Does God Still Speak?
I only missed one week between these two, so maybe I'm getting better! Rant incoming...read to the end for the good stuff
The last few weeks, if you haven't been keeping up with the messages, have revolved around "When God Speaks". It just so happens that our Sunday night study has for the last few weeks revolved around questions like how the Church should operate in accordance with the New Testamant, and tonight we finally made it to "continuing revelation", essentially. Amazing how God puts things together for us to hear from His Word in the morning about a topic, and spend the afternoon digesting it only to come back in on a Sunday night and really dive deep into the discussion of the topic.
I have been doing some reading on tonight's topic trying to get an understanding of both sides of the coin, and it hit me that I had to write something about it to clarify for as many as read this. It seems that both sides of this coin of "God still speaks to man" are extreme. One side says "no absolutely not, nothing more than the Word should be considered", while the other says "absolutely, if someone comes with a word it should be followed". Both are absurd. I'm sorry, but it's true. Does God still speak? Absolutely. Does God give new Scripture? Not that I've ever seen.
Let's start with the "God doesn't speak" crowd. If God doesn't speak to man today, how does the Holy Spirit convict one of sin? Is it solely through the Word? What about the individuals who have never seen the Word and yet still come to Christ? There's plenty of examples in the Islamic community of Muslims converting to Christianity after seeing a vision of Christ calling them out. Are you telling me that all of those examples are falsehoods? If it were one, I would be apt to believe it, but it's hundreds if not thousands. Besides aren't many of these (those who claim God doesn't speak) the same people who on a Sunday morning say things like "if God is leading you to make decision and come pray to receive Him, come now"? God has to speak to us, as individuals. God teaches us through His Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). That seems pretty much like God speaks to us to me.
Now let's look at the other side of this same coin. The people who claim that God still speaks to the extent that He is telling someone what to tell the people to have something accomplished. This is usually where the issues comes in. Many of these people who claim that God is speaking through them are using the "Spirit" for their own benefit. I read one article about a guy who claimed that God gave Him an ultimatum to raise so much money for something or else he would die. Really? There's a line that has been drawn all throughout the Bible, it has to line up together. If you're going to follow some random guy who claims that God gave him a vision, then you're discernment meter seems to be off. Turn it on. If what is being said doesn't line up with the Bible, there's a pretty good chance that it's false prophecy.
I know what you're thinking "if the requirement is that it lines up with the Word, why would we need anything more than the Word?". Good point. We DON'T need anything more than the Word to see God's redemptive plan. There's nothing that is missing from the Word that we need to know. But does that mean that God doesn't speak and direct? No. It simply means that we have what we need to bring the Gospel to the world (Matt 28:19-20). But how else is God going to direct us in reaching the communities if He isn't speaking? You see in 1 Kings 19 Elijah is told to step out of the cave and see/hear from God. The mighty wind blows, but God isn't there; the earthquake shakes the ground, but God isn't there; the fires came, but God wasn't there; then the gentle breeze, and there was God. You see, sometimes we as believers look for God in the grandiose things and don't find Him. But because that's where we look, people make grandiose statements and movements to sway us to believe that God is there. If we would remember that God comes not in the grandiose (all the time), but in the quiet gentle breeze we would see Him there and hear His voice. We get so caught up in everything that's going on we miss out on God's voice in that gentle breeze because of all the noise that is around us. Don't let God pass you by, don't miss His voice because you're in the "God doesn't speak" camp or in the "God will send a prophet to speak" camp. That's the benefit of the Holy Spirit, God can and will speak directly to us, if only we'd listen. Don't get so caught up in "prophecy" that you miss what God is saying. Don't follow someone just because they say "Thus says the Lord". Listen for yourself, learn from the Holy Spirit, and be a blessing to those that are around you.