Steven Furtick - Use Your Inside Voice
Turn in your Bible to Mark, chapter 3. I have so much Scripture, this is going to be overwhelming today. I hope you wore sweatpants because you're going to get fat off this bread from heaven today. You need an elastic waistband for this. God has been speaking to me, because I asked him. I said, "God, give me a message for your people," and he gave me so much to give. We'll see if we can get it done all in this one session. Mark, chapter 3. I'm going to pick up at verse 20.
Do you remember a couple of years ago I preached Savage Jesus? We were saying how Jesus isn't soft. Jesus isn't scared. Jesus is so great and so awesome and so powerful, and he's confident in that way that true authority always carries itself to know who he is and what he came to do. So, I figured we'd spend some time with him today, our example, the author and finisher of our faith. Let's spend some time with Jesus seeing his example. In his days, things were much different than they are now. There was division, political division. It was different.
The Bible is not as relevant in our times, but in his day there was uncertainty. There was instability. He was dealing with things we don't deal with as an advanced civilization, but let's see if we can find any help at all from this quaint book called the Bible that has absolutely no bearing on our current lives. (That was sarcasm. I can see them taking that and putting that on YouTube, so I have to… Okay.) Mark 3:20. This is the message I never got to preach from Savage Jesus, so we're doing it today. "Then Jesus entered a house…" Somebody say, "Come in my house, Lord". "Come in my house. Come in this room. Come in my kitchen. God, come in this house right now. Come in my house. Come in my heart". "Then Jesus entered a house…"
I believe he's coming to your house today too. Not Mr. Rogers, but Jesus is coming to your house right now. This is what Mark said: "Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.' And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.' So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: 'How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter…'"
Some of you better praise God with some of the stuff you've said. That's a good verse. Let me read it again. "People can be forgiven all their sins and every Facebook comment they utter". I lost y'all. "'…but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.' He said this because they were saying, 'He has an impure spirit.' Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived". Just at that moment of tension, this climax of conflict with the scribes, here come his family members. I want you to pay attention to this. "Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him".
What I want to talk to you today is from something you might have heard in school from your teacher. The message is called Use Your Inside Voice. Did you ever have a teacher tell you that? Did you ever tell those fifth graders at Township Three Elementary? Holly was a schoolteacher when we first got married, and she taught these wild kids. "Use your inside voice". Of course, you know I always love to talk about my kids any chance I get because I'm proud of them. Using them as sermon illustrations is a way I have them earn their keep around the house. They don't do anything else. I figure Abbey is a paradox, because she's the littlest one in our family and the loudest. We often wonder about Abbey, "How can she be so little and so loud"? It's baffling to the mind.
I had this flashback while I was preparing this week, thinking about Use Your Inside Voice, of one time she came to me… And I'm not going to make up what she said, because I honestly don't remember, but she was probably fussing about her brothers. The odds are very high that that's what she was tweaked about. There were a lot of people around. I think it was at church, and there were people around. She's so loud, and she doesn't even know how loud she is. I said, "Baby, I'm listening. Use your inside voice". She goes, without adjusting her volume one decibel, "This is my inside voice". She was so confused, so frustrated. "This is my inside voice".
I wonder about your inside voice. What I wonder is…What is your inside voice? My inside voice would scare you. I'm using that not to mean my volume level. I'm using that to mean my thought process and how critical I am of myself. Even right now in this moment there are two preachers preaching, the one you hear and the one I hear. In between everything the one you hear is saying, the one I hear is trying to stop me from saying what I'm saying. Your inside voice. I wonder about your inside voice. Holly is not that self-critical like I am, and I've often wished I could take a break from my brain and spend a day inside of hers. I thought that would feel like a vacation, because she's really nice to herself it turns out.
One time we were watching this movie, and they were externalizing an inside voice. It was so harsh, and it was so bad. It was almost demonic. I told her after the movie, "That's exactly what it sounds like in my head". She said, "Really? That's the dumbest movie scene I've ever seen in my life. I didn't relate to it at all". We were watching the same movie and having a completely different experience within our own minds. I wonder about your inside voice. Abbey said, "This is my inside voice". "It's just normal to me. I just walk around talking at this volume all the time". Somebody asked me sometime, "Are you the same off the stage as on the stage"? I was like, "Well, I hope I have the same character, but I don't speak at the same volume". It would be so weird to walk in the house, you know, "This is how I find my…"! They'd be like, "Sit down. Take out the trash". "This is how I wash the dishes"!
