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Sermon No: 7855-Esther 6c - GODLY COUNSEL



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SERMON TOPIC: Esther 6c - GODLY COUNSEL

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 30 October 2016

Topic Groups: COUNSELLING, ESTHER, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: God’s counsel is good advice:

Psalm 73:24 (NASB) With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

We need to seek guidance and advice from God, who is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isa 28:29). He has promised us:

Ps 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

In Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called the “Wonderful Counsellor” and in Isaiah 11:2 it says of him, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”
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Bad advice

We saw that Haman was the recipient of bad advice and would have to face the consequences. Who do you look to for advice when you need counsel – and is it good advice? Do you choose your path based on ungodly advice from family, friends and professional counsellors?

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… (NKJV)

BAD ADVICE

Sources we shouldn’t look to for advice and guidance:

The godless media

The ancestors and sangomas

The saints and Mary

Secular psychologists

Ungodly friends and family

Astrology

Other forms of divination

Necromancy

BAD ADVICE

We noted that:

Advice that you want to hear is not always godly advice, even if the adviser claims it comes from God.

Sometimes the people who are viewed as “experts” can give bad advice.

Sometimes bad advice comes from those who are close to us, and who are well-meaning.

The majority are not always correct. So don’t take advice based on peer pressure.

Don’t take advice that is based on man’s worldly wisdom, rather than on Biblical principles.

James 3:15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

BAD ADVICE

Unlike Haman, Esther received good counsel from Mordecai.

To her credit Esther took advice:

even when she was in a position of privilege

even when it was advice she didn’t want to hear

GOOD ADVICE

God’s counsel is good advice:

Psalm 73:24 (NASB) With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

We need to seek guidance and advice from God, who is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isa 28:29). He has promised us:

Ps 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

In Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called the “Wonderful Counsellor” and in Isaiah 11:2 it says of him, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

GOOD ADVICE

Can we hear from God?

Isa 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Rom 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Prov 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

But how does God speak and what does he say?

GOOD ADVICE

On rare occasions, it can be an audible voice: He spoke with Adam, Noah, Moses, Samuel, Job, Elijah, Isaiah and Jesus.

The Israelites heard God’s voice speaking from the

fire while at Mount Sinai (Deut 4:33) but were so afraid to hear God speak directly to them, that they requested Moses to act as a mediator (Ex 20:18-19).

1) AN AUDIBLE VOICE

Does God still speak with an audible voice?

God can do anything he wants to. However this is not very common. Why? Perhaps because God has ordained that those who come to him, do so in faith.

But most often God does not always speak with an audible voice. Why not?

In a book, Ed Gungor asks the question, “why would God hide?” and then considers the idea that this may be part of God’s plan:

Perhaps God hides because he has chosen to establish a relationship with humanity through the pathway of faith. 1

1 What Bothers Me Most about Christianity Honest Reflections from an Open-Minded Christ Follower

1) AN AUDIBLE VOICE

Angels: Our word ‘angel’ came from the Greek ‘angelos’ which simply meant ‘messenger’. Angels appeared to Abraham, Daniel, Mary, Hagar, Lot, Jacob, Balaam, Joshua, Gideon, Manoah, David, Elijah, Gad, the prophet Zechariah, the Bethlehem shepherds, Jesus, Mary Magdalene and her companions, the apostles, Peter, Philip, Cornelius, Paul, John and Zechariah (the father of John the Baptist).

2) ANGELS

Dreams and visions: Among those that God spoke to in dreams are Abimelech, Jacob, Laban, Joseph, Pharaoh and his chief cupbearer and chief baker, a Midianite soldier (Judges 7), Nathan, Solomon, Nebuchad- nezzar, Daniel, the Magi and Mary’s husband Joseph.

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

God spoke in visions to Abraham, Jacob, Balaam, Iddo, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, the prophet Zechariah, Ananias, Paul on the road to Damascus, Peter in Joppa, John on Patmos and the first martyr Stephen.

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 8:56)

Be aware - Not everyone you share your dreams with will respond positively.

Gen 37:5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

Often the full message or vision is only apparent to the particular person God is addressing.

Paul heard an audible voice on the way to Damascus, but his companions only heard a sound (Acts 9).

Jesus and his disciples heard God’s voice speak from heaven, but the crowd said it had thundered, while others said an angel had spoken (John 12:28-29).

Daniel writes that he “was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it” (Dan 10:7).

Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

But don’t think that dreams or visions from God are always pleasant; they are often deeply troubling. Job says:

“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions” (Job 7:13-14).

We read of Pharaoh:

Gen 41:7-8 Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning his mind was troubled…

When John has a vision of Jesus on Patmos, he writes:

Rev 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

MIGHT BE TROUBLING

Two dreams of Nebuchadnezzar are recorded in Daniel. See what is said of both:

“I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me.” (Dan 4:5)

… Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. (Dan 2:1)

MIGHT BE TROUBLING

Daniel relates regarding his dreams and visions:

Daniel 7:15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.”

