This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus on Sunday 7th December 2008 and just before Rob came up to preach, Wayne Duncan brought a significant prophecy to City Church. Wayne is based in South Africa and leads a church there that is enjoying an amazing move of God. He and his wife were visiting City Church that week.Wayne Duncan: I just wanted to share something that during worship I felt God drop into my heart and it wasn't planned. This church - as small as it is - has an internation effect. You guys touch countries and people all over the world. As we were worshipping I was so caught up with the profoundness of what I believe God has called this church to be. God kept on showing me even from early this morning - the tip of a spear. I saw it stabbing a soft ceiling the whole time and during worship I felt God gave me the fullness of it. I felt God was saying
"Do you see it - have you seen it and do you know? Don't underestimate the power of the divine strategies of God and don't underestimate the significance of your role in His divine strategy". I felt God say that He has positioned this church to be part of the most significant move that Hong Kong has ever seen. A revival that will touch the city and will be spoken of by every citizen. The Name of Jesus will be on the lips of everyone! I felt that in heaven there was a trumpet that was sounded a while ago and the call of that trumpet resonated in many people's hearts and that's why many of you are here even now. You heard the call of God and it is significant in and through that thing God wants to release in Hong Kong - He has called you here.
Then I saw the rest of the pole for the first time reaching down in the vision. In that pole I saw those who were worshipping and I saw those of you praying at home and getting caught up into the glory and every time someone prayed and everytime someone worshipped and everytime someone was laying down a part of their lives I saw that as something that was going into the very pole that was driving the spear tip. And that added weight and momentum and support behind the thrust. I felt there was an army of people that were called to serve. I saw finances being released and I saw a huge army of people bringing energy into it.
Then I saw the most awesome thing in the third part of the vision - I saw Jesus Himself grabbing the spear and thrusting it through and I believe there is a time coming of incredible breakthrough. Don't underestimate your significance. God has significantly and strategically placed you and placed you in this church and in Hong Kong for this time. It is now! Hong Kong is going to see something unprecidented and never seen before in terms of the power of God. Even as we were worshipping and saying "Jesus come build Your throne" and we were declaring the glory of what is to come. We were declaring the glory of the breakthrough and there will be multitudes and thousands of people saved as that spear shoots through into new places. So bless you guys - go for it - we love you".
Thanks Wayne. I appreciate you guys - they came to "Glory and Grace" last year and their lives were turned upside down and their church came instantly into a move of God. One of the phenomena that happens regularly (so it is not a hit and miss thing) in their church and where they travel, when they lay hands on people - people get gold dust. Even when they don't lay hands on people's hands! And it's not 1 out of 10 - it is a high percentage of times. No pressure guys! But afterwards we will line everyone up! I am inspired to live every day with the belief or conviction that my Father really wants to pour out grace and mercy on me every single day!
Grace means the absolute goodness of God and only His goodness coming my way! Never judgements, never divine frustrations, never divine disapproval.
The Old Covenant has finished! The Law has gone and Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law that the blessing of Abraham may come on us and that we have a God whose nature is to do us good all the time! He is not impatient, He doesn't get frustrated, He is not disapproving of us - if that is what you think He is, then you are wrong for you are reading the Old Covenant. I suggest go after the Cross! Don't even go after the four Gospels if you want to start! People say "Start at John" - no don't start before the Cross! Start in Acts chapter 1 after the Cross in the New Testament and see the power of God being poured out from a Father who is smiling! And there is a happy sky over your head! Then go back and read the Old Covenant and see how grateful you should be that you are living in the New Covenant and it is good to read the Old Covenant so you can understand how wonderful it is for God to have positioned us to be in the New Covenant. I am inspired to live every day with goodness and mercy following my life.
David - that great king - had God say of him; "THIS is a man who is after My heart". David in Psalm 23 said; "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me ... some of the days?". "ALL of the days!". Bad hairday, good hairday, bad Monday - all my days, every single day! If you had a bad week it just means that you weren't sensitive to the desire of God to dump goodness and mercy on you! He was trying to and He just couldn't because you didn't expect it or believe it. But once you do - then He can! Now hell might have been breaking out with all kinds of friction and frustration and anger relationally but God was wanting to dump goodness and mercy on you every single day of your life! If you will start looking for it and expecting it and believing for it!
