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last week we began a new mini series on understanding how to hear the voice of God very few things are more important than this because you can’t have a relationship to God if you can’t hear God if all you do is ever talk to him in prayer and you never hear God speak to you that’s a one-way relationship that isn’t much of a relationship God wants to speak to you now this week I want us to look at the issue of how do I know when it’s God when I get an idea in my mind how do I know where that idea came from that impression that thought how do I know it didn’t come from the devil or it came from the bad burrito ate last night or it came from my own thoughts I just bought it up I mean you talk to yourself all the time I talk to myself all them I am my own best friend and you’re talking you have a running conversation with you throughout the day how do I look how do I feel what’s going on how should I handle that respond to that and it’s very easy to sometimes be confused on is this God telling me to do this or is this just something I want to do do you know what I’m talking about is this really just my idea or did God give me this idea or did it come to the devil or is that some bad tape that I’m playing in the past it is extremely important you know how to discern when it’s God talking to you because if you don’t it can be fatal the Bible says this if you take out your message notes on proverbs chapter 14 verse 12 what you think is the right road may lead to death in other words it can be fatal and you know you know a lot of evil gets blamed on God when people say well God told me to do this the Bible says in first John 4:1 don’t believe every message you hear just because someone says it’s a mess from God test it first to see if it really is circle the phrase tested that’s what we’re gonna talk about this weekend I want you to learn seven ways to test an impression from the Bible it’s a very important and practical message so that you can know how to test a message from God because the fact is one moment you can get an idea from God and the next moment you can get an idea from Satan in a split second let me give you a classic example of it one day Jesus is with his 12 disciples and and he turns to Peter one of the twelve and he says uh Peter who do you say that I am and Peter says well Lord you are the Christ you are the Messiah you were the son of the Living God and Jesus looked straight at Peter and he says prod on Pete they said he says you have spoken the truth he said flesh and blood did not reveal this to you in other words Peter that idea didn’t come from you that idea came from God he said you’re right you spoke the truth I am the son of God and that idea that was put in your mind came from God it wasn’t revealed by flesh and blood immediately Jesus says to Peter now Peter I’ve got to go to Jerusalem and I’m gonna be crucified and I’m gonna die there and Peter immediately says that’s nonsense Lord you can’t let them do that to you and not five seconds later Jesus looks at Peter and says get behind me Satan what’s he saying he said that thought didn’t come from God that caught thought Peter that you just spoke came from the devil that’s how quick you can miss it one minute you can be saying you’re right that thought came from God and upon this rock this truth I will build my church and the very next second you’re saying something and Jesus looks at says Peter you didn’t get that one from God that’s the devil because the devil did not want Jesus to die because die and dying on the cross he would die for the sins of mankind and allow our salvation and he didn’t want that to happen in that way knowing that he said that thought is from the devil now how do you know well he says test it look at the next verse Jesus said in John 7:17 anyone who wants to do God’s will now that’s the key you got to want to be willing to do it in advance anyone who wants to do God’s will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up Jesus says you know what you can test what I say and you can then know for sure that it’s from God how do you do that well that’s what we’re gonna look at we’re gonna look at seven ways to test an impression now these seven tests form a filter and if you get an idea from God are you get an idea in your mind you’re going then did I just think that up or is that from the devil or is that some old tape that my great grandmother said or something or is that really from the Holy Spirit you test it by these seven tests and if it passes all seven then you can know for certain it’s from God now you can’t pick and choose you can’t say well in that past test one three five and seven but it didn’t pass two four and six no no it’s got to pass all seven but if an idea that you have passes all seven tests then you can know absolutely certain and God wants you to know this that you have heard from God that God put that idea in your mind and it is something he wants you to do alright let’s look at these seven tests from the Bible the first test there’s seven questions the first question is does it agree with the Bible does the idea that I’ve got in my mind right now that thought that impression does it agree with the Bible because God’s will will never contradict God’s Word what he’s already said God doesn’t say one thing and then change his mind and say another thing if he said it’s true and it will always be true see God is consistent God isn’t moody God doesn’t change his mind God will never tell you to violate a principle that he’s already given in his word the Bible the Word of God he won’t tell you to ignore this book he’ll never tell you to disobey this book so the first question you ask is does this line up with what God has already said and if what I have in my mind contradicts something God has already said then I know I’m wrong that it didn’t come from God because truth is eternal notice these verses Luke 21:33 Jesus says heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never circle that never pass away God’s Word is eternal the earth is an eternal the universe is an eternal but God’s Word is eternal because truth never changes if something was true five thousand years ago it was true a thousand years ago it is true today and it will be true five thousand years from today because truth doesn’t change opinions change science changes scientific discoveries change I mean the science textbooks out-of-date almost instantly the moment it’s who wants to buy last year’s you know a computer book it’s out of date but God’s Word doesn’t change and truth never changes in fact if it’s new it’s not true what do you mean by that I’m saying it’s always if it’s true it’s been around forever we just discovered for instance many years ago we discovered that the world was round prior to that people believed the world was flat now the world was never flat it’s always been around it’s always been round even when we didn’t believe it was around okay it was true whether you believe it or not people say God said it that I believe it that settles it well no God said it that settles it whether you believe it or not because God cannot lie I lie you lie but God cannot lie and so God always tells you the truth and if he told