Tag Archives: heart

A Seed Is Planted

IMG_4764The Parable of the Seed and the Sower Jesus taught the multitude gathered on the shore of the Sea of Galilee is familiar to many. Jesus spoke of seed that falls by the wayside where birds come and devour it. He spoke of seed falling on stony places that are unable to take root. He spoke of seed falling among thorns and being choked out. He concluded the Parable by speaking of seed that falls on good ground that is able to produce much fruit. Jesus later revealed to his disciples the seed in the Parable the sower sowed is The Word of God (Matthew 13:1-23).

When God’s Word sown into the heart of a man, woman, boy or girl takes root, a process begins to bring the Seed to full maturity. As one begins to read for themselves the Word of God, listens to the Scriptures being expounded upon by God’s appointed undershepherds, spends time in prayer with The Father, the Seed begins to break ground, grow and flourish. As one continues to draw closer to the Savior through His Word buds begin to form, announcing the Seed is maturing just as it should with daily cultivation. As the buds burst forth into blossoms the beauty of the Seed implanted in the heart is evident for all to see. The Seed continues on to maturity, bearing the anticipated fruit, “some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”

The Psalmist David wrote of those who delight in the Law of the LORD and meditate upon His Word day and night are like a tree planted by the river that brings forth fruit in season, whose leaf withers not and whatsoever he does prospers (Psalm1:2-3). The Apostle Paul wrote of the Fruit of the Spirit showing forth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in those where the Seed has taken root and matured (Galatians 5:22-23). The abundant Christian Life abounds and flourishes when the Seed is planted deep in the heart of man, nurtured, watered and cultivated to produce much fruit for the Glory of God.

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Loss of Conscience-ness

No one likes to have a guilty conscience. A guilty conscience condemns us, giving us feelings of anguish, regret, shame, anxiety, disgrace and fear. The Greek word for “conscience” is used 30 times in the New Testament, most notably by the Apostle Paul. It is man’s conscience that helps to distinguish between right and wrong as Paul wrote in Romans 2:14-15, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for “conscience” is translated “heart.” Pharaoh is remembered as one who hardened his heart (conscience) against the will of God to “Let My people go,” (Exodus 5:1-2; 8:32). King Josiah’s conscience was sensitive towards the things of God when he was commended by God “because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest His Words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before Me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before Me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD,” (2 Chronicles 34:27). The Psalmist David wrote of man needing to be “upright in heart,” having a pure conscience in Psalm 7. In David’s plea for forgiveness concerning his sin with Bathsheba, he wrote of imploring God to blot out all his sins and “create in me a clean heart, O God,” cleansing both his life and his conscience (Psalm 51).

The Apostle Paul wrote of having a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3:9), warning against having a defiled conscience (1 Corinthians 8:7; Titus 1:15), a weak conscience (1 Corinthians 8:10), a wounded conscience (1 Corinthians 8:12) and a conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). In Paul’s defense before Felix before his appeal to Caesar, Paul said, “Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men, (Acts 24:16).

Just as pain can be a good thing alerting us something physically is wrong, a guilty conscience alerts us to sin in our lives. To keep from having a “loss of conscience-ness” found throughout the world today in so many areas of life, one must not conform to the so-called guiltless society but be ”transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” by filling one’s mind with the Word of God, which David wrote of, “How sweet are Thy Words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Romans 12:2; Psalm 119:103). A pure conscience results from the convictions of the mind, encouraged and sharpened by the Word of God.

JESUS is the Seeker

In recent decades churches across America have adopted the seeker-sensitive model of church growth. The plan called for churches to take on the appearance of a non-church setting by taking down their crosses, replacing the choir and organ with contemporary praise teams and bands, replacing pulpits with lecterns, introducing fog machines and disco balls in youth groups, and replacing doctrine filled sermons with self-help sermonettes in an attempt to attract the unsaved to God. Contrary to these feeble attempts to grow the church, Scripture reveals it is not the sinner who seeks after God, but God who seeks the sinner through His Son Jesus Christ.

It was to Zacchaeus, the wee little man who climbed up in the sycamore tree to see Jesus as He passed through Jericho on His way to the Cross, that Jesus said, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” while abiding with Zacchaeus in his house that day, (Luke 19:1-10). The Psalmist David had written centuries earlier, The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God, (Psalm 10:4). In the Book of Revelation the Apostle John wrote of unsaved man seeking death during the Great Tribulation rather than bowing the knee to Almighty God (Revelation 9:6). Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God,” (Romans 3:11). Man does not seek after God; God seeks after man to bring him into a right relationship with Himself, but only those who willingly give of themselves to Him will be saved.

