Calvary Road Baptist Church

“SALVATION: A MATTER OF THE HEART”

Romans 10.10 

Eight years ago, I began a series of Sunday evening messages from God’s Word that centered on the spiritual part of the inner man known as the heart. That study was interrupted by the protracted nightly services that we held beginning in the middle of July 2010 that lasted for almost three weeks. We will take up that study once more after an almost eight-year layoff.

I had intended to bring this message two weeks ago, on the evening of September 9th. However, at the last minute that evening I felt it appropriate to have a service devoted to Pastor People Time, in part to address pressing matters and in part to establish continuity knowing Pastor Wong would be here the following week. Therefore, though I will begin this brief series this morning, I plan to proceed with subsequent messages in this series on Sunday nights beginning next Sunday night.

Is it an important study for us as a congregation to resume? I think it is profoundly important, for at least four reasons:

First, because it is a very rare thing these days for a Church to allow a pastor to engage in the kind of evangelism we pursue here at Calvary Road Baptist Church, which is a heart-probing approach to bringing the lost to Christ. A heart-probing approach to evangelism sometimes evokes antagonistic reactions that are observed in very few other ministries. Why so? Because real evangelism, which is heart-probing evangelism, requires real grace. Real grace demands real humility in the face of so staggering an affront to the sinner’s inflated ego when genuinely considering of one’s sinfulness. Real humility is a matter of the heart, Psalm 34.18: 

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” 

God must work in any sinner’s heart for that person to be willing to put up with the anguish that is invariably encountered when the Spirit of God convicts a person of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Second, because the heart, which is not the same as one’s mind and soul, is very difficult to understand fully. The heart, the mind, the conscience, the spirit, and the soul, comprise the immaterial part of every human being. Your heart is part of the nonphysical portion of you, and of each one of us. How do the heart, the mind, the conscience, the spirit, and the soul relate to each other in a person? How does your heart relate to your mind and your conscience and the other immaterial parts of you? I am not sure anyone other than God really knows the answer to that question. However, we will during our study over the next few weeks to try to understand more fully.

Third, this study is important because we are told by the Apostle Paul in Romans 10.10, 

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

Is anything as practically important to a sinner as the salvation of his soul? Is anything more important to you than the salvation of your soul? I cannot think of anything that is, or that should be. So, while your soul’s salvation may not particularly interest you, there is nothing that is more important to your eternal welfare. Therefore, if it is with the heart that someone believes unto righteousness, studying matters of the human heart must be profoundly important even if such things do not seem important to you.

Finally, it should prove interesting to discover how the maternal instincts of some mothers have been or will be, manipulated by their children in their youngster’s efforts to resist the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As well, for those moms who are fully aware of the attempts made by their children to manipulate their maternal instincts, perhaps some will come to see the damage that is done when a child can get away with such manipulation. So, for a variety of reasons and in several ways, our consideration of the heart should alter the way you think about several things. I will not pretend this will be an exhaustive study; only that it will be an important one.

In the New Testament, we find the Greek word kardia. Things cardiac in the English language, having to do with the heart, are derived from this Greek word. Of significance in studying matters related to the heart is that the New Testament use of the word agrees with the Old Testament concept of the heart, as opposed to the way the rest of the Greek-speaking world used the word in the first century. In the Old Testament and the New Testament the heart is seen to be the main organ of spiritual life and is the place in a person where God bears witness to Himself. This according to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.[1]

In Luke 21.34 we see the Lord Jesus Christ teaching about prophesy during the Tuesday afternoon before His crucifixion. On that occasion He said, 

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” 

Surfeiting refers to nausea that accompanies drunkenness.[2] The Lord was referring to the thoughts of people’s hearts as the central organ of the body.[3] Our Lord was advising His listeners against letting their hearts get so carried away by their busyness, by their hustle and bustle, and by their many activities, that they lost their sense of what was happening to their lives.

We also see the heart as the center of the person’s inner life and the place of the forces and functions of the soul and the spirit. In Acts 2.26 we see reference made to the heart of David rejoicing, where he is quoted as saying, 

“Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad.” 

As well, in John 16.22 the Lord Jesus said, 

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” 

In John 16.6 our Lord remarked, “sorrow hath filled your heart.” So, it is in the heart that feelings and emotions, desires and passions, dwell.[4]

I remember being surprised myself many years ago to learn when studying this issue, that the heart is also the seat of understanding and the source of thought and reflection. This is seen from our Lord’s comment about a wicked man’s heart in Mark 7.20-23: 

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. 

Notice, also, the last half of John 12.40: 

“that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” 

In Acts 7.23 the first Christian martyr, Stephen, mentions the heart of Moses as the seat of his thoughts and considerations: 

“And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” 

Thus, no matter how illogical and irrational it might have seemed to some that Moses would risk his lofty and prestigious position in Pharaoh’s court to do so, he wanted to visit his kinsmen. It was a matter of Moses’ heart to connect with his people.

The heart is also shown to be the seat of a man’s will.[5] First Corinthians 4.5: 

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” 

Second Corinthians 9.7: 

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 

Your heart is the place where you make your decisions. You may come to know what you ought to do in the processes of your mind, but it is in your heart that your decisions to act are made, and your will is executed. In our PayCheck Sunday prayer banquet tonight, it will be with your heart that you mull over and come to a decision about your involvement in our PayCheck Sunday Offering next week.[6] My hope and prayer are that the preaching of God’s Word will so affect your mind that you will meditate upon the truth you are exposed to, and what enters your mind during Brother Walpole’s message will make its way to your heart to influence what you do next Sunday.

How many times people know they should not do something but go ahead and choose to do it because they strongly desire to do so in their hearts. As well, how many times people know they should do something, yet they seem unable to bring themselves to doing what they know is right because the evil inclinations of their hearts have not been affected by truth received into the mind. “Thus the heart is supremely the one centre in man to which God turns, in which religious life is rooted, and which determines moral conduct.”[7] First Peter 3.15 illustrates the importance of the heart’s place in the believer’s life and well-being: 

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 

Peter charges believers to be accountable to anyone who puts us on the spot concerning why we think we are Christians and why we are justified in placing our faith in Christ. If they ask you, you are directed to answer and to defend the Christian faith and your part in it. The sacredness of the Lord God in your heart is at stake, depending on how you respond to the challenge of whether you are a Christian and why. Thus, the importance of the heart is firmly established as the center of the inner life of man and the place of the forces and functions of the soul and the spirit, as the seat of understanding, as the source of thought and reflection, and as the seat of every person’s free will.

How cautious we ought to be, therefore, and how well-informed it is necessary to be, considering Jeremiah 17.9, where we learn, 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” 

The answer to this question of who knows the heart? The next verse, Jeremiah 17.10: 

“I the LORD search the heart.” 

The foundation having been laid, when I revisit this matter of the heart I will divide our study into three main parts of unequal length; the belief of the heart, the behavior of the heart, and recommendations related to the heart.

 

- To Be Continued Next Sunday -

 

__________

[1] Gerhard Kittel, editor, Geoffrey W. Bromley, translator, Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965), page 611.

[2] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol II, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1930), page 262.

[3] Kittel, page 611.

[4] Ibid., page 612.

[5] Ibid.

[6] PayCheck Sunday is our church’s annual special offering time, an occasion in which many members choose to reverse tithe, giving 90% of their weekly income and keeping 10% instead of giving 10% and keeping 90%. Our annual Paycheck Sunday freewill offering is extremely helpful with large expenses faced by churches to maintain property and appearance.

[7] Ibid.

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