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Sermon "Hearing The Voice Of God

17 januari 2005

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Hearing to the voice of God

 

May God bless you as you read this inspiring sermon "Hearing and listening the voice of God"



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INDEX OF THE 3 DAY SEMINAR
click to goto subject quickly

  Hearing the voice of God 
  The cry of Habakkuk
  Revival and compassion
  Turning point
  God speaks
  Seven reasons for being unable to hear Gods voice
  God who answers the smallest cries
  Listening to the voice
  From death to life
  A voice heard amid peace
  Removing obstacles
  A feww preconditions to hearing Gods voice
  A model for dialoque between God and man
  A voice awakening the dawn of history
  Listening to the voice of Jesus 2
  The old testament foreshadowing jesus
  Jesus Christ the Word
  Jesus and the Holy Spirit
  Be baptized in the Holy Spirit
  I and the Father are one
  Holy Spirit send by Jesus
  The Holy Spirit is the answer
  Listening to the Holy Spirit
  Two Secrets to Experiencing the Holy Spirit
  The Holy Spirit Who Appeared on Pentecost
  The Work of the Holy Spirit
  From Death to Eternal Life
  A Dream of "That Very Church"
  Celebrating Each Day With the Holy Spirit

 

 

HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD

Hearing the voice of God

Sermon of Pastor Ha from the Korean "Onnuri Community Church".

Bron: http://english.onnuritv.com/web/services_sermons/holyspirit_2002/holy_submain.htm

Most devoted Christians seek to know the answer to the question, "Is what I am doing truly in line with God's will?" Pastor Ha tells us how to hear God's voice unfolding the stories of encounters with God from the Bible and also his lifetime walk with God.
The God Who Speaks

Most devoted Christians seek to know the answer to the question, "Is what I am doing truly in line with God's will?" Some 12 years ago, I spent one year in Hawaii on a Sabbatical that I took because of a deterioration in my health. I heard God's voice many times during that period. Yet the moment that I did, Satan would test me, saying, "If you are truly doing God's work, why would He make you sick? Don't go back to Onnuri Church. Submit your resignation!"

This happens quite often. Satan mocks us, saying, "Why do we fail or get sick if we are doing God's work? Isn't there something wrong with my faith in God?"

Those involved in doing God's work seem particularly inclined to hear such a voice. I personally fought for one month as I was being tested by the devil. As I was praying, I was able to drive off Satan's mocking and resolved instead to carry out a Holy Spirit ministry as I returned to Onnuri. I did that, and then we held a Holy Spirit Celebration. There was probably no other time since the founding of the church that so many people gathered together. People spoke in tongues, prophesied, and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Young adults began to flock to the church like a swarm of grasshoppers.

A revival began. The phenomenal growth of Onnuri Church for the past 10 years began on this occas

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THE CRY OF HABAKKUK

The Cry of Habakkuk

Even while believing our work is consistent with God's will, we occasionally come to question whether our work is driven, in part, by our own thoughts, greed, or ambitions. We fall into confusion, wondering "How much of this is God's will, and how much of this is my own thoughts?"

Some 2,600 years ago, there was a prophet who heard God's voice and struggled with and anguished over this same question. He continued to protest to and question God, until such time as he heard God's voice and trembled, his lips quivering. Those who encounter God only through human reason could never become so excited. Yet those who encounter severe suffering, adversity, or despair can truly meet God, and then share the same testimony, confessions, courage, faith, and vision that the Prophet Habakkuk did.

This is the confession of Habakkuk we see in 3:17 of today's passage. More than a prayer, this is his confession of faith, his testimony, and his praise.
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls . . ."

What fun would their being in farming or herding if our labor bore no fruit? How can we rejoice if we do not receive compensation for our efforts? Yet here we see that Habakkuk rejoices solely in the Lord, regardless of how desperate his health, belongings, accomplishments, or situation may be. Please look at verses 18 and 19.

"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
"The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments."

I myself witnessed this during my recent trip to Afghanistan. No matter what we handed the people there, they were thankful. Why? Because they had absolutely nothing there. When you go to places like Afghanistan, North Korea, or Pakistan, there are always many people hidden away in a corner in such a similar situation. Do not despair even if you have nothing to eat, even if you lose your job, or even if you are to die tomorrow. Your happiness, your guarantee of life cannot be found in these areas. Only God is the One who can guarantee your life.

If only you can encounter God, hear His voice, and gain assurance from Him, there is nothing about which to fear or worry.

The land of Judah was filled with injustice and corruption and all other types of works that God despises.

Habakkuk protests to God in chapters 1 and 2. "Why do you not judge them, God? Why does evil prosper?

Yet we see that Babylon, a strong power at the time, emerges as the judge of evil.

Habakkuk is even angrier. He cannot understand how a power even more evil than Israel is allowed by God to do even more evil works. This is what we find in chapter 2. Amid such discontent, Habakkuk encounters God.

I hope that all of you would also be blessed with encountering God at those times when you are unable to understand or have been wronged by improprieties around you.

Chapter 2, verse 14 is a famous verse of the Bible. "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea." Go on to look at verse 20.
"But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him."
Herein lies the answer. God carries out justice and bestows salvation. When the darkness of the night grows deep, the light of dawn is on the verge of coming. Habakkuk realized that God's righteousness was now beginning to be revealed. He heard God's voice. He saw God's vision.

 

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REVIVAL AND COMPASSION

Revival and Compassion

Please look at chapter 3. Habakkuk has now stopped arguing with God. Based on his own faith and own logic, Habakkuk was vexed by his inability to comprehend how the evil could prosper. Yet once he met God in the holy temple, saw God's vision, and heard His voice, Habakkuk's grumbling transformed into prayer.

Verse 1 of chapter 3 is not a complaint or challenge to God, but rather a prayer. When we lack faith, we may be inclined to protest to God, "How could you have allowed such suffering to befall me?" Yet the moment we hear God's voice, we move intro prayer.

Please look at verse 2.
"O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy."
Habakkuk heard God's voice. Amid the miserable fate of his fatherland, the wretched reality of the international situation, and the despair of lacking any means by which to survive amid such a situation, the moment Habakkuk hears God's voice, he cries out in prayer, "O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid."

Friends, if you have not been afraid, then you have not heard the voice of God. This happens when you find yourself merely coming out to church, listening to sermons, attending Bible study, and basing your faith on intellect. You have not had the true spiritual experience of dying and being resurrected.

It was when Moses discovered the secrets of the wilderness under the most adverse of situations - secrets such as the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire and the transformation of bitter water into sweet water - that the wilderness became an exciting and moving blessing to him.

Two phrases come to mind in Habakkuk's heart. The first was "Revive your work." Clearly Habakkuk's heart was filled with hope for revival. "Things will live again. They will be resurrected. Things will change tomorrow. Roses will bloom in the wastelands." Even in this worst of situations,

Habakkuk saw the presence of the glory of God.
The second word we see here is "mercy." In reality, we all are worthy of receiving the wrath of God. As we look back at our lives in this regard, we are speechless. Yet just as parents cover up the faults of their children, so too does God cover our faults.

Although we as humans may go around asserting justice and righteousness, we cannot even look beyond ourselves in finding faults in this regard. God, however, gives us new life by covering up and ignoring our various wrongs. I hope that the mercy of God would be upon you today.

