this is my message from Sunday Night at our Young Adults service
So I’ve heard there is some discussion on my accent… I bring that up because tonight the topic is The Word… with one r….
I’ve heard a few interesting theories about my accent.
Firstly, no I’m not American. I’m not Canadian. Thank God I’m not Australian…
I used to live in Southland – and people there have a tendancy to roll their rrrrs… so they’re a plenty or RRRRs tonight!
I want to tell you an interesting story from the bible… and you know I have that word because its not a story as in make believe but real life this is what happened truth… this is someones experience and life… so I want you to listen and hear what happened to this guy…
It’s a long passage, the entire chapter in 1 Kings 13 so I encourage you to turn there and to put a toe in it as a reminder to read it later…
It begins with a young man of God who goes from Judah to Bethel, he follows the call of God and is led by the Holy Spirit speaking within his spirit, revealing what step to take next…
And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD 1 kings 13:1
And he prophesies majorly – he prophesies the birth and life of Josiah who was one of the righteous kings of Judah, who refinds the Law, the Word of God after it was hidden in the temple walls, and ushers revival in Judah – huge prophecy – with signs following
This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.” 1 Kings 13:3
Not your everyday prophetic word…
So the king hears about this, as kings do and totally isn’t into what the young prophet has prophesied and so pointed to his soldiers to go get the man, lock him up etc etc etc and boom his hand withers and is paralyzed as he does that… so we’re saying there is some major God encounter power here surrounding this young mans life and ministry.
The altar splits apart, as prophesied and the young prophet also prays for the kings healing, and he is healed.
Now you think that’s interesting, wait till you hear this next part…. The king invites the young man to the royal palace and tries to reward him….
But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. 9 For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel. 1 Kings 13:8-9
God had specific instructions for this young prophet. Go and prophesy. Say this. Do this. Follow Me.
How many of us know there is general revelation of things we need to obey – we all know that we need to obey the 10 commandments
Breather: Easy way to remember the 10 commandments: convo at dennys…
– that’s like a given, we all know we should keep ourselves pure and not sleep around, or tell lies, or get angry, or be drunks etc… we know there is a standard that is different to the worlds standard for us as Christians – that we’re not living just for ourselves anymore – that is like a general revelation of how to live serving God and loving God and pleasing Him – found in the Word of God – but there is also sometimes a specific leading by God that requires our obedience.
Your call is not my call. My path is not your path. The plan for your life is different from the plan for his life. The blueprint of her life is different from God’s blueprint for her life. But we know that God leads us and calls us and has a plan and a purpose.
The young man had a call to be a prophet – but it wasn’t a cookie cutter plan, it had specific conditions or requirements in the mix.
This man had HEARD from God – he had the Word of the Lord and was following it and building his life upon it and allowing it to filter what he did do and didn’t do.
If God reveals something to you it is not a divine suggestion. Usually it doesn’t come with an “oh if you feel like” it outclause tag…
Let’s grow up and be real now peeps. God’s Word is God’s Word. We say we’re hungry for encounter and to hear His voice but if we’re disregarding what He’s saying are we really encountering and listening? Just saying you know… Sometimes we got to clean up and start over fresh. We’ve got to be obeying God big picture and every day right now.
We all want to please God and live for Him and fulfill the call. But the call isn’t something way out there – its right here today, in the ordinary, in the everyday, in the how I live my life right now. The call isn’t some spiro superhero suit for when we “make it” – its every day living and being transformed and demonstrating God’s love and grace and listening to His voice and obeying right here and right now. In school. At uni. At work. With your parents. With your sisters and brothers. With your mates.
God’s Word needs to be alive and active in you NOW. It needs to be acted upon and listened to and done NOW.
So how do we have God’s Word LOUD within us as the dominant voice:
- Read it – So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. Joshua 1:6-8
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16
However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"—
10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
This takes TIME and practice… its like learning a friends voice over the phone or working out how your husband and wife really think and feel about things or being able to recognize what the baby wants by its cry… it takes time, its relational, it’s a learning process…. It won’t happen over night but it will happen. God is in the business of teaching us how to hear His voice. He doesn’t throw us in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and say SWIM – it’s a day by day process and if we’re willing to hear and learn it goes well!
But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. John 14:26 The Holy Spirit teaches us!
Some of our life experience is to prepare us for the future. Some of it is to form character in our lives right now. Some of it is to reveal to us who God is. Learn from everything all the time.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. John 14:23
Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget. James 1:22-25
Simple eh. Read it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you. Do it.
Smith Wigglesworth puts it like this:
“There are four principles we need to maintain:
First, read the Word of God.
Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.
Third believe the Word of God.
Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth
Work out what the general revelation of behaviour and standard is for a Christian and make a decision and do it. Listen and learn what God is unfolding for you personally and make a decision and go for it.
