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If you weren't here last week, I began just a two part series on 'Waiting On God'. Last week we looked at it really from the individual perspective and personally, the necessity of waiting on God ourselves at home as individuals. We looked at that story of Mary and Martha. I did say that I wanted, this week, more to look at the subject from a church point of view, and how necessary it is for a group of God's people, a local assembly, to wait on God.

So let's look at God's Word just now - I want us to turn to Acts 13 please. We will look at a number of Scriptures tonight, but let's begin at Acts 13. Perhaps we could just pray, once you get the portion of Scripture, we'll pray. I want you to ask the Lord that He might speak to you, please do that. Ask the Lord that He might speak to you. If you're in leadership - and I don't know you, really, here in this fellowship, I'm only getting to know you now - but if you are in leadership in any capacity, do pray that the Lord might speak to you as well and enlighten you, because this will be particularly relevant to you.

Let's pray and ask the Lord's help: Abba Father, we come to You in that name that is above every name, Lord Jesus Christ. We have been singing about the name of Jesus. We thank You that there is power in the name of Jesus, we thank You that there is great authority in His name, and we thank You that in His name we have been instructed to go and make disciples, baptising in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Lord, we thank You that there is a day yet to be, when at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord - to the glory of God the Father - of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth. Lord, we, at this moment, just invoke the power, and the authority, and the presence of God that comes through the name of Jesus. We pray tonight, Lord, that He would be seen, that He would be heard, that by the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit His presence would be felt. We do want to take authority in the name of Jesus over all ungodly presences that would seek to distract and take away from the Word. So come, Holy Spirit, to us, and testify and witness Christ to our minds and hearts. Heavenly Father, we pray that You will honour Your promise, when You said that 'if any man love Me, and keep My Word; My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our home with him'. Lord, come to us: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit just now - come and be at home with us, dwell with us we pray, give us ears to hear, for Christ's sake, Amen.

We've got to understand that when work is dissociated from devotion, there will be a grave problem in our lives...

Acts 13 then, verses 1-3: "Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers", I do believe that this is as good a blueprint for New Testament church life as you'll get, "Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them'. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away". The beginning of verse 4 says: "So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went".

I spoke to you last week, as I said, on Mary and Martha - and I hope that I addressed a little confusion regarding that story, because some people interpret it that the Lord Jesus is against work and activity of any kind. We saw that that was not the point of what the Lord Jesus was saying, but what He was critiquing was this dissociation between work and worship. We've got to understand that when work is dissociated from devotion, there will be a grave problem in our lives - and that's why the Lord wasn't so delicate with Martha's misunderstanding. He was quite severe (in a tender, of course, way, as the Lord Jesus always does), but He was forthright because she needed to understand this grave error. If He didn't nip it in the bud in her life, she would go on in her Christian experience trying to earn favour, and trying to gain intimacy with Jesus, through activity. We dealt with that at some length last week.

I want to bring it now into a corporate capacity, to look at how this also affects the church - when we have work dissociated from devotion, when in fact we have a disordered relationship between the two, and the worst case scenario (which I think often is the case) when work is completely divorced from any spiritual activity. The fruit is exactly the same as it is in the individual: there will be distraction, there will be disillusionment, and, as a church, you will hit a brick wall. There will be a lack of direction, a lack of purpose - and, as is often the case in our modern age, there will be a grasping at shallow substitutes. We'll be looking for a new programme all the time, or a new project or agenda.

I want to bring it now into a corporate capacity, to look at how this also affects the church...

So basically the result is the same - just as with Mary and Martha - the result of a dissociation of work from devotion will be a frantic activism. We will be going around like the proverbial fly, looking everywhere for things to do, and substituting a devotion to the Lord in our spirits and our hearts with activity.

Largely, churches are run on tradition - whatever the tradition might be - a denominational tradition, or human wisdom - a lot of churches are based and run on human wisdom. Of course, you only need to go and have a casual perusal at the shelves of your local Christian Bookstore to see all the new church-growth gurus, and their ideas in their paperbacks and productions on how to extend the bounds of your church.

