While driving in his car.
In this episode, Pastor Richard answers a question about hearing God's voice. Where does God speak? Does He speak in nature? Does He speak in that still small voice in the caverns of the heart? Does He speak through experiences? Thankfully, we do not have to try to figure out God's voice in these so often unpredictable circumstances, but rather, Pastor Richard shares where we can clearly hear God's Word for us - His voice is right where He has promised it to be.
Speaking of "hearing" the truth with our God-given ears, ironically, this is the truth we rarely hear anymore so God bless Pastor Richard for proclaiming it.
What does this mean?
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
This is most certainly true.
To underscore why this is such a critical topic for us to understand...
God serves us with Word and Sacrament. They are the means by which he delivers to us forgiveness and eternal life. By faith we grasp the promises that God gives with these means. Faith knows no other way to grasp God’s promises apart from these means. If someone tries to get around these means than that is being done apart from faith. Such a person is not trusting God’s sure and certain word. It is nothing short of unbelief. So it is quite harmful to believe that God deals with us apart from these means. Even if someone claimed God told them to do something good, yet if the voice they obeyed was Satan, then what they did was evil because they did Satan’s will. For he always wants to direct sinners away from God’s promises. If Satan could get you to fill your life with good works and not grasp by faith God’s promises in Christ then Satan has won you over. And even if God did speak to your friends then that is not the basis on which to be certain that one is dealing with a merciful God (Perhaps God, for his own purposes, is thwarting Satan). But the only certain way we know that God himself is dealing with us is through the Word and Sacraments. For only when God deals with us through the means that give us Christ can we be certain that we have a merciful God.
The author of Hebrews points out how God has spoken to those who have gone before us in the faith. Now, in these last days, God has spoken to us by His son. His disciples have recorded the words and deeds of this Son, Jesus Christ. Not only that, but Jesus also instituted Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Absolution, and the preaching of this Word. It is through these, which we identify as the external Word (in contrast to an “inner” or hidden word), that Scripture promises that the Holy Spirit works. For this reason we confess that we reject the teaching which would say that the Holy Spirit works outside of the external Word. The real danger is that when people think “God” is talking to them, that voice is indistinguishable from that of Satan. After all, Satan comes and deceives. He uses Scripture (and twists it) and often is disguised as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Let's also not forget what Hebrews 1:1–2 says: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world."
In other words, don't go looking for a burning bush or a talking donkey. Look for Jesus in the Word and Sacraments, and where two or three are gathered in His name, or exactly where you know you can always find Him.
In a Lutheran layman's terms, if you want to hear the voice of God, if you want to hear God speak to you, then you need to look in the only places where He promises to do that and promises to be present.
As has been said and written many times before, if you want to hear the audible voice of God, if you want to hear God speak to you audibly, then open your Bible and read it out loud.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!