Sunday, May 5, 2024

A Clear Conscience to Hear God


A Clear Conscience to Hear God

Well, praise Jesus today everyone. What I wanted to talk about this morning was what we have to do to hear from God clearly. Because there's a lot of Christians that simply don't hear from God, and the biggest reason is due to sin itself. See sin blinds us from being able to have a good connection with our Father in heaven. And the more we sin, the more disconnected we become from God and the more blind we become. Sin makes the whole world blind and the more you sin, the more you become accepting towards sins, the more you can't speak out against sin because you know if you did, you'd be a hypocrite. So you just speak less and less of the truth.

If you want to hear from God clearly, the first thing you need to do is repent of your sins. You need to say, “Lord Jesus, please I want to come into your light. Please cleanse me of unrighteousness. Clean me of anything that is ungodly that's in my heart or in my mind and let me be sanctified for your purpose.” If you can start praying and asking your Father in heaven to forgive you, to purge you and purify you, then like how the Apostle Paul speaks in Romans, He's going to renew your heart and renew your mind. With a renewed mind, you have this renewed conscience. And when we have a conscience that knows the difference between right and wrong. All of us have a conscience, but some of us have suppressed it. So when we're given back this conscience to know the difference between right and wrong, then the Holy Spirit can convict our conscience and speak to us in our conscience and help us to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, a sheep and a goat, wheat and tares, and we can learn to hear God's voice very clearly.

Also the more we pray and practice hearing the Lord's voice, the better we get at it. When people are out of practice of anything, they lose their edge. And same with us when we stop praying and talking to our Father in heaven. I want to read to you what Jesus says about His sheep hearing His voice and this is found in John 10. This whole chapter has a lot of truth in it. We might just read the whole chapter together here. So look with me at John chapter 10. I'm going to start in verse 1. “1“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” So as you can see from right here, if we want to hear the Lord's voice, well number one, we have to be the shepherd's sheep. If we're rebelling against Him, then maybe we're not even a sheep or we haven't come into His fold yet.

Verse 4, “4And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This is the next big problem. A lot of Christians are listening to false shepherds. Instead of listening to the Lord's voice and dedicating themselves to prayer and diligently doing what is right, they have put their ears and eyes on false shepherds. These false shepherds have told them it's okay to sin, they're teaching hyper-grace, and they're wolves in sheep's clothing, many of them, some of them are just plain wolves. But because Christians are listening to these false shepherds, they have trained their ear to hear lies and not hear the truth that's coming from the Lord. Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

7Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” See, Jesus didn't say if you enter by the god Allah, or if you enter by Buddha, or if you enter by New Age, or if you enter by any one of these sects of religion. We have to enter by Jesus Christ. We have to get to know Jesus personally, and that happens in our prayer life by praying directly to Jesus and getting to know Him. And Jesus Himself is the door.

So He says in verse 10, “10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd”, ( this would be a hired helper, such as a pastor who is making his money to preach the gospel), “one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them”. This also happens all the time in church. The pastors, because they are hirelings and don't really care about the sheep, when they see a wolf coming, they see danger and they don't warn. They want to continue to get their pay check. And they want to protect their own bodies. So they won't speak out against evil when they see danger coming.

“13The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have which are not of this fold;”  He's talking about us here, Gentiles, us that are not Jews. Jesus didn't just die for Jewish people, but he died for all people of all nationalities, all tongues, whether they are Jew or Gentile, “them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” 17“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” 19Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” 21Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

See a lot of people, they just cannot accept Jesus as God. They cannot accept Him as the door. They want the church to be the door. They want some aloof god to call their Father in heaven. They want some religious sect to be god, but they cannot see Jesus as the door. They haven't made Jesus as their King and their Lord.

22Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.”  

See this is interesting guys, because these people saw many miracles from Jesus. Most of us would think to ourselves, if I met Jesus in person, and I saw the mighty works that He did on this earth, I would believe. But the people in Jesus' day saw the dead raised, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and they did not put their faith in Jesus or believe that He was the Christ, the Savior. And we would be the same way if we hadn't truly repented. If we are living as sinners, Jesus would just be another person to give us free bread, free handouts. He would be the evening entertainment. But we would not care to really repent unless our hearts were ready to actually repent and to be led by the Good Shepherd. This is a big problem. If we don't hear the Lord's voice, it may be because we are like the religious Jews that aren't looking for the truth, or we're like the Gentiles who are so far stuck in sin in the ways of the world, that we're not ready for the Messiah. So we need to make sure if we want to hear from God, that we are prepared to let Jesus be our leader.

Jesus says in verse 27, “27My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”  That is truly a wonderful promise that the Lord gives, that if we put our faith in Jesus, He will give us eternal life. When we die on this earth, we won't just go down to Hades or hell, we won't just vanish out of existence. But if we put our faith in Jesus Christ, He will give us everlasting life, and we will live with our Father in heaven for all eternity.

