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Hearing the Shepherd's Voice

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

It’s not enough to simply hear God’s voice, but action must follow. Do you hear God’s voice? Now, I don’t mean the absurd antics of the charismatic movement with their heretical and unbiblical “God told me to tell you this today” paranoia. We are not talking about the deviant theology built upon the ridiculous notion that God is NOT done speaking, and that more revelation comes to each individual day by day. Funny, the Bible doesn’t seem to be growing into new chapters or books. Rather, the 66 books are sufficient, and those lunatics need to wake up to the fact that God HAS SPOKEN.

However, in the Word of God once delivered to the saints, we find Jesus saying in John 10:25-27, “Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Jesus says His sheep hear Him. One would call into question the validity of a true shepherd who spoke to his sheep, or signaled his sheep and found them simply standing there as the shepherd walked off. If the shepherd called his sheep, and those sheep know that shepherd, the end result would not simply be that the sheep heard the shepherd, but that as a result of hearing, they followed him. Jesus says that His sheep know His voice – which is the Word of God – that HE knows them – which is their utter salvation (that God knows them intimately)– and that as a result of hearing His voice in the Word, and being regenerated or known by Him savingly, that they follow Him. In other words, sheep that are saved who hear the voice of the Shepherd will follow the Shepherd every time His voice is heard. They hear and follow. They do not hear, and ponder and stand docile.

So what is wrong with the professing Christian church today? Theology is more colored in today’s church than the finest rainbow after a spring shower. There is as much ecleticity in theology today as it was in the fullness of time when the Shepherd actually came. Why is it that the 21st century church seems to go on its merry way without really hearing the voice of the Shepherd, or simply ignoring His voice. Can God’s sheep really hear the Shepherd’s voice and ignore it?

Let me give you a hypothetical for-instance. Let us imagine that the Bible said all Bibles should have a puce colored leather cover on them. I know it’s a stretch, but stay with me for a moment. Let’s say that God’s word, His voice, the voice of Shepherd, said, that all Bibles should have a puce colored leather cover on them. Let’s say that the church, for 1800 years since Christ’s ascension into heaven followed that command, and heard the Shepherd’s voice, and acted on it. In other words, the regular course of action that the church has always taken collectively throughout the ages is that they had puce colored leather covers on their bibles. Then let’s say that you walk into any professing Christian church today and found a host of various colored bibles because, as the logic would go, sheep need to be happy, and color makes them happy. They have, for all intents and purposes claimed to hear the Shepherd’s voice, but are ignorant concerning God’s prescription, His Voice, concerning colored covers. Are they, then, really hearing the Shepherd’s voice? Or are they simply deceiving themselves?

It would seem strange to have a group of sheep simply stand docile as the Shepherd called them, commanded them to follow Him and His will, and yet, they stood ignorantly there with cotton in their ears. Are they really the Shepherd’s sheep?

This last century has been the most tumultuous century of theological change ever in the history of the church. In other words, this century has demonstrated the most widespread disease of lethargy concerning being given a command by the voice of the Shepherd, and having the church simply ignore it. It has ranged from everything from God’s prescription of worship, to what to sing, to whether or not musical instruments should or should not be used, to preaching the Word exegetically or not, to the validity of the Word of God itself as being infallible and inerrant, to ecclesiastical issues concerning members of churches or to have membership at all, to the ordination of women in offices, to various forms of government, to everything under the theological sun.

How is it in 400 years that the church could have gone from listening to the Shepherd’s voice in coming together to support documents like the Westminster Confession, to the barrage of various denominations or lack thereof in the scourge of independency in the church today and the dissolution of unity in the most important theological matters in the church? How is that possible?

I’ll tell you how – people who call themselves Christians are simply professing that they are and do not hear the Shepherd’s voice. For if they did hear the Shepherd’s voice, they would heed God’s Word in following, at least, the very basics of what the Shepherd desires. They would, as God said in Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” They would ask for the ancient paths – the old news that is good news. They would not be looking for something new or novel. They would not be basing their entire church around what is new or novel. And yet, they thrive on that which is new or novel because they do not even know what the old paths look like, much less desire them. This shows the continual regression of heeding the truth, as God also said, in that same passage - “But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'”

Take up the Westminster Confession, read through it, see if you agree or disagree with its basic nature. See if you are a “new fangled” Christian or you desire the old paths.

Do you really hear the Shepherd’s voice? Or are you more concerned with the status quo? Does your church pastor heed the Shepherd’s voice or is he compromising in the truth? Look around professing Christian. Are you standing still with a bunch of other docile sheep? If you are, then the Shepherd who has already called is long since gone. You are all left to yourselves because you have not heard His voice, and you are not following Him.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Keep checking back at A Puritan’s Mind – currently in the works is an MP3 series on the Covenant of Grace, and another MP3 series on Election and Predestination. Puritan Publications is almost ready to release its latest book, “A Heart for Reformation” which covers how every Christian should desire true biblical reformation. For more on Reformed and Puritan Theology, visit www.apuritansmind.com.

You pose the question, "how is that the church could have gone from listening to the Shepherd’s voice in coming together to support documents like the Westminster Confession"? And then say it's because "people who call themselves Christians are simply professing that they are and do not hear the Shepherd’s voice".
This is true. But there's more to the illustration.
At John 10:1-6 Jesus illustrates that "strangers" would climb into the sheepfold and attempt to steal the flock from the true shepherd. Not only do the sheep need to be able to recognise the true shepherd's voice, they also need to be able to recognise the "stranger's voice". The apostasy foretold by Jesus and later apostles such as Paul arose during the 1st century and has progressively got worse. See Heb 13:9, Acts 20:30, 2 Pet 2:3, 1 Cor 15:33.
The key is 1 John 4:1 & 2 Tim 1:13 - "test the inspired expressions". The teachings of the church must be measured against the bible to see if they are "truth" or "lies" designed to pull people away from God. The established church has been infiltrated from its infancy (Satan has sown weeds in amongst the wheat) and is now a mimic of the religious leaders of Jesus' time - hypocrites, leading people astray.

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