Summary: A simple sermon exploring the need to be faithful to God through His Word
TODAY HEAR HIS VOICE
INTRODUCTION: The Israelites are the forerunners of the faith. They were God’s chosen people under His covenant during the time before Christ. They are also examples of how one should conduct himself in regards to his or her relationship with Jehovah God. Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11 that the things that happened to them were written down as warnings for us. As a matter of fact, we might well say that the entire first portion of I Corinthians 10 is a parallel passage to the one in Hebrews. It is by the record and indisputable fact of their disobedience that we are called to "Hear the Voice of God" in our lives today. The very same mistake they made, not listening to God and trusting in what He said, can rob us of the victory that we have been promised. So, the question of the hour is this, "How can we know that we are indeed listening to God’s voice?" Notice two distinct yet analogous answers from our text.
I. KEEP YOUR HEART OPEN TO HIS WORD
A. How many of you remember the slogan, "When E.F. Hutton speaks people listen." It was a very popular ad meant to instill trust in the advice of an investment firm. For a good while they were, as best I know, a good firm in which to do some financial planning, but the last time I checked they no longer existed.
1. Unlike E.F. Hutton God and His instruction will never fade away. In fact it has never changed, ever. The God we serve is the same today as He was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. And His word, even tough we divide it into the Old and the New Testaments, each one is dependent upon the other and one makes very little sense without the other.
2. Many see the New Testament as a change in God’s Law, but the opposite it the truth. It is merely an extension, a completion of the Old. It is all God’s will and Word for His people throughout the ages and it is vital to our salvation that we remember that.
3. There are others who see the Bible as a textbook – a source of instruction – black words on a white page. That requires no faith and cultivates little. Others see it as a love letter – a soft and sweet note never intended to step on anyones toes. That brings a small amount of faith with it but no direction. Still others see it as speaking to others – holding themselves above it or beyond it. That approach destroys faith.
B. As people who desire salvation and intend to enter heaven in the end we need to keep our heart open to His Word. We should not dismiss it, belittle it, or ignore it as did the Israelites who rebelled in the wilderness and died there.
1. The Hebrew writer says that it is an evil heart of unbelief that departs from God, and his instruction. We must allow it to touch us, convict us, instruct us, discipline us, guide us, challenge us, and encourage us.
2. Acts 2:37
3. Hebrews 4:12
4. James 1:25
C. We desire freedom, salvation, perfection, and God’s approval of our lives, we must focus on the Word. For by it and through it God will provide all we need to live a life that is acceptable in His sight.
II. KEEP YOUR HEART OPEN TO HIS PEOPLE
A. With each passing generation, one of the harder things to do is get involved in the lives of other people. Maybe it is because we hear more about staying out of other peoples business than at any other time. Maybe it is because we live in a more permissive age, or maybe, and more likely, we are too wrapped up in our own lives.
1. Whatever the reason is, the fact remains that without a very personal interaction between the lives of God’s people, something precious and vital it lost. What I am speaking of is what Paul refers to in Romans 12, "weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice."
2. We cannot comfort one another, or celebrate with one another as God intended for us to do if we are not connected to each other is a very special way. Sure we can smile when others smile and express concern when others are sad, but we cannot truly share in their emotions when we are detached from one another.
3. And when God’s children are isolated one from another it is like severing an appendage from the body. Like the old sing we sing ever so often, Bless Be The Tie That Binds, "we when part it brings an inward pain". Or as Shakespeare put it, "Parting is such sweet sorrow."