1. BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of his ministry (Luke 3:21-22). He also said being filled with the Holy Spirit was a very big deal and essential for future ministry (John 16:7-15). The disciples were told not to begin their mass movement until the Holy Spirit had arrived (Acts 1:4-5. Below are some further instructions on the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
Matthew 28:19: Instructions to go and baptise people in the Holy Spirit
Mark 16:17: Speaking in tongues is a sign of a believer
Acts 1:4-8: Jesus says power will come with the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:4: The 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues
Acts 2:38: First repentance, then baptism and then the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Acts 4:31: The Holy Spirit came with power
Acts 10:44-46: Holy Spirits came with speaking in tongues
Acts 19:2-6: The baptism in the Holy Spirit came with tongues
1 Corinthians 12:1-11: The gifts of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 14:1-18: Some instructions about speaking in tongues
If you have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit as per the above scriptures and teaching, start praying for this right now. It is a gift from our father and essential for the work of the ministry.
2. LEARNING TO HEAR THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus modelled how he wants us to live:
John 5:19-20: He only did what he saw the father doing
John 5:30: He only judged as his father told him to do
John 6:45: He said we will be taught directly by God
John 10:4: Jesus’ is our shepherd. His sheep know his voice
John 10:16: Jesus has other sheep who will hear his voice (us!)
John 10:27: My sheep listen to my voice. They follow me.
John 14:26: The Holy Spirit will be our teacher and reminded us of Jesus’ words
John 16:13: The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.
Jesus wants to talk to you and guide you into all truth, in every aspect of your life! We are his children. A child is continually receiving instructions on how to live from its natural parents. Their mum and dad’s delight is to train them up in the skills needed to live a successful life. It is the same with our heavenly parents, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We hear God’s voice through a gentle small whisper. Through our conscience. Through scripture. Through others It will happen faster the more you draw near to him in friendship. It jumps out at us and is often a voice in the third person talking with us. Ask questions and the Holy Spirit will answer.
A toddler begins to hear single words. Then progresses to sentences. It’s the same with hearing from God. So begin by asking the Holy Spirit to whisper single words to you. Ask questions like: What do you think of me? What do you want me to do? What should I do today? Who should I share your love with today?3.
3. WHY WE DO NOT HEAR GOD’S VOICE
God wants to speak to you
The scriptures tell us that God wants to speak to us because he said we would. In John 10:27 he said My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. So why do so many Christians not hear God’s voice on a regular basis? The problem is obviously on our side, not God’s side. If we have not been hearing God’s voice, we must find out what our personal reason is before we can begin to fix the problem. Below are the five main reasons and beliefs as to why Christians do not hear God’s voice.
Why some don’t hear God’s voice
1. “I believe God’s voice is only for special people like priests and pastors and I am just an unworthy nobody”. However, the truth is we are all priests under Jesus (1 Peter 2:9). We are all now special to him, in intimate relationship, and called to sonship. We are no longer outcasts or unworthy because of the cleansing of our hearts at the cross. Those unworthy thoughts are Satan’s lie to keep you from an amazing walk with God.
2. “I am still sinful so I don’t deserve to hear God’s voice”. However, Romans 6:22 says that we have been set free from sin and become holy before God. There is never again any judgement for someone who has given their life to Jesus! Our position of sonship is not determined by our actions or lack of actions, but the perfect work of the cross. Feeling like you are still a sinner is another lie of Satan to stop you understanding the amazing salvation and intimacy with God that you have been given.
3. “I need to work at becoming better and more holy before hearing God’s voice”. However, this is like trying to get clean before taking a shower. We are already legally holy before the throne of heaven. And besides, hearing his voice helps us avoid sin! Human effort will never make us any more forgiven or perfect or worthy before God than what has been achieved for us on the finished work of the cross. We don’t work to get close to God, we work for God because we are living in intimacy with God.
4. “I fear will get it wrong and it will be dangerous”. However, there is only danger when there is risk involved. If you start by asking God simple things like: Father, what is going to happen tomorrow? Or Father, what do you think about me? Or Father why do I feel sad right now?,there is no risk. If there is risk involved, then just ask for confirmation before acting: Is this something Jesus would say? Is it aligned with scripture? What does a wise and trusted believer think of it? Fear of getting it wrong is created by the enemy, who is trying to stop you from having a relationship with God.
5. “I am afraid of what God might say to me”. However, God is love and God is good (Psalm 86:5, Psalm 100:5, James 1:17), so he will only ever encourage you when he speaks to you. He will never condemn you (John 3:17, Romans 8:1). If you feel condemned it is another of Satan’s lies in your mind. Rebuke it and remember your position of intimacy with God.
4. EXPERIENCING THE GOODNESS AND LOVE OF GOD
Focus on the Goodness of God
For many Christians their walk with God is an intellectual one based on scripture and not a daily experiential one. Many others have not experienced the amazing presence of God in their heart since they first gave their lives to Jesus. If you are not experiencing the presence of God it is because you have forgotten that experience, or haven’t yet truly experienced how good God is.
The solution to the problem is to discover and experience the goodness of God in a new and fresh way! It’s his goodness that leads us to desire him. It’s his fresh touch in our heart that leads us to desire to share him with others. You can understand how good he is by looking up the scriptures explained above, or going through the list below:
Remember God’s sacrifice on the cross for you. You are precious.
Remember your life before Jesus set you free from sin, and your life afterwards.
Remember that he God has always been wanting intimacy with you.
Remember 10 things you are grateful for.
