Holy Spirit And His Voice
We want to look at the need to begin to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. As we move into how we hear the voice of God and how the voice of the Lord will work, we first need to begin with a very sober warning.
Matthew 6:23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
If our eyes are not upon a holy Jesus, or if they are upon anything else except seeking the face of God, then that which we call light within ourselves is darkness. The voice, which we are claiming is the Holy Spirit’s voice, is nothing more than our own voice. What we claim to be light is actually darkness. What we say is the Holy Spirit or the voice of God is actually our own voice or the voice of Satan. Now we all know the extremes of someone being committed to a mental institution because they hear voices. I heard one story where a lady took her baby, put it in the oven, and turned the oven on and cooked the baby in order to drive out the demons. Everybody would talk about how terrible and disastrous that is and it is but those are the extreme situations and do not apply to most of us. The most demonic activity takes place in the nice middle-class Baptist family or with someone who is just religious and does their religious thing. They think the voice they are hearing or the feelings they have are coming from God, but they really come from the darkness within them, which they call light. Every Mormon who really believes in Mormonism does not think that he believes a lie. You have to convince him of that fact. You have to show him that the voice or feeling that Mormonism bases its religion on is a lie. Anyone, who is Moslem, Hindu, or Buddhist, or other religion, has to be convinced that the light within him or her is really darkness. Jesus said if you come to Him and claim that you are following Him, but do not have your eyes fully upon a holy God, then what you call light is really darkness. And how great is that darkness, because you are taking that which is perfect and holy and turning it into darkness. It may only be a slight twist, but it is enough that we say we are listening to the voice of God when we really are not.
In Jeremiah 23:36 this problem was so severe that God came to the people and said, “I do not want to hear you running around saying, ‘Thus says the Lord. This is an oracle of God.’”
Jeremiah 23:36 But you must not mention “the oracle of the LORD” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.
These people were so deceived in their walk with God. They thought they were listening to God when they were not. God had to come along and say, “I don’t want to hear you ever say again from your lips, ‘this came from God.'” The reason is that every man’s own word becomes his oracle. Each man’s own thoughts, feelings, and convictions turn into the glorious, wonderful call of God. Everyone says, “Thus says the Lord. I feel this in the Spirit. The Spirit told me this,” or “God lead me in this.” Finally God had to say, “Don’t ever say that again.” If you are blessed enough in Jesus Christ for Him to discipline you, you finally do realize this in your own life. You will begin to shut your mouth and learn to listen while He deals with you.
Jeremiah 23:36 But you must not mention “the oracle of the LORD” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.
When we begin to listen to our own voice, and say it is the voice of the Lord, we nullify, twist, distort, and trample on that which really is alive. When this happens it becomes so intertwined within us that we can no longer discern the voice of the Lord from the voice of Satan or all the other voices we may hear. It is indeed a very disastrous and terrifying place to be in.
Jeremiah 23:36 . . . so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.
Your eyes have to be on a living, holy Jesus who is in you, not a religious Jesus that you study out of scripture. Let’s see what Jesus said about His sheep knowing His voice. It’s a voice independent of their own voice, wisdom, and logic. They know a living God. But if we run around not knowing a living Jesus, we then begin to distort His words and mold them into what we want them to be. We make Jesus Christ into an idol. We form Him into our image of what we want Him to be.
John 10:1-3 I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Every morning when you get up you have to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit call you by name. This is not some generic impersonal thing. We cannot say that the voice of the Holy Spirit disappeared with the last apostle because it is the very substance of walking with God. Jesus said His sheep know His voice and verse three says they listen to His voice. He calls them by name. He says, “Tim” and then lays out His will for that day. Each of us should desire to listen to the voice of the Lord or not call ourselves Christians. However, the voice most of us listen to is not the voice of the living God but our own logic and wisdom. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. It is a very direct kind of guidance. It is not just a matter of Jesus going to the sheep pen, opening the pen and taking every sheep that is there. It is the Shepherd standing at the sheep pen, personally calling each sheep by name, removing you and saying, “Now come follow me.” That is what Jesus demands of us. This is the Christianity He came to bring. This is where the joyful, abundant life is found.
