Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Seven Thunders
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 10:1-4
How do you respond when God says something you didn’t want to hear? How we answer that question is one of the most important indicators of our spiritual health, because what is revealed by our response is our integrity. So let me ask again, how do you respond when God tells you to do something that frightens you or costs more than you’re willing to give or seems to be something a person as important as yourself shouldn’t have to bother with? Not only does it matter what we answer God, but the way we respond at the very moment when we hear His voice is just as important and exposes the true motives of our heart. In a vision, John saw a huge angel standing with one foot on the sea and the other on the land, and then He cried out with a voice so loud it sounded like a lion roaring and then it echoed through the atmosphere producing seven great peaks of thunder. But the sound John heard wasn’t thunder at all, it was God’s voice and John understood the words that were spoken. In fact, he almost wrote them down before God told him to seal them up meaning they would not be understood and should remain hidden until a future time. Of course we don’t know what was said, but there’s a principle at work here we shouldn’t miss. There’s a reason why God’s voice sounds like thunder to some people but can be clearly understood by others. And that’s what we want to look at more closely.
Obstacles
Following Jesus always tests our hearts. To honestly respond to Him takes:
- Faith to believe He’ll do what He promised
- Courage to obey when fear rises up
- Humility to obey when pride rises up
- Love to stop putting my own needs first

Human Responses
There are different ways people can respond when they hear God tell them to do something they don’t want to do:
1) Pretend confusion: “I’m not sure that was God”
-What we call confusion is often a way of avoiding responsibility for disobedience (I’m confused, I don’t understand, I need more confirmation)
- John 12:20-30 some said it thundered
- Warning: God will stop speaking if we refuse to honestly dialogue with Him
- Matthew 21:23-27 was John’s baptism from God?

2) Words without commitment: “I have no choice so the answer is ‘yes’”
- Saying the right words but without determining inside to fulfill them
- Matthew 21:28-32 parable of two sons

3) Honest refusal: “I heard you but I’m not willing to obey right now”
- Telling God “no!”, telling Him why and telling Him He’ll have to help you change your mind.
- Jonah 1:1-3; 4:1-3 Nineveh or Tarshish
- Warning: You’d rather have God pursue you than stop talking to you

4) Dependent obedience: “I’ll do what you ask, but unless you help me every step of the way I’ll fail.”
- Asking God to help you obey one day at a time.
- Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Divine Response
God rewards those who obey Him by opening their “ears” to hear His voice even more.
- John 15:14, 15 You are My friends
- Obedience brings friendship and friendship brings more revelation
- Matthew 13:10-16 “For whoever has to him more shall be given”
- Ears become dull by refusing to hear eyes become dull by refusing to see hearts become cold by refusing to love
- Our character and the depth of our walk with God is the culmination of the choices we’ve made over a lifetime . . .

How to Hear God More
- Don’t play games with Him, respond with integrity
- Choose to be His friend by practicing regular surrender
- Obey in small things, hearing and obeying takes practice
- Take a big step and stay with it until you’ve seen the miracle
- Expect more and more of His revelation as you joyfully take His hand and follow

Questions
1) Have you ever pretended not to hear God’s voice because you didn’t like what He said?
2) What’s the toughest step of obedience you’ve ever taken? How did it work out?

 


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