But how should the church be run? One of the most common ways that we 'do church' (for want of a better phrase), is asking God to bless our good ideas. So we have a planning meeting, a brainstorming exercise. We pray before it, we may even pray during it, and then we pray after it that God will bless what we have thought up. It has to be said that it's not the old style church alone that is run on traditional lines, there can be a new legalism that more modern churches have brought in - and they have their ways of doing it as well. I don't know whether you will accept this or not, but I do believe that many more modern churches who have reacted against legalism - rightly so - are now falling into the trap of a vacuum of spiritual substance. Rightly so they have reacted against a form of godliness that denies the power - just mere rules, regulations and tradition - but what has been given to them to substitute that? What do they have in its place? Often all there is, is some kind of social gathering with a spiritual veneer, but there is a distinct absence of depth and spiritual reality.

I find in a lot of more modern churches that there is a real spiritual crisis. At least the legalists are still passionate about something - maybe wrongly so, but they are on fire about something. There can be, equally, a form of godliness, in modern circles, that denies the power. One of the reasons - and it's only one - but one of the reasons, I believe, is that we have stopped waiting on God.

So let's ask the question: how does church work? I know it's a crude way of putting it, but I can't think of any other way just at the moment! How does church work? Or how is it meant to work? Turn with me to Revelation chapter 1, and of course it begins with this introduction and then a wonderful vision of our Lord Jesus risen and exalted, but I want to just point your attention to verse 4 of chapter 1 before we get into that. It says: 'John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne'. That's rather strange, because we know there is only one Holy Spirit, but here He is described as 'seven Spirits', and I think it's descriptive of the perfection of the Holy Spirit - seven being the number of completion and perfection in the Bible - but what I want you to see is the positioning here of the seven Spirits of God before the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find in a lot of more modern churches that there is a real spiritual crisis...

Now right away, at the beginning of the book of the Revelation, we are confronted with the throne of God - and Jesus Christ is on it. In front of it are seven Spirits, the Spirit of God. Now, in front of any throne there would have been the courtiers, the officials of the Kingdom who would have administrative the rulership of the Sovereign. What you have here is the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the throne, and before Him is the Holy Spirit who is being sent out to administer the rule of Christ in the church. So how does church work? Well, Jesus is meant to be the Head of the church, and He operates his Commandership from headquarters, the throne of God in heaven, on Earth via the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit.

As you go through this letter, you will see that there is no other body between Christ and His people - it's just the Lord Jesus Christ ruling in the church through the Holy Spirit. When you read the subsequent vision, you will find Him walking amongst the lamp stands, or the candlesticks, and they represent the churches. The idea is that He is directly acting to those churches - no middleman, no institution in between, Jesus is directly instrumental in the life of the church through the Holy Spirit, these seven Spirits before the throne.

Now, is that the way it really is? Is the Head of the church the Lord Jesus Christ? Is He directly operating His will in the local assembly here via the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit? That's the way it's meant to be. Let me show you this in the book of Acts, if you turn with me to Acts chapter 8, we see how the Lord Jesus directed operations in the early church through the Holy Spirit. Verse 29 of Acts 8, we see that the Holy Spirit instructed where to preach, Acts 8 verse 29: 'Then the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go near and overtake this chariot''. Of course, this was the incident of the Ethiopian eunuch, when there were many people in Samaria who were coming to faith in Christ, but the Holy Spirit - it seems counterintuitive to us - took him away from that mass situation of many people believing, to just this one individual guy in the middle of the desert. But we know from history that it was through this incident that the Gospel came to Africa - but it was the Holy Spirit who was deciding where people preached in the early church, the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit decide where you preach, where I preach, where we evangelise?

If you look at chapter 10 of Acts, we see this same pattern, verse 19: 'While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them''. Of course, this is the vision that preceded Peter's visit to the house of Cornelius. We have this wonderful incident where the Gospel comes, and the Holy Spirit falls upon these Gentiles. But it was all through the direction - it has to be said, against the greater wisdom and the Jewish traditional etiquette of someone like Peter, it was going against what their intelligence would tell them; but because they were attuned to what Jesus was directing from the throne through the Holy Spirit, they got the message. Sometimes it was a hard thing to do for them, they fought against their own instincts, but they went and did it.

It was going against what their intelligence would tell them; but because they were attuned to what Jesus was directing from the throne through the Holy Spirit, they got the message...

