THE HEART OF MAN
By Evangelist R. E. Rhoades (Dusty)
Part I – THE HEART OF MAN
Jesus Christ once rebuked the religious leaders of His day in the following manner: (“That which cometh out of man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within and defile the man” - Mark 7:20-23). How we need to harken to this message of our Lord in this present time. Many would have you believe that all the aforementioned things are a result of improper environment, education, racial segregation, not enough unity among churches, or even lack of government controls. Not thinking our Lord knew what He was saying, many would have you believe the remedy for man’s heart condition is to be found in better housing, better schools, better medical facilities, intermarriage, and a world amalgamation of churches having no creed except man’s concept of god or gods.
MAN IS TOTALLY CORRUPT
The reprobate mind of man is never admitted by the reformer. It is always the “condition” outwardly and never the inward man that receives attention. Slums are torn down and great new apartments are erected; guidance centers go up and psychologist go to work; marches are made and ultimatums delivered. The “great Society” is put into full gear and multitudes proclaim the good news, “The golden age of man has arrived.” But- under all of the veneer and sham a disconcerting note is heard-the crime rate is increasing, women are attacked in broad daylight while onlookers stand helplessly by, an old man is hit by a drunken driver and no one reports it because they are afraid of having to go to court. A mother spoon feeds her baby raw whiskey until it dies. A son shoots his parents because they won’t let him have the car on Saturday night. College students walk around the campus with signs displaying filthy four-letter words, campaigning for “freedom of thought and speech.” We are told we are to do anything and everything we want-be totally uninhibited for it might affect our “inner man” if we do not. And on and on we go toward “the golden age of man.”
Paul, writing in Romans, chapter one, said (inspired by the Holy Spirit) the following: “God gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever”. Paul certainly knew the source of the trouble, because he identified the heart as the seat of rebellion against God. When God gave man up to the reprobate mind, the natural result is found in Romans 1: 26-32.
Romans For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves
that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them
And all of this because (verse 21 says “…their foolish heart was darkened”!
Is it any wonder then, why men cannot understand the underlying fault in the basic makeup of man? Because of the condition of the heart of man, it becomes necessary for the child of God to know something of the nature of God’s work in the heart. Does the child of God ever lose his corrupt heart? Is the heart of the one in whom there has been a work of grace ever cleansed? Does not Jeremiah say: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”?
GOD’S WORK IN THE HEART IN SALVATION
When a person becomes a child of God in the new birth experience, God does a work in his heart. Read 2Corinthians -22 (“Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”.) This very fact of the sealing of the Spirit in the heart of man should be enough, but read on in chapter 3:3, (“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart”.) So—when God does the finishing work of salvation in the heart of man, there is an operation of the Spirit of God. This is why Paul, writing to the Ephesians, Chapter 1:13-14 said, 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Note the order: ye heard, ye believed, ye were sealed. The preached Word of God, heard with the ear of faith, is believed in salvation, becomes a reality when the Spirit of God seals the heart. The seal of God in the heart of the believer is fourfold: 1) it becomes the evidence of genuineness; 2) it is the owners seal; 3) it is the container of security; and 4) it is the evidence of a finished transaction. When a child of God receives the sealing of the Spirit, it causes him to believe that one day there will be an additional work done when Christ comes for His own, confirmed by the beloved Apostle to the gentiles in Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
The seal of God has a two-sided characteristic to it. We read in II Timothy “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”.
When God seals the child in his heart there is a side exposed to God - the identification of His own; for the sealed child of God is required, because of this seal, to depart from iniquity. Just suppose the child of God does not depart from iniquity, what happens when sin enters into a heart that has been sealed by the Spirit of God? There is much said about it in the Word, and not a few difficulties have been encountered by Christians in this regard. Theologians generally are split concerning the true teaching of the Word here and we delve into some of the aspects below hoping to settle a few age-old arguments.
