Sometimes our motives are not perfect. Where do we fall short? We must learn to yield to God in an attempt to unite our hearts.
[Mark Welch] You know, back when I was 16, I gave my heart to the Lord. Now, you've heard that expression, right? "He gave his heart to the Lord." I don't really think I gave my heart to the Lord at age 16. I don't think I really understood very much at all about God, about His truth, about His way of life. I didn't grow up in the church. My mother had gotten the Plain Truth since I was three years old, so she taught us certain things. But we went to the Sunday church because it was close. And she wasn't yet fully convicted. She did come after I did many years later, started attending church, not… I mean, she started shortly after I did because I think she was shocked that I would go to church. So you knew it had to be real.
So anyway, I was at a high school, Campus Crusade for Christ. You know, some of you may have heard of that. I don't know if they… I guess they still have something like that in the high schools today. I'm not really sure. But it was definitely sincere, but a very emotional decision that I made at that time. You know, a lot of people were going up. It was like an altar call, and people were going up, and supposedly giving their hearts to the Lord. But I remember thinking afterward, "Should I have done that? Should I have really done that?" I was carried up with the emotion of it all. And as I said, I was sincere. I went to Sunday school. I think I was president or vice president of the youth fellowship, something like that. So, you know, God really began to work with me shortly after that time, though, because I was baptized at age 19. It wasn't that much longer before God really did show me a great deal more about His truth. Again, that was an emotional decision. It was not based on truth. It was not based on righteousness. And obviously, we need to make our decisions based on truth, based on righteousness, based on truly knowing God's heart and also knowing our own hearts.
So how much do you think about and consider God's heart? What type of connection does your heart have with God's heart? Do you ever think about how your actions affect God, your decisions? Do they really affect God at all? Is it possible to unite your heart with God's heart? Is that something that can happen over time? Well, Brethren, it's time to examine our hearts as we draw nearer to the Passover. It won't be long. The Passover will be upon us. In fact, I was out last night, enjoying the full moon. And I'm thinking two months from now, just two months away. The Passover will be here. Mr. Myers gave a fine sermon last Sabbath, in preparation as well for the Passover. I don't know that even mentioned it, but I think it was definitely in preparation for the Passover.
I'd like to give you four principles to consider as you examine your heart this year before the Passover. And the first one is, we need to be honest about the true condition of our hearts. You know, we need to try to be honest, as was pointed out very aptly in the sermonette. We need to tell the truth, nothing but the truth. We need to be able to look at ourselves and be honest about the condition of our hearts.
Now, I'm not going to go to some of these Scriptures because I don't have a lot of time to cover everything I want to cover today. But some of us are very familiar with some of these verses, for example, Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×. You've heard that one, right? Many of you could quote this verse. Basically, it says, "The human heart is deceitful above all things. It's desperately wicked; who can know it?” So, that tells me we should try to know it. We should try to get to understand God's heart. And, you know, while I'm thinking about it, I would like to say hello to those in Oklahoma. I understand you are probably watching this webcast, many of you because they canceled services today. They probably got less snow than we did. But I know what that's like. I used to live in Oklahoma. So anyway, I'd like to say hello to all of you who are listening in around the world. We're glad to have you listening in.
So Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×talks about the human heart, how it's deceitful, how it's desperately wicked. So that's something to consider. When we look at our own heart, is that possible? Is there any of that in me? Secondly, Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×, "The carnal mind is enmity, enmity against God. It is not subject to the laws of God." Now, the carnal mind and the heart are closely linked. I'm not going to go into the linkage. You can figure that out for yourself. I'm not sure I have it figured out. But, you know, the mind and the heart, you know, they're closely connected in many ways. And the carnal mind is enmity against God. It's not subject to the laws of God, neither indeed can be the carnal human mind and heart. So we have a natural tendency toward doing some evil, of course, but we can also decide to do good, right? We don't have to follow those tendencies or we don't have to follow Satan's deception or Satan's influence, Satan's temptations because we get to choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That's all about us getting to choose. We're free moral agents. We don't have to choose to do evil. We can choose to do good.
