Do not let the “second voice” thwart the purposes of God for His Kingdom and your life, preached Dr. John Avanzini last weekend.
“Don’t listen to the second voice!”
In his sermon over the weekend of Dec. 7-8, Dr. John Avanzini, a long-time friend of City Harvest Church and renowned teacher of biblical economics cautioned the congregation against the “second voice”—the voice that speaks in opposition to what God has originally spoken to believers.
It is not always easy to discern the difference. “Many times the second voice appears as logic. But it is not logic; it is faith that Christians operate on.”
It can even come from loved ones with good intentions. When Avanzini first started out his ministry, he faced this second voice coming from his own father. The senior Avanzini had tried to persuade his son to continue in the family business but fortunately, he stayed the course and enrolled into Bible College with his wife. As they say, the rest is history: the Avanzini name is now known the world over for Bible teaching.
With his signature Texan drawl, Avanzini drew multiple examples of men and women from the Bible who either helped fulfill the purposes of God or brought misfortune upon themselves by listening to the wrong voice.
The Second Voice In The Garden Of Eden
The American televangelist gave the first example from Genesis, where Eve listened to the second voice instead of the first voice from God telling her not to eat the forbidden fruit. As a result, both Adam and her were cast out from Eden.
Abraham made the same mistake when he took his nephew, Lot, along on his God-ordained journey to the Promised Land, despite being told otherwise. As detailed in Genesis 13:5-12, Abraham finally decided to part ways, and gave his nephew the right to choose the territory he desired. Avanzini explained that even before Lot chose the fertile plains of Jordan, Abraham had lost half his inheritance of the Promised Land when he listened to the second voice.
It was the same voice later on that convinced King David to take a census of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1) despite him knowing that it was a sinful act in the eyes of God. The repercussion: a plague that took the lives of 70,000 Israelites.
“You’ve got to watch for the crowd!” Avanzini emphasized. “You’ve known there’s a second voice. You’ve heard it before. It happens to you day after day. The second voice is even speaking to some of you sitting right here as I’m preaching.”
If Moses had listened to the crowd, Israel would not have come out of Egypt, said Avanzini. Even as they were marching to their freedom, many in the crowd complained. “They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’” (Exodus 14:11-12)
David too had a few experiences with the second voice. Before his fight with Goliath, King Saul and Eliab, his brother, were quick to put him down and discourage him. Shutting these voices down with his faith and his zeal for the name of his God, David slayed the enemy of Israel and became king.
But even David himself would not have been born if his great-grandmother, Ruth, had listened to the second voice.
After surviving all the males of her family, Naomi told her daughters-in-law to leave her and return to their families. One did, and was never heard of it the Bible again.
Ruth, on the other hand, stayed together with Naomi, telling her mother-in-law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
Remaining by Naomi’s side, Ruth went on to meet Boaz and became the ancestress of both David and Jesus.
“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, ‘Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.’ Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” (Acts 27:9-11)
Paul’s “first voice” was drowned out by the “second voices” of the captain and master of the ship, urging the centurion to throw caution to the wind. The Book of Acts tells us that they met with a storm, proving Paul’s warning to be right.
Even more ominous was the tragic tale of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, where the couple sold their land and had it publicly known that the proceeds were to go to the church. However, they kept part of the proceeds for themselves and lied when asked by Peter, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” The result of listening to the second voice was the couple’s death.
Despite the grim final example, Avanzini ended his message with hope.
“If you made a wrong decision, if you’ve followed the second voice, do you know you can go back to follow the first voice?” he asked the congregation.
Alluding at repentance, Avanzini brought up John Mark, popularly known as Mark the Evangelist. John Mark had joined Barnabas and Paul in Acts 12:25 but left them later on after encountering Bar-Jesus, the Jewish sorcerer and false prophet. As a result of his desertion in Pamphylia, Paul did not bring him back into the ministry until 2 Timothy 4:11 when John Mark returned to the first voice.
Avanzini concluded the service with the collection of tithes and offerings, encouraging all to obey God’s voice in the present season of Arise & Build 2013.
“There is too much blessing and too great a destiny to disobey the voice of God. Firmly resist the second voice!” said Israel Chua, 24, a university student.