The blessed truth of redemption in the grace covenant is the circumcision of the heart. The heart is possessed by both male and female, Jew and Greek, bond and free and in this act of the Holy Spirit all demands of the law disappear and division is broken down. We who were once strangers and aliens now have the middle wall of partition broken and spiritual heart circumcision is the evidence given by God that a finished work is done. To believe that grace is extended only as long as we do not sin is failure to believe in a finished work of Christ. The Spirit of God is given in the heart of the believer to remind us of that finished work.
THE HEART OF KNOWLEDGE
In Proverbs we find this gem, “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ears of the wise seeketh knowledge”. The connection of heart and ear and heart and mouth in the Bible is interesting. Belief first finds root in the heart and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, but it is through the ear of faith that the heart first gets light. Man’s heart is in the seminary of sin. All of the wickedness of the world finds its source in the heart of man. Reconsider Mark , blessed is the man who learns this early in life, for much trouble could be avoided if we heed our own hearts.
There are 165 references to the heart in the New Testament. The Greek word for heart is kardia – and when we find hardness of heart it is from the Greek sklero-kardia. Hardness of heart is a condition that comes from misuse and huge calluses appear instead of the tender spots that were once there. When man becomes stubborn and refuses to bow down to the will of God, that man has hardness of heart. Lest we forget, remember this also—we may fool others readily, even those closest to us, but God can never be deceived! Samuel went to the house of Jesse to anoint the future king of Israel and upon being confronted with those fine looking young men would have immediately poured the oil upon the head of the tallest, fairest, grandest of them all, but listen to the word of the Lord as it came to Samuel (“…look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” I Samuel 16:7). What a lesson to be learned here! We can’t even trust our eyes at looking at ourselves in the mirror, for the heart is seldom reflected in the glass! We, as the Corinthians, have the tendency to “glory in appearance and not in heart.” To be critical of one’s own heart is difficult, but not when we are honestly looking for the source of the power failure we have all had at one time or another in our spiritual lives.
WHAT MUST BE FIRST
Many would have you believe that we must all work for God from sunup to setting sun, always busy doing something. To work and have the work accepted is indeed wonderful, but I wonder if we consider the biases for getting acceptance of the work of our hands. It isn’t what we do that is important; rather it is what we are that counts. God is not primarily interested in what we do, but He is vitally interested in what we are; if what we are isn’t right, whatever we do will never be right. On the other hand if what we are is right, whatever we do will always be right. Many are going about trying to establish their own righteousness in doing, meanwhile forgetting that the doing must be done in the strength of-being. Every man must know that his deeds, his thoughts, his words, and his very life find inception in the heart.
The law of comparison in the believer’s life should never be what others do,
or how big the project is, or even the standards we set for ourselves, but it must be the Word of God. When something is crooked and only slightly bent, it is sometimes difficult to know just how bad it really is; therefore we need a straight edge by which to compare it. This is the function of the Word of God in our lives; to find some other comparison is sheer folly. When we are impatient and rebellious, when despair and backsliding take over, the first place to look for trouble is in the heart through the Word! “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” said our Lord, and the Bible is the mouth of God.
FOUR THINGS THAT CAUSE OUR HEARTS TO STRAY
Rare is the Christian who can honestly deal with the heart, for the heart is incurably wicked and deceitful. Yet there are some things we can guard against and to do so is wisdom indeed. Four of these things are set forth here:
1. PRAISE—when we are praised there begins a work of pride in the heart. Pride is natural to the carnal man and we must guard against praise. Turn it off and turn it to the Lord Jesus Christ, for if there be anything good in us it has to find its source in Him Who inhabits our heart.
2. RICHES—to have the goods of this world is wonderful, if we know how to handle them, but rare is the child of God who knows how to do so. Guard against piling up that which would capture your heart, for where a man’s substance is that is where his heart is. There isn’t a person among us who could not be better stewards of what God has given us and too many times
we get to trusting in what we have rather than what we are!
3. EASE—the third thing we are to be on guard against is ease, for here is the father of slothfulness. An idle mind and heart becomes the workshop of Satan—here is where the father of lies finds lodgment and when the foothold is gained it is difficult to rout him out. He loves to involve one of God’s own in the affairs of this life so that first things become last.
