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How to Recognize God's Voice

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Last week, learned how to hear God’s voice and to prepare ourselves to hear God’s voice. You can’t really have a relationship with God if you never hear from him. It has to be a two way communication between you and God.
How do you discern God’s voice from the competing voices? How do you know if an impression you are getting is from God and not from what you ate last night or worse, from the enemy of your soul - - - the devil?
Today we are going to look at what the Bible says about how to test whether it’s God we hear or something else. He gives us 7 ways to test the spirits.
So, this week, we will look at the issue of, How do I know when it’s God? When I get an idea in my head, how do I know it came from God? … and not the devil? How do you know you just didn’t think it up? After all, we talk to ourselves all day long - right?
It’s important to learn how to discern God’s voice from the others. If we don’t it can cause destruction in our lives…
Proverbs 14:12 GNB
12 What you think is the right road may lead to death.
IOW, the wrong way could be fatal. A lot of evil gets blamed on God when people say God told me to do this…
Look at…
1 John 4:1 The Living Bible
1 Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around,
Test it. That’s what I am talking about. Testing an impression or a word from someone to make sure it’s from the Lord.
ILL - Jesus is talking to the disciples and asks Peter… who do men say that I am? Who do you say that I am? Peter - you are the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus looks at hims and says, You spoke the truth, I am the SOG. It wasn not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by the Spirit of God. IOW that idea came from God.
Later, when Jesus told them he was going to be crucified in Jerusalem, Peter told him under no circumstances … Jesus said get behind me Satan. That thought did not come from God. It came from teh devil who did not want Jesus to die on the cross because he knew when Jesus did, it was over for himself.
That’s how easy it is to miss it.
John 7:17 The Message
17 Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up.
How do you know? The WOG says to test it. How do you test it? Through the following Tests… Use these 7 tests like a filter. A water filter gets rid of the impurities from the water. These test will help you get rid of anything that pollutes what you are hearing from God.
7 Tests.

1. Does it agree with the Bible?

Does this thought or impression agree with the Bible? God will never contradict what he has already given us in his word. He doesn’t say one thing and then change his mind like we do. God is consistent… not moody… doesn’t change his mind. God will never tell you to violate a principle given in his Word - the Bible.
So the question is, does what I think I am hearing from God line up with what he already said?
Luke 21:33 NIV
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
GW is eternal… nothing else in our universe is though… it will all be destroyed.
Truth doesn’t change. If it was true 5,000 years ago, it is still true today and will be true next year and 500 years from now. Truth doesn’t change. Opinions change… Science changes… truth doesn’t change.
Prior to the discovery that the earth was round, people thought the earth was flat. It hads always been round, we just didn’t believe it was round. It was true whether we believed it or not.
Friend used to say… God said it. I believe it. That settles it. The reality is God said. That settles it. It doesn’t matter if I believe it or not… it’s settled.
ILL: The bible says we are to pay our taxes. Jesus said to render to Caesar what is his and to God what is God’s. If all of a sudden you decide to stop paying your taxes, that did not come from God.
Proverbs has principles laid out that say God blesses businesses with integrity… that are fair in their business dealings.
Proverbs 12:19 NLT
19 Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.
If you think you can be dishonest and succeed … you are wrong.
Galatians 1:8 NLT
8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.

2. Does this make me more like Jesus.

Jesus is the standard by which we evaluate every thought, every idea, every philosophy, every opinion, every fad … everything. Why? Because God’s purpose for you is for you to become more and more like Jesus.
God put you and I here because life is a test and a trust and a temporary assignment. He wants our character to become like that of Jesus.
Our world is broken. You and I are broken. Our relationships are broken. The earth is self is broken.... all because of sin. Heaven will be great and there will be no sin and everything will be wonderful, but we are not i heaven yet. And until we are in heaven, God is more interested in your character becoming more like Jesus.
Philippians 2:5 NCV
5 In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.
Jesus is our model...
2 Corinthians 10:5 GW
5 and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.
This means that when I get a thought, and idea, the first think I need to do is ask, Would Jesus do this? What would Jesus think about this?
James 3 gives us some things Jesus is and some things that Jesus is not.
James 3:14–17 NIV
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

How do we know it’s not from God?

