Hearing the Voice of God – Part Fifteen

God can and does speak to us through His Church. God’s assignments are usually too big for you to accomplish on your own so you need the help and input of others.

With this in mind, He provides other believers with whom you can have regular fellowship who can also help you hear from God. Although we live in a large global planet that links us with others halfway around the world with the click of an internet connection, communication alone does not give us the authentic fellowship we need with other people. What people are looking for today are real relationships that offer genuine connection with others that gives them a real sense of being understood and loved. We can find this bona fide fellowship and connection in the church — the body of Christ where a community of believers interact to encourage each other to hear from God.

The Bible says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). It is extremely difficult to live the Christian life alone. Believers need to fellowship together and encourage one another daily. We also need other believers to enable us to hear God more frequently and more accurately. 

The church is not a building or a meeting or a program. The church of Jesus Christ is simply people. As believers, we are the church. The word ‘church’ literally means called out ones. The church then, is a group of people who have been called out of spiritual darkness into the light of God’s Kingdom.

When we come to Christ, we are immediately a part of the universal church of Christ which includes every believer who has ever named the Name of Christ from every nation of the world. Jesus talked about His universal church in the gospels. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gats of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

But the word ‘church’ also refers to the local church — the local body of Christ, Within God’s universal church family are local churches in each community which provide the support and love each believer needs. Whether you are a part of a local community church, a megachurch, or a small house church, the Lord wants to speak to you through the leadership there and through fellow believers.

Every believer needs a “support system” to survive. We get that support system from being committed to other believers in a local church and having regular fellowship with them. We are part of a spiritual family — a family of the redeemed. This spiritual family gives us a place to grow and learn from other believers how to live our Christian lives. We need this input from others. God will often speak through these members.

Sometimes, through disillusionment, disappointment, or spiritual pride, believers find themselves uninvolved in a local church.This leaves them very vulnerable. The Bible tells us that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The local church is often “the way out” the Lord has prepared for His people during an onslaught of the devil. When we fellowship with other believers, we realize that we are not alone in the temptations that we face. We receive spiritual protection, strength, and oversight from the spiritual leaders the Lord has placed in our lives. The Lord’s plan is to use the local church to protect us, help us grow, and equip us to be all that we can be in Jesus Christ.

D.L. Moody, an evangelist from the late 1800’s, was used of the Lord to lead a million people to Christ. Many times when he preached, he had a choir that included singers from many churches in the community in which he was preaching. A lady came to him one day and said, “Mr. Moody, I would like to sing in your choir.” When Moody asked her which local church she represented, she said, “I am involved in the universal church.”

Moody said to her, “Then find the pastor of the universal church and sing in his choir.” In other words, Moody was concerned about this lady’s lack of involvement in a local church. He recognized the need to be committed to a local church for spiritual protection and accountability. Though the church is not perfect, God designed the church to be a blessing to believers. The church might have a few spots and wrinkles, but she is still engaged to the bridegroom and He is committed to make her beautiful.

Spiritual leaders as well as other believers in the local church are there to exhort you, comfort you, and uphold you in prayer. God places spiritual leaders in our lives who are accountable to God and to other spiritual leaders to watch out for us. 

Hebrews 13:7, 17 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith … Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Spiritual leaders in our lives give us spiritual protection, and we need to follow their example as they place their faith in Jesus Christ. We should remember them, receive the Word of God from them, obey them, be submissive to them, and do all that we can so their responsibility is joyful and not a burden. God often uses them as His mouthpiece to speak to us. The Bible tells us that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Lions prey on strays, those who are isolated from the herd. That’s why we need church leaders — to protect us and encourage us. The Lord has called us to recognize and honour those He has placed in our lives as spiritual leaders.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”

I spend much of my time travelling locally, nationally, and internationally and I have been blesses over and over again by the spiritual leaders that the Lord has placed in my life.

I am grateful to the Lord for using spiritual leaders  in my life to speak to me again and again over the past years because I know I cannot do it on my own.

Because you cannot accomplish all you want on your own, God will be faithful to speak to you through the believers and spiritual leaders He has placed in your life in the local church.