"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).
Question from Sue: In the Tent Time, it's encouraging kids to learn how to hear God's voice. I think this is awesome. But the thought crossed my mind and I wanted your answer—Is it possible for someone who has not yet received Jesus to in fact be able to hear Him? I'm thinking of the Scripture, "My sheep know My voice." I'm wondering if children who have not been led into salvation with Christ will still hear from Him?
Mark's response: The answer is yes, non-Christians also hear God's voice. We come to Christ because we hear the voice of God speaking to us and calling us into the kingdom. My salvation experience came because God was speaking to me. The recurring thought going through my mind as I was trying to fall asleep was: "If you die tonight, you are not prepared to go to heaven." Looking back, I am sure that was God speaking to me. I got up out of bed and went downstairs and told my parents I wanted to be saved.
The Greek word for "hear" is: ἀκούω (akouō - G191). One of its meanings is "to attend to, consider what is or has been said" (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).
So God's children attend to His word, while an unbeliever may resist it or simply ignore it. If you note the context in John 10, the Pharisees were in Jesus' presence, hearing His voice, and yet not attending to it, as they wanted to stone Him. Others in the group believed and followed Jesus. So all who were in John 10 heard the invitation to become sheep. Some attended to it and believed, and some resisted and wanted to kill Jesus.
More examples: Pharaoh, an evil king of Egypt, heard God's voice through dreams, revealing seven years of plenty and seven years of famine (Gen. 41). Nebuchadnezzar, another evil king, heard God's voice through a dream (Dan. 4). Balaam, an evil prophet (2 Pet. 2:15; Rev. 2:14), heard God's voice saying, "Don't curse the Israelites" (see Num. 22:12).
One lady has led numerous non-Christian, unchurched kids to the Lord by teaching them the four keys to hearing God's voice and then leading them in weekly journaling sessions. The kids all discovered God loved them and was calling to them, and over a couple of months, surrendered their lives to Christ, getting water baptized and Holy Spirit baptized.
So the answer is yes, all hear God's voice. Some choose to ignore or resist the wooing of His Spirit. Others attend to it and obey Him and follow Him.
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries (cwgministries.org) and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.
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