Summary: There are many voices crying out for our attention in this hectic and fast-paced world in which we live. We must learn to discern which voice is important and which ones are not.
"There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification."
Psychologists diagnose mental disorders with the help of a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They interview and observe their patient, making careful note of certain identifying characteristics and behaviors. They then compare these noted characteristics and behaviors with the DSM-IV and make their diagnosis and recommendations.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders would probably classify me as having the Axis II Personality Disorder called Paranoid Schizophrenia.
The reason I say this is because at times I manifest some identifying characteristics or symptoms of this particular mental disorder.
1) The first symptom is bizarre behavior.
a. Bizarre is defined by Webster as very odd in manner or appearance.
b. I will be the first to admit that there are times that I tend to exhibit what this world would call bizarre behavior.
i. When I think of the mercy and grace of the Lord that reached down into the muck and mire that had become my life and picked me up, I can get a little beside myself.
ii. When I realize that all I am and all I ever will be I owe to a man called Jesus Christ, I can go quite a bit overboard in how I express my appreciation.
iii. When I attempt to count all the wonderful and amazing blessings that have been poured out so abundantly on my life, yes, some might say that I have a tendency to act a little bizarre in my worship and praise!
2) The second symptom of Paranoid Schizophrenia that I have a tendency to exhibit is frequent auditory hallucinations.
a. In other words, I’ve been hearing voices.
I am not at all ashamed to admit that I have been hearing voices.
I. The Bible is full of examples of people who heard voices.
1) It started in the beginning of man’s history.
a. Gen. 3: 8 - And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
2) Sometimes the voice will ask questions.
a. “Where art thou?” – Adam & Eve Gen. 3:9
b. “What doest thou here, Elijah?” – I Kings 19:9
c. “Whom shall I send?” – Isaiah 6:8
3) Sometimes this voice will utter commands.
a. “Stand still and see.” – Exo. 14:13
b. “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward.” – Exo 14:15
4) The voice is often instructional.
a. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” – Acts 9:4
i. Son, you’re very sincere, but you’re playing for the wrong team.
b. “Arise, Peter, slay and eat.”- Acts 11:7
i. And while you’re at it, let’s get rid of your petty prejudices and you’re pre-conceived ideas about who can and who cannot be saved.”
5) Whenever this voice is heard, and whatever its purpose, it always, without exception, originates from off the mercy seat.
a. Num. 7:89 - And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.
II. Paul said, “There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.”
1) There is always more than one voice trying to get our attention.
a. More than one voice in the Garden of Eden.
b. Elijah also heard the voice of discouragement.
c. Peter and Paul had to learn to silence the voice of wrong religious traditions.
2) We must learn to discern.
a. The cry of a child is an example of various voices – each with its own meaning.
i. Whine – “I’m not getting my way.”
ii. The whimper – “They’re fighting again.”
iii. The true cry – This one causes us to spring into action.
b. All of these cries have the same purpose, to get our attention.
c. A good parent learns to discern – to distinguish between the voices.
III. There are various voices that want out attention in this service.
1) A The voice of Doubt
a. This is nothing special – just another revival.
b. This is just another service.
c. Nothing special will happen tonight.
d. If something does happen, it won’t happen to you.
e. If something does per chance happen to you – it won’t make any lasting difference.
2) The voice of Fear
a. This voice often uses “What if…” questions.
i. What if you do go to the altar and nothing happens?