1. How does the Holy Spirit guide you most often? Through God’s Word? Through an inner voice? Through wise counsel? In another way?
2. In what area of your life are you most likely to grapple for control? In your job? With your family?
3. What do you feel God has been speaking to you about the most through this Divine Direction series? Is there something specific that is continually on your mind and on your heart as you seek His will?
*consider thinking about and then writing down the names of two people who you can look to for wise counsel in your life.
Good morning Hope City! Welcome back from Spring Break 2019! Hopefully you all are feeling rested! Today we are closing out our series, Divine Direction. We are excited to be together… We’ve been trying to answer one of the most common questions that people have, and that is “What is God’s Will For My Life?”
- What should I do with my business?
- Should I sell my house?
- Should I use Apple Music, or Spotify… NO! That’s not hard… Come on.
We are talking about the difficult decisions in life. We all love to make plans, and figure things out… Or maybe I should say, we all like to have a plan, we may not like to make plans. But look at our key verse from this series, Proverbs 16:9, You’ve probably got it memorized by now…
We can make our PLANS, but the Lord determines our STEPS. ~Proverbs 16:9
A lot of times I’m facing a decision and I’m like, is this the voice of God, or the voice of Peter? For example… The other day I was driving along the road and a drove past a Starbucks, and I felt this urge to go in and order a Grande Iced Vanilla Cappucino with Cold Foam. There was just something pushing me towards it. I couldn’t identify it, I couldn’t really understand why… But I was being drawn to the Coffee Mecca. Was that God speaking to me, or was that Peter speaking to me?
Let me tell you about another time that I felt like I was being pushed to do something… I know this is probably hard to believe… but I was in line at Starbucks, and I asked the Barista how her day was going. Her response to me was, eh… not good. And then I felt it… I felt something pushing me to get closer, and to lean in… To say, is there anything I can pray for you about? WHAT? In public? Was that God speaking to me? Or Peter?
Sometimes we can wonder if the decisions that we’re making, or the voice’s that we’re listening to are our own, or if they are the Lord’s. I want to show you from Scripture today, three ways that will guarantee that you’ll be able to listen to the Holy Spirit!
Listen to me, we need to be wise in our PLANNING, but even beyond that, we need to be LISTENING to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not some Ghost flying around like Casper… The Holy Spirit is part of the trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Jesus left the earth, he said, do not fear! I’m not going to leave you alone, I’m going to send one who will be with you… and look what the role of the Spirit is in the life of the believer…
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears…. —John 16: 13
The role of the Spirit in the life of a Christ follower is to guide us into all Truth. Not just the truth about what to believe, but also the Truth of God’s DIVINE DIRECTION. And part of growing in our faith is learning to listen to the Holy Spirit. Because there are some decisions where we need to slow down, stop talking and listen to God speak to us.
- Friends trying to hear God’s next step about whether they should FOSTER CHILDREN or not.
- A friend of mine is looking to expand his company… should he branch out, explore new locations, or new staff members?
How can you discern what God is saying, or get a sense of what is His best for your life?
Let’s jump into 1 Samuel 3 as we learn how to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and leading in our life. Turn with me to page 185 in the Bible’s around you. If you’re new to the Bible, the book of First Samuel is the history of ancient Israel seen through the eyes of man named Samuel. Samuel was a prophet. Now, don’t get weirded out by that. Samuel was a prophet, but probably not what you’re thinking… See, a prophet was this… A prophet was someone who HEARS the words of God and then speaks them out loud like a megaphone. A prophets job was to hear the words of God and speak them to His people. The prophet would get a DIVINE DOWNLOAD and then he would DECEMINATE the information.
We are going to take a look at how Samuel the prophet learned to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it amazing that we can learn how to hear the voice of the Lord from someone who’s job was to, wait for it… HEAR THE VOICE OF THE LORD!
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli
(Eli is one of the spiritual and political leaders in Israel. He was also Samuel’s mentor).
In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see…. —1 Samuel 3: 1-2
Right here we see the set-up of the story. We have Eli who is this old man going blind. God and the people weren’t on speaking terms. This guy had macular degeneration. I don’t know if he needed readers, or if he had cataracts.
But I want you to get this picture in your head. You’ve got Eli, who is the old guy going blind and this young boy named Samuel who’s probably only 10. He’s like the church intern.
In vs. 3:
…Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”—1 Samuel 3: 3- 6
How many of you are a parent with small children?
Then you know what poor Eli is going through. You’ve put your kid to bed, and then you put yourself to bed. Then at 3 in the morning, you feel a presence hovering over you…who knows what I’m talking about? You open your eyes and it’s your kid that you put to bed 6 hours ago just looking at you…two inches from your face…HELLO!!! I’m HERE!!!!
