Archive for the ‘The Condition of the Heart’ Category


COPYRIGHT WARNING

The Love that a person has for Jesus, is directly proportional to the view that they have of their life.

Mary Magdalene was a known prostitute in Jerusalem.

In John chapter 8, she is brought by the Pharisees before Jesus to be judged for her adultery, being caught in the very act. John 8:4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” (NIV)

As a result of her encounter with Jesus, she turns from her sin and begins to follow Him as her Savior. Luke later records an evening when Jesus is having dinner at the home of Simon, one of the Pharisees. Suddenly, Mary burst into the home of Simon and falls at the feet of Jesus—weeping convulsively, anointing His feet with her tears and fragrant oil. Simon is indignant over a known prostitute coming into his home, and immediately begins to wonder to himself why Jesus, if he were a true prophet, would allow such a woman to touch Him.

Jesus, knowing what was in Simon’s heart, begins to tell him a story…

Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.

Jesus establishes an important principle of salvation: those who have a deeper sense of their own sin, will love and appreciate what Jesus has done for them in forgiving their sin, in greater measure, than a person who does not consider themselves much of a sinner.

Luke 7:47 “Therefore I say to you (Simon), her sins (Mary), which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (more…)

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COPYRIGHT WARNING

What we eat, determines how well we can see. Our eyes depend upon us to take in the proper nutrients in order to allow our optic nerve, retina, and other parts of the eye, to function properly.

In the same way, our ability to see what is true and wise in life, will depend upon what we eat, spiritually.

Jesus said that He is “The Bread of Life.”

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. —John 6:35

The hunger and thirst that a human being feels, can never be truly satisfied by anything that is in this world. We were made to be loved. We were made to know God, who loves us so intensely that He was willing to die for us, in order to rescue us.

Jesus said that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we do not have eternal life.  (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

Several years ago, I was watching a television show in which a man was seeking to illustrate how anyone; regardless of how evil they might have been, can go to heaven.

A young man who was having a hard time understanding the concept of a murderer going to heaven, asked a question:

“So you are saying that the Nazi soldier who gassed my grandmother at the German death camps under Hitler can be forgiven by God?”

The host told him, “yes of course. Anyone can be saved by the sacrifice that Jesus has made on the cross for all sins.”[1]

But what if my grandmother never received Jesus as her savior, what if she refused to accept his offer of salvation.”

The host continued: “Unfortunately, she would be lost forever.”[2]

The young man, now quite angry, began to speak again: “Do you mean to say that a Nazi butcher who tortured my dear grandmother, then threw her into a furnace and burned her to death, can go to heaven; but my grandmother, who never hurt a sole, who never said an unkind word about anyone in her life, will go to hell, if she does not receive Jesus Christ?

The host answered, “Yes that is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ says.”[3]

The young man replied: “That is why I would never believe in the God that you believe in.” (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

Nearly 700 years before Jesus came into the world, the prophet Isaiah described the Salvation which God would offer to the world and the fact that it would be completely His work and none of man’s efforts or works. .

Isaiah 59:16b He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

Isaiah speaks of the Messiah as the only way by which any person may be saved.

“Therefore His own arm brought salvation.”

Unfortunately, a majority of people who have lived upon the earth do not like a plan of salvation which does not recognize their efforts or reward their obedience. We have this idea as human beings that we can work and perform good in order to be accepted and loved by other human beings. We tend to carry this idea over to our relationship with God, who surely will accept a person who is basically good or does good works.

According to the words of God, this idea is wrong.

The actions of redemption rest solely with the Lord and not with man. We do not have the capacity to redeem ourselves, according to the word of God. This principle makes it clear for us that no church, no religion, no man, has the ability to meet the requirements set forth by the law of God for salvation to take place.

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COPYRIGHT WARNING

Isaiah 53:5a But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities

What specifically, did Isaiah the prophet mean when He described our sins and the absolute necessity of the Messiah
death to remove those sins? Does this mean that there was no other method by which God could cause each one of us to be worthy of heaven? What is there about sin that is so mysterious and hidden from our understanding?

Isaiah said the Messiah would be wounded for the transgressions of human beings. He was bruised for our iniquities.

Transgressions: The actual sins that we commit against each other, our selves, and God.

Iniquities: The inequitable (unjust) acts of human beings in regards to what is right.

The purpose of the Messiah’s arrival was to die for our sins. We should never miss this important point in any discussion of prophetic fulfillment. If it were not for our sinfulness, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to die. We should thank the Lord every day that He loved and cared for us so greatly that He was willing to depart heaven, come to earth, to suffer unimaginable pain and suffering for us.

