and keep them simply means that Jesus is Lord of our life through the ruling principle of God’s word. This is more than Sunday religion. It is walking with the Lord as we govern our life by the word. Such a person becomes so sensitive and God-conscious until it is easy for the Lord to speak to him.

Having a knowledge of the word and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, they quickly recognize even the small, still voice of the Lord. Although that voice is hardly more than an impression at times, they recognize it as from God.

If we have his word it is a matter of exercising ourselves in spiritual things. This will increase our ability to discern between good and evil. Heb. 5:14. There is no shortcut through religious experience or teaching that can take the place of such discipleship.

Although personal dedication and discipleship is a must, two things primarily are responsible for a lack of Christian growth and development in the church today. The sub-par condition of the ministry and the churches in general do not provide the spiritual nutrition necessary. You cannot grow and develop when you do not have proper food and exercise.

Like those in Hebrews 5:11-14, most of God’s people today are spiritual babes that must be fed with milk and not solid food. It is difficult for them to discern good from evil. This was the condition of the Corinthian church. Paul said, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” I Cor. 3:1.

Strong churches and ministries will challenge the people, causing them to take Christ’s yoke which will enable them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Matt. 11:28-30, II Peter 3:18. It is only when we present our bodies a living sacrifice that transformation by the renewing of our minds begins to take place. To the degree this transformation takes place we will be able to prove or know “...what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Rom. 12:1-2.

This, beloved, is the desirable place that God wants to bring us to. This is the place where we will be able to hear his voice. This is also the place where we will be vessels. “...unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” II Tim. 2:21.

Return to Books

Return to Library of Articles

Return to MCM