I don't do that at home. Different approaches. Right? I promise this is a sermon from the Bible, from the passage I just read you. What I've noticed about Jesus is that he was rarely, if ever, driven by the opinions of outside voices. Think about it. I grew up hearing all about how Jesus died for our sin, and he did. That's foundational. But what I wonder about for a lot of us…your inside voice, my inside voice, all of the voices we consume on a daily basis, whether we read them with our eyes or hear them with our ears, all of the inputs, all of the noise I mentioned earlier… What I wonder about that is if we have accepted that Jesus died to forgive us for our sin but not experienced that he also died to deliver us from cynicism. Jesus didn't just die for my sin; he died for my cynical heart, which I will mention multiple times in this message, but it's all from the text.
I mean, think about it. Jesus' greatest struggle in life was not the temptation to sin. He was perfect, blameless, God of God. He was the Son of David, but he was also the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. That means he was perfectly pure. That means that no matter what he was tempted with, he knew within who he was, yet we see him in this passage, like so many passages, dealing with the cynicism of those he came to save. Not the people outside the church, but the passage I read you said the scribes came all the way from Jerusalem to Capernaum where he was doing his ministry around the Sea of Galilee. Remember, he was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and then he moved to Capernaum. That's cool. He moved away from where he came from to do what he came to do. I'll come back to that. I promise. If I forget, come up here and tell me to go back to it, because it's very important.
Now, these rulers come from Jerusalem, and they come to accuse Jesus. They're fired up and mad, probably not because of what he's doing but because they are not able to do it. When you see someone who is able to do something you can't do, it is easier to criticize it than it is to be challenged by it. For many of us, cynicism has become our strategy. It's how we deal with disappointment. We don't get our hopes up. Then no one can bring them down. For many of us, cynicism serves as a shield to keep us from ever exposing ourselves to the elements of mystery which are the essence of faith in God.
These cynical scribes. They had a lot of knowledge, but they didn't have real wisdom. They had a lot of knowledge. Information was their specialty. They were trained in the law and disciplined. These were not pornographers. These were valued members, esteemed members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling counsel. These were them who should have known the one who was the fulfillment of the law they had expertly divined was standing right in front of them, but they criticized the very one they spoke of, and they didn't even know it, because Jesus was doing weird stuff… healing shriveled hands, packing out crowds.
I wanted to tell you this. In Mark's gospel, it says crowd 13 times, and it's never positive. As a preacher, I always wanted to draw a crowd, but when Mark records his gospel, the thing most preachers are trying to create was the thing that actually got in Jesus' way of doing what he came to do. That's not just for preachers. A lot of the times, the things the world celebrates actually get in the way of God doing what he wants to do in your life. Everybody wants to be busy. That's another way of saying crowded. Sometimes our busyness is the very thing that keeps God from doing his work, his business. Jesus said, "I have to be about my Father's business". Not what the crowds or the consumers wanted him to do. He had to be about building what he called in this passage his Father's kingdom or the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. It was a phrase that was unique to Jesus. He came to inaugurate that kingdom, and he was doing it. In order to do that, he had to drive out Satan.
So, this man comes to him (we don't read about him in Mark's gospel, but we read about him in the other gospels) who was possessed with a demon, and he couldn't speak. He was mute. And he couldn't see. He was blind. The Bible says Jesus dealt with both of those issues. Since we're talking about inside voice, it's significant that the man left speaking, that the man who could not speak now could speak. Hold that for a moment. Now here come the Pharisees, the scribes. It was their job to interpret the law, and now they can't even interpret the actions of the one who stands in front of them to fulfill the law. What God showed me in this context is that the cynicism of the scribes was one thing. They had too much knowledge, and it blocked wisdom. Too much noise, too much of how we think things are supposed to be, too much of our mastery of God closes us from the mystery of God. It makes you cynical. It makes you start to think you know God better than God. Before he died for our sin, he had to deal with their cynicism.