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TURNING POINT

Turning Point
In verses 3 to 6, Habakkuk begins to witness the incredible glory of God.

As he hears God's voice, he sees the glory, brightness, and greatness of God filling the whole world. In verses 7 to 9, we see images of the tents of Cushan in affliction and the land of Midian being judged. Habakkuk's vision was quite concrete, three-dimensional, and vivid. In verses 10 through 15, we see the victory and power of God spreading. God walked through the great seas, scattered the seas and rivers and all things, and in an instant wiped out all of the evil forces.He devastated a great power that no other country could.

Habakkuk saw God's glory in His victory. When we hear God's voice and see His vision, no one can discourage us, regardless of what despair, death, or defeat we encounter. Let's look at verse 16.
"When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops."

Faith in Jesus Christ is not a simple intellectual endeavour or exercise of reason. Faith involves the pouring out of our hearts. Our bodies will tremble, our lips will quiver, and our whole lives will be moved like an earthquake. This is what experiencing God involves.

That is why Habakkuk rejoices in verse 17. Even if I am abandoned in the desert, I will rejoice. This is the same assurance that keeps missionaries going. Even if at times they lack any sense of accomplishment, they never give up on their mission work.

So we see Habakkuk's cries of protest to God in anger transformed into intercessionary prayer.

Worries transform into worship, fear becomes faith, fright becomes confidence, and self-abandonment becomes hope.
In this process, our worries disappear into faith. Our question marks become exclamation marks.

I pray that all of these things will happen to each of you tonight.

This transformation takes place between chapters 1 and 2 and chapter 3. It takes place because Habakkuk has heard the voice of God. Beloved saints, I do not want to address the issue of the environment that you may find yourselves surrounded by today.

We all find ourselves in a desert. Perhaps this is true even more so for those engaged in God's work.

Do you get worn out serving? Does your soul thirst in carrying out God's work? Have you not become exhausted even when the work you are doing is for His kingdom? I hope all of you would enjoy the same the miracles and blessings of hearing and experiencing God as seen in Habakkuk 3.

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GOD SPEAKS

God Speaks

People in the Old Testament era heard God's voice directly. They knew God through hearing His voice.

It is not unusual to hear someone today proclaim a belief in "God." They could be talking about Yahweh, or they could be referring to the god of Islam or even a god recognised in the East. It's unclear just what "god" one is referring to in such a case. But the true God speaks to us. Each and every one of you must encounter God who speaks if you truly want to understand, meet, and experience Him.

When God speaks, I listen. Faith involves listening, listening to God's voice.

God speaks to us in a variety of forms.

In the Old Testament era, He spoke directly to people. In the New Testament era, God spoke through Jesus Christ. Because God is spirit, we cannot see God in His actual form. Those who encounter God are only able to hear His voice, they can neither see nor meet Him directly.

Because we are flesh and He is spirit, there is no one who can experience Him directly. But there is one way to capture His true essence, and that is through the word.

Words are a communications means that we all understand.

Hearing the word of God is a way to experience the true nature of God.

He is Jesus Christ. He is the Holy Spirit who has appeared to us as power.
Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to experience the word.

Through Jesus Christ, we experience Scripture.
Those who have the Holy Spirit, evidence that they are Christians to others without even knowing. This is the internal evidence of the Holy Spirit.

Even when he was in prison being beaten or when he was about to be beheaded, Paul rejoiced. There is no other way to explain this. Because the true nature of God dwells in us through the word, the word rules in us over our five senses, our intellect, our reason, and our experiential world.

It is my hope that such a blessing would be with each of you today.

Habakkuk experiences this blessing in chapter 3. That is why, unbeknownst even to him, Habakkuk's language changes, and his prayer becomes a poem, praise, and worship. I implore each of you to transcend the successes and failures of this world. Rise above sickness and health. Rise above the environment in which you live. Live with God who dwells in you in the word.

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SEVEN REASONS FOR BEING UNABLE TO HEAR GODS'S VOICE

If we were to consolidate what spiritually mature individuals have said on the subject, there are seven reasons why people are unable to hear God's voice.

1) The first is attributable to a bad relationship with God. To listen to a radio, the frequency needs to be tuned correctly. A televisions picture is fuzzy before the cable is plugged in. In a similar manner, once we "tune in" to God's "frequency," His voice becomes clear. Equipped with the "frequency of love" and the "secret access code of salvation," anyone can connect with God and hear His voice.

2) A second reason why we cannot hear God's voice. Even should the secret code be correct and the frequency is tuned in, however, a second reason why we cannot hear God's voice may be because of a poor connection. Even when we are in a normal relationship with God, if we have hidden sins or dwell in sin that displease God, we are unable to hear His voice. Our own egocentricity, greed, and ambitions can deafen us to the admonitions of God. Regardless of how good the message or how frequent the delivery from God, we cannot hear His voice in such cases.

3) A third reason we cannot hear God's voice is impure motivation. If we seek to hear His voice for selfish reasons, we will fail. If we come out to church and despise someone or attempt to use them in pursuit of some type of profit or gain, or if we are seeking to attain our own wild ambitions, we will not hear God's voice, regardless of how long we pray or fast.

4) A fourth obstacle to hearing God's voice is an insufficient knowledge of Scripture. All the answers we need to any question we can pose can be found in the Bible. If we ask, "God, what time is it?," God does not answer "It is now 9:40." Instead, He answers, "Look at a clock!" In a similar manner, all of the answers to our questions can be found in Scripture. Contained within the Bible are a number of guidelines and principles, ranging from the Ten Commandments to principles for choosing a career, principles for relationships with other peoples, and ways to handle pain and hurt. All we have to do is ask to hear God's voice.

5) Fifth, if we are arrogant we are unable to hear God's voice. Arrogance means to lift oneself up. Proclaiming to others that we hear God's voice is a reflection of arrogance as well.

6) A sixth reason is our inability to obey by faith. Some people determine on their own all it is that they want to do, and then proceed to attempt to use God toward those purposes. They act refined and spiritual on the outside, having hidden their selfishness. They want to both satisfy their selfishness and receive spiritual praise.

7) The seventh reason we may not hear God's voice is because we have not emptied ourselves. Our true enemy as Christians is not Satan but our own selves. We must die to the flesh and obey God. Daily conversation with others works on the same principle: We must ourselves be quiet in order to hear what the other person is saying. If I am talking loudly, I cannot hope to hear what the other person is saying. Our thoughts must die, our pride must die, and our own will must die. When this happens, and then we entrust everything to the Lord as we ask, "Lord, what must I do?" then we will hear God's voice.

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GOD WHO ANSWERS THE SMALLLEST CRIES

Clearly God has a voice. He is, after all, one who talks.

In the Old Testament, God the Father spoke.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ spoke.

The voice we hear today is entirely that of the Holy Spirit.

There are some very basic steps necessary to hear God's voice.

1) First, you must pray daily. Even if you pray for only 15 minutes, please pray daily. "Lord, I want a faith life that involves fellowship with you. Let me have a clear soul, a clean conscience, and a holy faith, so that I may be acutely attentive to Your voice.

2) Second, remember the aforementioned seven obstacles to hearing God's voice and examine where you may be having any difficulties. Examine what may be preventing you from having a relationship with God with the understanding provided you by the Holy Spirit.