What is the difference between grace and mercy? I thought they were the same! No - big difference! If you were breaking the speed limit by a long way in Hong Kong and policeman pulls you over to give you a fine and he comes up and looks through the window and he is overcome with mercy and he says; "I am not going to give you a speeding fine" - that is mercy! You kiss his hand, his glove, his cheek, his head and you receive mercy! Then you see him take out his book and say "Oh no! I knew it was too good to be true!" but he gives you a cheque for $10,000 and says; "I just want to give you that - I just feel in a good mood!". THAT is grace!
Mercy stops God giving you what you do deserve - judgement and grace inspires God to give you what you don't deserve but to give you what Jesus deserves - because He died on your behalf!
I am convinced that no one can believe what I just said - that every day God's desire is to dump abundant goodness on you. You can try and study and confess a million times; "I am the righteousness of God" but you will still live with a conciousness of doubt and resident cynicism about the fact that God wants to dump every day grace and mercy on your life!
The only way we are ever going to believe this is to have a community that believes the voice of God! When you hear His voice -not my voice or some preachers voice - but God's voice tell you that you are the object of His affection and you are the objection of His sonship and you are an inheritor of the wealth of heaven and a joint equal heir with Christ - when you hear Him say THAT to you then forever you believe that our God wants goodness and mercy to follow you all the days of your life!
Today I want to speak on "Hearing the Voice of God" and there are many many people around the world that want to hear the voice of God! They long to hear it! But the good news is this - many of you in this room have already heard His voice. If I called out in the worship and said; "Who hear has heard God say something to you in this worship?" - many of you will have heard God. Those who didn't hear - it wasn't because He didn't speak. He did speak but you didn't hear because you didn't expect to! This is the good news - the One who cannot lie said; "My sheep know My voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow". I am so glad that He didn't say; "Sensative, New-ager, loose wrist, artistic, intituative, sensitive types hear My voice!". No - He just said MY sheep hear My voice! If you have truly met Jesus Christ as a resurrected Lord and discovered His Lordship - if He came into your life then I promise you that you are a sheep and you know His voice!
To know His voice is to hear His voice!
It doesn't matter what your temperament is or your personality - some people are prophetic people and they are artistic, poets with a sensitive soul. They can walk into a room and feel what people are thinking in that room! Before anyone tells them! Others God has not designed them like that. He has designed them to think strategically and to think pragmatically and to think like that because if they didn't then they couldn't do the job that God called them to do. So thank God everyone is not an artist! Or pragmatic! It would be a chaotic world if everyone was artistic but it would be a bland boring world if everyone was pragmatic and strategic, task-orientated thinkers! Some are feelers and some are thinkers! But God didn't say a certain temperament or personality - He said, "My sheep know My voice!". So certain types of personalities will hear the voice of God in a more artistic way. They will see pictures whereas the task-orientated people will have a thought or a flash of an inspired idea.
It is responding to those promptings and being more sensitive to the intutative. 9 out 10 times when I meet a stranger I know things about them immediately! My head tries to talk me out of it but my first impression is always right. I know when people are pregnant! We all hear the voice of God and I don't mean psychics. Psychics hear a false voice - because any voice you hear that takes you away from Jesus or from the Word of God or from thinking your life with eternity in mind that I will give an account for this life - any voice that distracts you from that is never the voice of God! It is the voice of a psychic, the voice of witchcraft, the voice of the demonic. My sheep know My voice! Jesus says in Revelation eight times; "He that has ears let him hear what the Spirit says!". The good news is that He didn't say "He that fasts and prays and gets good enough willl eventually grow ears and be able to hear Me". He said; "He that HAS ears let him HEAR!".
The grace on the prophetic ministry is that we are not speaking to the deaf society when we talk to the born again Christian. The grace on prophets is to announce to believers in Christ that you already have ears and now under the power of the Spirit I say to your ears; "Let them hear!".
