Calvary Road Baptist Church

“FROM THE HEAD TO THE HEART”

Romans 10.10 

This message may be one of the most important sermons I have ever preached here at Calvary Road Baptist Church because it deals with something I don’t think I have ever addressed as pointedly or as thoroughly as I intend to presently. The reason this message is so important is that it deals with matters crucial to seeing your children come to know Christ and the vitally important matter of getting visitors who come to our Church saved.

Please turn in your Bible to Romans 10.10 and stand with me for the reading of God’s Word: 

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” 

We dealt with Romans 10.5-12 the last time we were in Paul’s letter to the Romans, but the matter now before us is so important that it deserves the more focused attention we will give it at this time.

It is clear from our text that from the human perspective a sinner is saved when he embraces the Gospel by believing in Christ with his heart. Let me suggest that you consider why so many examples in the Bible, and in your experience and mine, give evidence of only seeming to embrace Christ. Sadly, with the passing of time, there are many whose lives do not hold up by giving convincing evidence of the new birth. They claim to be believers in Christ but do not live like genuine Christians regarding their faithfulness and spiritual growth. Consider that the problem might be believing in one’s mind, which is to say believing intellectually, without the necessary embracing of the Lord Jesus with one’s heart.

Recognize that each human being is composed of both material substance and immaterial substance. In this phase of our existence part of each of us is made of stuff and part of each of us is completely nonphysical. The part of you that is stuff is the skin, bones, blood, muscle, and fat. Your brain and your physical heart are stuff. On the other hand, just as important as the physical part of you, and even more important when you die and enter eternity, is the nonphysical portion of you. In God’s Word, the nonphysical portion of you is comprised of different parts of you described as your mind, your soul, your spirit, your conscience, and your heart (which is something other than the muscle that pumps your blood).

Exactly how your mind, your soul, your spirit, your conscience, and your heart are related to the totality of you that is the real you, the eternal you, are not completely understood. However, it seems that what you see with your physical eyes, hear with your physical ears, taste with your physical tongue, touch with your physical skin, and smell with your physical nose, provides information directly into your physical brain, which is most directly used by your nonphysical mind to control your physical body.

Thus, information is very rapidly dumped into your mind from your physical brain and without a great deal of filtering as you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. However, for some reality to affect your heart a more complex series of events occurs. For now, let us understand that Bible truth can be deposited into the mind through the brain by reading the Bible, hearing the Bible taught, or memorizing Scripture. However, for that same truth to then be deposited into your heart you must hide it in your heart, which is most effectively accomplished by memorizing (or remembering) and then meditating.[1]

Let me give you a very brief introduction to winning someone’s heart to Christ, which is a much tougher task than influencing someone’s mind for Christ. And it’s a task that cannot always be done by one person acting alone but must frequently be accomplished by an entire congregation acting in concert to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. With this very brief introduction will be given to you two important assignments. Do you want your children to come to Christ? I sincerely hope so. Then you must diligently apply yourself to the implementation of the tasks I assign you.

And I must warn you. If you do not diligently apply yourself to the fulfillment of the two tasks I assign to you it is less likely that your children will ever come to Christ, and it is further less likely that this Church will survive over the long term in this rapidly changing culture we live in.

Four main topics for us to consider and for me to comment on. Four main topics for you to take notes on, or purpose to consider again when you revisit this sermon after it is posted online. 

Topic #1, THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE MIND AND HEART 

This conflict is obvious and observable. Shakespeare wrote about it in his classic play Romeo and Juliet. Two teenagers in love who tragically committed suicide and thereby damned their souls to Hell because of the affections of their hearts, ignoring the cries to the contrary of their minds. Consider. Your child, fully knowing that when he lies, he will both be caught in the lie and will then be dealt with for the lie, nevertheless chooses to go right ahead and misrepresent the truth. He does what his intellect knows is wrong and will be strongly dealt with so that he can momentarily gratify the desire of his heart. A kid in school gets a detention slip. Rather than take the detention slip home so his dad can sign it, he throws it away, knowing perfectly well that he won’t get away with it and that he will get in even more trouble the next day. Once more the heart overrules the mind. These are examples of the conflict that rages between the heart and the head, between the affections of the heart and the logical functioning of the human mind. But in even more subtle ways than these illustrations show, the affections of the heart hold more sway over one’s life and decisions than cold logic.

This conflict is also shown in Scripture. You have met both men and women who are scrupulously honest in their dealings with others, meticulously fair in the application of their integrity. But that’s their mind. What does the Bible say about that very same person’s heart? 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” 

Jeremiah 17.9. There is also Matthew 15.19: 

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” 

Do you think those who are reported on the evening news to have murdered their spouses and children do not know what they have done was wrong? Did they not realize in their minds that they would be caught and punished for what they did? Of course, they did. The point to be recognized is that the heart is not often subdued by the head, and even then, not for very long. Little chance is there that a person will not eventually do what his heart wants to do, no matter what his mind reasons is beneficial. And when the mind and heart agree to do wrong, there is no hope for the fellow to do right. 