you in this book to do something then he’s never gonna contradict it so the first question asked us is this idea in harmony with the Word of God for instance let me give you some examples in the book of Romans the Bible tells us pay your taxes we are commanded as good citizens to pay our taxes and Jesus said render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are gods now if all of a sudden you get an idea God told me to not pay my taxes this year that wasn’t God okay that wasn’t God because God has already said pay your taxes and he’s not gonna contradict it if I go over here to the book of Proverbs there’s a bunch of principles for how to have a successful business in the book of Proverbs and one of the principles is God says I bless businesses with integrity businesses that are fair and every business dealing businesses that are just businesses that are honest and so if you get an idea that well you know what I could make a little bit bigger profit this year if I just shaved a little I know it wouldn’t be quite right if I was a little dishonest my profits could increase that idea did not come from God because it contradicts what God has already said the Bible tells us that sex is not dirty sex is holy God thought it up it was his idea and God created sex to be the glue between a husband and a wife and many times in Scripture God says sex is to be reserved only for a husband and a wife in the bonds of a marriage now you may not like that but it doesn’t make it untrue and you may say well I want to go out and have sex with whoever I want to have sex with well fine but you didn’t get that idea from God that’s your idea and don’t say God told me to go have sex with that person cuz he didn’t that’s a good pick-up line going to a bar got Oh God told me.your to have sex with me right well that’s the god card you don’t play the god card in dating okay alright now the Bible says that even if some angel showed up and came along and said oh by the way I’ve got some new revelation I’ve got some stuff to add to this book yeah that’s good but here’s the new stuff this is the new revised and we’re gonna update we’re gonna give you in one or two or more other books besides the Bible God says you know that’s not right in fact here’s what the Bible says Galatians chapter 1 let God’s curse fall on anyone including myself Paul says who preaches any other message even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message says no no the Bible is not enough you got to add this to it you got to add this revelation you got to add this book you had this thought if anybody else adds to it he goes let him be cursed the Bible says this again in Revelation you may not add to what God has already said the second test is when I get an idea I ask does this make me more like Christ does this idea make me more like Christ Jesus is the standard by which I evaluate every thought every idea every philosophy every opinion every fad every opinion I I hold it up against Jesus Christ why because God’s purpose in your life is to make you like Jesus we’ve talked about this many times why doesn’t God just take you to heaven why did God put you on earth for 80 years and then take you to heaven why doesn’t he just create you and take you to heaven why does he put you here on earth for 80 years he ever thought about that I mean you could have just taken you straight to heaven he put you here because life is a test and a trust and a temporary assignment he wants you to practice the things you’re gonna do in heaven and he wants you to become like Jesus Christ in character that’s gonna involve some problems and going through the things Jesus went through now life is tough everybody agree with that life is hard because nothing works on this planet correctly everything is broken every body is broken every mind is broken every relationship is broken there is nothing perfect there’s no perfect marriage no perfect economy no perfect church no perfect country the weather is broken we just saw that this week the environment is broken all because of sin heaven is gonna be the place where we relax and have fun right now God is more interested in your character than your comfort and he wants you to grow up and become like Jesus now look at these verses the Bible says in your lives you must think and act like Jesus Christ God says I is the model and in the next verse we take every thought captive in other words we test every thought we test every thought so it’s obedient to Christ so we ask it means that when I get an idea the first thing I ask is now what Jesus do this would Jesus think this would Jesus feel this way would Jesus act this way because he’s the standard he’s the second filter what would Jesus do is a good question it’s a good question because I want to be like Christ now God gives a specific checklist because he said well what’s Jesus like well he’s the fruit of the Spirit God says Jesus is love and he’s joy and he’s peace and his patience and kindness and gentleness and goodness and meekness and self-control but here’s another passage I want us to look at James chapter 3 gives us some things that Jesus is and some things that Jesus isn’t and if you get an idea this is a good filter or grid to test the idea if you harbor bitter viii and selfish ambition such wisdom in other words those thoughts those ideas those impressions such quote wisdom that’s of the devil you know where those ideas came from the wisdom that comes from God the idea is the impressions the thoughts that come from God that wisdom is pure it’s peace-loving it’s considerate its submissive and full of mercy its impartial and sincere now notice he says here’s a test there are two things you could know and ideas not from God and there’s seven things you can know it is an idea that is from God it’s not God’s wisdom and this guy’s was first he says it’s not an idea from God if it’s motivated by bitterness or envy what do you mean by that God says if I get an idea on how to get even with somebody how to get revenge with somebody how to retaliate to somebody I say you know what that person hurt me how can I get them back oh I know I’m gonna get them good this is a good idea I know how I’ll embarrass them I know how I’ll hurt them back he says that I didn’t come from God that came from the devil that’s a satanic idea it’s a satanic idea an idea to retaliate to get even to get revenge those ideas do not come from God and then he says also if it’s based on envy if I go out and say you know what I’m gonna buy this car so people will Envy me I’m gonna buy this pair of shoes this shirt I’m gonna buy this dress so people will be jealous of me and they’re gonna look at me and they’re gonna Envy and be jealous of me God says you didn’t get that idea for me it didn’t come from me because he says that’s from the devil that wisdom comes from Satan and then he says also if it’s motivated by selfish ambition he said any idea motivated by selfish ambition does not come from God God doesn’t give you self-serving ideas you come up with plenty of them yourself he doesn’t have to create him for you you think I’m up all the time and so you know if you say I’ve got a great idea that just gonna make me filthy rich and everybody’s gonna worship me and everybody’s