Summary: (Parts of this message were condensed from a sermon by Rick Warren) How do we hear the voice of God, above the din of a noisy world?
I. Have you noticed;
A. We live in a noisy world.
B. By noisy, I mean
1. Lots of competing ideas
2. Lots of competing ideologies
3. Lots of competing standards of living, and ideas of what is right and wrong,
C. And all of these different noises seem to be talking at once.
II. And have you ever noticed that even in a crowd, every once in a while you will be able to hear a distinctive voice above the din.
A. Our world is certainly loud, and every voice seems to be shouting for it’s own attention.
B. Is it any wonder that we often miss the voice of God in our lives.
III. For the past several months, some of us have been praying; more or less consistently I hope, words to this effect, “God, how do you want to make yourself known to this community, at this time, through this church?”
A. We pray, and we keep praying, and after two years, we are still praying.
B. I believe one of three things must be true
1. God is not answering, then MAYBE we should change our prayer.
2. We are not listening; therefore why should we keep praying.
3. Or God has answered, and now it is time for us to act.
C. Maybe that is also true in other areas of our lives.
1. We ask God, and we keep asking, but answer SEEMS not to come.
2. Then it must be true
a. God is not answering, so maybe we should change our prayer.
b. We are not listening, therefore why should we keep asking,
c. God has answered, and now it is time to act.
IV. I put a couple of fact about our neighborhood in the bulleting this morning.
A. Within a five mile radius, there are almost 65,000 homes.
B. Within a five mile radius, there is a population of about 159,000 people.
V. God how do you want to make yourself known to those 159,000 people at this time through out church?
A. One thing we know, God does want to make himself known for the Bible clearly states, 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2nd Pet. 3:9, NASB)
B. One thing we know, through Christ is abundant life - I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. (John 10:10, NASB)
C. One thing we know, there is only one way to the Father - Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. (John 14:6)
D. One thing I know is true; if all these things are true, then God is still speaking to us today.
VI. And if God is still speaking to us today, why do we so often find it difficult to hear Him over the noise of the world?
VII. I have to believe that God’s voice must be distinctive.
A. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:27, NASB)
B. If this is true, we ought to be able to discern his voice, so why is it so often drowned out by the noise of the world, and admit it, it is.
VIII. Turn in your Bible to Luke chapter 4, and we will embark on a journey in an attempt to remedy that situation.
Prepare The Soil
I. How do we hear the word of God?
A. In this story, that is exactly the question that Jesus is answering.
B. Most people read this passage, get to verse 12 and see the word “Saved” and apply this only to eternal salvation.
C. Certainly responding to God’s call for salvation is part of responding to His word, but if we read on to verse fifteen we see something about “bearing fruit”.
D. When we hear and respond to the Word of God, we bear fruit, whether that is our own personal salvation, or being saved from the consequences of not responding.
II. First we have to prepare the soil.
A. Verse 5 says that some of the seed, that is the Word fell on compacted soil; “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up.
B. People in Jesus day would have fully understood this picture of how crops were planted.