AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH January 25, 2015
Presbyterian Church, acknowledging Jesus Christ
without Compromise and the Bible without Qualification
HAVE A HEART!
BE SURE IT IS ENGENDERED BY THE LORD:
LET GOD UNITE IT TO TRUTH
"Keep Your heart with all Diligence,
for out of it are the Issues of Life," Proverbs 4:23.
When men become butchers, but of others, and hatred wells up like an explosive gas surge, there is a reason. When truth finds the heart, this too, it has a reason.
It is time to ponder the ways of the Lord, as these latter insurgencies into the heart of man, seek to terrorise the unstable, acting to cause tyranny over man and upset the nations..
These are not the first terrorists. The Inquisition distorted Christianity in its own way for centuries of torture, the Communists acted as if to make of man a kind of economic unit through slave driving of the soul, in godless executions of millions. It was the people and not the plan that it executed. Deception and false masteries can readily take over the unprotected soul of man, as in insurgent jihads, by which many of one religion act to oppress or obliterate rather than persuade, others who find no truth in it, none at all. Indeed, a new christ, created some 6 centuries after the true, stripped down, was a distortion unyielding in its ungoverned desolation of His image (cf. Red Alert Ch. 16, Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8, * 1). That was a task carried on later by various sects, with much in common both with this and with other.
They all want Him; but some wish to remake Him, a compliment miscarried! In the case of Islam, there has been made more than a cartoon of Christ Jesus, for while keeping His name, in this religion, in His place there has been put someone else altogether, providing neither warrant nor explanation from history, the ultimate in replacements. But why such things as these various bodies have presented ?
Let us then consider the human heart.
I THE HEART IS ONE, BUT MANY ARE ITS ACTIVITIES.
Is the function of the heart just a matter of thoughts ? The Bible in Daniel speaks of "visions of the head" (Daniel 7:1,13), and in the latter, his "thoughts troubled him." In Jeremiah we find vision of the heart (23:16,26), and of the "deceits of their own hearts." Francis Schaeffer, that noted author, in his True Spirituality speaks of the thoughts of the heart as if these were its very character; but this is but part, just as skin is but part of the body. Much lies underneath.
Thoughts are the articulation of perception, conception, but the heart is like a beach. It has in it many waves and bays, and it may be approached by much in many ways, as may tankers by pirates, in the seas. Thrusts come from various sources and in multiplied modes, to drive it like an engine, to still or sack its quieter thoughts, to inject, affect, infect it. Similarly thrusts of will from an internal source may seek to make it succumb to nonsense, however piously their impiety may be presented. Such is the lot of many jihadists, suddenly arrested in heart but not by truth, as has been the case of many Nazis, Communists and others who have loved to make insurgencies to move not only this or that heart, but the very heart of civilisation. It is as if this is to its lair!
The world-wide flood, so devastatingly attested, was one the result of such civic contortion, which got its come-uppance, Another and greater one has been foretold by Christ, as man becomes incapable in the end, of managing his own distorted planet, where indeed it is his own sin which is the evil agent, mixed with the due judgments of God.
There is a better way. As in Daniel 10:1, we find this: "he understood the message and had understanding of the vision." Indeed, the angelic messenger comes to "make you understand" (10:14). It is not a matte r of rejection of reason, but receipt of revelation beyond it, testable indeed, but sourced from God. It was as it is in Proverbs 1:22-23.
"How long will you love simplicity and scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge,"
Paul declares, all things must be tested (I Thessalonians 5).
"Turn at My reproof," the Lord continues.
Behold, I will pour out My Spirit to you, I will make known My words to you."
HE undertakes not only to provide truth and wisdom, but so to teach it that it is UNDERSTOOD. God does not cut corners. Understanding is one of the chief functions of the heart, often short-circuited and shunted out by desires of various kinds. However, though few percentage-wise belong to Jesus Christ (un-remanufactured), many are those who from God gain understanding. Thus in Luke 2:19, we find that Mary kept "all these things" concerning her Son, Jesus Christ, and pondered them in her heart. Impressions, words, testimonies of voices, of the senses, of understanding, signals, assertions, predictions, like many meats in a cauldron cooking, such things may be stored; but it all had a very distinctive flavour, summed up by the words of God to her, as to His prophets before and afterwards.
The heart, then, is often used as the active centrepiece of the spirit of a person, where impacts from good or evil visions, forces, dynamics, ideas, thoughts, passions, inclinations and preferences and desires may meet like great whirlpools, amid ununified turbulences, would-be dominating take-overs, or even obsessions; or at the opposite, all may yield to demonstrable truth in the very presence of God. Such battles in those unmoored, unsited, unplaced, brought up in darkness may indeed make warriors for time in the external world, dictated to within, dictating outside, as if it were a relief to decapitate or bomb infants.
