Recognising His voice

The Good Shepherd  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:35
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John 10:4 NIV
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

How can we recognise His voice?

We live in a noisy world. So many voices are competing for our attention. In and amongst all the noise, how can we know what is from God, and what is not?

Does it resonate with our experience of God’s presence?

at a meeting the other night, asked the question in the devotion “When have you heard God’s voice?”
Took it quite literally
Jesus is the Word made flesh, maybe we could say that the Holy Spirit is God’s voice speaking into our lives
When I re-phrased the question “When have you experienced God’s presence in your life?” The answers started coming out
Wonder - in nature
calm and peace in the middle of a crisis
warmth infusing your whole being
Courage to show compassion and love
Everyone has a God story. Not everyone can put it into words. Not everyone has taken that next step to seek, serve & follow. But everyone has experienced God’s presence.
We come to God, because He comes to us. God’s presence in our lives is the foundation of our faith.
However, just going off gut feelings is not enough when it comes to discernment.
It’s all too easy for us to go off on our own tangent, to mistake our excitement with God’s voice. Instead of following the Good Shepherd, we can end up following some other sheep, or even a wolf.
We need more to go on, than just our gut.

Does it align with the witness of scripture?

Read your Bible.
Pray about it.
Wrestle with it.
Seek out wise counsel.
Here’s a starting point
Matthew 22:37–40 NIV
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Does it bear the fruit of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22–23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Does it feel like God is at work?
Does it align with scripture?
Does it bear the fruit of the Spirit?
If we can be attentive to these three things, then we will learn to recognise the Good Shepherd’s voice.
The further along the way I go, the more I am convince that it’s not just about what happens up here (head), but what God is doing in here (heart). We don’t recognise our family’s voices because we have learned their cadence, phonemes, and tone. We recognise our family’s voice because we love them. Because we are loved by them.
And so it is with God.
I want to finish with another account, from scripture, of learning to recognise the presence of God. Elijah was on the run. Things were not going well for him. He fled into the wilderness, to the very mountain of God. He was preparing himself to die. Instead, God came to him in his hour of need:
1 Kings 19:9–12 NIV
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
We live in a noisy world. So many voices are competing for our attention. But we’re not in this on our own. We are together. God is with us. So, together, let’s listen for the still, small voice of God.
Amen.
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