Too many people are trying to grow ears to God whereas the prophets are saying "He that HAS ears" - who has ears? My sheep know My voice! Everyone in Christ has spiritual ears to hear the voice of God and the prophets say; "I activate you and release you into revelation supernaturally to recognise that you have ears! Now ears - HEAR what the Spirit is saying to the church!". So I say to City Church International and everyone listening on the website; "You have ears and can hear so HEAR what the Spirit is saying - let your ears hear!". And when you hear this grace and mercy following you all your days! A hearing community are positioned to believe that grace and mercy at a high level follow you!
In 1st Corinthians 14:1 the Bible says very clearly; "Eagerly desire the best gifts especially the gift of prophecy". We have got working of miracles, the gift of faith, word of knowledge - to know facts and events about someone where that information was not fed to you by natural information and you just knew, word of wisdom - you know things about their future, discerning of spirits - you know what angels are doing around you and you recognise if it is a demonic presence and prophecy and tongues with interpretation.
And it says "desire those gifts". Every believer can operate in all nine of those gifts like every believer can have all nine fruit of the Spirit. That is why Paul says; "Eagerly desire" - which is the word; "Lust after" or "Hunt after". In those days when they went hunting it wasn't for sport but for survival to eat.
So "hunt after the gifts" because your very life depends on it!
My son is alive today because of the gifts of the Spirit. When I was in L.A the Spirit spoke to me and said "Pray for Ryan right now and apply the blood over his life" and it stopped him being killed because he went into a car accident and he walked out of a smashed car and stepped out unharmed when many had been killed in that spot in recent years. I didn't know it - I was in L.A getting ready and was showering and walking to go to a meeting and stopped and said; "Oh Glenda! I have got to pray for Ryan" and put my Bible down and saved his life! Hunt after these gifts! Eagerly desire these gifts because it can save lives! It's saved Glenda and my life too - we have been going somewhere and the Spirit says; "Don't go" and the people who did got killed. People heard God on 9/11 not to go into the Twin Towers and they are alive today!
What we are talking today is very important! "Eagerly desire the best gifts" - hunt them down, lust after them and ESPECIALLY the gift of prophecy! Why?
Because prophecy is hearing God and saying what He is saying.
Reading the Bible and preaching or teaching is not prophesying. It is reading what God said a long time ago. Prophesying is saying what God is NOW saying. "Eagerly desire" - to hear what God is saying and the anointing to say what God is saying across a coffee table or in the middle of a sports match, work or a commercial meeting - listen to what God is saying and desire above anything eles to hear what God is saying and be able to say it. Why? Because that revelation of the voice of God will open up all the other gifts and will manifest gifts of healing, working of miracles and all those other things - as a community start hearing God! I believe and say again - you CCI have ears and you are hearing! Let your ears hear! People say why doesn't God just speak audibly and loudly to my physical ears? Well that would be great wouldn't it? Easy! "Rob! Don't work today! I will provide!". "Yes Lord! Your servant hears!". God has spoken like that in the Bible and I know people personally who have heard that audible physical voice. I personally as far as I know have never heard His audible voice with my physical ears. One time it was so audible in here that I did jump around thinking someone was talking to me but that doesn't happen a lot - that loud inner audible voice but it has happened a few dozen times.
He often speaks so quietly and so whispered that you have got to develop a history of listening to actually get the tones of that voice. With art of practice you begin to hear that voice every day. I would say over the last 20 years there hasn't been a day gone by when I haven't heard thati inward voice. It is an inheritance because everyone who is a son and has received Jesus as their Lord knows His voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. A strangers voice takes them away form Jesus! In John 12:28-30 says Jesus was standing there and there was a large crowd and God the Father spoke and said "This is my Son" and some said "It thundered" while others said "It was an angel". So no one in that crowd recognised God's voice when He spoke physically and audibly! We live in a world today and think that if God would just speak physically and audibly then all the world would believe and all believers would hear His voice! It doesn't work that way. John 12 shows us that. 1 Kings 18:12-13 says that Elijah was standing on the mountain top and there was a fire and an earthquake and God was not in the earthquake or the fire or the dramatic things.
God was in the still quiet voice. God told Elijah things to do in the still quiet voice that saved the whole nation of Israel. The instructions God gave to Elijah and which he put into practice brought Jezebel down! Jezebel was a witchcraft spirit that hates the apostolic and hates the prophetic.
