Scriptures: JOHN 10:1-27
Believers often ask, "What is God’s will for me?"
What do we actually mean when we say we want to know the will of God?
It means we want to know His plan for our lives. We want His guidance in specific decisions so we can make wise choices. We desire His direction in the circumstances of life.
The question we should be asking is, "How can I know the voice of God?" Knowing the voice of God results in finding the will of God. God wants you to know His will:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) (This is what we’re to live by!)
The word "proceedeth" speaks of a continuing function. It means something that happened in the past, is happening in the present, and will continue in the future. God speaks to communicate His will to mankind. This is why it is important to know the voice of God.
An article by an unknown author helps us get something out of any sermon. The writer said, "At least one time in every sermon God breaks through the words of the preacher and speaks directly to the people. It may be in a single sentence or in just one phrase. We can well afford to listen to the entire discourse with care, lest we miss that one illuminated and searching sentence in which God speaks to us--a sentence that brings conviction, penitence, hope, strength, or renewed faith! So many of us miss that one special word from God because we are comparing the preacher’s manner with that of some other preacher we have heard recently. From now on, just listen intently for that one portion God intends to be applied specifically to your heart!"
There are two Greek words translated as "word" in the Bible. The Greek words are "logos" and "rhema".
"Logos" refers to "an expression (articulation)of thought" It’s more than the mear name of an object but it is the embodiment of a concept, idea or thought.
Jesus who is called the Word of God, - the greatest expression of God which is Jesus – see John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3).
"Rhema" refers to the personal, living or life-giving Word of God.
The Bible says in Jonah 1:1, "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying," In essence, it is saying the word of the Lord happen unto Jonah- it is an event.
John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the words.
The Jews heard his audible voice but not the voice of God. Many want to hear a sound, the audible voice of God, but God wants you to hear his voice. The rhema - a personal word to you!
The Bible reveals that there are many voices in the world clamoring for attention:
There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. (I Corinthians l4:l0)
What are these voices in the world?
THE VOICE OF MAN:
The voice of man is easy to recognize. It is the audible voice of another human being:
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Sometimes the voice of man may give wise advice, but anytime the voice of man conflicts with the voice of God, you must obey God.
THE VOICE OF SATAN:
The voice of Satan was first heard by man when he spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:l,4,5). Satan’s voice lies, deceives, and always attempts to lead man into sin away from God. You can easily recognize this when you read of the temptation of Jesus by Satan in Matthew 4: l-l3. You can read of the type of conversations Satan has with God in Job l:7-l2 and 2:l-6.
Evil spirits (demons of Satan) also have voices:
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice came out of many that were possessed with them... (Acts 8:7)
And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. (Luke 4:33-34)
THE VOICE OF SELF:
The voice of self is man talking to himself. You can read examples of this in Luke l6:3 and l8:4 and in Jonah 4:8 where the prophet wished in himself to die. The Bible warns concerning this voice of self:
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah l0:23)
THE VOICE OF GOD:
Jesus said believers could know the voice of God and distinguish it from "strange" voices that give wrong guidance: (See John 10:3-5)
Believers are compared to sheep. It is the characteristic of sheep not to know where they are going. They must be led. Jesus said He was the shepherd or leader of the sheep. He said His sheep would know His voice and follow Him instead of the "strange" voices of man, self, or Satan.
I will hear what God the Lord will speak... (Psalms 85:8)
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
A man was having difficulty communicating with his wife and concluded that she was becoming hard of hearing. So he decided to conduct a test without her knowing about it.
One evening he sat in a chair on the far side of the room. Her back was to him and she could not see him. Very quietly he whispered, "Can you hear me?" There was no response.
Moving a little closer, he asked again, "Can you hear me now?" Still no reply. Quietly he edged closer and whispered the same words, but still no answer.
Finally, he moved right in behind her chair and said, Can you hear me now?" To his surprise and chagrin, she responded with irritation in her voice, "For the fourth time, yes!" The hearing problem may not be with God not speaking but with us not listening!
Let’s consider three important aspects of hearing God’s voice:
I. THE PREREQUISITES TO HEARING HIS VOICE
There were some things different between those who heard the voice of God and those who didn’t (didn’t understand, perceive or comprehend it) in this passage. (10:6, 24-27)
What’s required for the best conditions to really hear the voice of God? What makes His voice relevant (his voice - a strangers voice doesn’t mean anything to me because it is not relevant) to me?
A. Salvation 10:3-4; 26 "ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep"
John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear [them] not, because ye are not of God.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered; Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
B. Receptivity 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you" 10:4 "the sheep follow him"
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.
Spiros Zodhiates says, They were listening to what he had to say, but they were not capable of understanding because they did to want to understand. Those who will not give room in their hearts to His truth will not understand His speech, utterance, the
outward form of His language which His Word assumes.
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith), Today if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness...
While it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation... (Hebrews 3:7, l5)
C. Faith 10:3 "the sheep hear his voice" 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice"
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
Romans 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God.
D. Attentiveness (SEE I Samuel 3:1-11)
Exodus 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I.
John 12:28-29 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard [it], said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
1 Kings 19:11-13 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it], that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
II. THE PURPOSE IN HEARING HIS VOICE
A. Communion 10:3 "he calleth his own sheep by name"
Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
B. Comprehension 10:3, 27 "hear his voice"
"Hear" to perceive, to understand, perceive the sense of what is said.
1. His Presence 10:4 "He goeth before them"
2. His Holiness 10:10-11 "I am the good shepherd"
3. His Love 10:11 "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep"
John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
4. His Will 10:3, 7 "leadeth them out", "I am the door of the sheep"
5. His Sovereignty 10:17-18 "I have power to take it again"
6. His Faithfulness 10:29 "no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand"
C. Compliance 10:4, 27 "the sheep follow him"
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
III. THE PROVISIONS FOR HEARING HIS VOICE 10:16 "they shall hear my voice"
GOD SPOKE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
A. In the Old Testament God spoke at many times and in a variety of ways.
1. Angels -- Gen. 16
2. Visions -- Gen. 15
3. Dreams -- Gen 28
4. The use of the Urim and Thummim -- Exd. 28
5. In symbolic actions -- Jerm. 18
6. A gentle whisper – 1 King 19
7. Miraculous signs -- Exd. 8
8. A burning bush -- Exd. 3
9. A donkey -- Num. 22
10. A cloud and a pillar of fire -- Num. 9
1. Jesus (The Holy Spirit)
Hebrews 1:1-3, II Timothy 3:16
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
2. The Bible
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
In essence, the Bible is God breathed into existence
2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.