Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

God Still Speaks

By Dennis Pollock


Today, I want to discuss the idea of hearing God's voice. We who are in Christ know that we are God's children, that Jesus is our Savior and our Good Shepherd, and that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The question that some disagree over is whether we can ever hear God's voice to us. Does God speak to His children, giving them specific instructions, warnings, direction for their lives, and encouragement? Many new believers would instinctively answer, "Of course! Why would our Heavenly Father never speak to us? If earthly fathers speak words of encouragement and counsel to their children, why should our Heavenly Father refuse to speak to His children?”


But there are two schools of thought about this issue, and they are divided equally among believers throughout the world. Many, believe, as I have mentioned, that God speaks to us, and they will often declare that He has spoken to them at various times and in various ways. I must confess; I am in this camp. From my earliest days in Christ, I have never supposed that God would never speak to me. It never even occurred to me in those early days that any serious Christian would deny this. One Scripture that I have quoted on this subject, as well as many others who believe God is a speaking God, is from John, where Jesus declared: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27). Our thought is that if you are one of Jesus' sheep, then you will undoubtedly hear your Master's voice. God will speak to you personally throughout your life.


Another verse that suggests that God speaks to us personally is when Paul writes: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:14). If we are led by the Holy Spirit, this strongly implies that God must be communicating with us in some way, form, or fashion. How could the Holy Spirit lead us if He never communicates with us?


Who are the Naysayers?


So, what about the other side? How can they possibly suggest that God does not speak to us, His children? Well, to be fair, this is not quite what they are saying. They will tell you that God does indeed speak to us, but He speaks to us through the Bible. This is the way He speaks to the world and to His children, and this is the only way He will ever speak to anybody these days. Do not expect any divine impressions on your heart. Do not think God will ever speak to you through dreams, don't look for visions, and don't even consider that God may trouble your spirit when you are about to make a serious mistake. God will only speak through the Bible, and if you ever think He is speaking to you through any other means, you are deceiving yourself.


These folks will admit that God has spoken individually and personally to men and women in the Bible days. Yes, He spoke to Abraham, He spoke to Moses, He spoke to Paul, He spoke to Peter. But they believe that at a certain point, He stopped speaking to men and women personally, and now only talks through the Bible. If you want to hear from God, you must open your Bible, and start reading, and you will learn all you will ever need to know about how to live, what God expects of you, and of course how to be saved. Don't expect anything more than this.


The major issue that separates these two schools of thought is this: "Has there been a time, when God changed from speaking to His people, to determining that He will never speak again, apart from the written words of the Bible." Most of the people who affirm that God has stopped speaking personally and individually will also declare that He has not only stopped speaking; He has stopped doing a great many other things as well. He no longer does miracles, He no longer grants supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, He no longer gives dreams or visions, and He no longer dramatically heals the sick. Essentially, these people believe that the only supernatural thing God ever does anymore is to save sinners. Don't look at the Book of Acts as any kind of a pattern for the church, where they laid hands on the sick, spoke in tongues, heard God's voice, prophesied, and so forth. All of that has ended, and today we are to simply read the Bible and live godly, moral lives. Do not dare to expect any more than that.


When did He Stop?


If you ask these folks why God stopped doing these things, and when this cessation of the supernatural happened, they generally give one of two answers. Some suggest that all God's supernatural works ended with the death of the last apostle, John. After that a divine whistle was blown and the church calmed down and started acting, well, about the way most churches do today. Others will tell you that the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit ended once the Bible was completed. God was showing pity on the church up to that point because they had no New Testament, but once they did, all the powerful working of the Holy Spirit ceased, and all that the church needed could be found somewhere between the books of Genesis and Revelation. Don't expect divine guidance, don't expect dramatic healings, and pay no attention to your dreams, regardless of how dramatic and vivid they may be.


The problem with this view is that, if this is true, one should expect a plethora of Biblical confirmation of this doctrine. This is such a big deal, if God has decided to end all His supernatural work and guidance, the Bible ought to indicate this multiple times and in such a clear fashion that nobody could miss it. And of course, it does not. The best any of these folks can do is to share the verse from 1 Corinthians which says, "When that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away." They say "that which is perfect" is the Bible, and that which is "in part" refers to the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit, including His speaking directly to us. This is an incredible stretch of a verse that could be interpreted in a dozen different ways. To throw away all the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit based on one verse that does not plainly state this seems theologically reckless.


Keep in mind that the central point of this doctrine is that God speaks through the Bible, and only through the Bible. I have no problem with the idea that God speaks through the Holy Scriptures. I came to Christ primarily because of my reading the Bible, reading the gospels of Jesus, and being convicted by the Holy Spirit. But what I have a problem with is that God only speaks only through the Bible – all other forms of divine communication are canceled, null, and void these days.


The Bible tells us much. Most importantly it tells us how we can be saved. It declares boldly and often that if we will put our faith in Jesus Christ, believing in His life, His death, and His resurrection, and receive Him as our Savior and Lord we will be forgiven and live forever as children of God.


The Bible also makes plain the kind of lifestyle God expects and requires. We are to love God with all our heart and to love our fellow man as ourselves. We are to be patient, kind, and compassionate. We are to honor our parents, to help the poor, and to stand up for the weak. We are to avoid sexual immorality, murder, theft, and drunkenness.