gonna be envious of me and jealous of me and I’m gonna be the king of the heap and the top dog and everybody else is gonna be underneath me and I’m gonna be number one God said you didn’t get that idea for me selfish ambition God said I didn’t put you on earth to bless your selfish ambition that’s not what I put you on earth to do to live for yourself see a lot of people try to use God for their own personal ambition and they say well now God told me to do this then that’s the Trump how do you how do you Trump God and but where did that come from he says it came from from the devil and he says now if you get an idea and it’s from God it’s gonna be one of these things pure peace-loving considerate submissive full of mercy you know impartial and sincere so let’s look at these first if I get an idea an impression from God is going to be pure so if I get an impure thought that one’s obviously did not come from God and it says if I get an idea from God it’s going to be peace-loving what does that mean it means when God gives you an idea it promotes harmony not conflict it promotes reconciliation not division not war not separation God is not going to give you an idea that that to create conflict in your family to create conflict in your small group to create conflict at work to create conflict at church or somewhere else to divide people into this side and that side he says real wisdom is peace-loving jesus said blessed are the peacemakers they are the children of God the people who brill bridges not build walls and in life here either a bridge builder or you’re a wall builder he says be peace-loving now what does that mean it means all gossip is satanic it doesn’t come from God it’s satanic why because the Bible says Satan is the accuser sir he is the QS er of Christians he is the condemned er of Christians his job is to put you down his job is to condemn you to criticize you when you criticize condemn and gossip about others you’re just doing the devil’s work for you he says thank you very much all gossip is satanic it’s not from God it’s not pure it’s not peace-loving and number three it’s not considerate the third thing I ask is I got this idea would it hurt anybody else would it harm anybody else now if I get an idea and it’ll really help me but it hurts everybody else that idea and from God if I get an idea and it’s gonna help me but it’s gonna hurt everybody else in my family it’s gonna hurt my wife and my kids that idea did not come from God it’s real simple because wisdom from God is considerate God is concerned about the effects on other people and then it says real wisdom our ideas impressions from God are submissive what does that mean submissive is humble submissive is teachable submissive is willing to have your idea checked by somebody else what do you think when you say to somebody else what do you think about this idea you are submitting that idea to them and so to have an idea from God if it’s really from God you’re more than willing to say to your small group what do you guys think about this guys if you have an idea and you don’t really want to tell your wife about this idea it didn’t come from God okay because you’re not willing to submit it so what do you think about this honey wives if you get an idea and you don’t really want to check it out with your husband like should I buy this well guess what that’s not a submissive attitude humble and teachable if an ideas from God the Bible says it is submissive that means you’re willing to have it tested what do you guys think and and you ask around and you you know you ask your small group and you know or you ask the people you’re working with your staff you say what do you guys think about this idea you see when people are prideful and they’re unteachable and they are self-righteous it is a dead giveaway that they’re not hearing from God because the wisdom of God is pure peace loving considerate and submissive number five it says if I get an idea from God an impression from God it’s full of mercy what does that mean it means if I get an idea from God it’s gonna make me more forgiving of you it’s gonna make me more gracious to you I’m thinking man I’ve been forgiven I better forgive everybody else God has been gracious to me I better be gracious to everybody else I say you know God has cut me an awful lot of slack I better cut my wife an awful lot of slack and my kids an awful lot of slack why because God has been gracious to me true wisdom wisdom that comes from God not human wisdom not demonic wisdom but God’s wisdom is full of mercy you know some people this is the the dead giveaway that they haven’t heard from God they think they have but they haven’t because their attitude proves it when you find people who think they’ve heard from God and then they’re judgmental and they’re critical of everybody else and they’re harsh and they’re accusatory and they’re always judging other people and other churches and other leaders and things like that you know they have not heard from God now it just seems that all those people have congregated on the Internet and they have these things called blogs let me tell you something it takes no intelligence to criticize a fool and idiot can criticize anybody a baby can learn to criticize you could teach a monkey how to criticize but it takes maturity and wisdom to find the beauty in every person it’s very easy to look at something go she’s this she’s this she says she’s this she’s that he’s that he’s that he’s that did you look at all the surface issues and you could instantly think of five things you don’t like about them it takes no brains at all to do that what takes intelligence what takes wisdom what takes maturity is to find the good the beautiful in every person and in every situation that takes maturity now it’s full of mercy that means you’re going to be gracious to other people if it’s an idea from God and then it says it’s wisdom from God is impartial and sincere now this means you don’t use what God tells you to manipulate other people the words insincere and sincere and impartial are actually in Greek the words I decree toasts and an epoch Rito’s we get the word hypocrite from a decree tous and an epoch reduce it means hypocrite you know what hypocrite is you wear a mask you’re fake you’re phony you’re not authentic you talk one way with this group and another way with this group when you do that you’re not hearing from God if it’s an idea it’s right out front and it’s the same with every person and you don’t try to manipulate or control other people if I say well now God told me and then you go well how do you fight with God I mean that’s that’s like the ultimate weapon but thrown out well God told me that and you know well okay I guess we better do it no that means if it’s really from God you don’t do that now tom is going to come and teach us the third filter the third way you test an impression as you ask does my church family confirm it does my church family confirm it you ask other mature believers what do you think about this idea you might check what God’s Word might check with the other filters but does my church family confirm it now why is this one so important because you were not meant to live life all alone you were meant to live life in