John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
So many of us are running ahead of Jesus or we think we are serving Him. However, we are talking about a Jesus that calls you by name, then goes ahead of you, and calls you to come to Him. I am always in a position of following. I am always in a position of discovering what God’s will be for each day. However for most of us when we get up in the morning to begin our daily walk with God, we have it pretty well planned out. That is not hearing the voice of God. Most of us think we have an understanding of what are supposed to do. I am supposed to go to work. I am supposed to talk to this person. That is all nonsense. Jesus gets up and goes ahead of us and then we find out where we are to go. It is a life that is exciting. You never know what each day holds. You never know where He will lead. All you know is that you are always in a position of weakness and following Him. His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. You cannot pick up the Bible and hear the voice of God just by reading it. That’s not how it works. You can’t have me explain to you over and over again, “This is what you need to do,” and begin to hear the voice of God. Everything that we read in scripture and whatever counsel I give you is for one purpose and one purpose only. It is neither to build up the church, nor to do some work or activity. When I give you counsel and point you in a direction; the only goal is that you might hear the voice of God. I have no intention or desire to be your shepherd. I don’t even have the wisdom.
John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
It is no option to know the voice of the Lord. It is a necessity. If you do not know the voice of God, then you don’t know God.
Matthew 26:32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.
Do we want to see a risen Lord in our walk with God? Do we want that incomparable great power? Then Jesus must go ahead of us. He must prepare the way for us. We must go where He waits for us. We must go where the risen Lord is and only the Holy Spirit can guide you to that place where He waits for you. You can’t pick and choose when you will go. You can’t pick what mountain you will go to. You can’t pick your own timing. The only thing you can do is submit to God and go where Jesus Christ has risen in order to hear the Spirit and have fellowship.
Matthew 26:33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
Look at the boasting and bragging in this verse. The sense of “Lord, I am close to you. I hear your voice. I am one with you. I fellowship with you. I am a child of God. I belong to you.” How many people walk in that kind of confidence? Yet Jesus said something Peter couldn’t accept, something he wasn’t willing to see. He wasn’t willing to be humbled enough to know that he would deny Jesus Christ. We do not need to run around fooling ourselves saying, “I hear the voice of God. I follow God. I am doing what I think is best.” But we turn to Jesus and say, “I will not deny you,” when all the time we live a lie. We have to go where there’s a risen Lord to hear the voice of the Spirit. If we never get there then we will never sit down at the great heavenly banquet.
Acts 1:3 After his suffering,
Of course, after His suffering. After we too have suffered with Jesus Christ, humbled and broken, and have said foolish things like, “I will never deny you,” after we too have seen and felt the inability of the flesh and the self to follow God. When we have seen our own lies and deceptions that say, “I hear the voice of God,” when it’s not the voice of God, and have seen a suffering Jesus. If we have learned from that and been humbled by it all, we may then be taken to a place of Pentecost.
Acts 1:3-4 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”
Jesus had to go ahead. He had to lead His sheep. He had to give them a commandment to stay in a certain town and place, and wait until they received the promise. Most of us are not willing to wait or lose ourselves in order to get to the place to hear the voice of God. Most of us spurn the discipline that Jesus puts us through so we never receive that which we say we want.
Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John’s baptism was important, wasn’t it? It was crucial. It was part of God’s plan. But it was to lead to a purpose and moment in time when something else would take place. Even John would say, “I baptize you with water. My baptism is one of repentance so you will change and turn your heart toward God. But there is one who will come and baptize you with fire.” John’s baptism was necessary. In fact scripture says that the Pharisees could not receive what Jesus taught because they did not accept John’s baptism. “I baptize you with water. I bring you what you need to repent of; that I might show you some things that need to change.” Those things might be laid before you, but that is not the end place. That is the very beginning place. The goal is to get you to the place of Pentecost where Jesus said, “Wait and do not leave. Don’t do anything at all until you are baptized with power.”
Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
In those days you will be baptized with fire. The best any man who preaches to you can do is baptize you with water. The water is to prepare you for fire. The water is to prepare you to hear the voice of the shepherd. The water is to prepare you and cleanse you. It’s to bring you to repentance so that the fire of purification and holiness is put in your heart.