1. It’s not from God if it’s motivated by bitterness or envy.

If the idea you have is to get back at someone, or get even, it’s not from God. If you are envious of someone or you are wanting someone to envy you, that’s not from God.

2. It’s not from God if it’s motivated by selfish ambition.

God doesn’t give you self serving ideas. He is not interested in your building wealth or becoming famous, he is interested in you becoming like Jesus.
If you get an idea and it’s from God it’s going to be one of these things: pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial, sincere.

If you get an idea and it’s from God it’s going to be one of these things:

If it’s from God, it will be pure.

So if it’s not pure, it’s not from God.

If it’s from God, it will be peace loving.

Jesus said Blessed are the peacemakers. We need to speak and act to build bridges, not burn them. God is not going to give you a word or and idea that will cause conflict. It won’t be condemning because Satan is the accuser, not God. He puts you down.

If it’s from God, it will be considerate.

God won’t give you an idea that hurts other people and give you an advantage. God is concerned with what happens to people. He doesn’t give words or ideas that will hurt other people.

If it’s from God, it will be humble.

You will be humble and willing to be checked by someone.

If it’s from God, it will be full of Mercy

Here is what I mean. God is full of grace. And because of that, we will be as well.
It doesn’t take intelligence to criticize. People do this on social media all the time. No courage and no intelligence. God doesn’t condemn. He shows mercy and so should we.

If it’s from God, it will be impartial and sincere.

This means that we don’t use what God tells us to try to manipulate other people. It also means that we are not a hypocrite… we are sincere and impartial.

3. Does my church family confirm this?

Ask other believers whaat they think about this idea. It might fit with some of the other filters, but does your church family confirm it?
You were never meant to be a lone ranger Christian. God never meant for you to live the Christian life alone. That’s why it is important to have a church family.
Ephesians 3:10 NIV
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
Through the church, God’s wisdom is revealed. He wants to use other people in your life. We are not lone ranger Christians.
So if God has spoken to you, other believers, perhaps older believers, will confirm it when you talk to them about it.
On the other hand, if you have a resistance to discuss it with other believers, that’s a huge red flag. It’s either pride, or you know it’s wrong and you know they are going to say so when you tell them.

If mature believers question it, you should question it too.

Why does God want us to get advice from other people? He wants to save us from a lot of mistakes…
Proverbs 11:9 GNB
9 You can be ruined by the talk of godless people, but the wisdom of the righteous can save you.
Listening to other people can save you a lot of heartache and time doing the wrong thing... It’s better to learn from someone else’s mistakes instead of making them yourself.
ILL - Jonathan
One of the biggest ways we mess up our lives is that we either don’t have any friends to talk to our we have friends but don’t listen to them. You just want to do what you want to do… that’s pretty dumb.
We need other people in our lives. Small groups are a place to develop those friendships. Joining one of the dream teams is a place to develop those relationships. Active in church is a place to develop those relationships.
You might be the one to help someone through something you have already gone through. You don’t develop those kinds of relationships by coming in here on Sundays and racing out … not talking to anyone… not getting to know anyone.
Proverbs 11:14 NKJV
14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
This doesn’t mean that you go and keep talking to people until you find someone that will agree with you or your idea. Find some people who are trying to follow Christ, that are plugged in and growing, and develop a relationship with them.

4. Is it consistent with how God shaped me?

Ephesians 2:10 NLT
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Before you were born, God had a plan for your life. He created you with gifts, talents, passions that would interact with your life experiences and shaped you for the works he created you to do.
Your Shape includes: Your spiritual gifts, your heart, you abilities, your personality and your experiences. We will cover some of that in the Grow Track in the Fall.
We were all saved by grace… our works don’t get us to heaven, know Jesus does, but he created us to do good works once we give our lives to Jesus.
One way to find out what you are shaped to do is by trying things. Try working with the children for a semester… with the youth for a semester… greeting… tech crew… prison ministry… let us train you to lead a connect group.
Romans 12:6 The Living Bible
6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, then prophesy whenever you can—as often as your faith is strong enough to receive a message from God.
There are things God has given you the ability to do well and some things he has not given you the ability to do well. None of us are good at everything… that’s why we need each other.

