Sunday, February 9, 2014

Examples of Listening to God in the Bible

Is there an example in the Scriptures of someone listening to God similar to the way it is taught in your book and blog?


The story of Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9-16 is a good illustration. “Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour (mid day) to pray.” First, he went to a quiet place away from the noise and distraction of life. Since he was praying around the lunch hour, he became hungry. In AD 30 lunch was the main meal of the day. While someone was preparing the mid day meal, as Peter was praying “he fell into a trance and saw the heavens open and something like a great sheet descending upon the earth.”

One way God speaks to many people is through images and pictures. When He does this, it’s a good idea to ask Him what He's seeking to communicate to you through the picture. In Peter’s case, God was preparing him to share the gospel with a Roman soldier named Cornelius (Acts 10:17-23). Prior to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, devout Jewish people viewed non-Jews as unclean and did not even talk to them. Notice that Cornelius was seeking Peter because he clearly saw ... a vision an angel of God” who directed him to the home Peter was living in.
John 16:12-15 He will speak to you
Another excellent example of a small group of people listening to God is in Acts 13:1-3. A ministry team in Antioch (Barnabas, Simon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul) were fasting and ministering to the Lord. The Syriac version of this passage says this occurred “as they prayed to God and fasted.” In the midst of this worship time the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Commentator John Gill comments: “the Holy Ghost said this  either with an articulate voice, or by an internal impulse, upon the minds of three of the prophets.” One reason why God spoke so often in an audible voice in the Old Testament is because the Holy Spirit had not yet been fully given to indwell each true believer (John 7:37-39). In the New Testament after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit took up residence in the innermost being and as Paul later proclaimed “But we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:12-16). This makes it possible for Jesus to think His thoughts deep within us.

Charles Stanley explains God’s communication deep inside of us as follows:

“Jesus doesn't promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He says He will guide us.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures, for example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, on and on it goes.

Our heavenly Father has chosen to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). He is God's mouthpiece to believers. When the Father chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, this really makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you! And in me! Therefore, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God's will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences.”
(Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.)

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