Heart of Hearts

Dear Brethren,

We are shown over and over in the Scriptures that we live in a very hostile environment.  Not only is the world a dangerous place, there are those with whom we rub shoulders every week who may not be on the same page that we are on.  Certainly, we are told to come out of the world and be separate (2Corinthians 6:17).  But we are cautioned to beware of those near to us.

We are told that many are called but few chosen (Matthew 22:14).  Why is that?  It is because some who seem to be in God’s Church are not at all.

“Then said [the King] to His servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  And [the King] said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  Then said the King to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Matthew 22:8-14)

We are informed that that not everyone we attend church services with is a “wise virgin.”  Some are foolish virgins—and they look the same as everyone else.  What are we to learn with that information?  Do you ever evaluate yourself and really examine all your motivations for the things you say and do?  Ask yourself this question, “Who am I?”  Am I one of the foolish virgins who is not prepared (Matthew 25)?  God will say to the foolish virgins, “I know you not!”

God describes our surroundings as being made up of wheat and tares.  Do we examine ourselves and ask, “Am I a tare among the wheat, or am I wheat among the tares (Matthew 13)?  We are told that the angels will separate the tares, "them which do iniquity," from the wheat, "the children of the Kingdom.”

Here is the interesting thing.  God says to let that mixed congregation coexist with one another, and do not do anything to clean it up.  When asked, “Who sowed these tares among the wheat,” Jesus said unto them:

“An enemy has done this. The servants said unto Him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.”  (Matthew 13:28-29)

The wheat and tares are to grow together, and God says don’t even try to uproot them?  Again, why does God allow this hostile environment of false ministers, unconverted brethren and every other trial and temptation to persist?  The answer to that question is, “That is where true Christians are to build Godly Character.”  The most important spiritual accomplishment for us in this life is the development of Godly Character.  In these precarious last days we are beset with trouble on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”  (2Corinthians 4:8-9)

It seems that everyone believes he is a wise virgin—everyone believes he is wheat and not a tare—and everyone believes he is dressed in the white wedding garment of righteousness.  Can we trust our heart of hearts to tell us if we are off base?  God has a great deal to tell us about the subject.

“...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  (1Samuel  16:7)

There is an answer to the old question, “Who am I?”  Am I the person others think I am?  Am I the person I think I am?  The answer is, I am the person God knows I am.  That is because, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs his motives.”  (Proverbs 16:2)

“O Lord, know me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee.”  (Jeremiah 12:3)

None of us wishes to believe that we cannot trust our own heart and our own motivations – but over and over God gives us stern warnings.  Could it be that we fool ourselves, and only God knows us?  Our human nature is not to be trusted—we are not naturally good.  It’s the thoughts we permit to go into our hearts that defile us, Jesus said (Mark 7:17-21).

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.”  (Psalm 39:1)

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”  (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

When we think that God’s way needs to be suspended for a certain time until we work something out – we gravely deceive ourselves.  We are on dangerous ground when we think that that we must go around God.  When we do that we are doing grave damage to ourselves.

 “Shall not God search this out? For he knows the secrets of the heart.”  (Psalm 44:21)

Our heart is the seat of our emotions – the core of our intimate thoughts – the source of our intellect.  The heart is much more than our mind of facts and calculations.  Our heart is the well-spring and fountain of our feelings, identity and reason for existing.

Our heart must be kept pure and true.  A good heart must be the vessel of all that is to be cherished:  Tenderness, kind sentiment, touching compassion, sensitivity, empathy and always sympathetic, forgiveness, caring, generosity, gentle feelings, warm affections, and tenderheartedness.  Jesus says that our heart is to be filled with these treasures.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil…”  (Luke 6:45)

In today’s sermon we will explore the heart of a Christian.

Sermon:  "Heart of Hearts"