Now can I really freak you out? Go to Matthew 12:25. This is the same account. He heals this demon-possessed man, and the scribes don't like it. It threatens them. So, they do what we do when we get threatened. They criticize. They become cynical. They don't want to learn anything. They don't really want to experience what God came to bring. They just want to defend themselves. You know how you hide your own dysfunction? I'm not breaking it down fine enough for you. You know the thoughts you have when you go through your Instagram feed about other people? A lot of those are designed to keep you from having to be alone with you. The scribes had their scrolls, and they interpreted the scrolls. What's it called when you're on your phone? They accuse him of doing the Devil's work, but they don't do it out loud. This is what I want to show you.
Verse 25: "Jesus knew their thoughts…" If that happened every time you came to church, you'd stop coming. Be honest about it. Come on, tell me about your inside voice. I've told you about mine. Mine will tell me the most horrible things about myself, about others. It is unthinkable. It is not PG-13 what my inside voice says to me. I'm sorry, but it's not King James English. It's not Greek. It's compound cusswords. It's cusswords in tongues. It's cusswords that bypass cultural cusswords. I'm talking about my inside voice. Jesus heard what they said in their heart. It goes to show you can have all of the words right. You can sing all of the songs. You can do all the stuff. You can call yourself a certain label.
Jesus knew their thoughts. We think he came to deal with our external values. He came to deal with your inside voice. I want to talk about your inside voice. I want to talk about the temptations you don't bring up in eGroup. They are not Zoom-appropriate. They are not church-appropriate. You don't need to tell anybody. But he knew their thoughts. The Word was made flesh. That means he already knows. He knows it before you speak it. It's so silly what we try to hide from God when he hears our inside voice. One Scripture says his Spirit interprets your groans. When you don't know what to pray and you can't find anything to pray and all you can barely do is move your lips, he interprets that. The scribes can't do it. The Savior can. He knows how to interpret the events of your life. He's good at that, but we're not.
So they see him. He makes a mute man speak, and they go, "That must be the Devil". Because you know in church we love nothing more than to blame the Devil. We should do a word count on one of my sermons one day and see if I say "Jesus" or "the Devil" more in my sermon. I might be embarrassed. We do it all the time when we give the Devil credit for something God is actually trying to do. That's what they were doing in the passage. "Oh, the Devil did that. The Devil attacked me. That was the Devil". It wasn't the Devil. The Devil didn't do it. Sometimes your decisions did it. The Devil didn't wreck your car. You trying to turn the radio station at the same time you tried to return the text… That wrecked your car. That wasn't the Devil.
That's what Jesus said. The Devil didn't do this. In fact, it was Jesus doing it, but they blamed the Devil. It's like this voice that always makes you a victim, this voice that always tries to give the Devil credit for things God is actually doing. Isn't it crazy that the kingdom of God was coming but their cynicism stopped them from participating in it? Oh, the number of times you and I have missed the God who was in our midst and the miracles he was performing because of a cynical spirit. I'm going to show you where all that comes from in the text. See, in the text you have a contrast. It's the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Did you notice that? He said, "If Satan's kingdom is divided it will fall".
The crazy thing about it is Satan is more strategic about his kingdom than a lot of God's children are about God's kingdom. We do all the time what the Devil knows better than to ever do. He says Satan won't fight Satan. He's bringing a kingdom. But we, as God's children, don't have enough good sense, so we embrace strategies of cynicism and call it wisdom. So, let me tell you something. Cynicism is counterfeit wisdom. It looks like wisdom. It looks like that TAG Heuer watch I bought for $30 in New York. It looked like a TAG. It wasn't a TAG. It looks like the truth; it isn't the truth. It looks like righteousness; it's not righteousness. It looks like faith; it's really manipulation.
Cynicism is as fake as that Louis V or Gucci bag you picked up online from… It's as fake as that. When you go through life with a cynical spirit, that is not the Spirit of God. Let me just tell you something right now. I don't intend to run this pulpit with a spirit of cynicism no matter what happens in the world. Gospel means good news. Freedom! I'm going to preach that from this pulpit. How about your pulpit? Whose report will you believe? What's your inside voice? So, he's building this kingdom, and the contrast… At first, I thought it was God versus Satan. Then I thought, "Well, that's kind of it, but it's something else too". Then I thought, "Well, maybe it's about the strong man versus the weak man," because that's in the text too.
