TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | How To Hear The Voice Of God

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey everyone, welcome to our online Bible study, 3trees Church. So excited to be with you again on another Wednesday night. We gather here every Wednesday at 6:30pm, Central; and 7:30pm, Eastern time; YouTube; Facebook; or 3trees.online.church. I preached a message on Sunday entitled The Most Important Word in the Bible, and it was something that really came from my heart. It's something I've been praying through, working through. As I study the Word of God, I feel like that's where most of my messages come from, like I'm sure most all preachers and teachers. But on Sunday, it was a message that I really believe that God wants to get across to his Church, and specifically to 3trees Church. So if you haven't checked out that message, I hope that you'll do so. In that message. I mentioned a story. And from that story, I mentioned the importance of my garage in my own life. And so I am actually here in my garage today. And I don't know, maybe you can hear the birds chirping. I don't know, I've got two Springer Spaniel dogs laying at my feet. Maybe you'll hear them move around, or grunt, or bark, or growl at some point during this message. Also, my neighbors have got different animals and chickens and stuff, you may hear those roosters crow. But this is kind of an element that is very important to my walk with the Lord. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, I want to recap, just in case some of you didn't have a chance to hear the message on Sunday. And even if you did, just give you kind of a refresher course. And what I talked about was there is a story from Central America, how that there were a group of tribes that experienced the Gospel. And after they heard the Gospel, they realized they didn't have a church building, they didn't have a central place to gather. So what they did is they kind of went out into the middle of the jungle, and they cleared out a gathering space. And what began to happen is people from the different villages and from the different homes, they began to create pathways that would come to this central place to pray, to experience God, and to hear the voice of the Lord for their life. And what would happen is if somebody you know, maybe lost their first love a little bit for the Lord, or maybe they lost some of their enthusiasm, grass would begin to grow over their path. And so that culture of Christians, they developed a saying amongst one another, if someone did lose their first expression of love for the Lord through their discipline and their intentionality of coming to this central place to pray and seek the Lord. They would say to one another, brother, sister, grass is growing over your path. And it was just a reminder that they had not been wearing out that path, to go and experience God, to spend time in prayer to spend time in worship. And when I think about the significance of that, and how that we know that the Lord wants us to be intentional in our relationship with him, he wants us to be disciplined in our relationship with him. You know, for me, I've noticed that there's a path that's actually developing in our yard. It stretches from our house out to our garage, and I've just noticed over the last few weeks and months how that that path has continued to just lose grass, it's becoming increasingly worn out. And so this space, with this old stove, this is actually a Cole brand stove, it's actually designed for coal. And the way that it would work is they would shovel the coal in or they could scoop the coal in. I'm actually burning wood in it. And I actually cooked breakfast on it this morning. And it's a place where I just kind of come out here and get alone with the Lord and tend the fire. And I've got my Bible, and it's actually a journaling Bible, and I sit here and just try to hear the voice of the Lord for my life. And you may be thinking, wait a second, man, my life is too chaotic for that kind of thing. My life's too busy for that kind of thing. I don't have a garage. I don't even have a closet that I could crawl up in and praying. I do believe that you can improvise. And I do believe that we all have the time. We just sometimes refuse to believe it. I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm busier than I've ever been in my life. I have a lot of responsibility on my plate. But one of the things that I think about is what John Wesley said. He was said to have preached over 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. And they asked him with all that he had to do, all these churches that he was over, all these pastors that he was leading, all of these organizations that he was in charge of and serving. Like, how do you have time to pray, and this is what he said. He said, I pray that I may find time to do everything else. