Learn How To Recognize God's Voice with Rick Warren

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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 talked to myself

all that 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 it 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 messy

from God test it first to see if it

really is circle the phrase test it

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 right 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 God 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

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 Lane

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 getting an idea in

your mind you're going now 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 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 all right 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 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 add 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 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

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 the ideas the impressions

the thoughts that come from God that

wisdom is pure its peace-loving its

considerate its submissive and full of

mercy its impartial and sincere now

notice he says here's a test there are

two things you can 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 and 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 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 them for you

you think I'm up all the time and so you

know if you say I've got a great idea


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 gonna 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

grow 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

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 then 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 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 5 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 what 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


and they have these things called blogs

let me tell you something it takes no

intelligence to criticize a fool an

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 he

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 the throat 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 asked 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

with 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 going to confirm it when you

talk to them about it oh yeah that makes


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 times

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 relationships aren't just

every once in a while I'll try to call

it you got to build them 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 them and you will allow them

to be a part of testing God's

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

Lauren 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 workmanship 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 puma 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 look over there and I see a stool

with a big round bottom and I think hmm

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 10 different campuses here at

Saddleback that means we need lots of

musicians both singers and


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 key okay so so

just forget it

and obviously they go out there and 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 end 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 six 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


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 it just because I I

liked the sing 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 then 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 no 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 Dennis 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 look 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

at Magic Mountain put together I mean

it's as e-ticket ride I'm going now

that's cool

and so then I spoke to these two 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 has 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


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


fellow disciple John and goes what about


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 the

other disciple if I want him to remain

alive till I return what is that to you

you must follow me in other words don't

worry about what other people don't try

to figure out their lives you follow me

what is that you circle that 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 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

who's 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 to be 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 mask goddesses master

to his own master he stands or falls and

he will stand for the Lord is able to

make him stand 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 her 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


she said why not I said because 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 humbled

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 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

spoke 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


so God says you're gonna marry that girl

I made no attempt even dater 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 our the semester um you know the

the nine months school and this is about

six months later one day we're praying

in the morning and also and Danny stops

and in the middle of his prayer he looks

over he goes Rick you may think this is

weird but I just had this impression

that you're gonna marry Kay Louis and I

looked 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 purse

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 gonna

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


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

convicts us when we've done something

wrong so he 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 to

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 that 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 false 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 is 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

it should last only it should last only

as long as it takes me to repent if it

takes me a month to repent I'm gonna

feel conviction for a month if 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

ok 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


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 it

if you feel pressured 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 they're 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% 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

it turned 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 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


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


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 and oh 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 gonna let that

person off the hook and that has created

a barrier between you and God and God

can't hear your prayers and you can't

hear him speak to you and what you need

to do is confess that area that blockage

to 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


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


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