Then there's this verse people worry about where it says, "If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven". People are thinking, "Oh no. Have I done that"? If you're even asking, "Have I done that"? you haven't done that, because that is the Holy Spirit convicting you, which means you are not denying his work inside of you. So, when he says, "Anything you say or do can be forgiven," that's based on the finished work of Christ that he was completing. What cannot be forgiven is a sin you will not deal with, and that's why he mentions the Holy Spirit.
So, on one hand, you have the kingdom of Satan versus the kingdom of God. On the other hand, there's a division. He says, "A house divided against itself…" He's talking about the eternal versus the temporal, the eternal versus the ephemeral, what lasts forever versus what's going to wither and fade, the word of the Lord versus the values of the world. But here came the real thing for me, and it went all the way back to the beginning. Do you remember how when I started reading the text in verse 20, I stopped, and it said, "Then Jesus entered a house"? You're probably thinking, "Come on, man. Get on with it. Don't make a big deal about…" No, no, no. Everything significant that happens in this text happens on the inside.
He entered a house, probably Simon's house, Peter's house. That's where he stayed in Capernaum. Yeah, that's where he stayed. They probably just got done repairing the roof, because in Mark, chapter 2, there was a big crowd, and the man who really needed help couldn't get in, so they tore off the roof to get the man down to Jesus. So, now the roof is freshly repaired. There's another crowd. Peter is telling Mark… He's the one who gave Mark the account to write, and Mark wrote it for Peter. Peter puts in there, "We didn't even have a chance to eat".
I think that's probably due to what he was really focused on. Of all of the things to remember. Jesus is driving out devils and Peter is like, "And we missed lunch". You know how we get focused on the temporal. But really, the contrast I want to bring up is external/internal. Not only is Jesus receiving criticism and opposition from the scribes, but his own family? I never heard more people tell me than this year in 14 years of pastoring how they're not even speaking to their own family. It has us so divided with different things that are going on. Yet when I preach the passage, everybody thinks they're Jesus. If I preach this and I say, "His family was standing on the outside of the house," everybody thinks they're Jesus in the passage.
I came with something really deep to tell you: you ain't Jesus. I see a wife elbowing her husband right now on a couch in Minnesota, saying, "You ain't Jesus". I did not tell you to tell your neighbor that. But listen to me when I say this. The secret to Jesus doing his Father's will, and the secret to you doing the will of God, and the secret to you not going crazy in this season of life and with what the world is going through is going to be the voices you respond to. The voices you respond to are going to come mainly from what you surround yourself with. What made Jesus so strong… Remember, he said, "I'm going to go in the house of Satan, and I'm going to tie him up, and if I bind the strong man, if somebody greater, somebody stronger…" He says, "I am binding Satan". That's what he was doing.
Now, he could not bind Satan if he was fighting with people. So, when he gets to the point where the scribes are criticizing him… And they're not even saying it out loud, but they're saying it in their heart. One translation says they reasoned in their heart. Look at what Jesus did in verse 23. "So Jesus called them over to him…" The scribes are over on the other side of the room talking about what Jesus just did, but he doesn't shout. He calls them over so he can use his…what?
See, real power doesn't have to shout. He called them over. He knew where he came from. He knew who he was. Do you? I'm checking on your inside voice. On one hand, externally speaking, I am the child of Faith Bracey Liles Furtick. On one hand, speaking genetically, I am the son of Larry Stevens Furtick. I am Larry Stevens Furtick Jr. on one hand, but that's not where I came from. Do you know where you come from? Let me show you in 1 John where you came from. Are you ready for this?
Now where did Jesus come from? I just told you. He was born in Bethlehem. He grew up in Nazareth. He went to Capernaum. But in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus didn't come from Mary; he came through Mary. So, when his family showed up and said, "Hey, here's what you've got to do" and the scribes showed up from the synagogue and said, "Hey, here's what you've got to do" and everybody had an opinion, Jesus was not driven by their opinions; he was steered by the will of his Father. Are you? If you're not, you're going to be tossed and driven with the wind, and your emotions are going to ruin your life, and your cynicism is going to constrict your wisdom.