3) Third, immerse yourself in Bible reading. When you diligently read the Bible, you develop a biblical worldview, values, and discernment. Your spiritual sensitivity also grows, as does your relationship with God.

As you continue to fellowship constantly with God and further refine your own soul, then you can more easily approach the mind and heart of God.

There is one poem that really moved me. It describes an exhausted mother, sleeping amid the stormy rains. She is awakened by the chirping of her new-born offspring.

That is the heart of a mother. God too inclines His ears to the smallest of our cries.

He then speaks to you. He ceaselessly encourages us, revives us, heals us, challenges us, and strengthens us.

We can prevail. We can hear God's voice.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you would enter into an even more intimate relationship with God.

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LISTENING TO GOD'S VOICE

Depending on the era, God has used a variety of methods and ways to speak to people. In the Old Testament, God spoke directly to the people. Only a few people chosen specifically by God heard His voice.

During the time of Jesus, people were able to hear the voice of Jesus. The disciples did as well as the other people who followed Jesus around. They heard His sermons, they saw His eyes, and they could even shake His hand. We see this most clearly expressed in Hebrews 1:1-3.

Today we will expand on Hebrews 1:1 and attempt to see what it tells us about how God talked to people through the entirety of the Old Testament. Only by understanding this can we understand tomorrow's message (zie pag 11) entitled "Listening to Jesus' Voice."

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FROM DEATH TO LIFE

Recently, we have said that we hear God's voice.

We hear this voice not in the same way of the Old Testament era, when God spoke directly to us, or even of the New Testament era, when God spoke through Jesus Christ.

Today we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament era, special people such as kings, high priests, and prophets heard the voice of God.

In the New Testament era, anyone who met Jesus Christ to include His disciples heard His voice. Following the coming of the Holy Spirit, however, there is no limitation on who may hear the voice of God.

The Holy Spirit can come to anyone: Westerner or Easterner, black or white or yellow, adult or baby, young or old. This is truly good news.

Not only will anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord receive salvation, but also those who seek after the Holy Spirit will receive the Holy Spirit. Those who have received the Holy Spirit can thus hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. I know that the Holy Spirit will be upon all of you when you read the Bible, when you pray, and especially this night as we have gathered here seeking the Holy Spirit.

The wind fills spaces, while the fire dwells upon people. In this space today the wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing. When the wind of the Holy Spirit blows here, all of you gathered here will enter the person of the Holy Spirit. When the wind of the Holy Spirit is present, the gifts of the Holy Spirit appear. The fire of the Holy Spirit rests above your heads.

In accepting Jesus Christ in the person, we need will and intellect. However, for the fire to dwell throughout our whole person, we need a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I pray that all of you would manifest tongues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I hope that all of you would demonstrate the gift of faith and the gift of healing.

When these things happen, the filthy spirits that have been hiding in us will be shaken up. Just as darkness disappears when the light shines, thoughts of darkness, negativity, death, and sickness that are in us will depart once the Holy Spirit comes.
Strange things will begin to happen within us.

The thoughts of Satan excite us and drive us to extremes.

I hope that all of you would have and exercise spiritual discernment.

It is easy to erroneously follow the devil. That is why gifts must be based upon the word.

No matter how strange or peculiar a certain gift may appear, it is absolutely acceptable as long as it is based on the word.
When our gifts are not based upon Scripture, we come to fight and compete over such gifts. We become arrogant and proud, and fail to edify others.

I hope that all of your gifts would be scriptural based.

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A VOICE HEARD AMID PEACE

I pray that all of the filthy spirits within you would be driven out in the name of Jesus Christ.

I hope that the dirty person within you and all associated thoughts would be made clean.
There are people who easily hurt others by their words. I hope that none of you among us tonight would fall within this category.
Others around us should be built up and encouraged by our words; they should be put at peace.

When others hear our words, they should be filled with love and able to forgive. Wouldn't this be wonderful? Speak in a new tongue! When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you speak not in Satan's language but in God's language. Words of blessing begin to flow from your lips. Words of life are spoken.

God's voice is distinctly different from thoughts in our mind resulting from our own determination.

The most important thing in trying to discern this is that you "feel and sense God." There are some people who are hard as rocks and feel nothing. But let me ask you this: Doesn't your heart palpitate when you are sitting next to someone whom you love? When God is here with us, for some reason we just feel good. No further explanation is needed. No matter how angry or stressed we may get, we are filled with delight just hearing God's word. It doesn't matter what suffering or hardship - even death - may befall us.

In military affairs, there is a term "disarmament." When we stand before God, we too must be disarmed. We must let God enter into us, just as we would open a closed window to let in the sunlight. When we say before God, "I love you, Lord our king. I have tormented myself for too long. I lay down all things before You," then in an instant, our hearts that were filled with turmoil, anxiety, and depression will be changed in an instant, and the peace of God will fill us. Hallelujah!

When we have such peace, we begin to hear the voice of God. When we fight with God, we cannot hear His voice. When we raise His name, we hear His voice. When our relationships are restored, we hear His voice; if they are not restored, we do not hear.

I pray that all of your hearts would be overflowing with incredible spiritual peace, joy, and praise, so that you may hear the voice of God.

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REMOVING OBSTACLES

The question again returns to this: How can we hear God's voice?

There is one easy method taught to us by the forerunners of our faith. There are likely some priority questions in your life today about which you would like to know God's will. Should I get married to this person? What is the meaning of this sickness that I am suffering? Why is my business encountering difficulty?

If you are seeking God's will in any such area today, first, go to Him in prayer.
Before you pray, however, you must remove any existing obstacles.

Is your relationship with God in good shape? If so, good. You need to have your "frequency" adjusted to the frequency of love, and you must have the proper "secret code" of faith. However, if any of you have difficulties in these areas, you need to begin by repenting. Perhaps your relationship with God is okay, but you have hidden sins in you? Confess them. Are you tempted by Satan? Drive him out. Examine your motivation for supplication prayer. Look at what Scripture says about that which you are seeking. Around 99% of our problems are addressed in Scripture.

The greatest obstacles to hearing God's voice are scars and arrogance. If we have bitter roots or scars in our hearts, we cannot hear God's voice.

When someone is sick, they lose their sense of taste, hearing, and sight. A healthy person, however, sees and hears well. As a result, they are able to judge most things accurately.

Those whose feelings are confused, are filled with selfishness, or have impure motivations, become perplexed and bewildered.

God tells us to be still. That is why the greatest answer to prayer is surrender. It's letting go. It's laying down everything and saying, "God, do as You will."

People tend toward deciding their own answer to prayers.
They then ask God. If they do not like the answer that they get from God, they ask again. They pray until the answer they desire is heard.

Excessive prayer equates to disbelief, the equivalent of pestering God until we are satisfied. Some believers even fast toward this end.
We make things difficult that would otherwise be easy if we would simply submit and surrender.

I hope that all of you would enjoy the blessing of surrender and the blessing of obedience.

Don't worry if you are a new believer. If you are one of those of you who feel nothing and whose eyes yield nothing but darkness when they are closed, do not fret. Continue to pray for small periods every day as you read the Bible and observe things around you. When you do so, you will know God's wonderful providence. This will be neither coincidence or some emotion or feeling. Do not worry or be afraid. God will bless you.

I believe that you will have spiritual ears able to hear the still small voice of God. In doing so, you will see the imaginably great work of God every time you take a step and follow Him according to His voice.