4. CRITICISM—this last item is on an equal with praise, for just as praise arouses pride, criticism arouses bitterness and strife and wrath. It is a rare person who can take both praise and criticism equally. The heart wanders easily and to find a fixed position is virtually impossible when bitterness creeps in. Have you noticed how easily you get offended when someone dares to mention your pet sin? Multitudes have gone to hear an evangelist preach and will amen him to death as long as he stays off their pet sin, but once he treads on their front porch there is an immediate desire to find something else to do for the rest of the meeting.
A crisis in a person’s life will often reveal the heart, “for out of the heart are the issues of life”. The home life of the individual is controlled largely by the condition of the heart with God. This holds true in our business and our churches as well as in the very world we dwell. Many a failure in the home started in backsliding, although you could never get any of the involved people to admit it. Explosions in the church come about because hearts are not right with God. People get offended and start talking, and like the proverbial snowball, the further it goes the bigger it gets. The heart that is not right with God explodes little things into big things and many a mole hill becomes a mountain right in the heart. Even the way we treat the truth reveals our heart’s condition. To refuse truth when we claim to know it is a revelation that the heart is not right with God. When this becomes known, the heart is judged by the very truth it refused.
PART II - SEVEN KINDS OF HEART AGAINST GOD
Many folk can never discern between that which is right and that which is wrong, simply because they are running their lives by a set of moral rules and regulations that find no source other than what people think [Humanism]. We are often more guided by others’ opinions that matter not, rather than by the Word of God which never changes. Our ideas and sense of moral values are changing constantly but the Word of God goes on as ever. Once men were shocked as women began to expose their ankles—now they are bored with topless bathing suits. Has the Word changed, or just opinions? First we must find out what kind of heart we have in order to define the trouble we are having, so we take up the first kind of heart that is against God:
1. THE NATURAL HEART
I Corinthians tells us “the natural man receiveth not the things of God for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. To be blind to obvious spiritual truths has one of two indications: either the person is lost or he is filled with a heart of sin! The lost man, the natural man if you please, has no discernment and he will inevitably choose that which is contrary to the Spirit of God simply because it is his natural bend to go in opposition to the will of God. He thinks he is doing “right” and may be a moral man, as far as the basic values of the world are concerned, but he can never please God and instinctively he knows it down in his heart. As long as the heart remains unmarked by the Holy Spirit, the natural man can never receive the things of God and he must remain an enemy of God. This is so hard for the lost to understand, and it is also a difficulty with many of the redeemed of the Lord. They fall into the pattern of thinking along with the world when they say, “Why, he is one of the finest men I know! You surely can’t believe he won’t go to heaven! I admit he isn’t interested in the things of the Lord, but look at all the good things he does, etc., etc.”
Let us not be deceived—the natural man has no place in God’s economy and must forever be an enemy of God unless the heart is inhabited by the Spirit of God. Paul also tells us in Corinthians “if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost”. This is the reason we have so many versions of the Bible coming out today—the natural man, with the heart that has never been changed, is trying to get a Bible he can understand, but try as he may there will be no understanding. Without faith it is impossible to please, or to know, God.
2. THE DOUBLE HEART
In Hosea we read, “their heart is divided, now shall they be found faulty”. There are multitudes today who deny the divided heart, but they exist just the same—in the church and out of the church. James said, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” and then to clarify what the “double minded man” is we read in James 4:8 “….. purify your hearts, ye double minded”. Our Lord warned us against dividing our affections between heaven and earth and Paul in Colossians also tell us to set our affections on things above and not on things of the earth.
Can a man love sin and God at the same time? Can the heart be divided between two loyalties? Can it be possible we have the love of the world and do not love the father? If we are to believe the Bible, we must believe John, writing at the close of the Apostolic age, who said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. Many professing Christians today are doing more harm to the cause of Christ than all the infidels who ever lived, simply because they are double minded and cannot seem to make up their minds just who, or what, they are going to serve.