First John 4. Where do you come from? You don't even have to answer. I'm going to answer it. Are you ready for this? This is 1 John 4:4. I love this Bible verse. I've quoted it a lot, but I don't think I ever understood it until this week. First John 4:4: "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you…" It's hard for me to say this like I want to say it. It's so powerful to me. It reminds me of a lady. She came up to me one time after I preached. She had a deep Southern accent, and she said, "Aren't you from Moncks Corner, South Carolina"? I said, "Yes, ma'am". She said, "I'm from Summerville," which is only 20 miles from Moncks Corner or so. That's where my rival high school football team is, the Summerville Green Wave, so I said, "Well, I won't hold that against you".
You know, that little small-town humor, you know, give her that little Moncks Corner… I said, "Well, I won't hold it against you," because I'm a Berkeley Stag and they're the Green Wave. I said, "It's all right". She said, "Well, then I've got a question for you if you're from Moncks Corner. Why don't you talk like where you come from"? She said this about my accent, but I want to ask this about your attitude. I just read you a Bible verse that said you are a child of God.
So why don't you talk like where you come from? You come from God. You come from royalty. You from his side. Talk like where you come from! Watch this. Let the weak say, "I am strong". I come from strength. I come from the Rock. I come from the well. I don't come from Nazareth. I don't come from Moncks Corner. I didn't come from Larry. I came from the Lord. I have an inheritance. Give God 20 seconds of praise like you know where you come from! You are a royal priesthood! You are a holy nation! To declare the praises. Anybody can describe the problem. To declare the praises. It doesn't take faith to be cynical. It doesn't take smart to be cynical. It takes faith to contradict your circumstance with your confession. She said, "You don't talk like you're from Moncks Corner".
Some of y'all don't talk like you know his blood was shed for you. You talk to yourself like you're worthless. I'm not even talking about what you say to other people. I'm talking about how we talk to ourselves. I'm talking about the inside voice. God said, "Let us make man in our image". You were made in his image. Paul said you are God's workmanship created in Christ before the world got started. What gave Jesus the authority to focus on his assignment and what's going to help you do it as a mom, as a man, what's going to help you to still know who you are even though the addictions you carry say otherwise…
I'm telling you, God knows what's going on inside of your heart today. I don't; he does. But even still, before any of that, before any of those layers of life that labeled you, you, children of God, dear children, have overcome… Greater is he that is in you. If I could teach you one thing about God today… I can't tell you who he is because that would take the rest of my life to even read the introduction, but I can tell you where he is in one word: inside.
So, look at the rest of the text in 1 John. It's very powerful. He said in verse 5, "They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world…" How can we have God's Spirit and speak Satan's language? How can Satan drive out Satan? Cynicism is counterfeit strategy. The real wisdom of God is peaceable and pure, and it creates more faith, not less. Who are you listening to? Voices become viewpoints. He said you come from God, but you listen to the world. You come from God, but you listen to the opinions of people who don't have your best interests at heart. I know everybody is trying to read into what I'm saying, because you can't say anything anymore without it being political.
I'm saying 1 John 4:5 is what I'm saying. Worldly values have no place in the heart of a Christian. "That's right, Preacher! That's why I don't smoke". The Bible doesn't even have cigarettes in it. This is not about the external stuff. That's not what he's writing about. He's saying there are false prophets that have come, and the way you can recognize… He says they speak from the viewpoint of the world. Voices become viewpoints. What you hear gets in your heart. What you scroll gets in your spirit. I'm helping somebody in the most practical way today. The Lord said, "This is why you're stressed".
Cynicism is not wisdom. It's a sickness. They are from the world. They speak like the world. Why would we have the Spirit of God and speak the language of Satan? Just the things we say to ourselves about ourselves… He said the world listens to them, but watch what I found in verse 6. I love this. "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us…" That really got me, because I pictured Jesus… There's a crowd around him, and they want something from him. How many of you feel like there are people who want things from you all the time? I know you're sitting next to them so you can't really raise your hand on that point. I know. I hear your inside voice. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh, the incarnate eternal (in itself that's a contradiction), is standing with a crowd surrounded by scribes and even dealing with the cynicism of his own family, but he knew where he came from. We are from God.