relationship to other people and so you go to others other mature people who are trying to follow Christ as well and you say what do you think about this this is why it’s so important that you have a church family listen to what the Bible says about this in Ephesians 3:10 God’s intent is that through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known through the church God’s wisdom is made known into all eternity and each one of us individually he wants to use other people in your life in my life now what does this mean this means that if God has genuinely spoken to you other believers other people who are following Christ are gonna confirm it when you talk to them about it oh yeah that makes sense oh yeah I can see that this also means if you get an idea and impression something from God you think maybe I should do this for this area of my life or her a relationship or for my business and you have a resistance to telling anybody else about it that should be a huge red flag I don’t want to tell anybody else it’s either you know I look at myself I like to think things through and make plans and if I’m resistant in telling somebody else a lot of time it’s just my pride I just want to feel like I made it up all by myself it’s either my pride or it could be in the back of your mind you know it’s the wrong thing to do and you know what they’re gonna say when you tell them so you just don’t want to tell them you fret you and test the impression with other people because you realize that they’re gonna confirm it if you get some idea crazy idea that you can’t find any other person who’s trying to follow Christ to confirm it guess what it’s wrong so you just throw it out you drop it you realize I’m gonna go on to the next idea if mature believe what I’m saying is this if mature believers question it you should question it too now why does God want us to get advice from other people because he wants to save us from a lot of things next verse in your outline says the wisdom of the righteous can save you now what can it save you it can save you a lot of time waste of time and doing the wrong thing it can save you a lot of pain pain and making a mistake I’d rather learn from somebody else’s pain than have the pain myself can you agree with that one no doubt about that it can save you a lot of embarrassment it can even save your reputation sometimes it can save your life that’s how important advice from other people can be in your life one of the biggest reasons we mess up our lives is either we have no godly friends no one else in our lives that we can talk to is trying to follow God and live life the kind of way he’s made for us to live or I’ve got some friends but I just won’t listen to him in this case I just want to do what I want to do no matter what so I got to build godly relationships into my life now this this is why every one of us we need something our lives you probably know what it is we all need a small group you know this already in fact most of you are in a small group but maybe you were in one and you’ve gotten out of one you’ve never been in one and it’s just it’s the time it’s just the hassle it’s if you’re not in a small group you’re skating on thin ice and you don’t know where the thin ice is you need some other people in your life that you can bounce some things off of the relationships aren’t just every once in a while I’ll try to call you got to build him in on a regular basis I can’t tell you how many times in our small group someone has said something and I wasn’t even thinking to ask him about it but just what they said it caused me to think in a different direction in a different way that’s the power of relationships what God wants to do in our lives you need a small group for feedback when it comes to hearing from God impressions from God proverbs 11:14 says in the multitude of counselors there is safety so if you want to make fewer mistakes then you get all the godly advice that you can get and you follow it with one big disclaimer on that one there are some people they’ve got an idea and they go ask ten people and they realize it’s wrong so then they go ask ninety-nine people just looking for one person who will agree with them I’m not saying to do that what you do is you just find some people that are trying to follow Christ trying to live the kind of life God’s giving us to live and you ask that and you will allow them to be a part of testing gods impressions in your life now the fourth test is a test that will save you an awful lot of money if you’ll really listen to it I have met so many well-meaning Christians who’ve gone off and started businesses and then they failed and they lost a lot of money from it because they didn’t go through this fourth Test and they would say well you know it passed the first three I want to start this business agree with the Bible yeah it’s not unbiblical does it make me look more like Christ yes I can become more like Christ and starting this business does my small group confirm it and the church family and other mature they say yeah you’d be good at that try that but they didn’t really look at the fourth test and the fourth test is this is it consistent with how God shaped me is this idea that I’ve got this impression this thought is it consistent with how God has shaped me now before you were born God decided what he wanted you to do with your life and then he formed you he shaped you for that specific task he doesn’t want you to be somebody you’re not he doesn’t want you to pretend to be a copy of somebody else he made you to be you we’ve talked about this often over the years it’s called your shape Sh a PE your spiritual gift your heart your abilities your personality and your experiences these are the five things that make you you now this shape determines your significance what you’re supposed to form follows function function follows form and the way God formed you determines what your function is the Bible says this in Ephesians 2:10 we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works did you know that God created you to do good works why are you here on this earth God created you to do good works and they’re unique to you we are God’s work ship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do before you were even born God knew what he wanted you to do so he shaped you for that work the Bible says we’re his workmanship that word in Greek is the word poem it means poem we get the word poem from you are God’s masterpiece you are God’s poem you are God’s work of art there’s nobody like you quit trying to be somebody else you are God’s workmanship he’s you are his handicraft and he broke the mold when he made you now your shape reveals your purpose you look at something and you see how its shaped and you know what it’s shaped for this right here this is shaped looks like it’s shaped to hold stuff music okay this right here I look at this and I see the shape of this is this shape to sit on I don’t think so okay no it’s shaped to hold this this guitar now I looked over there and I see a stool with a big round bottom and I think hmmm that would fit my big round bottom okay and I think that is shaped to sit on now I look at this microphone is this shape to sit on no I wouldn’t want to sit on that