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so I've just found if it means I gotta get up a little bit earlier, if it means I got to go to bed a little bit later, I have to create that time to be with the Lord. Because there's nothing that I value more in my life than the voice of God. And so the Bible tells us this. This is the words of Jesus Christ, it is that God's sheep will know his voice. God's sheep will know His voice, Jesus said that; my sheep will know my voice. So when we're saved, we are a follower of Jesus, we are sheep of his pasture, if you can understand that, figuratively. And in olden times when Shepherd would lead sheep, those sheep knew the shepherd’s voice, and they knew it very clearly. They could extinguish it even from the voice of other shepherds, or even from other noise that was going on in their life. And it came from familiarity, it came from that voice being associated with every time that they were fed, every time that they were protected, every time that they were led. You know, I mentioned earlier, I think that I've got a couple of dogs in this garage with me, one of them actually was grunting just a moment ago, I think he's having a dream, he's sleeping really well. But those dogs, they know when dad goes to the garage, they get to go to. And so all I have to do is just kind of step out and whistle just the least little bit. And they will come running across the field, and they meet me at the gate, and they run straight into this garage. And even before the fire is lit, sometimes they come and they lay beside the fire, because they know it's going to get warmed up. They've learned that there are good things associated with dad's voice. And I think it's the same thing with us with God's voice, there are really good things that are associated with God's voice. And when you think about hearing the voice of God, like how do you learn that it's actually God saying something to you? Well, the first thing is, you've got to get in the Word of God. The Lord is never going to say anything that's going to contradict his Bible, his Word. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So sometimes, as you're learning to discern the voice of the Lord, it's really important to have context for how God has already spoken. And this word is very much alive, and it is as real today, as it was 2000 years ago, but the Lord is never going to tell you anything in 2021 that doesn't line up with what he's already written for us over 2000 years ago. So, it's important to have a relationship with the Word of God. And what you begin to learn is that you know, God may not speak to you audibly, he may not give you a dream, he may not give you a vision, there may not be some prophet that walks up and gives you a prophecy. There may never be another person that you're associated with who gives you a word of knowledge, or a word of wisdom. But what you do begin to feel is that innate unction of God, it's like it's inside of you. And you just know that you know that the Lord is moving you in that direction. He's calling you in that direction, that that's a part of your calling, that's a part of your purpose. And that's a part of what he has next for you. So those are just really some practical things about hearing the voice of God. And you know, the Bible says this, if you will call he will answer, that's Jeremiah 33:3. So, first thing you gotta do is call before you can expect him to answer. Matthew 7:7 tells us that if you ask you will receive, if you seek, you will find; if you knock, it will be answered unto you. And so you have got to be intentional about asking before you're gonna receive. You got to be intentional about seeking before you're going to find and knocking before you're going to see it open unto. But when you think about that concept of how you're calling out to God, you're asking, seeking knocking for the Lord, you need to also realize that according to the book of Revelation, Jesus is standing at our door, and he is knocking, wanting to get in. So this is not something you're going to have to beg for. This is something you just have to make yourself available for. And a lot of times when you go to knock on that door, you're going to discover he's already standing there knocking, he's been waiting on you to hear it so that you can open it up and let him in. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, another thing that I would say about the voice of God is in relation to Elijah. Elijah was at a time where he really needed to hear God. He was going through trials, he was going through tribulations. His nation was facing great challenges. I mean, spiritually, they were off the tracks. And what happens with Elijah is he gets alone with God. And honestly, the reasons for him to have been alone were not the greatest. It looks like he's kind of running in fear, or at least he's running in discouragement, and depression. He gets out there, and he sees this fire, and then he experiences this wind, and he experiences this earthquake. And what we know is that God sent all three of those things, but he was not in any of those things. What Elijah was searching for was more than a fire, more than a wind, more than an earthquake. He was searching for more than just an expression of God's power. He's like, I gotta hear God. And so the next thing you see happen is Elijah there all by himself. The Bible says he hears the Lord in a still, small voice. It’s one of my favorite passages of text about hearing God, because I think what it teaches us is you have to turn everything else down before you're going to be able to turn the Lord up. If you've heard me preach very many times, probably at some point, you've heard me give this reference point that the best audio engineers, when they're trying to get in a mix for an auditorium or for a concert in regards to singers, and say there's four singers, and they want to hear singer one more