There are things that we receive because of our efforts, and there are things that work out that we are otherwise unable to do on our own.

If there are things that have happened to you that are otherwise beyond what you could have done, these have been given to you by God. Hold on to those things. The secret to our faith life is to grab on to those things that God does for us.
As I reflect on 17 years having passed at Onnuri Community Church, it is clear that God has done so many things here. These are not things I have done. These are not things even we as a community have accomplished. God has done these things among us. We must hold on to these. No one can block us from doing so.

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A FEW PRECONDITIONS TO HEARING GOD'S VOICE

There are a few basic preconditions to hearing God's voice. At times, He will also judge you.

First, you need to have an exact understanding of Who it is you are trying to listen to.

Second, you must know yourself as the listener. If you do not know these two things precisely, you will misunderstand what you hear.
What, then, are the distinguishing characteristics of God as He appears in Scripture?

1) First, God is one who "speaks." There are many gods - spelled with a small "g" - found in this world today. The decisive difference between those gods and the God we worship is that our God speaks. Because of His words, we are able to know the true nature of God. Because the word became flesh, we are able to know Jesus, and knowing Jesus is synonymous with knowing God.
This word of God is power. This word creates miracles. The word is God, the word is Jesus, and the word is the Holy Spirit. When God speaks, what He says comes to pass.

Creation, salvation, and the Scriptures were all words spoken by God. Love, truth, and justice are all words of God.
What is righteousness? Some people of this world believe that each person has their own yardstick for measuring righteousness, right? Yet we know that God's word defines righteousness.
Can love have a variety of meanings based on ones subjective opinion? No. The standard of love is found in the word.

God does not remain silent. There may be times when we are unable to clearly ascertain His voice. However, just as a father talks to his son, so too does God clearly speak to you and me. God knows your smallest of cries. He comforts and encourage you. At times, He will also judge you.

God's word is recorded in the Bible.
I hope that you do not try to close your eyes and see the Bible as some sort of abstract vision.
I implore you not to analyse Scripture in some strange, unfounded way.
Scripture tells us of the great redemption plan of God. We need to know the word to avoid falling into apostasy or becoming extreme in our faith.

2) Second, when we think of God, we must not forget that God is "God the triune." If we fail to have a great, grand view of God, then we become like the Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Moon Sun-myoung and the Unification Church.
None of these religions is based upon a triune God. When we lose our grasp of a God who speaks and a God who exists as part of the Trinity, then we begin to arbitrarily interpret Scripture according to our own understanding. So many times when this happens, incredible
damage and ruin results.

3) Third, we must understand love, justice, and holiness, which are the nature and disposition of God. God cannot tolerate even the slightest, smallest sin. Although He may have sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins, He does not tolerate sin.
That is why we cannot draw near to God when we are otherwise engaged in actions that God despises.
If our God were solely a God of justice, then we all would have already died.

God's character is further distinguished by forgiveness and love. God so loved us as sinners worthy of death, as children of wrath by nature, as corrupt humans, that He has both proclaimed we have no sin and forgiven us. We see this dual-facetedness of justice and love throughout Scripture. The perfection of God's justice and love is holiness.

There is one other attribute of God we need to mention here. God wants to bless us. God wants us to be holy, and He wants us to be blessed. When we understand God in this manner, then we can hear His voice clearly. If we do not, then we hear artificial voices, voices of greed and ambition, and voices of Satan.

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A MODEL FOR DIALOQUE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

There are two things we must remember when we hear God's voice.

1) The first is that we need to be saved people who have received the Holy Spirit in order for us to hear God's voice. God speaks to those whom He loves. Thus, when we pray, we must confess, "Lord, I love You. I am Yours, O God. I truly seek the Holy Spirit."

2) The second thing we must remember when listening to God's voice involves our maturity. If we are immature either in our personality or faith, we cannot hope to understand what others are saying to us. Can a dog understand what a person is saying? Of course not. In a similar manner, how can we as people hope to know God? We cannot. If our faith is immature, if our personality is immature, our understanding of the message that we hear from God can only be understood at a certain level, no matter how good that message may be. That is why maturity of faith, of person, and of intellect is so important.

Do you remember the dialogue between God and Adam and Even that followed the latter two's sin? Reading from Genesis 3:8 onward, we see that Adam and Eve hid in fear. Truth welcomes truth, while iniquity does not welcome the truth whatsoever. Falsehood cannot tolerate honesty. When we sin, we reject God, inasmuch as He becomes a burden to us. Adam and Eve hid to avoid the presence of God. I pray that this would not happen to any of you.

The same is true when God the Holy Spirit is at work. When there is sin within us, we avoid the work of the Holy Spirit and reject God's voice. Even if we hear it, we do not listen to it. I hope none of you would have instances where you avoid the work of the Holy Spirit.

When God asked, "Adam, Adam, where are you?," there likely would have been no problem if Adam had confessed his sin. Instead, he made up excuses. He passed on responsibility for his sins to the woman whom God had given him. The woman went on to blame the serpent. This is the inherent nature of sin. We transfer blame for our sins to others, make up excuses, and try to hide our sin. This is the first model of dialogue with God in the Old Testament that we see.

The second model involves Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel because of his worship. In Genesis 4:9, God asked, "Where is Abel your brother?" To this, Cain replied, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Here we see the dialogue between God and man continues to be stiff and impersonal. I hope that your dialogue with God would not be the same. When God presents you with a problem, please cry out and confess. It is easy to ask for forgiveness. Yet if you try to insist until the bitter end that you have done no wrong, and try to transfer blame to someone else, you will be unable to engage God in dialogue.

The third model for dialogue is found in that between God and Noah. In Genesis chapter 6, God decides to clean up the whole world. Man had by this point become a creature fighting with, jealous toward, and killing each other, so God had to punish them. Even so, God chose Noah and engaged him in dialogue. While being a God of justice, He is also a God of love.

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A VOICE AWAKENING THE DAWN OF HISTORY

God then meets Abraham. God creates for us a forefather of our faith so that He can transform our relationship with Him from one where we are cursed beings subject to judgement to one where He saves us. That said, Was Abraham's faith good in God's eyes? Absolutely not. It was atrocious. Abraham wavered from believing in God to not believing, from trusting in Him to not trusting. Yet because the Messiah who was to save all of mankind some day far off in the future could only come to earth if there was a forefather of faith, God did not give up on Abraham. Abraham could not have known this far-reaching plan of God's. Likewise, no one can know that some day, some great servant of God may not emerge from among your children.

Beyond Abraham, God also provided a framework of "forefathers of faith" through Isaac and Jacob. Someone like Jacob has nothing to say for himself. But yet God engaged Jacob, promised him salvation, and gave him a dream. Joseph was a bit of a different person than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joseph showed us a glimpse of the Messiah to come. God also later met Moses in the burning bush and had him lead His people out of Egypt, a drama that revealed to us what salvation entailed. God then sent Joshua, providing for us a model of how to occupy the Promised Land. Through Judges, God provided a model of how He rules over the wretched politics, economics, and society of this world.

