Faithlife
Faithlife

From Our Desires to His Voice

Our Triumphant God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts
Dismiss Kids
Well before we get started I want to give the little ones a chance to head to Kid Life. Pre-K through 2nd grade you guys can meet your leaders over here by the door
and as they are heading that way I want to begin by expressing just how blessed I am to be here this morning in a little bit different role than normal. But we are blessed as a church in that we don’t hire staff members as ministers of Just Youth/ Children or Music but a very important aspect of this church is that we hire ministers of the Gospel who happen to have diverse areas of service. That is our pastor’s heart for this church and I believe God’s heart for this church as well.
This morning we will be continuing our journey through the book of Zechariah. Glen has been preaching a mini series of sorts entitled transformed lives. We have talked about the transition from Feasting to Fasting, and from Religion to Relationship and this morning if you would, take out your bibles and open them with me to Zechariah chapter 7.
If you don’t have your bible with you grab a hard back one from the pew in front of you and one thing we want to make sure of is that if you don’t have a bible at home we want you to take that with you as a gift from us. It’s our prayer that God would use it to Mold and shape your lives and that it would bless your entire Home with the life-giving words of God.
Now, In honor of His word would you stand with me as we read Zechariah chapter 7 verses 8-14

8 And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. 13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts, 14 “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”

Pray
Last week Bro. Glen took a look at verses 8-10 and this week we will be camping out on verses 11-14.
But in verse 9 we see the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah just as it had throughout the book so far. and the Lord said “render true judgements”, “Show Kindness and mercy to one another” “Don’t oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor” and he finishes by saying “let none of you devise evil in your heart for one another.”
Glen expounded on that last week so I won’t spend much time here. Most of us would agree that this is a solid description of how the people of God should live and act to one another.
These words are truly something to be heeded. There are those precious times in scripture when it says “Thus Says the Lord” or “The Lord Declares”
When we read about the God of the universe declaring something. It’s important and it needs to be Heard! When God speaks directly it’s something worth paying attention to!
But there’s a problem.

11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.

“But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.”
The Israelites response was not exactly what you would expect after God Almighty speaks.
The Israelites response was not exactly what you would expect after God Almighty speaks.
As some of you know, Megan and I live on the north of town right by the revolving door restaurant. You know which one I’m talking about. Not trying to poke fun its just that it has been 3 different chains since we moved in.
Side note: I will say that of all of them this has been my favorite! It is really nice to catch the heavenly scent of Fajitas from the comfort of our living room. Definitely a nice amenity.
If you have been up to the restaurant you may have noticed that we no longer have a privacy fence thanks to some of the gale force winds that we are exposed to here in north Texas and that creates a real problem for Megan and I.
You see we have 2 children at home. Well they aren’t exactly human they are our furry children.
we have a 4 pound spoiled Pomeranian named Molly and a 13 yr old overweight Chihuahua with breathing problems named Moose.
This lack of privacy fence has created quite an interesting dynamic in the household when it comes to potty time. Especially in the night or early morning when we are in our pajamas. And it has been even more awkward now with people 25 ft away enjoying a meal.
MOLLY STORY
The point I am trying to make here is that she heard me yelling. She was just ignoring me. How do I know she does this? Because I can say her name 5 times in the house and she won’t budge but if I so much as Whisper the word treat from across the house she will be at my feet in a split second. In Fact, Her ears just perked up at the house.
It’s called selective hearing. and you parents know the struggle is real. and I know some of you wives are here thinking : “Hmmm I somehow trained my Husband to do that!”
and All of us Husbands are like: “What? What did he just say?”
We know that it is possible to hear something but not “REALLY” hear it
There is a difference between hearing and this Hebrew word in this passage that we translate to listening.
The most common Hebrew word for hear is “SHEMA” but in this text the Hebrew word used in verse 11 is “Missemoa”
You can hear without listening. In fact the book of James reminds us of this when it says in

