Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Pastor Ron Lewis: Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Ephesians 6:14  This week Pastor Ron continues his series, “Spiritual Warfare,” and we take a look at another piece of the armor a Christian is to wear, namely, the breastplate of righteousness.

Notes:

2.  THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

a.  The Roman Soldier’s Breastplatephilippians3_14txt

1) What was it made of?…

2) What did it protect?…

b.  The Spiritual Soldier’s Breastplate

1) What did it protect?…

2) What is it made of?…

3) Which kind of righteousness?…

a)

b)

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Romans 6;17

Spiritual Depression: #2 “Mind, Heart and Will,” a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

 


 

After listening to the above sermon it is sad to think that many who call themselves Christians do feel miserable and not joyful.  The truth is God never promised us a rose garden.  We don’t become a Christian to get a life with no problems.  He offered us salvation from our sins and eternal life by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place on the cross for our sins.  God has given us promises though and they are very precious. He promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He also told us that in this world we will have troubles, but that He has overcome the world.

John 16:33 KJV These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

When we are down we are not much use to God.  We cannot be the witness we should be.  We cannot encourage others and lift them up.  We cannot use the gifts of the Spirit that God has given us in any meaningful way.  So, who do you think gets the victory?  Satan, of course.  He wants us to be out of commission so that God’s work is hindered.  That is his plan.  Let’s not fall for it.

Dr. Jones talks about a balance of the mind, heart, and will. They make up the whole person and must be kept in balance.  When they are not is when we become depressed.  He says that spiritual depression is the failure to realize the greatness of the gospel.  That is an amazing statement.  Just stop and meditate on that for a while.  We should not be depressed when we focus on what Christ has done and is doing for us.  What a Savior!

The mind, the heart, and the will must be involved in salvation, or it isn’t a true conversion.  The mind must hear the truth of the gospel message; that in turn moves the heart to desire it; which gives us the will to practice and live it.  Then, we can grow in Christ and be conformed to His image.

This was an interesting sermon and really showed me how important it is that the gospel is presented in the correct way.  I think there are many Christians who are not balanced.  Some have only accepted an intellectual view of the gospel.  Others, have only had an emotional experience, and still others have decided to “try Jesus.”  It would seem that these people are not really Christians at all, but have been deceived in believing a false gospel.  What do you think?

2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

After I listened to this sermon my mind went back to when I was first saved.  I thought it through to see if my mind, heart, and will were involved.  I believe they were.  I remember 41 years ago when I was born-again and how I truly turned over the reigns of my whole life to Jesus Christ.  I wanted Him to run it from then on as I had made a miserable mess of it.

I hope this sermon has blessed you as it has me.

 

 

 

 

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Ephesians 3:16-17  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...

Paul, the Apostle, wrote this  prayer for the believers at Ephesus, and for us today also.  When we become Christians we are  new creations.  We are born again.  Our old dead self  (we were dead in  sin) is raised to new life.   The Holy Spirit comes and lives within us.   It is truly a miracle work of God.                                               Ephesians 3;17a

We are studying Ephesians 3 in church, and I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot this week.  What was very interesting to me, as our pastor unpacked this verse, was the word “dwell.”   In the Greek this word means settled down in you, or comfortable there, or at home in you. It also indicates a permanent residence. Is Christ at home in you?  Is He comfortable, or do we make Him feel uneasy and unwelcome?  Those are good questions, so I’ve been pondering what would make Christ NOT feel at home in me.  The short answer:  sin.

Even though I’ve been born-again and am now a new creation, I still live with the old flesh. I can still sin. And as the Bible tells us the heart is very deceitful. I might think I’m a pretty good person as I haven’t committed adultery, and I’ve never murdered anyone. But, in reality, I actually sin every day. I think we sin mostly in our minds and attitudes.  Sin is born in the mind. Temptations surround us all day long in this world.  We hear gossip and even partake in it. We watch things on television that corrupt our minds.  We need to be careful of what we watch and listen to.

Jerry Bridges wrote an excellent book for Christians called, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins we Tolerate.  Some of the sins he tackles are:  Ungodliness, anxiety and frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience and irritability, anger, judgmentalism, envy, jealousy, sins of the tongue, worldliness.  That is quite is list isn’t it?  I see myself  there do you?  I highly recommend this book.  It will help you see things that are sinful that you might not have never thought of before.

So, what happens when a Christian sins?  Well, we don’t lose our salvation, but Christ does not feel at home in us that is for sure.  I wonder how many times a day I make him feel unwelcome.  It makes me sad to think that I offend Christ in me.  When I realize it I do pray and ask forgiveness.  In order to have victory in our lives we must keep that connection with Jesus open.

