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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Hearing And Obeying God

Derek Prince - Hearing And Obeying God

Derek Prince - Hearing And Obeying God
TOPICS: Bible Study, Hebrews Bible Study, God's Voice, Obedience

We have arrived at Page 3/1. We'll look very briefly at the outline before we go on. This first verse of chapter 3 focuses on Jesus in two aspects: apostle and high priest. As apostle He was sent forth to perform the task of redemption. Having performed it He returned to God as high priest to represent those who had received redemption. In that first verse is the first account of the word confession, meaning literally "to say the same as". We pointed out, we will not go through it again, how confession links us to the ministry of our high priest. He is the high priest of our confession. No confession, no high priest. In the second verse we saw the first accounts of the words in the category of faith and faithfulness and so on. Believe. And it's in a context which indicates character rather than creed.

This is contrary to the kind of thinking that has been inculcated in us if we come from any kind of Evangelical or Pentecostal or even, I would say, Lutheran background. Basically Protestant. The Protestant Reformation laid a special emphasis on being right in your doctrine. There is a good side to that and there's a disastrous side to that. And we have interpreted faith as "believing the right things". That really isn't where faith begins. Faith is primarily in the character, not in the intellect. And both in Hebrew in the Old Testament and Greek in the New, the words for believing and for faith indicate loyalty and commitment first and foremost. The intellectual doctrines that you hold are secondary. I believe one of the things the Holy Spirit is impressing upon us is that if we don't adjust our thinking, we'll miss the real purposes of God.

There is intellectual content to faith, but it's secondary. It's not primary. That I'm talking about linguistically, the meaning of the word is better represented by faithfulness than by faith. It's really a contradiction in terms to talk about a believer who is unfaithful, whereas our churches are filled with, quote, "believers" like that. You can't rely on them, they're not dependable, they don't know the meaning of commitment, but they call themselves believers. It's actually an incorrect use of that word by biblical standards. We're going on now to chapter 3:2–6. We come here to the second comparison. You'll find that there were, I believe, seven comparisons that we noted initially. This is the second. The first was between what and what? Who can remember? Jesus and the angels, that's right. This one is between Jesus and Moses.

The reason why they are given is because there was a real danger that these particular believers would begin to see Jesus as not really greatly different from angels or from Moses. One of the remarkable things about God's dealings with Moses, which has become very real to me, is that God told Moses he would perform such signs and wonders that Israel would forever fear him and respect him. And really, it's worked that way. You can meet Jewish people who are atheists but they have a respect for Moses. These people were in danger of almost bringing Jesus down to the level of Moses. So the second comparison is to show the uniqueness of Jesus in relationship to Moses and the supremacy of Jesus. I think I'll read the words, translating them from the Greek.

Verses 2–6. Talking about Jesus it says: He who was faithful to the one who appointed Him, (are you with me?) as also Moses in all His house. For this one has been considered worthy of greater glory than Moses, in the proportion that the one who has built a house has greater honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the one who built [or prepared] all things is God. And Moses on the one hand was faithful [you have to put in was] in all His house as a servant, to provide a testimony for what was to be said later [in future]; but Christ was a Son over His house. I think we'll stop there for a moment. We need to see that this is quoted from Numbers 12:7. It's another example of how a short passage in the Old Testament is made the basis of something very important in the New.

Numbers 12:7. We need to know the background. Miriam and Aaron had been criticizing Moses because he'd married a dark-skinned, non-Israelite wife. As a result, Miriam got struck with leprosy, which is a really serious warning about criticizing the Lord's servants. And a person who belittles the Lord's attitude is still precisely the same today. So the Lord came down in a pillar to speak to Aaron and Miriam and in verse 6 He said this: "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, he is faithful in all My household..." That's the Lord's own testimony of Moses. He's in a different category than the rest of the leaders of Israel in his time. He's faithful in all God's house.

So that's the sentence, I want you to see it. "Moses is faithful in all My household". But, the writer of Hebrews says Moses was faithful but he was a servant in the house. The difference is that Christ is the Son whose family it is. And you have to bear in mind that the word house, both in Hebrew and in Greek tends to mean primarily a family, then the place where the family lived. We've changed it around and we think of a house as a place where people live. Biblically, the house is the people who live in the place. A house is made up of human beings, it's a family. Both uses are found, but the family use is primary. So that's the essence of this rather brief comparison between Jesus and Moses.

