ACCESSING THE VOICE OF GOD
A LECTURER AT CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, ABUJA CAMPUS.
TEXT: PSALM 29; 1COR. 14:10; HEB. 1:1-2; HEB. 12:25-28
- DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
- THE VOICE OF GOD, WHAT IS IT TO US?
- DOES GOD STILL SPEAK TODAY?
- PRE-REQIUSITES TO ACCESSING THE VOICE OF GOD
- BIBLICAL MEN & WOMEN THAT ACCESSED THE VOICE OF GOD: LESSONS TO LEARN
- HOW TO HEAR FROM GOD
We need to appreciate God who in His infinite mercy predestined us a chosen generation and a royal priesthood to show forth His praises (Romans 8:29, 30; 1Peter2:9, 10). Having obtained redemption in Christ Jesus with all benefits appertain thereto, we need to jealously guard ourselves in this perverse generation.
The theme ‘Accessing The Voice Of God’ with all the sub-topics specially chosen for this conference are germane at this material time of ours; the time when false prophets have taken the centre stage in the Christendom. God have mercy!
As church workers manning the post for Christ in the vineyard and on our way to heaven, it is pertinent to identify succinctly the various voices we are hearing.
Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 14:10, indicates the existence of different voices, each with its own character: ‘There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without significance’.
Virtually everything seen and unseen has a voice, but of interest to the success of your race to Heaven is the recognition of the following voices:
- God’s Voice
- your own voice
- voice of the flesh
- the voice of men
- The voice of satan and his consortium of demons.
It is your duty to identify the voices that you hear, so that you can know how to respond appropriately. God’s voice must be heard, understood and obeyed promptly. Therefore, how to hear from God and access His voice becomes the bone of contention-the essence of this teaching. Justice will be done, God helping us, accordingly to enumerate outline above. May the greatest ‘Rabbi’ illuminate our hearts in this teaching in Jesus’ Name…Amen…
- DEFINITIONS OF RELEVANT TERMS
The subject-matter reads: ‘How To Access The Voice Of God’. To better our understanding let us define the prevalent terms concisely.
- How: How (to) Adverbial word intends to say ‘in what way or manner something is done’
- Access: Access something according to Oxford Dictionary means to reach, enter or use something.
- Voice: (Noun) Ibid 1661 in simple term means the sound or sounds produced through the mouth by a person speaking.
- God: (Noun) in simple term in this context without too much theologizing, means the creator of heaven and earth. Our source, sustenance and caller. To whom we pledged our allegiance as church workers and Christians alike.
Therefore, ‘How to Access the Voice of God’ tends to mean “In what way or manner to reach (hear), enter or use the sound or sounds produced from the mouth of the creator, source, sustenance of life and our caller”.
- THE VOICE OF GOD, WHAT IS IT TO US?
The word that proceeds from God’s mouth is the kernel of everything that we stand for and owe our lives to. The logos (written word of God) must become Rhema (Living Word) to us daily and it must be held in high esteem (Read 2Tim. 3:16, 17; 2Pet.1:20, 21). The Holy Bible, the ultimate Revelation is incisive, educative, instructive, insightful, corrective, inspirational and profitable for doctrine (any doctrine like secularism, humanism, agnosticism etc. must be discarded). No voice of God, one is a dead-living Christian. The voice of God is all-encompassing, inevitable and very paramount to us. We must long for it daily and always.
- DOES GOD STILL SPEAK TODAY? HOW AND THROUGH WHAT MEDIUM?
The questions: is God still speaking today? If so, is it possible to hear the voice of God? How can one access the voice of God? etc. are among the numerous questions or issues that have confused Christian leaders of our generation.
Some believe that God can guide us and give direction when occasion warrants it. Others say God only speak to us by what we read in the Bible. I strongly believe that God still speaks to us today by His Spirit just as He did in Bible times. What do you believe? The Pseudopigrapha (intertestamental literature not accepted into the Christian or Jewish canon of scripture) tells us about a sect of the Pharisees that came into existence 800years (or more) before Christ. This sect taught that all God would ever say was already said through the writings of Moses (Pentateuch). Any subsequent prophetic voice or writing was invalid. They accepted only the first five books of the Bible. Nothing more! It seems many church leaders believe the same doctrine today (with some modifications). For example, modern day ’theological Pharisees’ teach that God only speaks to us now by what is written in the Bible. Beyond that, God is not speaking anymore.
There are many sources of Divine information today such as the Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 11:1, 2). Amazingly, the operations of these three compliment do not contradict each other (John 16:14; 2Pet. 1:20, 21). God’s voice can come audibly as a still small voice (1Kings 19:9-18), through His Prophets (Amos 3:7), through visions and dreams (Dan. 1:17), by the use of special signs (1Kings 13:3-5) and through any other medium He chooses to use at a point in time. The content of divine information (revelation through His voice) can be the unveiling of hidden mysteries (Dan. 2:22), a notification of future events (Gen. 41:25), a revelation of God’s salvation (Luke 2:30-32), a revelation of God’s Glory or a revelation of God’s wrath (Rom. 1:18).