Whenever Israel - which by then had broken up in disunion - encountered difficulties, God would send them a prophet. Even amid the turmoil of history, God's voice was never cut off from His people. His prophets foretold of the birth of the coming Messiah. Ultimately, the climax came when God sent His own Son Jesus to this world, when He died for all the sins of the mankind, and when He led Him into the glory of the resurrection

There is something those of us who listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit must know, and that is how God talked to His people in the Old Testament era. This is linked to how Jesus Christ came to us and spoke. This is further connected to the Pentecost. When, upon this foundation we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we come to know the Holy Spirit who works in person. We then come to testify of the Gospel.

I hope that all of you would be awakened to this incredible plan and providence of God. I pray that through this Holy Spirit Celebration, the voice of the cross, resurrection, and Holy Spirit would be heard by you, revealing to you why we are here, what our future is, and what type of life God desires for us to live.

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LISTENING TO THE VOICE OF JESUS 2

Characterizing the word of God as seen in the Old Testament, whether in the Pentateuch or as passed on through the prophets, we see that God's messages consisted mostly of warnings and judgement. Yet upon close examination, we also see salvation present. Within judgement we see God's grace, forgiveness, and mercy. The ultimate objective of God's word as seen in the Old Testament was to reveal the Messiah Jesus Christ who would one day come to provide salvation to all of mankind.

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THE OLD TESTAMENT IS FORESHADOWING JESUS

Many prophets prophesied and heard God's voice in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. That is one reason why all instances of God speaking in the Old Testament focus on Jesus Christ. The one passage that exquisitely links together words of the Old Testament and New Testament is Hebrews 1:1-3.

"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

The voice of God as seen in the Old Testament consists of words designed to reprimand Israel for their idol worship. The people of Israel repeatedly fell into idol worship and the following of gentile gods. Yet even as believers today, we often find our eyes diverted askance by things of the world. We leer at the world, with things like material belongings and success distracting our heart. The people of Israel had all heard the words of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and had witnessed the miracle of the Red Sea and other miracles in the wilderness. Yet over and over they fell into depravity and betrayed God. They engaged in idol worship, which God despised above all things, and they intermarried with the gentiles.

In spite of this, God protected the people of Israel, inasmuch as they were the womb through which the Messiah would one day be born. God used great powers like Assyria, Babylon, and Persia to drive the people of Israel into suffering. The people who were most hurt, vexed, and frustrated by the fact that the people of Israel continued in their idol worship even while suffering were the prophets. This is because they knew the vision of God. They knew why God was allowing the people of Israel to suffer, why He provided the temple, and why He destroyed all the houses. All of this was designed to make the people of Israel a pure people of God. It was also to prepare the way for the Messiah to be born among them. This is the voice of God we see in the Old Testament.

The individual who proclaimed this Old Testament message in the New Testament was John the Baptist. John served as a prophet prior to the coming of Jesus. John the Baptist cried out to the world "Repent!" He prepared the way of the Lord by ensuring that every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low. He was later beheaded at a young age by King Herod. John the Baptist was not one willing to let moral decay and religious depravity remain unaddressed.

The reason John the Baptist was able to risk his life and decry immorality and decay around him was because the Messiah was coming. Within John's heart resided the voice of God, just as it had with the Old Testament prophets.

In Hebrews 1:1-3, it says that Jesus is "the brightness of God's glory." Jesus is the Light, the Way, and the Truth. Jesus is "the express image of His person." Through His powerful words He holds the entirety of creation, He cleanses all sin, and He sits at the right hand of God in the Most High Place. He soars high like Mount Zion. He is he focus of all the word. He is the Word that became flesh and dwelled among us.

I congratulate you on having believed in Jesus Christ. Praise Him! Glorify Him! He came to this earth. He came to the shores of Galilee. He became the light and hope to a great many people who were sick, hopeless, and frustrated.

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Jesus Christ the Word

Ultimately, the voice of God heard in the Old Testament is linked with hearing the voice of Jesus in the New Testament. If we cannot or could not hear the voice of Jesus Christ - who is both the Word as well as the embodiment of glory - then the Old Testament would become no more than a mirage. The voice of the Holy Spirit, then, ultimately focuses on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit came to us to exalt Jesus, proclaim to us His salvation, and glorify Him. If you do not listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit with the heart of Jesus Christ, then that voice has no meaning to you.

I understand why the Apostle Paul did not speak of his experience in the Third Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2). It was so that only the cross of Christ would be exalted. Paul was concerned that if he were to tell us of a magnificent and splendours spiritual world beyond this earthly realm, many people would be confused. As a result, he boasted only of the cross. If we begin to look toward the magnificence and splendour, we will forget the cross. We must focus on the Jesus Christ of the cross who shed his blood and sweat for you and I, for the entirety of mankind.

From the time of His birth here on earth, Jesus maintained a close, intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. If we look at Galatians 4:4, it says that Jesus was "born of a woman." It does not say, however, that Jesus was born of a man. Jesus came to this world through the Holy Spirit. This was the first relationship Jesus shared with the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 1:20, it states, "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." Some people hear that, refuse to believe it, and label Jesus an illegitimate child. They also accuse Jesus of having an affair with Mary Magdalene. The reason why people are so inclined toward believing such things is that by nature, we are erotic beings. Because modern man cannot hope to understand the true essence of love, he is unable to understand the love of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus was born of a woman, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. From here is where the voice of Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Spirit are connected.

When Jesus began His public ministry, He did so with the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3:13, it states that Jesus went to John the Baptist in order to be baptised. Jesus' public ministry began with this baptism. After Jesus was baptised, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and alighted on the Head of Jesus. This was none other than the baptism by the Holy Spirit. I pray that each of you would have a baptism by the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

When Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, the gates of heaven opened and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon Jesus. From this point onward, whenever Jesus moved, miracles occurred and His power appeared.

Just imagine what would happen if you were able to hear a voice say, "You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased"? You would need to hear no other words, would you? We are satisfied with Jesus Christ alone. This is the climax and pinnacle of the voice of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit. "You are my son." What great and important words to hear! If you have such assurance in your hearts, no crisis, despair, suffering, unfairness, or affliction can bring you down. It doesn't matter if you are sick, if you fail, or even if you die. I pray that all of you would hear such a voice.

Scripture also promises us, "To those who believe, He gives the power of heaven and eternal life." We run into problems not because we do not hear His voice, but rather because we do not believe it. We are so thick-headed that Scripture has to repeat over and over, "Do not be scared. Do not be afraid." God tells us, "It's okay. I have your name written in the palm of My hand." God uses a variety of different expressions to assure us that He "does not forget." "I will watch over you." "I will protect you." "I will help you." All of this He has promised.

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Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit

It is after we are baptized in the Holy Spirit that we are able to hear God's voice. God's voice is not heard by people in the flesh. They have no ear to hear Him. I pray that each of you would have the blessing of the baptism by the Holy Spirit.

After being baptized with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the devil. This is quite interesting. The devil did not go to visit Jesus; Jesus went to the devil to confront his temptation directly. Jesus deals with the three temptations simply and easily. Those who have the Holy Spirit and hear the voice of God can drive back the temptations of the devil. I pray that all of you would be completely healed from all of the temptations and dark forces within you through the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 4:23-25 is a passage that provides a summary of the life of Jesus. Please look at verse 23.

"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people."

We see listed here the three broad categories of work that Jesus was carrying out at the time: teaching, healing, and preaching. He taught in all of the synagogues. He preached the gospel. He healed the sick. Today, Jesus will lead all of you to the truth. He will present the gospel to you. I hope that you would believe that Jesus heals your diseases.