No Need to Pray


When the Bible speaks on any issue, we have no business seeking any further revelation from God, either through dreams, visions, or personal revelations. Let's consider a young man who is contemplating which career to choose, and he decides he wants to be a bank robber. This sounds like a nice easy life. Just rob a bank about once a year, live off that, and then in another year, he can knock over another bank, and then take it easy. But this man gets born again and gives his life to Jesus. He then picks up the Bible, starts reading, and soon comes across the verse which says: "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good…" (Ephesians 4:28). He realizes that His career goal of being a bank robber is being challenged. Should he pray about this and seek God for a direct word as to whether to cancel his plans? No, there is no need to pray about this or look for some dream or word from heaven about his being a bank robber. The Bible has forbidden this and that settles it. Prayer for further guidance on this issue would be a form of rebellion.


This could be said for many situations. The Christian man who is contemplating leaving his wife and moving into his attractive co-worker's apartment does not need to spend weeks of heavy prayer and fasting about this. The Bible's condemnation of adultery settles the matter. No further words are necessary. So, in these situations, God has already spoken and all we need is to listen to His word.


But many things in our lives are not covered by the Bible. What about a young man who is trying to decide whether to attempt to become a professional baseball player, or go to medical school and become a doctor? There is nothing in the Bible that addresses this. He could read from Genesis to Revelation a dozen times, and he would never find a single verse that deals with his debate about baseball vs. doctoring. Both are legitimate careers, both can pay very well and if he has skills in baseball and the intellect and compassion to be a good doctor, both seem within his reach. But what does God think about it? Does God even have an opinion? Can he pray to His Father and ask Him to direct him? But if he does pray and God does direct him one way or the other, is this not God speaking to him? No, he won't hear audible words coming down from heaven, but nobody expects this. What we are saying is that God can and does communicate with His children and make His will known to them.


We face many such issues throughout our lives. Here is a young man who likes two different young ladies, Susan and Debbie. He wants to marry one of them, but which one should he ask? They are both devout Christians and have pleasant personalities. Can He pray to the Father and ask His direction, or should he simply pick one, and hope it works out? He could read the Bible all year long and there would be nothing in it that would tell him to marry Susan or Debbie. Not a single verse!


Ask for Wisdom


James tells us: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5). This strongly suggests that God will speak to our hearts, in some way or another, and show us the way to go. There is no point in asking God for wisdom, if we are certain God never speaks to anyone personally and individually. Sure, the Bible can tell us how to live, but it cannot possibly tell us who to marry, what career to choose, where to live, what house to buy, which college to attend, and so forth. Are we "on our own" in these matters, or is there a speaking, communicating God who can lead us by the Holy Spirit and direct us in even the smallest matters?


Many years ago, I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when I woke up one morning with a vivid remembrance of a strange dream. I dreamed I was in a moving truck and was driving my family to Texas. In the dream, I could see a map and I could see the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas in close proximity to each other. I had never lived in Texas and knew almost nothing about the state. I didn't even realize that Dallas and Fort Worth were essentially sister cities, existing side by side with several suburbs in between. Upon awakening, I found a map of Texas and eagerly looked to see if Dallas and Fort Worth were in the places I had seen in the dream, and sure enough, they were.


I concluded God might be leading us to move to Texas. I had a cousin who pastored a church in a town below Fort Worth, and I began to consider moving near him and helping him with the church. I did not decide strictly based on that dream, but God confirmed His direction through several other ways, and eventually, I found myself in a moving truck transporting our family and our furniture to our new home in Texas. That was in 1988 and I have been living in Texas ever since. The vast majority of my ministry, and by far the greatest amount of fruit that has come through my ministry has happened while I lived in Texas. It was that strange dream and that map I had seen in the dream that first alerted me to the fact that God had plans for me in the state of Texas. Until then I had never considered moving to Texas, never desired it, and paid no attention to it. Today Texas has been my home for the last 35 years.


After I was engaged to Benedicta, the devil put fear in my heart about marrying her. Even though I loved her, and we had spent many hours talking on the phone, I had very little personal time with her. What if I was making a big mistake that would ruin my ministry? At one point my fears got the best of me, and I was prepared to tell her that I must break off our engagement. I went to bed, thinking that the next day I would tell her this. But before I woke up that morning, I had a vivid and strange dream which required little interpretation. The dream clearly indicated that my fears were of the devil and were not coming from God. Instantly I felt peace. God was confirming it was His will that I should marry this sweet, wonderful lady that I loved. All my fears left, and we were married in a couple of months. Had I gone with my fears, I would have missed out on one of the greatest blessings of my life, and more importantly, my ministry would have never been as effective as it has been with her at my side.


Our Speaking Father



Yes, my friends, I believe that God speaks to His children, and not just through the Bible. I could give you instance after instance of divine guidance in my life. He has warned me of mistakes I was about to make, and He has comforted me with words of encouragement, He has given me directions when I did not know which way to turn. Where would I be without the voice of the Lord, both from the Bible and from the many ways He communicates with His children?


Do not let the critics and skeptics tell you that the Holy Spirit has retired, and now, all we can do is read the Bible and try to be good little boys and girls. We are children of God, our Heavenly Father, and followers of Jesus Christ. And He has assured us that His sheep will hear His voice.




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