3. THE UNSTABLE HEART
Instability is not a very desirable characteristic and surly no informed executive would hire a man who had a record of being unstable. Nor, on the other hand, should a pastor be expected to use a person in his church who has proven time and again the instability of his testimony. When a person is blown about by every whim and fancy, and never seems to know just where he is going to stand, he is pointing a finger to a mixed up life and saying, ‘Look at me—I am an unstable Christian’. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him”. The person who really cares about Christ will be stable; Paul admonishes us to “... be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.
In travel that carries this writer around the nation, there are things that are so evident in our time it becomes necessary to call them to your attention:
a. Most of the folks who now are serving the Lord in some capacity will not be doing so in a short time. The average tenure of service is somewhere in the vicinity of 5-7 years. Think about it! How many folk do you know who were faithful just a short time ago but are not now serving Christ in any capacity whatever?
b. Many folk who have been right down the line as far as sound doctrine is concerned are now off chasing some strange “ism” and have departed from the local church, the doctrine they once held, and are avid pursuers of strange fire.
There are very
few today who will go right down the line with the denomination their church
has become a part of. Baptists do not know why
they are Baptist. Presbyterians know little of the
4. THE PROUD HEART
(“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs ). Surely the wise man will admit there is nothing quite so fatal as pride; virtually no one likes a proud man, especially another proud man. Pride takes on so many subtle forms that we must admit it surely is of the devil. If we quit a habit, pride takes over! We attain a spiritual plateau, and if we are not watchful pride knocks us off. We get a little education in the things of the Lord and immediately we set ourselves up as one who knows more than we actually have learned. Peter’s denial in Christ was due, in part, to pride, for he boasted, “Lord, if they all desert you, you can count on me!” Yet the first one to run when trouble came was this proud man of God. In God’s list of sins of the reprobate mind of man (Romans ) we find “backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,” etc. Pride is surely a product of the heart that is against God, for to find something in us that is deemed good by us, is nothing more than pride. To think ourselves to be something when we are nothing is self deceit, according to Paul.
1. THE HARD HEART
Like stone that defies the chisel, the heart of man is unaffected by either the love of God or the terror of the Lord. As an evangelist, this writer has preached all over this nation on the terror of the Lord from II Corinthians 5. Also a particular sermon on Hell serves to move even the speaker while he is preaching it! Added to these two topics, the Lord from time to time, will lay a message on the author’s heart for a congregation and one can scarcely help marveling at the hardness of heart displayed by the audience. To the other extreme, the topic of the crucifixion, laden with the love of God for sinful man, has been preached with the same effect. The preacher’s heart is broken but the audience is unmoved, unshaken.
When God’s wrath is poured out on the human race in the tribulation period, and it is terrible just to read about it, let alone experience it, we are told in Revelation 16 that “they repented not” to give God the glory. In our own land we have earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, fires, wrecks, destruction, and war scares in ever increasing numbers over the past ten years, yet church attendance is going down; apostasy is becoming more evident each day as folk depart from the faith. There seems to be no fear of Almighty God in our time, and if it continues as it is now going, there will virtually no signs of revival in the next few years. Our hearts cry out for revival in our time, and we know of others who would pay the price of Holy Ghost revival, yet the bulk of our professing church today is not remotely interested in anything that will bring about a change of heart. Yes, the hard heart is against God!
2. THE DECEIVED HEART
When a man thinks himself to have arrived at some spiritual peak that exists only in the imagination of his mind, he is deceived. Recently a person told this writer that she had not sinned since the day that, as she put it, “God saved and sanctified and filled me with the Holy Ghost.” God surely has little opportunity
to work in the heart of a person who thinks that there is no need for repentance from day to day—and never needs to cry out for deliverance from a mind and heart that departs from the straight and narrow path at a drop of the hat. One moment we have peace, the next moment terror. There is one area in which we have little experience and we must enter it every morning –that is the realm of a day and time we have never entered before. Each day is not alike, nor are the temptations today anything like those of tomorrow. To think we have stored grace is foolishness; God does not store up grace: He imparts it daily, as needed. When no need is felt, grace is neglected, and the heart is deceived. David Brainerd needed daily assurance, as did the great Moody. Saints down through the ages have acknowledged the need of daily grace because the heart is “incurably wicked and who can know it?”
