Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot (Acts 8:29 KJV)
If you follow our ministry, you have probably heard me say something that “God said to me.” However, I am sure you also heard me talk about the problems associated with “hearing directly from God.”
“God said to me” means God speaking directly to people outside of the Bible. For example, in Acts 8:29 above, the Spirit of God directly “said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to his chariot .”Let me briefly discuss the doctrinal and practical problems associated with this “God said to me” thing in Christianity. For simplicity, I will divide the issue into two categories, loosely using the terms charismatics and non-charismatics. I begin with the non-charismatics.
According to the classic non-charismatic, God does not directly speak to people outside of the Bible today. For them, as soon as God completed the Bible, He zipped His mouth. Let me use the analogy of marriage to explain this problem better. Imagine the number of love letters or texts a man sends to a woman he is engaged to marry. Now imagine what would happen if, after their marriage, this man stops talking to this woman about how much he loves her but rather ask her to refer back to the letters he wrote or the texts he had sent while they were in courtship! Can you tell what will happen to this man or to that marriage? This is the non-charismatic problem with “God said to me”—it sucks the life out of any relationship with God today. God did not close His mouth after the Bible was written; at least He never said He had any plans of doing so in the Bible.
Then comes the charismatic problem—one that occurs amongst those who believe God still speaks directly to people today. While the non-charismatics have zipped God’s mouth, the charismatics have multiple mouths speaking around them, and they have a problem figuring out which of them is God’s. There are two big problems charismatics have with this issue. The most important is that not every “God said to me” comes from God. With the gift of prophecy, even prophets can still get messages from their hearts that are not coming from God. A prior Deshen Daily discussed “three types of false prophecies.” The solution is for us to discern God in our hearts and in the voice of others.
The second charismatic problem, as severe as the first, is that we often glorify “rhema” or ‘the prophetic” today above the written word of God in the scriptures. We sometimes think, maybe unconsciously, that the scriptures are not as “powerful” as a word God directly speaks to us. God wants us to do the exact opposite to protect us from deception and error today—scripture first, and then the prophetic.
Whoever desires to hear God’s voice and whose heart is not established in the sure written truth of the scriptures is opening themselves up to being deceived or manipulated by their hearts or by the hearts of others.
What happened to Philip in Acts 8:29 still happens today. God still speaks—directly to His people. However, there is a reason He has given us the Book in these days when every one of His children has the Spirit—the same prophetic Spirit the prophets of old had. Scripture is supreme as God’s final Word to you, but “despise not prophesyings.”
What would you do if you were the woman in the relationship mentioned above?
Apply the Word
Receive all God has for you and put them in the correct order, avoiding both sets of problems discussed above.
Ask God to help you receive the Bible fully as His living Word and help you grow in your ability to hear Him.
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