After salvation those who have trusted Christ as Savior seek after God with their whole hearts. Proverbs 8:17, I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.” Isaiah 55:6, Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD… Then shall ye call upon me… ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught His disciples, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you;” and also, Seek, and ye shall find,” (Matthew 6:33; 7:7).

“Behold, I, even I,

will both search My sheep, and seek them out.”

Ezekiel 34:11

No Sin Preached, No Revival

It has been the prayer of many for decades of the Lord granting another Great Awakening to America and beyond. It was during the 1730s into the 1740s the First Great Awakening took place, with the Second Great Awakening following fifty years later during the 1790s into the early decades of the 1800s. Lives were dramatically changed, along with communities, as sin was repented of within a person’s heart and their utmost desire became to live for God by obeying His Word.

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10. It was by the preaching of a young pastor named Jonathan Edwards in Massachusetts that sparked the First Great Awakening. Edwards was greatly concerned that those who sat under his preaching were prepared for what lie ahead of them in Eternity, either Heaven above or Hell beneath. In order for them to make their decision they needed to know of their lost condition, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); they needed to know of God’s wrath concerning their sin, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men(Romans 1:18); they needed to know of God’s provision through His Son’s death on the cross to pay for their sin, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 6:23). Jonathan Edwards preached powerful sermons that caused men and women, boys and girls to grip their church pews tightly with their hands, cry out to God for forgiveness and fall on their knees in total surrender to Him.

Jonathan Edwards is noted for his greatest sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” taking his text from Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slide in due time.” Other sermons preached by Edwards to reveal through Scripture the reality of “the place of torment” (Luke 16: 19:31) awaiting those who reject the Son of God, were titled:

  • “The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the Righteous”Revelation 18:20, “Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”
  • “The Future Punishment of the Wicked Unavoidable and Intolerable” – Ezekiel 22:14, “Can thine heart endure… in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.”
  • “The Wicked Useful in Their Destruction Only” – Ezekiel 15:2-4, “What is the vine tree more than any tree…Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel… Is it meet for any work?”
  • “The Eternity of Hell Torments” – Matthew 25:46,“These shall go away into everlasting punishment.”
  • “The Unreasonableness of Indetermination in Religion” – I Kings 18:21, “How long halt ye between two opinions?”
  • “The Folly of Looking Back in Fleeing Out of Sodom” – Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
  • “When the Wicked Shall Have Filled Up the Measure of Their Sin, Wrath Will Come Upon Them to the Uttermost” – I Thessalonians 2:16, “To fill up their sins alway.”

Not until the pulpits of our churches begin to proclaim the full counsel of God concerning sin that so easily besets us all and His wrath that is to come upon sinful people, will revival break forth. Man must first realize his lost condition before God in his inability to keep the Ten Commandments, “for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” (James 2:10). Once man is presented with his total depravity before God and his weakness to do anything about it by himself, will he cry out with the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”…saved from God’s wrath that is to come.

Where God Dwells

Scripture gives us all the answers to life’s questions. It also reveals to us where God dwells. The Book of Isaiah records there are two, and only two, places God dwells.

God Himself tells us in Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place.” The vast majority of people believe God sits in the heavens, for since the time of the prophet Isaiah over 2,500 years ago who wrote, “Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,” (40:22). It is clearly understood God is above us, beyond us, over us.

While being seen by Isaiah as “high and lifted up” the year King Uzziah died (6:1), God also says in verse 15 of chapter 57 in Isaiah’s Book that He dwells “with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Albert Barnes in his commentary defines “contrite” in the Hebrew text as “that which is broken, crushed, beaten small, trodden down. Here it denotes a soul that is borne down with a sense of sin and unworthiness; a heart that is, as it were, crushed under a superincumbent weight of guilt.” David wrote in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

Not only does God dwell in the “high and holy place,” but He also dwells in the hearts of all who come to Him with “a  contrite and humble spirit” seeking His forgiveness, repenting of their sinful ways and trusting in His sacrifice of Christ on the cross as payment for their sin.

“Nothing in my hands I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling.”