Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Fruit of a Changed Heart

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Jer.17: 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Every person born after Adam is born with a fallen nature, or in other words a fallen and sinful heart. That little baby, although innocent compared with adults, has a fallen nature which will be revealed and honed after some months and years of growth. Every child comes with a capacity to sin and every child exercises that capacity with great energy. The deception that is inherent within a human heart is so deep and so clever, that it even deceives the person it inhabits. It is an evil miracle so to speak.

The evil heart of man knows no limits and can even invent evil things. It will sin not only with impunity, but it will sin cloaked as a good deed. This kind of diabolical energy comes from the evil one and from the profound strength of sin itself. Sin builds upon sin and produces an earthly strength which imprisons the souls and reaches out to imprison others. This kind of evil can even appear as messengers of righteousness and as prophets of the Most High God when in reality they are agents of Satan himself. And all this and more emanates from within the hidden places of the human heart. The prophet rightly asks the question, “Who can know it?”

But within that fallen heart there is a knowledge of the existence of a god on some level. And all men are held accountable before God. No man can find God and the Lord Jesus without the Holy Spirit draws him. And the Spirit seeks to draw all men unto Christ, and so even a sinful man must surrender to that drawing. I do believe a sinner can seek God, but I also believe the spirits of antichrist roam the earth and deceive even some searching hearts. Yes, it is a mystery. But I unequivocally believe that Christ died for every sinner and desires that all sinners be saved. I will address that in another post, however how does God get more glory by dying for a miniscule few rather than dying for the entire race when it was in His capacity to do it? And without a free will given to man the entire redemptive narrative is a colossal game of divine solitaire with man being little more than unwilling pawns in a chess game already played.

But the problem man faces is not what religion to espouse or even how to adjust his morals to align with the will of God. In fact, man has the capacity to adjust those morals without knowing God and without being born again of the Spirit of God. That kind of metamorphosis is a strong delusion and is humanism in its most obvious form. Many people join religions and cults and have a remarkable change in their behavior which includes giving up addictions, rejecting previous immoral behaviors, and even a new sense of hope and love for people. But they have just made alterations through the power of the human will. Yes, it happens.

But only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can a sinner receive a brand new heart, which is another way of saying a new nature. Without a new heart everything is just religion and morality without redemption.

Matt.12: 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Rom.10: 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

When a person is born again he receives a new nature, a new heart, created in the essence and likeness of Christ Jesus. Everything changes. People look different; family looks different; your job is different; the temporal things give way to the eternal. You are not perfect and many things will continue to change, but from that moment when the Spirit of God comes into your being you will never be the same. Before you were changed when people talked about Jesus you could not really understand, but now you do. Now when a person gives a testimony about how they were saved you can identify. You have been given a brand new heart and you now belong completely to God.

You hear all the arguing about politics and it seems so meaningless. You still root for sports teams, but now you realize it has only a place. You love your family but all things must bow to your love for Jesus.

II Cor.1: 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

II Cor.3: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

The Person of the Holy Spirit has done His work of regeneration and has implanted a new heart within your being. Oh yes there are still the ever present residual effects and temptations of the old nature, but now you are free and you are a brand new creation. This is not religion. This is a divine miracle which translates a living being from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Dear Son. It cannot be copied; it cannot be duplicated. Many have tried to simulate it by conforming their outward man to rules and regulations, and many have suggested they have pleased God because of their outward transformation.

However without faith it is impossible to please God. And unless the outward changes are the visible effects of an inward change because of a faith in Jesus Christ then the outward changes are useless and filthy rags. Attempting to regulate behavior from the outside is self righteousness and is an affront to God. Without holiness no man shall see God, and that holiness can only come through faith in Jesus Christ. The sinners around us do not need a lesson on marriage or stealing or abortion or sexual purity. What they need is a new heart.

II Cor.4: 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

People around us notice a change in our speech and our behavior. But we must let them know it is because we have a new heart. Not earned and not deserved, but given by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. We are still not yet perfect, but we can never be the same. Our being pulsates with the power and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes all things new.


Cherie c. said...

With sobbing, I thank God and you Pastor Rick.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

P.S. Glad you're feeling better.

Grace Mogbo said...

The Lord always draws me to other genuinely converted believers in Christ. You are one of them. I am deeply blessed every time God uses you to bless His people. May God Himself keep you spirit, soul, and body until the day of Christ.
In His vineyard,
Grace at

Anonymous said...

Every day I have to adjust my thinking to God's perspective and not the world's.

Every day I have to stop and think before I do anything. One example is, that we have a neighbor who parks their vehicles in a way that it partially blocks our ability to easily back out of our driveway. After kindly asking neighbor if they could move their car away a few feet further so we could adequately use our driveway without hitting their car, the woman shut the door in my face. OK, I thought, I was really trying to maintain my christian love in this situation. It's not easy. I had to go through the Town venue and ask that they take care of it. The parking of that neighbor also was illegal, and it hampered drivers from seeing little kids on bikes and was a huge safety issue as well. These people refused to oblige and parked all day and night in that illegal spot to prove to everyone no one was their boss. They spitefully continue to do it today. A few years back, my husband and I were living in a rental townhome where the adult neighbors would listen to their surround-sound system with music at top volume - after midnight. It reverberated on the walls and kept us awake at night. There was absolutely no change when we asked if they could lower it. These were average people that could charm everyone who met them.

