Is there anything more important than to hear the voice of God? He wants to speak and impact every decision we could make. Trust the Lord with all your heart. (john 10:1-4)
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love
Sermon # 11450
11:00 AM on 4/8/2018
A few weeks ago we lost our great brother in the Lord, Dr. Billy Graham. How many have ever seen him in person? The first time we were in Central Park in New York City in the early 90s, we heard him. It was amazing. 500,000 people there. So we didn’t get too close to the stage. The first time I thought I was going to hear him was in Springfield, Massachusetts. When we got there, the crowd was so great we didn’t get in. There were hundreds of people outside that couldn’t get in. Bill Alexson was there. I thought I never hear another person do such an impressive Billy Graham imitation. I said to the crowd, I know you can’t get in. I said how would you like me to bring Billy Graham out here? So Bill, come up here! We all love Billy Graham and miss him. Maybe we can hear from him again (Bill Alexson is imitating him). Amazing, huh! Billy Graham ministered to so many different presidents. Ronald Reagan (He’s imitating him). He even shared the gospel with Bill Clinton (He’s imitating him). He even ministered to Richard Nixon. (He’s imitating him). We have to move along. Now you have to listen to us!
A merry heart doeth good like medicine. In the series Pastor Schaller is starting, today is on Listening to God’s voice.
Jn 10:1-3, the sheep hear his voice.
vs. 4. Getting to know the voice of God. I’m not sure there is anything more important than to hear God’s voice. P. Carl Silva said God wants to speak to you and guide you personally on all the major and minor decisions of your life. He wants to speak to us in such a way that it impacts every decision we make.
Prov. 3:5-6 we are trusting the Lord with all our heart. Fighting off that tendency not to lean on our own understanding. He can direct our paths. Some of us were once in a ministry called the Bible Speaks. We changed the name when we moved here. The Bible Speaks but Greater Grace. P. Stevens gathered everyone together and said we will have a new name. What will we call it? How about the Bible Still speaks! Doesn’t God through the Spirit speak to us? If you said to people, maybe unsaved people, you said to them what do you call it when you talk to God? That’s prayer. What is it when God talks to you? They would say mental illness. How about God speaking to you? That’s crazy. But it’s not. God speaks. Does God still speak? We know he does. The Word of God speaking to our hearts and penetrating our souls. The word is quick and powerful and sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel. It can cut deep and reach parts of us we are not familiar with but no surgeon’s scalpel can reach that part of us that God reaches when he reaches with his word. While you’re in there, could you remove greed, selfishness, pride? He would say out of my pay grade. God penetrates our very being and deals with those things because the Bible speaks.
The Spirit speaks expressly, 1 Tim 4, in no uncertain terms.
Heb 12 the blood of Jesus speaks. And speaks about better things than the blood of Abel. It speaks about grace, mercy, forgiveness, returning to God. Everywhere in the Scriptures, God is speaking. My sheep follow me because they are familiar with my voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice. Thank God we have a shepherd. This is the best thing we have going for us. We know we as a sheep-like mentality what we are capable of doing. Haven’t we done this from time to time? Walked up to the edge of the cliff and stepped over it. We need a shepherd. Without a shepherd, you might have a 23rd psalm that sounds like I am my own shepherd… I stumble from shopping mall to shopping mall…I creep through the valley of the shadow of death and fall apart…I’m starting to act like my mother. I go down to the weekly staff meetings and are surrounded by my enemies…my Jack Daniels runneth over. Surely misery and misfortune will follow me and I will live in self-doubt….all the days of my life. That’s what life would be like without a shepherd. Our lives are hectic, complex and we need more than ever to learn how to listen to the voice of our Shepherd. We have to fine tune our listening. Aren’t there so many other voices out there in this world of ours? They promise you this or that. Are you kidding me? We need one voice. We need his guidance. We need to acknowledge him in all our ways. It’s not in man to direct his steps. I know Lord it is not in us. We don’t have the ability to direct the course of our own lives.
Ps 139 the Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So complex are our bodies and our mind to process all this knowledge. When God made us, he omitted one thing on purpose and that was the ability to direct our own lives. So much so you can reach the conclusion the most misdirected life is a self-directed life. People whose lives are led by “I did it my way.” You idiot. You did it your way? Where did you arrive? You do it your way and you arrive at the end of your life and you’ll be needy and you won’t find fulfillment. You’ll keep looking and wondering and have an endless quality of life.
