Listening to God (Part One)

"The Meeting of Our Lord", Russian Icon (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

In Luke Chapter 2, when Joseph and Mary went to the Temple to be purified according to the Law of Moses, they met two heroes of the faith – Simeon and Anna. These two people were devout followers of God who listened to the Spirit and noticed an unassuming couple holding a little baby. They got to see the Messiah before anyone else because they listened to God!

As followers of Jesus, we too can hear God. All we need to do is simply open our ears and listen.

To that end, this post outlines part one of a two part mini-sermon series on listening to Jesus. You can listen to the first part online at the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship website... the second part should be online something this week, but regardless of the audio file, I will be posting my notes from the second part tomorrow. So stay tune. 😀

Public Reading

Luke 2:21-40


•    Here’s a man who was devoted to God
•    Waiting for the Lord to come
•    God told him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah

o    Can you imagine that?
o    Waiting for years, asking God each time a “messiah” figure showed up in they were the one
o    Now, out of the blue, he walked up to this baby…

•    Talk about a chance encounter

o    Simeon was not supposed to be at the Temple
o    But the Spirit promoted him to go…
o    What if he had refused?

* Too tired…
* Too old…
* Too busy…
*  Too whatever…

o    But he didn’t and as a result he got to see Jesus….

The Prophetess Anna

•    The same thing happened to Anna
•    She was a prophetess, someone who heard from God…

o    Stop and think about that ladies
o    Listening to God is not a male’s only club
o    You ladies have to listen and obey as well…
o    I point this out because sometimes the church forgets that God speaks to both genders….
o    Yet here is St. Luke writing and telling us that both Simeon and Anna heard from God to go and look for the Savior of Humanity, the Savior of All of Creation!

•    Another point real quick is that Anna was from the tribe of Asher

o    Asher was one of the northern tribes of Israel who was conquered by Assyria  and hauled off
o    One of the so called “lost” tribes…
o    Yet here she was so they really weren’t lost after all. 😛

•     Back to the main point…here she was fasting and praying in the Temple, looking for God

o    And she happens to come up and that moment and see Jesus

•    Remember, Jesus is only 41 days old at this point…

o    He is just a red-faced pooping machine…perhaps he was crying and screaming…
o    Furthermore Joseph and Mary were bring to the Temple two birds instead of the normal lamb and bird as commented in Leviticus 12
o    In other words, they were simply another family in the crowd…another poor family from the country side who didn’t really stand out
o    Yet both Simeon and Anna saw something more…they saw the Lord at work!

Us Today

•    Here’s the thing: so can we!
•    We can hear God. Each one of us can hear Him and see Him at work
•    There isn’t a peaking order in which some people get to hear Him and others don’t…

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” –Hebrew 1:1-2

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” –Jesus, John 10:27

•    If we follow Jesus – if we bow our knees and say, “Jesus, you are my only Lord and Master. Please forgive me for all that I have done – I want to follow you. My life is now yours….”

o    If we do that, then the Spirit of God comes and lives in us

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” –Ephesians 1:13-14

o    And if the Spirit of God is in us, then we are to listen and hear His voice

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” –Jesus, John 14:26

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” –Jesus, John 16:13-14

How We Hear Him

•    There is no formula or set way that everyone hears God.
•    Throughout the Bible there are multiple ways that folks heard Him

o    Angels – Abraham, Zechariah, Mary
o    Visions – St. John, Isaiah
o    Dreams – Joseph
o    The use of the Urim and Thummim (i.e. lots, the rolling of dies or the drawing of names)
o    Symbolic Actions – Jeremiah
o    A gentile whisper – Elijah
o    Miraculous signs
o    Audibly
o    Words of Knowledge – Jesus, Paul (2 Corinthians)
o    Words of Wisdom – Jesus, Paul (2 Corinthians)
o    Scriptures
o    Circumstances
o    The body of Christ (i.e. the church)

•    The point is not HOW – the point is that we hear him
•    We have a relationship with Him so close that we can hear and recognize when he is talking to us

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