Acts 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Their minds were still on earthly things. How much the baptism of fire is needed. Here the resurrected Jesus appeared to them, showing them He was alive. All the outward things are evident. You would think if Jesus Christ came and stood right here in our presence, that that alone would be enough to change us. But it wouldn’t change us at all. The only thing we could leave the room saying is that we saw Jesus Christ resurrected. What we really need is the baptism of the Spirit. We need the Spirit’s fire that dwells and puts life within us. So they asked and questioned and Jesus answered:
Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
He already told them these things before. Yet they continued to ask the same earthly questions over and over again. One is amazed at the very patience of God. We too ask the same foolish questions over and over again. “Is this what it means? Is this what the cross is about?” We have the same discussion 100 times over but we fail to wait in Jerusalem so we might have some power.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Then you can speak. Then you can leave Jerusalem and be guided by the Spirit. Then you will be able to testify about something that you know and feel and have experienced. Then you will be able to say, “You have to know the voice of God,” but not before.
Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
We worship a Jesus that is by faith. Though we have the fire of the Spirit and communion by hearing His voice and walking with Him, He whom we love is hidden from us. The Spirit works a longing and obedience so only those who look for a hidden Jesus know what I am speaking about. Go back to John 10:5. It says that God’s sheep do something strange.
John 10:5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
There are a lot of strangers out there. There are a lot of different messages and gospels. The sheep that know the voice of God will never follow strange messages. They will do something else. In fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. Some of you are still attracted to the other voices. Some of you just kind of stand there and listen to the stranger’s voice. Some are still trying to figure out if it’s the voice of God or the voice of the world. You do not know which voice you are listening to. Those who have surrendered and are God’s sheep, those who are called by name on a daily basis begin to recognize the shepherd’s voice. They will run away from any other voice that is not that voice. It is said that when shepherds leave their sheep and call them by name that if somebody comes along and copies that voice, the sheep still run from the other person. Satan comes along to mimic or we hear our own voice. This is so dangerous. We follow God for a certain period of time and we begin to know scripture and can almost outguess what will be said. We predict what the voice will say and we run toward that voice instead of the living God.
John 10:6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
So many still do not understand that you really do hear the voice of God. How many times people have asked me if I hear an audible voice? They say, “Tell me how you recognize the voice of the Lord,” as if I could define it in one aspect. How disastrously sad it is when you have people who claim to be Christians, who have studied the Bible for years and possibly even preached, but do not recognize the voice of God. They ask you to explain it. They try to convince you that it does not apply today. How does that feel to a shepherd who calls his sheep by name? Why is that so amazing to us anyway? A mother can shout for a child in a crowd and that child will hear its mother’s voice because he recognizes it. He is familiar with her voice. In the same way, if you want know the voice of God, you first have to begin to recognize that you have a desperate need to hear that voice and become familiar with that voice. You will learn to discern the voice of God from the voice of this world.
John 10:7-9 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Some of you haven’t found pasture because you haven’t listened to the voice of God.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The only way you will have life to the full is to hear the voice of God. Oh, it’s a lot easier to listen to someone who hear God’s voice or just read the scriptures and pick and choose what you want to listen to. It’s a lot easier to listen to various radio shows, TV shows, or read Christian books than it is to listen and strive to hear the voice of God. It’s a lot easier to listen to your own voice and convince yourself, “That’s the voice of God,” and do what you want to do, than it is to surrender your whole life before God. It’s called a wide road; a wide gate and many enter through it. But the truth is when we come down to the narrow road and we enter through a narrow gate, thus beginning to listen to His voice and His voice only, then we have full life.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He is like no other shepherd. He only desires your good. He only seeks to bless you. He only seeks to lay down His life, knowing He will never be repaid in full. He is indeed a most loving, kind shepherd. But how we run and hide from Him as if He were our worst enemy or as if He opposes and hates us. So we listen to all kinds of voices rather than only His voice.
John 10:12-14 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd;
He repeats it again. Do you know Jesus as a good shepherd? Or is Jesus only a wrathful God who leads you into confusion? What kind of shepherd do you know? Are you constantly distraught with fear and lack of peace? What kind of shepherd do you take hold of? Can you really say He’s a good shepherd? What voice do you acknowledge and listen to? What shepherd do you offer to other people?
