Authentic ministers of God’s word are not taught it by man; we receive it by revelation from God, learning it directly by His Spirit, which is one with ours by faith in Christ (see Gal. 1:11-12; John 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-16, 6:17; 1 John 2:20, 27). God brings revelation and teaches us most often as we meditate on His word. Jesus of Nazareth heard from God this way also (see Luke 4:16-21, perhaps in a new light). Recall that He told the Jews My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. (John 7:16). He described himself as … a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. He then told them, He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear from God is that you do not belong to God. (8:40, 47).
Mere “head knowledge” of God and His word is insufficient to save or sanctify us, regardless of what our deceived natural self asserts: behold the religious Jews whose self-righteousness prevented them from seeing that they were persecuting the Messiah. The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. (John 6:63). Effectual ministers of God’s word must not only hear the Spirit, but listen to what He says and act in accordance with Him (see Rev. 2, 3; Mt. 7:24-27; James 1:22-25; 2:17; Ro. 8:5, 13).
Now, please pay careful attention to what follows. Like Jesus and Saul of Tarsus before us, we who receive and respond to God’s unique call on our lives must beware consulting with flesh/tradition about such matters, lest the natural realm deter us from obeying the heavenly vision. Fellowship and receiving what the Lord tells us through others is essential, but we must carefully discern what is the Lord and what is not, and move only as He moves us.
Men of God, apostles even, can unintentionally misdirect others by what remains of their flesh. Recall these words: But when God… was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus (Gal. 1:15-17). God’s call on Saul’s life to preach Christ to the Gentiles was drastically different from what the other apostles had heard from Him at that time; in all likelihood, they might have considered Saul to be deceived and dissuade him. Let us thank God for His gracious gift of discernment and use it!
I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
Receiving and ministering God’s word as He leads, your sister deanna
written April 21, 2015