Can You Hear Me Now
Topic: Hearing God's voice Scripture: John 10:22– :28
Can You Hear Me Now?
So far, we have talked about the mouth and how we are to use our mouths to speak good thingsand even declare things that are not as though they were. We also talked about our eyes and how God intended for us to experience pleasurewith our eyes but according to His design. Then we talked about taking our thoughts captiveand that you may not be able to stop those thoughts from coming but you can prevent them from staying in your head and defining who you are. Then we talked about our nose and that through our spiritual nose we can determine whether our lives are a pleasing aroma to God.
Today we want to look at our ears.
Ears are made for hearing words that are spoken. It is the oppositeof speaking. If you are speaking, then you are not listening.
The more you heara person’s voice the easier it is to recognizewho they are. Which leads us to our story today.
(personal story, God speaking in daily routines)
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
The Jewish leaders were wanting Jesus to proveHis statement that He was the Christ. In other words, prove that He was the Shepherdthat Israel had been waitingfor.
Jesus did not need to proveanything to the Jews who were questioning Him. The truth is that they did not know Himand that they were nota part of the same sheep fold.
Jesus implies that He knows his sheepand that His sheep know Him. That is a naturalbut incrediblething that takes place between the two.
The Shepherd could distinguishone of His sheep from another flock. Not only that but a loving Shepherdcould distinguish one of His sheepfrom the restof His flock. In fact, it was common for shepherds in the eastto give their sheep names.
The shepherd would spend so much timewith the sheep that he could recognize each one, some could even do this blindfolded.
One shepherd in the Lebanonwas asked if he always counted his sheepeach evening. He replied that he did not, and then was asked how then he knew if all his sheep were present. This was his reply: “if you were to put a cloth over my eyes and bring me any sheep and only let me put hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it was mine or not.”
Besides recognizingeach individual sheep, the shepherd was always on the lookoutfor sheep that need personal attention. Sometimes a lamb suffers from too much sun, or its body may have been badly scratchedby some thorn bush.
Besides these perils, sheep are easy targets for flies, lice and ticks. A sheep that is not covered with oil on his head could easily become the victim these pests.
Bugs would crawlthrough the ear canalof the un-oiledsheep and nest in its brain, eatingaway at it. The pain from the bugs would be so severe on the sheep that the sheep would bang his skull on rocksand against trees to ease his suffering. The sheep could break his own skullseeking relief from the brain-eating parasites.
In all cases the shepherd would use olive oil,which he carried in a ram’s horn, to cure the distressed sheep.
The shepherd is deeply interestedin every single sheep.
The same could be said about Jesus.
He knows everythingabout us. He knows ourfailures, He knows our victories, He knows our secrets, He knows your hurtand pain, He even knows how many hairsare on your head. There is nothing that is hiddenfrom Him. He coversus with His blood.
He is the good shepherdand He is deeply interestedin every one of His sheep.
Not only does the Shepherd know the sheep, but the sheep know Him. They know what His voice sounds like and what it does not sound like and they will not followthe voice of stranger.
What about you? Do you know how to recognizethe voice of Jesus, our good shepherd?
Do you know His voice? Do you know what He would sayand what He would not say? Have you trained your ears to recognize His voice?
The goal of today’s sermon is to give you some practical waysyou can distinguishthe voice of Jesus vs the voice of others.
God is always speaking to you. A.W. Tozer said, “It’s the nature of God to speak.”He wants to have fellowshipwith you, and He wants you to hear Him—all the time.
Learning to recognizethe voice of God is critical, not only for our own peace of mindbut also for developing a personal relationshipwith Him and for living a life pleasingto Him.
One of the most important ways we can determine whether a voice is of God or not is to ask the question;
- Does it agree with the Bible?
Every thought, or situation that we face we can find either example or instructionin the bible of how to deal with it.
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
As Christians we believe the entirety of the Bibleand accept it as the Word of God. The word of God is sufficientto make you complete and equipyou for every good work. The bible has all the answers to life’s difficult questions.
