Friday, February 4, 2011
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I must have one of those voices. I never get to tell people who it is when I call them on the phone. I say, "Hi, this is..." And they'll say, "Hi, Ron." Now, most people do have to announce who it is, at least the first few times they call. Think about someone who you call for the first time and you have to give them your full name. So I might say, "Hello, this is Ron Hutchcraft." Then after a couple of times talking with them you just give your first name, "Hi, this is Ron." Then there's the teenage version - no greeting, no hello. They just jump right into the latest gossip. You don't even have to identify who it is; they talk so often...usually several times a day. I guess we all have voices that ultimately need no identification. After all, we've heard them so much.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "I Know That Voice."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 10. I'm reading verse 3. "The watchman opens the gate for the Shepherd and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and He leads them out. And when He's brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them. And His sheep follow Him because they know His voice."
Now, dropping down to verse 27, "My sheep..." Jesus said, "...listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me." Now, here's this great picture: me sheep - Him shepherd. That's really what the Christian life boils down to, and the sheep are doing the only thing that they ought to do if they want to have everything that they need. They follow the Shepherd. And three times in these three verses Jesus talks about how they listen to His voice and they know His voice. Why? Well, for the same reason that a frequent caller doesn't need to identify himself when he calls. You've heard that voice so many times you know what He sounds like.
Would you put yourself in this category: a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you one of those? Well, you can't be a follower according to what Jesus is saying here unless you're a listener first. Following Christ is not some passive or official status you have because you made a commitment one time. A follower of Christ follows because he listens first. "Those who hear My voice."
Now, each day the Lord is trying to speak to you about choices to make, people to talk to, ideas He wants to plant in your head. And there are lots of other voices. How do you know which voices, which tugs are from Him? Well, you have to be used to listening to Jesus. How do you do that? Well, you've got to meet Him daily. In the morning before you start the day, you ask Him to use His Word, the Bible, and apply it to your life - to that day. Then, that day, having heard His voice, before you've heard any other voice, you consciously obey Him in that area that He talked to you about. And you listen during the day for His inner direction.
You know what area of life you've trusted Him with, as a result of responding to His voice through His Word. So, you're daily listening, daily responding. You do that day after day, and an exciting thing will happen. You'll begin to say at certain moments, "Now, that doesn't sound like what Jesus sounds like." "Now, that does sound like Him. I've been listening, and that's how His voice sounds...how He speaks." Now, you're a follower of Christ.
So, you begin your day by getting used to His voice before you hear any others. Then, when you're getting six voices at once, you'll know your Shepherd's direction from all the rest. You'll sense the call - the tug of Jesus that you heard just this morning, and that you've heard so often. And you'll say, "I know that voice."