Hearing the Voice of God, Part 1

January 13, 2019

Introduction: Dispensation…a Quick Review

 

Derek Prince…

 

In simple terms: (on screen) Dispensation is when God speaks to humankind in different places at different times.

 

Like a pharmacist dispenses drugs to patients…God dispenses/Speaks His Word to the world.

Like a server at a restaurant dispenses drinks to the customers, God dispenses/speaks His Word to the world (Pitcher of Water)…

 

  • God spoke to the Church Fathers/Partriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

 

God dealt directly with individuals and their families and they dealt directly with Him.

 

For example:

 

Gen. 12: 1 – The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

 

  • God spoke to His people through the Law

 

God dealing with the Israelites specifically as a collective nation…Temple, the Priesthood and the Law.

 

For example, God speaking to Aaron, a Levite…

 

“You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift.

 

And through the priests, the Temple and the Law, God spoke to His people.

 

  • God spoke (and still speaks) to the human race through the Gospel

 

A proclamation to the whole human race…it requires from each person an individual response. We are still living under this today.

 

One thing true of all three: To Hear God’s Voice!

 

Last Sunday, we looked at the importance of listening to God’s voice as God dispensed His Word in Old Testament times. Today we look at the dispensation of God’s Word through the Gospel…through Jesus.

 

So what does that look like in the New Testament? Take a look:

 

Illus: Video of a shepherd calling his sheep… https://youtu.be/Coq_grSFlNs

In John 10, Jesus describes the ideal shepherd. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. They follow him because they recognize his voice.

In reading an article the other day that included an interview with a woman that grew up on a farm with sheep I learned the following: That, over time, sheep come to associate the sound of the shepherd’s voice (or even whistle) with certain benefits.

Contrary to popular opinion, sheep aren’t dumb. They know who feeds them, protects them, and cares for their needs. Sheep can distinguish their keeper’s voice from others.

According to Scripture we know this about followers of THE Shepherd:

 

John 10: 3-5…

John 10: 27…

 

Three things that identify a Follower of Jesus:

 

  • They hear His voice & know His voice.
  • He knows them and recognizes them
  • They follow Him

 

Because a disciple of Jesus recognizes His voice, he or she will not be deceived by false teachers. A disciple of Jesus will not be turned by voices contrary to that of the Lord.

 

And this is extremely important for the whole flock…if you look back to the article I referenced earlier from the sheep farmer, listen to this:

The interviewer asks: But what about newborn lambs? How do they learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice? According to the sheep farmer, lambs, from birth, are conditioned to follow the flock.

Sheep get a bad rap for their flock mentality, but God created them with an instinct to stick together as a means of survival. That instinct allows the lambs to flourish. Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.

Think about that for a moment. Just how critical is it for the Body of Christ to listen to and follow the Lord’s voice and commandments? It impacts our children and anyone that comes into our fellowship.

And here’s another significant truth found in John, chapter 10…Because of God’s great love for humankind and His desire for all to be saved, he makes it possible for those not in the flock to hear his voice as well:

 

John 10: 16…

 

Jesus is saying…people from other nations/or simply those that don’t know me personally…I must bring them in also…becoming one flock with one shepherd. They will come to him by hearing his voice as well.

 

So Disciples, if you are not hearing Jesus’ voice, where are you in relationship to the shepherd. Have you moved so far away from Him that you can’t hear His voice? It’s time to get back into the flock if that’s where you find yourself. The Shepherd is calling!

 

And here’s another amazing truth: if you have wandered from the shepherd, just listening to His voice can bring you back.

 

Why? Because a…

 

A Result of Hearing God’s Voice is: FAITH

 

Romans 10: 17…

 

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV)

 

Faith comes from the Word of God –

 

Two Greek Words that have to do with the word, Word. The first is:

 

(On Screen): Logos – mind, counsel, reason – it is the mind of God!

 

Psalm 119: 89… Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.

 

And Logos is summed up in a person – Jesus!

 

John 1: 1-2…Jesus is the total mind and counsel of God.

 

The second Greek word for Word is:

 

(On Screen): Rhema – a spoken word

 

Like in Matt. 4: 4 when Jesus responds to Satan’s temptation:

 

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

 

“Word” or Rhema is the counsel of God in a specific moment of time.

 

Why? Because we cannot know the whole counsel of God…so God measures it out personally – Rhema. Counsel is given in portions. Rhema by Rhema by Rhema each day.

 

Romans 10: 17 – Rhema…if it weren’t spoken, we would not hear it. This is how faith comes!

 

On Screen: Faith doesn’t come from reading the Bible, but from hearing the Word of God!

 

And If I’m struggling with faith, how do I get it? I get it by hearing his voice!

 

Three stages in acquiring faith:

 

  1. God’s Word – Rhema – spoken to us in a time when we need to hear from Him

 

Illus: You are going through a difficult circumstance and you can’t seem to muster any faith. Or you have a big decision to make and you are having trouble trusting God with it. The first step is Rhema…listening for God’s voice in that moment and time.

 

  1. Next is Your Response – hearing – It doesn’t matter how much God is trying to speak to us if we are not willing to hear…to listen to His voice.

 

And the Scripture assures us that…

 

  1. Out of hearing comes faith…hearing isn’t always instantaneous. It can come over time. As we cultivate our hearing the more we will hear his voice.

 

And there is a distinctive lifestyle that comes from hearing God’s voice – Matt. 4: 4 reminds us, too, that:

 

We shall live on every word that comes from the mouth of God – Rhema.

Continuing, receiving the Word of God – that Jesus compared with physical bread…we live on the word of God as we live on bread to nurture our physical bodies. But we also need the spiritual bread to keep our spirit alive.

 

This only comes through the Holy Spirit. The Bible is just ink and paper. Only the H.S. turns those word into the power of God in our lives. Through hearing the Word of God, it is God, the Holy Spirit that directs us every day. That brings the Word of life into our lives. That brings Rhema.

 

Romans 8: 14

 

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

 

What makes us sons of God? Being led by the Spirit of God.

 

Born of the Holy Spirit – we are a new creation…newborn babies.

Led by the Spirit we are matured and become Sons and Daughters, no longer babies…we grow up!

 

This is a continual process…this is our daily bread! As we hear the voice of the Lord we are directed down the path God wants to lead us.

 

Jesus is the greatest example of listening to God’s voice and then knowing what God was asking Him to do on a daily basis:

 

Isaiah 50: 4-7…As Jesus would listen to the voice of the Father…

 

  • He had words of encouragement for others.
  • He received personal direction
  • He received obedience
  • He received strength
  • He received determination…not turning back

 

Action/Thought: You can’t hear God’s voice if you don’t spend time with Him!