And let's go to Galatians 5 for a moment and take a look at a few verses here. Oftentimes, we go to Galatians 5 when we want to talk about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. And well, we should. And that's one of my favorite topics to talk about is the fruit of God's Holy Spirit. Once in a while, though, I like to go to the other part, the other aspects here that it talks about in Galatians 5. Let's read verse 16, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Again, the deceitful heart, the deceitful mind, “and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh will lust against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." You know, isn't that what Paul talked about? “The things that I don't want to do, I find myself doing, the things that I should do, I don't always do.” So Paul had that struggle. And, of course, this is Paul, who wrote these verses as well.
"But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." In other words, you're not under the penalty of the law because you're now walking in the Spirit and you've been forgiven because you've repented of your sins. And through the sacrifice and the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled, justified, made right as we continue to walk in repentance, and God grants us repentance. So we're not under the law in the sense that we are not going to pay the eternal death penalty because we have turned from that way of life to a different way of life, a life governed by a repentant heart and a repentant mind.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions,” so it talks about some really horrible things, but then it talks about some things that, you know, frankly, we have to really be careful that we're not involved in, certain contentions. Have any of us ever gotten involved in contentions? I mean, maybe we haven't done some of the worst of this list. Maybe we have in our mind, but we haven't in the letter of the law. But what about jealousies? Have we ever struggled with that? How about outbursts of wrath? Any of you ever had an outburst of wrath? I would say I'm sure that all of us have had outbursts of wrath at time. “Selfish ambitions, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders…”
You know, Christ said, If you harbor hatred or resentment, you've murdered someone in your heart. “Drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” I'm glad he put and the like because that covers anything that's similar. So we don't have an easy out because and the like. He says, "Of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." You know, if we continue to practice these things, if we don't repent of these things, if we don't put them away, overcome them, grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in wisdom, grow in obedience, grow in faithfulness, then as it says here, "You will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Now, that doesn't mean we're going to reach perfection in this life. I haven't known anyone that's become perfect. In this life, even Steve Myers is still working on it. Kathy really rolled her eyes at that one. But, you know, none of us are perfect, even Barbara. No, she's close, but none of us are perfect, and we all fall short of the glory of God. None of us are God. You know, we're not changed in the spirit. We're not born of the spirit at this point. Now, we do have a huge headstart, those of us who are being called right now. You know, God's been very gracious and merciful to us. This is a high and a holy calling. We are called to be among the firstfruits, to be a part of the best resurrection. That's extremely wonderful. It's a wonderful privilege. I know we're very grateful to God for that.
So, again, under the first point, we need to be honest about the true condition of our hearts. Why we obey is also important. You know, why do you keep God's commandments? That's important because God looks on the heart and He understands the motives behind why we do the things that we do. So, our motive is 100% pure. Always? Not likely. You know, not likely. I would say that we all would have to admit that sometimes our motives are not perfect. Sometimes, you know, they're not motivated out of genuine, godly, true love, perfect, wonderful, godly love. Sometimes they're selfish motives. Sometimes we do things out of fear. Sometimes there's peer pressure that may affect why we do what we do. It may not be just because we love God. I mean, I believe that is the best motivation for obedience is because we love God and we want to please God, and we want to serve Him, and we want to be accepted by Him in every way. And so we're doing it out of the right motives. In James 1:26 James 1:26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
American King James Version×, let's go there for a moment, James 1:26 James 1:26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
American King James Version×. Of course, this is Christ's brother. I've often wondered what it would be like to be the brother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
James 1:26 James 1:26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
American King James Version×, "If anyone among you thinks he's religious, and does not bridle his tongue…" Okay, that's a tough one, too, isn't it? Bridling the tongue, 100% perfect in bridling the tongue. That's something we all have to continue to work on. "But deceives his own heart." See, that's what we're talking about, deceiving our own hearts. We need to be honest. We should strive not to be deceived when it comes to our own hearts. He says, "This one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble,” to go out of your way to serve the orphans, to serve the widows, to serve the fatherless in their trouble “and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
You know, the world has a huge impact on us. And frankly, I have not done as well as I could in this area. I tend to get too close to the world, and especially in the media, the entertainment. I'm sure there are things I shouldn't be watching that I need to learn to just say no to, that I haven't done a great job with. So, you know, we all have to try to be honest with ourselves and at least admit where we're falling short, where we're not perfected. We need to use the Bible to discern our hearts. You know, we need to study the Bible, obviously. We should all be students of the Bible. You know, we shouldn't allow a day to go by without opening our Bible, at least for a little while because we desperately need God's wisdom. We need to have His direction and His guidance. And He gives this to us through His Word.
