WHAT KIND OF HEART DO YOU HAVE?
PROVERBS 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
The Bible tells us that the heart is the seat of all actions of life. One man said “The Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity, the comprehensive term for a person as a whole “
Today I want to talk for a little while on examining our heart as we consider that salvation, sanctification, and service are all a matter of the heart.
I. Salvation is a matter of the heart. Because the Heart of Man is the source of man’s lost ness.
All of us have heard people say; “if I know my heart I’ll do thus & so.”but Jeremiah 17:9 “"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?”
Proverbs 23:7 7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Psalm 51:10 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
B. The Heart of Faith & not the Head is the vehicle of Salvation.
1. Romans 10:9-10 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2. Jeremiah 29:13 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
3. Mark 7:6 6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
A heart knowledge of the Lord is far more than just having a head knowledge of Jesus.
True Christianity is an unsaved person that becomes truly saved from the source and penalty of sin forever. Many people who think they are saved are not. Why? Because they have never receive Jesus into their hearts by faith. They believe in their heads, but not in their hearts. They are missing heaven by 18 inches (the distance from one’s heart to one’s brain).
II And then there’s; “ Sanctification “ and it also is a matter of the heart.
A. Outward separation is not sanctification but contamination
1. Matthew 23:25-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
2. There is the story of the man who came down from the North Carolina mountains. He was all dressed up and carrying his Bible. A friend saw him and asked, "Elias, what’s happening? Where are you going all dressed up like that?" Elias said, "I’ve been hearing about New Orleans. I hear that there is a lot of free-runnin’ liquor and a lot of gamblin’ and a lot of real good naughty shows." The friend looked him over and said, "But Elias, why are you carrying your Bible under your arm?" And Elias replied, "Well, if it’s as good as they say it is, I might stay over until Sunday."
3. Isaiah 29:13 “Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,”
4. He made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions, which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it as scores of pious people welcomed him as a man sent from God. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was a master of outward religiosity—with no inward reality! -Today in the Word, June 3, 1989
B. True sanctification begins inside out.
1. Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
2. 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
3. We grieve the spirit by failing to keep our hearts clean. The late John MacNeil, of Australia, said that a new heart is not necessarily a clean heart, but many of us have been thinking that it was. David committed a great transgression, and was pardoned, and prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." John says, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." MacNeil uses the illustration of a mother who puts a clean dress on her child in the morning, and tells her to keep it unspotted all day long. When night comes, the child’s dress is so soiled that it is hard to tell whether it is white or black but the mother cleanses it. The child had the will to keep it clean, but the nature of the child made her get it soiled. The same thing takes place every day, but if that mother could only impart some of her own spirit to that child, so that the child would not only have the will but the ability to keep clean. That is exactly what God wishes to do for us and will do. This is the secret of victory over sin. -- J. W. C.
III. Service is a matter of the heart.
A. It not the “What” but the “Why” in service.
1. Matthew 23:5a “But all their works they do to be seen by men.
2. Matthew 6:5 “"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
3. I heard a story about a man who had a mouse in his house and his wife wanted him to catch it. His problem was that he didn’t have any cheese. So he cut a picture of cheese out of a magazine and placed it in the trap. He thought, "I’ll just fool the mouse." When he would to cheek the trap the next morning to see if he had caught the mouse he found a beautiful mouse in the trap. There was only one problem. It was a picture of a mouse. Counterfeit people who use counterfeit tactics will always produce counterfeit results!
B. Serving from the heart is the only service God recognizes.
1. Colossians 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
2. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, believed that Christians should do all things wholeheartedly, not just those actions that can be seen. He reasoned, “As our Father makes many a flower to bloom unseen in the lonely desert, [let us] do all that we can do, as under His eye, though no other eye ever take note of it.” Our Daily Bread, November 23, 1998
3. Deuteronomy 10:12 “"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
4. A number of years ago, Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, put together a brief comparison of the characteristics of service that is focused more upon ourselves and service that is focused more upon Christ. In paraphrased form, it becomes a self-help test worth taking. Why not measure your clarity of vision against his conclusions? Self-focused service is concerned with impressive gains. It enjoys serving when the service is titanic or growing in that direction. Christ-focused service doesn’t distinguish between small and large. It indiscriminately welcomes all opportunities to serve. Self-focused service requires external reward, appreciation, and applause. Christ-focused service rests content in hiddenness. The divine nod of approval is sufficient. Self-focused service is highly concerned about results. It becomes disillusioned when results fall below expectations. Christ-focused service is free of the need to calculate results; it delights only in service. Self-focused service is affected by feelings. Christ-focused service ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need. The service disciplines the feelings. Self-focused service insists on meeting the need; it demands the opportunity to help. Christ-focused service listens with tenderness and patience. It can serve by waiting in silence. This list offers a way to begin refocusing our blurred image of Christ in the midst of ministry. – Paul D. Robbins, Leadership, 1988, p. 146
5. Ephesians 6:6 “not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”