So in the early church the Holy Spirit directed where they should preach. Something else: the Holy Spirit also directed them where not to preach. Look at Acts 16 verses 6 and 7: 'Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them'. It's remarkable, isn't it? It's certainly very rare today, I imagine, the Holy Spirit ordained where they should preach and where they should not preach. He actually put up a barrier to tell them, 'Not now, not here now, not like this'.

The Holy Spirit also directed who should preach and who should lead. I hope none of you believe that anybody can preach. We may not believe in one-man ministry, and certainly in Acts 13 there is a team there - that's why I said it's probably a good blueprint for the New Testament church - but I hope that no one believes in an every-man ministry, because that's not found in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit directs who should preach and teach. Here in Acts chapter 20 we've got it in relation to who should lead in the church, there are many other passages that we could look at, but here in Acts 20 Ephesus is the situation, and in verse 28 are Paul's parting words to them, he says: 'Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood'.

Who makes overseers? The Holy Spirit - at least that's the way it's meant to be, not a vote, not some decision of some favoured individuals coming together, it's meant to be the Holy Spirit. If I direct you back to our original reading in Acts chapter 13, there was this fluid situation in Antioch, and the Holy Spirit came and told them to separate Saul and Barnabas for the work to which the Lord had called them. Now you do notice that there were a number of men who were recognised as prophets and teachers, God's hand was on them - and yet it was a fluid situation where the Holy Spirit was moving people around for the purposes of Jesus, the Head of the church, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit.

Now let me ask you, in the light of all that: who runs the church today? Who runs our churches? How do they run them? Now don't misunderstand me: human instrumentality is involved, that is the way God has made things, but the human instrumentality of leadership in the church is always meant to be dependent on the Spirit's ministry. It is meant to be by the Head of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ, through the administration of the Spirit, that the church is run.

Now you might say: 'Well, that's all very interesting, but how can this be done?'. Well, look at how it was done in the early church. In the early church they were all - not just the leadership - they were all constantly to be found in prayer and fasting, seeking the Spirit's direction. We saw it in our reading, verse 2: 'They ministered to the Lord and fasted, and then the Holy Spirit said...'. They were waiting on God. In fact, in Revelation, where we were a few moments ago, you remember that Revelation is introduced with a series of seven letters from Jesus, through John the Apostle, and each of them ends with this statement: 'He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches'.

I ask you, in the 21st-century, has the Spirit stopped talking to the churches?

Now I ask you, in the 21st-century, has the Spirit stopped talking to the churches? You may take some view of biblical canon, but it's closed and God doesn't speak any more - I do believe the canon is closed, but I do believe God is speaking today, I do believe He's speaking. I hinted last week about the prophetic word, that it's not just the word of God that we need to hear today, but it's the specific word from God's heart to a specific people for a particular time. Therefore we need to be able to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, you need to hear what the Spirit is saying to this church. Or have you just been, like clockwork, set on a traditional way of going - whether traditional or modern - and it's just ticking over the way it has been set?

Corrie Ten Boom was once called 'God's Globetrotter', because she was so busy doing the work of the Kingdom - and yet she made this statement, even in her busyness: 'If you want to work for God, don't hesitate to establish a committee. But if you should desire to work with God, don't hesitate to form a prayer group'. I like that: if you want to work for God, establish a committee; if you want to work with Him, form a prayer group. So what we really need as a church is to learn to wait on God, to come and to, like Mary, as we saw last week, sit at the feet of Jesus - because that is the practical way of entering the flow of the Spirit, to hear the voice of what the Lord Jesus is saying from His throne through the Holy Spirit. As I said last week: we need to make ourselves available, we need to be radical, we need to cut time out of our diaries and spend time waiting on God to hear what the Spirit says to the church - not just as individuals, but corporately as the body of Christ.

A lot depends on the amount of time we are willing to wait on God. How much time do you, as a leadership, wait on God? Now, I have been on oversight in church, I have been in pastoral life, and one of the big struggles that I have had is to try to get leaders to wait on God - to put things aside, discussion, theory, human wisdom, and just to wait on God.