And like Eli, your like, just go back to bed; lie down; go to sleep. Then in vs. 7 we read:
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
(Eli figured it out…this wasn’t Samuel being a weird kid trying to wake up his parents. Samuel was hearing from God.)
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. —1 Samuel 3: 7-9
Samuel was receiving a message from God, so Eli was coaching Him on how to listen to the Spirit. So then:
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”—1 Samuel 3: 10
If we’re going to learn how to hear the Holy Spirit we need to follow in the footsteps of our boy Samuel… One of the first things Samuel does is he makes a decision to:
- Obey what you already know
Do you remember how the story began?
In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions…. —1 Samuel 3: 1
That phrase “in those days” refers to the time of the Judges where the people ignored God’s clear commands that He had given them, and instead were doing their own thing. Creating their own moral and spiritual landscape of false worship, violence and immorality.
Because of the way they lived, they couldn’t hear God’s DIVINE DIRECTION for their lives because they set their lives to spiritual airplane mode. You guys know what airplane mode is? People can send messages…but you don’t receive them!
So they couldn’t hear from God’s spirit because they disconnected to God’s Word. Even their spiritual leaders like Eli were on airplane mode, not staying connected to the Spirit of God.
Most Christians are living in spiritual airplane mode; ignorant of the fact that 98% of God’s Will has been revealed through the WORD OF GOD. So if we turn off airplane mode and read, understand and obey the Bible; most confusion would be cleared up.
Let me give you an example of how people go into airplane mode. I talk to a lot of people who want to know God’s will in their relationships. Several years ago I was talking with this guy who was asking me if he should ask her to marry him, is this the one, he wanted to be very specific.
Can we just acknowledge that many people are looking for BILLBOARDS…but they fail to follow the BASICS. For instance, before we get to the specifics of what ring you buy or anything like that; maybe we just go to the basics first. Because God does reveal His will in the Bible. He reveals His will about relationships. Let’s look at:
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says that:
It is God’s will that you should … avoid sexual immorality. —1 Thessalonians 4:3
Now this dude was telling me that this woman wasn’t the only woman in the picture. In fact there were dozens of women that he was sleeping with. But His big question was should I marry her?
This is so obvious, The first step is that we should obey God’s revealed Will of avoiding sexual immorality. If not, why would we ever believe that God would give us the next step beyond that. We look for BILLBOARDS but need to follow the BASICS. This is why we will
- Obey what you already know
For some of you, the reason why God hasn’t given you clarity on a relationship is probably because you’re on spiritual airplane and need to start to read God’s Word and do what He’s already told you to do.
I’m not saying this to shame you or make you feel bad. But before God can show you the next step; the Spirit is saying that your next step is to pursue purity. To:
Obey what you already know.
And Samuel had positioned Himself right there, in the holiest place in the world. This tells me that Samuel wanted to be with God and wanted a relationship not religion. Christianity is about Relationship NOT Religion.
A RELATIONSHIP is about trust and intimacy…while RELIGION is a man made of do’s and don’ts. And if you break the rules you’re going to hell.
Maybe like me, you come from a religious background and your burned out from the hypocrisy and all the rules.
Since I began a relationship with Jesus, it has been a life-giving, dynamic adventure and encountering God.
And our times of decisions are opportunities to encounter God in deeper ways.
Maybe you’ve been asking God for healing in a situation or a job, or asking God for Mr. Right and you’re wondering why He hasn’t answered your prayer. Here’s the Truth…SOMETIMES GOD WILL CHANGE YOUR SITATION…SOMETIMES HE USES THE SITUATION TO CHANGE YOU. He wants to use that situation to change your heart. God just wants you.
As you continue to walk with God closely, you’ll start hearing Him with greater frequency; and you’ll those decisions as opportunities to encounter Christ.
So let’s review how we listen to the Holy Spirit. We Obey what you already know, Walk Closely with God the third principle is to:
3) Seek Wise Counsel.
Let’s look at verse 7.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
I just want to point out something really quick. Samuel at first didn’t recognize God’s voice at first. He needed help, this tells me that listening to the Holy Spirit takes time and practice.
It’s more of an art than a science. Part of hearing God is slowing ourselves down to pause and listen to what we think God is saying.
One of the things that I’m so grateful for is our Overseers here at Hope City. We’ve got some incredible men who love me, love Hope City, and most importantly, they Love Jesus. As you can imagine, there are times here at Church when some things come up, or some decisions need to be made, or I’m experiencing emotional fatigue and need help… I’ve learned that I need to stop and reach out to these men. Shoot them an email, shoot them a text….
When I do this, I have not always liked what they’ve had to say, but I have ALWAYS liked the way I felt after checking in with them. I don’t just want to make a WISE DECISION, I want to make a SPIRIT FILLED decision. I need Godly voices in my life.