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me
There is no confusion on their part. There’s no turmoil. “I know My sheep and they know Me.” He said it with a firmness that only heaven can say.
John 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep.
That’s how close this communion and unity is between God and His sheep. This is what the Spirit came to bring. This is what God wants to produce. Jesus Christ is one with the Father in terms of communion. That’s the kind of communion He wants with you. But we use God for convenience in life and not as a necessity for fellowship. We take God and form Him into what we want Him to be, but we don’t enjoy being led. So we never know this unity. To us it is a mystery. We have to say, “I don’t understand this. I don’t know what this means. I have no concept of what it is to have this kind of unity with the Father and know the voice of the living God.”
John 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Now, we can completely throw out the window the doctrine that says the Holy Spirit’s voice was only for the first century church. Every sheep that God will call will hear the voice of the Lord or they do not belong to Jesus Christ. There shall be one flock and one shepherd and everybody will hear the same voice. The same shepherd is calling people individually by name and communicating His will for their life. He goes ahead, preparing the way, leading them in the way they should go. This is Holy Communion.
Matthew 23:8-10 But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called “teacher,” for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
Is Jesus laying down a legalistic rule? It goes much deeper than that. If I belong to the Father, and I am one with the Shepherd like Jesus spoke about, then who is my Father? God alone is my Father. If I have one Shepherd, who teaches me, calls me by name, gives me His Spirit, and we commune together, then who is my only teacher? He didn’t lay down a law. He laid down a fact. The fact is I only have one teacher. It is a living, breathing fact that I have one Father and His name is God. It’s not a question of saying, “No one call me ‘teacher.’” Even scripture refers to one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit being teachers within the body. Within our hearts and in our communion with God, it is a living, breathing, holy fact that I have one teacher. I have one Father. I commune with that Father. I talk with Him and He communicates with me. It’s something that I know. Just because I don’t call anyone teacher doesn’t mean I have THE teacher in my life. Just because I call my earthly father “dad” doesn’t mean I am in communion with the living Father. Just because I obey this in a legalistic fashion doesn’t mean I have what Jesus came to bring.
Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:
All through scripture it talks about saints who have been called. It talks about sheep whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Who are in communion with the Father on a daily basis? Everyday you must hear the voice of God and sense the presence of the Lord working, even when He hides His face. Everyday you have to follow the shepherd’s voice.
Matthew 22:10-11 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.
I long for this day:
Matthew 22:12 “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless.
Finally the wicked will have nothing left to say! No more excuses, no more white wash, no more reasons, no more debating they are just speechless. What can be said? The wedding banquet is ready to begin and the man doesn’t have wedding clothes. He never got himself into a right relationship with God. He snuck in some other way, but now he has no excuse for not being dressed with holy, clean, and pure clothes.
Matthew 22:13 Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I don’t know what it means to go to hell with my hands and feet tied. But it would be enough to go to hell with my hands and feet free. But to have them both tied and be so utterly helpless and sent into hell is a pain and torment that no man can even imagine. Whatever demon lays hold of you they are free to do to you whatever gives them pleasure. You will not be able to wrestle against the torment that God lays upon you there. Not only will you be speechless; you will be powerless as well. All of this happens because of one thing. This isn’t the pagan, Buddhist, New Ager, or someone who is an outright demon worshipper; these are people who claim to be Christians. Somehow they got into the wedding banquet. They acknowledged that where they were supposed to be there. They say, “Yes, I understand the tenants of Christianity, and that you are God’s people.” They are sitting down to begin to fellowship but are not permitted to do so. These are people who claim to be Christians, but are thrown out. All this occurs because they never took the final step of surrender or heard the voice of the Spirit.
Matthew 22:14 For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Oh, the gospel call goes out. The cry goes out to hear the voice of God, to serve the living God and be in communion with Him. Haven’t you been told these things face to face? Haven’t I pleaded with you to go back and hear the voice of God, to go back and pray and commune with the Father? Haven’t you been told to take care of a matter and you try to do it in the flesh? My response is “That’s not what God had in mind.” You begin to feel the frustration of trying to serve God in all the ways that you can conjure up without hearing His voice. Or, you set out to obey the instructions that you have been given only to find the circumstances have changed and you need the guidance of the Spirit. So you seek to be obedient to what you were told only to find that you weren’t walking by the Spirit and the whole situation was ruined. Then you come back indignant and say, “But that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.” I say, “No. What you were supposed to do is hear the voice of God.”