In Hebrews 4, let's read this for a moment. It is talking about the Word of God, and what the Word of God can do in our lives, and how we should avail ourselves of God's Word, and be sure that we're not neglecting God's word because it can change our hearts. You know, it can have a huge difference in our hearts. Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:12For 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.
American King James Version×, let us at least read verse 11 too. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight,” from God's sight. There's no one that can hide from God, “but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account."
You know, we're all going to be called into an account. There will be a judgment day. And we know that, frankly, judgment has begun upon the house of God. It's begun on those of us who are called at this time. Now, whether we responded yet or not, you know, this is likely your day of salvation. Obviously, you should respond because you're far better off if you respond and make this your way of life because you'll pay a price for it if you don't, not that you'll be cast in the lake of fire. You know, God's very merciful and loving. On the other hand, why would someone want to make a decision that would take them further away from God? Because that's what those types of decisions do. They bring us further away from God, rather than bringing us closer to God. If God's calling us, it's a very precious calling. It's not one we should neglect. It's one we should be extremely excited about. We should be so grateful and thankful that God is calling us to understand His truth and His way of life today.
So judgment has begun upon the house of God. And we are being judged by the choices that we make, by the decisions that we make on a daily basis. God is not blind. God sees everything that we do. He knows every thought that we think. That's pretty scary. I get that. It's scary for me too. But God truly does know us. He knows us very well. He knows your heart. So the first point, again, was to, let's be honest, as we look at ourselves, you know, where do we fall short? How could we do better? How can we improve? How can we be more pleasing to God? Secondly, we do need to seek to understand God's heart. That's the second principle. We need to seek to understand God's heart. The better we know God's heart, hopefully, the more in line our hearts will become with His heart.
We'll begin to think more like Him. Our hearts will be moved as He's moved. And those things are important to consider. You know 1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×, and also in verse 16, it speaks about, God is love. God is love. You know, that's something obviously, we should think about, God is love. And love is so powerful. It's such a beautiful thing. You know, there are sayings about love. I could go on and on, and I won't do that. But love is extremely powerful. In fact, I gave a sermon, entitled, “The Power of Love.” It was right after Huey Lewis came out with his song. I love that song. I'm not sure I know all the words, so don't hold me accountable if some of them aren't the best. But anyway, there is great power in love. You can trust someone who loves you, I mean, who truly loves you, you can trust them.
You know, God is love, we can trust God. We can place our trust and our faith in God. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to understand that, to grasp that, to practice that. But you can trust someone who is love. So we know God loves all of us. He loves the human race. In fact, He proved it by giving His Son for us. You know, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, to die for us, to lay His life down." And “greater love has no man than this than to lay down his life for his friends,” and Christ causes all His friends. We are His friends. You know, that's an amazing relationship that we have with Jesus Christ and with God the Father. Love enables a person to feel and to be moved by many things. You know, God is moved to sadness at times. He's moved to joy. He grieves. You know, we need to understand His heart. What makes God's heart grief? That's what should make our heart grief. What is it God is joyful about? You know, these are things that we need to be joyful about, God's ways, God's truth.
You know, God was grief-stricken, I am sure when Adam and Eve sinned and followed Satan, the devil. He was grief-stricken. I'm sure He knew this was going to happen, but nevertheless, He was grief-stricken that it did happen because He knew they were now on a path. They were going down a certain path that would lead to tremendous destruction, heartache, sadness, for them and for all who would follow them. I'm sure He was grief-stricken by that. I'm sure He was also grief-stricken when Cain killed Abel. He rose up against his own brother. He killed his own brother. You know, God had to be grief-stricken by this sort of thing.
