LIstening to God

The command

The cry of the prophets to ancient Israel was the joy-filled command to “Listen!”. “Sh’ma Israel: Hear, O Israel!”  We are to be hearers of the Word.

The promise

“I will not leave you as orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14.18-19). “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31.6 quoted Hebrews 13.5). He will call to me, I will answer them.” (Ps. 91.15). “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord” (Jer. 29.11-14a). ” I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32.8).

How does God fulfill the promise to be with us?

” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God ” (Rom. 8.16):

  • the Holy Spirit bears witness testifies to us, supplies evidence – that we are God’s children;
  • the Spirit does this through our spirits.

God’s desire

Eternal life is not just a gift, but an intimate relationship of knowing God (John 17.3). The Lord rejoices over us (Isa. 62.5). God longs to love us and be in communion with us. Our spirits respond with longing for God (Psalm 42.1-2; Phil. 3.1-11). The Psalms are full of the exuberance of David’s relationship with The Lord.

We seek to be led by the Spirit and to be in fellowship with the Spirit not just for guidance and direction, but to share a love relationship with God.

The human spirit

Humanity is made in the image of God (Gen. 1.26-27). God is a spirit (John 4.24). Each human is also a spirit.

“The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every inmost part.” (Proverbs. 20.27). The Lord guides us and enlightens us through our spirits.

(2 Cor 4:16) So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Cor. 5.17) What is new?

In John 3.3-6, Jesus speaks of being born again of the Spirit. The part of us that is born again is our spirit. It is the human spirit that is made a new and eternal creature in Christ.

Spirit and soul are not the same. In Hebrews 4.12 there is psuche – soul; and pnuema – spirit.

1 Cor. 14.4: when you pray in tongues, your spirit prays, but your mind is not fruitful. James 1.21: “welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.” James is speaking to his “beloved” (v.l9). Why then do their souls [psuche] need saving, if they have been born again?

Spirit, Soul and body

Romans 12.2 – renewing of the mind. Psalm 23.3 – restoring of the soul.

Our spirits have been born again to eternal life, but oursouls are being transformed and renewed daily. The body must be presented to God (Romans 12.1). Who presents it? We ourselves control our bodies and keep them in subjection (I Cor. 9.27).

The human body:

  • relates to physical things;
  • is to be presented by us to God for use in God’s service;
  • is to be kept under control by us;
  • will be resurrected and changed at the second coming of the Lord (I Thess. 4.13-18).

The human soul:

  • is the place of will, intellect, emotions and memory;
  • relates to intellectual and emotional things;
  • is being transformed and renewed by the Word of God into the image of Jesus Christ.

The human spirit:

  • relates to spiritual things;
  • has been born again to eternal life by the Spirit of God;
  • is directed by the Holy Spirit.

God communicates with us

Many things are used by God to speak (or rather, communicate) with us.

  • Scripture – in teaching, preaching, private reading, meditation, etc.
  • visions, dreams;
  • the ‘still small voice’;
  • through things we see in life and nature;
  • through things said to us by others.

But all of these things are symbols or means to what goes on in the inner person, God’s Spirit speaking with our spirit. These things make up the “word of God” to us. Jesus is the word and truth – therefore everything we ‘hear’ from God must conform to the truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Isa 30.15 “in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”