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October 16, 2019

 

Deception Alert !

My Dear Friend,

     My fellow Christian, "The Lord says to me," is not, "Thus says the Lord." The former is fallible, the latter infallible. Let me explain.

     If what we feel God has told us contradicts what the Bible clearly tells us, God didn't tell us. It's just that simple. Then who brought those thoughts, words, sentences to our hearts?

     In some cases our own fallen nature, with all its wrong desires, attitudes, prejudices, and preconceptions. Self has a very real voice deep in our hearts and even when we're walking in the Spirit it can still speak to us to try to derail our walk.

     In other cases false prophetic voices try to distract and deceive us. The apostle John wisely warns us not to be gullible: "Dear friends, don't trust every spirit. On the contrary, test the spirits to see if they are from God" (1 John 4:1, CJB).

     Paul issues a very similar instructive warning in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, though it more specifically addresses spontaneous prophecy: "Do not scoff at prophecies" (NIV), or "do not despise prophetic utterances" (NAS). "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (NAS).

     God's Word and voice are not at odds. Scripture itself is full of God speaking to His people (cf. Acts 9:10-16; 10:19-20; 13:2; 16:6, 7). So if we claim the Spirit doesn't speak to Christians, we're denying God's Word. It clearly reveals God's established practice of speaking to believers whenever He sovereignly pleases - and He never changes! So where does this leave us?

     Let God's Word speak to you daily in prayerful reading and study. And, if He chooses to speak to your heart, stay open to this also. But examine such utterances carefully to see if what you think He's said (His voice) contradicts what you know He's said (His Word). If you don't apply this safeguard, you're headed for trouble. Specifically, deception.

     While some Evangelicals deny outright that God still speaks to His people, some Pentecostal / Charismatics lean far too heavily the other way, assuming that whatever they perceive to be God's voice speaking in their hearts must be accurate. Some go so far as to hold to its validity even when it contradicts the Bible, making it a kind of substitute for Scripture. This is unsound and dangerous.

     It is the opposite of what we should do: instead of focusing on the God's Bible voice (Scripture) and staying open to God's perceived voice, these focus on God's perceived voice and neglect His Bible voice. Thus, they mistake fallible revelation for infallible.

     This is the very thing that rebuffs many evangelicals and, in many cases, correctly. But the correct response is not to refuse to believe anyone who dares say the Lord spoke to them. That reaction arises from fear - not trusting our loving, faithful God to warn us if we or others have mistaken another voice for His.

     Instead we should listen with gracious respect and then weigh what is said with the unerring revelation of God, His nature, His ways, His purposes, and the direct statements of His Word, trusting His faithfulness - through the "anointing" of the Spirit of truth within us - to alert us to any error. "If it were not so, I would have told you" (John 14:2; cf. 1 John 2:20, 26-27).

     So, if the Scriptures don't bear it out, throw it out! But never shut out God's voice from your life or church! Get prayerfully and deeply into God's Bible voice, His Word, which is the prime way He speaks to us. Yet never imagine that God doesn't sovereignly and spontaneously speak to us any time He pleases - which is almost always when we need it!

     And pray, "Lord, help me live in Your Word and learn to know Your voice."

Praying,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261
1-336-882-1645