Summary: Our day is filled with voices that clamor to be heard. This sermon deals with becoming discriminate listeners.
If ever there was “a word from the Lord” that relates to the subject at hand, it would be that found in John 10:27. Jesus is speaking, or rather, teaching, and He says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Beepers and pagers are everywhere! From physicians to police, to clergy, there they are, clipped to belts and protruding from pockets---fiendish reminders of the mastery of electronics.
Getting one’s attention in this way has its comical moments. One doctor claims he got so ruffled when his beeper sounded as he drove down the highway that he threw it out the window and tried to shut off his cigarette. Another person though, emphasized the positive value of being able to stay in touch with his office. He had a certain amount of peace of mind, not only in knowing he can be reached if needed, but also in being assured that if he doesn’t get beeped, he isn’t needed.
This development in communications is a good reminder of the kind of open line that we should be maintaining with Heaven. Let’s check the ears of our hearts. Are they dull because of sin? Do we have the confidence of a clean conscience? Can we be reached of are we not within calling distance? It may be that God is trying to get our attention. He has something to say that we need to hear. He sends a signal, but we are often not in a position to hear. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the church” (Revelation 2:7, KJV).
In our day the air is filled with voices that clamor to be heard. In order to avert confusion we must learn to be discriminate listeners. The voice which matters most is God’s. In I Samuel chapter three, we read about how young Samuel had to learn to detect the voice of God in the sanctuary. We must discipline our ears and hearts to hear God’s voice as well and respond to it. The question is, How can we hear the voice of God so that we, like Samuel, might know His will for our lives? Let me suggest four avenues.
First, there is the voice from WITHIN. Here I speak of the conscience—the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what it regards as the highest. We have to make an effort to keep our consciences so sensitive that we walk without offense. Paul testified to the importance of a clear conscience in II Corinthians 1:2: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and Godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”
Again, Paul warned Timothy that next to his faith, a clear conscience was his most essential weapon: I…sent you out to battle for the right armed only with your faith and a clear conscience. Some, alas, have laid these simple weapons aside, and as far as their faith is concerned, have run their ships on the rocks” (I Timothy 1:18,19, Phillips).
Don’t lay aside this wonderful weapon that God has given you. Grieve not the Holy Spirit. He does not usually come with a voice like thunder; His voice is so gentle that it is easy to ignore or miss altogether. How glad I am that even as calloused and insensitive as we are at times, the conscience is still there. It is a mechanism that God has built into our human framework.
But someone may ask, “What is the difference between the conscience and the Spirit of God?” Very simple---one is a Person, while the other is a psychological function of the mind. The conscience is an educated thing. In the life of an unbeliever, it can be very dangerous. But as the child of God allows the Holy Spirit to re-educate conscience, it becomes that for which God originally intended—a vehicle for implementing and sustaining righteousness. As Paul put it, “I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears witness in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 9:1).
Yes, Go is especially present in the conscience of all persons by way of testimony and judgment; that is, He is there to call our actions to mind, a witness to bring them to judgment, and a judge to acquit or condemn. The voice from within: the conscience.
Secondly, there is the voice from BEHIND, experience. Accumulated knowledge is one of the best teachers. An ancient proverb puts it this way: “A prudent man profits from his own experience; a wise one from the experience of others.” We should carry our experiences around like coins in our pockets---ready to use them when needed.