Bible Lesson 109

THE VULGAR HEART OF MAN

‘THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND DESPERATELY WICKED: WHO CAN KNOW IT” JEREMIAH 17:9

‘THE EYES SEE WHAT THE HEART LOVES. IF THE HEART LOVES GOD AND IS SINGLE IN THIS DEVOTION, THEN THE EYES WILL SEE GOD WHETHER OTHERS SEE HIM OR NOT.’ WARREN WIERSBE

In this lesson, we will seek the truth of God concerning the heart of mankind. There are many ways that we can approach the subject of the heart; because most of us do not understand the heart and what God means when He inspired men of old to write about the heart in the Word of God. When the Bible speaks of the heart of man, it does not point to that organ that pumps continuously from the time we are conceived until we die.

Instead, it speaks of the entire mental and moral center of man, both from a rational and from an emotional point of view. I think it would be best to use the Vines expository dictionary of New Testament words as a basis for our understanding. The Vines says that ‘The heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of personal life.

The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart’ because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then defiles the whole circuit of his actions (Matthew 15:19-20). On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence, (Romans 2:15; Acts 15:9).’ The heart, as lying deep within a person contains the ‘hidden man’, the real man who may act one way openly but has another side that may be ugly and dark. The heart is the repository of our character and we act the way, at least normally, that our heart is set.

I don’t know if having had open heart surgery about 8 years ago qualifies me to speak about the heart or not, but I do know that until I submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and God gave me that New Birth that it takes to commune with God that my heart was not what it was created by God to be. Before that time about 30 years ago, I could manipulate my heart because it was a heart of stone, that could have cared less about what God wanted, and it would respond to whatever the flesh wanted to do. Now, having been recreated as that New Creature in Christ, I have a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

The heart that is spoken of in the Bible denotes the seat of physical life; the seat of moral nature and spiritual life; the seat of grief; joy, the desires, the affections, the perceptions, the thoughts, the understanding, the reasoning powers, the imagination, conscience, the intentions, purpose, the will, and faith. It includes the emotions, the reason, and will. So when we speak the heart of man and we are speaking about the old heart that has the nature of Adam, we are speaking of a depraved heart. It is wrong on all fronts.

That’s the reason that Jeremiah was inspired by God to write to us that ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it”(Jeremiah 17:9). Then God spoke to the wicked heart of lost men when God inspired the writer of the Proverbs to say that ‘The heart of the wicked is little worth.’ (Proverbs 10:20). Those who trust that heart that we all were born with will follow it and it’s folly into eternal condemnation and punishment in hell. The Lord inspired the ‘Preacher’ (Solomon) to write that ‘The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live.’ (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

If we think back to the universal flood in Noah’s time, we see that God had looked at the man and determined that ‘The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ Man was controlled by the nature of Adam and rebelled against God and God had determined to destroy every living thing off the earth, except Noah, who was a just man and perfect in his generations (Genesis 6:5-7). It is not what we are that is the problem; it is who we are in our hearts. We are all creatures of God, and what we need to be is the Children of God. God’s children have to be re-birthed by God, changed, and enabled to walk the way God demands that His children walk. Then and only then does God adopt us into His family (Ephesians 2:1-10; Galatians 4:4-5).

What about your heart, as you read these words, what about my heart’ Each of us has to ask ourselves that question and then honestly judge our lives to determine if our heart has ever been changed by God. We either have completely submitted to Jesus Christ, or we have said ‘No’ to God, and we face death and hell unless, and until we do give up the throne of our life to Christ (John 8:30-32; John 14:21-24; Hebrews 5:8-9).

The problem that most people in our day have is that we have chosen to take a depreciated view of who God is and an appreciative view of who we are. We must remember (1. That God is eternal and we are destined to die after a very few years on the earth. (2. That God is the Creator of all that we know and we cannot create anything. (3. That God is the repository of power, knowledge, and wisdom and we are simple creatures with limited ability.