Now we come to a very remarkable and important verse. Hebrews 3:6, the second part of the verse, which I want to look at in some detail. It's one of those short sentences that you could rather easily pass by and not see its significance. Speaking about Christ as a Son over His house (or family), the writer goes on: whose house we are, if we are. And the word for if is a kind of underlined if. if we hold our confidence [or freedom of speech] and the boasting of our hope firm unto the end. In your outline you'll see that we have the first occurrence of another word: confidence. Then I've got in parentheses, Greek: parrhesia. Are you with me down at the bottom of 3/1? Originally that word was a political word. It's used particularly in classical Greek about the city of Athens.

The city of Athens prided itself on having what is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, which is freedom of speech. Nobody could stop you saying what you wanted to say, provided it didn't transgress certain basic rules. That's the word that's used here. I think it's very important you see that though we have to translate it probably as confidence, it's confidence expressed in speech. When you lose your freedom of speech you're losing your rights as a child of God and a citizen of heaven. You see the other words that go with it all indicate that. "The boastfulness of the hope". Is it wrong to boast? It depends. David said, "My soul shall make her boast in the LORD". That kind of boasting is very right and there's not nearly enough of it.

As Christians, I believe we have an obligation to boast much more about the Lord than we do, because the devil's servants are boasting all the time. The atmosphere is filled with godless boasts of the servants of the devil. Our remaining God's family is conditional upon our maintaining our boasting and our freedom of speech. That's a very solemn thought. If the devil silences you and prevents you expressing confidently your faith and your hope, you're really beginning to lose your rights and your inheritance as a child of God. I think some of you will begin to understand why you sometimes have such a struggle to be bold in the expression of your faith. If the devil can prevent that, he's cheated you out of your inheritance. You're losing your rights. Notice also a phrase which occurs several times "until the end". This emphasizes also the need for perseverance or endurance.

So, our holding our position in the family of God demands that we maintain our confidence, our boasting in God, firm unto the end. There's a Scripture there that I'd like you to turn to in James 5:11. Behold, we count those blessed who endured. [afterwards] You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings,. But where it says outcome, the Greek word is simply "end". What I want to emphasize is that for the Lord, the end is what matters. And God does a lot of things that we don't appreciate or understand until we come to the end. But until we come to the end, we have to hold on to our boastfulness, our confidence: the free, unfettered expression of our faith. It's a very key verse. So that's the condition for maintaining our position as God's family.

Now we're going to go on to chapter 3:7 and as I point out in your outline, we're now coming to the second passage of solemn warning. It's a very long one, it extends from chapter 3, verse 7 to the 13th verse of chapter 4. In other words, it is about 26 verses, which is a large portion of this epistle. I've said already but I just want to confirm it, there are more solemn warnings in this epistle than in any other writing of the Bible that I know of. This is a warning against unbelief. I personally don't believe that there's anybody here who doesn't stand in need of that warning. I know I do. Now, this warning is based also on a passage from the Old Testament and the passage is Psalm 95:7–11. Since they are quoted in Hebrews, we will not turn to the Old Testament but I will proceed to translate that quotation. That's through 11 of chapter 3. It begins with the word wherefore, which is not very modern English, but it's hard to find another word that says it.

I think people today don't say wherefore as much as they used to say it. People are less logical, they just come out with sentences without considering how they relate to one another. Wherefore, as the Holy Spirit says. That's very important because all we have is a psalm. Maybe we better turn there for a moment. It doesn't say anything about the Holy Spirit. Just keep your finger in Hebrews 3 and turn to Psalm 95. Verse 6 is where this really begins. Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Still in verse 7: Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts,.etc... Notice it doesn't say anything about the Holy Spirit. What's the lesson? The lesson is the Holy Spirit is the author of all Scripture. It's a very clear statement from a New Testament writer that indicates they recognized the Holy Spirit as the author of Old Testament Scripture.