Topic #2, THE CONQUEST OF THE MIND AND THEN THE HEART 

This is what must occur, or there will be no conversion to Christ. First, the mind and then the heart must be conquered by God, but these conquests are affected using means. That is, God doesn’t just move in and crush the human will and then smash the human heart in a powerful display of omnipotent power. Consider the conquest of the unsaved mind and heart as follows:

First, truth is used to conquer the mind. By conquer I do not mean crush, but rather persuade by truth. God’s Word is true. There is no error anywhere in the Bible. So, God uses the truth of His Word to light the darkness of the unsaved man’s mind. The Lord Jesus said, 

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” 

John 8.32. And in John 17.17 our Lord Jesus uttered these words to the Father in prayer: 

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” 

So, the Word of God is of vital importance in bringing the lost to Christ. James 1.18 attests to this reality: 

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” 

It’s as the Word of God speaks to the mind of a man that the man becomes persuaded that the Bible is true, that he is a sinner, and that his sin condemns him. But this truth has little effect on the man’s heart, and thus he goes on his way after a few tears and does not come to Christ. Why doesn’t he turn to Christ? Because it’s with the heart that man believes unto righteousness, and it’s in his heart where his want to is located. He doesn’t embrace the Savior because he doesn’t want to embrace the Savior, no matter his apprehension of the facts. His mind and his heart can be in complete disagreement with no resolution to the conflict in sight. Ask him if he is lost and he will say “Yes.” Ask him if he is going to Hell and he will say, “Yes.” But will he come to Christ? No, for that is a matter of the heart, not the mind.

Next, love is used to conquer the heart. And by conquer I do not mean crush, but rather persuade by love. In most cases, it takes more than the naked truth to woo a man to Christ. As your consideration of First Corinthians 13 will show you, what is required to conquer the heart is not logic, but love. Turn to First Corinthians 13.1-8, where we will read what Paul says about the vital role of love in the Christian’s life, which is in this passage translated by our English word charity: 

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

Please understand, love doesn’t save anyone. Love doesn’t of itself bring anyone to Christ. But love does so influence a sinner’s heart that he is willing to be wooed, he is open to overtures, he is interested in being enlisted. A person may listen to the Gospel if he is not loved, but he will not listen the way he listens if he is loved. I am convinced that sometimes we fail to win our adult children to Christ and are not successful in bringing our adolescent kids to Christ, because we are not demonstrating to them the kind of love we see in First Corinthians 13. That said, let me state once more that love doesn’t save a sinner. Love may have moved God to send His Son Jesus to die for sinners, but that doesn’t usually mean much to sinners until they have experienced some of that love come from God first hand, or second hand from a believer. And even then, such love is not an end, but the means to an end. Once a sinner’s heart has been wooed with love, we are still confronted with the fact that the sinner’s mind and heart conflict. How, then, do you persuade that sinner’s heart to fully consider the truth you’ve deposited in his mind with the preaching of God’s Word or via your witness?

Third, meditation is what applies the truth in your mind to the affections of your heart. So, too, with the lost person. Please turn to Psalm 19.14: 

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” 

We learned from Jeremiah 17.9 that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. But David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, discovered that meditation was key to his mind conveying to his heart that deposit of truth that was so acceptable to the LORD. No doubt he learned it from Joshua 1.8: 

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” 

When someone actively meditates upon the truths of God’s Word, specifically those things which directly apply to your heart’s condition and need, then the truths of God’s Word make their way, by God’s grace and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, from your mind to your heart. And it’s when your heart sees its wickedness against the backdrop of God’s holiness, and when your heart learns the wisdom of fear, that you are most likely to embrace the Savior. 

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” 

our text declares. 

Topic #3, THE EVANGELIZING OF OUR VISITORS 

Let us now apply what we know to determine what things must be done to reach the lost we succeed in bringing to our auditorium. It is very simple.

First, I (which is to say the pastor) must preach to them. First Corinthians 1.21 establishes my priorities and the priorities of every Gospel minister: 

“it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 

No one is saved if the Gospel is not preached. Therefore I (the preacher) must preach the Gospel.

But we must then love them. My job is to get the truth into their heads. It is our job to love them, so their hearts will be willing to be wooed. That’s why you must be here every service. That’s why you must push yourself to meet every new visitor and to greet them, love them, and even be willing to invite them out socially. You don’t need to get theological with anyone. You just need to meet them, shake their hand every service, and love them enough to establish and cultivate a genuine relationship with them.

Third, I (which is to say the preacher) must love them. This is obvious, but it’s harder for a pastor to love visitors in attendance than it is for you to love visitors in attendance. My privilege is to both pastor the Church and to love the lost. Your opportunity is to come here and love the lost. You have comparatively little else to do until I preach and nothing else to do after I preach. Loving the lost is your ministry before and after Church. If you will but love the lost, you are serving God. And as quickly as I can do so, I will do the same. But it’s harder for me because there is only one of me.

Fourth, you must “meditate” them. What is it to “meditate” them? It’s a term I have invented to describe a real thing. It is unlikely that a lost person will come to Christ until he meditates on the truth he has been exposed to until he or she seriously ponder and considers what they have heard me preach. Help the lost to do that by meditating them. Make sure they get a bulletin. Sit next to them and make sure they stay awake. Ask them if they are planning on looking up the sermon online when it is posted to the Church website. Ask them a question or two about the sermon. “What did you think of pastor’s contrast between love according to the Bible and love the way most people think of it?” My suggestion is that you not teach them but ask questions that will get them to thinking about what I have preached. Getting them to think about the sermon will be of tremendous help in seeing them come to Christ. During the week call the visitor you’ve met at Church. Briefly chat with that person. Bring up the sermon again and ask if he’s been thinking about it, assuring him that it would be good for him to think about it. And suggest that if he has any questions to call the pastor. And then, of course, pray for that person. Pray that he will meditate on the truths he has heard preached and that his heart will come to receive the truth willingly. After all, no man is saved against his will. The heart must be won or else the soul will not be saved. Your involvement in encouraging this process is what I mean by meditating them. 

Topic #4, THE EVANGELIZING OF YOUR CHILDREN 

I present six urgent priorities for parents:

First, you must bring your children to Church. The preaching of God’s Word is the single most important means of grace. You should never allow your child to miss a Church service for any reason other than serious illness or family vacation. It is never appropriate to allow your children to spend the night with someone else if it means they miss Church, or to participate in any activity if it means they will miss a Church service. Whatever they miss a Church service for will come to be felt by them to be as important as, or more important than, the Church service. And nothing is more important than a Church service. Also, never send your kids to a Church service. Bring them to Church.

Second, I (which is to say the preacher) must preach to your children. That is my calling. That is my ministry. That is what God wants me to do. So, just as soon as your children are old enough to begin their training to sit in the auditorium, you should begin training them to sit still in the auditorium. And from the time they start sitting in the auditorium, it is appropriate to begin holding them accountable for what is being preached, according to their ability to grasp and understand. The ushers will give you a handout at the end of the service that will guide you in how you can prepare your child to be a good listener in Church, thereby preparing your child to hear the saving Gospel with understanding.

Third, you must love your children. This may seem obvious to you, but it needs to be stated. Do you love your child if you do not pray for your child to be saved? Do you love your child if you do not attend every service with your child? Do you love your child if you do not require your adult child to attend Church or find someplace else to live, to mitigate the negative influence the older child has on, the younger siblings? I don’t personally think so. So, love your child enough to have some personal standards about attending and paying attention in Church. Love your child enough to require him to be able to feedback to you the content of the messages he has heard, and to apply them as his maturity warrants.

Fourth, I (which is to say the preacher) must love your children. I love your child by treating them as adults, by dealing with them, and by being a good listener to them always. I can’t imagine a child being converted in a Church where the pastor doesn’t love him. But that doesn’t mean the pastor’s love cannot be negated by the timidity, inattention, or slothfulness of the parents, because it most certainly can be. It is highly unlikely that any child whose so-called Christian parents are not faithful to Church will be converted. It is highly unlikely that any child whose so-called Christian parents do not make faithful Church attendance mandatory to continue living at home after reaching adulthood will be converted.

But on top of that, I think it is profoundly important that I love your child. And I do. Therefore, please do not say or do anything that will diminish the impact of my love for them because, as an old Puritan once said, “That man who will not regard the preacher in his bosom will never regard the preacher in the pulpit.” And he was right.

Fifth, you must catechize your children. That is, you penetrate their minds with the simple truths so crucial to their soul’s salvation. How? Consider the approach presented by Moses to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6.4-7: 

4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 

A modern alternative I would recommend is faithfully using Spurgeon’s Catechism with your children, reviewing it and memorizing it yourself with them.[2] No kid who memorized and discussed Spurgeon’s Catechism with his parents will likely go far wrong.

Sixth, you must “meditate” your children. Remember, we are working to get truth from the mind to the heart. I preach to them. You catechize them. We both love them. And then you review again and again my sermons and instructions, almost meditating for them. With much prayer, perhaps God’s truth will begin to grip their hearts. 

This has been a most basic and preliminary sermon on this subject, but I think it’s a good start. I hope it lays the foundation for your deep personal involvement in the spiritual lives of your children. To help you prepare your kids for Church, I have prepared, “How To Listen To A Sermon.” A copy may be obtained by contacting the Church office. Obtain and then read it, so you will understand what is so crucial to your children’s understanding of the Gospel that is preached.[3]

Let us remember that more is required than an appeal to a visitor’s mind or a child’s head. Having convinced the mind of the need for Christ, we must prayerfully be about the business of seeking to persuade the heart to lay hold of our wonderful Savior.

__________

[1] Joshua 1.8; Psalm 1.2; 63.6; 119.11, 15, 23, 48, 78, 148; 1 Timothy 4.15

[2] Available from Chapel Library, Pensacola, Florida by calling (850) 438-6666 or emailing [email protected], a ministry of Mt. Zion Bible Church.

[3] Please call (626) 357-2711, ext. 10, or go to www.CalvaryRoadBaptist.Church to send an email request.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

[email protected]