Hearing the Voice of God – The Trigger for your Overflowing Abundance - Part 1
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: John 10:10, John 10:1-5, 14, 27
Sunday 29th January 2017
Today’s message, ‘Hearing the Voice of God – The Trigger for your overflowing Abundance’ is the third message in the series: ‘Living In the Overflowing Abundance’.
Our foundation scripture for this series, in John 10:10 reads: ‘The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)’ (AMPC). Here are some verses from John 10. Verses 1-5 reads: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Verse 14 reads: ‘I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own’. Verse 27 reads: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’.
The scriptures above underscore the importance of hearing God’s voice. It is to the degree that we seek and hear God’s voice, it is to that same degree that we will be led in following Him. Our decisions as Christians and our direction in life is a reflection of our listening and subsequent following of God’s voice. Sadly, many Christians lead lives that are based on the natural inclination of their five senses, popular opinion, the flesh and the circumstances of life. When we ignore or live obliviously to the voice of God, we have inadvertently reduced the privileges that God’s voice affords us, and living devoid of hope. From John 10:3-5, we can deduce a few facts from about this truth: A flock of sheep can recognise (hear and know) the voice of the Shepherd, and subsequently follow his lead. On the same hand, a flock of sheep will not recognise nor follow strangers; even more, they flee from strangers.
One of the greatest battles that a believer will have to fight is discerning the voice of God. This is Satan’s greatest threat against believers – he is determined to prevent Christians from knowing or following God’s voice. The various distractions from all sorts of ‘noise’ relating to health, finance, family, friends are sometimes schemes from the devil to hinder our recognition of God’s voice. We must always remember that God’s voice gives us, as Christians a tremendous advantage in life, in navigating through challenges and establishing our victory.
The success of Jesus’ ministry was based on hearing God’s voice. John 5:30 reads: “I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will” (NLT). In the same way, the apostles relied solely on the leading of the Spirit in determining the next step to take in ministry – Paul (Acts 9:3-6; 20:22-24) and Peter (Acts 10:9-13) are classic examples of this. Also see Philip in Acts 8:29.
Through the inner voice of the Spirit, we can discern God’s voice. John 16:12-14 reads: ‘“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me'(NLT).
Hearing God’s voice and being able to distinguish it is important for five reasons:
(1) It proves that you are a child of God: This is a proof that as a Christian, you have a relationship with God and are in fellowship with Him. John 8:47 reads: “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (NIV).
(2) It protects you from mistakes: Proverbs 3:6 reads: ‘Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track’. David’s story in 1 Samuel 30:7-8 underscores this point. The Amalekites had raided Ziklag, and David wanted to find out if God wanted him to pursue the Amalekites. ‘Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring the ephod here to me." And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."’ The LORD told David to pursue them. David and his men rescued the women and divided the spoils.
(3) It produces success in life: Success is fulfilling God’s purpose in life. Psalm 32:8 reads: ‘The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you’. There is a specific pathway for each of our lives, it is vital that we are sensitive to the Lord’s guidance.
(4) It triggers faith in your spirit: Hearing the voice of God triggers faith in our hearts for the seemingly impossible. Romans 10:17 reads: ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’.
(5) It keeps you away from deception and lies of the devil.
Here are five prerequisites for hearing God:
(a) Be spiritually minded: In order to hear God’s voice, we must be aligned to hear his voice. God is a Spirit and he speaks to our spirit – hence we must be tuned to His Spirit. To be driven by our five senses is to be carnally minded – the news media, gossip, natural desires, commercialism and materialism. Romans 8:5-8 reads: ‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God’. As God’s children, we must always be connected to God. Here is Romans 8:14: ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God’.
(b) There must be intimate relationship and fellowship with God: John 10:14 reads: ‘I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own’ Also see John 10:3-5.
(c) Cultivate an open mind: Cooperate with whatever God says. Allow God to be God, even when it is not what you had in mind from the start. John 2:5 reads: ‘His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
(d) Make time to listen to God, do not live a “hurry” life: Moses turned to listen to God’s voice at the site of the burning bush in Exodus 4. Here is verse 3-4: ‘Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!". As Christians we must make the time to listen to God every day.
(e) Eliminate distractions: Here is an account of Jesus morning communion with God in Mark 1:35-38; ‘Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came” (NLT).
In rounding up, here is a story about Elijah and his relationship with God in 1 Kings 18. ‘Later on, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!” But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel.'
While everyone was hearing the ‘noise’ of famine and insufficiency, Elijah heard the voice of God and abundance of rain. Faith was triggered in his heart, and he went ahead to pray. He held on to what he heard, with little or no evidence to hold on to. Hearing the voice of God can change a nation and the course of our lives. God’s voice is powerful!
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