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves

In this text in Zechariah, God speaks in verse 8-10 and but then what was their response?
But be doers of the word not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
In this text in Zechariah, God speaks in verse 8-10 and but then what was their response?
We could say: oh they didn't hear him
But to leave it at that would be an understatement. In fact they flat out ignored Him. They were aware that he was speaking. They just blatantly refused to listen
In verse 11 there are three examples of this:
They refused to pay attention, they turned a stubborn shoulder. And they stopped their ears. The Hebrew there translates literally: “They made their ears too heavy to hear.”
It’s this picture of sticking your fingers in your ears. Now, how many of you can say you would still have a job if every time your boss walked in you gave them the cold shoulder and stuck your fingers in your ears?
If every time my wife talked to me I turned my shoulder to her and stuck my fingers in my ears I could pawn this thing off. What kind of relationship would that be?
If every time my wife talked to me I turned my shoulder to her and stuck my fingers in my ears I could pawn this thing off. What kind of relationship would that be?
This seems ridiculous. We say to ourselves why would anyone do that? But the truth is that WE do that.

I.See As part of fallen humanity we intrinsically follow our own desires.

I’m going to step on some toes here: There’s not a person in this room that is not naturally selfish. Without the spirit’s work in our lives each of us look out for three people me, myself, and I.
Look at our culture. People today are looking out for their best interests, and they are pursuing their own wants and desires at the expense of who cares what else. We intrinsically listen to our desires.
The question that we have to ask ourselves then, is Why?
Well first and foremost it is because of our fallen nature. Our depravity, as theologians would call it. For example you don’t have to teach someone to lie. We just do it! And then if we are really good at it we go into politics.
But we won’t go there
In the same way, we don’t have to teach people to look out for themselves because that comes as our default setting
Instead, God’s method in the old testament and in the new testament through Jesus completely turns the world on it’s head by telling us to look out for others.
Verse 9-10 that we looked at last week tells us that! Look out for the poor/widows/ etc.
The second reason is this and it often flows from the first. We are all desperate to find this one elusive thing called Happiness. You can call it whatever you want, fulfillment, satisfaction, joy, purpose, it all comes back to our personal happiness. and in our Brokenness we naturally do this!
In fact you don’t have to look very far to find the first example of man choosing our own desires.
Bible illustration:
And this phenomenon extends much further than scripture. Time after time we listen to our desires. It’s nothing new we have been pursuing happiness at any cost to ourselves or others since the garden.
Today our pursuit of happiness often leads to broken relationships, friendships, marriages, or careers.
The world tells you to listen to your heart! But the bible says your heart is evil! Yet we still seek and strive for our own happiness. The things that make us feel good, that benefit us the most, that bring us the most wealth, or power, or pleasure.
We, just like the Israelites, turn our stubborn shoulders to the Lord and stick our fingers in our ears. We ignore Him.
We wouldn’t dare treat our boss, or our parents, or our spouse like this, and yet with hardened hearts we have the nerve to blatantly ignore God.
One thing to point out that is really interesting is in verse 12 where it shifts from speaking about the outward physical metaphors like stopping ears or stubborn shoulders it transitions to the the internal and that is the hardening of our hearts.

12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.

Sometimes we look at humanity and think that we’re a “little” messed up or “mostly Good” Every time we buy into that lie we are confirming even more how deprived we are. Even God’s people, Israel, who God had rescued time and time again in the past, they hardened their hearts towards God and refused to listen to him speak.
Sometimes we look at humanity and think that we’re a “little” messed up or “mostly Good” Every time we buy into that lie we are confirming even more how deprived we are. Even God’s people, Israel, who God had rescued time and time again in the past, they hardened their hearts towards God and refused to listen to him speak.
That is an absolute affront to Him. Quite frankly, it angers Him! It says in verse 12 “A great Anger came over Him” I thought I was angry when my little dog ignored me and made me run by a restaurant without a shirt on.
Unfortunately there are much graver consequences with God. How does he respond?
Lets check out verse 13 &14

13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts,

God essentially says If you are not listening to me why should I listen to you? In fact I am not going to listen to you at all just as you’ve done to me!
God essentially says If you are not listening to me why should I listen to you? In fact I am not going to listen to you at all just as you’ve done to me!

