The Scriptures indicate that God has communicated with mankind in a number of changing ways. Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament, spoke to Adam in the Garden of Eden. They had a one on one personal relationship. When Adam and Eve violated the trust God placed in them they were banished from the garden, and worse than that, they forfeited their direct communication and fellowship with God.
Later God spoke to the patriarchs of the Old Testament to reveal His will. God spoke to Noah at least five times; Abraham eight times; and Jacob some seven times.
From the time of Moses until King David’s day, God communicated with His servants through the Urim and the Thummim in matters of Judgment. The Urim and Thummim were precious stones that were carried by the high priest on the priestly garments. As a rule, they were used by the high priest to determine God's judgment in a matter.
Judgments are binding decisions based on God’s previously revealed law. They are for the protection of everyone’s legal rights. Judgments are rendered according to the principles of the Ten Commandments and the statutes.
“You shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goes in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.” (Exodus 28:30)
Peter reveals that prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
As the Old Testament came to a close, Jesus personally taught His apostles during His public ministry, but after that, the Holy Spirit was sent to reveal God’s direction.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
And then, on that first Pentecost, God sent His Holy Spirit to lead His church brethren into all truth (John 16:13). We find that at the Acts 15 ministerial conference there was no explicit voice of God heard by anyone, and yet God was guiding events through His Spirit so that all things would work out for the good (Romans 8:28). In fact, all the writers of the New Testament Scriptures were inspired directly by God through His Holy Spirit. That is how they became Scripture. Peter clearly refers to Paul’s difficult epistles as “Scripture.”
“As also in all [Paul’s] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)
In tomorrow’s sermon we will weigh some of Paul’s writings in light of the fact that they are the way that God speaks to us in His word.
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