How can we know when God is speaking to us? Read John 10.
Jesus gave us some characteristics of the Shepherd’s voice:
- It is a familiar voice. So we’ll recognize when it’s God’s.
- It’s personal.
- It’s simple and nurturing…even in rebuke He wants what’s best for us.
To be completely sure:
- Is it consistent with the Bible?
- Does it conflict with human logic?
- Does it stretch our faith?
- Does it require change?
If the answer is “YES” to all four of those questions then it’s probably God!
I John 3:16,
He laid down his life for us.
There is no understanding of the death of Christ unless we understand the person of Christ. It is only as fully God and fully man that his death COULD be laid down for us.
But did he really lay down his life for us?
Three lessons from Christ’s sacrifice:
- How great must have our sins been that they could not be atoned for any other price.
- How great must have been his love.
- How secure we must be.
While it is true that God still speaks today, if we are to hear from Him, there are some conditions we must meet.
1st, we must be saved (John 10). That’s how we grow a set of spiritual ears.
2nd, we have to listen for it. Ears aren’t enough. We must learn to recognize it.
Finally, to clearly hear His voice, we must be surrendered.
Lord, speak to me, particularly that which I must do to glorify You.
It would be better to empty a church and preach the cross, than to fill it by keeping silent like a coward. It would be better to fail as Paul failed in trying to reach his own people of Jewish descent, than to succeed by being a traitor to the cross. This is why I look with uncertainty at today’s Church. Christianity is not pleasant entertainment. When the offense of the cross ceases, it is lost.
Why was the cross an offense to the Jewish people of Jesus’ day?
- It blighted all their hopes. They waited for a triumphant Messiah and got a suffering One. Not Christ victorious, but Christ crucified. Every hope they had was contradicted. This is still true today. Written across Calvary is sacrifice; written across our age is pleasure. On the lips of Jesus, I must die. On the lips of this age of ours, I must enjoy.
- It swept away much they took pride in. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day had taken the things that lead to God and let their hearts grow centered upon them. With the cross, the need for ceremonial and sacrificial laws disappeared. This is still true today for us. The offense today is that a person must come with empty hands. People today are proud of achievement that a call to unconditional surrender is an offense. Calvary cost us nothing and God everything. In a commercial age there is something suspicious or offensive there.
- It obliterated national distinctions. Israel was called out by God to be a blessing to the world. Rather it led them to isolation and pride. They held the rest of the world in contempt. But the cross leveled all such distinctions. That made the cross offensive. Some Christians have let their relationship with God lead them to self-righteousness. They forget where their standing was before Christ and who actually earned their reconciliation.
The God of Isaiah 6 blows away the comfortable, manageable God we’ve fashioned for ourselves. It reminds us of how small we are and how great He is.
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah sees God sitting on a throne. Not pacing. Sitting. He is in control. He knows it. No one is worried. What problem would seem too large for the One sitting on the throne?
Maybe the reason the Church has lost its moral vision is because it has lost its high and exalted view of God. We have embraced the comfort of His nearness at the expense of His transcendence.
The Seraphim chant “holy, holy, holy,” never-ceasing. When the truth is significant there is great power in repetition, especially if the subject is an attribute of God.