There is one important point to grasp here: Jesus' words and actions coincided. With sinners, there is always a disconnect between words and actions. What distinguishes those who seek to emulate Christ in their lives is that their words and actions are one. Believers are distinguished by their honesty and trustworthiness. That is because God is sincere, honest, and true. Faith is the ability to trust and follow Him faithfully, come rain or shine.

Jesus did not communicate with His disciples or others through words alone. There was a language hidden within His actions. There is a language and a message found within the processes of healing the sick, calming the sea, dying on the cross, returning amid glory after being resurrected, or ascending into heaven on a cloud. Simple words alone do not comprise the entirety of language. That is why when we look to Jesus and what He did, we are moved to tears.

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I and the Father are One

While the message of Jesus Christ fills the New Testament, its core can be summarised into a few points. One of the messages that Jesus always emphasised was "I and the Father are One." "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Jesus is telling us, in other words, that He is God and He is the Savior. And He does this with no hesitation.

Another message of Jesus involves standards for Christian life. This is an even stronger message than that derived from His miracles. "Blessed are the poor in Spirit. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake." Through such teachings, Jesus provides us with standards for living our lives. The presence of faith is not marked by speaking in tongue or having passion and zeal. Having such personality traits as those listed above evidence our faith. I pray that all of you would have such a personality.

Our faith is manifested in our lives. Jesus tells us not only how to live our own individual lives, but also how we should live toward others. "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for an enemy." This is the standard for how we should live our lives in relation to others.

Jesus also provided for us vision, goals, and a calling for our lives. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations." This is our purpose and our calling for our lives.

If you listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, then your life must be consistent with the standards for living that Jesus has provided. These include the standards given for us, for how we deal with others, and for the goals of our lives. These all must coincide with the voice of God.

If you find yourself today suffering or sacrificing your life for a friend who is grieving or who is poor in spirit, then you may consider yourself to be listening to the voice of God. We must also never forget that all that we do is for the glory of God. Recovering from sickness alone is not our goal, but rather glorifying God once the sickness has been healed is. We need to have spiritual goals.

If we have a standard for listening to the voice of Jesus, then we will no longer wander aimlessly or dwell in confusion. Our lives will be filled with incredible inspiration and fullness.

When we examine the message of Jesus Christ as revealed through His words found in the four gospels, there is one topic that we tend not to focus on too often: the Holy Spirit. Yet before ascending to heaven, Jesus said, "Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father which you have heard from Me; for John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Among the many words of Jesus, the final ones that He gave to His disciples were "Be baptised with the Holy Spirit." I hope that all of you would seek to be baptised with the Holy Spirit. Those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit have a different degree of maturity of faith and a depth and weight in their knowledge of scripture. When you serve the Lord daily and live in the Holy Spirit, how deep and profound is the world of the Holy Spirit!

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Holy Spirit Sent by Jesus

If we look at chapters 14 to 16 of the Gospel of John, we see Jesus providing numerous, detailed comments concerning the Holy Spirit. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." In saying that He would "go to My Father," Jesus was implying that once He left, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, would come.

"You will go into all the world and set it abuzz with the gospel, and the reason this will happen is because the Holy Spirit will come as your Helper once I leave." The disciples, however, had no idea what Jesus meant. Later they would, though, with the Pentecost. They finally came to understand what Jesus was talking about when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the Upper Room. As much as we try to describe the Holy Spirit using words, others cannot hope to understand. We can only know the Holy Spirit by experiencing Him.

As we look at John 14:16, we see that it says, "I will pray the Father." So we see that it was Jesus Christ Himself who asked that the Holy Spirit be sent. Jesus Christ was God incarnate who visited us in the flesh, while it is the Holy Spirit who will be with us for all eternity who is Jesus Christ come in the Spirit.

Please take a look at verse 17. The Spirit dwells with us and in us. He leads us to open our mouths and sing praise. He leads us to pray. He leads us away from hatred, murder, and anger. He leads us to speak of love and forgiveness. He empowers us so that we can do things we are otherwise incapable of. He makes the impossible possible. He gives us victory over sickness. It is the Holy Spirit that does all of this. I hope that you would all believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within you.

I urge you all to confirm this for yourselves. The Holy Spirit is within each of you, speaking, listening, and seeing for you. People of the Holy Spirit go to where the Holy Spirit leads them and say what the Holy Spirit leads them to say. They praise in spirit. It was Jesus Christ who told us that that Spirit would never leave us.

Jesus promised, "I will not leave you orphans." We are not forgotten or abandoned people. We are God's precious and valuable children. Jesus goes on from John 14:25 to speak of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Holy Spirit that will bring to remembrance the Word. He will cause us to remember, He will teach us, and He will give us peace. I hope all of you today would have such peace.

In John 15:26-27, Jesus continues to speak of the Holy Spirit. One characteristic of the Holy Spirit is that He witnesses Jesus Christ. The work and miracles of the Holy Spirit exalt Jesus Christ.

This said, as people who have been baptised with the Holy Spirit we should be distinguished by the transformation of our personalities and our witness of Jesus Christ. Yet too often we overemphasise spiritual gifts and power. I hope that all of you would have personalities and dispositions modelled after Jesus Christ. I hope that you would be filled with the work of the Holy Spirit exalting and testifying of Jesus Christ wherever you may be.

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The Holy Spirit Is the Answer

Jesus Christ explains the Holy Spirit to us in chapters 14 through 16 of the Gospel of John. Jesus Christ was more than well aware of the Holy Spirit. He spoke of the role and intrinsic nature of the Holy Spirit. This leads us to the conclusion that we must be baptised with the Holy Spirit. If we intend to become disciples, become witnesses, live Christ-modelled lives, and love others - if we truly want to have inner transformation - then we must be baptised with the Holy Spirit.

God promised that He would pour out the Holy Spirit on anyone in any age or era: young or old, male or female. He comes to us. He works in us. He was the creator behind the works detailed in the Book of Acts, and He made Onnuri Community Church as well. The reason why we have such great masses flocking here today is because of the grace He gives us.

The voice of the Old Testament led to the voice of Jesus Christ, which then was firmly established as the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you close your eyes and think deeply, you realize that we have so much to pray for. There are so many who require prayer, not to mention ourselves and our families. Look at our country and the world today. Utter confusion and disorder are found in all realms of society. Fears about whether there is any future or hope for us fill the reality in which we live. As we look at the world around us, we see that there are so many people living off of just $1.00 per day, while still others starve to death daily.

Yet amid all of this, the church remains as the light of this world and the salvation of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the hope of this world. I pray that all of you would arise anew with the anointment and the filling of the Holy Spirit within you. The Holy Spirit is the answer.

Acts 2:14-21:

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

15 "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

16 "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 `And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.'

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Listening to the Holy Spirit

All of God's words as revealed to us in the Old Testament focus on a single Person: Jesus Christ. We see Jesus Christ in the Book of Job. We see Him in the Psalms. We see Him in the Song of Solomon. We see Him in the Law, and we see Him in the words of the prophets. He is the focus of all of the Old Testament.

There was one who was born six months before Jesus Christ came to this world, and who prepared the way for Jesus. That was John the Baptist. As we examine John, we see that the messages of all the Old Testament prophets coincided with his. John the Baptist played the role of being a link between the Old and New Testaments.