Let's go to Genesis 6 and read about how God grieved when He saw how decadent the world had become, in fairly short order. Genesis 6:6 Genesis 6:6And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
American King James Version×, "Then the Eternal saw the wickedness of man,” I guess I'm in verse 5, “saw the wickedness of man and that it was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." You know, that's frightened me. That has frightened me. I'm not sure exactly what that means. But if every thought of their heart was evil, continually, if that can be taken literally, it's going to get a whole lot worse than what we see today. So that's a bit frightening to consider that, at this time, every thought of a man's heart was evil continually. Now, of course, that doesn't mean every… You know, the Bible sometimes says things, you know, you have to take it into context because we know that Noah was someone who didn't have this mindset. And it says, "And the Lord was sorry that He had made a man on the earth. He was grieved in His heart.” You know, it hurt Him. It hurt Him to see mankind doing what they were doing to one another. The man's inhumanity to man was something that truly grieved God's heart. And He was saddened by that. He was sorrowful because it had gotten so bad and so quickly too, I'm sure not according to plan. I mean, He must have hoped they would do better. So, it says, "He was grieved in His heart." You know, God has a heart, not… You know, I know God's invisible, this is for our benefit, that we talk about God's heart. You know this is language of the Bible. I know God, He does not have a physical heart by any stretch of the imagination.
He's not as we are. His thoughts are above our thoughts. His ways, are far above our ways, but we can truly learn from reading the Bible, “He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I've created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing, and birds of the air, for I am sorry, I regret that I have made them.’" There was a certain part of Him that regretted this. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Eternal.” So, even though He was saddened by the decadence of mankind, in general. He was encouraged by Noah. Noah was a righteous man, not a perfect man. I don't believe… You know, the Bible, even indicates that he was drunken at times. You know, there were… You know, he made some bad decisions, some poor decisions. But he found grace in the eyes of the eternal because, for the most part, he loved God. He loved God's way of life and he was pleasing to God. And so God saved the entire earth because of him and his family, of course, but mainly Noah. It doesn't say much about the rest of the family. And then, afterward, after all mankind was destroyed, except Noah and his family, He promised to never do it again. You know, He didn't want to see that happen again. And, you know, maybe God poured His Spirit out in greater ways, and maybe that's why we've gone a lot longer. I don't think every thought of our hearts evil continually. You know, I think perhaps we're doing better than they were back at this time when God wiped everyone off the face of the earth. So, the point I'm making is we do need to understand God's heart. We need to seek to understand His heart so that we can be more like Him, so we can be moved by the things that move and motivate God. Noah was faithful. That was something that moved and motivated God so much so, that He saved them alive.
Abraham was faithful. He chose Abraham because “Abraham obeyed My voice, kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Is law important? Are commandments important? Yes, they're vitally important. The Scripture talks so much about God's laws. God is the lawgiver. His laws are beautiful. His laws are wonderful. Both in the letter and in the Spirit. Really, if you understand how they work together, they're all wonderful laws. And thank God that He made those laws known to man. So, Abraham was selected and used, and Abraham's family and God worked with them. In Exodus 2, it talks about how God heard the cries of the Israelites, who were under a harsh bondage in Egypt. And He was moved with compassion to intervene for them. He remembered them. He intervened for them. He brought them out of the wilderness… He brought them out of Egypt. And of course, we know the story. They weren't model citizens, were they, when it came to what God wanted or what God would have liked to have seen from them. Moses, obviously was also very frustrated with trying to lead these stiff-necked Israelites, these people that God had given that given him to work with. And it was very challenging. I highly respect Moses. I mean, Moses, to me is such a wonderful example. I mean, he was willing to die. He said, "Blot my name out, God, if you're going to… You know, blot my name out." God was going to start over again with Moses. Moses didn't want any part of that. God respected that. You know, they had this relationship.
And so, we know that they were spared, but they did have to wander in the wilderness. In Psalms 78:40 Psalms 78:40How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
American King James Version×, God says “How often they provoked…” or the Scripture says “How often they provoked Him,” speaking of God “in the wilderness, and they grieved Him in the desert!” You know, there were many times when they did not follow. They complained, they grumbled. You know, we know the story. That's the condition of the human heart. That's why we have to look at our own selves and see, you know, where we really are kicking back against God and His truth and His way of life, and not doing it as God would have us do. He was grieved by the children of Israel in the desert.
Psalms 95:10 Psalms 95:10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
American King James Version×, "For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ’It is a people who go astray in their hearts, they go astray in their hearts, they do not know My ways. They do not obey Me. They do not follow Me. They look to golden calves. They get involved in idolatry.’" You know, there's so many ways that they were sinning, excuse me, against God. Isaiah 63:10 Isaiah 63:10But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
American King James Version×, "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them." You know, God actually did this at some point in time, after putting up with it for as long as He did. They grieved His Holy Spirit, He turned Himself against them as an enemy. You know, it's possible to have God as our enemy. If we continue to disobey Him, if we continue to disregard Him and disrespect Him, then He can become our enemy.
