We ought to know the voice of the Savior. The way you get to know the voice of the Savior, is number one, through the Word, number two, through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m fine, thank you, happy in the Lord, glad to be alive, and to serve God. Thank God for Jesus and all He means: Savior, Redeemer, Sanctifier, Elder Brother, Advocate, High Priest, Coming King, all we need. “All that I need, He will always be. All that I need, ’til His face I see. All that I need through eternity, Jesus is all I need.”
We were talking about Him, as we hit the high spots in John Chapter 10. Now, Lord Jesus says some things about Himself. He says, first of all, “He is the one that enters in by the door.” Enters in. A personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the secret, isn’t it? Of the Christian life and of the dynamic that distinguishes Christian living. Enters in. And you’re aware of His presence, and of His control, and of His protection, and later on, of His guidance.
He’s the shepherd of the sheep. That relationship between sheep and shepherd is typical and our Lord emphasizes it, “I am the good shepherd,” said He, “The sheep follow the shepherd, they know His voice.” He emphasizes the sheep and shepherd relationship. The shepherd’s responsible, he takes care of them, he controls them, he leads them, he sees to it that they’re fed, he sees to it that they’re productive, so far as their wool is concerned and all that. And he’s willing to give his life to protect them, which our Lord did. He said, “I lay down my life. No man taketh my life from me, I lay it down on myself. The Son of man has come to seek and to save thou, which was lost, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life, a ransom for many.”
Our Lord Jesus came, specifically, not only to live a perfect life, but to die a perfect, atoning death, paying for the penalty of all of you, and I, and all the rest of the sinners in all of the world. Hmm. He enters in. I have to ask you, has the Lord Jesus entered into your life yet? See, you may know a lot about Him, but you may never have invited Him into your private sheepfold, let us say. Another thing it says, “The sheep hear His voice.” “The sheep hear His voice.” My good friend, Pastor Ward Potts, has a little booklet on hearing the voice of God. It’s a good one. He ought to write more. It seems to me he has a gift of laying out profound truths in understandable terms. But he points out that this is only one of many passages, that point out that you can hear from Heaven, not in some wild, hysterical fashion that is extrabiblical. God speaks through His Word, doesn’t He? “To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them,” said Isaiah.
So God speaks according to His infallible Word, the Bible, but He also speaks directly to your heart, in line with the truth of the Bible, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and you hear the voice of your Savior. One of the things that you can do to enrich your own prayer life and devotional life, is to have a notebook with you when you pray. And when you’ve finished reading your Bible, and praying, then don’t jump up, and run away. Stay in that atmosphere of prayer for a little while, and listen to what the Lord may say to your heart, and then write down some of the thoughts that come unbidden to your mind. You’ll find that the Lord is speaking with you by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and you can write down some of the things He says to you, and they’ll be unspeakably precious in days to come. “The sheep hear His voice.”
It says, “He calleth His own sheep by name.” He knows my name. [chuckle] I remember on one occasion… You know, I greet everybody as they come along, and during those years when I was president of the college, I would say hello to everybody, and anybody. I had a private campaign to make people look up, and smile, and say hello, because many of them just looked down, and trudged along their weary way. And so it was, that one day I said, “Hello, Pete.” And the young man looked up, he said, “You know my name!” He was delighted. [laughter] Well, it’s Dale Carnegie, I guess, that says, “The sweetest sound in the language, is the sound of one’s own name properly pronounced.” I suppose. But Jesus knows my name. “He calleth His own sheep by name.” Has it occurred to you, that you are so special to the Savior, that He knows your name? There’s nobody else quite like you, and Jesus knows it, and he knows all about you.
The Psalmist said, “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising.” Dr Walter L Wilson, my dear friend, now with the Lord for many years, used to say in his quaint way, “Do you know how many times you sat down and got up today? No, you don’t, but God does.” “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising.” Yes, He knows. “He calls them by name.” Then it says, “He leads them out.” He comes in to lead them out. He comes into your life to bring you out.
There’s always progress when you’re dealing with God, do you realize that? Always progress when you’re dealing with God. If nothing is going on in your life, but the rent, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re not having much to do actively with the Lord at this time. Always progress in some direction, when you’re dealing with the Lord. Now, somebody who has gone through some bitter trials, is saying to me, “Brother Cook, nothing is happening, and I feel so dry, and I’m at the end of myself, and when I pray, I don’t get anywhere. And you say that, ‘If you’re not making progress, you haven’t been in touch with the Lord.’ ” No, now, don’t let me give you a guilt trip there. Sometimes, God lets us feel dry, so He can satisfy. “Therefore, will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you.”