We see this principle clearly in vs. 9. After Samuel woke Eli up a third time, he said to Samuel:
“Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. —1 Samuel 3: 9
Eli helped Samuel recognize God’s voice verses other voices that appeared to him. Do you have people like this in your life?
This is why at Hope City we are all about CONNECT GROUPS. CONNECT GROUPS are 8-12 people who gather together to draw closer to God and one another. They get together not only to encourage one another, but also correct.
You know, maybe you’ve gone to your group and you’ve said something like, “I think that God is telling me that He wants me to join the worship team and lead in the singing next week, even though I’ve never sang before.” This is when my small group would jump in and be like, “Well I don’t think that God told anyone else that!”
Who do you have partnering with you in prayer?
If you’re seeking DIVINE DIRECTION, we said two weeks ago that you need to increase your DIVINE CONNECTION!
Are you struggling in your career, or your job? Who is praying with you for that?
If you’re looking to take a next step in your relationships, and friendships, who do you have partnering with you in prayer?
TIFFANY AND I Planning for 2019
To listen to the Holy Spirit we need to Obey what God’s already said, walk closely with God, and seek wise counsel and the fourth and final principle is to:
4) Surrender Your Will to God.
As a young boy we see Samuel doing this:
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”—1 Samuel 3: 10
That word listening means listen with the intention of obeying. This meant that Samuel had already decided that whatever God told Him to do He would do it. Even if it made him uncomfortable, uneasy or fearful.
Most times, when we say we’re seeking God’s will, what we really want to say to Jesus is this: “I’m going to go do this and I want you to follow me.”
I was driving one time and saw a bumper sticker that said: “Jesus is my co-pilot.”
And the picture is “I’m at the wheel steering the car… Jesus is in the passenger’s seat.” But the Bible says “Jesus isn’t the follower…he’s the leader! He’s not riding shotgun; he’s steering the wheel. God wants to be at the wheel… and we’re in the backseat… along for the ride!”
When we take control—and put our WILL or DESIRES ahead of His—it’s a recipe for spinning our wheels… or worse!
You might be feeling a blockage from hearing the Holy Spirit because you haven’t fully surrendered everything to God. (Surrender)
A few weeks ago at the end of our service we had a very powerful time of prayer. Many of you stayed after… You stayed still for just a little longer in order to hear from the Lord. I had the privilege to pray with a few of you. What I loved was how many of you told me either that morning or in the days following, how you didn’t necessarily NEED something from God, you just wanted MORE OF GOD. You were feeling the need to surrender the moment to Him.
Jesus found himself having to do the very same thing. He had a moment where He needed Divine Direciton. He wanted to go to Jerusalem, and yet His disciples were like, NO WAY! WE’RE NOT GOING THERE! Why? Because there were people waiting there to kill Him. In Jerusalem, Jesus knew that within 24 hours, he would be arrested… tortured… and crucified on a Roman cross for the sins of the world! And do you know what Jesus prayed?
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” – Luke 22:42
This is where we see the fourth way in the life of Jesus; to 4.SURRENDER YOUR WILL TO GOD. We are called to take up our cross and follow Him. And He’ll lead us into places where we won’t want to go. But Jesus asks us to trust Him. Will we follow the one who walked the road of suffering to the cross and died so that you and I could become followers of Christ.
That is a prayer of Perfect Surrender & Submission! And thank God Jesus prayed it! Because Jesus surrender to His Father’s will—His willingness to die on the Cross to forgive our sins—is what brought Salvation to each of us!
Because Jesus submitted His will to God’s—you & I are not only forgiven… we are SET FREE to live a life DIVINELY DIRECTED by God too!
That’s pretty incredible when you think about it! If Jesus was willing to die for us, shouldn’t we be willing to live for Him? When we pray to submit our plans & desires to God’s, that’s when He really begins to HEAR THE SPIRIT with greater clarity; because He knows we’ll obey.
I have a question for you:
Q: What do you need to surrender to God?
I really believe that some of you haven’t received that next step because your clutching onto something. God wants to give you the next step but maybe you need to take a first step of surrender.
You may need to surrender:
- Your idea of where you want to live (Speak Lord, your servant is listening).
- Your perfect Plan for your family. (Speak Lord, your servant is listening).
- Pleasing People (Speak Lord, your servant is listening).
- Or the career you thought you wanted (Speak Lord, your servant is listening).
You need to surrender it fully to God in order to Encounter Christ. We’re going to take a moment to let you LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT so he can reveal that to you. And we’re going to give you the opportunity to surrender just like Jesus did by celebrating COMMUNION
WAFER “This is my body broken for you…”
JUICE “This is my blood shed to forgive your sins…”
TIME OF SILENT PRAYER
Use this time of Personal Prayer to lead people to confess your Sins and Obey… Come to Christ for Cleansing & Renewal…. Sharing your Desires with God… and Tell Jesus from your heart what your surrendering to God right now.