This world is facing the unsublime follies of many years of Gospel spread, now wilfully cancelled in much so that random and rampant forces can announce the departure, as when the glory of the Lord departed from the temple in the days of Ezekiel 10-11. Australia now seems hardly to know where it is going, incited by many to ignore our God, our design, our morals, and to see how "lucky" we are when we do it, like abandoned youngsters, stirred to fling stones at stained glass windows. But Christianity is not founded on glass but on blood, shed to cover those who do prefer to shed that of others, and ignore reality, the love and the truth of God. All this is as foretold in Matthew 24, and is not surprising, but follows on from its bombed ground-works!
II WITHOUT GOD'S LIGHT HOW GREAT IS THE DARKNESS
How great are the gifts given to man, and what a delight that there is no need for the light that is within you to be a form of darkness, of wilful obliteration of truth, in the name all that exalting itself, and making its own gods, is yet to face its own execution day as in Ezekiel 28:9. Will you still say you are god when I kill you ? God asks. If one departs from the spiritual scene of towering waves ready to sweep away all reason, evidence with the inclination of the scimitar, or sickle or hammer or inquisitorial torture chamber, then freely you may come instead where truth needs no help for its testimony, its confirmation, and force is forbidden in its propagation (John 18:36, Matthew 26:52-54).
You don't need a front-end loader where a spade suffices and the path is clear. Descent to that level of mere force in the interests and realm of some 'faith' to be found by man, is admission of failure. He is not build to be a slave to force but in the image of God.
For the maladjusted, this or that fruity substitute for the singularity of God may pound in passion, or abound in hate or malice or lust for dominion over others, to tax them, vex them, impale them, subjugate them; but there is a better way. Christ speaks of having "your whole body full of light," so that there is no part dark. Again, said He, if the light which is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! Perversion applied not only in matters sexual but spiritual! That is the biblical declaration and in man it finds its mark (I Timothy 1, Matthew 12:45).
When the truth, mercy and love of God, translated into the sacrificial death of Christ, is received by the saved sinner then there is room for His power, perspective, truth and love in ALL parts of the heart, none available for the dizzy dynamics of evil, which knows no bounds and in this present world, rejoices in its sheer abundance of blazing madness, as if it were a virtue.
Indeed, Christ declared, in Matthew 15:19:
"Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts,
false witness, blasphemies."
It is rather a notorious source! Small wonder we read in Proverbs 28:26,
"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool."
THE LIGHT OF THE HEART
A multi-faceted jewel is the heart of man, but it may either discolour, or else, purged by God, transmit light, a creative light, that not only reveals, but orders things in clear perspective of love and truth. All this is from the self-definition of God in Jesus Christ; for as in I John 4:7-10, Hebrews 1, He is the brightness of the glory of God, who is love: and the marvel is not that we loved Him, but that He loved us (cf. Romans 5). Understanding in vision, perspective, wonder, of one's place, knowing one's God who is the Maker, who freely released His redemption, and receiving it with relish: these are true and necessary functions of the heart of man. It is then, subject to the word of God, that his thoughts can read like a book, and his ways more like a translation, however imperfect.
You don't need the power to suppress, violate, be vile, abandon all human grace, assert yourself like a jumping flea, and worship the nearest god or power you can think of. Man needs grace, to understand, goodness, to develop what is fine and splendid in construction, aim and capacity, discernment to avoid the pit of corruption and the power of evil, mercifulness to bring life to the afflicted, brotherly love to sustain and be sustained in goodwill; but when he departs his source, his source departs from him also, and indeed he first needs to find Him! as in Isaiah 55,
"Seek the Lord while He MAY be found and call on Him WHILE He is near,"
"He will not always strive with man" (Isaiah 58:15-18).
But near is He to be sought and found, where He IS, where appointed, and only there is a person not disappointed, for God has given staggering witness to His sacrificial Son, Jesus Christ, death's conqueror and the light of the world.
Therefore hide God's word in your heart, appreciate the Bible in its unique sovereign word which is always fulfilled, and be filled with the light of the Lord, that shines as sunlight on a battle field of blood, His shed in giving His own life a ransom for sinners who receive it (Matthew 20:28, John 1:1-14). As the Psalmist in 86:11 cries with understanding to the Lord, "Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name." What blessed union is this, of the heart, for now it has found its counterpart and Creator, its Redeemer and light, its foundation and regeneration at the hand of God. If however the heart decline it, then for that heart it is as useless as torchlight outside, at noon in Summer. Indeed, where eyes are shut, nothing is to be seen (Matthew 13:15).
The capacity to be free is grand. Resting on Christ, the restorative ground of truth, is better. Like medicine for the sick, it works. Indeed, without that medicine, the sickness assaults not only the soul but society! Well it may, for we are not made to be automatons, but having sinned, to be redeemed, redirected, corrected, regenerated and given understanding that we MIGHT live! (cf. Ezekiel 33:11, Titus 2-3).
Without the Lord of creation and salvation, what is it like ? It is like those who fly, and cannot see in the mists amid the peaks, and are ready to crash where knowledge might have saved them, and redirection released them. No wonder Christ declared, even in His own day,
"I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day.
The night is coming when no man can work," John 9:4.