If people want to know about God, they should read the Scriptures. The Scriptures is the revealed will of God. What “God said” is all in the Scriptures.
Does that mean that God doesn’t speak to us apart from Scriptures? Actually He doesn’t! Yet, we hear preachers and others say “this is what God said”. What does that mean? He says something to His messengers to be repeated for all to obey? Well, maybe. His messengers, being specifically called to serve Him, often have an understanding of Scriptures that the rest don’t have. From their prayerful meditation of Scriptures they get insights which they share with others. That is what they mean by “what God said”.
These insights are never inconsistent with Scriptural truths, so it is always good to take heed of them when they are spoken. The messengers have spiritual gifts which give them understanding of Scriptures for our application. These spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit and God’s messengers operate in these gifts for the upbuilding of His people.
As listeners of “what God said”, how do we discern if the message is really for us? In the same way the Holy Spirit imprints an illumination of the truth of God as we study Scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts if the message shared is for us.
People can say, this is “what God said”, but it may have no effect on us if the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict us. Before Jesus died and resurrected, He told his disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of truth (John 14: 15) — to them. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us to the truth. Jesus says in John 16: 12-14: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. It is He who gives us sensitivity to the Word of God to share or receive an illumination. The key is to be open to what the Holy Spirit is saying. He uses people to say it and people can repeat the message a million times over, but it will have no bearing on the receiver if the latter isn’t attuned to the Holy Spirit.
When we are in step with the Holy Spirit, we will immediately catch that illumination no matter who utters it and as we obey — even when the Holy Spirit’s conviction disciplines — we will be blessed.