5. Does it concern my responsibility?

Hearing from God is not an excuse to go confront someone or to try to tell someone what to do. Every believer has direct access to God. Instead of trying to get a word from God from someone else, seek God yourself. Instead of trying to get a word for someone else, seek one for yourself.
A good example of this is between Jesus and Peter at the end of Jesus time on earth. Jesus told Peter how he would die as a Martyr, and Peter pointed to John and said how about him?
John 21:22 NIV
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
IOW don’t worry about other people… don’t be concerned with their short comings or their successes, you follow me. We don’t have to be the HS for someone else, they have the HS as well.
So stop being judgmental and trying to be God for someone else. Try to hear what God is saying to you for you. (BG)
When God speaks to you, he is going to speak to you, about you and for your current situation… about the things you need to do.
Romans 14:4 NIV
4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Too often we think we hear God telling us something about someone else that we need to tell them, and usually it’s somewhat judgmental. The Bible says who are we to judge someone else?
A lot of damage has been done by people who begin the phrase, God told me to tell you… God told me to tell you that you will win this court case… you will get well… Are you sure? This is nothing to play with.
Three guidelines before you share something God is saying about someone else.
1. Be patient and pray.
You don’t just go blab something out. You pray and make sure you heard from God. God often will use someone else to confirm something.
2. Understand that God will use you to confirm what He has already said to them.
God will use what you say to confirm something He has already been saying to that person. God doesn’t give life altering messages to me for you when he hasn’t been already dealing with you on that.
Kathy had a guy telling her that God told him they were to get married… she said, well, He hasn’t told me.
RW - God told him that he would marry Kay, but she was dating someone else… 6 months later his prayer partner looked at him and said, I feel an impression from God that you are going to marry Kay.. RW told him God had told him that too 6 months earlier. God confirmed it. And they kept praying. He never told her God told him that until after they were married.
3. God usually uses you without you being conscious of it.
Often when God uses you, you may not even realize it. You might be in a group and someone says something that you are even aware of until it hits you.
Some of you have said that I am speaking just to you in some of the messages… That’s what God does. I’m not reading your mail, I am simply teaching the WOG and the HS is speaking to you.
Romans 14:10–13 GW
10 Why do you criticize or despise other Christians? Everyone will stand in front of God to be judged. 11 Scripture says, “As certainly as I live, says the Lord, everyone will worship me, and everyone will praise God.” 12 All of us will have to give an account of ourselves to God. 13 So let’s stop criticizing each other. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make other Christians have doubts or lose their faith.

6. Is it convicting rather than condemning?

If you miss this, you may hear someting that will pass the other tests, but instead of hearing God, you are hearing the voice of condemnation.

Conviction comes from God.

He convicts us that something we did was wrong and that we should not do that again because He loves us. He wants us to enjoy the life He created us to live and when we sin, it takes us off track of that life.

Condemnation comes from Satan

Satan and people he uses just criticize. Condemnation accuses you… not what you did, but it attacks you and your self worth. Condemnation says that you are ONE GREAT BIG SINNNNNER!
That’s not how God works....
Romans 8:1 NLT
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

God never attacks your Value.

He will point out sin in your life but He will never attack your value. He died fo you.
Revelation 3:19 AMP
19 Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].
That’s how God speaks.

When God speaks it’s like a pinpoint of light.

Condemnation is general and almost never goes away.
Conviction is specific and clear and will go away when you respond to it.
Revelation 12:10 NIV
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

7. Do I sense God’s Peace about it?

1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV
33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

When you are trying to figure out what God wants you to do, You will feel peace about it.

Philippians 4:6–7 NLT
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 22:17 The Living Bible
17 Listen to this wise advice; follow it closely, for it will do you good, and you can pass it on to others: Trust in the Lord.
Three things God wants us to do when we hear God’s voice
You Listen.
You follow it.
You pass it on.
What if I never hear from the Lord? You need to get to know Jesus...
John 8:47 NIV
47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Salvation Prayer -
Pray for people to hear from the Lord and to discern his voice.
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