The third way that I believe that we hear from God is through the spoken word. This is often from the voice of teachers, pastors, preachers and prophets who act as orators of God. Priests and religious leaders do not hold the same place within the New Testament as they did in the Old Testament. What I mean is that in the Old Testament, only the Priests and Levites could enter into the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices unto God on behalf of the people (Exodus 20).
After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the veil in the temple was torn open (Matthew 27:51). This symbolised the final atonement for our sins by Jesus’s blood. It also meant that the Holy of Holies (presence of God) was now accessible to anyone who accepted Jesus Christ. As such we can approach God in prayer individually and we can also hear from God individually. Despite these changes during the crucifixion, there is still an active role for the five gold ministries within the New Testament. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
Paul said that the ministries have been appointed to equip and build up the body of Christ in preparation for Christ’s return. This means that we need Pastors, Prophets and Evangelists to help to guide and support the church. There is also a place for the prophetic voice to confirm God’s word to his people. This can be in the form of sermons, a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge and a word of prophecy. We are responsible for testing the spirits to see whether they are from God or from the Devil and be weary of false prophets.
Very often the Holy Spirit within us will witness to us whether or not someone has the spirit of God within them (Romans 8:16). How we hear a word and confirm that the word is for us is when it confirms what we have heard in our spirit. Often you may have a private conversation with God in prayer where you ask specific questions or you bring a need before him. Sometimes soon after, you may hear a sermon which confirms the exact word that you heard from God earlier in your quiet time. At other times the sermon may answer the specific questions which you were asking. Sometimes a word may come to convict of sin or bring correction from wrong doing.
Have you ever attended church and felt like the preacher was speaking directly to you? There are other times when God may ask someone with a spiritual gift to speak to you directly to relay the answer to something that you were praying about. You will know for sure that it is God because only God heard your conversation with him. Very often, God will send many different confirmations over a short period of time to assure you that he has spoken. These are times when we can say with confidence that we have heard from God. The more we listen and take notice of what God is saying is the more that God will continue to speak to us. This is because he can trust that we will listen. “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them’” (Luke 16:29).