14 “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”

They were spread to an unknown land, taken away from the blessings that they had come to enjoy. And their land was left desolate and empty!
They were spread to an unknown land, taken away from the blessings that they had come to enjoy. And their land was left desolate and empty!
Too often we mope around saying look at this mess we are in! We’ve got nothing left, things aren’t going our way, I feel like I cry out to God and he isn’t even listening to me!
How often do we stop and ask if we are listening to God in the first place?
Following our desires always leads to disappointment and a lack of fulfillment. if you are striving for self fulfillment you are in a hamster wheel that will only make you cramp up and leave you curled up in pain in no different place than you started.
However, there’s good news this morning

II.Our lives will be transformed when we begin to hear His Voice.

this series that we are in TRANSFORMED LIVES truly hinges on this point. Life transformation is not going to come when we are listening to ourselves.
Where has that gotten us?
Just like the Israelites it has gotten us to a place of emptiness in a desolate state cut off from God and desperately wanting him to hear us without us having to listen to Him.
We have to start hearing God instead of continually pursuing our desires. It’s time to take our fingers out of our ears and have our hardened hearts melted.
Our lives begin to be drastically changed when we listen to His Voice. Now most of us in here have probably not heard an audible voice of God so we have to ask ourselves “How does God Speak?”
If we are going to have our lives transformed by His voice we need to know what to look and listen for.
Well Henry Blackaby lists 5 ways that God speaks
1.Through the Holy Spirit
2.Through the Word
3.Through Prayer
4.Through Circumstances
5.Through the Church
We don’t have enough time to go too in depth in each of these areas, you could preach a sermon or a series on each.
But here is a brief fly by of the 5 ways God speaks:
First and foremost is the Holy Spirit! We of course know that the Holy spirit is one of the three parts of the God head and it is the facilitator of every other thing on the list. For example, when God speaks through his Word, prayer, Circumstances, and through the Church it is His Holy Spirit that is the agent of communication in these areas. None of these things would speak to us without the power of the Holy Spirit.
One important thing to note here is that this means the Holy Spirit is a prerequisite for communication with God.
The Holy Spirit is given to us to indwell us when we place our trust in Christ. That means that If we don’t have a personal relationship with Christ therefore the indwelling spirit as well, We cannot expect to hear God speak in our lives. In our rejection of Jesus we are no different than the Israelites when they were turning cold shoulders and refusing to make God their God.
You want to hear God speak in your life through the power of the holy spirit?
Then, Trust in Christ.
The second is this:
God speaks through His Word.
It is what we could call the foundational mode of communication that He uses.
Here’s what I mean by that: God’s word is foundational to his communication with man because every other way he speaks must always align with what we read in His word!
We believe that God’s word is perfect. Amen? It is infallible meaning without error, it is complete meaning nothing needs to be added or taken away, It has authority, because it is God breathed and finally it is sufficient!

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”
Christian, follower of Christ, why are we looking anywhere else for God to speak when he has already boldly spoken to us through his word.
Christian, follower of Christ, why are we looking anywhere else for God to speak when he has already boldly spoken to us through his word.
Most of us in here have something like 6 bibles in our home 5 of which collect dust and the other one that we leave in our car for Sunday. This isn’t some cute self help guide folks.
Maybe if we, the people of God started placing Scripture in it’s rightful place as the living breathing word of God we would start to see the transformation in our lives that we’ve been praying for.
I’m not talking about the Amens on Sundays, we hear those when Glen talks about scripture.
We need to look at our lives and our habits to see if they voice an amen to what we believe about scripture. Or what we say we believe about it.
Jesus himself in Mathew 4:4
Do you see the importance that Christ is trying to convey here? He had been fasting and was exhausted and weak and when Satan tries to tempt him to make some bread out of stone he replies by saying God’s word is enough!