This week, in your heart, I want you to talk like where you come from. Or another way to say it: use your inside voice. The world is so loud you think it's normal, like Abbey. "This is my inside voice. I'm just a pessimistic person. That's just the way I am". What about the Great I Am? I thought we just read a verse that said, "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world". So what about that? Voices become viewpoints. Right? I thought you were seated in heavenly places with Jesus where he reigns. So what are you doing down in the sewer of cynicism? The real issue isn't whether our nation is divided. The real issue is whether your heart is divided.
Do you really trust his authority? Jesus had internal authority. Do you know what that means? He didn't need other people to tell him who he was. That's so cool. Wouldn't you like to get there? I would. Look at Jesus. In verse 28, he says something. You can't really get the full sense of it in English. "Truly I tell you…" This phrase is only recorded from the lips of Jesus in the whole New Testament in this way. Let me tell you what's interesting about it. Usually, when a priest or a prophet would prophesy, they would say, "Thus saith the Lord" and the people would say, "Amen". It was a response to what was spoken that confirmed the truth of it. Oral witness. In the text it says, "Truly I tell you," but the actual literal translation is "Amen, I tell you the truth". What's weird about it is he said "Amen" first. He is the only one who does that. I don't mean to bore you today.
I know you want to get back to counting ballots, but can I talk about the Bible for three seconds? Can the Lord have three seconds of your attention? All right then. See, let me read this to you. Witherington said in his commentary… I read this really expensive book to be able to tell you the significance of this moment. Jesus goes on to say this in Mark's gospel over and over again. The phrase is "Amen, I tell you the truth. Amen, I say to you".
This is the first instance in Mark. But listen. This phrase, which was characteristic of Jesus, suggests that he felt free to vouch for himself. It was a really expensive book, so I have to read it again. This phrase, "Amen, I tell you," suggests that he felt free to vouch for himself and the truth of his own word without requiring external human testimony to his truthfulness. I want you to learn how to say "Amen" from within. What I mean is I want you to get to the point in your faith, and I want to get to the point in my life where I do not wait for humans to validate my identity or for events to validate my optimism. I want to be able to say "Amen" to begin with. So say "Amen".
If you know who you are, you can say that and not wait for anybody else to say it for you. If you know what he has spoken, if you know what he said, if you know where you come from, you can start your… This is so grammatically incorrect, but theologically it's so powerful. Jesus wasn't waiting on anybody else for an amen. He had an amen that came from within. I think we've lost that. I think we are so consumed with the voices of others we can't even hear our Father, and then we start asking God to take away things we put in our hearts through the wrong voices. But today the Lord said, "It's going to be a better week for you, because you're going to begin with 'Amen.'"
Jesus, who was surrounded by cynicism, was not driven by the agendas of others. He was led by the Spirit of God. We make this our prayer, God. We came today so you could deal with our inside voice. We've been saying "Amen" to the world's values and the world's vocabulary. Lord, help me to begin my day with "Amen. So be it. Yes, Lord". Agreement with you. I agree with you. You say I'm your child? I agree with you. You say I can make it? I agree with you. You say you've got me? I agree with you. Why in the world would we allow the language of the Enemy to permeate the heart of a child of God? A woman told me one time, "I say 'Amen' when you're preaching, but I just don't say it out loud". She said, "Don't ever think that I'm not listening to you. I'm saying 'Amen' on the inside".
Everybody in here is saying "Amen" to something on the inside, coming into agreement with viewpoints and values on the inside. Jesus said something very interesting when his mother and his brothers came to the door and said, "Get out here. Go back to Nazareth". You know that voice that always tries to call you back to what's familiar even if it's not good for you? "Come on now. You have to go back to Nazareth". Jesus had an inside voice. He knew what his Father had spoken. Do we? Voices become viewpoints. Jesus wasn't going to be driven by something from the outside. He was steered by the Spirit of God on the inside. Am I? Are you? Or do you have so much noise you don't even notice God's voice anymore when he speaks?