Prov. 20:24 man’s steps need to be directed by the Lord. Our thoughts. How does God speak today? Why does he speak to us? He wants fellowship with us. He wants to be with us as we make this journey through life. God met them in the cool of the day and he walked with them. He enjoyed being in their presence. God wants to be in our presence. He wants to be consulted regarding every decision we make. Someone would say does he have to control everything? He loves us. Can I join you today? Can I walk with you? Can I help you think clearly about life’s situations? Would you let me do that? I love you that much. His thoughts toward us number the sand of the seashore. God can’t stop thinking about you and longs to be in our presence and fellowship with us. He knows we need to be encouraged. This world sucks the courage out of our souls. God says I want to pour courage into your souls. The world says I’ll take it out and replace it with fear, anxiety, and unhealthy emotions. The Prince of the power of the air is always directing his demonic influence to put fear in our soul and anxiety and trouble and worry and fretting. God says you give me an opportunity like you do and I’ll pour courage into your hearts. He loves to do that. He knows this world does the opposite. It does everything it can to remove that courage. The world exists to “dis” you. I will discourage and discourage you. God says I have great appointments for you. The world says I’ll turn them into disappointments. God says I have grace for you. The world says I’ll turn it into disgrace. God is always looking to encourage us and strengthen us.
Elijah needed that encouragement in 1 Ki 18. 400 to 1. Talk about being out numbered. God brought a great victory though his prophet. Let them answer by fire. They both set out sacrifices. The prophets of Baal called down fire from their god and there was no answer. The sacrifice wasn’t consumed. Elijah said whosevers God is really God, consume the sacrifice by fire. They started cutting themselves. Elijah starts to mock them. Maybe he’s on vacation! Before I ask my God to consume the sacrifice, drench it with water. He called on his God and that fire came down and consumed the sacrifice and licked up every drop of water. Now we know whose God is really God. Bring those prophets by the river and take their lives. No more false message. The next day Queen Jezebel finds out and Elijah runs for his live. Some believe it was a marathon, 26 miles. Fell under a juniper tree, collapsed and said I want to die. Is this the same prophet? Yes. He’s been worn out, discouraged, fearful. I love how God treats him like a little baby. You need some food and a nap! That’s what he got. The Lord said by the way, even though you’re moaning and saying you’re the only one left, God said I have 7,000 who will not bow their knee to Baal. You just need to trust me Elijah. God, are you going to speak through an earthquake? God said I’ll speak to you through a still small voice. He took them to the brink of the Red Sea, mountains on one side and on the other, a sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army charging at them. Thanks a lot, Moses. They had been delivered miraculously and saw all the plagues and saw God lead them out and moments later they say what a waste of time. Now we will be fish bait. Moses called out to God and he spoke to Moses. Tell the children of Israel to go forward. Next time you are faced with a Red Sea, don’t be surprised God speaks and says go forward. Did they not walk on dry ground? It had to be murky ground but the Bible said it was dry ground. The voice of God led the children of Israel. How many times did we read about David over and over again?
2 Sam 1, 9:23 you keep reading it over and over again. Maybe God’s plan and purpose is altered from time to time so we have to be constantly checking in with God. Lord is this the way, is this the right decision I need to make in my life? He kept inquiring of the Lord.
1 Sam 30, Amalekites invade the city and David and his men return and see all of this. You talk about discouragement. All his mighty men were crying and weeping until they could weep no more. They turned on David and said we wouldn’t be in this predicament if it wasn’t for him. David inquired of the Lord. You have all these other voices.
1 Sam 30:4 those men lifted up their voices. Sometimes all you can hear are the voices of the critic. The voices that want to condemn you. Look at the mess you made because you didn’t make a right decision. Shall I over take them, Lord? Yes, go after them. God added without fail you will recover all of it. I like that. When God speaks, you know it’s God. I’ll not only do what you ask but exceeding above all you ask or think. They did recover all. How does God speak today? In times past he spoke by the prophets. He sent holy men to the nation of Israel. God has in his last days spoken to us by his Son. Now more than ever it’s critical, crucial we learn to listen to the Son of God speaking. He is speaking. Jesus said he would speak to us. Jesus said I’m not going to leave you alone. He promised us the H.S. would speak to us.
Jn 13 when the Spirit of truth comes, not if but when, he will guide you into all truth. Whatever he hears from me, he will speak and reveal to you. We know the Spirit speaks to us. Many of us are in this ministry because God said that’s the church I want you to go to. Kourtney is here from upstate New York and made a decision to go to Bible college. The Spirit has spoken to her. God speaks.