3. THE SATISFIED HEART
When a mountain top is reached and we view the valley we have left below, there is a tendency to want to build a tabernacle and just stay there. But look yonder over the next vale! There is the next range and beyond that an Everest that no man has ever climbed. It remains, after nearly 2,000 years, for someone to scale the utmost heights of Christ’s love and grace. There are areas of delight awaiting all who will never be satisfied. Contentment in Christ is much to be desired, but never confuse contentment with satisfaction of less than the best. Moody, when challenged with the statement. “It remains for a man to be totally committed to Christ’” said, “By His grace, I’ll be that man!” Yet, by his own admission there were heights beyond, which were never reached.
In the lives of the saints, who answer the roll call of the ages in Christ, there is always that desire to go onward and upward, toward a goal that has been left for the few who are willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of Christ. To be satisfied in a world of lost men and blinded slaves of sin is not God’s way. To be satisfied when we have lost the battle to the enemy time and again is to lower the colors of Christ and lay aside the shield of faith. When Christianity stops conquering, and we are at a virtual standstill, we go down to depths of shame. The satisfied heart is exemplified in Peter, who, as a spokesman for the trio accompanying Christ to the mount of transfiguration, said, “let us stay here!” while in the valley below was a struggle for a life of a boy. The disciples couldn’t cast out the demon and our Lord told them, upon arrival. “This kind isn’t coming out except by prayer and fasting.” Peter would have stayed on the mount—the boy would have gone to hell! Who cares about the valley when we are enjoying the air of the heights? Sincerely, there is no room for the satisfied heart in a world that knows not Christ and His redeeming love.
PART III – SEVEN TYPES OF HEART THAT PLEASE GOD
In studying the Bible, we find a number of people who stand out like bright lights in a sea of darkness. All have received the benediction of God upon them and are in the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before, having died in faith that there is a city whose builder and founder is God. For a man to please God in a world of sinners is impossible, and would remain an unsolved enigma to this day if it were not for the fact that God has given us a Way to please him.
Man is ever trying to come up with
something to offer God in lieu of what God has ordained we should bring. Some
would offer a sinless life, or at least one lived as “best we can”--others
would go into the life of the cloistered wall—while others would deny certain
things in life that others seem to enjoy—all with the view in mind of pleasing
God. But has not God given us the only condition whereby we may come to Him in
salvation? Did not He send His Son to die for us on the cross of
Surely all will admit readily that Christ alone is God’s offer of payment, and to refuse Him is to refuse salvation. To refuse his ruling in our hearts by faith is against God. Someone must sit on the throne of our heart. It will either be the Lord Jesus Christ or King Self who will sit there.
To please God there are seven different kinds of heart outlined in the Word of God and they are set forth below. Read them prayerfully, with self-examination, and see how you rate on the checklist at the end of the book.
1. THE TREMBLING HEART
Billy Sunday is reported to have made the remark, “If God’s people were as afraid of sin as they are of holiness, what an impact they would have on the world.” The penitent heart that is trembling and afraid of sin is so rare as to be almost extinct today. We have conferences and discuss the general trend of ungodliness, yet virtually nothing is ever done about it because God’s people are not afraid of sin any longer. In a recent article in Reader’s Digest, May 1965, page 13, we read that the FBI released a report containing the following crime facts: there were 2.5 million major crimes committed in 1964, a 13% increase over 1963; more than 40% of all arrest are of youth under the age of 18; The crime rate increased five times as fast as the population since 1958. This is staggering; for as bad as things are, the author had no idea the darkness was so thick. When figures like this are announced, there are very few of the children of God moved to get up and do anything about it. The lethargy and apathy so noticeable among us is slowly strangling us to death.