I have to confess I'm guilty. Most of the time I preach to you what I pray to God about. Help me with this, Lord. How many need some help with your inside voice? You've got it. He said greater is he that's in you than he that's in the world. I believe that. The voice you give attention to is the one you're going to experience. Jesus said, "I'm not going to be driven by the opinions of anyone. I'm moving according to my Father's agenda". He used his inside voice.
God, help us to hear your voice of wisdom in this moment. Somebody right now is making big decisions in their life. They're deciding whether to move or to stay, whether to sell or to buy. Somebody is deciding if they even think their life is worth living. Right now, it's so important that they can hear your voice. That's why the Enemy has been crowding them out, doing everything he can to keep them blind, to keep them mute, to keep them confused. You are not the author of confusion, Lord. Right now, we ask for the clarity of the whisper of your Spirit. Call us over, like you called those scribes over, and correct us, Lord. We have our own opinions and ways things are supposed to work, and we need to hear the word only you can speak from the inside voice. Speak on the inside, Lord, that we start talking like where we come from, that we start telling ourselves we're loved and we're okay and we're sufficient, not because of some accomplishment. No, no, no. That's external. No, no, no. Because God made me, because I am made of the same substance God spoke the world with. That Word is alive and active. The inside voice.
When Jesus showed up at the tomb of Lazarus… Do you remember how he got there and Lazarus was already dead? Mary and Martha were so hurt by that, like a lot of people who are listening to this word today. It's just so much noise, so much confusion. Literally, you have felt like you're going crazy, and you kind of are, because you're trying to hold too much in your head and in your heart. You're being controlled by external stuff, and everything else affects you. Everything else tells you what it would take for you to matter. That's what's happening. Well, in this particular case, they lost their brother Lazarus. I spent the whole year trying to write a book about Lazarus, so it was fresh on my mind. When Jesus got to the tomb, it said he felt something for the sisters.
Look at me. He feels something for you. He felt something on the inside. I have to show you this. It would be disobedient to the Lord for me to not give you this. It was the last thing God gave me for the sermon, but it may be the thing you came for. John, chapter 11. "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled". By her pain. By your tears. By your questions. Deeply moved and troubled. That's what he felt on the inside. "'Where have you laid him?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord,' they replied".
What came next was a miracle. How many are ready for a miracle today? This may not be for someone in this room. Maybe it's for you. I don't know, but the Scripture says in verse 35, "Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, 'See how he loved him!' But some of them said…" Have you ever had some of them say? Some of them will always say. "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying"? All of these voices on the inside of you. "Could not he…? Didn't, wouldn't, shouldn't he have…"? Verse 38: "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 'Take away the stone,' he said. 'But, Lord,' said Martha, the sister of the dead man, 'by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.' Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'"
Here's what I wanted to show you. Please lean into this moment. Please don't get distracted. This is so important. "So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.'" Verse 43. This is what I'm familiar with. "When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus…'" He didn't say it softly. I could cry thinking about it. When he spoke to Lazarus who was dead, he said it loudly. Jesus has an outside voice. He really does. He can command and speak.
Some of y'all don't like it when I holler when I preach. That's my Bible verse right there, y'all. He said in a loud voice… He didn't get loud until he was talking to Lazarus. When he spoke to his Father, he said it in his inside voice, because he knew God is not up there, out there, distant. "I and my Father are one". I want you to know that this week. When you talk to your Father, you're using your inside voice. That's the real you. That's your spirit. That's what God knows about you. That's not what others say, others think. That's going to drive you off the edge of a cliff. Jesus said to his Father, "I know you always hear me".
Lord, you said your word would be like rain that came from the heaven and did not return void. I believe that about your word in this moment. I believe your word is gaining entrance to the hearts of men and women. Even now as I preach it, Lord, there's a certain heaviness to those who are really receiving it because the chatter is so bad and the noise is so loud. I pray that this week, amongst the shouts of the scribes, the cynicism of those who should support us, the division we experience in our world and the questions that will remain unanswered, that we would use our inside voice, that we would talk like where we come from, that we would remember we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom and we have a King and his name is Jesus. That King is inside of me and inside of you. If you know it on the inside, use your outside voice for a minute! Lazarus, come forth! Joy, come forth! Peace, come forth! Like a river overflow from my soul! Give him praise in the house!