There is no denying that we live in a selfish, me-oriented, narcissistic world, and that is the training ground of our minds that we are finding ourselves in. It's almost at the point that we need to run away from those who cheat, lie, refuse to submit, refuse to bend. There is a spirit of rebellion that has been unleashed and we can see by listening to media how rampant it is. And those with a voice promote rebellion and humanism and secularism, but the worst part of it is, that they cloak themselves with the cross of Christ while doing so.

As bad as persecution that others abroad may be experiencing, to us, in the West, having a changed heart seems to be as hard to achieve, because we allow the world to fool us into believing we are entitled to everything, and are all special. Even the church subconsciously or consciously does this. The day that people started to "sell" their testimony in profitable books, and "sell" their story of salvation to garner celebrity, or to turn their Christ-changing life into a lucrative career for gain, we lost our way.

Everyone is so used to being the center of their own universe, it's almost impossible to pull oneself out of that attitude. And some christian groups seem to enjoy this victimhood attitude that they've adopted lately. They also seem to enjoy being the targets of perceived slights, and verbal persecution and they seem to enjoy watching their foes declaring war on Christmas. It seems to satisfy some little ball of hate within them, so they can attack these foes. It doesn't show any fruit of a changed heart. I know how hard it is not to let all this garbage we hear get me angry, but I have to place it at the altar, which is I confess a hard thing to do. But I know I must do it. In Jesus' Name and in His power only can I do it.

One of the hardest things for me personally is trying to stay in God's love, despite the hatred and rebellion around us. My fairly easy life never had to deal with so much overwhelming attitude sickness. So here we are in the West finally being shaken by wickedness in our own ranks.

The love of many waxes cold and I pray I can overcome. One of my past pastors used to say, "don't look left, don't look right" meaning not to get distracted by the world.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 10:13am I totally understand -Noel

Reine Gnade said...

Some very encouraging verses are Psalm 91:14-16

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; 15 I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him 16 and show him my salvation.”

These verses link helpfully to Jesus' words recorded in Mathew 22:37-40.

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Reine Gnade said...

Salvation is a gracious gift from Our beloved triune God. Diligent searchers of truth, it's so vitally important to resolve to acknowledge His holy name, for His name is above all names!

Do you see the words "because he loves Me" in Psalm 91? Searchers for truth, settle for nothing less than loving God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and praise daily the author and finisher of your faith, for He is the Rescuer and Protector of the saints. Flee false gods like Allah and know that no false god is with true believers when they are in trouble.

michael said...

Anonymous @10:13,

When we hear someone in our fellowship say "I'm trying" we encourage them to "try" harder!


Well as the post teaches, you can naturally try and try and try and you will still fail!

The new heart is 100% a God initiated thing. A new heart is a gift and there is nothing our old self can do to fill it with God's love! We were utterly dependent at our natural birth needing 24 hour care and comfort.

We are still 100% dependent upon the Creator of our soul. Our every breath we breathe is dependent on the one who gave us breath.

Do you suppose these verses are now void because we grew up and are mature responsible adults able to provide a livelihood?

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

Just like we are dependent on God for natural life we are just as dependent for the supernatural life now that we are born again.

Here are a couple portions of Scripture that might make this fact clearer for you?

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:16, 17 ESV)


In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10 ESV)

God is always the initiator of everything He requires of us and whatever He requires of us He provides the means to it!

That is why we say try harder knowing in your trying you will eventually come to despair in trying and not succeed so that you will give up trying and give yourself to relying on Him for everything, even the love necessary to overcome the rude and ungrateful neighbor who parks their car partially in your driveway!

Cherie c. said...

I can attest that it is truly difficult to not try, lol. To accept what the Lord gives and that is His Grace. Pastor Rick gave a great list in a recent post on how we should live with this new heart. I printed it out and I read the referenced scripture often, it helps a lot.

The post is Loving His Lordship. Based upon the 6th chapter of Luke. Also helpful is Hebrews chapters 4,5,6,7.

I will find what month the post was in and share it. Be back soon.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

Loving His Lordship from January 11 2013.

I have a struggle with two areas, Rejoicing in Persecution and Having a Pure Heart.

It is hard to rejoice in persecution when it comes from the people you love. I just try to think that if this is the worst I receive, Praise God. If there is more yet to come, then I look at it as practice in enduring for what is to come. I will not compromise even for my children. I can't. The other is Having a Pure Heart. Not really sure what that means. We are bombarded by sexual immorality everywhere, now I just heard about a church who sexualizes the Jesus/Church relationship?!! How utterly blasphemous!

I found this information on a discernment site that has praise and worship music ratings. But I believe that having a pure heart means other things as well. I hope Pastor Rick will someday write about this.

I like the song ratings system. It is done using the Word of God, and you'd be surprised what songs got one to no stars because of the lyrics. Some of the songs I used to listen to. Deception is so great and so subtle it boggles the mind. Thank God for those who endeavor to expose false teachers, like our Pastor Rick. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS RELY UPON THE WORD OF GOD FOR EVERYTHING. Be a Berean!

The site for the song ratings is located at this url:

The person who runs this site is Sandy Simpson - Apologetics Coordination Team

Love to all my brothers and sisters in Jesus

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Reine Gnade said...

Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

A good translation of the word pure would be "focused." So to be pure in heart means to have a single-minded devotion to LORD Jesus.

To be pure in heart is to seek to live a holy life, because that is the secret to glorifying holy God.