Dan 8:27 I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

Dan 10:8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.

Dan 10:16-17 I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”

MIGHT BE TROUBLING

Dreams and visions from God often use symbolism which requires interpretation.

Daniel needed Gabriel to interpret his vision (Daniel 8).

While both Joseph and Daniel were gifted in the interpretation of dreams, this is a gift from God.

Gen 41:15-16 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

Daniel 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

MAY USE SYMBOLISM

Many dreams or visions related in the Bible were given to unbelievers or those searching for God. Among them are:

Abimelech, the Philistine (Gen 20)

Laban, Jacob’s cheating father-in-law (Gen 31)

The pagan ruler, Pharaoh (Gen 41), along with his chief cupbearer and chief baker (Gen 40)

A Midianite soldier - an Israelite enemy (Judg 7)

Nebuchadnezzar - a pagan king (Dan 2)

The Magi astrologers (Matt 2)

Saul of Tarsus – at the time the persecutor of the Church (Acts 9)

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

Many Muslims today have been converted after having Jesus appear to them in a dream. CBN reports: “There is an end-time phenomenon that is happening through dreams and visions… He is going into the Muslim world and revealing, particularly, the last 24 hours of His life - how He died on the cross, which Islam does not teach - how He was raised from the dead, which Islam also does not teach – and how He is the Son of God, risen in power.” 1

This precise phenomenon was prophesied by the prophet Joel, quoted on the Day of Pentecost by Peter:

“In the last days… your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

1 http:// www1.cbn.com/ onlinediscipleship/ visions-of-jesus-stir-muslim-hearts quoting Christine Darg, author of “The Jesus Visions: Signs and Wonders in the Muslim World”

3) DREAMS & VISIONS

Sometimes God will speak to us with signs.

God spoke to the Israelites with the Urim and Thummim, the lit censor and the rod that budded. He spoke to Gideon with the fleece, to Balaam with the donkey, to Hezekiah with the retrograde motion of the sundial, to Belshazzar with writing on a wall, and to the apostles with the casting of the lot (Acts 1).

4) SIGNS

God confirmed the message of Moses, Jesus and the apostles with signs.

Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

But at times, even signs are not sufficient on their own as a mark of God’s voice.

Matt 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Rev 19:20 … the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

4) SIGNS

Ex 7:10-11… Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:

4) SIGNS

Throughout the ages, God has spoken to men through his prophets.

But God has spoken most definitively through the ministry and life of his Son, Jesus.

Heb 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

Matt 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

5) THE INCARNATION

Most often, God speaks through Scripture. This is through reading God’s word and listening to ministry that is centred on God’s Word.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Rom 16:25-26 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God…

6) SCRIPTURE

If you want to hear from God, make it a regular practice to read God’s Word and to ask him to speak to you through it.

6) SCRIPTURE

Read the Word. Consume the Word until it consumes you. Act on the Word.

-Smith Wigglesworth -

God speaks through other believers:

God spoke to David through the prophet Nathan who rebuked him when he sinned, and also promised him a son that would build the Temple.

Jehoshaphat sought God’s counsel by requesting to hear from the true prophet of God, Micaiah, rather than the men-pleasing false prophets (1 Kings 22).

7) OTHER BELIEVERS

Those who exercise the gifts of the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom and prophecy are used by God as his mouthpiece. But their words must be tested against Scripture (1 Thess 5:19-22, 1 Cor 14:29).

But besides spiritual gifts, God may just use the wisdom he has bestowed on godly friends, family, a teacher, or a pastor to give us sound advice. This may come in the form of a warning, a blessing, or an instruction.

Surely you have “heard” God speak to you through your Christian family members and friends as their words cut to your heart and remind you of God’s true priorities?

7) OTHER BELIEVERS

Paul tells Titus that older more mature believers should actively mentor and train younger believers:

Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Paul writes that the older Christian women should “train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)

7) OTHER BELIEVERS

God speaks through nature and his creation.

Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse

Ps 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

8) NATURE

God speaks to us through music. We can be taught and admonished by music.

Col 3:16 (NASB) Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God

Psalm 40:3 (NKJV) He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

9) THROUGH MUSIC

We need to take time to meditate on God.

Ps 63:6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.

God ‘speaks’ in our thoughts when we meditate on him.

Psalm 16:7 I will bless the LORD who has counselled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

10) OUR THOUGHTS

Yet sometimes God speaks and we miss it!

Job 33:14 (NASB) “Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it.”

Why do we miss God’s voice?