puppy okay so shape determines purpose you are shaped in a certain way God has given you certain abilities and talents if you have a musical ability and you’re shaped in music God expects you to use it he never gives you a talent he he wants you to waste now we have ten different campuses here at Saddleback that means we need lots of musicians both singers and instrumentalists and you should be using that talent for the glory of God on the other hand if you can’t carry a tune in a baggie if you’re tone deaf please don’t go on American Idol I mean you know in that early stage when they have like the cattle call and thousands of people show up for American Idol you it’s very obvious that a lot of those people has nobody who loved them because if they really loved them they would say don’t embarrass yourself don’t even try okay you’re a prison singer you’re always behind a few bars you never have the right team okay so so just forget it and obviously they go out there they make a mess of themselves okay now what you’re good at is a good indication of what you should do with your life now if you like hanging out with children you love little children or you like working with teenagers then you should be involved in the student ministry and the children’s ministry of Saddleback Church because we have thousands of kids and teenagers who desperately need adult mentors they need you and you should be involved at it if you have a passion of heart for them on the other hand you say I’m not good with little kids I’m not good with teenagers don’t sweat it there’s a lot of other things you can do with your life we’re all good at different things the Bible says this in Romans 12 6 on the back of your outline God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well which implies that there are certain things you don’t do well okay nobody is good at everything and that’s why we need each other and that’s why we need a small group because we we help each other out so in this question you want to ask what am I good at what what do I love to do but more than what I love to do what am I really good at you discover a lot of God’s will by something like looking at how God has shaped you now just because you love to do it doesn’t mean you should do it many of you know that before I was a pastor I was a worship leader I’ve played guitar since I was a kid I had a band when I was in in high school and and and I loved to sing the only problem was nobody liked to listen to it so I discovered that just because I I like this thing doesn’t mean I should sing okay so I quickly got wise and shifted gears and when you’re doing what you’re good at doing people go hey you’re good at that okay and they will tell you you if you get an impression from God that is totally opposite of what you are shaped to be it didn’t come from God you could know it didn’t that idea did not come from God it may have been something my parents wanted me to do and I feel pressured to do it because they wanted me to do it or my wife wants me to do it or my husband wants me to do it but I’m not shaped to do it so don’t do it because you you’re shape determines God’s will for your life you know a while back I was invited to speak on the USS Stennis Stennis which is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier out in the Pacific with 9,000 sailors on it it’s a floating city and it was so cool and they invited me out in the Pacific during the middle of wargames so I get on this Cod plane which is a little plane that has a tail hook on it and you come flying in to this aircraft carrier and the tail hook catches the the cord and you go from 355 miles an hour to zero in about two seconds it’s really cool the g-force on that beats all the things that magic mountain put together I mean it’s as e-ticket ride I’m gonna now that’s cool and so then I spoke to these student of these sailors 9,000 sailors and and the Admiral and how great time there and then then when I’m flying off you you they they literally propel you like like you know a jet is just pushed off very quickly and and and and this this thing just pushes the this little Cod plane and you go again from 0 to about 350 550 miles an hour in about 400 yards it just takes off and it is so cool now if I came home and I said to you God has spoken to me and I am to resign Saddleback Church as pastor and I’m going to go become a Top Gun well I’m not shaped to be a Top Gun first place I wouldn’t fit in a cockpit okay I’m too tall I’m too big to fit in a cockpit second I have almost zero hand-eye coordination so you wouldn’t want me flying one of those 21 billion-dollar jets and I’m not shaped to do it I may like to do it but if I’m not shaped I shouldn’t do it does that make sense okay sometimes people get a dream and they hear this thing well you can be anything you want to be I’ll tell you right now that’s just not true friends okay I mean I don’t care who Oprah Tony Robbins or anybody tells you you can be whatever you want to be you’re never gonna be an opera singer no matter how hard you try you’re never gonna be Kobe you’re never gonna shoot hoops like he does okay because you are shaped in a certain way you can be all God shaped you to be and you better be happy with that and that’s where you’re gonna find fulfillment not trying to be somebody that you think you ought to be God’s leading will not contradict what he’s gifted you to do number five the fifth test does it concern my responsibility does it concern my responsibility now if it’s not your responsibility why should God talk to you about it in other words if God wants to talk to somebody else he can talk directly to them every believer has direct access to God he doesn’t really need to go through you and so stop trying to get God’s Word for somebody else is it your responsibility a good example this again is going back to Peter Peter at the end of Jesus time on earth Jesus looked at Peter and says Peter one day you’re gonna die for me you’re going to be martyred they’re gonna put you in Chains and he’s telling Peter in advance you’re gonna die a horrible death because you’re gonna be martyred for me now Peter isn’t happy with that he immediately looks at his buddy fellow disciple John and goes what about him human behavior human behavior what about what about John and Jesus basically says it’s none of your beeswax it’s none of your business okay and and Jesus says this here in John 21 22 Jesus says if I want him that’s John the other disciple if I want him to remain alive till I return what is that to you you must follow me in other we don’t worry about what other people don’t try to figure out their lives you follow me what is that you circle back what is that to you now Kay has what I consider to be a classic message on this text and and if you haven’t heard it you need to get it on tape and listen to it and she K calls this the witty principle WI TT why what is that to you in cases you know we always get in trouble when we ignore the witty principle when we start trying to be the holy spirit for somebody else when we start trying to be God for somebody else and and God is saying hey I’m talking to you are you listening I’m talking to you not what I want to say to you to say to your husband or to your wife