Matthew 22:14 For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Because few get up to hear the voice of the shepherd say their name. That’s why Psalm 95:1 talks about hearing the voice of God.
Psalms 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
We don’t shout because we do not hear His voice.
Psalms 95:2-6 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
Do these words cause excitement within our soul? Do we say them with fire? If we can’t then we haven’t heard His voice. We haven’t tasted that salvation that God came to bring. We merely hope that it is ours.
Psalms 95:7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,
That sounds like John to me. That sounds like Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd.” That sounds like the living God saying, “Follow me. Fellowship with me.” It’s the one thing that He came to bring. It’s the one thing that we lost in the Garden of Eden fellowship with the living God. We will be able to shout, sing with joy, and rejoice with one another when we all individually begin to hear the voice of God call us by name.
Psalms 95:7-8 Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert,
I have no doubt that many of you have heard the voice of God, but you have to soften your hearts. I have no doubt that many or all of you have heard the living God breathing and speaking. It is not a question of God speaking to you. I know that the people who have left here have heard the voice of God speak to them time and time again about what needed to change. It wasn’t a question of God speaking to them. It wasn’t even them coming out of the prayer closet and saying, “I can’t hear God.” God spoke, but they hardened their hearts.
Psalms 95:8-11 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.” So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”
Before anyone thinks this is just in the Old Testament, do you know what book speaks to this in the New Testament? The book of Hebrews is Psalm 95 over and over again. When will we give the voice of God the place that He deserves? When will we give Him reverence so that if we hear that voice we treasure it with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength? We guard it by the power of the Spirit. It is so easy to lose.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
Now we begin to weed out those who say they hear the voice of God but don’t. Those who hear God’s voice the most obey the most.
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever
Do you understand why you don’t belong to God if you don’t hear His voice now? At your baptism you received a gift that will be with you forever. Through all of eternity in heaven, no matter what, you will have a companion that will be your counselor. What kind of counselor do you consider someone to be who just sits around and listens to you but never counsels, directs, works in your life, purifies, disciplines or does you any good? We are talking about hearing the living God or not belonging to God at all.
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever the Spirit of truth.
We must hear the truth about who we are and the truth about God. Not just the truth about Christian doctrine, but the truth in terms of its living being.
John 14:17 The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
We know something that the world knows nothing about. We have such a communion with the living God and something so alive that no one else knows anything about. I am not just talking about hearing God say your name in the morning, but having a counselor that lives in you that no one else knows. They can’t even discover it unless, of course, they belong to the Father. That’s why when I talk to somebody and share a scripture with him or her, I don’t share my doctrine or my opinion. I share something that is alive.
I am not amazed that there are cults. I am amazed that there are not more. There are a lot of people out there that are in cults that are simply called the First Presbyterian Church. They are called something noble that the world doesn’t consider too radical. Because anytime that we do not have this kind of communion with the living God, we might as well be in the worst cult you can think of.
1 John 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
Did he lay out a list of doctrines to watch for? Absolutely not. How do I avoid false prophets and teachings? How do I avoid false voices that are not of Jesus Christ? By the anointing, the counselor, the Holy Spirit.
1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit just as it has taught you, remain in him.
How can you be sure you’re not dependent upon me? By hearing the voice of God. If you still need me or any teacher it’s your own fault.
1 John 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
How can I be confident and unashamed? How can I raise my head and look toward heaven? How can I die with that kind of confidence? By listening to the anointing from God. There is no other way. You can shout, “Jesus is Lord,” and claim the promises of Jesus until you are blue in the face, yet you will still go to hell. You will just go to hell with scriptures on your lips. You must have the anointing. You must fan it into flame. You must guard it with everything you can guard it with. It is your relationship with God.
John 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Remember the Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ. We are talking about hearing and having a relationship with Jesus. We are talking about being dead to self so that His voice and only His voice speak.
John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
If Jesus Christ removes His presence from me, and I am surrendered to God, I will die. How many of you will not die if God removes His presence, even though He is gone. You will continue on and not realize that another day has passed and Jesus Christ is gone. “You will live only because I live.” The default of that is that if Jesus isn’t there we will die.