There are so few prophets operating in the church world today because the pastors and the teachers in denominations have allowed prophets and apostles to be kicked out and silenced and no one wants to listen to them because they are too wild and too passionate and too full on for the average person who wants a religious club!
The church world by and large have gone into total irrelevancy because the prophets have been silenced. Elijah ran from Jezebel in panic and fear after being a mighty prophet and on that mountain he heard the still quiet voice of God not in the earthquake or thunder or fire but in the small voice and he went and anointed Elijah and Jehu and successors that brought Jezebel down and liberated Israel back into revival and a return back to God! That's what the quiet voice is! Too many Christians are saying they want big, technicolour angels talking to them - I want to hear the audible voice with these ears! No - sensitise your spirit and that can change nations and can save your marriage, your family, your finances, stop you getting engaged to the wrong person, taking a wrong job or going or staying somewhere. You need to hear God! So many Christians have got a speech impediment and can't seem to talk with confidence and boldness and authority with prophetic, apostolic authority! Instead they speak like the Pharisees of the law! But when Jesus arrived they said; "With what authority does this man speak?". Why? Because when you hear God you speak with authority!
I am talking about the nature of a loving God - not some god that says go fly into buildings and blow them up. That is NOT God. That is something else. People can't speak because they are not hearing. And ear, nose and throat specialists say if someone has got a speech impedient, the first thing they look at is a hearing capacity. Because if you are not hearing then you can't speak properly! Let me give you two things about hearing the voice of God. Not technique but how to steward this gift. God will give this gift in greater capacity to those who know how to steward it rightly.
1. This gift is not to make you rank as a super saint.
God spoke through and to Balaam's donkey! Therefore do not think that hearing God makes you the voice of God! That is why there are idiots out there who were once great prophets but they are idiots now because they think "I am the voice of God! When people don't obey me they have rejected God!". No - you are not concerned with them rejecting God. You are insecure and you feel rejected so you hate the church and you withdraw because the church didn't change fast enough or get in the process of seeing the promise fulfilled. Sometimes that process can take decades! Prophets don't have a sense of time sometimes and come in with a sense of immediacy! "God says revival is on the way!". Next week God! This is three months of teaching on how to hear God, how to be a community that hears God! Some people are just coming around to the idea of there being a God and Him being interested in speaking! You must prepare people with grace and what He may say and how you interpret what He says and how He says it.
In Christ EVERYONE is a super saint!
If you hear God a lot He will encourage you and talk to you and confirm you and you will hear His tender voice. But you hear God for other people as well! So use the gift of hearing God to bless other people! I learnt these things the hard way. My first trip to Australia and I stand up in front of the congregation I have never met in my life and I am going to be given the leadership of this church but I am kind of on probation that day. I know it and they know it. They are Aussies and I am a fresh South African and I have my best behaviour and I am going to preach my best sermon and bring out the real me later! So I am in the worship and worshipping God and God says; "Joan!". My mum's name is Joan! "Is my mum okay?". I heard; "Yes she is alright". So why are you saying Joan? Am I Jonah?! "No you are not a Jonah - there is a lady here in the service called Joan and she has never met you - call her out by name as soon as you get upto preach". So I said "Okay God!". Praise God this is going to get me into this church! When they see they have a prophet in their midst! That knows people by name! If I get the name I will get amazing details about her life that will prove to her I am a prophet!
I get upto preach and everyone is looking at me and I say; "The Lord has shown me that there is a woman here by the name of Joan". A middle aged lady at the back jumps up and comes running forward all excited. So immediately I lay my hands on her and say; "Joan - the Lord would say to thee that your name is Joan ... and He would say that He knows you by name and He would say to you - Joan - that your name is Joan and that He knows you by name!". And I am inwardly praying "More! Please God! Give me the downloads!". So I had to say; "And Joan that is all the Father would say. Go back". There are numbers of times I have walked home depressed after the service thinking I preached terribly and the devil agree and a few people ally with that! Public speaking is the biggest fear on the planet apart from dying. So my preaching is a flop! I am thinking they all think I am stupid! At the end of the service Joan comes running up to me all excited and says; "I am a widower and live on my own and am so lonely and was saying to God when driving to church that I don't want to test you but I feel like You don't even care and don't even know my name but this guy coming today - if he doesn't call me out by name - then I am not going back to church. Wasn't that amazing?!".