I'll give you another rather good example which you might wish to turn to. You can close Psalm 95, spare yourself that finger and turn to Matthew 22. Matthew 22:31-32. Jesus is dealing with the Sadducees and they were the people who, in essence, had ruled out the supernatural. They didn't believe in angels, spirits or the resurrection of the dead. They made their religion a purely naturalistic type of morality. Jesus refutes them out of the Scriptures, out of the five books of Moses, the Torah, which was the undisputed authority for the Jewish people in that time. "But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead but of the living".

You have to turn back to that passage, I'm sorry. You'll need another finger. That's Exodus 3:6. How many of you are doing a little finger drill in your spare time just to keep supple! Alright. Exodus 3:6. This is where the Lord appeared to Moses at the burning bush. Verse 5, He said: "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet", verse 6: He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". To whom was the Lord speaking? To Moses. But, when Jesus quoted it He said to the people in His day fifteen centuries later, "Have you not read that which was spoken to you by God"?

So you see, as far as Jesus was concerned, that wasn't just a historical incident, that was the living Word of God which still spoke with authority to God's people fifteen centuries later. We see in both these passages, in the words of Jesus and the words of the writer of Hebrews, that Jesus Himself and the New Testament writers regarded the Old Testament as the product of the Holy Spirit. It had in it the authority of God the Holy Spirit. There are many other Scriptures that could be quoted to confirm that, but it's important when we're confronted by not a few people who say the New Testament is inspired, the Old Testament isn't. My conviction is, you cannot believe the New Testament without believing the Old because the New Testament requires the Old to be true. That is a very important issue.

Now we're going back to Hebrews 3 and we're going to get the authorized translation. Verse 7: As the Holy Spirit says, [now we get the quotation] "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the [I think provocation is the best word] in the day of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested Me and put Me to the test [or tried Me], and saw My works forty years [saw what I did]. Wherefore-And it's the same word again. I was angry with this generation [that's the generation that came out of Egypt as adults under Moses], and I said, 'They always go astray in their heart; and they have not known [or they didn't know] My ways'; so I swore in My wrath, 'They will never enter My rest.'"

Let's analyze for a moment the mistakes of Israel because we're warned not to make the same mistakes. We're also reminded it's the Holy Spirit saying this. I listed in your outline, which I think you'll find easy to follow, the five successive mistakes of Israel. First of all, they didn't hear God's voice. Not hearing God's voice, they hardened their hearts. Third, they put God to the test. Fourth, they were continually going astray in their heart. And fifth, they did not know God's ways. You need to turn for a moment to Psalm 103:7: He [the Lord] made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. There's a very important difference between seeing God's acts and knowing His ways. The only one that came to know the ways of God referred to there is Moses. All the Israelites saw His acts, only Moses understood His ways. The ones that didn't understand His ways perished.

I'm really not desirous to be severe. You'd be quite surprised if you knew what's going on inside me because I don't intend to be severe. But everything that gets pressured out of me comes out more severe than I intend it. And I think it's the Holy Spirit. I hope it is. I don't intend it to be me. But I would like to ask you a question and nobody is required to answer it. Do you think that there might be multitudes of people in the Charismatic movement who've seen God's acts but never understood His ways? What category would they be in? Same as these people. See, it seems to me there's something about Charismatics that's very interested to see dramatic things happen. I am, too. I love to see dramatic things happen. But, it's not enough. If that's all, you're going to miss it. You can be sure of one thing: You will never get into God's rest.

I want to point out something that has become of paramount importance to me personally, which is the real key to being part of God's people is hearing God's voice. Those who do not hear God's voice will inevitably miss it. I want to take just a few Scriptures, they're in your outline, all of which point out that this is the basic requirement and it does not change from dispensation to dispensation. It's the same all the way through the Bible. We'll start with Exodus 15:26. The Lord is speaking to Moses. "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer". Or, "I am the LORD, your healer", or "I am the LORD, your doctor".

What's the first primary requirement? If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord. Many of you have heard me say in Hebrew it uses the word listening twice. If listening, you will listen to the voice of the Lord. I asked the Lord, What does it mean to listen listening? I felt the Lord gave me this answer: "You have two ears, a right and a left. To listen listening is to listen to Me with both ears". I commend that to you. So many times we listen to God with one ear and some other voice with the other. It requires our undivided attention. Then when we listen, we have to do what is right in His sight. Notice the next requirement goes back to the ear. And will give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes. Out of the four conditions, two relate to the ear. The ear is the gate of healing for the human personality. What you do with your ear is probably going to decide what you experience in the area of healing and health.