John 14:20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
When you get this counselor, when Jesus comes to you, when you receive the baptism of the Spirit, then you will finally realize that Jesus truly is God. I have taught you and you have seen miracles, but you don’t realize a single thing until Jesus lives within you. You have been to one seminar after another. You have listened to one sermon after another, but until you have this you don’t realize a single thing in Jesus Christ.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
This isn’t for the Old Testament. This isn’t for the New Testament. This didn’t disappear with the last apostle. This is the gospel. Those in the Church of Christ and others that tell you these things no longer exist are an abomination in God’s sight. They rob people of the very grace that God came to bring. Such churches say worship God without the Holy Spirit, without communion, and without the voice of God. Follow your own voice or the voice of a man. Do you really want Jesus Christ to show himself to you? Then what’s taking you so long to die? What is taking you so long to fall in love?
John 14:22-23 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Jesus doesn’t show himself to the whole world because people in the world are not lovers of God. Some of you do not have the Spirit or have communion with God because you are not lovers of God. You will never see what some of us see.
John 14:24-26 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
They heard the sermons from the Master’s lips. They didn’t read it with a concordance and all the commentaries that we have. If they had to be reminded how much more do you have to be reminded? How much more do you have to be taught by the Spirit? How much more do you need to be shown how these scriptures apply to your life and to other people that you know? I can only answer some very basic questions for you. Only the Spirit can show you how to apply the scriptures in every circumstance.
John 14:27-28 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
How many of you become indignant when I turn to you and say you do not love God? “What do you mean I don’t love God?” Then you begin to list for me all ways you’ve demonstrated that you love God. The above passage happened toward the end of Jesus’ life. He has been with the disciples for 3 ½ years. They have dedicated themselves to Him. They do love Him and yet He turned to them and said, “If you loved me you would rejoice at what I am telling you.” What did He try to get across to them? He said, “Your sinful nature which does not love me must go and be crucified. If you loved Me you would be thankful that I will die and go away, but you don’t understand the will of the Father. You don’t understand what He’s working. You don’t even know what I am telling you here because you refuse to die.” Let us not become indignant when Jesus Christ comes to us and says, “If you loved Me you would understand this. If you loved Me you would accept it and rejoice at what I am working in your life.” Let us answer, “Yes Lord.”
John 14:28-31 You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
That is the Shepherd people do not want. Look at what He said again.
John 14:31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“My sheep know My voice. I call them by name and if they are obedient I dwell and live with them.” We want a generic plan of obedience that applies to everybody, every circumstance, and every situation. We want anything but the living God saying, “Every moment of every second of every single day you have to hear My voice and be obedient to Me,” because that requires a total surrender. That’s why Jesus said, “If you loved Me, if you were heavenly minded, you would rejoice that I am going away because I am doing the Father’s will.” Those who pick up the cross follow the Spirit and hear their name can rejoice with others who also hear, because they recognize one Spirit and one Shepherd. They hear His voice.
John 16:5 Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?”
We don’t want to know too much. There have been times in my Christian life that I have toyed with the idea (though very quickly) that I would like to just be a Baptist and go to heaven. Don’t tell me that anymore and then I won’t have to be accountable. Of course, it’s utter nonsense because I would lose the loving relationship that I have with God. Most of us don’t want to know anymore.
John 16:6-7 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Do you understand the significance of what Jesus said? This whole chapter in John is devoted to telling us one thing; that we get a Counselor, the Spirit of Truth. We get to fellowship with the living God. All of this in exchange for the cross. He said, “You would rejoice if you understood. If your minds were opened the least little bit, you would rejoice with Me about what will take place. But you don’t understand what I am telling you. You don’t understand the joy that will be yours. I will not just be on the outside anymore, I will have My home within you. Therefore you will rejoice even more than just having Me here outwardly.” But how many people like to rejoice if Jesus is just outwardly in their life or congregation and they can somehow feel the presence of the Lord out there. They are content with that. We are not talking about that kind of unsatisfactory Christianity. We are talking about the living God living within each one of us, moving, working, thinking, and being within us.
