Moment-to-Moment, Real-Time Communication with God. Jesus Had It. Can We?
Summary: Jesus walked in a continual, moment-by-moment awareness of what God the Father wanted Him to say and to do. God wants us, His people, to experience much of that same sensitivity to His voice from heaven. It is possible. Come see how.
John 5:19-20aJesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”
• This verse gripped my attention recently. I saw something here that Jesus experienced and I wanted. That is, He said He never acted on His own. Rather, He did nothing by Himself, but only what He saw God the Father doing. In other words, “whatever the Father does the Son also does.” That's a level of clear guidance from God that we should all desire.
• Not only that, Jesus also said that the Father showed Him all that He was doing. That’s what we want! Remember, we are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). As Jesus did, we also want to see what God the Father is doing. And we can (for instance, see Peter below):
• Matthew 16:16-17, NASB…Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Peter did not come to the realization of Jesus’ identity by himself. It was given him by the revelation of God the Father.
• I want what Jesus had — a moment-to-moment, situation-by-situation revelation of what God the Father intends to do.
John 12:49-50For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken… [50b] So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
• To Isaiah, a mere man like us, God said, “I have put my words in your mouth” (Isaiah 51:16). Again, as we saw with Peter, we see God’s intent to communicate His heart to His people.
• With Jesus it was absolutely so, one hundred percent of His time on earth. As with His actions, so with His words — He said He did “not speak on [His] own… whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
• In every situation we can look to God and ask, “Father, what would you have me say?” I was recently at a convenience store getting some coffee to go. A lady at the counter was saying that she wished she could get some things to work out better in her life. I tried to listen for God’s words, and what came out of my mouth was: “It just takes serving the Lord.” By then the lady with the problems had moved on, but the face of the lady at the cash register visibly brightened at those words. You see, God knows every person and precisely what they need to hear.
• Here’s another example of hearing what God wants said. A pastor friend of mine was at a car wash. He looked over at another customer nearby, and God spoke these words to his heart to tell the man: “You love God, and God loves you!” He said that to the man, who immediately began weeping. It turned out that the man had drifted away from the Lord, and God used those words from a stranger to call him back.
John 16:13, 15, KJV…when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth … All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
• Here we see the full Trinity involved. We’ve already seen that the Father continually communicated to Jesus what He wanted said and done. And Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit in turn will take these things from Jesus (“take of mine”) and show them to us. The simple point is that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all desire and are involved in revealing the heart of God the Father and the words and actions that He wants said and done.
• Father —> Jesus —> Holy Spirit —> to us. That Holy Spirit guidance is God's will for His people.
1 Corinthians 2:14, NKJVBut the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
• Our intellects and emotions are not sufficient to know the things of God, because they are “spiritually discerned.” As the apostle Paul said, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Corinthians 3:19).
• In college I earned 37 semester hours of theology and philosophy … yet I did not come to know the Lord personally. Then after getting saved in 1969 and beginning to experience the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, I began to be able to hear from God. And that is the privilege of every Christian — to hear what God wants said and to see what He desires to do. Let’s take a brief look at a few bible illustrations of God speaking to people by the Holy Spirit. And remember, this is what each of us should be seeking, too.
• Acts 8:29The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Philip obeyed the Spirit’s leading, which led to the immediate salvation of a high Ethiopian official riding in that chariot.
• Acts 10:19 [After Peter’s remarkable vision] While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” Peter obeyed this and went and preached at the house of a Gentile named Cornelius. As a result, Cornelius’s family and friends who heard Peter preach were saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and water baptized.
• Acts 13:2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” And the leaders of that church in Antioch obeyed the Holy Spirit’s direction, and that led to the extraordinary ministries of the apostles Paul and Barnabas.
• Remember, the Father shows all things to Jesus. And the Holy Spirit takes all this from Jesus and passes it on to us. The Trinity in action!
Let’s close by looking at some biblical ways for us to be open to receiving these revelations of the Father’s words, His will, and His heart:
• From His word, the Scriptures. Jesus said that His words “are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). And as you read, study, and learn the word of the Lord, you open yourself up for the voice of the Holy Spirit who, Jesus said, "will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you” (John 14:26, Amplified Bible).
• Prayer. It goes without saying that prayerful times of communion with God open our hearts for Him to communicate His heart to us.
• Worship. During my 40+ years of pastoral and bible teaching ministry, very often it was during worship times that the Lord spoke to my heart what He would have me share in my sermon in the following Sunday or midweek church service. It seems that worship is very effective in alerting us to hear the voice of the Lord. For example, in Acts 13 (above) it was “while they were worshiping the Lord” that the Holy Spirit spoke to them and called two apostles from among the Antioch church’s leaders.
• Seek to be often “in the Spirit” (Revelation 1:10). It was while John was “in the Spirit” that Jesus inspired him to write the Book of Revelation. Recall that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Seek to minimize the distractions of the flesh, the clutter of your mind, and the influence of your emotions. Determine to open your spirit up to the Lord’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
• “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19). To hear from the Lord, in the majority of instances we need to be quiet! Yes, God can thunder His voice from Mount Sinai, but that is the exception. More often He speaks in that “still small voice” that Elijah the prophet heard (1 Kings 19:12).
• Ask God for a revelation of the words He wants said or the actions He wants done. The bible tells us: “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you…” (James 1:5, TLB). Prayer a prayer like this, in your own words: “Father, show me your heart … your will … your words. Show me what you are saying and doing moment to moment, so that I might know what you want me to say and do.”