I wanted to slap her! Why didn't you tell the people!?!? For my credibility?!?! God said "Because to hear His voice is not to promote you but to love people - to love them and show them God knows about them". But if we think it is to promote us then that is why we have got frustrated weird prophets in the world today and the church didn't appreciate me! Many times they haven't! But some of us prophets are around and not cynical or hating the church! Lastly;
2. Prophesy and speak the Word of God in humility.
We are all prophetic by the way - there are prophets and there are sons that prophesy - every Christian can hear the Word of God and speak on behalf of God to people. Not what the Bible wrote 2000 years ago but what He is saying now to this person. If I have got seven doors to go through and choose from then I can't open my Bible because the Bible doesn't talk about doors - I have got to hear God tell me which door to go through. I need to hear God today! And if I have a problem speaking with boldness and authority then I need to check that I recognise that I do have ears to hear.
We need to prophesy in humility because no prophetic person prophesies perfectly. The Bible says we prophesy "in part". We don't see everything 100%. That's why we need other prophets and we need local church. I prophesy through my temperament but I need to hear someone else who hears God differently. They each have a bit of the puzzle. So this thing about someone who doesn't prophesy accurately - they aren't a prophet. Not true! The only Person who was accurate 100% was Jesus! The highest level prophets still get it wrong occasionaly and the psychics get it wrong 99% of the time but have vague clever ways of hiding it and clearing it up. This is what determines a false prophet - Deuteronomy 13:1-5; "Someone who hears God accurately and with that incredibly accurate gift they use it to draw the people away from God and to wow the people and make it all about personal power". That is Satan! He didn't want to see God worshipped. Lucifer did not want to worship God but be equal with God - that is why he was cast out of heaven.
Everyone under the deception of Lucifer - the voice that is not the voice of Jesus wants personal power. To use what they have got to draw people to be impressed with them! Deuteronomy says a false prophet is someone hearing God accurately because the gift is genuine. The Bible says in Romans 14 that God won't withdraw the gift or shut it down. But they are using the genuine to draw other people to themselves or other gods. Not Jesus! That is a false prophet! People who come and don't prophesy accurately but don't try and draw people away from God - have no fear of those people! They are just speaking out of their imaginations. A false prophet is someone who hears God but uses it to draw people away from God. A true prophet use the gift to make a Joan know she is loved and even if it doesn't draw people to you it will draw people to Him which it did to Joan!
Always see if prophetic people are drawing to Jesus or whether they are drawing a following after themselves and where they making people dependent on them and people want to use them like a crystal ball gazer so they become dependent on them.
A true prophet is God bringing liberty through them and then they equip and train you to hear God for yourself!
I was leading a church in South Africa and a couple were our closest friends. They had been trying to have a baby for 16 years with no hint of conception and were totally discouraged. I was in the bush praying and just enjoying God.
If you try to hear God then you won't.
The Father is not like a wife! So I was just enjoying Him as a son and I hear the inward audible voice; "I want you to call this couple out publicly and prophesy over them that within 3 months she will fall pregnant". God! No! Go privately! "No I want you to go public!". God! If I am wrong I won't look good! It is all about fear of man! So I called them out and prophesied. "You shall fall pregnant within 3 months" and everyone claps or is stunned. Within 24 hours she fell pregnant. Everyone was shouting and excited. 3 months she walked with that baby but then instant miscarriage. Gone. I can't tell you how depressed I was. I was about 28 with no mentors in the supernatural. Kenneth Hagin sort of from a distance. Noone fathered me. I had to learn it on the mountaintops alone. So I had to learn what I learnt by the mistakes I made. The whole congregation is stunned and I am stunned and struggling with my own depression! They are questioning God and me!
I was tempted to get up and say "You saw a prophet in your midst call out a woman who had not been pregnant and announce she would be pregnant within 3 months. My prophecy came true! She was pregnant! But the Lord shows me there was sin in their life and they did not believe and therefore God judged them!". But God didn't say that and wouldn't say that because He wasn't judging them. I just knew as a 26 or 27 year old that I didn't understand what happened and that He had to speak to me or I had to get up and apologise to this entire congregation that I didn't have enough information and that I didn't understand or know enough but apologise to all for my inexperience. I am learning and I told them that!
