Heart Checks

The Bible has much to say about the heart. In Scripture, the heart refers not so much to an organ that pumps blood throughout the body as it does to the core of the soul, the deepest seat of human affections. It is out of the heart that the issues of life flow. Jesus saw a close connection between the location of our treasures and the drive of our hearts. Find a man’s treasure map and you have found the highway of his heart.

Its not a matter of sin management but of worship alteration, Matthew 5:13 (HCSB)“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.

 3 things salt does

Penetrates: 
 silently, completely & naturally.

Irritates: 
 open wound, cleanses, heals.


Preserves: flavor (oil), thirst, saturates stops putrefaction.

The “heart” is a very important word because God is so deeply concerned about the inner man or the condition of the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

These passages teach us that the Lord looks at and searches the heart, the inner person. Why is the heart so important? Because the issues of life—our actions, works, pursuits, etc.—all proceed from the heart (Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Matthew 12:34  You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

Matthew 15:18 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

What we do in word and deed is first of all a product of what we are on the inside.

In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus spoke strongly against the mere external, performance-oriented hypocrisy of the religious Pharisees. In Matthew 5:17-48, no less than six times He contrasted the mere external approach to the Old Testament Scripture, as it was taught by the Pharisees, with His own teaching which, of course, was accorded with the true design of God’s Word. He did this by the following statements: Matthew 5:21(HCSB) “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire. 23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny!

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!

Divorce Practices Censured

31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Tell the Truth

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.

Go the Second Mile

38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

6 times Jesus “corrected” what they have heard…

“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 21-22)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 27-28)
“It was said … but I say to you …” (vss. 31-32)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 33-34)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 38-39)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 43-44)

Matthew 5: 27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery. 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

What was the Lord showing the people? He was calling their attention to the moral precepts they had been taught by their religious leaders for years, precepts which had their source in the Old Testament Scriptures. But then, with the words, “but I say to you,” He readdressed those same issues as, first and foremost, matters of the heart. This and only this is authentic Christianity. Biblical Christianity centers in an inward, intimate walk with God by faith. Anything else is nothing more than religious hypocrisy.

For instance, Jesus teaches us that adultery and murder begin in the heart. You may not have literally committed adultery, but if you look at a woman or a man with that in view, you have already committed adultery. Where? In your heart! (Matthew 5:28). Our walk with God is always a matter of the heart.

Since the heart is so important to what we think, say, and do, we each need to regularly do open heart surgery with the scalpel of the Word under the guiding hand of the great physician, the Lord Jesus. We accomplish this through the teaching, guiding, convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. Like a sharp two-edged sword, the Word divides the inner man to reveal the true condition and needs of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

The Heart Needs Purifying

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

How do we overcome?

(1) The heart is purified by being renewed. The mind needs renewing in its ideas, values, motives, and beliefs. The thoughts and intents of the heart need to be changed through storing and meditating on the Word. Included here is the idea of exchanging our viewpoint for God’s (Romans 12:2(HCSB)Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Isa. 55:8f; Ps. 51:10; 119:9-11; Pr. 3:3; 7:3; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 2:23).

(2) The heart is purified by being tested

Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV)And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.;

Jeremiah 17:10 (HCSB) I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve. 

Psalms. 139:23-24 (ESV)Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!). One of the reasons for suffering and trials and the varied irritations that God either brings or allows is to reveal the condition of our hearts, to show its true colors that we might see our sin and deal with it through confession and faith in God’s provision.

(3) The heart is purified by confession or repentance (Acts 8:22(HCSB) Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.). This is vital to the whole process, of course.

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