4 But he answered, “It is written,

“ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Do you see the importance that Christ is trying to convey here? He had been fasting and was exhausted and weak and when Satan tries to tempt him to make some bread out of stone he replies by saying God’s word is enough!
Do you see the importance that Christ is trying to convey here? He had been fasting and was exhausted and weak and when Satan tries to tempt him to make some bread out of stone he replies by saying God’s word is enough!
Does your life say that? Does My life say that. That no matter what situation or what our desires are on any given day God’s word is enough for us.
We have to wake up and treat scripture like it is every word that comes from the mouth of God! It’s not about religion like we talked about last week where reading our bibles accomplishes something but it is a relationship in which we too often have our fingers in our ears today with ur bibles only opened on Sundays. Or when we really “feel” like we should maybe we’re sad or scared.
I’m not bashing that, we should run to God’s word for comfort! We should just be running to it for far more than that! It is our sustenance!
This is not some guilt trip for not reading our bibles it is a wake up call to all of us who are starving for our daily bread yet refusing to eat.
We need to read it, we need to love it, we need to treasure it, and we need to hold it as the authority and standards by which we live.
Do we treasure God’s word? I know too often I don’t… Not like it deserves.
The third way that God speaks is through prayer.
Now this one is the one that made me do a double take. It may seem confusing that God speaks to us through us speaking to him but let me put it this way:
We believe that our prayers are led by the spirit. The Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives causes us to pray and to lift our hearts to the Lord. I believe that God speaks to us through our prayer life. If we examine the things that God has placed on our heart it can tell us a lot about God’s voice in our lives.
Next is through circumstances. Now this could be any number of things but I believe most if not all of us can identify with this. There are times in our lives where coincidences seem far beyond mere accidents and seem to be either an answer to prayer or a message from God. I wanna quote Mrs. Valarie Dillard with the saying “it’s not odd it’s God”
There are times where unexplainable things happen or even simple things happen in perfect timing whether we notice or not.
Later we look back and see God’s providential hand in it all as He moves and shapes our lives.
However, We want to be careful not to become those people who read way too much into things.
“Woah, I saw three red cars on the highway this morning, God is providentially speaking through my circumstances telling me that if I wear a red shirt tomorrow, he will bring someone across my path and I will lead them to Jesus.”
Let me just say this I’m not saying that is impossible, but I am saying that if we examine the notion that God is speaking through that circumstance through the lens of scripture there is only one thing that is biblical about it and that is that if you look out for it and are faithful to be obedient there will be someone who comes across your path that God wants you to lead to Jesus.
And through the power of the Holy Spirit you will be empowered to walk in the good work he has planned for you and it won’t matter how many red cars you see or what color shirt you wear!
It has been said that God works in mysterious ways. And if those mysterious ways cause us to investigate them so in depth that we miss the point then we are waisting our time.
God can speak through circumstances and often times it is up to us to interpret but I do know this: It better line up with what is in scripture. Don’t get so caught up trying to interpret circumstances that you miss what He has already told you.
Last is this:
God speaks through the church.
In our culture today there is a growing movement of “spirituality” that completely removes the church as necessary to a healthy walk with Christ. And that is sad.
Being part of a body of believers is extremely important to our relationship with Christ.

25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Guys we need each other. Now more than Ever
Guys we need each other. Now more than Ever
It is essential to a healthy relationship with Christ. I say that word healthy for a reason.
Because what I’m NOT saying is that Church Membership is essential for salvation. However, one pastor explains it like this. Jesus refers to the Church as his Bride. Me and Jarrod could have a friendship and we could be close! But what kind of relationship is it if he calls me up one day:
Bride illustration
How would I respond to that? I wouldn’t say “uhhhh, ok that depends, what are you cooking?” I would be insulted! Christ is insulted when we don't look at His bride despite all of our flaws as beautiful and something we want to be a part of and take part in.
God uses the church as a means of communication to us through the leading of the Holy spirit through the Songs, through our prayer, through our preaching, and through our witness into the community.
This sounds like a bold and prideful statement. But God speaks every Sunday at this church when we gather together and meet with Him and open His word. Not because of the quality or the luster of anything that we do but because of Who we are meeting with.
The thing to remember here is that he’s not silent he is speaking it’s us who are plugging our ears and turning our shoulders.
BUT When God speaks and we Listen it changes everything!
Have you ever sat in a room that was so quiet you could hear every little noise and it drives you crazy?
There is actually a form of torture in which people are placed in a soundproof room that has a noise level below 0 decibels. The only things that the victim can hear are their organs functioning and the blood running through their ears.
Studies have shown that that kind of silence can cause hallucinations and that no one has ever been recorded to withstand it for longer than 45 minutes.
We just can’t handle that kind of silence. I don't know about you but I am thankful that our God is not silent. I am thankful that he has spoken and continues to speak today through his word, through our prayer lives, through our circumstances, and through our church ALL by the power of the Holy Spirit.
He is speaking, the question is are we listening!
Are we obeying our flesh are are we obeying God?
Do we even know the difference as to which one we are hearing?
I’ll end with this:
I said earlier that the primary thing we are chasing when we pursue our desires is happiness. We want to be happy! And we chase after the things that we think make us that way. Each of us is longing to be satisfied.
The beauty of a transformed life that shifts from listening to ourselves to hearing HIS voice is that it has the same motivating factor we just don’t realize it.
I’m not a name it and claim it preacher… I’m not saying you will have your best life now or a mansion and a few handfuls of cars to ride around in But I can promise you this:
You wanna be happy? Listen to God’s voice
Listen to God’s voice and you will experience a joy in your life like you have never had before!
Theologians call this Christian Hedonism which basically can be summed up like this quote from Piper.
“The chief end of man is to Glorify God by enjoying him forever.”
It’s no accident that God created us with a longing for satisfaction. It’s just that we have constantly sought satisfaction in everything but God Himself.
God created us for joy and happiness and fulfillment but that will ONLY TRULY come through Him!
Piper Goes on to say this:
By Christian Hedonism, I do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. I mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end.
That means that Every Good thing we pursue is only fully realized when we begin to seek God our Highest good!
Instead of pursuing wealth we should look to Mathew 6 verse 20 and 21 when Jesus says:

