Daily Scripture Reading1 John 1

Verse of the Day – Ephesians 4:20-21
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Devotional Thoughts
In Ephesians 4:20-21 Paul lets us know that if we have heard and been taught by Christ then we have not heard or learned how to continue walking as the Gentiles walk. We have not so learned Christ. And today I want us to look briefly at the significant and Spirit led choice of words to describe what makes the difference when we compare walking like the Gentiles and walking like a child of God. He says that we have not so learned Christ, if indeed we have heard Him and been taught by Him.

We see then that there are two differences in this text between the saved and the lost. Those who know Christ, those who no longer walk in the futility of their mind are those who have heard Christ and have been taught by Him. What do these things mean? Is it that the saved have heard an audible voice? Have they been talking to Christ and hearing Him reply? And what is it to be taught by Him? Let us examine what the Scriptures say about hearing and being taught by Christ.

My Sheep Hear My Voice

Jesus tells us that His sheep hear His voice. They recognize His leading and His prompting. They know His voice.

How is it then that He speaks? What is this voice that we hear? Is it an audible human voice or is it an inner prompting? A burning in the bosom or a wave of warmth that flows over us? How does Jesus speak to us?

Jesus speaks to us in a number of ways. The first and most obvious is through the written Word of God. As we read the Bible. It is the Word of God just as if He were right here talking to us now. He also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as we are led by Him, as His Spirit bears witness with our spirit to the truth and impresses upon our hearts and minds the will and ways of God. We also hear Him and recognize His voice in the preaching of His Word and in godly counsel that we receive from teachers, counselors, and friends. But notice the common theme – these all are founded upon and part of the ministry of the Word of God. God speaks to us and leads us by His Spirit through the Bible.

When we think we hear the Spirit leading us then we are to test what we hear against what? The Bible! The Word of God is our standard and guide and anything that God leads us to do will be in line with the clear teaching of Scripture. If we think we are hearing anything that violates the written Word of God then we have this sure knowledge – that is not the voice of Jesus! God never contradicts Himself and His Word recorded for us in Scripture is all the revelation we need to receive from Him.

Notice too who it is that hears His voice. It is His sheep! Not the goats. But the sheep. There are several parables that make it clear that there are two kingdoms at work in this world – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Of course they are not equal, but they are both operating. And the Bible teaches that there are citizens of these separate kingdoms. The kingdom of God is full of sheep and wheat. The kingdom of Satan is full of goats and tares. And no where do we hear in Scripture that a goat becomes a sheep or that a tare becomes a stalk of wheat. Be careful though – for ultimately only God knows which is which!

That is why Jesus could say in John 10 to the Pharisees, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Those who hear Jesus are those who are His! Those He has foreknown and predestined to be conformed into His image.

Those who continue throughout their life to walk in the futility of their minds, never being changed as we have discussed – those do not know or hear Him! Those who are His hear Him and know His voice and obey.

The Holy Spirit Will Teach You

It is not enough to hear His voice for if we are to avoid walking the walk of the Gentiles then we must also be taught by Christ! And that is why we hear Him – so that we might be instructed and learn and grow.

It is true after all that His Word has been breathed out (inspired) by the Holy Spirit and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17) so that we might be completely equipped for every good work. It is also true that the Spirit has been given to us to indwell us specifically so that we can be taught the truth!

The Holy Spirit has been given as our Comforter and Helper. He inspired the Word of God and now He calls it to our minds, reminds us of it, and teaches us from it as we grow in grace. He leads us into all truth. He encourages us and motivates us and edifies us with the Word. He empowers us and enlightens us and illumines our mind to the truth.

Where does assurance come from? From the Spirit speaking to us and teaching us from the Word of God. With this Word He calls us to life, equips us to live, and prepares us for death! With the Word He convinces us of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. He convicts. He instructs. And the process of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the process of being taught all that He has commanded us.

As we compare these two walks then we see Psalm 1 unfold before our very eyes! Listen to this Psalm:

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

We can walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of those who mock God. Or we can delight in the Word of God! When the Bible is our meditation we avoid the pathway that leads to destruction. We bear fruit. Again, what makes the difference? The Word of God.

Do you love the Word of God? Are you hungry and thirsty when it comes to reading and meditating on the Word of God? One sure sign that you are NOT saved is a lack of desire for the Word of God. This is frightening but it is true. The lost are not hungry for the Word of God and they are not satisfied by reading it. They do not hear His voice and are not taught by Him though it.

But those of us who have heard His voice and who have been taught by Him, we have this duty – when we hear His voice we follow Him! Do you hear Him? Do you follow? If we have heard Him and if we have been taught by Him then we know that we are His indeed!

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Our God Breathed Bible by John MacArthur
The Sheep and Their Shepherd by Charles Spurgeon

Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 119:9, 11, 16, 28, 50, 74, 89, 103, 105, 130, 133, 148, 160, 162
John 14:26; Acts 1:2, 8; 2:33; 4:31; 1 Cor 2:13

Recommended Songs for Worship
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Teach Me Thy Way