Where are the trembling hearts of just a few years ago? Yet, unless there is more of this kind of heart among God’s own, in very short order we will have just about run our course. The secret to Paul’s tremendous success as an evangelist is found in his attitude toward sin—surely this man had a trembling heart! Listen to the cry of this man in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Listen to the trembling heart speaking to us in I Corinthians , “…lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Paul wasn’t afraid of loosing his salvation, but he was trembling for fear that his own ministry might be allowed to go on the shelf and he should become adokimos (Gr.) or not approved. With a sign of relief he comes to the end of the journey and writes Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” This is the man who wrote, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians yet finished his course with joy. If anyone ever had a trembling heart, it was Paul
2. THE TENDER HEART
We are warned to, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In this same context, Ephesians 4:30-32, we note the elements of “grieving” among which are “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour and evil speaking, be put away from among you, with all malice.” Then, to give the positive side of these negative things, Paul tells the Ephesians to “…. be ye kind one to another, Tenderhearted, as God for Christ sake hath forgiven you.”
There are not very many today who can forgive as easily as they find fault. There is a place for church discipline, which should be practiced according to the Word. But there is also a place for mercy and tenderness. In Galatians 6:1, Paul tells us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The tenderhearted Christian is not afraid nor ashamed of tears, and quite readily admits his heart is touched by the Spirit more easily each day.
3. THE PERFECT HEART
There are many who say a perfect is impossible, yet there is a case on record where a man actually thought to remind God of his perfect heart and God remembered and stayed the hand of death upon him. This interesting account is found in II Kings 20:3. (Hezekiah (after being informed of his imminent death) reminded God, “… remember now how I walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight?” We are told that God gave him another 15 years in which Hezekiah did the greatest work of his entire life. It was during this time that a good portion of the Bible was preserved and Hezekiah’s scribes were the ones God allowed to get the job done. The man who was used of God was the man who could say, “I have had a perfect heart before god.”
4. THE BROKEN HEART
When the sin of David with Bathsheba came out into the open, as all sin must, Nathan, the prophet of God, confronted David with what he had done. It was at this time that the psalmist David wrote the 51st Psalm. In the first few verses we find David using the three principle words for sin in the Old Testament—transgression, iniquity and sin. There are 133 different words for sin in the Old Testament and 122 in the New, making a total of 256 words in the entire Bible having a meaning of sin, once sin becomes “exceedingly sinful” it becomes necessary for the sinner to approach a holy God in an acceptable manner. David knew this for he cried out, “hide thy face” - “purge me” - “wash me” - “blot me”- cleanse me” - “create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” Then, after the heart cry had gone up, we find David making the statement that has been the guide for centuries, “…a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”
Much more has been accomplished for God by
those with broken hearts than by any other type of people. When the heart of
Peter was broken we find him accomplishing much—when Paul was broken on the
Sin has abounded—iniquity is rampant—our day is a day of debauchery and shame, yet few are broken-hearted over it. Revival in our time may well be impossibility, unless there is a broken heartedness by God’s people in the Body of Christ.
5. THE PURE HEART
It was said of Hugh Latimer, “There goes a
man of pure heart!” The queen of
In Acts 15:9 Peter makes this statement, “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Note the words purifying continuing action of the verb) and faith. The action of the Holy Spirit is one of continuous influence in the heart of the believer, but before the pure heart ever comes to fruition there are many hours and days of frustration; the desire to do good is there, but the other law warring in our members does much to replace the purity we desire. The other word called to your attention is faith—this too is continuing. Just to say we have saving faith is not enough. Faith is a purifying element in the life of the believer, and to exercise faith is our greatest privilege and joy. Faith unlocks all the doors of mystery—faith brings blessings without measure—faith counts promises of God as already accomplished—faith causes God to perform miracles in order to vindicate His Word. The pure in heart get that way by faith and become purer in heart in the same manner. What saves? FAITH! What keeps? FAITH! What purifies? FAITH!
Blessed are the pure in heart, whose heart is being purified by faith.