'How do we hear God?', is a huge question that I don't have time to answer tonight - but I want to help you a little bit. This will be relevant to the individual and to the group. Dallas Willard, whose writings I highly recommend, has written a book on 'Hearing God', as has a lady by the name of Leanne Payne, her book is entitled 'Listening Prayer' - and I would encourage you to read those for more depth on this subject. It's impossible to cover it, as I say, but I want to give you some guiding principles. We must beware of 'technique', and yet there are certain principles that can help us to hear the Lord. As I said, I think last week, everything in the Christian life is based on relationship. Martha was trying to earn the favour of Jesus by what she was doing for Him, she was trying to gain intimacy with the Lord - but the Lord needed her to realise that that's not how you get it, 'You need to come to My feet. One thing is needful, and this shall not be taken away from you'. Really what Mary was doing was cultivating relationship with the Lord, sitting at His feet and listening to Him.

Develop your relationship with Him, and then you will begin to understand His promptings and hear His voice...

So listening to God is based on relationship together. Relationship is not always learning someone else's language - and this is a profound statement that I want you to remember - it's not that we need to learn some kind of language that God speaks, but rather He seems to learn the language that we understand. There are ways that God speaks to you, perhaps, that He will not speak to another because they wouldn't understand what He was trying to say - but you understand when He's checking you, when He's balancing you, when He's nudging you and prompting you in positive and negative ways, when He's warning you. It's a bit like the relationship between a husband and wife, they learn to communicate with one another without words - they can read one another, they can read the scowl, the look, whatever it may be, the frown - but it develops out of relationship, where you might even get to the point where you can almost second-guess your spouse. It's all coming out of relationship. When you come and wait at the feet of Jesus, spend time and show the worth of it by giving up valuable minutes to wait at the feet of Jesus, you will then learn to hear what He is saying to you. So, develop your relationship with Him, and then you will begin to understand His promptings and hear His voice.

As far as church is concerned, I think that we need to make more time and room in church for waiting upon God. I have hinted at how as oversights, we need to take time just to wait, to fast, and to pray for direction - but I do believe that even in our services we could learn to make some quiet time to wait on God, and to be still to hear God's voice. You remember Martha was distracted about much serving, and sometimes we can get distracted through the programme, through various things, when we really need at times to be still and wait to hear the voice of God.

Let me give you some pointers, six in total, and I will go through them very quickly - how to hear the voice of God. The first thing that we need is faith, faith. Hebrews 11 and verse 6 says: 'Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him'. You see, expectancy draws God. If you're not expecting to hear from God, you're not going to hear from Him - is that a surprise? If you're not tuned into His frequency, you're not going to pick up the signal. Just at this moment of time, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of radio frequencies going through the air - and you're not picking up any of them, at least I hope you're not! The reason is that you're not tuned to them. Faith is the way to attune yourself to God's frequency. I believe that there are constant messages coming from the throne of God, in fact the Psalmist said that 'His thoughts toward us are more than can be numbered', they are continual. I believe that if you get into a true, deep relationship with the Lord in your spirit, you will be able to pick up so many thoughts from God's heart, there will be too many to contain - you will be overwhelmed by the voice of God. So it is the case that He is speaking to all of you, but you may not be hearing Him. Are you expecting to hear from Him? Faith draws God.

Pride is the greatest obstacle to hearing God...

Secondly, humility is necessary. Pride is the greatest obstacle to hearing God. You remember the Laodicean church in Revelation? They were so rich and increased with goods, and knowledge, and wisdom, that they had need of nothing - they thought. If you've got that spirit of pride, well, you won't listen for God's voice. You think that your human ingenuity will be enough. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we're instructed from that wise man: 'Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths'.

We need faith, we need humility, thirdly: you need purity. You will hear clearer when your heart is cleaner. It's very simple: you will hear clearer when your heart is cleaner Psalm 66 verse 18 says: 'If I regard', the word means cherish, harbour, 'iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear' - and, equally, you will not hear the Lord. As Isaiah said: 'Your sins have separated between you and your God, your sins have hidden His face from you'. So it's necessary, I believe, as individual Christians but also as groups of God's people, to have spiritual MOTs. I believe it is necessary to have days of cleansing, days of fasting, days of praying and waiting on God to bring a release, a purity and a spiritual cleansing that will allow us to get closer to God and hear His voice.