When I know I’m having company I work hard to clean up my house and have everything in order.  Then, when they are with me I try very hard to make them feel welcome.  I entertain them and don’t do or say things that might upset them.  But,  just think, the God of all creation, the King of Kings, comes and resides within us. He doesn’t just come for a visit, but he sets up a permanent residence in us.  What an awesome thought!

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

I need to work on making our wonderful, blessed, Savior at home.  We are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Is my body fit for a King?  I think it needs cleaning up on a daily basis in order for the King to feel at home.  What about you?

Maybe that is why we don’t feel like we are living the victorious Christian life. Maybe there are things blocking us from having an intimate relationship with Christ.  We lose our power when we grieve the Holy Spirit.

You may be asking:  “This all sounds great Bonnie, but what can I do to make Jesus welcome in me?”

You can start by taking inventory.  First think about what you think about. Sounds kind of odd right?  Take a look at Philippians 4:8 and you will see that God has already told us how we should think.

Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Check yourself this week and determine what you are thinking about.  Are they things that this scripture tells us we should be thinking about, or is your mind full of other things.  You might be spending a lot of time with thoughts about someone you are angry with rehearsing over and over what you would like to tell that person if you got a chance.  Or, you might be letting your mind wander into impure thoughts.  Maybe you watched something on television that started your mind in that direction and now you are dwelling on them.  There are so many things we think about that we shouldn’t really.  They are things that tear us down and don’t build us up in the Lord in any way.  When we struggle with our thought life and entertain thoughts that we shouldn’t sooner or later we give birth to sin.  Our Precious Lord cannot feel at home in these kinds of situations.  I don’t think we realize how much of an effect we have on Christ in us.

Other ways we hinder God’s power in us include:  not yielding to Him, not studying the Word on a daily basis, and neglecting prayer,

Someone has said:

 “Some of us only have visits with our Lord that are short and far between.  We drive Him away.  How? Our hearts are foul with sin.”

Oh Lord, please help me to understand the deep things Paul is trying to teach me, and help me to have a clean heart, so that Christ can dwell in me and be comfortable.  Help me not to offend Him.   In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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God takes care of the birds and will take care of us too.  Matt: 6:26

We live in tough times.  We hear it every day on the news.  Our future looks bleak, at least that is what they’d like us to think. 

As Christians how should we respond?  Should we be fearful and full of anxiety? 

“Fear is a more dangerous enemy than those your fear.”  Thomas Watson – Puritan author and pastor.

Isn’t that an interesting quote?  Do you realize many people in the Bible struggled with fear and doubt?  Fear is nothing new!

Just to name a few:

Adam and Eve; they disobeyed God and became fearful and hid from Him.

Abraham; he had a fear of danger, so he lied two times about Sarah being his wife in order to escape danger. 

Sarah had the fear of doubt.  She didn’t believe God that she would have a child so she got Abraham to take her handmaid to provide the child.  Ishmael was the result, and these two tribes still fight today.

Moses had the fear of not being good enough.  God called Him, but he made excuses and tried to get out of it. 

Peter had the fear of man.  Because of that he denied that he knew Jesus three times.

Sometimes our fear can cause sin.  Such was the case of Abraham.  He feared danger so he lied which was a sin.

Sometimes our sin can cause fear.  Such was the case of Adam and Eve.  They sinned first when they disobeyed God and that sin resulted in fear.

In our day it is still the same.  There are sins that can result in fear, such as adultery, lying, thief,  breaking the law, anxiety and worry.

Then there are fears that can cause sin such as fear of public speaking, which is a fear of people, (you back out of doing something God wanted you to do,) fear of what people might think can cause you to lie or cover up something.  

Have you ever wondered how the people from the time of creation until now, when we have psychology and special medications, coped with their fears and anxieties?  I have. 

Fear itself is nothing new we’ve seen that.  What is new is the way we approach it today.

Psychology came along and hijacked God.  The early fathers of psychology were not Christians and they had a secular, humanistic world view.  They believed that all of man’s fears and anxiety came from how a person was raised, their environment, circumstances, and negative thinking.  They came up with a new kind of “medicine,” called psychology. 

When you had emotional problems you would be sent to a psychiatrist, who is a physician but a specialist in “mental illness.”  He would diagnose you by using the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) and come up with an “disorder” listed in there by number.  This was a great idea because then the psychiatrists could charge your insurance company for the sessions they would set up for you.  It truly benefited their wallets.  Also, the drug companies played an important role as they came up with drugs specifically for these “mental illnesses and disorders.”  These are called psychotropic drugs.

