Reading: Acts Chapter 10
By Pastor Alex
Today, I want to invite you walk through Acts chapter 10. Even if you have read it already today, take a moment to read it once more or perhaps just listen to an audio recording. We are looking for one thing in Acts 10 – What are the different ways God is speaking to people?
1. God speaks to us in our times of prayer. In verse 2, Luke shares that this man Cornelius prayed always, and his prayers had “come up for a memorial before God” (v. 4). When Cornelius receives the angelic vision, he is fasting and praying (v. 30). When Peter also receives his vision, he is in prayer on the roof (v. 9). Are you listening for what God is speaking to you in prayer? Are you asking Him for direction and clarity? Some would argue that in doing this we should put aside praying altogether and just listen in silence. I don’t find this in the Bible or in experience; it was because Cornelius’ reverent voice was heard in heaven that he was able to hear from God on earth. However, when we have allowed our prayers to arise as incense, shouldn’t we then wait attentively for anything He would show us? Perhaps sometimes we should wait before rattling off prayers and allow the King to speak to our hearts and initiate the prayer time! When I have done this at times, I’ve found the Holy Spirit lead me to scriptures that have fed my hungry soul. Then we might pray more in His will.
2. God speaks at times through visions. Cornelius and Peter are both given visions in this chapter. I would reiterate that for both of them, we see a direct connection between their intimate prayer life and receiving the vision. Have you ever thought that the Lord would want to give you a vision? I know this idea may even feel uncomfortable. We should not become seekers of visions or expect one all the time; that can lead to deception. However, we should not limit God’s ways of speaking to us. Note that it is initiated by God. Personally, this occurred for me a couple weeks before I got saved. I saw an image in my mind of a man standing before the timeline of my life. To my surprise, I was in a period that was marked alarmingly in red; the man pointed to it and shook his head in warning that there was something gravely wrong about this time in my life. But I saw that the color of the timeline was about to switch to white. I was so confused; I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my life yet…
3. God speaks in a voice. During Cornelius’ vision, it was the voice of an angel, whom God was using to give Cornelius specific direction. In Peter’s vision, we believe it was the voice of Jesus Himself, and after the vision, the Holy Spirit speaks instructions to Peter (vv. 19-20). All believers hear from God, but we should not assume everyone hears a voice, audible or inaudible. Yet, we should not rule this out as a way God can speak to us. As with visions, we do not seek a voice. However, scripture testifies that God sometimes speaks this way. We see God’s voice giving instruction, fostering faith (“go with them, doubting nothing”), and confirming things to various people. Not only did all the words given to Cornelius and Peter agree, but we know the Holy Spirit was also speaking to the Apostle Paul about the equal invitation for Gentiles into salvation.
4. God speaks through other believers. Here, to me, is the most wonderful and amazing part: God could have preached the gospel to Cornelius through the angel. Instead of an angel, God could have given Cornelius a vision of Jesus dying for his sins. God delighted to move heaven and earth to get Cornelius to hear the gospel from a mortal man. Peter says, “through [Jesus’] name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (v. 43). And, clearly, what God revealed to Peter in this was almost equally as important. How about you? Are you open to God speaking things to you through a fellow believer that He does not want to speak to you by any other means? How wrong to think God will always speak directly to us! There are some things God refuses to tell us except through other Christians. He always has a goal; often, it is our humility.
I pray you will be richly blessed in your time with the Lord today! May each one of us hear His life-changing Word right for us today.