John 10:27 How Can I Hear from God? Last week, I began a message that had several points, but it centered around one question, "How Can I Hear from God?" By hearing, I do not mean the voice God uses for salvation or for some other major turning point in our life. I mean, "How can I hear from God to know what to do in a particular matter? How can I hear from God daily to direct me? Can I have regular, consistent, reliable communication with God?" This should not only be our quest. It should be our reality. What does our text tell us? John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Jesus’ sheep hear Jesus’ voice. The Shepherd directs his sheep with His voice. He corrects His sheep with His voice. He blesses and comforts His sheep with His voice. I want that kind of a relationship, and I pray you do as well. Just as review, let me remind you the first three thoughts I gave last week. 1. To hear from God, you must make it your personal quest. 2. To hear from God, you must draw near to God. 3. To hear from God, you must wait on God. Tonight, I add these thoughts. I. To hear from God, you must surrender unconditionally. A. This is a precept every Christian must eventually understand and accept. B. God cannot be bartered with, bribed, or bullied. 1. There is a price to be paid for an intimate knowledge of His will, His heart, and His mind. 2. The price is a completely sold-out and surrendered life. a. I am not speaking of achieving perfection with God, but I am speaking of holding nothing back with Him. b. As long we have locked doors in our hearts, we will have broken communications with God. C. Once you have surrendered, you can expect God will to test you. 1. You may have determined and even be attempting to live the surrendered life for a time (perhaps a long time) but still not hear from Him. 2. Why? a. Because if you become discouraged and quit, you were not truly surrendered to Him. b. You were bartering with Him. c. If we are willing to surrender only IF He speaks but not if He does not, then we are not surrendered— we were bartering. D. Hear me. 1. Anytime we become discouraged and quit doing something for God, we were doing it for the things we seek, not because we truly love God and want to give Him everything. 2. We want our surrender to be unconditional and eternal— as unconditional and eternal as God’s love to us is. 3. Even if God never speaks to us, we must demonstrate our unconditional love by complete obedience and love to Him. II. To hear from God, you must listen with your spirit. A. Not all that have heard from God heard God speak with a voice. 1. Some (most) hear God speak to their spirit. 2. In fact, I do not personally know of anyone who has heard an audible voice from God. 3. If anyone heard God, perhaps young Samuel did.. a. Notice the Bible said God "called Samuel." 1Samuel 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel…. 5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. b. The prophets typically wrote, "And the word of the Lord came unot…." c. Perhaps Samuel and perhaps Moses literally heard from God, but most hear through their spirit. 4. It was only under Eli’s tutorage that Samuel stayed still long enough for God to finish the conversation with him. 5. But most will hear God speak through their spirit. B. God’s communicaiton is no less real when God speaks through our spirit. 1. Elihu correctly told Job that God does not always speak to the ear but to the spirit within us. Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 2. The Apostle Paul revealed that same truth. 1Cor 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 3. God had to teach one of the mightest of prophets, Elijah, to listen with his spirit instead of looking with his eyes. 1Kings 19:11 … 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: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. C. If I heard the voice of God, it happened only once in my life and that is the day I was driving down Watermelon Road. God said, "If you were my son, wouldn’t you want to do what I wanted you to do?" D. Regardless of how God speaks to you, two things will likely be true. 1. You must verify what you think you hear with the Word of God. a. In fact, there are three things I would encourage you to do when you think you have heard a word from God. (1) Verifiy with Scripture. (2) Devoide yourself—as much as possible—of your own desire. (3) Get counsel from those you know to hear from God Pro 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. b. These will help you as you learn to listen for God. 2. You will probably process through different levels of hearing from God. a. God started speaking to my spirit in conviction about things I needed to stop and start. I needed to stop sin and start service. b. At some point, God began to show me things that I thought were very simple out of the Bible, but others people did not seem to see. c. And at an even later point, God begin to let me feel His goodness, His love, His comfort. d. And at a much, much later time, I began to hear God leading in some important matters. III. To hear from God, you must walk in the Holy Spirit. A. This gets a little more complicated now. B. To hear with your spirit is not always to hear with words at all. 1. Sometimes to hear from God in your spirit is to be directed by a peace from the Holy Ghost or its opposite, an unrest from the Holy Ghost. a. This is very hard to express. (1) You might all of sudden have an idea come to you, followed by a peace and calm and then an assurance. (2) Or it might be completely the opposite. Perhaps you made a decision and feel completely restless or dissatisfied about it. (3) This could be God the Holy Spirit directing your spirit. b. Again—and always… (1) …make sure you actions and thoughts are in accordance to the Word of God. (2) Do your best to die to self and self’s desires. Do your best to seek only God and what God may want. (3) Seek other godly people give you counsel. c. But having done so, know that God often speaks and gives direction through the condition of our spirit with the Holy Spirit. d. When attempting to discern God’s will, you are looking to find complete harmony with the Word and complete peace in your spirit. (1) If you do not feel that peace, back up to where you did and start seeking again. (2) Ours is a WALK in the Spirit not a LEAP. (3) We do not want to go great distance or commit ourselves to great projects without having many steps along the way for God to grip our spirit and turn as He desires. 2. Sometimes to hear from God in your spirit is to be directed by silence and circumstances. a. There is a mode, a pattern of living that the Christian should be living. b. It is not complicated. It is a three-point cycle. (1) We love God above all else. (2) We obey God in all things. (3) We stay at what God told us until He tells us something else. 3. Christians are to stay in this three-point cycle the remainder of our earthly lives. 4. This three-point cycle is the life of walking in the Spirit by faith. 5. How does this help us hear from God? a. When there is an opportunity in front of you, you stick to your cycle, waiting for God to give you a direction to take advantage of it. b. If you do not hear, you do not change course. c. You say, "But I will miss the opportunity." (1) If you do, you are hearing from God. (2) you say, "But I didn’t hear anything." (3) Exactly. God speaks through His silence just as loudly as He speaks with His voice. d. Get this thought (1) God is a big enough God that if you are listening, He can be heard. (2) If you don’t hear from Him—while loving, obeying Him, and listening for Him—then not hearing to do something is God’s direction to stay on your existing course. (3) You may not like that because you thought you ought to do something different, but that’s you thinking. (4) God’s silence directs as much as God’s voice directs. C. I have seen God… 1. …let some opportunities expire. 2. …direct a believer the long way around and come back to the opportunity so they could take it. 3. …direct some past the opportunity they saw to a better opportunity all together. D. The reality is that if you are following God one step at a time, you ARE hearing from God and you ARE where God ants you to be until He speaks clearly enough that you can hear and understand Him. Can I hear from God? If you are part of the flock, you can; but you have to let God speak before you can hear His voice and you have to learn how to listen with more than your ears. Remember, God is a Spirit and not only must they that worship Him, worship Him in spirit and truth but also they that hear Him, but hear him in Spirit and truth.
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