Summary: Working through the Gospel of Luke using consecutive expository preaching. Looking at Best Practices for Hearing God's Voice.
“Can You Hear Me Now?”
A sermon for 5/2/21
Pastor John Bright
Luke 6 “12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.”
This is the only place in the Gospels we have recorded that Jesus pulls an all-nighter with His Heavenly Father in prayer. What we do see, over and over, is a pattern of Jesus spending time alone in prayer:
Mark 6:46 “After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray”.
Mark 1:35 “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”
Matthew 14:23 “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.”
Matthew 26:36 “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
That night we read about in Luke 6:12, like in the Garden of Gethsemane, there was serious time spent in prayer over the task that lie ahead – choosing the 12 Apostles. Here’s the hard part – for 11 of them, Jesus is choosing men who will suffer for Him and almost all will die for Him. I figure that Judas was the easy choice. Back then, like today, there are plenty of folks who will betray you for money, but there are not many who will die for their belief in the Son of God – at least, not in the American Church.
What happened to the Apostles? Based on Christian tradition:
Peter was crucified upside down on a cross.
Andrew was crucified. He was tied to a cross has the shape of an “X.” It took several days before he died. It is said that he preached while hanging on the cross.
James, son of Zebedee was beheaded. He was the first martyr from among the twelve apostles.
The beloved John was in tortured and survived to be exiled on the Isle of Patmos He would be released and die in Ephesus.
Philip was hanged.
Bartholomew was killed by having his skin cut off his body.
Matthew died a martyr’s death in Ethiopia
Thomas was killed with a spear.
James, son of Alphaeus crucified and then sawed in pieces.
Judas, son of James, was killed with arrows.
Simon the Zealot, was crucified.
Judas hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). His death is the only one that is recorded in the Bible.
I can’t imagine choosing men to suffer and die like these Apostles. It was an all-night job to make sure Jesus was hearing the words spoken by God the Father. Only in Garden of Gethsemane do we hear the words of Jesus praying alone. He gives His Apostles the words to pray Luke 11 (Was that how to pray or what to pray?) In John 17, we have three prayers that Jesus prayed in the upper room the night of his betrayal. I truly believe that Jesus spent more time listening to God in prayer than telling God what to do.
How’s your listening time going in your prayer closet?
Listening starts with the faith that God is willing and able
James 1 “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
If we need wisdom or understanding or discernment from God – it would follow that He would speak to us. I can trust that God hears my prayers – Amen? I can trust that God will answer my prayers – Amen? Faith is both belief and trust. It’s a whole lot easier to have faith in God Almighty than folks at work or school or in our families or even in the local church. JD Walt, of Seedbed Ministries, often talks about the part in us that has been damaged by others but that we need to have faith in God – he calls it his “truster.”