or your kids or your parents or your boss what is that to you let you work on you he said don’t judge other people stop being so judgmental and you just get your own act together now what is he saying here that when I want to hear God’s voice when I want to listen for an impression I want to hear God speak I need to listen for me not for somebody else is in trouble not for somebody else I want to change but I need to listen for me and when God speaks to you he’s gonna speak to you about you in your current situation about things you need to change not somebody else it’s gonna be your responsibility it’ll be relevant to you it’s quite presumptuous to assume that you can hear God speak for somebody else you need very very careful about that here’s what the Bible says Romans 14 who are you to judge someone else’s servant in other words that person isn’t your servant that person’s God’s servant to his own master that’s God master goddesses master to his own master he stands or Falls and he will stand for the Lord is able to make them stance you quit picking on him or her says who are you to judge to his own master he stands or falls and he will stand for the Lord is able to make him stand now you’ve all heard this phrase God told me to tell you that phrase has done more damage than you could possibly imagine God told me to tell you I’d be very careful in that one God told me to tell you you’re gonna get well oh really are you sure of that God told me to tell you what you ought to do really why didn’t God just tell me directly God told me to tell you what’s wrong in your life I remember it was probably 20 years ago after service I was out on the patio and a woman came up to me and she says Pastor Rick God has revealed to me your secret sin I looked at and I said well I guess it’s not a secret anymore and then I said I looked her straight in the face I said ma’am I don’t believe you and she was shocked like I was automatically just supposed to accept it cuz she said the word God God had told me and how would I dare question that God had told her I said I don’t believe you she said why not I said cuz I just talked to him I said in fact I’ve been talking to him straight for all morning for about three hours because even when I’m preaching I’m talking to God I got a two-track mind and I’m talking to God about the people while I’m talking to you about God and I said every service in this church I’m backstage and God i humble myself before you and if there’s any sin in my life that would hold back your blessings from your people please reveal it to me right now and I will clearly and quickly and instantly confess it and repent of it because I don’t want anything holding back blessing from my people so show it to me and you know what he didn’t show me anything so I don’t think you heard from him I think she went to Calvary Chapel I never saw her again after that I mean I some other church you know I’m just I don’t know but you need to be very very careful the Satan can discredit the Lord’s work when well-meaning I mean she was sincere well-meaning Christians assume God’s role you are not the Holy Spirit to your wife to your kids or to anybody else he said wait a minute does God ever speak to you Rick through other people of course he does does God ever speak to other people through you Rick of course he does but you must be very very careful and there are three guidelines I want you to write down you must write these down because otherwise you’re gonna get into trouble on this one three guidelines if God is going to speak to you about somebody else you need to follow these three guidelines number one be patient and pray don’t immediately go and just blab it to that person when God has given you a word about somebody else you wait you be patient you pray you make sure you heard from God and you give God a chance to speak to them directly first all we are saying is give God a chance okay give him a chance to speak directly in fact sometimes God will tell you what he intends to tell somebody else so that you can pray for them so that they will be receptive to receiving it when God tells them directly he doesn’t have any intention of you saying it anyway but he’s telling you so you can pray for them and God will give you an insight into somebody else’s life and you can pray for them and say God may they be receptive when you tell them that okay so you be you be patient you pray you don’t be in a hurry second thing you need to understand God will use you to confirm what he’s already said to them now that happens all the time okay that happens all the time sometimes God will tell you something and you will say it to another person and they’ll go you know I’ve been feeling that and I just wasn’t sure that it was God but I was I was thinking about that and I felt like God was telling me to do that and often God will use a human being to confirm in another person’s life what he has already said to them directly it’s yeah you did hear me correctly it this happens to me all the time and I’ll say things to somebody and they go oh you know what I really felt like God was telling me that and that’s just a confirmation that’s very very common you know almost a year before I well I wasn’t that quite that long but it was a long time before I took Kay out on our first date God told me I was gonna marry her I hadn’t even dated her now when I was got that impression from God God said you’re gonna marry that girl I immediately doubted it for four reasons one God had never before or never since spoken to me that clearly I’m saying never before and never since bugged me that clear number two I wasn’t in love with her three she wasn’t in love with me for she was in love with another guy okay so God says you’re gonna marry that girl I made no attempt to even date her I just filed it in the back of my mind now I didn’t immediately go to her and say gods told you to marry me no that’s beating people over the head in fact I never told her that until after we were married because love is a choice and and and you can’t beat people that’s not a dating technique God told you to date me not that God told me to tell you to date me Yeah right okay no that doesn’t work that way but God told me that it was about six months later I had a partner a prayer partner named Danny and while we were in college every morning we would get up at 5:00 a.m. and we would go out to the baseball field of the university we were going to and we would kneel down in the dugout and we would pray from about 5:00 a.m. to about 6:00 a.m. and we did it for an entire year or the semester um you know that the nine months school and this was about six months later one day we’re praying in the morning and all sudden Dani stops and in the middle of his prayer he looks over he goes Rick you may think this is weird but I just have this impression that you’re gonna marry Kay Lewis and I said oh God told me that six months ago keep praying really and I just it was just kind of matter-of-fact okay now what was God doing there he was confirming in my heart yeah you really did hear from me you really you really did hear from me and God was doing that now that wasn’t the confirmation for Kay that was the confirmation for me okay and God had to do whatever