Jn 14:26 Jesus said he’s going to teach you all things. He’ll bring back to your remembrance all I have said to you. How is it the H.S. leads us? H.S. leading can only be for those who are already committed as he would tell them to do. If you have already made your mind up and the H.S. speaks to you and contradicts what you want to do, it’s not going to end up very well. You’ll end up confused. It’s not enough to acknowledge the Spirit, – not my will but thine be done. I know I could direct the course of my own life. I reach the same goal and objective. A train wreck. I know what I’m capable of doing. Wrap myself around the proverbial telephone pole. If we commit ourselves to be led by the Spirit, we say Lord speak. I’m listening. The Spirit can only guide them who are committed to do as he would chose. God is able to speak loud enough so a willing soul will hear him.
2) H.S. always leads according to the Scriptures. We should approach it with prayerful expectation. You hear people say I’m going to get married and marry this person. They are saved, right? Well, no. But once they marry me, I believe they will want to be saved. Oh! no, not saved but trusting God. They are even willing to come to church. Don’t you think that is a contradiction to what the Scriptures teach? I know it contradicts the Scripture, but I am asking God for a special exemption. God is not going to contradict his word. We’re having premarital sex together. That contradicts the word. Stay clear of fornication until you are in the context of marriage. Yeah, but we’re getting married anyway. Don’t justify it and say the Spirit is leading us.
3) He never does it by a set of rules. No two children of God will be led by the Spirit exactly the same way. If that was the case we would just look at each other. The Spirit doesn’t lead any two of God’s children the same way. God wants a relationship with you not through someone else. He wants to speak to you. He is able to speak to you and me. We need to hear his voice. To hear God’s voice this way it requires immersing ourselves in the Scriptures.
Heb 5: 14 we have our senses exercised to discern good and evil. The word gives you the capacity to start to experience your spiritual senses. You’ll have a discerning spirit and be able to listen to the word more carefully. Like going to a health club. Try it. You might like it. People that are health conscious say I enjoy it. It’s like the word. You develop a habit and you need the word of God. You need to worship God like that in our worship service. It gives us an opportunity to lift our eyes off of ourselves and see the power of God, the grace of God, the glory of God. We also worship God because we need to. It benefits and blesses us in the greatest way. Learn to listen to the voice of God.
1 Sam 3:4-10, the Lord called and Samuel wakes up. You called me? Eli said no I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep. God calls him. Samuel, Samuel. Eli, you called me? You’ve already woke me up twice. Listen, it’s God. Would you let me get some sleep! It’s the Lord. Next time God calls, answer him. He’s speaking. And the Lord calls. Samuel, Samuel. You know what he said? Speak Lord, your servant is listening.
There is a reason why God gave you eye lids. So you can sleep. He didn’t give us ear lids. He wants our ears to be open. While we are wake, while sleeping, keep your ears open. You never know when God will speak. Remember the address to each of the seven churches. He said let him that have an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Keep those ears open. Let’s learn to live our lives free from being distracted. Jeremiah said to the children of Israel, I spoke to you but you did not listen. I called, but you did not answer.
The Spirit of God said I don’t want you on that plane. True story. He fought it initially. The Spirit said I don’t want you on that flight. Against all human reasoning, he cancelled the fight and sat at the airport. That plane went down. Everyone perished. They found him because his name was on the manifest. Why didn’t you get on? He said God told me not to. The media said only God spoke to you and no one else? I can’t answer that. Maybe he did but they didn’t listen.
You think of the clamoring voices in our culture. Pride, independence and so many more try to keep us from being receptive to the quiet voice of God. Let’s leave service and determine not to grieve or quench the Spirit but stay teachable. Samuel said speak, Lord. Your servant is listening. In a world with so many voices, we have to retreat to a quiet place so the Spirit can speak. Let’s hear the voice of God say, the righteous fall seven times a day but rise again. When great failure strikes, as the case that happened to Joshua when they went to Ai, there was a great victory at Jericho. They thought maybe we don’t need so many men. They didn’t do anything at Jericho. God gave them that city. They experienced tremendous defeat. Joshua fell on his face. I love what God said. The voice of God spoke and said Joshua, get up. Get off your face. There is work to be done. Next time you have great failure, don’t be surprised the voice of God says get up. We can get this right. Let’s hear the voice of God in that condemnation and say my mercy exists to rejoice against your judgment.
James 2:13 let’s hear the voice of God say I’m here to pick you up. I give strength to the faint. I know you’re weary but I’m going to place you on eagle’s wings. Your strength is going to be renewed. You’re going to fly. I got great plans for your life.
Let’s develop that sensitivity that keeps listening to the voice of God. Now more than ever before let us have as our mantra the same as little Samuel had. Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.