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|NASB||Hebrews 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,|
|Hebrews 1:1 God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways,|
|Subject: How does God speak to us?|
Bible Note: How does God speak to us?
'I am a bit distressed even talking about this issue because my comments are meant to try to rein Christians in a little bit, to keep them off of the fringe...
'But whenever I have to rein Christians in a bit and talk about this kind of thing I feel badly because I realize that some people are straining at the bit for the best of reasons and with the best of intentions...They want to experience more of the working of the Holy Spirit in their life. And here is Koukl coming in, apparently throwing cold water on the whole operation.
'I feel bad about that because I have no intention of quenching the work of the Holy Spirit. My entire goal is to be very, very careful and look closely at the specifics of what's being held to be true to see if they do, in fact, line up with the directives given in the Scriptures. Or, are we drawing some wrong conclusions that cause us to go over the edge and maybe do some spiritual damage to ourselves and others?...
'I think I'm somewhat of an evangelical iconoclast because I'm always breaking up people's parties, so to speak. An iconoclast is an image breaker, someone who kind of attacks, to some degree, cherished notions. Sometimes that bothers people and I 'm sorry about that. I don't mean to cause trouble for the sake of trouble, but I do mean to force people to think clearly and Biblically, even about those ideas they cherish the most. And, to many of us, the thing that we cherish the most is this idea that we have a personal hotline to God and we ought to expect Him to speak to us about our decisions.
'I had a very stimulating conversation last week about this. I talked about it on Sunday in some detail, and then a friend of mine wrote me a note and offered me eighteen references from the book of Acts that seem to contradict my point of view. So what I want to do for just a few moments is to talk about these particular references and see if they do contradict what I was saying last weekend.
'I have to make clear what my point of view is so that it's not misunderstood. Let me capsulize it for you very quickly. My point of view is basically four quick points:
'First of all, learning to hear the voice of God is not taught as a Christian discipline that we must learn in order to live the optimal Christian life. This is the "hotline to God" view in which we get specialized and tailor-made instructions for our personal lives. That is not taught in Scripture.
'Secondly, God sometimes does give specialized instructions, so I'm not saying that God can't do that and I'm not putting God in a box. He does sometimes give specialized instructions. He did in Biblical times and He does in the present. But when we read in the Bible especially in the New Testament, which is what our discussion is about today when He has done it, such specialized instructions are clear first of all. They are not mumbled. They are not whispered. They are not nudged. And they are, almost without exception in the New Testament, a sovereign intrusion by God into the circumstances rather than something that is first sought by a Christian.
'Thirdly, God's intrusion in these cases is sometimes through special gifts in the body that I believe are in full operation today, but are by very nature individual. In other words, every person has his own gift and each person does not have every gift. So this working through gifts can't be a means of every Christian hearing from God. In other words, sometimes God intervenes with a prophetic word, but since prophetic words only come through those people who have the gift of prophecy, it's not the kind of thing we all have to cultivate, to learn to do.
'Finally, there are clearly workings of the Spirit in the area of teaching, conviction of sin and comforting of individual Christians. I admit that those workings are private, individual and tailored to individual people. Those kinds of things are not in question here.
'We're going to do a little Bible study. We're going to look at eighteen references suggested in the letter to me that was an attempt to offer contrary evidence from the Scriptures to the point of view that I just described for you. All of these references come from the book of Acts. We will see if these references actually undermine the basic point I have been making or not. In a sense, I hope the Bible study will go beyond just the meaning of the passages because what this will do, as we walk through it, is help us to learn how to be more precise and particular about our Bible study and not draw conclusions hastily or inappropriately from the Scriptures. But take a close, methodical look to get a clear idea of what is actually being averred here about Christian disciplines and God speaking.'
Acts and the Voice of God by Gregory Koukl
To read more go to: (www.str.org/free/commentaries/theology/actsvoic.htm)