he wanted to do in in her life so you got to be patient and pray you got to realize that it’s usually gonna be for confirmation third thing write this down God usually uses you without you being conscious of it when God wants to speak through you to another person it’s usually going to be done in a way that you don’t even know he spoke through you and that is so cool and that happens all the time you’re at a small group and somebody will say something and they don’t even realize what they’re saying but it hits you like an arrow straight to your heart and you go whoa that was meant for me and God just spoke to you through the mouth of somebody in your small group that’s why if you’re not in a small group you’re missing that you’re missing that you don’t have anybody who’s speaking in and you godly people who can speak into your life but that person doesn’t even know that they did it I mean people tell me all the time Pastor Rick when you teach I feel like you’re speaking directly to me I feel like you’ve been reading my mail I’m not reading your mail I’m not even reading your email okay all I’m doing is I’m getting up and teaching the Word of God and one thought will go and hit somebody here and another one will say it’s somebody over here and somebody and I’m not even aware of it but you’re aware of it because God wanted it for you and he had me say something that he wanted you to hear even though I didn’t know what it was that you needed to hear now that happens all the time Romans 14 says this about concerning my own responsibility we will all be judged one day not by each other standards thank God or even our own standards but by the judgment of God because God is just right fair and true and no one’s gonna say you’re not fair it is to God alone that we will have to answer for our actions now number six Tom’s going to come and teach on these last two filters is it convicting rather than condemning that’s the sixth text Tom’s gonna explain this is it convicting rather than condemning if you miss this one the difference between being convicting and condemning you’re gonna find yourself even though it passes all the other tests constantly making decisions because you thought you’ve heard God’s voice but really is this voice of condemnation so what’s the difference between conviction that the Bible talks about where God can vix us when we’ve done something wrong so when you get right and this general feeling of condemnation conviction comes from God he gives it to us to correct us so I say something to one of my kids that I shouldn’t have said it or my husband my wife God says you shouldn’t talk like that that’s conviction and he does it the correct us because He loves us because he wants us to live the right kind of way and enjoy the kind of lives that he made us to live he wants to develop our character and conviction is something that God is just saying in my life this needs to change so I know what I need to change on the other hand condemnation comes from Satan and it’s just a criticize it’s just to accuse you it’s motivated by Satan’s hatred front for you and it just gives you this overall feeling I’m a jerk I’m worthless why did I do that if you’ve ever and I think we’ve all felt this way just felt vaguely guilty just this cloud this dark cloud of guilt hanging over your head but you couldn’t put your finger on it you just felt bad all the time that is that is condemnation and when you feel that way that’s not from God if you feel I’m worthless I’m useless I’m nothing I’m not worth a thing that is not God’s voice how do I know that look at this next verse in your outline Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus God does not speak that way he does not speak with a voice of condemnation so anytime you feel that way you can know that’s not God’s voice and I know a lot of people to try to get rid of this general feeling of condemnation they’ll do all kinds of crazy things thinking somehow you’re following God’s voice it is never his voice in fact he might write down in your outline these words God never attacks my value he never attacks your value now will he point out your sin oh yeah of course but he doesn’t attack your value you’re his child you’re the one that he loves that’s not the way that God speaks revelation 3 verse 19 here’s how God speaks in my life here’s how God speaks in your life those who might dearly in tenderly love I tell their faults and I convict and I discipline so be earnest and repent changing your mind and attitude that’s how God speaks condemnation is like this dark cloud of guilt when God speaks it’s like a pinpoint of light he tells you exactly this is what’s wrong and this is how you change it so now let’s change it together that’s how he speaks in my life that’s how he speaks in your life he tells you the solution and then as soon as you confess as soon as you change that feeling of conviction it goes away it doesn’t last for the rest of eternity condemnation is general it’s vague and it never goes away conviction it’s specific it’s clear and it goes away as soon as you respond to it let me give you another picture of this it’s like it’s like the court system in in our court system you’ve seen all these courtroom dramas or some of your in court every day of your life in our court system there’s really two stages if you’re convicted or condemned first you have the first you have the stage where you have all the sentencing going on and you have the conviction you are guilty and then after that does come the sentencing from the judge and you are condemned to this certain punishment that’s our court system God’s system is not the same God’s system doesn’t have two parts it has three parts first comes the conviction the feeling I’ve done something wrong I know I shouldn’t have gone that way and then secondly here’s the good news Jesus takes the condemnation that’s what the cross is all about Jesus died on the cross because He loves us and he took our condemnation for us and so then third when I recognize that I am forgiven I am set free that’s God’s system of justice it’s an awesome system of justice it’s a good news God and so when I’m convicted and I realize I’ve done something wrong how long should that feeling that I have of conviction last in my life it should last only it should last only as long as takes me to repent if it takes me a month to repent I’m gonna feel conviction for a month it takes me a year to repent I’m gonna feel it for a year but if immediately as soon as God says it I respond to it then I know okay he’s speaking to me you just recognize so many times we mistake our low self esteem for God’s voice the Bible says this about Satan Satan is the accuser of believers revelation 12 verse 10 he wants to accuse you you got to understand how Satan works with your sin when it comes to sin before you sin Satan minimizes it have you noticed this and then after you said he maximizes it before you stand he says oh it’s no big deal everybody’s doing it don’t worry about it and then the minute you sin you hear Satan’s voice saying how could you do that and call yourself a Christian how in the world could you are the worst slime in the universe that you did that that’s how he speaks so what do I do I realize that