Remember God will never condemn you. He will guide you in Love.
Focus on the love of God
God’s love is always here and all around us. However, like a Radio we must ‘tune in’ to God’s love by changing our hearts.
1. Start by first tuning in to the love that is all around us. This could mean thinking of things like the love of your family, the love you see in God’s creation, the unconditional love of a pet animal. The exact way you inspire love doesn’t matter, as long as it is pure and helps you focus.
2. Once you can feel love inside you, start focusing on the feeling of love. Do this for a few minutes. While meditating on love, try to remember that because we are created in God’s image, the feeling of love that you have is actually God’s heartbeat for his entire creation.
3. Now acknowledging the love of God. You can now moving your thoughts from God’s creation to God himself, focusing your attention on loving God and praising him. This will take you into a realm of love and appreciation that was impossible just a few minutes earlier. This is when God will speak to you in a new and wonderful way.
5. THREE LEVELS OF HEARING GOD’S VOICE
When you are bathing in the goodness and love of God, you will often begin to hear from God. You have tuned in. God will start whispering into your spirit many things that you would previously not have been tuned in to. This is possibly the most important aspect of your relationship with Jesus, because it’s the first step in your journey to knowing who he really is, and what he is like as a friend. This is also how Jesus heard from his father and then knew what to do in his ministry. There are three different levels of hearing from God. Below are three exercises you can do to begin operating at each level:
1. Receiving advice about personal problems.
God is your greatest adviser! He wants to help you overcome your fears so that you embrace more of his Love! The Bible calls this the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Begin by writing down a list of any negative beliefs, or negative thoughts you have towards yourself, other people, or situations you are in. After meditation on God’s love as explained above, go through each issue one-by-one, and ask God what he thinks about it all. You will start to feel God’s opinion on the topic coming from that place of love inside you. When you feel his love speaking to you, write down what you felt that God was whispering into your heart. This could be a thought, or an image, or even a Bible verse. It doesn’t matter how serious or simple each issue is. Just continue to ask him what he thinks about each issue until you are free.
This exercise is also very important in fighting spiritual battles against demons. Demons will try to use your emotions and fear against you to stop you from living the life God intended for you. This exercise will remove any demonic fears by listening to God’s voice instead of the voice of the enemy. This exercise will also train you to recognize the voice of demons so you can reject them the next time they put fear in your mind.
2. Prophesying with someone.
This exercise is very simple. It is also very good for encouraging your faith because you can confirm that you are hearing from God with a friend. There is no pressure to get it right the first time. But try it anyway and you might be surprised. First, focus on God’s Love for a few minutes as explained above. Once you are feeling his love, ask him to show you what he wants you to say to the person you have in mind. The first thing that comes to your mind is what you need to focus on. This could be an image, or a word of encouragement. It doesn’t matter how strange it is. Take the pressure off yourself by remembering that this is an act of love coming from God through you for someone else. It’s not about you. This takes away the fear you would otherwise have. Just share what you felt coming from your heart, and ask them if it means anything to them. Then get them to do the same.
Because of the precious gift of prophecy, the church in Antioch set aside Saul and Barnabas for a specific ministry (Acts 13:1-3). Through prophecy Paul was told to go to Europe, not Asia. This planted Christianity in Europe so that it would not wither and die a thousand years later under Islam (Acts 16:6-10). Imagine if the people giving those prophecies had held back because they were unsure!
3. Hearing from God during evangelism.
Evangelism was never meant to be done without God and it was never meant to be boring or scary. Evangelism is all about sharing the opportunity to have a true relationship with God. You aren’t required to feel an obligation to evangelize. It should come from your intimacy with God. Part of that intimacy is learning to enjoy your time with him, so evangelism should be an exciting time with your friends and with God.
Before going out, and also during your time out, always focus on God’s love. Once you are feeling his love, ask him to show you how much he loves the lost people on the street. After you feel his love for other people, ask him to show you a picture of someone or somewhere he wants you to find. Remember whatever first comes to your mind is the answer. There is no pressure in this exercise. Now just walk around and keep your eyes open because you will eventually see the person or place God showed you.
Once you see the person that matches the description of what you saw when you asked God, go and offer to pray for them. Tell them that you saw them when you asked God who to pray for. They will be very surprised and honoured to hear this. They will often have a need, such as a sickness or a personal issue they need help with. Pray with them and God will do the rest! Alternatively, once you find the place God showed you begin to ask who it is in that place you are meant to speak to. Then follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
3. BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
The church in Antioch sets aside Saul and Barnabas for a specific ministry
Paul was told to go to Europe, not Asia
This planted Christianity in Europe so that it would not wither and die 1,000 years later under Islam.
Note: The Holy Spirit is talking to non-believers all the time, drawing them toward him and convicting them of sin, judgement and righteousness (John 16:8). Our job is to obey the Holy Spirit and He will lead us to them. Those that the Holy Spirit is talking to could be the persons of peace talked about in Luke 10.
Make sure you are baptised in the Holy Spirit and know how to bring others through.
- Then make sure all your Christian friends are also filled with the Holy Spirit
- Practice listening to the Holy Spirit in small groups. Ask questions and then listen.
- Pray for a single word, vision, message for the person in the middle.
- Ask God a question. Then write in a journal everything that comes into your mind.
- Guidance from the Holy Spirit comes better if you are asking questions.
- Read John 15:15 and ask Jesus what it means to you.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you should go this afternoon to share the Gospel.
- Ask God questions and then journal the thoughts that flow quickly into your mind.