We miss his voice because it is drowned out in the sea of other voices. The cacophony of sounds, like an orchestra tuning, obscures that still small voice. Stomachs growl their hunger, bosses bark their orders, and that insult from twenty years ago still shouts its condemnation. How do we learn to discern God’s voice? In meditation. Christian meditation trains our ears to distinguish God’s voice—that one instrument—amidst the orchestra of others. 1

1 http:// beliefsoftheheart.com/ 2014/ 07/ 15/ hearing-god-in-meditation

10) OUR THOUGHTS

God ‘speaks’ and guides through providence and circumstances. He providentially opens or closes doors as he steers us towards a particular course of action.

This is seen most clearly in the Book of Esther and in the life of Joseph, where God’s will is declared after a sequence of events, where his providence is clearly seen in hindsight.

11) CIRCUMSTANCES

Note the sequence of events here:

Acts 18:1-3 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his

11) CIRCUMSTANCES

wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.

This relationship between Paul, and Priscilla and Aquila became one of the most important strategic partnerships in the book of Acts. Yet it seemingly happened as a result of a sequence of chance circumstances. But with God there are no accidents – he works out everything in our lives according to his purpose and plans.

11) CIRCUMSTANCES

Paul was prevented by God from going to certain areas. We’re not told how the Spirit prevented them, but maybe it was through circumstances.

Acts 16:6-7 Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

11) CIRCUMSTANCES

Jesus said that God would speak to us and teach us through the Holy Spirit:

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

How does God speak through the Holy Spirit if it is not an audible voice?

You need to mind the checks in your spirit and listen to the Spirit’s still, small voice within you.

12) THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Spirit speaks to us through our conscience, helping to make the right decision when we face temptation.

Rom 9:9 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit.

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we have no peace about something, it is a clear leading by the Spirit. This is what Paul means when he writes:

Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…

12) THE HOLY SPIRIT

Although prayer is primarily us speaking to God, rather than God speaking to us - when we pray, we become more sensitive to the leading of God.

As the distractions fade and our focus is centred on God we become more conscious of, and receptive to his voice.

13) PRAYER

So God does speak to us, and you can hear his voice in many different ways.

But you do need to be careful to confirm that you are hearing God’s voice and not another voice.

Our own flesh can also shout very loud particularly when it wants something badly.

And Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and a deceiver who masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14).

So how do I know if the voice is from God, the flesh or the devil?

BUT IS IT FROM GOD?

It is by repeated practice that we gain experience in discerning whether we are hearing God, our flesh or Satan.

Heb 5:14 (ESV) But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Always look for confirmation:

“… every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Matt 18:16).

So if you are unclear as to whether you have heard from God, wait for the confirmation of a second witness.

BUT IS IT FROM GOD?

By testing (as with a word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or personal prophecy):

1 Thess 5:19-22 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

1 Cor 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

In the 2nd century Tertullian speaks of a woman in the congregation, “whose lot it has been to be favoured with sundry gifts of revelation”. But these divine gifts did not go unchecked as Tertullian says, “All her communications are examined with the most scrupulous care in order that their truth may be probed.” 1

1 A Treatise on the Soul, ch. IX

TESTING

How do I “test” what I hear?

Does the life of the person relating the message bear witness to their supposed relationship with God?

Isa 28:7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.

Matt 7:15-16 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

TESTING

If you want to know if a word is from God - test it. Does it have these characteristics? In James 3:17 we read that “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all…

pure; then

peace-loving,

considerate,

submissive,

full of mercy

and good fruit,

impartial,

and sincere.

free from sin, good or wholesome

not advocating strife or revenge

thinking of others

ready to submit to authority

compassion, pity, kindness

love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc…

does not treat you as a ‘special’ case

free from pretence or deceit

TESTING

God will never contradict himself. Does what you have heard line up with Scripture? E.g.

If you get a personal prophecy to divorce your wife and marry someone more spiritual – the message is not from God.

Murderers who claim that God told them to kill prostitutes have not heard from God.

God will not tell you to steal from your company, or to make money from criminal activities like selling drugs – so that you can pay a larger tithe (Obedience is better than sacrifice).

Advice from God should be in line with the character of God revealed in Scripture. Let’s consider some examples.

TESTING

Moses heard God’s voice from a burning bush, expressing concern about the plight of his people.

I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians … (Ex 3:7-8)

CONCERN FOR SUFFERING

REASSURANCE

God’s still small voice was heard by the dejected Elijah at Horeb to reassure him he is not the only believer left (1 Ki 19).

Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.

Jacob is reassured in a vision that he must not be afraid to join Joseph in Egypt (Gen 46).

Paul is given reassurance as to the Lord’s protection:

Acts 18:9-10 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision:

REASSURANCE

Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.

Paul is given guidance in a dream as to his next mission target:

Acts 16:9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him:

GUIDANCE

Come over to Macedonia and help us.