Exodus 19:5. This is what the Lord commanded Moses to lay out before the children of Israel when they had arrived at Mount Sinai. Verse 5: "Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples". It's very simple. What did God say? Two things. "Obey My voice and keep My covenant". And you see, without hearing God's voice you cannot do any of the other things because you don't know what to do. We'll go on for a moment to Deuteronomy 28. Unfortunately, both the NASB and the NIV don't translate the same Hebrew phrase the same way, which irritates me, frankly. It's the same phrase that's used in Exodus 15:26 here in Deuteronomy 28:1, and they change the translation. They say here: "Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the LORD your God". But if you look in the margin, if you have one with a margin it says "Listen to the voice of" the LORD. That's the key. If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, verse 2: "All these blessings shall come upon you. if you will listen to the voice of the LORD".

He says it twice. It seems he attaches importance to it. That's the key to all the blessings. If you go through the blessings, you are lacking in discernment if you don't want them. That is an understatement. What's the cause of the curses which start in verse 15? "But it shall come about, if you will not obey [but it says listen] to the voice of the LORD. all these curses will come upon you". There is the watershed. On the one side, countless blessings. On the other side, endless curses. What's the line of division? Listening or not listening to the voice of the Lord. I want you to go to a very interesting passage still dealing with this theme in Jeremiah 7:22–23. The Lord is speaking again to Israel: Jeremiah 7:22–23. "For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices". Which is true. That didn't come for about two months after they were delivered out of Egypt. They were not delivered out of Egypt by the law, it's very important to see that.

"But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people.'" If you want a simple statement of what it means to belong to God, you'll never find one better than that. "Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be Ny people". Without that first requirement, that relationship cannot exist. "Obey My voice, and I will be your God". And then in the New Testament just one Scripture in John 10. John 10, verse 27: Jesus is speaking and says: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me". To me, that's the simplest statement of what it is to be a Christian. It's to hear His voice and follow Him. If you don't hear His voice you can't follow Him. It's not a question of denomination; it's not a question of being a Catholic or Protestant, Baptist or Presbyterian. "My sheep continually hear My voice". It's a continuing or repeated present tense. "My sheep regularly hear My voice and, hearing My voice, they follow Me".

I would venture to suggest to you that if you are having spiritual or maybe physical problems or financial problems, probably in at least fifty percent of the cases your real problem is not hearing God's voice. And God is probably going to keep you in your problems until you do hear His voice. So it might be good to stop worrying about your problem and start listening to God. There's another vitally important fact about hearing God's voice in Romans 10. I'm going to quote to you the King James Version although it could possibly be this is good enough. Romans 10:17, the NASB. So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. The King James says "word of God," but it comes to the same thing, there's no significant difference. How does faith come? By hearing God's word. The word in Greek for word is rhema. You've probably heard a lot of teaching. That means "the living, personal, direct word of God". It's not just knowing the Bible, it's hearing God's voice.

When I was there in that military hospital for one year on end, and believe me, I don't know if any of you have ever spent one year on end in the hospital, but it seems a very long time, as I lay there, as a believer, I said to myself, I know if I had faith God could heal me. But the next thing I said was, "I don't have faith"! Every time I said that I was in what John Bunyan calls "the Slough of Despond," or the dark valley of despair. One day as I was sitting up propped against the pillows in the bed saying to myself I don't have faith, I didn't know where my Bible was open but it was open at Romans 10 and my eye fell on verse 17: "So then faith cometh..." And it was like electricity, it was like a ray of light in the darkness. Faith cometh. If you don't have it, you can get it. It comes. How does it come? By hearing the word of God. I made up my mind that I would hear God's word until faith came. I'm here tonight to testify I did and it did. About eight months later I walked out of that hospital having declined any further medical treatment saying, "I'm going to trust God only". You try that, especially when you're a hospital attendant in a medical unit in the British Army that's not an easy thing to say. They almost put me in a psychiatric hospital! Really! I only just narrowly escaped. But, I listened to God's voice, faith came, and I was healed.
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