The Seven Filters – Chapter 1

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27–28, ESV)

While in the Army, I was stationed in Germany. For a while my wife and I lived in an apartment on what we called “the economy.” This phrase referred to units rented by German people to soldiers, rather than property managed and provided by the United States government. The rental unit that my wife and I had was on the outskirts of a small country village right next to a large field.

On occasion a shepherd would bring his flock of sheep right down the street in front of our apartment to graze in the field. It was interesting to watch this shepherd work with his sheep. It was clear that he watched over them and they seemed to be attentive to his leadership.

Some years later, I saw a sheep herding demonstration. The shepherd had a group of people standing by a fenced in area that contained his flock. The flock was some distance from the shepherd and the group. He then asked for a volunteer to call the sheep to come to where the group was standing. The volunteer called using the correct words, but not even one sheep budged. Then the shepherd called for the sheep to come using the exact same words and the entire flock moved with purpose right up to the fence where the group was standing.

This was one of the most dynamic demonstrations of what Jesus stated when speaking to a group of unbelieving Jews, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Every true believer has had an experience of hearing Jesus’ voice.

A lot of believers say that they have never heard the Lord speaking to them. However, according to Jesus’ words this is not the case. The Lord stated, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Every true believer has had at least one dynamic experience of hearing the Lord. It was the call to salvation. This calling to salvation is a theme repeated in the Scriptures. Jesus’ “Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt 22:1-14),” pointed to this truth, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14, ESV). The chosen are those who have heard and responded to Jesus’ call by faith.

We see this truth further reinforced in Jesus’ words to the church in Laodicea. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20, ESV). Those who receive eternal life are those who heard Jesus’ voice and opened the door to receive Him by faith.

The evidence of believers hearing the call of our Lord and responding by saving faith is that they become followers of Jesus. This implies a transition in life’s priorities. Jesus once told His disciples this, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24–25, ESV) Yes, this is a tough saying, but it shows the radical nature of faith in Jesus by those who have heard His calling. The disciples demonstrated such in a very literal way when the Lord called them. “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:19–20, ESV) Their immediate response of dropping their nets and following Jesus is an example of the radical change that occurs in the heart of those that hearken to the voice of our Lord.

So, what was it that true believers heard? Quite simply it was the word of God concerning the gospel. Therefore, if you are a believer who is following Jesus today, rest assured you have on as least one occasion heard the Lord speaking to you as evidenced by your faith in Him.

(To be continued.)

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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