Now that doesn't mean He's out to destroy us for eternity. No, not at all. He's there for us. He's not willing that any should perish but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth to understand it and to live it. But God doesn't force us, does He? We are truly free moral agents. We get to choose and evidently, not everyone will choose God's way. Some will be cast into the lake of fire. That's what the Scripture indicates, the way it's written, the way it’s… You know, some people tend to want to be more righteous than God in some ways and think that, you know, they read things into the Scriptures that simply aren't there. And they need to live by every word of God and understand that there are consequences, and people, it is possible to neglect your salvation to the point where you may be cast into the lake of fire.
Now, that can be frightening to think about that. But if we truly love God, we have no worries. You know, I don't worry about those things. I love God. I love His truth. I love His way of life. I believe God forgives me. He knows I'm not perfect. I know I'm not perfect. But I do know I have to admit that I'm not perfect and that I have to own up to my sins because then God grants repentance. You know, God looks on the heart. He grants us repentance when we're willing to admit that we truly are sinners in need of a Savior. We're all in need of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let's go to Mark 3 and read an interesting account here in Mark 3. Mark 3, it's a new Bible. I'm getting used to turning here, I'm slow. Mark 3, well, let's start in verse 1, "And He entered the synagogue… Christ entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely,” the Pharisees, the scribes, “they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath." What a horrible thing. What a horrible thing to heal someone. It's a horrible thing, isn't it? Yeah, they were looking out to see what Christ would do “so that they might accuse Him.” So what about their motives? Are those pure motives? Obviously not. "And He said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Step forward.’ And He said to them…” He knew what they were thinking. You know, He wasn't stupid. Jesus Christ was very smart. He was intelligent. He also understood human nature. Had He not created it, along with His Father, you know, working together. "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" Okay, good question. Honest question. “But they kept silent.” They wouldn't answer Him. “And when He looked around at them with anger,” now He hadn't sinned. This was righteous indignation. It's okay to have some righteous indignation when people are being like this. Jesus Christ Himself had a righteous indignation in this regard.
"Being grieved by the hardness of their hearts…" You know, that's what really grieved Jesus Christ here. You know, He saw the hardness of their hearts, how hard they were, you know, how judgmental, how evil they were, how hypocritical they were. Christ could see all of this. God looks right into our hearts. He knows the motives that you have. He knows my motives. He knows why we do the things we do much better than we know ourselves. So He was grieved by the hardness of their hearts, so He decided not to do anything. No, that's not what the Scripture says. “He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the others. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.” Such a horrible thing.
You know that is the self-righteousness of mankind, you know, that is how we can become. We can cling to our own understanding. You know, I've seen this many times. I've seen it in myself. I've seen it and others. I have to deal with it on a fairly regular basis to some degree. And it is a sad state of affairs, that we're so incapable sometimes. I've seen our own hearts, admitting the hardness of our heart, and just pouring our hearts out to God and asking Him to forgive us for being so hardened. You know, God wants us to have a soft heart, a malleable heart, a heart that He can work with, that He can change for the better. You know, that's what God's looking for in all of us. Now we know that David was a man after God's own heart. Scripture says that David was a man. Was David perfect? Obviously, David wasn't perfect. In fact, his sins are, you know, they're very vibrantly shown in the Scriptures. David sins. And that's another proof of the Bible when the heroes and their sins are shown, you know it's not fabricated. You know this is some real stuff here. You can believe this. It's real.
David loved God's law, just read Psalm 119. He loved God's law. He wrote about it. You know, it was something that he meditated on and thought about continually. And he was able to admit his sin, now not right away, right? The sin would… You know, God had to send Nathan. He should have picked up on this a whole lot sooner than he did, David. Now, I'm not saying I would have, but I believe he should have. He was justifying himself. You know, God sent it a prophet to tell a story that moved David, moved his heart. “You are the man. Now, you're the very one who has done such an evil thing and much, much worse than this little lamb. You've taken someone's wife. You've killed her husband." You know, that's the human heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things. It's desperately wicked. Who can know it?” “The carnal mind is enmity against God. It's not subject to the laws of God.” We have to walk in the Spirit. We have to allow God's Spirit to guide us to, motivate us, to drive us forward, to change us.