(4. That there is going to be a universal judgment where every one of us will stand and account for how he handled this life and the Grace of God in giving us His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to take away our sin and redeem us from sin. (5. We need to remember that we cannot change anything that God has said or planned. The Bible is absolute truth, and it is settled in heaven forever (Psalms 119:89). (6. Salvation is based upon obedience and unless we are obeying Christ out of love for Him we are not saved (John 14:21-24; John 15:4-11). (7. Church membership makes you a church member in the sense that you belong to some denomination.

Committing and submitting to God through Christ and following in His footsteps makes you a Christian and there is no other way (John 3:16-21; Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:1-6). (8. The Christian must be willing to pay the cost of following Jesus Christ, by loving Him more than anyone or anything on the earth, by dying to self and all of our programs, prejudices, etc (Luke 14:26-34). (9. We must remember that Christians are not about ‘going to church’ but about ‘being the church’. We do not disparage the visible church, but we have to know that the Church consists of only saved people who meet to worship and praise God whenever and wherever we get together.

To understand this, we must know that our New Testament was written in the Greek language and translated into our English version, and the Greek word that was translated as ‘Church’ in our Bible was the Greek word ecclesia, and that does not mean these denominational buildings that abound in our time but it means a meeting of the ‘Called out ones’. (10.

Every born again Christian, every true Christian, is not a sinner with his brains kicked out. The true Christian is the workmanship of God and they come forth out of that work as a new creature, who walks different and talks differently and has a different allegiance. They not only ‘can’ but they ‘will’ walk in newness of life. Their old creature, old nature has been put to death and they now are new creatures with the old things passed away and all things are new (Romans 6:1-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2ND Corinthians 5:17).

I believe that we have rushed into Evangelism to do God’s work in our way, and we have made a mess of it all. Our hearts know that Jesus went about preaching the good news of God’s Grace and we wanted to think that He expects us to show success in evangelism the same way that the stock market shows success and that is by growing.

We have dashed into that mind-set and have left God out of evangelism so that we can build mega-churches or even add members to our group. That makes our object ‘Nickels and Noses’ rather than changed lives and saved souls. Our weak and confused groups have taught others to attempt to worship God with our pocket change and in our spare time.

We are, for the most part, people who work harder in our jobs and our sports and entertainment than we do for our understanding and service of God. What kind of people, at least people who have a proper understanding of God, would be that careless and arrogant’ The answer is that only a person with a corrupt heart would attempt to do that. When Jesus was preaching and walking among us here on the earth, He knew men’s hearts and He said to those who were pretending to be God’s people, the very elite of their time’.. ‘Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things’ For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.’ (Matthew 12:34-35). Imagine that, God in the flesh speaks to the church of that day, the leaders of that church, and accuses them of having evil hearts.

I wonder what Christ would say to the leaders of many of our churches today’ It’s a serious thought and I believe anyone who knows the Word of God, the Bible, has to know that there are too many today who are false prophets or false preachers. We are born as unclean creatures, who practice the same kind of disobedience that Adam practiced against God.

It was God who created Adam and then created a perfect garden (a paradise) in which he could live forever. God only gave Adam one commandment (Not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and God advised Adam that if he ate of that fruit, he would die. Adam could have refused to eat of the fruit, even after Eve had eaten and then offered it to him; however he listened to his wife instead of His God and Creator, and as a result of that sin, each of us has been born at odds with our Creator. We listen to our wives or somebody else’s wife, or we listen to some false preacher or teacher, or we simply listen to our wicked hearts and press on deeper into sin.

That is the bad news and until you have heard and believed the bad news, you cannot understand the good news. The good news is that God is a God of mercy a God that gives us a second chance to be what He created us to be (Ephesians 2:1-10). Understand now, Salvation is a gift from God and it is given to those whom God calls out of the world ‘.calls out of sin and to righteousness. It is not issued to everyone who is born.