John 16:7-12 Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
Do you think you really understood what it meant to follow Jesus Christ when you first started? I have had a few people tell me, “If I would have known this is what it meant to become a Christian I am not so sure I would have done it.” Yet why don’t you turn back then? Because for the joy set before us, the fellowship that we have, the grandness of knowing a living God, we stay because we love Him.
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
Oh, that men would lay down their books, study guides, sermons (including this one), and let the Spirit guide them into all truth.
John 16:13-15 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
How we would understand scripture, and how alive it would be for us if this passage were real. How exciting it would be. You never know what will speak to you. You’ll be able to say, “I’ve read that passage 100 times but it only spoke life to me now.” Why? Because it was the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth explaining it. Yes YOU read it 100 times, but the Spirit makes it real.
John 15:26-27 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Let us not testify about Jesus Christ or speak about Him as if we knew something. Let’s wait until the Spirit gives us wisdom. Romans 12:1 shows us how we can begin to hear the Spirit.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
In other words, this shows our love for God. We pour out our hearts to worship the living God. We fall before Him because of the mercy that He has laid in our lives and because we overflow with thankfulness and love for what He has done. We come to Him with outstretched arms and open hearts. We come before the living God with an overflowing thankfulness of how He has delivered us from sin. We then say, “Oh, Lord, take this body and make it your servant. Let it repay you. Work obedience and holiness in my life.” Come to God with worship, love and humility and all the things that His mercy has so brought into your life, and say you will be obedient.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
These three things have to be there before you will know God’s will and His voice. First, you have to offer your body as a living sacrifice, but not because of nobility. The goal is not just to hear the voice of God because that needs to take place. Your motive cannot be that you think what I am telling you sounds pretty neat. It must be because of His mercy. You are so overwhelmed by the mercy of God that you offer yourself as a living sacrifice. You can do it for no other reason. Let me tell you, brothers and sisters, no other reason will last. Don’t offer your body as a living sacrifice so that you won’t go to hell. It won’t last. Don’t offer your body as a living sacrifice because you are getting ready to make an important decision and you don’t want to make a mistake and cause pain in your life. Offer your body as a living sacrifice because of mercy. What precludes mercy but guilt? If you don’t feel guilty there is no need for mercy. If there’s no need for mercy then don’t offer your body as a living sacrifice. You have come for all the wrong reasons. You must offer yourself to the living God because He has loved you in spite of who you are and all your sins. He has taken hold of you because He is love, not because of who you are. Offer yourself to Him as a servant only because you have fallen in love with Him due to the fact that He has poured out mercy in your life.
Secondly, do not conform to the pattern of this world. Then you will no longer walk in the direction of the world. Everything that you do is the opposite of the world. You eat for different reasons, go to work for different reasons, and get up in the morning for different reasons than this world. The pattern of this world is something that you don’t understand and are opposed to. It does not belong to you. But you must begin to get up and say, “This is the way the world walks. I am walking the opposite way.” It is a conscious, active decision on your part.
Third, you have to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. New thought patterns have to take place. Your mind, your thoughts, your will, and your understanding must be crucified. What you gain is the mind of Christ. When those three things take place what does scripture say will happen?
Romans 12:2 Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It doesn’t say that you will be able to understand and hear His voice in the snap of a finger. It says you will be able to test whether the voice comes from God, the Spirit, your self or a combination of both voices. You are not in a position to test what the will of the Lord is until these three things are present. Once you can test, refine and judge, then you will be able to say, “This is God’s will.” What’s even more important than just saying, “This is God’s will,” is being able to approve of God’s will. How many people actually say, “This is good, pleasing and perfect!” How many people are so in love with God that when God begins to will and act in their life they say, “There isn’t anything better than this.” It is absolutely perfect even if it is the sickness of your child, a hard circumstance or some other pain. Why do you think there are people in prison who refuse to be released? It’s perfect and pleasing. There are even stories of people in Russia who have been let out of prison for a year and they long to go back because it was perfect, pleasing, and holy. They understood and approved. They said, “This is life!” A lot of you know God’s will, but you don’t find it pleasing. You think there’s some other perfect way—your own way. So you never find that place of rest and joy. You harden your hearts until it’s too late.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
With the faith that God has poured into your life, begin to examine your life and think of yourself with sober judgment. There are certain situations where I can hear the voice of God fairly quickly. There are other areas in my life requiring a great deal of testing because I know my flesh is strong. I know there are traps from Satan that he would like me to walk into. All of it is worked out with fear and trembling, but there is a little more fear and trembling with some areas. There are some things Carla can hear quickly on and other things that she can’t. You must have sober judgment and realize who you are in Jesus Christ. Judge everything by the measure of faith God has given you, not by who you think you are, but only as faith works it in you.