So, it's so important that we allow our hearts to become connected with God's heart. I'm not sure that give your heart to the Lord is such a bad saying, in some ways. To me, it just means learning to surrender yourself to God. You know, I'm in the process. I'm not there yet. You know, I want to give my heart fully to God. I want my heart to be just like His. Certainly, not there. And I could go on about how Christ had compassion on the multitudes, how He had compassion on Lazarus family, how He had compassion as a mother hen, He wanted to bring people toward Him. He really did care. He set that example for us. We need to care.
Let's go on to the third principle, that is we need to learn to unite our hearts with God's heart by yielding to Him, by simply yielding to God. And if we do those first, if we understand the first two principles, it will be much, much easier for us. If we're truly honest about the true condition of our own hearts, and if we are seeking to understand God's heart, then we will be in the process of uniting our hearts with God's heart because we'll be yielding to Him.
So, do you love God back? You know, it's clear that God loves you. He gave His Son for you. But do you love Him back? You know, I think it's important to think about that. If you love someone, does it matter to you if they love you back? Now, if you start loving someone, let's just take a young couple and, you know, one of them starts to love the other one but it's not reciprocated, that's a horrible thing, isn't it? That's a horrible thing when it's not reciprocated. You know, if we start to love someone, we want them to love us. You know, God loves all of us. You know, He truly loves every single one of us. We need to learn to love Him and give ourselves to Him, you know, as a couple would. You know, there are tremendous analogies in the Scriptures. God wants us to be faithful. He wants you to be faithful to Him, just as a husband should be faithful to his wife and a wife should be faithful to her husband.
You know, when a husband is not faithful or a wife isn't faithful, what does that do to the other person? It hurts horribly. When you're unfaithful to God, I believe it hurts Him. When I sin against God, I've chosen to hurt God. I've chosen that. That's something that I chose to do. I wanted my own selfish desires more than I wanted to show my love toward God. I hope that I will think about that more in the future when I'm tempted to sin against God, to remember all that He's done for me, that I'm going to hurt Him if I choose to sin against Him. I'm going to hurt Him. He's going to be grieved in His heart. You know, God is amazing, isn't He? Because He can put up with all of us and how unfaithful we can be. And God is not destroyed. It would destroy a person. It would destroy a human being. God is all-powerful. He's Almighty. He's full of love and compassion, and yet He's moved. He grieves. It hurts Him when we sin against Him. If nothing else, let's just try to do better so that we can show our love toward God, and show that we really do care for Him, and love Him, and are appreciative of Him.
There are many, many Scriptures that we could go to in the Bible. You know, David was was one that was willing to admit the sin I mentioned before. You know, when Nathan came to him, finally he admitted it, Psalm 51, tremendous psalm of repentance. David repented bitterly, he said, "Create in me a clean heart, a new heart, a clean heart, a better heart. I've sinned against You, and You only have I sinned. I've done this evil in Your sight. Forgive me for this evil. Forgive me for what I've done to You."
When David numbered Israel, in 2 Samuel 24:10 2 Samuel 24:10And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech you, O LORD, take away the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.
American King James Version×, “And David's heart smote him after he had numbered the people.” God told him not to number the people, God wanted him to just have faith, to trust in Him. “You don't need to worry about numbers here. I will give you victory. I am your God. I am your refuge. I am your protector. I will give you victory.” You don't need to worry about how many numbers you got going against these puny human beings over here. If you have God on your side, that's all you need. So, David, his heart smote him, after he had a number of the people. “And David said unto the Eternal, ‘I have sinned greatly. I have sinned greatly in that I have done and now I beseech you, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’" And David had to pay a price for that. And the children of Israel had to pay a price for that. And you know the story about the plague. If you don't know this story, read it. Open your Bible and read it. You know, if it doesn't come to mind, then, you know, read about that. Go to the Scriptures and read about it, become a true student of the Bible, so that you know what we're talking about when we get up here. And when we only have like 50 minutes to talk. You know, we have to kind of get to the chase sometimes. So the more you know, the better for us. You know, we can pack more of it in. So I would encourage you to certainly study your Bible.