is the voice of Satan and not of God so I’m gonna look to God and when I feel conviction I’m gonna immediately respond is it conviction convicting or condemning that’s one of the tests and then you come to the seventh test and that test is do I feel do I sense God’s peace about it do I sense God’s peace about if you feel pressure if you feel overwhelmed if you feel confused about a decision that you’re trying to make it might be about money it might be about some ministry in your life it might be about your kids and if constantly feeling confused one of the reasons for that is you’re caught up in yourself probably and not in God’s voice the Bible says this about God God is not the author of confusion 1st Corinthians 14:33 he is not the author of confusion so if I’m feeling confused guess what it’s some other voice it’s not God’s voice speaking in my life those of you that are parents do you want do you want your kids to feel pressured or confused when you ask him to do something no you want him to understand what to do and then respond and do it and God’s the perfect father so he wants us to understand what he’s asking us to do do I sense God’s peace about it in my life now the only time pressure could be legitimate is if God told me to do something and I keep saying no then the pressure does build but there’s always peace when I say yes to what he’s asking me to do Satan wants to drive us compulsively and God wants to draw us compassionately Satan wants to drive you compulsively I think we’ve all got some OCD in us and Satan wants to take advantage of our compulsions and use those to drive our lives but God instead he wants to draw us compassionately he’s like a good father he’s like a good shepherd he wants to draw our lives do I sense God’s peace about it I’ve always loved what Peter Lord used to say 90 percent of what God wants to say to you is encouragement and if all you ever hear from God is negative messages something’s wrong the wires have been crossed do I sense God’s peace about it as I’m listening to him if you’re trying to figure out what God wants you to do and you feel like God’s told you to do something an increasing anxiety is happening because of what you feel he’s told you to do something’s crossed up because the Bible says this in Philippians 4:6 – 7 here’s how God speaks don’t worry about anything instead pray about everything tell god what you need and thank him for all he’s done if you do this you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand his peace will guard your hearts and your minds as you live in Christ Jesus when God speaks learn from him because I have his peace in my life but notice in that verse it says if you do this you will have God’s peace it’s not just a matter of hearing from him it’s also a matter of acting on what you hear in fact I love this next verse proverbs 22 verse 17 tells us the three things we need to do as we hear God’s voice hear God’s impressions listen to this wise advice follow it closely for it will do you good and then you can pass it along to other people so it’s not just hearing from God you do these three things first you listen you hear it but then you follow it you do what it says and then you pass it on to other people yesterday when I was studying for this message I was in my office and cassadee my five-year-old granddaughter walked in she said what are you doing papa and I said I’m preparing to teach tomorrow at church and she said what are you gonna teach on and I said how to hear God speak to you she said oh I already know that I said oh you do she said yes I said does God speak to you she says she said all the time I said how does he speak to you Cassie he said in my mind why is it so hard for adults and so easy for kids why do we make it so complicated because of all of our doubts and our fears and our skepticisms and all of the mess that we get into our minds it’s why Jesus said if you want to understand the kingdom of God you must become like a little child because the little child is open God whatever you want to say to me and she could hear God very clearly and she didn’t have any problem with that at five years of age now what is it what’s the problem if you could hear God clearly in the past but it’s not so clear anymore I mean the transmission has gotten fuzzy the lines are messed up and jammed the message is muted it’s not getting through what’s the problem if you could hear God clearly in the past but you can’t now here’s the problem you have a loud sin to come between you and God and you need to pull out that blockage and then you’ll be able to hear him clear again it may be a relationship you need to let go of it may be a habit you need to let go of it may be a hurt that you’ve held on to and said I am NOT going to let that person off the hook and that has created a barrier between you and God and God can hear your prayers and you can’t hear him speak to you and what you need to do is confess that area that blockage that God that’s wrong and I want to confess it and I want to change I want to turn away from my my sin I want to turn back to you I want to be able to hear from you and you’ll be able to hear him again well what if I ever ever heard God speak to me in my life I’ve never felt it then you need to get to know Jesus Christ you need to begin a relationship you may have been in church all of your life you can have churchianity without Christianity you can have religion without a relationship you can know all about God and not really know him now we can settle that one right now the Bible says this the last verse in your outline he who belongs to God hears what God says that’s the mark that you belong to God you can hear him the reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God you’ve never been saved you’ve never been born again you’ve never stepped across the line in faith you’ve never put your total life in his hands you’ve come with your husband or your wife or your boyfriend or girlfriend you may have come to Saddleback for years but you’ve never began that relationship and this is the day to do it let’s bow our heads I’m gonna pray a prayer right now and if you’ve never heard God speak to you you need to begin a relationship to him today you could say something like this in your heart just follow me and say me to God dear God I want to know you and I want to hear your voice and I want to know what you want me to do with my life Jesus Christ I don’t understand at all but I thank you that you love me that you made me that you shaped me for a purpose that you forgive me and you take away my condemnation show me the things in my life that are keeping me from hearing you I want to confess them and I want to get rid of them and I want to follow you and trust you from this day forward I asked you to accept me into your family and help me to hear your voice and feel your presence the rest of you who’ve you’ve already opened your life to Christ you join me in this prayer say dear God I I want to hear you when you talk to me this week and more than that I want to do what you tell me to do I’m choosing your way in advance and I want to pass on what you tell me to others so I can grow help me to use these seven tests this week as I listen to you in your name I pray amen