Hearing The Voice Of God - The Trigger For Your Overflowing Abundance - Part 2
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: John 10:10, John 10:1-5; 9, 27
Sunday 05th February 2017
Today’s message, ‘Hearing the Voice of God – The Trigger for your overflowing Abundance – Part 2’ is the fourth 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). Again, let me highlight some otherverses 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 9 reads: ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture’. Verse 27 reads: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’.
There is nothing more important in life than learning to hear and listen to the voice of God, distinguishing it from the voices of the devil, people and oneself. Our God is a speaking God, yet the devil, the popular opinion of the world through people and the thoughts running in our minds, affected by the circumstances that we are daily dealing with are constantly fighting for our attention too. The scripture is full of examples of God speaking to His people specifically, as He is interested in every detail of our lives.He spoke to Moses about specific details relating to the construction of the tabernacle, and He also did the same with Noah and the building of the ark.
The question to ask today is this. If God is a speaking God, why are we struggling to hear His voice? Answer: we simply are not tuned in to what He is saying. Too many people are frustrated because they’ve found it difficult to hear God’s voice. So then, the question to ask next is this: How do we hear from God? It must be stated, that we have been fashioned to hear God’s voice as believers. John 10:27 again reads: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’. John 8:47 reads: ‘He who is of God hears God’s words;’. Today, let me share with you a model in scriptures for hearing and listening to God’s voice. Here is Habakkuk 2:1-2: ‘I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint. The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance’ (GNT). Prophet Habakkuk models four steps to hearing God’s voice, namely:
(a) Withdrawal: Habakkuk begins this discourse with these words: ‘I will climb my watchtower’. This is like a guard that is eager to gain intelligence. It refers to a total separation from the business of life. As Christians, we must be willing to let go of the business of life to listen to God’s voice. Hearing God’s voice becomes difficult, if surrounded by noise – such as the financial news, the political stories, the doctor’s report etc. Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place to pray. Luke 5:15-16 reads: ‘However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed’.
(b) Wait: Habakkuk continues by writing these words: ‘...and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint’. It means to be patient, to tarry, to continue, to abide, to endure. In effect it means, allowing God to determine the course of events. The main problem as Christians is our constant regulation and reliance on the moving hour, minute and second hands of the clock. And inadvertently we’ve pigeonholed God into our timing dimensions as well. God will only speak to those who have made up their minds to give him time. Here is an admonition for reflection: ‘If we do not have time to listen to God, how sure are we likely to make the time to do what He tells us to do?’. Psalm 46:10a reads: ‘Be still, and know that I am God’. To be still is to be in a posture of confidence in God. Maintaining our composure of calm, confidence and trust in God, is the antidote to worry.
(c) Study the word of God: Habakkuk draws our attention to the necessity of studying God’s written words with this next statement: ‘...and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint’. The NIV put it this way: ‘I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint’. God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. John 16:13-14 gives a clear understanding of this: ‘But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you’. The Holy Spirit’s duty is to give an inner picture (vision) and an inner voice (the Word) to us. In order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through God’s word, we must have a consistent lifestyle of studying God’s word. Our spirit is trained to hear God’s voice, by studying God’s word. Psalm 42:7 reads: ‘Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls’. The word-filled heart will recognise the word from God. When we feed our hearts with the word, we are training our spirit and mind to recognise God’s voice.
(d) Write down clearly what God reveals to you: Habakkuk rounds up this discourse with these words: ‘The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance’. For future reference, write down what God says and review it.
As Satan and his cohorts also know and believe the word, we must be sure that the word we have heard is from God’s heart. Hence, we have to test the word we are hearing. James 2:19 reads: ‘Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them?’ (MSG).
Here are some points to guide us:
(1) Is this word from God consistent with the whole truth from Scriptures? Matthew 4 gives us the full account of Jesus temptation in the wilderness and how Christ overcame by deciphering and declaring the word within context.
(2) Will it make me more like Christ? Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. If the words we hear are not drawing us closer to Him, then it is not the will of God (also see 2 Corinthians 10:5-6, Ephesians 4:11-16)
(3) Does my Church family confirm this? Ephesians 3:10 reads: ‘to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places’. God speaks to the church, by His Spirit through His servants.
(4) Is it convicting rather than condemning? The Holy Spirit convicts, drawing us closer to God, whereas the devil condemns to pull us away from God.
(5) Do you sense God’s peace about it? The Holy Spirit draws you gently, whereas the devil drives you fiercely.
(6) Is it consistent with how God made me? Ephesians 2:10 reads: ‘God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing’(NCV). God uses us based on how He has wired and created us to be. We were not created as an imitation of another person. Each person is unique and complete in Christ to be all that they were created to be. So, God speaks to us, in order to aid and draw out the best that He has already placed within us.
(7) Does it bring glory to God: We are all familiar with Matthew 5:16, which reads: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven’.
As we listen to God, and hear His voice, the ultimate purpose for this is simple: to make us more like Christ, so that He can lead us towards our overflowing abundance. Let’s give Him our undivided attention as we proceed in this year.
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