You know, Solomon seemed to have a very sincere heart to begin with, didn't he? I think he was sincere. And God listened to him. God listened to Solomon, but then Solomon went off the rails. And, you know, the story of Solomon, and all the wives, and the concubines, and the idols. And, you know, I mean it tore God's heart apart. I have no doubt to see Solomon go that direction. That was hard on God. That was difficult for God to see Solomon go the direction that he did. He says he wasn't like David. You know, he didn't have the heart that David had. Solomon didn't have the type of heart that David had had, where he would admit of it and write something like Psalm 51. We don't read about that.
You know, in Deuteronomy 10:20 Deuteronomy 10:20You shall fear the LORD your God; him shall you serve, and to him shall you hold, and swear by his name.
American King James Version×, it says, "You shall fear the LORD your God." Now, fear is mainly about respecting God. It's mainly about honoring God. It's mainly about reverencing God. It's not so much about having this tremendous fear of God. You know, I think there is a right type of fear. I mean, God is the Creator of all things. He's all-powerful. He's all mighty. His will shall be done. So a little bit of proper fear is not a bad thing. So, you know, I'm not… You know, fear to me is not a problem. I have a little fear of God. And I don't see that's a problem because it's coupled with love. And it's coupled with, again, the right type of approach toward God. In Deuteronomy 10:20 Deuteronomy 10:20You shall fear the LORD your God; him shall you serve, and to him shall you hold, and swear by his name.
American King James Version×, it says, "You shall fear the Lord your God; in Him shall you serve, and to Him shall you cleave." Okay, that's what I'm talking about. We need to learn to cleave to God. Now, that's a word that could be translated to hug. You know, God likes our hugs. It's even more than that. It's cleaving to Him. It's better than a hug. It's really cleaving. It's becoming one with God. It's having that Spirit. So, we need to learn to cleave to God. And then that's the third part. Hebrews 10:16 Hebrews 10:16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
American King James Version×, says, “'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord." This is talking about a time future. But actually, it is this time for you and me. For the firstfruits, for those who are called now we're under the New Covenant.
“'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” the letter and the spirit of the law that Christ brought out on the Sermon on the Mount. Now, we have that relationship with God now. We don't have to wait. This is the relationship that you and I have with God now. He will write these laws in our hearts and our minds. So the last principle, number four, we need to have God's heart. We need to have His heart. Do you have God's heart? God is perfect. He has a clean and a pure heart.
In 1 John 3:17 1 John 3:17But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?
American King James Version×, "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" You know, if we are hardened, and we're not willing to help others and to serve others when the opportunity arises, then we're showing that we don't have God's heart. The love of God is not in us, not as strongly as it needs to be. 1 Peter 1:22 1 Peter 1:22Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:
American King James Version×says, "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart." That's what you and I are told to do, to love each other fervently with a pure heart, a clean heart.
And then 1 Timothy 1:5 1 Timothy 1:5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
American King James Version×, "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart,” if we truly love God, we will keep His commandments. His commandments are beautiful. We will keep His commandments if we truly love Him. And “the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,” that is a high and a holy calling. You have been called to a high and a holy calling. Please do not neglect your calling. You know, God sees the big picture. God sees the big picture. He can put up with all of us. He can put up with this whole world and how evil it is. He's put up with it for how long? Every thought of their hearts was evil continually. Once upon a time about, what, 5,000 years ago, roughly… You know, He's put up with a lot over the years. God sees the big picture and God loves us.
In the final analysis, God still loves us. He loves every single one of us. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. We can always count on Him, no matter what He allows to go on in our lives. I just talked to a relatively young woman this morning who just found out she had cancer this week. God loves her. God's not going to leave her. He's not going to forsake her. No matter what He allows her to go through, He will be there for her. She was created in His image, after His likeness. He loves her. God loves all of us.
So, number one, Brethren, we need to be honest about the true condition of our hearts. We need to seek to understand God's heart more fully. We need to learn to unite our hearts with God's heart, then we'll have true unity, something that we're seeking as God's people. And we do that by yielding to God, by simply just yielding, surrendering ourselves to Him, giving our hearts to Him in the right, proper sense. Number four, we need to have God's heart. We all need to have God's heart. So Brethren, may God one day say of each and every one of us, “He/she, is a man/is a woman after My own heart.”