“29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30I and My Father are one.” Here is another great promise, that if we stay with Jesus, if we become His child and listen to His voice and hearken to His voice, then nothing will be able to snatch us out of His hand. Many Christians and false prophets have used this verse to try to prove once saved always saved, eternal security, and that there is no way that you can lose your salvation. That's just false. If you turn your back on God, and if you become a rebellious sheep, or if you never come into His fold in the first place, of course you don't have eternal security. There's no such thing as just easy hyper grace where you don't have to actually repent and follow the Lord and you're just saved and going to heaven, because when you were 8 years old you said a prayer of salvation. What Jesus is saying here in verse 29 is that if you are His sheep and you're hearkening to Him and obeying Him and walking with Him, there's no way anything is going to distract you or pull you out from the Lord's favor, His hand of protection. But of course if you rebel against Him, then Satan is going to mess with you and destroy your soul. I think we better just read the rest of this, even though it doesn't pertain exactly to hearing Jesus' voice, because there's a couple good nuggets of truth here that a lot of us don't understand. So let's read and continue this chapter, starting in verse 31.

31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  

Obviously people were mad at Jesus enough for saying that He was the Son of God, for saying that we have to just go through Him for life. The Jewish people and Gentiles, most people want there to be a different way. They don't want Jesus to be the only way, they rebel against that. That's obviously why they don't hear from God, is because they're sinners and religious. This made the people then so mad that they wanted to stone Jesus. 32Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 33The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” So they obviously got the point that Jesus is claiming to be God. He wasn't just claiming to be one of many sons of God. They obviously were upset enough to know that Jesus was claiming to be God. He was claiming to be Emmanuel God with us. And that made them so mad they thought He was blaspheming, demon possessed, and worthy to be killed right there.

34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. 40And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42And many believed in Him there.

So this verse Jesus quotes is quite interesting, that says, you are gods, and He uses that to basically prove that it is hypocritical for them to be ready to kill Him for saying that He is the Son of God, when in the Scripture it says that they are gods. So if you look at this verse, it's quite interesting. What Jesus was quoting was Psalms 82 verse 6 and 7, and it says there in Psalms, I said, you are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But then verse 7 says, but you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth, for you shall inherit all nations. Now this is interesting because it's kind of tongue-in-cheek, and you have to understand what Jesus was saying. He wasn't saying that all of us are God. However, if we are created in the image of God, we have this ability to judge correctly. And obviously, these religious Pharisees were not judging correctly like God, even though they were supposedly created in God's image and supposed to be righteous judges, but they weren't. And so in this verse, it says first you are gods, so then you can think, great, I'm like God, I am a god. But then it says in verse 7, you shall die like men. So these Pharisees would have known this verse, and they would have realized, probably picked up on what Jesus was saying, that they think that they're god, that they're going to die like flesh, they're going to die like men. These guys hated Jesus. And nothing has changed. The religious crowd still hates Jesus. They don't accept Him as the one way to the Father. They're always trying to make Jesus seem less than He is, saying He's not God, He's just a God’s son. Well, the Pharisees in Jesus' day and His time obviously didn't just think that Jesus was claiming to be one of the many sons of God. They knew He was claiming to be a deity. They knew that He was claiming to be God Almighty, and He was claiming to be on equal par with Him. And that made them mad enough that they literally wanted to kill Jesus. A lot of Christians today, they wouldn't say that they want to kill Jesus, but they spiritually do kill God. They get God out of their church. They want to live a sinful, hypocritical life. Anyone who is trying to come to God, they block so that they don't hear the truth, because they want people in church to be listening to their scribes, their Pharisees, their prophets, their biblical teachers. They would rather not anyone really hear from God personally, because if you did, you would leave their fold, and you would come into the fold of the Lord, the Good Shepherd.

And so that's what I want to encourage you to do today. Leave the false shepherds. Leave those who are leading people astray, leading you astray, and come to be led by the Good Shepherd, not by a hireling, not by one of these false shepherds. But be led by Jesus, and it starts with a real and genuine prayer life, truly repenting of your sins, and just saying, “Lord Jesus, please come into my heart, purify me from unrighteousness, open my blind eyes and my deaf ears. I want to humble myself before You, Lord Jesus, and make You my one and only Teacher, and I want to receive the power of Your Holy Spirit.” If you can just start praying these simple prayers as a child, the Lord Jesus will come into your life, He will purify you, He will purge you from evil, and He will become your Teacher and your Leader, your Father, and the One who guides you every single day.

So I hope that someone watching this today turns from evil, turns from their sin, puts their faith in the Good Shepherd, and has eternal life. “Lord Jesus, I do pray for those who have an ear to hear. I pray that those who do have an ear to hear would be brought into Your fold and out of the shackles and bondage of sin. I pray that You purify Your church, that You wash us completely free from everything that is sinful, that all of that dirt of the world would fall off of us, and we would be completely clean and ready to live for You, and die to ourselves and pick up our cross. So I pray for those who are listening today, that they would be pure in heart and in mind, and really learn how to pray, that they would practice praying, that they would practice hearing Your voice and being led by You, that they could grow in their faith and truly be Your sheep that are led by You alone, Lord. In Your name we pray, Amen.”