When I first learned what Jesus had done for me and how greatly He had suffered, I remember wondering why the whole world did not fall at His feet in thanksgiving and gratefulness. I later learned that most of the world does not consider that any of their actions would require a Savior. By its very nature, sin causes blindness. Jeremiah the prophet wrote that we are not aware of the deception which has been perpetrated against us. Even our own heart does not allow us to see the truth about ourselves.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

When the Bible describes our present condition, it does so in terms of darkness and blindness. The idea here is that we cannot see our true condition, and how desperate and hopeless our situation is. The Bible declares that without someone to help us, not one human being could survive the future judgement for sin that is the destiny of all those who are without Christ. (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

I have often pondered the fact that many people today still reject Jesus Christ. They do so of their own free will, with full knowledge of who Jesus is, and what the eternal cost is for rejecting Him as their Savior. What I find most perplexing is that Jesus is so incredible and wonderful in every way. How anyone could walk away from Him is beyond my ability to understand. It must be that the depth and darkness of the human heart is much greater than I can understand. How anyone could reject the Love that Jesus has offered them, I find unbelievable.

Perhaps it is true that many people do not see themselves as the miserable sinner that I see myself and how greatly I am in need of redemption. It is true that many folks simply do not think that they are bad enough that they require anyone to make a sacrifice for their sins. (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

God’s choice for those who will lead others, does not depend on their outward appearance, education, or family background. The Lord chooses people for service based on their inner heart and their desire to do all that He requires. When we examine the prophecies of the Messiah, we find that God’s choosing of His servant to die for the sins of the world–had nothing to do with physical beauty. The Messiah will have no physical beauty that people will be attracted to Him. In fact, He will be greatly disfigured by the suffering of His crucifixion. It will be His character and personality that will attract and draw people to Him.

Isaiah 53:2b … He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

There are some who claim that Isaiah Chapter 53 is a description of the nation of Israel and was not intended for Jesus Christ.

In the Book of Acts, the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to take the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. While on this road, Philip met a man who was apparently there by divine appointment. Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, had a servant who was returning from Jerusalem where he had been worshipping the God of Israel. While on his return journey, he was reading from the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. As Philip meets this servant of the queen of Ethiopia, he asks him if he understands what he is reading. (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

There are certain occasions in our life when it seems that there is no solution to our problems. We should remember that the Lord always has a plan and a way to solve every difficulty.

In the minds of the leaders of Israel, salvation through the Messiah was for the Jew, not for the Gentile. In their view, the Gentile nations were far from God and could never be brought near. To consider that the Gentiles would carry the message of the Messiah’s salvation to the entire world was in their minds—an impossibility.

Very often, what we consider impossible is really very easy for God. Those people whom we might think have no possibility of salvation are the very ones whom God pours out His Spirit upon and saves.

This should be a great lesson for us. When we think that we have figured out what God is going to do, often the Lord has a way that we would never have considered. He has resources that we have no knowledge of. His ways are not our ways. His power to accomplish all of the promises which He has made are limitless.

Isaiah 55:8-9“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Before the Lord offered Israel salvation and the opportunity to be a light to the Gentile nations of the world, He knew that the Jews would reject His Son when He came to earth. It was His plan all along to offer salvation to every person born on the earth. In order to provoke Israel to jealousy, the Lord saved the Gentile nations of the world who turned to Him for salvation. Ultimately, it will be this massive move of God through all the Gentile nations which will turn the eyes and the hearts of Israel back to the Lord, to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior in the last days. (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

In the example of the woman caught in the act of adultery, we see Jesus and His righteous judgement. Although the world found this woman worthy of death, Jesus looks beyond the sin, into the true heart of the matter. If God simply wanted to condemn people and send them to hell, we would observe this here, as Jesus certainly has the opportunity to condemn her according to the law.

Instead, we learn that the heart of God’s law is mercy. God is not willing that any person should perish, but that every person would have the opportunity to have all their sins removed forever.  (more…)


COPYRIGHT WARNING

Isaiah 11:1b There shall come forth a Branch from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots

The prophecy of Isaiah 11:1 describes the Messiah coming from a Branch in David’s line. The Hebrew word for Branch is Netzer, from where the world Nazarene could be inferred. This is known as a Hebrew play on words that seems to imply that the Messiah will come from the line of David, and He will be referred to as The Nazarene. Seventeen times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as: Jesus of Nazareth. *[1]

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

The term: Branch, or Netzer is an important designation for the Messiah. It indicates that He will be from a place despised and be rejected by those whom He comes to save.

John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Nazareth was the home of a Roman army garrison from where soldiers constantly exercised harsh rule over the Jews. The fact that Nazareth was despised is observed by the statement made by Nathanael in speaking of Jesus: Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Isaiah describes the Messiah as despised and rejected, even by His own people. When we examine the Gospel narrative of Jesus, we find that even before His ministry had gained momentum, He was already designated as one originating from a town in which nothing good could take place. Jesus was despised and rejected 2,000 years ago and He is still despised and rejected by a majority of people today. Though He came humbly and laid down His life for all of us, His message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, has caused the world to hate Him.

This attitude of humility, which Jesus displayed, is the type of heart that God responds to. Those who are full of pride in their own wisdom and abilities, can never find God. He hides Himself from the proud but reveals Himself to the humble and the broken.

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