It is our instruction manualfor living a godly life. We all have been given the same choice to either read it, apply it, and reap the benefitsof it or we could deny itand suffer the consequences.
So, before you just accept some saying, some idea, that you hear as truth, examine what is being said to see if it lines up with the Bible.
- DidJesus talkabout it?
- Is there an examplein the bible in either the old testament or new testament?
If someone has said something about you personallythen you must go back to the bible to see if it is so.
- DoesGod really saythat about you?
- Is that how God thinksabout you?
If it does not line upwith the Bible, then you must cancel those wordsthat you heard. Those are not words from a loving shepherdbut are from a ravenous wolf. But if it does align with the word of God then you must conform to it.
God will never tell youto do, think or say anything contrary to His Word. If you have a thoughtand you don’t know if it’s Godor not—you can look it up in the Bibleand settle it right away.
Of course, to know whether it is in the Bible, you must readthe bible for yourself. The more you read it, the more you will recognize His voicein your life.
- Does it make me more like Christ?
Ultimately the goal of every believeris to hear those words at the end of our lives “well donemy good and faithful servant.” We want to live lives that are pleasing to Him. The way we do that is to
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testingyou may discernwhat is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Transform- to change into another form, to transfigure
We are not to be conformedto the ideologies of this world, but we are to be changinginto another form, that is the image of Christ JesusOur Lord. Just as He was transfiguredfrom an earthly body to a heavenly one, we are in the processof being transformed and one day we will be transfigured meaning we will go from an earthlybody to a heavenly one.
We are in the processof becoming more like Christ. Therefore, we ought to becarefulwhat we listen to. Is what we are listening tomaking us more or less like Christ?
What about the music youare listening to? Are you listening to music in which the artists blasphemethe name of the Lord? Is what you listening to beneficial to your spiritual growthor is it a hinderance?
Whether you realize it or not, if that artist is feeling angerin his heart when he writes that song, then anger will come outwhen it is listened to. So now you have allowed someone else’s angerinside of your ears and into your heart.
Is what your listening to, whether it is music, instruction or other, helping you to become more likeChrist or is it not? What are you allowing through your ears?
- Do I sense God’s peace about it?
1 Corinthians 2:10-11
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of Godexcept the Spirit of God.
If we want to recognize the voice of God speaking into our lives, we must learn to trustthe voice of the Holy Spiritwho is alive and living on the inside of every believer.
God doesn’t communicatewith us the way we communicatewith one another. He communicates from His Spirit to your spirit. Often we are looking for the big revelationwhen He mostly gives us simple instructions. He will begin to deal with you right whereyou are.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, to give us peaceand/or unrestabout a certain situation. As a believer, if you don’t have peaceabout moving forwardwith a certain decision or you don’t have peace about believing something that you were told it is a good chance it is the voice of the Holy Spirittrying to warnyou.
If you are waiting for direction for your lifeand you have an uneasy feeling about moving forward, then it might be the Holy Spirit wantingyou to waitjust a little longer.
Psalms 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
Just to recap a bit,
The Lord has given us ears to listen, so that our brains can processthose words and turn them into thoughts.
The words of our shepherdare soothing and intended for our good. They are like olive oilthat the shepherd uses to keeps bugs from creeping into the ears. The word of Godwill keep you from being annoyedfrom pesky thoughts.
To recognizeHis voice, we must get into His word, the Bible, so that we will know what His thoughts are toward usand what are His expectations.
We need to guard our earsto ensure what we listen to is conformingus to the image of Christ, bringing us closerto Him and not furtheraway.
We need to learn to listen to the still small voiceof the Holy Spirit, who instructsour lives for living Godly and gives us peacewhen we are in the will of God.
If you want to get to a placewhere you don’t have to wonder whose voiceyou’re hearing—yours, the devil’sor God’s—you need to spend time with the Lord. A lot of time. But, if you keep your mind and your heart full of the things of this world, it will be difficultfor you to differentiatebetween the Spirit of God and your own thoughts.