Now you might say, Claire, I’ve been doing this… I read my bible every dayish… I pray. I seek God.
That is awesome. Now trust that God IS speaking to you.
Sometimes we try and difficult it up. That only spiritual people can hear God. That only bible scholars can hear God. That only prophets hear from God. That only people who have done the 1 yr bible plan can hear God. Nope. Nada. I don’t think so.
I was 4 minutes saved and I heard God clear as.
God came into my bedroom when I was a newbie Christian when I was sitting on my blue bean bag and invaded my room. I hadn’t done no bible course. I hadn’t really even read much of the bible. I thought that the story of daniel in the lions den was the same as the esops fable where the boy/mouse pulls the thorn out of the lions foot and that is why the lion didn’t eat Daniel…
I still feel like that. I am just me.
I am a child of God, forgiven, born again, made new, accepted, loved, given access to the very throne room of God because of the blood of Jesus – that is my qualification for hearing God and knowing He speaks to me.
The bible says My sheep hear My voice – john 10 – I am His sheep, baa, so I hear!
Keep doing it. Keep coming before God. Keep listening. Keep following Him. You’re doing it already you may just not be aware of it… He is at work in your life always and forever. Don’t give up. Keep listening.
So you wanna know what happened to the young prophet? He wasn’t distracted by the king. He left bethel by another road, following the instructions God had given him in his spirit. But he then met an older prophet, who distracted and deceived him. The young man went and had a meal at his house. He ate and he drank with the old prophet.
So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. 25 And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. 26 Now when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard it, he said, “It is the man of God who was disobedient to the word of the LORD. Therefore the LORD has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him. 1 Kings 13:23-26
Don’t give your call up for any reason.
Don’t give away the preciousness of knowing God for any reason.
Don’t be distracted or discouraged or diswayed from following God.
Its not worth it.
It doesn’t measure up.
The only way we’re going to be strong and unswerving in following God is if we have His Word strong within us as the loudest voice. The young prophet knew what God had said. He told the king. He told the prophet. But he allowed someone to make Him doubt what God had said… sound familiar… is a pattern from the garden of Eden… did God really say???
How did Jesus deal with the “did God really say” when the devil tried to distract, discourage and deceive Him? The Word of God says.
Hit the lie with the truth.
Get the truth strong and loud within you. It will be a guide for your feet and your heart. It will protect you. It will encourage you. The Word of God is an offensive and a defensive weapon.
Listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you, as He guides you, as He stirs your conscience, as He makes you feel a bit wary or yuck about something – that’s Him saying don’t go there, don’t do this, don’t get distracted….
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
We are a revival generation. We are a generation in which God is doing amazing things and revealing Himself to people like never before. We are so blest to be alive now – we have the Word in books and on ipods and on the net, free and easy access. We can go and download fantastic fired up God inspired messages from truckloads of awesome churches in the world. We can read about the lives of incredible men and women of God who have gone before us and changed their world for Jesus. We can fly in the sky across the world in a matter of hours/days.
We don’t have to share one page of the bible per village, that is if we could read.
We don’t have to walk 5 days in the snow to hear the first visiting preacher in 6 months speak.
We don’t have to only imagine what it would be like to see God move, to hear God’s voice, to feel His presence….
We live in a generation changed by technology and changed by the supernaturalness of our age.
Are we going to be blasé or run with all that God has poured out upon us?
When you’re tempted by the greener grass on the other side of the fence, it might be time to water the grass you’re standing on.
You have got to have your own relationship with God. You’ll starve if you live from Sunday to Sunday – because you can encounter God every day at home in your own bedroom.
In the OT (Exodus 16) we have the picture of the manna falling, the Israelites were instructed to collect an omer of manna – to prepare and eat what they needed but not to store up any for the next day. Those that stored the manna found the next day it was rotting and full of maggots. It had to be collected each day. Likewise in our own relationships with God it is nourished and developed through relationship and the manna God pours out upon us every day…
Now do you want to know something cool?
Jesus is called the Bread of Life, the bread that is come down from heaven, which is the very description in Exodus 16 for manna.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
"I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:33, 35
Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 4:4 – in one of those did God really say conversations with the devil…
Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ " Mathew 4:4
If the grass looks greener on the other side then water your own grass – spend time with God, find your satisfaction in Him, grow up and repent and seek Him and find Him.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
The challenge for all of us to be keep on tuning the ears of our spirit to what God is saying to us through His Word and by His Spirit and to not just let it go in one ear and out the other but to stop drop and roll and hear and listen and learn and obey and do it.
Today if you need to make things right with God do it.
Today if you need to repent of putting your fingers in your ears, do it.
Today if you want to hear God’s voice afresh and know He is with you and calling you, do it.