Note: We need to ask God for Grace to recognize His voice.
- PRE-REQUISITES FOR ACCESSING GOD’S VOICE
- Genuine Conversion: it is appalling that so many Christians who claimed to be children of God are not genuinely converted (Psalm15; Acts 3:19). They are just religious people. Character-wise they practice churchianity not Christianity. God will not condone this. We need to take off our masks and be real.
- Sobriety: to access the voice of God requires seriousness and sensibility. You must be serious and sensible.
- Compliance: it requires knowing the rule and obeying the rule always. Follow God’s precepts (Psalm 119:9-11, 33-40). Play the game according to the rule.
- Total Obedience: The greatest secret of accessing the voice of God is total obedience to God’s voice. Partial, adjusted or delayed obedience leads to your own undoing.
Obedience is spiritual enhancer, your fellowship with God will be intact (Gen. 3:8, 9) if you are obedient to His voice always.
- Prompt and Immediate Action: it requires that whenever we hears God’s voice, we need to quickly swift into action. Delay is always dangerous. If you ever know how to carry out His instruction accordingly and timely, you stand the better chance of always connect to God. Whatever He tells you to do, do it timely.
- Holiness within and without (Psalm24:3-5). God is holy. Holiness takes you closer to God. The closer you are to Him, the more you hear Him speak to you and the more His voice becomes accessible to you (Exod. 33:11; 1Pet. 1:14-16).
- Devotion: Your spirituality must be above par to access the voice of God (1Cor.2:10-12). Carrying out your religious duty vehemently endear you to the divine (Luke 1:8-12, 25; Acts 22:12). To keep the fire of your devotion burning, repair your altar, acquaint yourself with the study of the word and rekindle your prayer life.
Note: You cannot be a devout and not enjoy the presence of God!
- BIBLICAL MEN AND WOMEN THAT ACCESSED THE VOICE OF GOD:
LESSONS TO LEARN:
The Bible contains so many stories of men and women who stood out and accessed the voice of God. The classical examples of these people are:
- Moses: The most meek man (Num. 12:3-8):
- His heart was right with God (our hearts must be right with God).
- He distinguished himself among the Egyptians. We need to distinguish ourselves everywhere.
- An exemplary leader: Even though the Israelites were stiff-necked people, yet Moses led them successfully. We lead different kinds of people, we must be careful not to lose focus from God.
- Moses, the holy man (Exod. 33:3-11). His level of holiness made God to speak with him mouth to mouth. What a vintage position we shall be to access God’s voice if we live a holy life.
- He made the right positive turn (Exod. 3:1-6). When Moses turned to see the great sight of the burning bush, the Bible says it was then the Almighty God spoke. There are some necessary turns you must make in order to fulfil your destiny. There are steps you must take to access the presence of God. (Some of the steps are treated in (7) below.
- His disobedience deprived him of entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:9-12). Disobedience will deal a deadly blow on you. God can never spare His disobedient beloved!
- Daniel: The man with excellent spirit of God (Dan. 5:12; Dan. 6:3):
- He met himself in exile, yet distinguished himself. God expected us to stand out anywhere we find ourselves.
- He never defiled himself with the king’s delicacies; the singular act or decision that preserved the excellent spirit of God in him. We need to shun defilement or immorality in order to keep the Holy Spirit in us (Dan. 1:8-21; Dan. 5:11, 12). Daniel outlast several kings and served as a reference point of excellence to them all. The decision we make now can make or mar the presence of God in our lives.
- Deborah: A woman of courage and commitment (Judges 4 & 5).
- She was a woman committed to God. We need to be dedicated to God and keep our spiritual fervor aglow (Romans 12:11, 12).
- She was a prophetess of repute (Judges 4:4, 5). What is your calling? Nominal nomenclature Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist etc? Are you following the trend of your calling?
- She had a strong faith and lived in communion with God (Judges4:6) how is your faith? What is your relationship with God?
- Ruth: An exemplary woman (Ruth 2:7). After a vital decision to forsake her land, gods and people to follow Naomi to the land of Israel, she became an exemplary woman to reckon with (Ruth 1:16, 17). We have also made a vital decision to follow after Jesus, forsaking our old way of life (Eph. 1:1-6), may be in the midst of all odds, then we need to hold the forth until we see Him face to face.
Exemplary features of Ruth’s character for you to emulate are:
- Humble and ready to perform humble work (Ruth 2:2). Humility is required of us in discharging our God-given obligation or duty.
- She was willing. Others saw it and were convinced. We must be willing and show will-power in serving the Lord.
- She was thankful (Ruth 2:13). We need to show appreciation to God for making us who we are, and for all He has in kitty for us.
- She was obedient to the core (Ruth 2:22, 23). She followed what Naomi would suggest. We need to adhere to Godly counsel of our mentors or spiritual fathers or parent (Eph. 6:1-3).
- HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE:
There are so many factors responsible for how to hear from God or to hear the voice of God. I have tried to discover the following as necessary nuggets:
- The position of your heart: Sanctification is a must (Jer. 17:9). After you are saved, you need to be sanctified before you can be divinely commissioned for service. An unsanctified believer is susceptible to backsliding, hence the need for sanctification. The state of the human heart before salvation is one of the reasons why sanctification is necessary. Every of our actions originate from the heart (Mat. 15:19, 20). Sanctification changes the nature of a person’s heart (Ezek. 36:26, 27). To hear from God, one needs to renew the mind (Rom. 12:1, 2). The Holy Spirit renews our minds by convincing us and making us to accept what God’s Word says about us or about a subject-matter. This is critical because your mind controls your actions (1Cor. 2:14). Renewing your mind makes it possible to discern what the perfect will of God is (Rom. 12:2). Do you desire to know the perfect will of God for every aspect of your life? Renew your mind through constant studying and meditation on the Word of God. Keep God’s Word in your heart, allow it to permeate your entire being through the Holy Spirit and apply it.
- Our conscience: A good number of Christians are still living under the bondage of conscience filled with guilt and unbroken past. Why? It is because they have not been totally cut off from their terrible past. For example, some of them are still living with women who are not their first wives. Some others are still living in houses they stole money to build or buy. Unbroken past taunts and robs one of having a free conscience. To hear from God, you need to settle all that unsettled your conscience.
- Prompt obedience to Holt Ghost’s Directive: Yielding to prompt Holy Ghost directive makes you a sure candidate to hear more from Him.
Note: any day you fail to obey Him, He will not speak to you again until you retrace your way back to the former instruction.
- Sticking to one’s calling (2Chron. 30:8, 9): God has a unique plan for your life. In all that you do, never let this escape your mind. We should take into cognizance that there is a difference between desire and purpose. There is also a difference between ambition and purpose. One’s joy can only be full when one finds his purpose in life. Until you get to this point, life will be such a struggle, full of stress and pressures. It is good to have ambition, but it is better to seek God’s purpose for your life, and having known it, make that your life’s ambition. Better still, having established His purpose for your life, God gives you gifts and abilities that will enable you fulfill that purpose. God’s calling on your life is in line with His divine purpose. Where a conflict exists between God’s plan for your life and your own plan, there will always be problems. For example, if God wants you to be a missionary in a particular country and you plan to be a doctor in another part of the world, there will be great conflict. If you fail to yield to His will, you will be disrupting His plan. So you are on your own. Stop rig-marolling or being jack of all trades. If you remain adamant after repeated attempts to bring you back in line, God may have to replace you.
- Who is calling you and who are you answering? Know God’s voice (Gen. 3:9, 10; Exod.3:4; Isaiah 6:8, 9; Matt. 3:16, 17). Like said earlier, there are so many kinds of voices today. One needs to be careful not to be misled. If you hear well from Him, you will end well.
- Be connected to the source (John 15:16): For God to use you as a minister or church worker for manifesting His glory, through signs and wonders to the world, you must be totally and permanently connected to the source through consecrated and committed life (Read Phil. 1:21). Also you need to be cool, calm and connected to Holy Spirit to hear the small still voice of God (1Kings 19:9-18). Any time we get disconnected from the source of our strength, we get exposed to danger and become victims in the hands of those who should not be able to stand before us. One way of ensuring that there is no disconnection between you and the source of your power and to hear more from Him is by preaching the gospel (John 15:1-5). Do not deceive yourself that you are connected to God when you are not winning souls. When you do not win souls, you are on the easiest route to experiencing a separation from God, your source.
- Your attitude to worship (John 4:24, 24): Our worship today has become so mechanical (without musical instruments we can no longer worship God wholeheartedly). ‘God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth’ (John 4:24. Are we actually worshipping God in Spirit and in truth? Who do we liken God to? (Read Isaiah 40:12-22). We need to commune with God reverently as we adore Him daily (Habakkuk 2:20).no matter what, it is imperative that you praise and worship God if you must hear His voice constantly.
- The place of fasting in hearing God’s Voice: (Matt. 17:21): t is appalling today most ministers can no longer fast; whereas Jesus our master never played with fasting. It is good to fast but it is important to know why you should fast. One of the reasons why we fast is so that we can be empowered to deal with demons and forces of darkness (e.g. Matt. 17:14-21). We fast in order to be battle-ready, so that wherever the devil raises his ugly head, we are able to give him a technical knockout. Moreover, we also fast while preparing for high-powered ministrations just like our master who began His ministry with a fast (Matt. 4:1, 2). Other advantages of fasting is: when we fast, or wait on the Lord, we become more spiritual, then as we pray or speak to God and so He too can speak to us through the means He chooses as earlier discussed (Dan. 2:14-23).
As we could deduce in this teaching, our God is not a DUMB-God. He is a living God and still speaks today to His children who can pay the price of accessing His voice. This lecture has revealed that we must remain in the ambiance of His presence to access His voice always. God will help us in Jesus name…Amen…
(Goodbye Until We Meet Again-Come Oh Lord!)