Joseph is reassured that he is to marry Mary (Matt 1).

Ananias is instructed in a vision to go to pray for Paul’s restoration of sight. Normally Ananias would not have gone to Paul, who was a known enemy of the church.

Paul too saw a vision of Ananias coming to pray for his healing (Acts 9).

Peter has a vision in Joppa, to prepare him to go with the men sent by Cornelius. Peter realises that God is showing him that he has accepted the Gentiles and so must Peter.

The dream of the Midianite soldier (Judges 7) confirms Gideon’s destiny to deliver Israel and encourages Gideon in his mission.

GUIDANCE

God’s call for service is heard by Isaiah (Isa 6:8).

See NOTE 3

A CALL TO SERVE

Whom shall I send?

I am sending you to them to open their eyes … so that they may receive forgiveness of sins …

Paul is called to preach in a vision on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:17-18).

God’s voice affirms that Jesus is the beloved Son of God to the people present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:17) and transfiguration (Matt 17:5).

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!

A TESTIMONY TO JESUS

Receipt of a promise:

In a vision, Abraham is promised an heir (Gen 15).

Jacob has a dream which confirms God’s covenant with him (Gen 28). God also gives him a dream where he receives advice which makes him prosper in his business (Gen 30).

Solomon has a dream where God offers to grant whatever request he may have. Solomon wisely requests wisdom in governing God’s people (1 Kings 3).

PROMISES

PROMISES

Through the prophet Nathan, God told David that his son Solomon, would build the Temple (2 Sam 7).

… tell my servant David, “… I will raise up your offspring to succeed you… and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name…”

God’s voice was heard by Job, when he pronounced his verdict on all the previous dialogue between Job and his friends regarding the reason for Job’s suffering. (Job 38)

And when Paul repeatedly asks God to remove his “thorn in the flesh” God tells him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS

Warnings against sin:

Abimelech is kept from sinning against God by being warned in a dream that the woman he has designs on (Sarah) is already married (Gen 20).

Laban is warned in a dream not to attempt to prevent Jacob from leaving (Gen 31).

The wife of Pontius Pilate suffers much in a dream about Jesus and warns her husband that Jesus is innocent (Matt 27).

WARNINGS

See NOTE 4

Warnings for safety:

The Magi are warned in a dream (Matt 2) not to go back to Herod, and return to their country by another route.

Joseph is warned to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to escape Herod’s murder of the children of Bethlehem. He is also told later that Herod has died and warned to avoid Judea (Matt 2).

WARNINGS

Prophetic:

Joseph, the cupbearer and baker, Pharaoh have dreams regarding future events in their own lifetime. Nebuchadnezzar dreams of events in the distant future.

Prophets like Balaam, Iddo, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum and Zechariah have dreams and visions revealing things to come.

The apostle John sees a prophetic vision of things which will happen in the end times.

PROPHETIC

Revelation of spiritual truth:

Paul was caught up to heaven and had mysteries revealed to him (1 Cor 12).

Peter has God speak to him through a vision where he receives the spiritual truth that the gospel is to go to the Gentiles as well (Acts 10).

REVELATION

God speaks to the boy Samuel with a rebuke for Eli. (1 Sam 3:13)

For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.

REBUKE FOR SIN

Is the message only always positive, never a rebuke?

Some people don’t want any word of rebuke from the Lord, they only want to hear positive affirmations which boost their self-esteem.

Jer 30:10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”

2 Chron 18:6-7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?” The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

NO REBUKES (EVER?)

This desire to only hear the blessing, but never the rebuke or admonition is something that characterises our age.

2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

JUDGEMENT

God spoke with Adam, Eve and the serpent in Eden pronouncing judgement on their sin, but at the same time promising a redeemer for man – the seed of the woman (i.e. the Virgin birth of Jesus).

JUDGEMENT & PROMISE

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. (NASB)

He warned Noah how to escape the coming judgement (Gen 6).

ESCAPING JUDGEMENT

I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood…

Advice from God will not overlook or trivialise sin.

Lam 2:14 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.

Jer 23:16-17 “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’”

TRIVIALISE SIN

Ezek 22:27-30 Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’—when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.

TRIVIALISE SIN

But false advice like this, gives vain comfort.

Zech 10:2 … diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain.

Ezek 13:16 “… those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

In the long run it is better to have truthful, Scripture-based advice.

Prov 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

BUT IS IT FROM GOD?

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). If we are Jesus’ sheep we should recognise his voice. He said further that, “… his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:4-5)

BUT IS IT FROM GOD?

How do we become familiar with and gain the ability to recognise someone’s voice?

By spending time with them.

How do we become familiar with and gain the ability to recognise Jesus’ voice?

By spending time with him.

BUT IS IT FROM GOD?

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)




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