6. THE OPENED HEART
There are few names in the Bible that
have more endearment than the name of
To be open-hearted is to be closed to appeals of satanic forces which would destroy and kill. The open-hearted Christian can be a real testimony of God’s grace and there is no place for the wickedness of an evil heart. Our Lord’s words to the disciples on the road to Emmaus caused their hearts to burn within them and we are told in Luke 24:31: “And their eyes were opened and they knew Him…” In verse 32 they said, “And did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures”. Then later on, in verse 45, to the other disciples we find, “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures”. When we see the opened heart, and the inserting of the Word, we once again are reminded of the Psalmist declaration. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee”. Surely in salvation the heart is opened, for in Romans we read, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. Through the preaching of the Word, the heart is opened and life enters in.
7. THE STEADFAST HEART
“O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory;” So said David in the 108th Psalm, verse 1. Paul tells us to be “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord”. Faithful Christians are so scarce today one would be tempted to make a museum specimen out of the first one that comes along. Here today, gone tomorrow, might well be said of many today. The quality that made the pioneer spirit in our country was that of being steadfast. This is the essence of the early church, for it could be said of them that they “earnestly contended for the faith”, even unto death when needs be.
Paul knew men of this caliber—one thing for sure, Demas was not one of them. Ah, but how about Luke? Here is a man, who, as far as we know, didn’t manifest unusual gifts, had no coterie of his own, like Peter, Apollos and Paul, yet he was the steadfast one! When all had gone back to the place they found it necessary to flee to, Luke remained. After all the hundreds of names that pass across the stage in the early church, Luke alone remains to the end. What wouldn’t the average pastor in the world today give for a dozen Luke’s—or for that matter, just one? This quality of sticking when it isn’t popular to stick is missing among God’s own this day, and if the current trend continues, what will it be like in another five years? “For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant”. (Psalm 78:37).
Now for the checklist, Paul told the Ephesians not to try to work with eye service, but rather with fear and trembling, in singleness of their heart, as unto Christ…doing the will of God from the heart. We read Hebrews 4:12-13 where it says, “The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Knowing that only God knows our hearts and we can hide nothing from Him, does it not seem necessary to you to try to understand your own heart? This being so, let us examine ourselves:
In my opinion I have the following heart condition—
□ NATURAL — unsaved, never having received Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. This being so, I hereby this day believe in my heart and am willing to confess with my mouth that God raised Him from the dead for my sin and complete justification. I promise to tell someone every day that I am a child of God because of Christ’s redemption made possible for me at the cross.
□ DOUBLE HEART — I am saved, but I have divided my loyalty between Christ and the World and I promise my Saviour that from this day forward I shall endeavor to put Him first in everything I do.
□ UNSTABLE HEART — I have been tossed about by whims and fancy far too long, and I am resolving this day only that which will elevate my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I will be sound in everything I believe and will immediately cast out anything and everything that does not give Him the glory.
□ THE PROUD HEART — I must admit that I have a great deal of pride and it doesn’t become me as a Christian. By faith in the indwelling of Christ, I promise to always take the lower place and will quit trying to make myself something when I really am nothing.
□ THE HARD HEART — I haven’t shed a tear in a long time, especially over the souls of the lost. The terror of the Lord has not moved me, yet I know that multitudes of folk are heading for everlasting destruction and I pledge myself to compassion and tenderness to the best of my ability.
□ THE DECEIVED HEART — I know that my elevated position was only fantasy and in reality I have not grown very much at all. To be deceived about one’s spiritual condition is dangerous, and I hereby ask my Saviour to enable me to trust Him more implicitly day by day. I want only His will for my life.
□ THE SATISFIED HEART — Lord help me never to be satisfied with anything less than Thy righteousness. Knowing there are yet heights I have never gained, I must begin my starting where Thou dost put me. Help me to be “more than conqueror” through Jesus Christ who love me and gave Himself for me.
Or could it be that there are some who prefer to check off the condition of their heart in the list below? There are some who can do so by now. Is your heart:
□ TREMBLING □ PERFECT □ PURE □ TENDER □ BROKEN □ OPEN □ STEADFAST
In the light of the Word of God, be honest with yourself; if you are not who will be this side of judgment?
“Search me, o God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24