|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Hearing from God”
Our Bible verse for today: “As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set aside for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.” Acts 13:2-3 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God speaks through the voice of the church”
The last of the five ways God typically speaks to His people in our day, as taught in the Bible study, “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” by Henry Blackaby, is through the voice of the church. God typically speaks to us through the Bible, prayer, the circumstances of our lives, through trusted counselors, and by means of the voice of the church.
The most important way in which God uses the voice of the church to express His will is when He calls someone to a major ministry assignment in a church. In such cases the entire congregation needs to pray, discuss, question, pray some more, and then vote. If the process is done correctly and well, God expresses His will on the matter by means of a strong majority, or maybe even with a unanimous vote.
We read about that in Acts 13:2-3 when the church gathered to confirm the call of Barnabas and Saul to be sent out as missionaries. It is also common for a church to confer a “license to preach” upon a new preacher, or to ordain a new minister. In such cases the congregation is affirming the call of God upon that person’s life to go forth and perform that ministry. When an entire congregation of Spirit-led people arrive at a group consensus, that is a good indication that they are hearing from God.
God also uses the voice of the church to communicate with His people through preaching and teaching, and through music in a worship service. God also speaks as the congregation ministers to one another, taking care of each other in the name of Jesus. Likewise, God speaks to and works among His people as they participate in fellowship events and group ministry projects. All of that occurs within the context of the gathered church and it is a means by which God speaks.
The voice of the church can serve as a powerful megaphone in the hands of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the reasons the Bible teaches us to be so protective of our church life and to keep discord, selfishness, slander, gossip, and petty divisions out. Such things become a black cloud hovering over a congregation, quenching the work of the Spirit among them and minimizing or even silencing the voice of God in that place.
Now that we have addressed each of the five ways in which God typically speaks to us in our day, it’s time for us to return to our discussion about the negative group dynamic known as “groupthink.” I briefly addressed this in a devotional earlier in this series. There is a relatively simple way to make sure the dynamic of groupthink does not lead our group to false conclusions. We’ll think about that tomorrow.
(If you like what you’re reading in these daily devotionals, and if you would like more content from Oak Hill Baptist Church, join us on Sundays at 10:00 – in-person if you are nearby or, if you are geographically distant or if you just can’t make it, online at www.YouTube.com/@oakhillbaptistcrossville)
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