And I found out that people are incredibly forgiving if you are honest. They know a cover up and a con from a mile away.
The entire congregation received it and relaxed and within a year she fell pregnant and has got 3 daughters. This is the thing I learnt - I believe I did hear God and she did fall pregnant. God called me to do it publicly not to show me off but because He wanted that baby to live to full term and be born. He wanted to lift us in 1985 into a high level of corporate hearing from God. He wanted a baby to be born to show forth His glory and His honour. I didn't know enough about the devil and the devil's hatred of the womb or fertility. If I had known what I know now then we would have guarded her around with a sentinel of intercessors till that baby was born. When that baby was born it would have taken that church into a much higher level of breakthrough in the supernatural. We don't realise how many aborted, still born manifestations of cancer, healings are getting aborted before they come to full term because he is not stronger than God but God has given us partnership with Him by learning how to operate and how to hear clearly as to how to do these things better.
About seven or eight years later I had learnt now and understood a bit about this. So we got a prophet from the USA writing to us in Australia when I was leading Coastlands. And he said "In this month of this year your church will be rocketed to national profile in Australia and will go on national TV in a positive way". We didn't have a clue what this prophet was saying or what it meant. His name is Liam from L.A church. About a month later I was closing a service down with about 1000 people there and as I am closing ...
And I know this frustrates practical people - that prophets frustrate practical people and vice versa and God says balance each other. We don't want practical people pulling out or prophets pulling out - we need everyone to come together because both need both. The feelers need the thinkers and the devil is trying to alienate each but the Holy Spirit is pulling both together!
As I was giving the benediction the Holy Spirit gave me a 20 minute prophetic word that said; "I am the God of great love and great power and I want to demonstrate myself in the nation of Australia and I want to show forth signs and wonders but I show off My power for a purpose and if those that are crippled can't walk in your midst and if the deaf aren't here and if the Satanists aren't here - then why should I manifest My power? Because My power comes for a purpose! If you will bring the cripples and bring the broken and take the effort and drive with your cars and bring them then I will do great miracles".
Now you can't put that on every congregation. I am not even putting it on you! He was saying that then to them! They knew it was the voice of God and ran out and got everyone! So next week I came in and there was everyone! I saw wheelchairs everywhere. When you are prophesying you can see five sentance ahead! So I preach on the two Adams and have a salvation call and a lady in a wheelchair is there. I didn't know but she had been on national televison and doctors had said it was impossible for her to walk again and she was dying and every joint went out of joint. She was beyond medical science! It is not about us looking good! I will keep apologising if I make a mistake!
So I said "Father are You doing this miracle?" and He was! A leg shot forward and she spoke in a deep voice; "I am not coming out!" and I said; "I am from Africa and you ARE coming out!". We cast demons out in Africa! Australian demons can't hide when the power of God comes! So it came out and she came out the wheelchair and walked around the building and walked for five days! She got her children back and was about to get her job back. She slipped in the shower and fear came on her and all her joints went out. So they rang me and I was so depressed again - "What are you doing God!?". I am mad and discouraged and depressed! There's always people - cynics are always waiting! I am still human enough to want to kill when people don't give you love! Because they never try any of this stuff! So I think I am never going to step out in prophecy ever again! I am going to be a nice guy! And give life skills and 20 minute pep talks! No - I was born for the glory, born to contend!
Suddenly the inward audible voice came; "When you land in Melbourne, phone this man and go to Michelle and say the demon has gone back worse and then she will walk again and it will go on national television". They prayed and demons came out and she came on national television. Prime time to millions of Australians! If you can't dance and praise God then maybe you need to go in a wheelchair and have God heal you! How many of you know why now it is so important that Jesus said My sheep know My voice and they will not follow a stranger? There is nothing greater than hearing the voice of the good Shepherd. I go out on the hills of Hong Kong and I want to hear the voice of the good Shepherd!
Don't try and get Him to talk! Mainly praise and worship Him! By the time I get back, I know it will be okay! That word "hearing" is the rhema word. We need to read what God said then so we know what God is like but need to hear what He is saying "NOW".