Psalm 27:7 says the same thing as Romans 12. It’s a measurement of how much we really live Romans 12.
Psalms 27:7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
Everyone one of you has prayed this scripture. Everyone in this room has prayed, “Oh, Lord, be merciful to me. Answer my prayer.” Yet how many of us have said this:
Psalms 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
This is Romans 12. Anything else less than this is not Romans 12. Anyone with a heart, who doesn’t cry out and say, “Seek the face of the living God,” is not surrendered before God. We don’t hear God’s voice because we don’t seek His face. We are content with the smallest measure of the Lord. We are content with a little peace, a little rest, or a little wisdom, just enough to survive the day. Be content with nothing less than the face of God. What if God were to pour out to you all the peace that is in His hand? What if He were to give you all the grace and encouragement that He holds? What if you felt all the love that heaven could put into one body? What if you received every blessing and everything went exactly as you wanted it to for the whole day? Would you still cry out during the day, “I seek your face, Oh, Lord. I am not content with any of these things.” What burns within our hearts? Does His mercy lead you to say, “Your face and nothing less will I seek, Oh, God.” You hear not His voice because you seek not His face. You seek enough to get by for the moment. What pitiful creatures we are when we do that. How worthy we are to be condemned. We receive some little measurement of God’s love in our life and we desire no more. What whores we are. We get what we want. We take as a prostitute takes. We are gaining some little thing from it, but we care not who loves us. What is so sad about this is that God longs to bless us, but He just simply cannot.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
What grand promises and plans those are. Look at what God said:
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
You can seek God with 99.9% of your heart and still not find Him. You can offer as a living sacrifice 99.99% of your body and you will never hear the voice of God. You will come away disillusioned, angry and bitter saying, “But I poured out my heart to God.” You kept 1% or .1%. Whatever the amount is, you kept it. You will never find God until you seek His face.
Jeremiah 29:14 “I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Do you want to get out from under captivity? Remember, there is a difference between walking in the desert with God and captivity. There will never be an end to the discipline of God or our need to trust Him. So there’s a difference between being held captive to our sin and walking in the desert with God. God says when you cry out with all your heart, He will draw you out of captivity, but not before. Yet look at what the people said:
Jeremiah 29:15 You may say, “The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,”
Look at how they argued with the living God. He told them He had plans and for them. He laid His promises before them, and instead of turning in humility they said, “We have prophets of the living God right here in Babylon. We know the living God.”
Jeremiah 29:16-19 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exileyes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like poor figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, famine, and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. For they have not listened to my words,” declares the LORD, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.
People today also say, “But we have teachers and prophets. We have men of God who speak mightily for God’s name. This doesn’t apply to us. This isn’t me.” There will come a time when all such teachers are indeed an object of cursing. They didn’t lead people to hear the voice of God. They gave them another voice.
Jeremiah 29:19 “For they have not listened to my words,” declares the LORD, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.
They read the word from the Old Testament. They didn’t hear the living God. They were an abomination.
Psalms 17:4 As for the deeds of men by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
This is his boast before the living God. This should also be our walk with God, and nothing less. Don’t think for a moment “violent” just means someone who breaks into a house. Ezekiel said, “You do violence to the word of the Lord.”
Psalms 17:5 My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
Literally what it says is, “I will place My feet in your footprint so that I will not slip.” He looked for the footprint of Jesus and put his feet there. That’s how narrow the road is. We think the narrow road allows us a little freedom to walk. It is a road so narrow that in order to walk it you look for one footprint of Jesus and put your foot there. Then look for the next footprint and put your other foot there. That is the only kind of communion Jesus came to bring.
Psalms 17:6-8 I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Do you want that kind of love? Then put your feet in the footprints of Jesus.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.