By Harvey Rosieur (Howick, East Auckland, New Zealand)
(All quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.)
The way of the world is an adversarial system ~ a contest. The best argument, the loudest voice, the strongest, wins. Might is right. Even in the courts, evidence is suppressed, facts are withheld, witnesses lie (or are manipulated), and judges are biased, or even bribed. This is not surprising, since our adversary (the Devil) is the god of this world. However, we have an advocate, Jesus, who is constantly pleading our case before Almighty God. We are not just flotsam, abandoned to sink or swim in a sea of whim or chance. We would be, if we listened to the many voices of conflict and confusion around us. We need wisdom and discernment.
Proverbs 14:12 ~ “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Intelligence is not enough. We need God’s guidance.
Proverbs 4:20-23 ~ “My son, give attention to My words; incline your ear to My sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Proverbs 9:10 ~ “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
We Need to Hear God’s Voice and Obey it.
God speaks in many different ways, so hearing is not a matter for the ears alone, but of developing a listening attitude or attentiveness towards God, and a willingness to obeywhatever He says. We must be aware that He can speak to us at any time and expect that He will do so. Faith = Expectation (my definition).
Hebrews11: 6 ~ “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
How does God speak?
Many do not hear God’s voice because they do not understand how He speaks, or do not believe that He does speak to us today. He tells us that we don’t have, because we don’t ask. We must discover how He is speaking to us. It could be through thoughts, impressions, an audible voice, visions, and dreams, or through His Word (the Bible), when a passage of Scripture just ‘stands out’ to us. These are just some of the ways in which He has spoken to me, and I do not limit my expectations to my past experience. I found, long ago, that when I became proficient at recognizing His voice in one way He would then use a different method. It was frustrating at first, but it kept me humble and close to Him in prayer. There are limitless other ways in which God communicates. I would like to experience angelic visitations (as some have done), and to be transported to Heaven (as some have been). It is Him I seek and not just the experience, however, and any way God chooses is fine with me. He also speaks through things around us, or circumstances we encounter. God once spoke to me through a door I was sanding. The message I received was encouraging and precious. What if I had decided that God could not do that? He spoke to Balaam through a donkey.
We must always be on guard against deception. I have heard an audible voice on several occasions. That is exciting, but I have also heard a demonic voice in similar fashion. We need to know the genuine so that we can tell the counterfeit. I had to decide whether the message was from God or not and, after testing it (and no little worry), I rejected it. Why did God allow that to happen? I believe that the experience stands me in good stead. It has put me on my guard! Some people experience angelic visits, but Satan can also disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)!
We must use our knowledge of Scripture and our knowledge of God’s ways, to test these things. We must develop discernment, which is sadly lacking in the Church today.
John 10:27 ~ “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
God has appointed watchmen in the Church to warn His people against danger and deception. I am a watchman (I received this calling through a series of visions, Scripture and prophetic experiences, which were quite exciting). I must warn of a great deception in the Church, which has made it more difficult for members to hear God’s voice.
We are the Church – the Body of Believers – not bricks and mortar, religious systems and practices, a hierarchy of control, or people who dress differently.
Matthew 28:20 (The Great Commission) instructs that those who are new in the faith should be made into disciples, taught to “observe all that I have commanded” by those who are mature enough to do this. Unfortunately this is not happening regularly. The Church is fragmented – divided into factions called denominations, streams, movements. Different understandings have been allowed to grow up. Different doctrines and beliefs separate us.
Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matthew 12:25). And that’s what we are: God’s house. Sadly, God’s Word (the Bible), has become secondary to the traditions of the respective churches.
Matthew 15:6 ~ “You have made the commandments of God of no effect by your traditions.” (Isaiah 29:13 warned Israel of this.) Most, if not all, have fallen into the trap oftradition. We think we do not need to hear again what God has to say on every aspect of living and conduct, individually and corporately, because we know what we do. It is our tradition. We take it for granted and do it without question! (Those who do question sometimes find themselves unwelcome)! Despite God’s warning in Scripture, it has happened! We listen to men rather than the voice of God! This has led to unbelief and hardness of heart, because people have not seen things happen as the Bible says. They cease to expect miracles to happen, do not take the Bible at its literal meaning and pass on this attitude by example and teaching.
Cessationist teaching (that is, the gifts of the Holy Spirit died out with the early Apostles) still prevails in many Churches. Thus the Church has been robbed of its power. It does not stop there, however. A little leaven will eventually leaven the whole loaf. (Remember Jesus warning about the Pharisees?) Many, whilst they may deny cessationist teaching, actively discourage the use of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in their churches. Especially they forbid prophecy, thereby stifling the voice of God. How can God’s people obey Him if they cannot hear His voice? Whose voice are they listening to? There are many churches which also ‘buy into’ evolutionary theory, believing it to be scientific, and an old age (billions of years) of the earth, directly contradicting the teachings of the book of Genesis. If you undermine the first chapter there is no point in the Gospel! No point in the Church! What is Jesus on about?
Even since the Charismatic movement (approximately 30 years ago), the same churches which came ‘alive’ then through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit have again grown cold, falling back into traditional ways.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31-32).
Having all the warnings and examples of Scripture, how can God’s people return so quickly to ‘Egypt’ and spiritual slavery?
2 Timothy 3:5 ~ “Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Members are not actively encouraged to seek and employ the Gifts of the Holy Spirit,without which we cannot hear God’s voice. Instead they are expected to support ‘the vision’ (plans, ambitions) of the pastor, or leadership, without question. “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” (Psalm 105:15) they are admonished. Are they – the people – not themselves the Lord’s anointed? They are encouraged to find a place where they fit into the church programme. Many leave, unfulfilled, and repeat the process elsewhere. Others stay‘because God has not told them to leave’ (although He never actually told them to go there in the first place).
Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11 states ~ “They have healed the hurt of my people slightly.”Without the gifts which God has given to us there cannot be any healing.
Hosea 4: 6 ~ “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” We know that without vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18, KJV), but whose vision? Unless the Lord Himself builds the house, they labour in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1)!
What is the answer?
What does God say?
1 John 2:27 ~ “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone should teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
We have the answers in Him, if we will simply seek Him rather than following men like sheep. I am not singling any one out to blame. We each share a responsibility not to be deceived, and not to cause others to stumble by our example. We have not taken God’s whole Word seriously.
1 Kings 18: 21 ~ “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’
What is God saying?
Amos 3:7 ~ “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
I have come to realize that God has been speaking to me for over 18 years on this subject, through visions and dreams, but I have been slow to understand. I could ‘kick’ myself, but God knew when I would finally ‘catch on,’ and I believe it was all a matter of His timing
God is in control. . . He has given plenty of warning, although many are not listening (for reasons I have outlined). He is taking His hand off the institutionalized church, where the arteries have hardened, life has gone, and only dead tradition remains. He has warned against ‘luke-warmness.’ He is calling: “Come out of her, My people!” (Revelation 18:4). He is calling us out of the ‘old house’ of darkness, into His marvelous light. He is re-building His House – a house of splendour; glorious, victorious; a people of power who will fear God, and not men. They will hear His voice and obey Him. There will be no factions, or denominations; but a united, cohesive church, which will be known for the love that its people have for one another, meeting in houses or other places (as may be appropriate). There will be no elevated ‘clergy’ – no labels; simply members of the universal priesthood, functioning as Christ prayed we would (John 17).
These are things which I have ‘seen’ through God’s revelation. The interpretation is mine, but I believe it is correct. Your responsibility is to test it to see if it is true. You need to listen to God on this matter.
Joshua 24:15 ~ “Choose this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”