During His ministry on earth, there were a number of key, essential words among those spoken by Jesus to His disciples. These include, "I and the Father are one," and "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Through such passages, we come to know that the voice of God and the voice of Jesus are one in the same. The message given by Jesus to the disciples was one of the kingdom of God. Although Jesus was here on earth, He was filled with thoughts of God's kingdom.

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Two Secrets to Experiencing the Holy Spirit

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" "The kingdom of God is already in you." This was the core message Jesus gave to us. He taught His beloved disciples how to live as people of the kingdom of heaven. We see these principles for living laid out in the beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5. It is because we all too often do not live according to these precepts that we become heartbroken, lonely, and thirsting. I pray that all of you would live according to the teachings of Jesus. "Treat others as you would have them treat you." This is both the law and the principles taught by the prophets. "Love your enemy." "Do not repay evil with evil." "There is no greater love than to give one's life for an enemy." These are the core messages of the Lord. Those who truly believe in Jesus live life to its fullest while at the same time waiting for His return.

Eventually, the Lord died on the cross for the sake of this message. He was then subsequently resurrected, after which Jesus gave two additional important messages to his beloved disciples. "Go and make disciples of all the nations," He instructed them. "The Holy Spirit will be with you. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Jesus spoke this and ascended to heaven on a cloud. Before he departed, Jesus gave the disciples a message about which I would like to speak to you today.

"Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

The number of people who heard and obeyed this final command of the Lord was 120, to include the disciples. Yet even while obeying Jesus' instructions, at that time no one could understand what these words meant. They nevertheless decided to obey and remain in Jerusalem.

So what do you think they did as they met and waited? If any of you here find yourself in a situation where you can think of nothing worth doing, I implore you to take the opportunity to wisely use your time and pray. The disciples comprehended the instruction not to depart but rather remain in place, but they had no idea what it was they were supposed to do. So they gathered together and they prayed.

Here we discover two important secrets for experiencing the Holy Spirit: obedience and prayer. By obedience we do not mean obeying only those things that are worth obeying. What is the substance of obedience? It is prayer. So as they obeyed Jesus' instructions, they gathered together and prayed with all of their hearts.

There are times when you and I do not understand our own problems. Don't worry about that. Once you begin to pray, God will teach you all things. The source of all of the problems that you find yourselves grumbling and complaining about will come clear to you one day.

Prayer allows us to be victorious in our battles with our inner self. When fighting with the devil, all you have to do is proclaim to him, "Get out!" Yet when you fight with yourself, its different. You must fight with blood and sweat. How did Jesus pray? "Not My will but the Father's be done." Thus while the way to defeat the devil is through the word, the way to break one's self is through prayer. When we pray, our arrogance, pride, grumbling, and complaining begin to melt.

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The Holy Spirit Who Appeared on Pentecost

The disciples and others who followed Jesus obeyed His instructions, gathered in the Upper Room, and prayed with all of their hearts. As they were praying, the voice of the Holy Spirit became audible to one of them. In Acts 1:15, Peter appears and begins speaking to the crowd about several different things. First, he explained the recent events that had taken place. Second, he moved to fill a vacancy among them.

The hearts of those in the early church were still filled with turmoil and unease because of the suicide of Judas Iscariot. There was no way for them to understand all that had happened. At that point, the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter, and Peter in turn addressed the crowd. He concluded his explanation by saying that Judas "went to his own place." Upon hearing that what happened to Judas was the natural result of his actions, the people were comforted. Peter then instructed the disciples to fill the vacancy left by Judas.

Each of us needs to point out and reveal the problems that we have inside. God will then bless us in a beautiful manner after these have been removed.

Matthias was chosen as a disciple to replace Judas. After that, the Pentecost came. The Holy Spirit fell upon some 120 people that day, an incredible event. On thing that we must not forget, however, is that even before the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had been at work. He was at work when Jesus was born, when Jesus was baptised, and when Peter prophesied after hearing the Holy Spirit's voice in prayer. Even within the Old Testament we see a number of instances when the Spirit of God worked powerfully through people.

Yet the dwelling of the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost was different. We know that Jesus Christ has existed from before eternity. Jesus Christ, the Word, came in His time to this earth through a woman. Although He existed before His life on earth, Jesus officially and formally to Nazareth came as the Messiah of history. In a like manner, the Holy Spirit had existed long before the Pentecost. Yet it was on that one day after Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven that the Holy Spirit officially came to earth.

There is a major difference surrounding the pre-Pentecost and the post-Pentecost Holy Spirit. Up till this time, the Spirit of God could and had come to individuals. The Pentecost, however, was the first time that the Holy Spirit came officially to a larger community of people. This is the event recorded for us in the Book of Acts. This also was the birth of the church. I believe that while the Holy Spirit may be upon each of you individually, He also dwells upon all.

From the Pentecost onward, the Holy Spirit comes not only to selected individuals. He comes to and works in and through groups, communities, and churches. The church, and not individuals, does the work of God from this point onward. This is the promise of this era.

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The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit comes not from earth but from heaven. The Holy Spirit comes not from people but from God. He came with rushing mighty wind. Wind! The wind of the Holy Spirit! "Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." I hope that all of you would have a similar experience in your homes. I earnestly pray that this would happen in our church. I believe that the rushing mighty wind of the Holy Spirit will blow throughout the land of North Korea.

Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. We see here that while the wind comes to the larger group as a whole, the fire sits on each of us as individuals. The fire was visible to the eyes. Such a vision made Habakkuk's heart pound. His lips quivered. He had experienced God. The experience of God's presence is a holy experience. It allows our souls to begin to be reborn and made anew.

The Spirit of God transcends flesh. The Holy Spirit comes into our bodies. Flesh cannot penetrate flesh. Spirit, however, can pierce through flesh. If I could travel back 2,000 years ago and meet Jesus Christ, I could shake His hand and hug Him. But Jesus Himself could not enter me. Jesus Christ in the Spirit, however, does come into me, becoming my flesh and blood and dwelling within me. When He resides in me, my corrupt nature can no longer survive. Even the most repulsively indecent of people are incredibly transformed when this happens. A light comes to their eyes, and a softness marks their speech. They praise, cry, and become humble. Hallelujah!

Acts 2:4 describes how they all began to speak in tongues. The phrase "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit," means that the Holy Spirit had completely filled the spirits of each one there, just as water fills a cup to the brim. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we speak not according to our own thoughts but rather according to the Holy Spirit. All the impurities within us begin to disappear. All reason or other psychological phenomena within us become filled with the Holy Spirit. Without knowing, we begin to speak according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is called speaking in tongues. I hope that all of you would be able to pray and speak in tongues, and that all of you would have the blessing of speaking as the Spirit leads you to speak.

When the Holy Spirit abides in you, you have the power to drive out evil spirits. Those with the Holy Spirit have the ability to discern the work of evil spirits and the work of God. Those with the Holy Spirit begin to speak in a language not even they can understand. This language consists of the words of the Lord, praises of the Lord, and thoughts of the Lord. I pray that each of you would have the thoughts and heart of the Lord in you. I pray that the Lord's priorities would be yours.

