Hearing His Voice: Awake Series, Part 15


Sheep in New Zeland

I have visited many churches, but not all of them teach the same message.

I once visited a church that encouraged its members to illegally bring Mexican aliens into the US. I never returned. I have encountered believers who have their own now defunct prophet, whose writings they considered higher than God's Word itself. They were not my cup of tea! I even visited a church once whose members didn't believe in God or His Word! I am still wondering why they were meet together at all! And then there was the church down the road. When we entered, they took one look at my wife, who was dressed in pants, and with disapproval in their stance, they seated us at the very back of the church. They then proceeded to ignore us completely. We only stayed for 15 minutes that day!

Anyone proclaiming a different message than what Christ proclaimed is in error! His message was simple and clear: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9 NIV) And this message is broadcasted throughout His Word!

Why do we tend so often to try to save ourselves by our own works? Have we lost our confidence in Christ who paid the full price of our salvation?

In this world there are many voices who claim to have the truth. Even the evil one proclaims to have the truth! But truth can never be mixed with lies. Even if one proclaims 99% truth, with only 1% of untruth mixed in, it is no longer truth!

The sad part of this all is that many listen to these half-truths/half-lies and they completely miss the boat!

Jesus was clear about this: "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." (John 10:3 NIV)

If we are followers of Christ, we will follow Him and Him alone, because we "know His voice"! No other voice will do!

"But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." (John 10:5 NIV)

Those modified gospels proclaimed throughout the country are not from God, and they are robbing us of real life: "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them… The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:7-8, 10 NIV)

Who among these false prophets would be willing to die for us? There is only One who was willing, and He sure was no false prophet, the One with the real message: "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:14-15 NIV)

In case of doubt, God in His mercy has given us two reliable guides that we can trust:

1. God's Holy Spirit: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NIV)

2. God's Word: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Ps 119:105 NIV)

Despite this, many have somehow deformed God's Word by their own interpretations. They even encourage their members to only read the writings of their own denomination. The problem is, God does not work that way. His Spirit is the author of the Scriptures ("All Scripture is God-breathed…" 2 Tim 3:16 NIV) and only His Spirit can reveal to us its message!

What happens when we ignore the message?

Two drivers were frantically looking for a parking spot in Acadia National Park, Maine. Desperate, they decided to park on the beach. They ignored the warning against high tides that were posted everywhere. Being from inland, the ocean seemed so far away from where they parked and they were sure their cars would be safe during their trek.

When they returned to their vehicles, they were greeted by park rangers. Aghast, they discovered that both of their cars were half immersed in ocean water! I don't know if they received a parking ticket or not, but it would have seemed like a little thing compared to the damages they procured to their vehicles.

Following our own interpretations and understandings costs dearly. There is only one message. None other will do!

How about parking on the beach? It such a beautiful spot! Others do it! Why can't we?

Rob Chaffart

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