Call to Obedience
CALL TO OBEDIENCE is a monthly letter to challenge you to live a godly life. Subscribe today to receive your free monthly copy, and don't forget to click to our archives to read past issues of the Call to Obedience. Below is our current issue for this month.CALL TO OBEDIENCE #399
"My Sheep Hear My Voice"
By Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze
My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me (John 10:27).
The ability to hear is one of the grandest faculties God has ever bestowed on human kind. Imagine life without hearing. It is a life without music, without conversation, without hearing a child cry, a bird sing, or a dog bark. It is a life without hearing the whisper of a penitent man on his deathbed or the swooshing sound of a flock of geese flying over your head. What kind of world is it for the one who does not hear? How much is he missing?
Now to go on with this subject, we need to know that there is not only a physical ear by which we hear the sounds of the earth, but there also is a spiritual ear for those who live in His kingdom. By this means, we do actually hear the voice of God at appropriate times as the patriarchs, prophets and apostles of old. Also in the same way, there is a physical eye by which we see what is on earth and there is a spiritual eye by which we see the things of God’s kingdom. Then there is a physical mind by which we can think about what we perceive by the five senses, and a spiritual mind by which we have the mind of Christ and understand spiritual things. Further, there are physical hands by which we hold on to the things of earth, and spiritual hands by which we hold on to the things of eternity. There are physical feet by which we walk our fields and forests, and spiritual feet by which even the cripple can leap for joy. Finally, as there is a physical heart, there is a spiritual heart by which we come into the union with God. You may be physically crippled or impaired, but you will never be spiritually impaired. God has no cripples in His kingdom. Jesus said that we must be born again. At the rebirth, the spiritual man is born within us. There, he becomes an altogether other creature than when he was physically born in the flesh.
Now of all the sensory faculties: vision, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, which exist both in the physical and spiritual man, hearing is the most important for the new convert in order to learn to follow Jesus. His whole life with God and the progression of his life in God depends on his ability to hear God. Therefore Jesus said: My sheep hear my voice...and they follow me. In the kingdom of God there is no following without hearing.
Jesus could have said: “Without much Bible knowledge there is no following.” But my friend, in most of the professing churches, there are plenty of Bible and doctrinal studies. Yet, there are few to be found who walk the narrow way on a continuous and daily basis. If you are not following Jesus, you are not a Christian. Christianity without following is inconceivable. Bible studies will not make you a spiritual person or a spiritual discerner unless you are also a follower: a person who has forsaken all for God’s kingdom’s sake. Men who have their heads full of knowledge without hearing the voice of Jesus unto following, cannot feed the sheep. They are the sources of war, of church divisions, of strife and they oppose and destroy everything that God is in. If following Jesus would depend on intelligence or knowledge, the feeble minded, the uneducated and the retarded could not become spiritual. Following Jesus is not a matter of the brain but of the heart. Jesus wants us to become like little children, for of such is the kingdom of God. Only as we follow do we come to the knowledge of the holy. Only as we follow can we be lights and bread to others.
God created the world by His voice. Since then, all that God did in history, He did through men who could hear Him. How many passages are there in your Bible that read: And the Lord said… and the Lord said...? The men who heard and who learned to hear God’s voice have always been the instruments for God’s work, whether it was Abraham hearing that he was to go to a land God would show him or whether it was Samuel telling Saul that he would meet three men carrying three kids (goats), three loaves of bread and a bottle of wine and that these men would give Saul two loaves. When we follow the voice of God, we find out that God leads with pinpoint accuracy and nothing we need is left out.
If you cannot hear the voice of God or of Jesus, my friend, you are out of the loop. You do not know where He wants you and what you need on your journey, what to bring, what to leave behind and what to expect. We are stupid by nature. It takes longer to raise a human being than any other creature in the world and once we have grown up, we make the same kinds of mistakes our parents made. We are ending up empty and poor both within and without just as they did. Rightfully, God compares us to sheep. As sheep cannot live without a shepherd, neither can we live without our Shepherd. In Christ’s kingdom, our whole spiritual life depends on hearing. Man needs to hear God to fulfill his mission.
The reason why you cannot hear is because, since your conversion, you have not obeyed consistently. Everyone who is born again has heard the voice of Jesus at least once, knocking at the door of his heart. He heard the Master’s voice and let Him come in (Revelation 3:20). So, the Christian life begins with hearing and heeding, and it is designed to continue this way for the rest of his life. The first thing Jesus said to you was, “Let me come in.” Within seconds or minutes, Jesus spoke to you again. Do you remember that? He probably said: “Tell your friends about Jesus; ask someone for forgiveness; get rid of ungodly entertainment; go to a prayer meeting; or increase your giving.” My friend, if you have not obeyed whatever Jesus told you in the first moments of your Christian life, right there your spiritual ears became plugged up with the wax of the self-life. You became deaf. You became a backslider who lost the joy of salvation. Your commitment to His sovereign will has to be absolute. There are no excuses or exceptions for those who want to hear His voice. Jesus gave His life for you to hear and He expects a like sacrifice from you.
How does God speak to us? Very rarely does He speak to us through the physical ear. God prefers to speak to us through our spiritual ears. This way, even the physically deaf can hear. In the kingdom of God everything is spiritual, not physical. There we hear spiritually, we see spiritually and we feel spiritually. There we walk with God spiritually.
Of course the devil wants to stop you from this new life. He tells you to say “No” to all that Jesus is telling you to do. He tells you that you will make a fool out of yourself. You will lose your friends, your job, your influence and connections, your dignity, etc. You might be ridiculed or persecuted, but here is where self-denial comes in. Jesus said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:23-24).
You must deny self, the old man of sin. Self must be dethroned for Christ to be crowned within you. Again, if you continue to deny self and obey Jesus in everything He tells you to do, He will continue to teach you how to hear His voice. As you allow Him to slay the old man out of you and refine you, as you come to brokenness, your spiritual branches will spring upward to absorb the sun rays of heaven. You will have a little bit of heaven here below.
The Christian’s symbol or mascot should be a sheep. The popular mascots used in the sports world the bear, the eagle, and the lion do not apply to Christians. These animals can live in total independence of anyone. Christians cannot. We can only live in total dependence on our Shepherd. This is God’s word! Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3).
My sheep hear my voice...and they follow me. Again, if you do not hear your Shepherd, you are disconnected from Him. That is death. It is living without the supernatural. It is living without what you were born again for. Jesus cannot set a table before you unless you hear and follow Him to that table. He cannot anoint you with oil; He cannot lead you by the still waters; your cup will not run over; neither will you have Him with you in the valley of the shadow of death. If you do not know the voice of Jesus, you will not be able to discern between the sacred and the profane. Your moral compass will become unreliable.
My sheep hear my voice… For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God… (Romans 8:14) He that hath ears to hear let him hear (Mark 4:11). So, my friend, where are you? Where have you been since you have been born of Him? If you have lost your way, go back to where you strayed. Way back, when you refused to obey God after conversion, when you ceased responding to the voice of Jesus. Things have been silent between you and Him since then. You have kept reading your Bible and you have kept going to church, but in all these years you have not denied self to follow Him. My friend, repent and start over again. Do it right this time. As you go and follow Him, it will show on your countenance as your soul will begin anew to look like a rose blooming in the desert.
To learn more about living by the voice of Jesus, I recommend Rev. Loran Helm’s auto-biography entitled “A Voice in the Wilderness” available at www.evangelvoice.com