Purity is necessary, humility, faith. Fourthly: healing, healing might be necessary. What I'm talking about are issues that are deep within our hearts, maybe in our spirits, maybe in our minds, maybe in our emotions. There could be issues that are preventing us hearing from God, and we might need healing and deliverance in those in order that the voice of God can come through. Duncan Campbell, the man who was mightily used of God in the Hebridean revival last century, he once spoke on the subject of Elisha and the school of prophets in the Old Testament. You remember the story about the student losing his axe head that was borrowed, and Elisha told the young man: 'Go back to the place where you last knew you had it'. Duncan Campbell says about the voice of God, in relation to that story: 'Sometimes we momentarily lose our axe heads, our best cutting-edge tool for ministry, which is the clear voice of God. It helps to go back to the place where we last knew we had heard the sharp edge of God's voice'.

When was the last time you heard God speaking to you? Go back to that moment, ask what happened - what happened to stop His voice? Was there a sin? Was there a wound? Has there been a demonic influence that has entered into your life that has robbed you of the sharp axe head of the voice of God? You might need healing, groups of God's people need healing at times, and deliverance, because of issues that have gone on in their history - things that need to be apologised for, things where forgiveness needs to be offered, things that were wrong that need to be shown to be wrong and put right. You see you can't have blessing, you can't have an outpouring in your own life as an individual, without repentance, without cleansing, without deliverance - and it's exactly the same in the corporate sphere. We want the windows of heaven to open up and pour us out a blessing, don't we? We think it's just going to happen like that, without any repentance, without any cleansing.

When was the last time you heard God speaking to you?

There needs to be faith, and humility, purity, and healing, and fifthly: there needs to be obedience to hear the voice of God. I remember, I think it was William MacDonald saying years ago: 'Obedience is the instrument of revelation' - that is profound. Obedience is the instrument of revelation. In other words, if you want God to reveal His will to you, you need to be obedient with His will to you that you know. Do you understand? His revealed will, the things He has already told you to do - you need to do those. We all want to know what our life's career is, and we want to know who we're going to marry, and where we're going to be in 20 years time, and how it's all going to end up, and if we're going to be a success or not and all the rest. But the fact of the matter is: that's not the way God guides. He guides step-by-step, and He shows us the next thing to do. Maybe He has shown you the next thing to do, or this assembly the next thing to do, but you're jumping ahead of Him - you want to know what's next year, or at the end of the decade.

Some very simple things: are you baptised in water? Have you sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you obedient to the commands of Christ? These are very simple things, and yet obedience is the instrument of revelation. Maybe God is saying to you: 'Do you see that thing I told you to do years ago, and you have never done? That's the reason why you've got a blockage in hearing My voice and being guided in My will'. He has told you to do something, He has told you to stop doing something, He has told you to change something.

Obedience is necessary, and finally: stillness. Life is so busy, isn't it, and so noisy? Of course we have lived in a communication explosion, you're hardly ever cut off from human contact. It's hard to get alone, isn't it? You can imagine - I don't know if you've ever had the experience of being on the telephone, and the child is blattering on the piano in the background, it's very hard to hear what the person is saying to you when there is all that distraction. But that's the way we often are in life: we can't hear the voice of God. Remember I took you to Elijah last week, to show you that He speaks through a still small voice. So much of our lives and our hearts are filled with noise and distraction. We need to eliminate those distractions.

How do I know it's the voice of God, and not the voice of the devil?

Let me deal with one as I come to a close, one distraction that is often in people's minds: how do I know it's the voice of God, and not the voice of the devil? Put your hand up if you've ever asked that question. How do you know it's the voice of God? There's only one? Two, three, four, a few. Some of you have been concerned about that. Turn with me, and hopefully this will help you, to James chapter 3. Did you know that there is a certain tone to the voice of God, did you know that? There is an intonation in the voice of the Almighty that is different than the tone of the devil. Here in James 3 verse 15, James speaks to this. He first talks about the wisdom that 'does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there'. But look at this, verse 17: 'But the wisdom that is from above is first pure', God will only tell you to do things that are pure. So if there is an impurity about anything that you feel directed to do, it's demonic wisdom. 'Then peaceable', God will only direct you to do things that are peaceable - I'm not saying it will always result in peace, because the things that our Lord Jesus did didn't always result in peace, sometimes they resulted in division in families and in communities - but He did everything peaceably. 'Gentle', the Lord Jesus was the supreme Gentleman. Coarseness, hardness and crudeness does not come from the wisdom of above. 'Willing to yield', if you're a pushy person, or the information that is coming to you is to push yourself forward, or to presume position or authority, that is not wisdom that is coming from God. The wisdom and the voice of God, and His intonation, is willing to yield. 'Full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy' - self-explanatory - 'Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace'.