than the other three singers, well, they don't turn singer one up as their first go to. What they probably want to try to do first is turn down singer two, singer three, and singer four so that they can hear singer one with greater clarity. And I think a lot of times what we want is we just want God to talk loud and we want God to yell at us. We want God to scream at us. But we don't want to turn everything else down. Like sometimes you gotta turn Netflix down, and sometimes you gotta turn texting down, and sometimes you gotta turn social media down. Sometimes you gotta turn everything else down. Even some of just your relational conversations so that you can be, and you will experience God in community, don't get me wrong, but there are times, according to Matthew chapter six, that you go in, and you shut the door, and you pray in private and what you pray in private God will reward you with openly. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I think one of the reasons that we don't have a lot of public reward from the presence of God in our life is because we've not privately prayed. And if you ever just wonder about the power of the voice of God, I want to share with you Psalm chapter 29, verse number three, it says, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters. The God of glory thunders, the Lord over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars. The Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon just skip like a calf. The voice of the Lord flashes for the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness, the Lord's shakes the wilderness of kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forest bare. The Lord sits enthroned over the flood, he is enthrone as the King forever.” And what David is doing in Psalm 29 is he’s just glorifying the voice of God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, the Book of Psalms, what it actually is, is it's just a collection of hymns from the time of the Old Testament. Moses wrote a few of them. David, it seems wrote the majority of them, and then he had musicians, etc., that helped him to compose what the sound would be like associated with those words. But when I think about it being a hymn, I think about it being a song. There's this modern day song that if you could see it, I've got a little kind of vintage looking radio over there, but it but it has Bluetooth on it, and I come out here with my phone, and I connect it to that little speaker, and I've just kind of had this song on repeat. It's actually primarily sung by Dante Bo, but also a couple other people, and it's called the voice of God, and I love it. It says this, “I can hear it in the crackle of a bonfire, and I can hear it in the middle of the ocean water, oh, I just can't explain, but it makes me want to cry. I can hear it when the rain falls on my window seal, on a playground where children's laughter lives. Oh, I can't explain, but it makes me want to cry. And I can hear it in the busy New York city streets, and I can hear it in the country Georgia fields of green. Oh, I can't explain it. No, it makes me want to cry. It sounds like grandma telling you where you come from, said it's kind of like laughter out of the mouths of your loved ones, or catching up with an old friend reminiscing on, on back when. It's like a summertime sprinkler, streetside with my ice cream cone. Said it sounds like a choir singing hymns, hallelujah. It's the voice of God, it makes a grown man cry.” It goes on with a few more verses. I mean, it's an extremely powerful song. And I have no idea what provoked it to be written. But I've wondered if maybe the writer wasn't reading Psalm 29,  got inspired about the different ways to describe the voice of God and put a modern context to it. And I think what the author of this song is trying to say is not that the voice of God is like any one of these things singularly. I think what the author of the song is trying to say is that the voice of God gives you such an incredible feeling like when you know that you've heard from him, when you know that you've experienced him, that it could be likened unto that day out there by the sprinkler, it could be likened to hearing your grandmama, and it could be likened to a playground where children's laughter is at, and it could be likened unto the crackle of the fire. So many different things. And I just want you to think about in your life, where you need to hear the voice of God, how you need to experience the voice of God. Maybe you're going through some relationship challenges and you just need to hear the voice of God about what the next step should be. Maybe you're facing some life, like forks in the road, and you need to hear the voice of God about how it's supposed to be. Maybe COVID has thrown your whole world into turmoil, and now you're like, I don't know where to pick up and go from here. You need to hear the voice of God. I want you to understand something, God still speaks. And I believe that he can speak to you on a daily basis, even if it's just some practical things he desires for you to do from the Word of God. One of the things that I've been trying to do for our family is, as I mentioned earlier, this is just a journaling Bible, this happens to be the ESV translation, it kind of looks something like this, you can buy these online. It's one of my favorite possessions. And what I've been trying to do with this over a number of years is like, whether it's maybe a morning prayer time, or when I go, sometimes I get to go in like a prayer retreat and kind of seek the Lord, I take this Bible with me and, and I write in the margins. And what I'm writing in the margins is things that I believe that God is saying, not just to me, but to our family. And someday, I hope this becomes something like our family Bible, that it's passed on to my kids. And maybe I'll even create two of these, because we got two kids, and just for them to be able to reflect back on hey, this is something God said to my dad and says something God said to our family, and maybe it's real to them in that moment. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, here's what I want you to do, I want you to take out the elements for communion. I’ve told you guys for weeks that if you don't have the elements that we provide there at the church, that you're welcome just to get, you know, like a cracker and a cup of juice. And that's exactly what I have to knock out here in my garage. And maybe if you need a moment, just to get that I'll give you the chance to do that if you want to pause the broadcast for a second. But I want us to take a moment and just celebrate the fact that God still speaks, and that the reason we can hear His voice is because of what he did on the cross for us, that he made himself accessible to us. In fact, the Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews, that Jesus is just like a big, broken veil. His body became broken, so that we can pass through him and experience the presence of the Lord, and that's where the voice of God resides. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, this bread, it represents Jesus. His body was broken. Jesus Himself said that, that he took the bread, blessed the bread, and then broke the bread, gave it. Said it represents my body. Maybe somebody just needs to hear the voice of God over their life tonight, that he was broken so that you can be made whole. I believe he wants to heal your body, if your body is broken by disease, broken by sickness. Believe that by his stripes, the brokenness of his body, you can be healed. So I'm going to ask you right now, with reverential all for the work of the cross of Jesus to take and eat of the bread. Jesus lifted up the cup, and he told them it represented his blood, shed for the remission of sins. Some of you need to hear the voice of God say to you, that your shame is gone, that you don't have to live in guilt. You don't have to live in condemnation. You need to hear the voice of God tell you that old things have passed away and everything has become new again. And so I'm going to ask you with reverential all to just take a drink of the cup.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Lord, I thank you that one day I heard you through the preaching of the Gospel, let me know that I could be saved. And, Lord, in that moment, old things began to pass away. And God in that moment everything became new and through discipleship, Father, that newness was further solidified as a new creature in Christ Jesus. Lord, we love you so much. And we want to hear your voice. And I'm asking you, God, people out there that have just really been struggling to hear you, let them hear your voice in this season. God, we thank you so much. And I pray that 3trees Church would be a place that cultivates opportunities, even in corporate worship gatherings, small group gatherings, or even through moments like online Bible studies, God, that people can hear your voice. Lord let it be done in Jesus’ name; this church said, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to tell you something you can do for us, it would help us a lot. If you have never subscribed to 3trees Church, through YouTube, if you would please do that, it would help us a bunch. And once you're there, also, anytime you can, please like the video, and then there's also a bell there that can give you notifications about times when we post, or new material or information is released. It just really helps us through the algorithms that are associated with YouTube. I don’t even know how to say that word, it's above my head. All I know is this, there's things associated with all of that, that we need those things to take place. And if you do it, it really helps the message to go further. So, these dogs have been pretty good. So, hey, Crockett Crocket, Crockett, come here. Come here. Come here. Bama, wake up. There asleep. My preaching is so good that I have literally put them to sleep. They are like out of it, out of it. So that makes me know how great this Bible study was that I can even put the dogs asleep. And I think they're just getting a little bit camera shy. But this is Bama. Come here, Crock. This is Crockett. And this is Mama's dog over here on the right. This is daddy's dog over here on the left. We lost Boone earlier this year. These are my pups, and they keep me company while I'm trying to hear the voice of God. And I believe that my entire right side is baked. I am like a toasted marshmallow. This thing is absolutely raging. So I'm going to get up from this fire and try to hear the voice of God from another part of this garage moving forward. Guys, we love you so much. I hope to see you again Wednesday night at 6:30pm, Central; 7:30pm, Eastern time; YouTube; Facebook; and 3trees.online.church. God bless you.