In 1966 there were 44 of these kinds of drugs, today there are 174.  We spend 27 billion a year on these drugs.  Did all of that fix the problems of fear, anxiety, and stress that people have? 

I think not!  Instead we became a nation of medicated people, going to psychologists regularly and not making any real progress. 

Do you realize  the answer lies in the Word of God?  Yes, God made us and he knows all about us.  Luke was a physician, so God does believe in doctors.  When we are ill in our body we need to go to a physician.  If we have a physical illness then it needs to be treated with medications.  That is true.

But, when we have a problem in our heart, minds, soul, (our spiritual side) then we need to go to the Great Physician and get our help from Him.  It seems the psychiatrist have come between the pastor and the hurting Christian.  Today even pastors send their emotionally upset members to the psychologist for worldly therapy.  Why, because they believe the lie that they themselves are not competent to help the people. 

So, when we have problems with stress, anxiety, fear, and worry, we should run to the Bible and look for our help there. 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2Ti 1:7 KJV

One important note:  If you are presently taking medication for anxiety and panic attacks, please, do not stop them without first consulting with your physician who prescribed them and ask him or her how to get off them.  It could be dangerous to try to quit them cold turkey.

Elyse Fitzpatrick, in her book, “Overcoming, Fear, Worry, and Anxiety,” has said the following:

“God loves to call the fearful heart to himself…Why does God delight in helping us to become trusting children, filled with peace and confidence, children who lean on His strength?  Because when He changes hearts like ours into hearts like His, He receives praise and glory.  When we discover that we’re able to walk peacefully through conditions that formerly terrified us, our hearts will overflow with gratitude and thanksgiving–and that brings joy to God.  Only He can change hearts that are frequently overwhelmed by fear into hearts that are overshadowed by His power and bravery, and it’s His delight to do so.”

Do you need a heart change?  If so, God is ready to help you.  He wants to work in your life.

Do you fear God working in your life?  Do you fear the possibility of getting better?  Or, do you look forward to that day wholeheartedly?  In other words, are you ready for change now?

My prayer for you is that you will turn to God for your healing.  That you will trust that He is able to make you the person He created you to be.  He loves you and has a purpose for your existence. 

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.    Psa 62:8 NASB

What a wonderful Heavenly Father we have.  He knows us through and through and can work with us to make us whole.  You can be an overcomer!

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           Our Cardinal Friend

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Proverbs 4:20-27 (NIV)

My son pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to the those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
  Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
  Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. 

 

There is a wealth of good health in this portion of scripture.  This is advice given to a young man, but it can be applied to any one of us.  First he tells his son to really pay attention and remember what he is about to say as it is very important.  We should do the same. He says to keep these words in our hearts.  The wisdom of these Words make a man’s whole body healthy.  They are life to him. 

When the Bible speaks of the heart it is speaking of the center of the human spirit, from which springs forth our emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and actions.  If we store up good things in our hearts, our words and actions will flow forth with good things.

He says, “above all else,” or most important…guard your heart, because our life springs forth from it.  The heart “is the wellspring of life.”  All these things flow out of it as an overflowing water well springs forth water.

Then he tells us some things we need to do to achieve this good health. 

1. We need to watch how we talk.  How we talk reflects what we’ve been thinking about.  It also shows what is at our core.  Christians are not to talk trash as the world does.  It is very interesting, but if you listen closely while someone talks you can pretty much discover their relationship to God.

Matthew 12:34 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

2. We need to be careful what we look at.  Are the movies we watch honorable to the Lord?  What about the T.V. programs we watch?  Would we be comfortable if the Lord Jesus Christ was sitting right there with us? There are many examples such as magazines, Internet, and even watching other people that we can include here. 

3. We need to take heed to where we walk.  We are not to swerve to the left or to the right in order to keep us from walking into evil behavior.  Are you mindful of where you hang out and if it is pleasing to God?  Sometimes we need to avoid certain places and friends so that we won’t be tempted.

4. We need to watch our thoughts also.  Our minds are fragile and we must protect them.  Are you aware of what you think about most of the time? 

(Philippians 4:8)  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

These are the things we should be thinking about.  You can examine your thoughts against the above scripture.  If they are out of line you can pray and ask the Lord to bring your thoughts where they should be.

Attaining to these things is not automatic or even easy.  But, If you make a serious effort the Lord will help you and then you too can have a healthy and happy life.

 

 

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