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From Death to Eternal Life

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, your everyday, routine words become special. This is what is meant by "speaking in tongues." This special language then becomes the language of missions. Those who have the Holy Spirit dash out into the world. They do so, and the Holy Spirit leads them to think of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I pray that your thoughts would be filled with thoughts of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit will lead us to speak with a burning passion in our hearts, and those who hear us will understand. This is the language of missions. I once delivered a sermon here in our church, when afterward a foreigner came up and said that he enjoyed the sermon. I asked if he had listened to the interpretation, and he said he just listened to it in Korean. I was quite surprised.

Another sister here in the church who is a professor at Yonsei University went to China for one-to-one discipling, and the person she worked with was a Chinese person. Knowing no Chinese, this woman completed one-to-one discipleship program with her partner, who was a leader in a home church there. Because of the language differences, this sister wondered whether her partner really understood what had been taught. So she followed the other person secretly and sat in the back of the church, only to observer her partner teach exactly what she had learned. We see similar things happening in the early church. We see this in the history of missions, and everywhere in the history of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Do you remember when Jesus walked on water? Peter was so surprised at seeing this that he thought he was seeing a ghost. After confirming it was Jesus, Peter said, "Lord, make it so that I can walk like You on water." Without thinking, Peter took off across the water. He was walking on water! Overwhelmed by his surprise, however, he then returned to reality. The very moment he regained control of his thoughts, returned to reality, and returned to reason, he began to sink. So what did Jesus do? He reached out His hand to save Peter.

There is, I believe, considerable significance in this one event. How can humans walk on water? It is otherwise beyond their capabilities. How can people, with their corrupted nature, learn to love other people? How can I love you? We are so filled with pain and scars, how could we possibly come to forgive and love others? It's impossible! Yet, once we have the Holy Spirit and have been captivated by the Lord, then we can do these things.

Man with his corrupted nature cannot hope to walk on water. It would be arrogant to even proclaim that we can. Yet once the Holy Spirit has a hold of us, we come to make choices and decisions that were completely unthinkable previously. Even though the road we choose may be foolish and idiotic from a worldly perspective, we simply go that way anyway.

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A Dream of "That Very Church"

Having received the Holy Spirit, Peter stood up with the other 11 apostles and shouted out a message that included the main passage of today's scripture. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh." This tells us that God will give the Holy Spirit to all people. When the Spirit is poured out, "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams."

I pray that all of you who are in your 60s and 70s, all of you elderly men and women out there, would be filled with dreams. You should not be filled with thoughts of entering your graves! Be filled, instead, with thoughts of going to heaven.

Your young shall prophesy. They will not wander aimlessly, but instead be filled with visions. The old will be made new again. I fully believe that those people and churches that have received the Holy Spirit will experience revival, evidence miracles, and continue to be blessed in spite of the impropriety, injustice, corruption, confusion, and despair of the world around us.

One distinguishing characteristic of Christians is that we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is also a trait that characterises the church as well. At the individual and corporate level, the Holy Spirit enters us and works through us, giving glory to God in the process.

Churches and Christians carry out great works that transcend time, generation, race, language, culture, intellect, gender, and age. Habakkuk had a vision. "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." This vision of Habakkuk describes the church, whether we are talking about the church in the Book of Acts 2000 years ago or the church today.

It was back when I spent three years in England that I received an invitation from Onnuri Community Church in Seoul. At the time, I was extremely worn out after having served at a church founded to serve those in the entertainment industry. I was further exhausted following a church construction project. Arrogant words fell from my lips as I said, "God, there is absolutely no way that I am going to build another church." I said, "There are many good people who can and are serving in Seoul, so I will go and pastor a church in the provinces." Yet there I found myself, pasturing in Seoul and building a church.

I anguished over this for around one year. "Lord," I said, "in Seoul alone we have Sarang Church, Chungshin Church, and Somang Church; do we really need to be building another church? Does this make sense economically?" Though filled with human greed and desire, I hesitated, not knowing how to interpret what I should do. "Lord, if You were to tell me to build a church in the desert, I would do so. If You told me to plant a church in the mission field, I would do so."

At that point, God gave me a message in my heart. "Go and build 'That Very Church.' The church as evidenced in the early church. A Book of Acts church. A church desired by God, with no regard for denomination or location. The same church that was needed 2,000 years ago and that is needed today as well."

When I heard this, I was moved to tears. That is how I, together with a small number of people, took this vision and started Onnuri Community Church. And that vision and those thoughts have continued unchanged over 17 years to where we are today.

We are still crawling along the path to the full realisation of that dream. I still am thirsting. I still wished that our church was a bit more in concert with the heart of the Lord. I wish that the Holy Spirit would be even more at work in our church. Numbers are not important. If we should fail to obey God's commands, He would surely scatter us all. If a church is not involved in missions, then that church will be scattered.

The Book of Acts records the story of the early church. When you read this story, we see that the early church is alive today in our church. We see it in our encounters, our meetings, and in our sermons. Just think of it. How could someone like me become a pastor? I see it as a miracle. I am a person filled with problems. I am neither a person blessed with good health nor one with a good heart. Yet God has used me. This is the type of thing we see in churches. This is the work of the Holy Spirit!

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Celebrating Each Day With the Holy Spirit

There is one interesting aspect of the Book of Acts. Even as late as the time of Jesus, there were still fights over the issue of the Sabbath Day. Jesus anguished over this so much. Yet as we enter the Book of Acts, we see no more debate over the Sabbath Day. Up through the time of Jesus, the Sabbath Day was the topic of an important debate. Yet after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, there was no more debate.

The Sabbath Day is the Lord's Day. On the Lord's Day, those who have received the Holy Spirit gather together, study the Bible, share in fellowship, break bread, pray, share their belongings, and experience miracles together. The keeping of the Sabbath Day as seen in the Old Testament is not the Lord's Day. The Lord's Day runs from morning until night, just as in the Book of Acts. Food is made and shared. People visit each other, go and call on the sick, help the poor, evangelise, and experience this "shadow of heaven" that we cannot find in the world around us. This is what the Lord's Day is made for.

Sundays at Onnuri Community Church are truly exhausting. When it comes time for the 9:00 p.m. service, we are all half-dead by then! For us, however, Saturday is our day of rest, and the Lord's Day is our celebration of the Holy Spirit. We love each other, encourage each other, bless each other, praise, move, and proclaim the resurrection. We witness the victory of God. And after that experience, we head out to the world on Monday.

In Acts chapter 13, we see the first missionary sent from the Church at Antioch. Any church that does not send out missionaries is not a Book of Acts church. We hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and go out. I pray that each and every saint of Onnuri Community Church would depart one day. You must go to where the Lord leads you.

Beloved saints of Onnuri Community church: I pray that the Holy Spirit would dwell in each and every one of you. I pray that you would think thoughts of the Holy Spirit. I hope that our church would become a Holy Spirit church. I hope that your families would become Holy Spirit families. How shall we live our lives? How should we spend our money? Toward what ends should we live our lives? We need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when answering these questions.

It's okay to have money. I cry when I think of those who have no money, or who are in physical pain. I would love to heal all of them by laying on hands. But listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit exceeds all of this.

We dream of the Book of Acts church. We will transform the world. The voice of the Holy Spirit is at work here. I pray that each of you would hear the voice of the Holy Spirit each day in your walk of faith.

 

May God bless you and keep you and give you hope and peace, I hope you enjoyed this reading, please visit again.

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