Heart Healer

broken heart

Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:36 what the greatest commandment is. You probably remember His answer; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Do you think that’s a lot to ask? Really? God wants me to love Him with all that’s inside me?

Well, before we can come to any conclusions about how this can happen we need to deal with a couple of truths about the heart. First, we all have a heart that’s under attack! That’s right, your heart, as is mine, right now, as your eyes are reading these words is under an attack.

In his book “It’s Your Call,” Gary Barkalow explains that there are three aspects that every person who encounters Jesus Christ through His Gospel will live out:

1. The Truth

Every person is faced with the truth of God through general revelation and then more directly through the special revelation of God the Son. In Psalm 19, the psalmist tells of how the creation speaks of who God is and all the people of the world can see, or hear, this truth. Hebrews 1:1-2 states, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” We are all faced, at some point in our lives with the truth.

2. The Heart

Did you know that you and I were born with a broken heart. Maybe you’re like me. As I read Jesus’ words that I must love God with all, I instantly know that in and of myself I’m unable to love anyone with all; except maybe myself. That’s because we are all born with hearts that are separated from the One who gave us our heart, soul and mind. Thank God, He came after us so that can be remedied!

3. An Assault

Then, those who respond to the Gospel of Jesus and place their faith in Him, both for eternal life and this life now, will undergo an attack from the Evil One himself. The Devil wants to disrupt our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in any way he can. (By the way, that’s why it’s so important to armor up!)

So, how does a broken heart love anyone, much less God, with all?

That brings us to the second truth; it’s a process. Paul Tripp says it this way, “God has chosen that our growth be a process, not an event.” 

How do we begin on the process to love God will all? As stated above, first, armor up with God’s armor to deflect the fiery darts of the devil. (Ephesians 6) Secondly, realize that you and I have a serious tendency to compartmentalize our hearts. That is, we will choose to only give God certain parts of our heart; the parts we feel comfortable giving Him at the moment. If you’re wondering how this works just remember, we’re all master of compartmentalizing our time too. We’re very good and deciding that God only deserves a certain amount of our time. So it is with the heart.

Where do we start?  By remembering that God is the great heart healer. You can trust Him with your heart! As you realize the parts of your heart, soul and mind that you’re not giving Him, learn to trust Him with those parts too. And remember, God is always the great heart healer and He will never, ever break your heart.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

His love is greater than any broken heart.

Encounter

Encounter

If you read any of Paul’s epistles it’s easy to see that he had a one-track mind after he met Jesus Christ. What an encounter he had! You can read about his encounter with Jesus in Acts chapter 9. It wasn’t that Paul was blinded that made the most impact on him, though it certainly got his attention. Paul, after his encounter with Jesus was overwhelmed; not by the situation, not by the circumstance but by Jesus Himself!

Paul initially did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but when he met Jesus, that all changed. When Paul met Jesus he had to deal with him the same way everyone does as described by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. This paragraph in Lewis’ magnum opus has been distilled down by many as “liar, lunatic or Lord.” This is how C.S. Lewis describes how people must, or must not, view Jesus:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” This is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising [sic] nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”[1]

Every encounter with Jesus Christ demands a response.
The encounter Paul has with Jesus is one that affects him in such a way that the rest of his life will be telling others about Jesus that they may have an encounter with Him too. Paul knows if they do, like him, they will never get over it. No one who has a true encounter with Jesus will ever get over it. No one walks away from Him thinking He’s no big deal.
That’s why Paul preached, wrote and even endured trial, affliction and persecution the way he did. His encounter with Jesus changed his purpose and life-direction. That’s why he tells the Ephesians to pray this way: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.[2]

You may not have been blinded by a light when you met Jesus for the first time, as Paul was, but your encounter with Him was, no doubt, just as overwhelming; wasn’t it? So, what’s your response been? In all of history, since Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, the response has been to leave all to follow Him. Don’t think that your response should be any different. Are you still overwhelmed by Him? If not, take a look at Jesus again. He’s still incredibly beautiful and overwhelming. You won’t get over Him!


[1] C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. p. 52

[2] (Ephesians 6:18–20, ESV)

Armor Up

Samarai armor

This past Sunday I preached the second message out of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. The critical truth of this armor is two-fold. First, this is God’s armor, God’s strength and God’s protection for us. Secondly, knowing that it’s imperative that we have it to protect us from the Devil’s schemes, we must put it on. That’s our part. So the question arises; how do you put on the armor? Here’s a brief explanation of all six pieces of armor Paul describes in Ephesians 6:

  1. Truth
    • There’s no value in unapplied truth. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Seek the truth but put on the armor of truth by applying it.
  2. Righteousness
    • Putting on this piece of armor is as much about what you don’t do. Remember, that our righteousness does not come by way of anything we can do. Only true righteousness is imputed (put on us) by God through Jesus. Paul wrote, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) How do you put on the armor of righteousness? Stop trying to be righteous on your own. (We mostly do this through religious yet un-scriptural works.) God is not impressed by us, He’s impressed when He sees the Son’s righteousness on us by faith.
  3. Gospel (Good News) of peace
    • Even in the midst of the spiritual battle that Paul warns us about, and the one that we know’s going on deep down, we can  have peace. How? Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus promised that we can have peace, deep, soul-quenching peace even in the midst of the battle; in Him.
  4. Faith
    • This piece of armor deflects the “fiery darts” of the devil. How do we have it? By continually and deliberately placing the full weight of our faith in Jesus’ ability and not our own. That’s what faith is. So, continue in the process to which Jesus has called you and learn to take faith from your own ability and place it in Christ.
  5. Salvation
    1. I know what you’re thinking; how do you put on salvation? Salvation is of the Lord! That is correct, it is. You put it on, not in any way trying to save yourself, but living as though it matters. You put on salvation by remembering that there’s more to life than just this life. The Apostle John said, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16) If you’re only tied to the stuff of this world, Satan will use that against you. Make sure you’re tied to the next life, store up your treasure there as you live fully here.
  6. The Word
    • This is how God instructs in truth. Just like the armor of truth, it must be applied. But, you will never apply it if you don’t read it. Whatever you do, don’t let everything you know, or even most of what you know about the Bible be second hand. Read it for yourself.

Make sure you put on the whole armor today and live in the protection and security of the Lord!

Below is a link the the full sermon from Sunday:

http://www.viennabaptistchurch.org/sermon_audio/Full-%20Part%2019.mp3