Do you see how to tell the voice of God from the voice of the devil, or indeed the voice of self? Maybe that's still not enough for you - I would encourage you to go away and study the description of the tone of God's voice there in James 3. But here's another three things, quickly, to do if you have something that you need the voice of God on. Here are three things that you need to do added to the other pointers I have given you: one, submit, submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of your life. That sounds like this: 'Lord Jesus Christ, I surrender to You as Lord of all, Lord of my spirit, my soul, and my body; Lord of all that I am, and Lord of all that I have' - that just about covers everything, doesn't it? You see, when you submit to Him as Lord, you can then ask Him to silence the thoughts that are just coming from you, the desires and the opinions of others, perhaps, and even the wicked insinuations of the enemy - as 2 Corinthians 10 verse 5 says, we can take into captivity every thought to the obedience of Jesus Christ - but you must submit to Him as Lord. You see, some of you might be here tonight, and you're wanting God's direction for your life, you're wanting God's blessing - but you've got one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God, and that ain't going to happen, and you need to waken up! That's why you're getting mixed messages! Confused signals!

You're wanting God's direction for your life, you're wanting God's blessing - but you've got one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God...

You need to submit to His Lordship. Secondly, you need to resist the devil - isn't that what James says? 'Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you' - because the devil does seek to deceive us all, and so we need to use the authority Jesus has given us in the Kingdom to silence the enemy. You need to do that. Thirdly you need to expect - submit, resist, and expect an answer - do you expect to hear from God? Wait until the answer comes - wait on God, and allow the Lord to guide you as He sees fit, and then when He shows you, be obedient.

Growth in the Christian life does not begin until a person hears from God. If you're not hearing from God tonight, you're stuck - you're stuck! If you, as a fellowship, are not hearing from God for the direction of the immediate future, you're stuck. It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia, and he never ever lost his way - and this was before satnavs! He carried with him a homing pigeon, and there was a very fine cord attached from the pigeon's leg to his hand. When he was in doubt of the direction to go in the desert, he threw the bird into the air, and the pigeon quickly strained on the cord to fly in the direction of home, and always led him accurately to the goal. Because of this unique practice, he became known as 'the dove man'. We are meant to be the Dove men and women, the Dove people, the people who throw our requests heavenward, and wait on orders from headquarters - and the only way to do that is to wait on God.

Let us pray. As your head is bowed, let me help you a little bit more. I read this recently, the difference between God's voice and Satan's voice: God's voice stills you, Satan's voice rushes you; God's voice leads you, Satan's voice drives you, pushes you; God's voice reassures you, Satan's voice frightens you; God's voice enlightens you, Satan's voice confuses you; God's voice encourages you, Satan's discourages you; God's voice comforts you, Satan's voice worries you; God's voice calms you, Satan's voice obsesses you; God's voice convicts you, Satan's voice condemns you.

Father, we thank You that You are the God who is, and is not silent. As we come to You, having listened to Your Word, I pray that people here will have heard more than just Your Word in the sense of an exposition, but I pray that people will have heard the still small voice of God. I pray that this assembly will have heard the still small voice of God. I pray, Lord, for everyone here that needs Your direction - and all of us do - we need Your voice, not just for guidance for the future, Lord, we need the healing word day-by-day. It is our very meat, we saw that last week, Jesus said that His food is to do the will of Him that sent Him. Lord, it is our daily bread to have Your Word to us. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that is spoken from the mouth of God. Lord, we need it to live, let alone move. Yet there are people here tonight, I believe Lord, who haven't heard from You in a very long time - or perhaps, Lord, have never really heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Lord, I pray that that will all change tonight, that they will exercise faith and humility, they will get cleansing and repent of anything that is a blockage, they will get healing perhaps for issues that are preventing them hearing the voice of God. Lord, I pray that they will submit to the Lordship of Jesus, resist the devil, and expect - even this very night - expect to hear from You. So Lord, we thank You for this time, for Your presence, and we pray now that Your stillness will go with us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Don't miss part 1 of this message: “Waiting On God, Part 1 - At The Feet Of Jesus

Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
May 2013

This sermon was delivered at Bethany Church in Finaghy, N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "Waiting On God, Part 2 - Ministering To The Lord" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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