The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Hear and Obey the Word Hand Motion
Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 1: Take your right hand and cup it behind your ear
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 2: Take both hands and put them together in front of you as if they are the front and back cover of a closed book.
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 3: Open your hands as if you are opening a book.
Summary of ‘Hear and obey the word’
Hear and Obey in the Old Testament are bound together in one word- ‘shema’. We are never meant to hear and not obey also.
The word that means “hear or listen,” shema (pronounced “shmah”) is an excellent example of the difference between Hebrew, which stresses physical action and Greek and Western culture that stresses mental activity.
Listening, in our culture, is a mental activity, and hearing just means that our ears pick up sounds. But in Hebrew, the word shema describes hearing and also its effects – taking heed, being obedient, doing what is asked. In fact, almost every place we see the word “obey” in the Bible, it is translated from the word shema.
There are two primary Greek words which are translated “word” in the New Testament.
The first, logos, refers principally to the totally inspired Word of God and to Jesus, who is the living Word. Logos is found in John 1:1; Luke 8:11; Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 4:12; and other verses.
The second Greek word translated “word” is rhema, which refers to the spoken word. Rhema literally means an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically). Examples are found in Luke 1:38; 3:2; 5:5; and Acts 11:16.
Brief Commentary and Context
Brief Commentary and Context- Acts 16:6-10 (The Spirit Redirects Paul’s Team to Macedonia)
Paul and the team attempt to go into the region of Phrygia and Galatia, and then go northeast into the region of Asia. Scholars debate on exactly where Paul was trying to go, but Acts tells us that they were forbidden by the Spirit from going. In addition, the Holy Spirit did not allow them to go into Bithynia, which was located north from Iconium around the Black Sea. Luke, the author of Acts, doesn’t tell us how God restricted them from entering into those regions, but he does record how they were led after what was probably a frustrating time for them.
While in Troas, Paul had a vision during the night of a man from Macedonia calling out to him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Macedonia was located in Northern Greece.
Upon receiving this vision, Paul and his team discern the clear call of God to go into Macedonia, so they get in a boat, sail over the Aegean Sea and head towards Macedonia. It’s interesting to note the use of the word ‘we’ here that Luke includes, he seems to be referencing a corporate decision amongst them after the ‘vision’.
What Paul, Silas,Timothy and Luke could not see in their wanderings, was that they would later return and share the Gospel in Asia, and in Ephesus where they were originally forbidden. We can’t understand why they were forbidden to go at this time but we do know God did eventually lead them there.
From this passage we see that God guides through closed doors, through disappointments, frustrations and obstructions and through visions and team discernment.
Core Truths from the Topic:
Summary Scripture: Luke 11:28- But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
John 10:27- “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
1 Sam 15:22-23- “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
Isaiah 55:3- “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.”
Ps 95:7-8 “Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts…”
John 8:47- “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
John 16:13- “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
Other Bible Stories:
Genesis 12:1-9 (Abraham hears God and goes to Canaan)
Genesis 22:1-18 (Abraham obediently offers Isaac)
1 Sam 15:1-23 (King Saul disobeys God)
Acts 9:1-19 (Paul conversion, Ananias)
Acts 10:1-48 (Peter’s vision, Cornelius)
Acts 13:1-3 (Paul & Barnabas hear the Holy Spirit and are sent)
Resources to help you Prepare
Yes/No Lead Us prayer Hearing God’s Voice – Yes_No Tool.pdf