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, not on earth where Moths nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
When you want to pursue power look to the Highest power. The LORD who is Ruler over all kingdoms and nations Who spoke the Universe into existence. Seek Him and the bible tells you None can stand against you.
When you want to pursue power look to the Highest power. The LORD who is Ruler over all kingdoms and nations Who spoke the Universe into existence. Seek Him and the bible tells you None can stand against you.
Rather than seeking Pleasure in Earthly things:

11  You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand there are pleasures forever more!”
I could go on!
I could go on!
Whatever it is that you think is bringing you joy or happiness or fulfillment, God is far greater! Why not listen to His voice and begin to see new heights and greater pleasures forevermore.
I’ll never forget, one day:
Dollar General
I know that Saltines aren’t satisfactory because I have tasted much greater things!
Think of the most delicious flavor you have ever tasted! Those things that we crave or that if we could choose as a “last meal on earth” Your mouth is watering I know… We’re almost done.
You see, if all I had ever had were saltines I may think that they are filling and salty and a nice snack. But over time I have caught a taste of something greater!
And that’s what we have to remember this is a process. We must begin examining the things we are listening to Our desires? Or God’s voice.
It takes time to fully transition but If Christ is the Lord of your life you are on the right track.
Don’t view this is a one time decision to listen to God for eternity. It is a daily decision to die to yourself and to ask God to show you the ways He is speaking into your life.
When we listen to our desires and seek after these things that are empty and fleeting we are choosing to be falsely satisfied by saltines when we could be having the meal of a lifetime.
and If we HAVE tasted better things, why would we settle for less? My prayer is That God will remind us of His all satisfying grace and mercy and his sufficient word that should be our daily bread! Guys when our infinitely Holy God speaks and Has spoken why settle for anything else?

Response time:

Will you bow your heads with me?
Right there where you are at I want you to spend a few moments with God the alter is open for anyone who wants to come in prayer but ask yourself these questions:
First,
Where am I seeking satisfaction and happiness? Am I listening to the desires of my heart or the voice of God?
Second,
This morning, what is your response to His voice? Are you going to turn a cold shoulder? are you going to put your fingers in your ears or are you going to listen to him and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life?
Maybe you have never trusted in Christ.
Maybe you’ve never tasted anything better than Saltines!
But this morning I bring you the good news of Salvation in Jesus Christ a much more satisfying taste and fulfillment than anything you have ever had.
In a moments we will be standing and singing, I will be down at the front ready to talk with you if you need to make that decision.
Maybe this morning you need to be obedient in other aspects like baptism or joining with the body we would love to have you.
Just be faithful to whatever God is leading you to do this morning:
Let’s Pray
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