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed a couple of days more in the place where he was, so that Lazarus had a chance to get sicker, and then die, and then be buried, and be in the grave four days, before the Savior ever arrived at Bethany. God’s timing includes my times of dryness and disappointment. I can’t understand that, but that’s how it is, so that He can satisfy me with His goodness. “He leadeth them out.” God is getting somewhere with you, whether or not you feel it, whether or not you know it. Dealing with God always involves progress. Deuteronomy Six says, concerning the children of Israel, that, “God brought them out of Egypt,” that is. “He brought them out, that He might bring them into the land that He had promised to their fathers.”
Now, how do you apply that? Number one, put your case in the hands of God by faith. Somebody that’s listening now is, maybe you’ve been fired, maybe you’ve been summarily dismissed, maybe you’ve been lied about, maybe people have wronged you in some way, and you feel so hurt, and so down. Listen, beloved, God isn’t done with you yet. He’s in the process of doing something. He’s in the process of bringing you out, so He can bring you in. “God having prepared some better thing for them,” it says. So trust Him, put your case in the hands of God.
Second, realize that, although you don’t feel anything, you live by faith. “The just shall live by faith,” three times, that Old Testament statement is quoted in the New Testament, “Once for salvation, once for assurance, and once for strength and stability.” And God is in the process of doing something, whether or not you and I feel it, so exercise your faith, and say, “Lord, I don’t feel it, but I’m gonna trust you for it.” Right?
And third, look for God’s leading, in terms of the next steps. There’s always a next step when you’re dealing with God. “He leadeth them out.” Oh, the old song is so true, “He leadeth me, O blessed thought. Oh words with Heavenly comfort fraught. Whatever I do, where’er I be, still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.” Let Him lead you today. Then, it says, “When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them.” “He goeth before them.” The guidance of our Lord is never an all alone thing. Jesus is always ahead of you, always there. He’s the God who is there. He’s the Savior who is there. He’s the one who’s ahead. “He goeth before them and the sheep follow Him.” Keep your eye on Jesus, because He’s up there ahead. He’ll never lead you into something, that He Himself hasn’t already experienced. The Bible says, “He was, in all points, tested like as we are, yet without sin.”
He knows how you feel. He’s a high priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows how you feel, He’s been there, and He’ll lead you, step by step, in the perfect will of God. It says, “The sheep follow Him, because they know His voice. They flee from strangers, for they know not the voice of strangers.” Number two, here, “They follow Him, for they know His voice.” “They know His voice.” Interestingly enough, the family dog will respond to his owner’s command, but let somebody from outside give a command and the dog just ignores him. Well, the same thing is true of any domesticated animal. They know the voice of those who take care of them.
We used to have a mynah bird at our house. The kids gave it to me one year and I was very fond of it. It had a disagreeable disposition, however. Why that was, I don’t know, because it had gotten sick, and then Coreen, my dear wife, had nursed it back to health, and fed it out of an eye dropper, and all that. And finally, the bird recovered, and became healthy. But, oh, it would bite, and it would scratch, and it would it scream, but it always knew when Coreen came around. And you would hear that mynah bird say, “Coreen.” [laughter] Knew her voice and she certainly knew the call of that disagreeable bird.
Oh, listen, you and I are a good deal smarter than sheep, and mynah birds, and cats, and dogs, aren’t we? And it stands to reason, that we ought, certainly, to know the voice of the Savior, and the way you get to know the voice of the Savior, is number one, through the Word, number two, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. God will never lead you to do anything that’s contrary to His Word. He’ll never lead you to do anything that grieves the indwelling Spirit of God and goes against your conscience. He’ll lead you in the perfect, perfect will of God.
The other thing is, know when to run away. It says, “They will flee from strangers. “They will flee from strangers, for they know not the voice of strangers.” Know when to run away, know when to back out, know when to say, “Listen, this doesn’t sound good to me. This doesn’t smell good. This doesn’t seem to be the way that God would lead me,” and just back out of it. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything and you don’t have to fight everything. On the other hand, just know when to run away. “Flee youthful lusts,” Paul said to Timothy. There are times to have a prayer meeting and there are times to say, “I’m gonna get outta here.” You need to know when, right?
Dear Heavenly Father, today, oh, may we know the voice of the shepherd and follow Him. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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