The first time you hear the voice of God doesn’t have to be after you die. God is speaking all the time but only those who are listening for him tend to hear him. It is difficult to hear someone you don’t believe is speaking (1 Samuel 3). But if you open yourself up to the possibility that God is speaking, then you have a better likelihood of hearing from him.
Jesus instructed us to listen to his voice in John 10. Some might say that was only for them but that is not the case. Here is why. In the parable of the good shepherd, where Jesus instructs us to listen for his voice and distinguish his voice from the voice of the stranger, he says this in verse 16,
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
He is talking about bringing in the Gentiles. But that didn’t happen until Jesus was gone…Acts 10! That was years after Jesus left. They too need to listen to his voice. But how can they hear from the one who had ascended to the Father and was seemingly absent and unable to be heard? Well, just as Saul/Paul heard (visions in Acts 9) and just as the apostles heard via the Holy Spirit in Acts 13.
This is the same for us today. Jesus instructed for us to listen to his voice in John 10. We need to do what he said. The great commission (Matt 28:19-20 says a disciple obeys Jesus’ instruction). We also hear from Jesus through the Bible. Read the Gospels regularly! You can hear what he said every single day if you so choose!
The only way to learn to discern between voices (Jesus vs the thief) is to continue to listen and learn. Be in the word. Pray and listen. Then follow his lead.
So many people think you are going to be led astray by this kind of teaching but I believe you are more likely to be led astray by not getting to know the voice of Jesus!
Here are Jesus’ words so you can hear it for yourself,
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” – John 10:1-18
Learn more about the three ways to hear from Jesus today in this video,