Feb 9th, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 64 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill, and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to kick off a two-part series talking about the heart.
In Matthew 16 starting in verse 13 Jesus asks the Disciples who people believe that He is. They tell Him about the rumors that He is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He then asks them who they believe He is. The Bible doesn’t indicate whether Peter was quick to answer or if he hesitated, but Peter tells Jesus that he believes He is the Messiah. Jesus praises him that he was in tune enough with God to receive this revelation. Further along in the same chapter, Jesus is telling the Disciples that He will have to suffer at the hands of the chief priests, scribes, and elders before being killed and raised back to life on the third day. Peter pulls Jesus aside and says, “No, Lord! This will never happen to you!” To which Jesus in verse 23 replies, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you're not thinking about God's concerns but human concerns.”
What was the difference in Peter between his revelation and when Jesus is comparing him to Satan? In verse 16 of Matthew 16 when Peter declares Jesus to be The Messiah, he is speaking from his spirit. In verse 22 of Matthew 16 when Peter forbids that Jesus should be killed, he’s speaking from his heart. Jeremiah 17:9 CSB tells us, “ The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?” And, in John 8 Jesus tells us that as the father of lies, it’s in Satan’s nature to lie. You will never be more like Satan than when you listen to your heart. All this popular sentiment of following your heart, you do you, all of that is Satanic propaganda.
Now that I’ve probably inspired or horrified you, let’s take this from bad to worse. Today’s world has this warped sense of following your heart in love where you’re either searching for your destined “one” or have given up and are taking whatever you can get right now. Sometimes both, taking what you can get right now and hoping that process will lead you to “the one.” Even Christians have allowed our culture to be infected by this warped fantasy of following our heart in love and talk about finding the husband or wife that God has for us. This endless premarital string of crushes, relationships, dating, and romance to try to find this ideal person; none of this is Biblical and serves as a distraction from serving The Lord. Let’s take this to 1 Corinthians 7. Now I encourage you to go read the chapter yourself, but I’m going to read the pertinent excerpts.
“ I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am.  But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, since it is better to marry than to burn with desire. …  I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.  However, if you do get married, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. …  I want you to be without concerns. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.  But the married man is concerned about the things of the world—how he may please his wife—  and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.  I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.  If any man thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage, and he feels he should marry—he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; they can get married.  But he who stands firm in his heart (who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will) and has decided in his heart to keep her as his fiancée, will do well.  So then he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.”
I like how Craig Groeschel of Life.Church puts it when he says something like Christians who aren’t married should focus their eyes on Jesus while living out their calling in ministry, and IF you happen to notice someone come alongside you who is focused on Jesus and living out their calling on the same trajectory as you then you clasp hands and pursue Jesus together. Did my wife and I do this to find each other? Nope. We both bought wholesale into the crush, dating, relationship, romance stuff. And you know what? We’re happily married and highly blessed of the Lord that our marriage works. But, with the divorce rate among Christians being roughly the same as non-Christians, maybe it’s time we admit that something is amiss in what we hold as our culturally acceptable practices where dating and romance are concerned.
Wrapping up this episode, I want to address one more heart issue. There’s this concept that it’s OK to look as long as you don’t touch, to envy as long as you don’t steal, to hate as long as you don’t act. The problem with that is this, in Matthew 5:21-22 CSB Jesus teaches, “ ‘You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment.  But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, 'You fool!' will be subject to hellfire.’” In case that was too cryptic, He continues in verses 27-28, “ ‘You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.  But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’”
If you’ve entertained the thought instead of taking it captive to obey Christ in you, then you’re just as guilty as if you had committed the act. We have a heart issue.
In the next episode we’ll wrap up this look at the heart, but for now, I want to leave you with this simple prayer created from a combination of Psalm 19:14 and Psalm 51:10, “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit in me, so that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be acceptable to You.”
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”