Salvation, as it is commonly believed, is not something that we can or even would choose, unless God intervenes and gives us the gift of Grace and Faith. You are saved by Grace through Faith’.and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God does not require anyone to change his heart or his mind or his life to be saved. Instead, God changes the man and his mind and heart’s desires in salvation. We who are truly saved have a ‘can’t help it’ kind of lifestyle. We want to do what God wants us to do and He gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do it!

We could say that the first thing that God changes about us is that He changes our ‘want to’. So, I will ask you here and now, has your want to been changed and do you do the things that God wants you to do or does the devil still control your want to’ It takes an act of God to change that old heart that is evil, a man can’t change his own heart (Proverbs 20:9).

We can change the way we talk and act to a degree, but unless God changes our hearts we cannot maintain any way but the way of sin. God speaks to us through the Prophet Ezekiel and says ‘From all your filthiness, and all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh’ (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

Notice now, you who think that you can choose to be saved any time you please; it is not you that does any of this, God says over and over there, I will cleanse you from your filthiness and idols, and I will cleanse you, and I will give you a new heart and a new spirit, I will take away your stony heart and give you a heart of flesh. God is in complete control of everything, especially our salvation. I don’t know about you, but I would hate to have to think that it was up to me to be saved; I much prefer that the one who created me, in the beginning, was doing it instead.

You may be asking, well, what can I do that will enable me to be saved’ My answer is a question. What would you do if you wanted to buy groceries, you would first have to make up your mind what you needed to buy, and how much you were willing to pay for the groceries, then you would have to go to the store, and go inside and check to see if they had what you wanted and needed and then you would gather up those items and pay for them.

Now, God doesn’t have a grocery store but He does have what you need and that is salvation. Where do you find God, in the Bible of course, so you can begin to study and ask God to illuminate the scriptures for you. Now, you will find that there is a cost to being saved and a disciple of Christ. We have already answered the question about what is the cost and you should have already read it (Luke 14:26-32. Then you have to make up your mind about whether you are willing to pay that cost, and if you are then God will probably save you. I would caution you about something right here, many think that they can negotiate the cost of their salvation. That is an absolute impossibility, God has already laid down the way, the cost, and the outcome and if He were to change one single thing’.He would not be God.

What do you think is the reason that God saves anyone of us’ It is to cause us to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t save anyone to make them happy, that’s a by-product. God saves people to make them holy and make them acceptable to God. That brings us back to our subject in this lesson and that is the heart of man. In true salvation, your body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and God speaks to us through the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians and says ‘Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you”(First Corinthians 3:16-17).

We delude ourselves when we think that the Temple of God can be the place where the devil and Jesus Christ can or will coexist! What a group of evil-minded, black-hearted, foul-mouthed, sinners we have become; and the worst part of that is, we think of ourselves as intellectuals and cosmopolitan ‘global citizens’. Just wait a while and the liberals will have us just like about 75% of the rest of the world, always on the verge of hunger, thirst, and no proper health or educational systems.

Then see how you like your global citizenship! If America fails; and we stand on the verge of collapse right now today, not because of the wood-peckers from outside, but from the termites that are eating away at the foundations of what America once was. If America fails there will be many other countries that will go from bad to worse; because regardless of what some would like to think, America and Americans are big-hearted people who have been sharing with those who are struggling all over the world. Even people here in this country who have hearts of stone, are willing many times to help others by giving what they have.

Think about this for a moment, think about how much better America would be if God would send His Spirit to open our hearts and minds, and then give us hearts of flesh, hearts that would obey God and live according to the truths of the Bible. That probably won’t happen at least not to everyone, but if just a small percentage of the lost people in America were to receive Christ and be changed, the world would immediately tell the difference. It’s the heart of man that has brought us down to the point that we like to live like drunks, druggies, profane, and spiteful people.

I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t want to believe that but they are the problem. Jesus Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, put that idea to rest when He said to the people who thought they were God’s children when He told them that they were evil (Matthew 7:11). In that same sermon, Jesus told them and us today, that ‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). Mammon there includes money or anything else that we allow to come between our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob