Posts Tagged ‘Heart’


Sometimes I feel alone in my struggles. I know other folks feel that way, because they have told me. Friends seem to have forgotten us, we feel isolated, the Word of God is dry and comfortless and our prayers seem to hit the ceiling and bounce back. I do not struggle with depression, but I know many people that do. I usually tell them to make a list of all the things and people they are grateful for, and even to write letters to people expressing their thanks. But still they struggle. No matter how much “Bible” we know, no matter how much serving we do, sometimes we just feel alone, or “blah” or “blue” or “empty” or ___________… just fill in the blank. We can’t put it into words. At the root of it all, God seems distant…

When God seems Absent

I ran across a verse that I knew about, but the Holy Spirit used it to shout at me.

2 Chronicles 32:31 And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.

If I could offer some encouragement to you, allow me to pass on some light and truth…Whenever you are going through whatever you are going through, do two things.

1. Thank God for testing your heart.

2. Look to God and (after doing a heart check) tell Him you will never desert Him.

God does leave us at times. I know that runs contrary to what preachers tell us, but, even though the Holy Spirit indwells us, sometimes He leaves us alone. God wants to know what is really in our heart. Picture Peter being led out of the prison. As soon as the Angel got Peter to the road, a safe distance form the guards, He left him. The Angel disappeared. Peter was free to do whatever his heart wanted. He could have fled, but Peter chose to join his friends, to tell them the good news.

God was with David, and while David was on the run, God protected him from Saul and encounters with the Philistines. But when David lived among the Philistines, God seemed to leave him. Finally David reached that horrible moment in Ziklag, when his wife and children had been kidnapped, his possessions burnt, and his mighty men had taken up stones to kill him. At that moment God saw what was in David’s heart. David encouraged himself in the Lord!

God wants our heart to be His! Even in distress, sorrow, hardship and yes, when we feel all alone. He is always watching, He is always waiting, and He is always wanting you to give your heart to Him. No coercion, no gifts attached. He wants you to give your heart to Him simply because He is God.

When you have those moments, or days, weeks or even months of feeling alone, discouraged, and even abandoned…look up to God and realize He is looking at your heart. He wants to know what is in your heart. When you realize God always has purpose, even when you feel He has left you, stop looking within and look at Him! Do a heart check, and shout out with David:

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. (Psalm 119:93-94)

Even when you feel God has left you, do not leave Him. Declare “I am yours!” Remember, God wants to see what is in your heart.

Fools say in their heart, “there is no God. (Psalm 14:1)

Wise men say “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psalm 73:26)

How did David survive an impossible calamity? How will you survive those times of personal struggle? How will you go on to excel and overcome like David. The answer is revealed in Psalms 57, when David barely escaped from King Saul in the cave. David wrote:

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Psalm 57:7 

My Heart is Fixed

Is your heart fixed on God? Is your heart firmly in God, even when you feel alone and abandoned? How about when you have suffered a horrible loss? What about when your friends want you dead? Is your heart still fixed on God then?

This is what God wants. He wants your heart to be firmly fixed upon Him, even when you have lost it all!

If your heart is fixed in the bad times, God will “FIX” your heart for all your times! Will you pass His test? Learn to worship Him at all times, even when He seems to be absent!

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The movie “Up in the Air” was about the character played by George Clooney whose job it was to fly around to all these companies that were downsizing, and then personally lay-off all these people. The reactions of the people is sad, sometimes funny, but always filled with emotion. Along comes a whipper-snapper out of college and convinces the President of George Clooney’s company that they can save a lot of money by laying off these people via a computer video-conference.

In one of the trials to see how it would work, the young person tells a 30 year employee that he is laid-off.  The guy goes ballistic, starts yelling, where are you, and starts looking behind the computer monitor and eventually throws it down and storms out of the room. The problem with their plan was that taking someone’s livelihood is a very personal thing. It was better to do it “face-to-face.”

In this digital world, you can talk to your friends instantly via email, Facebook, Twitter, and certainly you can find comfort and strength through digital contact. Churches are even sprouting up that don’t have a building, the Pastor preaches and teaches from his home or an office, people can talk to each other online, they can give donations online. The whole service is online. This world may get more and more impersonal, but there will always be a need for that face to face contact. When you are in a real crisis, or you have an emotional need, you need someone looking at you, being with you, touching you, offering you strength and encouragement.

God wants us to know that He wants to be our “face-to-face” God. He is not some impersonal, unfeeling, lightning bolt tossing God. He has shown His love for us in the face of His Son Jesus Christ.

Face to Face With The Son of God

We must realize our need to see the face of Jesus because we are dealing with the most personal subject of all in Romans 2, our sins. The Psalmist wrote in Ps 27:8 “You have said, “Seek my face.” And he responded, “My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

In Romans 2, God is talking forcefully about something very personal-our sins. You can only have one of two reactions as a result of looking at our verses this morning, you will either turn away from the face of Jesus Christ, or your will humbly turn to His face.

The truth is that we will all have an exit interview when we depart this life. The one conducting that interview will be the one whom this week almost 2000 years ago, was beaten, scourged, and crucified until His face was no longer recognizable. But when you have your exit interview, you will know who He is!

The question before us as we consider the Passion week of Jesus Christ: Are you ready to for your Face to Face Meeting With the Son of God?

Verse 1: Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.

1.  We Must Guard Against a Condemning Heart

The world is depraved in practice and debased in their thinking, yet we have no excuse to judge them. Paul uses “krino” – To judge, to form and express a judgment or opinion as to any person or thing, more commonly unfavorable. By implication to condemn. CWSD. Paul is saying to watch our condemning heart. For when our heart condemns others, we reveal that we are guilty as well.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3 (ESV)

When we condemn others we reveal by our heart attitude that we may be guilty of the same sin which led to the behavior we are condemning. Judging hearts reveal that we are guilty of practicing the same thing

Here is how a condemning heart can infect us and make us guilty of the same sin.

“I’ll never be like my father!”

A young man grew up with a scoundrel for a father. He was a drunkard, he cheated on his wife, and he neglected the children. When this young man was thinking about marriage, he said in his heart “I’ll NEVER be like my father!” He certainly wasn’t “like” his father as far as outward actions were concerned. He didn’t drink, he was faithful to his wife, and he was an excellent father to his children. However, his wife started becoming distant. There was obvious trouble in their marriage. One day the wife let lose “You are just like your father!” He was heartbroken. How could that be he asked?

The problem in his life was that when he made his father the “standard of comparison” for his life, and condemned him in his heart, he set up an emotional focus that tainted his heart. Sure, he refused to do the outward things that his father did, but inwardly, his was just like his father! His wife was focusing on his ATTITUDES when she said he was just like his father. She told him you are bitter, proud, selfish and unloving. Only when he confessed his sin, forgave and thanked God for his father was he able to see that destructive emotional focus changed. He began to focus on Jesus Christ! Only by giving his heart to Jesus was a change effected.


Verse 2, 3 & 4: We know that the judgment(decision) of God rightly falls (IS ACCORDING TO Christ’s TRUTH Standard) on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge (condemn) those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment (decision) of God? Or do you presume (look down your nose)on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

2.  We Must Guard Against a Proud Heart

In these verses Paul is addressing the Jew who believes himself to be “Morally Upright”, the gentile who believes he practices the correct “religion”. God says to “Check your heart” – blessings do not guarantee your status with Him. No one will escape the judgment (krimo-meaning decision) of  God. God will examine our hearts and will make a decision (judgment) regarding our eternity, and it is based on The Standard, the Truth that Jesus Christ came to reveal.

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37 (ESV)

The Judgment here is (krima),  a decision rendered whether good or bad. (Wuest). Presume (despise in KJV) means to look down one’s nose.  It amounts to contempt of God’s goodness if a man does not know (or ignores) that His goodness does not mean the approval of his sins, but to lead him to repentance. This very ignorance is contempt for God.


Verse 5: But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

3.  Your Heart Determines the Face you Will See

Sin reveals the nature of your heart:

  • Judging others
  • Expecting special treatment
  • Thinking you are better because you are blessed
  • Being Confident in your “stuff”

God says you must Believe in Your Heart

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); Romans 10:8 (ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Faith comes from your heart

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Mark 11:22-23 (ESV)

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 (ESV)

The condition of your heart will be the focus of God’s decision about your eternity. The only way your heart can pass the “exit interview” is if it has become NEW. You must be “born again”! If you refuse to honor God, your heart will become hard and unrepentant. Such a hard heart is storing up wrath for the day of judgment, when you see God face to face!

God’s Righteous Judgment Will be Revealed

  • The Day of God’s Wrath is Coming

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:15-17 (ESV)


Verse 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10: He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

4.  Your Works Reveal Your Heart and Determine Your Rewards

This is not a contradiction from being saved by grace. This is a reinforcement of James, as well as a condemnation of those who believe they will be saved by their works. This will be made more apparent as we work through Romans 3.

Our works must proceed from a heart that has been made righteous. Our “well-doing”  is motivated by honor, glory and immortality. Our heart is uncorrupted.

  • Results in eternal life
  • glory, honor and peace
  • Simply having knowledge or feelings but no works is not enough.

If we remain as we normally are, we will be self-seeking, motivated by disobedience of the truth and unrighteousness. We will experience God’s:

  • Wrath and fury
  • tribulation and distress

Paul is simply building his case that we ALL need a Savior. There is none righteous, no not one!


Verse 11 & 12: For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

5.  God Never Makes Exceptions

God judges each one by the same standards. How often do we hear at funerals: “If anyone is good enough for heaven, it’ll be Uncle Harry.” The truth is that NO ONE is good enough for heaven. There are no exception clauses, no special provisions. God judges each of us the same. There will be no exceptions, no “special cases”!

  • If you are ignorant of God’s Law, God will judge you by your own law
  • If you have God’s Law, God will judge you by that Law

You may think you are the exception, that your righteousness is enough. You will wake up in hell holding your church membership.
You will wake up in hell holding your baptism certificate. You will wake up in hell holding your giving receipt. God is no one to trifle with or ignore. God looks at your heart! God KNOWS your heart!

  • Not how many verses you have memorized
  • He knows the obedience of your heart.
  • He knows the pride of your heart.

Verse 13: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

6.  Righteousness and Works are Inseparable

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law for all those who accept Him as their RIGHTEOUSNESS!

  • Do you walk the talk
  • Do you Live the Word
  • There is no division of heart and works
  • The justified heart is revealed in righteous works
  • Faith that Works is a real faith
  • Paul is building a case here, which will lead to Jesus Christ in US as the fulfiulment of the Law!

God will declare us righteous or justified on the basis of our heart works. In the case of dikaióō, it means to bring out the fact that a person is righteous. CWSD

Do You Have Both of Your Oars?

1,975 years ago Jesus Christ invited us to “Walk with me. Teach with me. Feed others with me. Wash feet with me. Also feed me. Give me water. Clothe me. Visit me. Follow Me!” He commanded. He Wanted Acts of Faith! No thoughts of faith. No feelings of faith. No commands to intense sincerity or intense convictions of faith (apart from works by themselves.)

It appears that God is not “into” a faith that sits in a pew. He is “into” a faith that acts, a faith that works, not a “faith” that just thinks or feels, no matter how strongly or sincerely.

  • Works will never transport anyone into the Kingdom of God. (Pharisees?)
  • Simply adding works to an existing “faith” (trying to “beef up” or somehow enhance our belief/so-called “faith”) will not please God. (Legalism)
  • The only thing that will please God … righteousness by faith. What kind of righteousness?The kind that doesn’t sit in the pew thinking “how holy I am”, but a righteousness that is evident by the works that it produces.

If you or I are not seeing in our lives the proof of a faith that is alive — the proof being works of faith — the solution is NOT to run around trying to score points with Him by working and serving. That would be the fruitless concentrating on the result:  (like stapling apples to a tree in order to make it an apple tree.) The solution is to drop to our knees and allow our hearts to marinate in His presence daily (the Word, prayer, fellowship, teaching, …) in such a way that we begin to take on His heart … (fertilizing the tree such that it bears fruit) … our heart begins to look like His, to reflect His. THEN, once we begin to share His love of serving, we can be confident that the Holy Spirit is transforming our heart. .


Verse 14 & 15: For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

7.  Face to Face with our Judge, We will have no Excuse

  • Even Ignorant Gentiles have a law written not on stones but on their heart
  • Their conscience bears witness
  • Conflicting thoughts accuse and excuse
  • Mental illness, guilt, depression are all signs of the violation of God’s moral law.

Verse 16: on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

8.  God Will Judge the Secrets of Our Heart by Jesus Christ

God will judge the world through Jesus Christ, as Jesus Himself declared: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, John 5:22

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31 (ESV)

Paul in verses 17-29 proceeds to take apart any misconception that righteousness and the approval of God has anything  to do with what they are or what they do.

vs 23: They boast in the law but they break the law.

You boast in your belief in God’s Word but you break God’s Word. If you want to be upright before God, it must be because of a changed heart, by the Spirit, not by your effort.

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:28-29 (ESV)

You are not a Christian because everyone looks at you and says, you are a Christian. You may be faithful, you may pray, you may tithe, you may be the most moral person in the world. But if you do not have a New Heart, If you have not been born again of God’s Holy Spirit, you are simply seeking the praise of man. You are doing instead of BEING!

  • Jesus Christ is our Judge.

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV)

  • Jesus Christ has set the Standard

Do you have the righteousness of Jesus? Can you say you have defeated Satan in every area of your life? Can you say you have never lied, stolen, lusted, coveted in your heart?

God will one day reveal the secrets of your heart.

What Secrets Are You Hiding?

Unless you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the wrath of God is upon you even now. You are but a breath away from experiencing the wrath of Almighty God! Pastor, that is cruel! How can you speak to me that way? Don’t you know I give a lot of money to God’s works? Don’t you know that I pray for this church? Don’t you know that I am a good person?

That may be, and we appreciate it, but my concern for each one in this church is that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and that you realize it is not by any of your works that give you favor with God. It is only because of Jesus Christ that your sins have been forgiven, and you have been born again by your faith in Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to face Jesus Christ? Are you ready to look upon Him? Are you ready to place your fingers in his side, to feel the scars on His hands. Do you want to know what God thinks of your sin, even your self-righteous works?

Look at the face of the Crucified Christ.

  • I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:6-7 (ESV)
  • Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 (ESV)
  • Just as there were many who were appalled at him– his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness– Isaiah 52:14 (NIV)
  • But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Psalms 22:6-8 (ESV)

You are Face to Face With the Wrath of God!

  • If you want to face the wrath of God, then turn away from Jesus. Turn away from the crucified one. Spit upon him, pull his beard, pound the crown of thorns on his head.
  • Here, take the cat of nine and peel the flesh from his back. Beat him until he is not recognizable.
  • Here, mock him, gamble for his robe. Treat him like the dog you think he is.
  • Perhaps you say I would never do that. I’m, too good.
  • Your good works are as filthy rags to God.
  • If you depend upon any of your efforts to get to heaven, you might as well start whipping Jesus, because you are saying that His crucifixion wasn’t good enough. You need to help Jesus out.

We all have a face to face with Jesus Christ. We will know what God thinks of our self-righteousness when we gaze upon the face of Jesus.

  • He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.   John 3:36 (KJV)
  • For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Romans 1:18 (KJV)
  • But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.   Romans 2:5 (ESV)
  • For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,   1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV)

Are You Ready for Your FACE TO FACE WITH JESUS CHRIST?

Face to face with Christ my Savior,
Face to face, what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ, who died for me?

Chorus
Face to face shall I behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory
I shall see Him by and by!

Face to face! oh, blissful moment!
Face to face to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ, who loves me so.


Visit with seasoned saints and it doesn’t take long for someone to ask the question “what is wrong with this world?” Especially when the conversation turns to gay marriage, immorality of politicians or athletes or movie stars or teenagers or anyone for that matter. God has given us the answer to “what is wrong with this world?”. It is found in Romans 1:18-32. Basically the world is thinking upside down, and our attitude toward God is the determining factor! God has let us peek into the way He works when we react to Him the way we do. The bottom line is that our spiritual, emotional and mental health depend upon a right relationship to Him. Anything less will result in thinking and living that is “upside down” as far as God is concerned.

FOUNDATION of WORTHWHILE LIVING

“Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (HCSB)

Both God and the Jews consider this foundational truth for living a a life that is worthwhile.  Jehovah God must be honored with all or our life, beginning with His place in our heart. Romans 1:18-23 paints the big picture of what happens when we do not properly honor God, fail to see Him at work in our lives (thank Him) and exalt ourselves over Him (vain thinking).  Their foolish hearts become darkened and they become fools-‘moraino’-worthless and good for nothing to God!

The God we worship depends upon our heart, and what we hold dear in our heart. From our heart proceeds reverence or dishonor. That feeds our emotional soul and results in a thankful attitude. An irreverent heart results in resentment and bitterness in our emotional being. Our emotional soul feds our mind and either empowers us to set our minds upon God or upon ourselves. If we set our minds on ourselves we will worship a god of our own making.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Furthermore, if we chose to worship God in only one or even two of these areas of our life, wrong worship will be the result:

  1. If we honor God in our heart alone and neglect our emotions and thinking, we will love ANY god.
  2. If we honor God with our emotions yet withhold our heart and our mind, we will be emotional about EVERY god.
  3. If we set our mind on God without giving Him our heart and our emotions, we will make our OWN god.

PARADIDOMAI AND EVIL SHADOWS

Because men would not glorify God, would not make God part of their life by remembering to thank Him, and then ignored Him by becoming vain in their thinking, Creator God “gives them up” to the consequences of their unbelief – the control of sin.

“Gave up” is paradidōmi: “to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use.” Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God issues not only a permissive sentence, but a judicial one, whereby men discover that failure to worship God and seek after him leads to enslavement to the most hideous things, things which they thought were worth worshipping.

Remember the Movie “GHOST”?

“Paradidomi” pictures a man being delivered to prison to be subject to the power and authority of a wicked warden. If you are a fan of “Ghost” picture the scene toward the end where the evil “shadow spirits” come and take Carl Bruner (the villain) away to eternal torment. We are all applauding to know such a horrible man finally gets what he deserves.

Wuest points out that this “giving up” was first begun by man. “These people had already willfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man’s moral freedom.”

The sad truth is that any man who rejects God as God, and fails to worship His Glory, is subject to the same fate. Not just “murderers” like the character Carl Bruner. God says that any man who fails to honor and worship Him in their heart is a worthless “MORON!” Actually the word is ‘moraino’, but the same meaning is implied. Most translations use the word “FOOL.”

I COULD USE THE WORD “FOOL”, BUT I LIKE USING MORON.

God wants us to have a vivid picture of what happens when we neglect Him or deliberately fail to Worship Him. He gives us Three Pictures of the Downward Descent of Mankind when they forget God and go their own way. The evil shadow spirits are allowed to dominate and control MORONS.

Three times Romans 1 records that God “paradidomi” man. Three times God gives man up to the control of sin. Each time the consequences are frightening. The shocking image of the “evil shadows”  of “Ghost” are nothing compared to the images we will paint this morning.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to call your sister or your brother a moron. There is nothing personal about this at all, it is simply using a graphic “English” word for “moraino”, which is what people become when they “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for … anything else. (Rom 1:22-23)

What Does God Deliver Morons to Be Tormented By?

GOD DELIVERS MORONS UP THREE TIMES TO THREE EVIL SHADOWS

But we are without excuse. These “evil shadows” are not outside of man, blending in with all the shadows of dark and light. These ‘evil shadows’ lurk within the wicked heart of every man. We can never say “the devil made me do it!”, for we make decisions that allow these ‘evil shadows’ to take our heart, and then all sorts of wickedness begins.

The First Place These Shadows Rule Will Always Be Your Heart!

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 (ESV)

But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25 (ESV)

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)

“the land of gloom (is) like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where (even) light is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22 (ESV)

These Evil Shadows lurk DEEP inside the heart of man, and when unrestrained and allowed to control us, procede to corrupt our emotional health and then our mental health.

God’s ways are above ours, and usually just opposite of what we would think. We think that as mankind becomes more enlightened, more educated, the more civilized we will become. We believe it is the enlightened mind that guides society. Therefore we place great emphasis on education and training our minds. We believe if you think right you will act right.

GOD ALWAYS STARTS IN OUR HEART

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2 (ESV) and also Psalms 53

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14

Our heart has a brain of its own, one that is not educated by thought but is educated by what we say, see, touch and do. The heart influences our thoughts, our actions, our health, and our influence upon others. God knows that faith begins in your heart. If you believe in your heart…Romans doesn’t address the mind until chapter 12. God deals with the sin that is our heart nature. God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The world will tell you that God doesn’t make sense to a rational thinking man, but your heart will tell you otherwise. You mind will tell you that what happens in your life is all happenstance, that God doesn’t care or have control, so it is fruitless to give Him thanks. But your heart rejoices in Him anyway and gives Him thanks. Your mind can’t make sense of pain and tragedy, but all of a sudden your heart will burst forth with joy in the midst of sorrow. God tells us in Prov 23:26, my son, give me your heart! When we refuse to be converted to His way and His truth, our heart is easily taken over by our sin nature, by the lusts that lurk in every corner of our heart, in every corner of the world.

A heart that believes and trusts in God and His Word can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)

THE FIRST GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

I. Uncleanness, Impurity, and Filthiness

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:24-25 (ESV)

  • Neither English word conveys what first century people would think when they heard the Greek word akatharsia.

akatharsia from a = without + kathairo = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and could refer to the pus around an open, infected wound or even a decaying corpse.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (akatharsia). (Mt 23:27)

Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart that makes the person defiled.

Other Verses:

  • Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21 “that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness”
  • Ephesians 5:3 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.”

Given these, we can draw some conclusions about what this word might have “meant” to a first century Greek-speaking audience. Most everyone views decomposing bodies as disgusting and unclean, but for a Jew, this type of uncleanness would have had an additional ceremonial dimension. To a Jew you would not even be fit to approach the Temple. You would be ceremonially unclean and physically a leper, unfit to worship.

When we say “impure” and “unclean” English people get a picture of Ivory Soap or a dirty bathroom.

Let me suggest two possible alternatives:

Corruption- The most common meaning of corruption centers around political dishonesty. We complain about “corrupt” officials. However, it can also be used to describe physical decay. Consider these definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary: “moral perversion; depravity”, “perversion of integrity” and “putrefactive decay; rottenness”.

Defilement-This word is rarely used in English, and carries with it an explicit religious connotation. “To defile” is the exact opposite of “to consecrate”. Random House gives these definitions for defile: “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase” and “to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate”. So “defilement” is essentially “impurity”, but a special kind of impurity; one that is religious or sacramental. If I had to pick an exact opposite for the word “sanctification” in English it would be “defilement”.

GOD’S GIVING OVER MANKIND TO LUST IS DONE IN TWO WAYS.

IndirectlyGod gives them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations, and churches…

Directly-God gives over rebellious mankind by specific acts of judgment. The Bible is has many accounts of God’s wrath being directly and supernaturally poured out on sinful men. The flood of Noah’s day destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 18:20, 19:24,25, 26), for example, were not indirect natural consequences of sin but were overt supernatural expressions of God’s judgment on gross and unrepented sin. God often allows men to go deeper and deeper into sin in order to drive them to despair and to show them their need of Him. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)

What Results When Evil Shadows Take Control of our Heart?

  • Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24
  • because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

Uncleanness and depravity is the result of the lust within their own hearts, and results in dishonoring our bodies, abusing our bodies, abusing others. When we fail to honor the Truth of God, and instead worship what we chose, or what we think is right, corruption and depravity will be the natural result.

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

The First Giving over to results in hearts being wicked to the point of accepting and tolerating immoral behavior.

The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Note that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world.

  • Idolatry usually results in sexual immorality.

Pastor Ray Pritchard has an interesting insight:

“Why is illicit sex singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart. After all, what is sex but the desire to be worshiped by another person? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. When two people come together, they are seeking much more than physical release. At a very deep level, they are looking for love, acceptance, fulfillment, freedom and meaning in life. By giving themselves to someone else, they hope (and secretly pray) that through this self-giving, they will discover a way to fill the void within. They “worship” through sex hoping someone will “worship” them back. Sex and worship are thus closely related in their ultimate purpose. It is as if God is pulling back the covers in order to show us how empty our hearts are without him. By turning to illicit sex, instead of fulfilling our dreams we only expose the emptiness within. It never works out like we hope it will. Immorality never satisfies…

Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work.

The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely tolerated and even accepted.

THE SECOND GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

II.   Vile Affections, Degrading Passions and Shameful Desires

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.” For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27

  • The Greek words for degrading passions are atimia pathos.

Atimia: means to lower down from a place of honor. A picture is painted of something which is literally not honorable, not worthy of respect, reverence or esteem. It emphasizes the loss of honor that was once enjoyed = cf man originally created in God’s image), disgrace (to be a source of shame to & often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism), ignominy (deep personal humiliation and disgrace, disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action. This noun stresses humiliation).

Pathos: Pathos means passion and comes from the word pascho which means to suffer; to experience a sensation or impression (usually of a painful nature). A passion is a drive or force that does not rest until satisfied. These are internal desires (emanating from our fallen sin nature) cause the victim to suffer and that have to be satisfied or they drive you crazy. A passion describes intense emotion compelling action; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection; sexual desire or an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. The word “desires” (when used as noun as in the present context) means to have a longing for and stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim; conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.

We all have desires and passions. They are influenced by our heart, not by our mind, for they emanate from our heart. When our heart is corrupted, these desires can run wild, and corrupted passions result in degradation, falling from a place of honor as God’s Creation, into something corrupt and dishonorable. The natural end of those corrupted passions running wild is the ultimate dishonor upon God’s design for our bodies-to procreate, to love a wife or husband in covenant marriage, to raise up Godly generations after us.

GOD’S DESIGN IS CORRUPTED

“As distinguished from epithumia (lusts) in verse 24, pathē (passions), is the narrower and intense word. epithumia is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of pathos is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring.

  • epithumia are evil longings; pathē, ungovernable affections.

Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire.”Wuest’s.

  • When hearts become corrupt, immorality results from unrestrained lust.
  • When passions become degraded, perversion results because we become diseased.

MEN WHO “ABANDON” OR “LEAVE”

Abandoned  (aphiemi from apo = separation, dissociation + hiemi = send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and thus means to send away or to let go from oneself. Aphiemi was used for example of the action of dismissing a wife. The idea is to let go from one’s possession!

The verb abandoned is aorist tense (action at a moment in time, speaks of effective action) and active voice (subject makes a choice of their will to carry out this action). Thus these men made a deliberate, conscious choice of their will to abandon the natural for the unnatural.

Pastor Ray Pritchard once more:

More than anything else, homosexuality is a willful choice. No one can say, “I was born that way.” No one is born homosexual. No one. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of the Bible or has deliberately perverted its teaching. You can talk all you want about genetics, the size of the hypothalamus, about absent fathers, over-protective mothers, about early sexual confusion, and even about sexual abuse. Some of those things may indeed create a predisposition to this particular sin.

But the fact remains: Every act of homosexuality—whether in word or deed or in lustful thought—every single act is a personal moral choice. Temptation is not the issue because temptation in and of itself is not a sin (cp James 1:14-note).

But giving in to temptation—whether mentally, verbally or in actual deed—is a sin (James 1:15-note). That’s a moral choice for which God will hold you 100% accountable. You can’t blame your choices on your hypothalamus! You can’t even blame your father for his failure to be there when you needed him…As a society moves away from God, one mark of its drift into judgment is widespread homosexuality. The tragic fact is that this is exactly where America is today. (Romans 1:24-32 When God Gives Up)

The Second Giving Over results in Emotions and Passions becoming Vile, Degraded and Out of Control.

The heart is corrupted and no longer guides the emotions into that which is right. SO emotional health becomes vile, even depraved, and wrong, even abominable passions result. Emotional Disease Results. Our emotional psyche becomes conditioned to depravity. Christans, God doesn’t want us to know about or even talk about these vile passions. We are to be simple, and experts in that which is good! We are to “Walk in the Light!”

  • “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Rom 16:19
  • Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Eph 5:8-12

THE THIRD GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

III.   Reprobate, Debased, Depraved Mind

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)

The result of the refusal in Romans 1:18-32 was the “reprobate mind.” Paul uses the phrase: “adokimos nous”.

Adokimos: Debased, depraved, REPROBATE (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

Look at the end result: “they refused to have God in their knowledge (ouk edokimasan),” and “God gave them up to a reprobate (= unacknowledged, adokimos) mind.” So God let them have a mind that is void of any divine characteristics.

  • Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.
  • The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

The Reprobate Mind has a giant “A” stamped on their head and heart.

They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
  • 2 Timothy 3:8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (literally set themselves against) the truth, men of depraved (destroyed, ruined, corrupted = kataphtheiro) mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the faith.
  • Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless (adokimos – unfit, of proven inability to do good) for any good deed.

The Third sign is that Society has lost their spiritual mind and doesn’t even realize it.

More Dangerous Than Sin Itself:

These men had ”tested” God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the ability to think right. He has “lost his mind” (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn’t even know it.

So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is “right in his own eyes.”

“God gave them up,” “handed them over”—to punishing angels? No, to themselves and the life they have chosen. A life of falsehood, alienated from the true God and the true world he has created, is punishment enough.

13 STEPS TO HAVING A REPROBATE MIND

13. Argumentation – reprobate mind given to perversion – judgment certain
12. Justify immorality – cannot think clearly
11. Re-examine Scripture – doubt
10. Frustration over drives – confusion
9. Religious compensation – rationalize
8. Incomplete repentance – feeling sorry is not enough; root sin of self on the throne
7. Response to guilt – suppress the truth
6. Awakening of guilt – conviction
5. Violation of conscience – law in the heart
4. Questioning Scripture – dangerous; Eve’s root sin
3. Sensual focus – eye toward lust
2. Awakening of conscience – reasoning with the mind – dangerous
1. Natural curiosity – nothing wrong with this – God gave to Adam and Eve

(From IBLP-Bill Gothard)

MAN’S THINKING IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

  • People who are turned upside down in their thinking refuse to acknowledge God as God and furthermore, refuse to thank Him for being God and loving them the way He does.
  • They became Morons (foolish, and showing no thought) in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.
  • They argue stupidly and vainly against God and His Word. Their silly minds become darker and sillier.
  • These reprobates believe they are wise, because their thinking is “upside down”. Instead of wise they are now MORONS, worshipping stuff of no eternal Value, or their pet idols or belief’s. They push God out of their lives or leave him in a dark corner, or even create their our own god.
  • God gives up on them up, allowing their foul desires to become addictive to the point of dishonoring their bodies. Life becomes a game with no real meaning or purpose.
  • These people no longer know the truth of God. They can’t even begin to comprehend it, so “upside down” are their minds. They are prey for liars and deceivers. God hands them over to be dominated and controlled by their sinful and unrighteous passions.
  • Sinful perversions warp the souls of the reprobate. They are no longer in control of their mind, will and emotions.
  • Reprobates are slaves of their degenerate (upside down) minds.
  • Reprobate minds have no shame over their actions, no matter how vile, and in fact give approval to others who do the same things.

THEY FILL THEIR LIVES WITH:

According to Romans 1:29, this person’s life will become “filled with” unfitting and inappropriate practices. “Being filled with” is from the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o) meaning a life so full of itself it will be full of these things listed as the consequence. “All” can be inserted in front of each to express the extreme influence of a “reprobate mind” upon a life. God gives us twenty-two characteristics of this last degree of unbelief in an individual’s life and in a perverted and reprobate society.

  • “Unrighteousness” is from the Greek word adikia (ad-ee-kee’-ah) referring to the violation of justice.
  • “Fornication” is from the Greek word porneia (por-ni’-ah) referring to illicit sexual practices.
  • “Wickedness” is from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah) referring to a depravity in purposes and desires.
  • “Coveteousness” is from the Greek word pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) referring to a growing, greedy desire to have more and more.
  • “Maliciousness” is from the Greek word kakia (kak-ee’-ah) referring to a desire to injure someone or a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
  • “Envy” is from the Greek word phthonos (fthon’-os) meaning life actions always prompted by envy.
  • “Murder” is from the Greek word phonos (fon’-os) meaning a life full of slaughter.
  • “Debate” is from the Greek word eris (er’-is) meaning a life filled with strife and contention.
  • “Deceit” is from the Greek word dolos (dol’-os) referring to deceptive, crafty manipulation.
  • “Malignity” is from the Greek word kakoetheia (kak-o-ay’-thi-ah) referring to bad character and bad morals.
  • “Whisperers” is from the Greek word psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) referring to a secret slanderer.
  • “Backbiters” is from the Greek word katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) meaning a person who secretly defames another or speaks evil of them.
  • Haters of God” is from the Greek word theostuges (theh-os-too-gace’) referring to a person who is exceptionally impious and wicked.
  • “Despiteful” is from the Greek word hubristes (hoo-bris-tace’) referring to a person who is insolent and who either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong.
  • “Proud” is from the Greek word huperephanos (hoop-er-ay’-fan-os) refers to thinking of one’s self as superior to others. This often expresses itself in prejudices by despising others or even treating them with contempt (disrespect).
  • “Boasters” is from the Greek word alazon (al-ad-zone’) referring to a vain and pretentious person.
  • “Inventors of evil things” is from the Greek words epheuretes (ef-yoo-ret’-ace) kakos (kak-os’) referring to a person who schemes in his thinking and imagination of ways to undermine or harm another person.
  • “Disobedient to parents” is from the Greek words apeithes (ap-i-thace’) goneus (gon-yooce’) referring to a person who obstinately resists the authority of his parents. The idea goes into insubordination against all who have authority over him.
  • “Without understanding” is from the Greek word asunetos (as-oon’-ay-tos). It goes way beyond ignorance, referring to a person who lacks any real understanding of the realities of life (including spiritual realities) and therefore makes decisions without any consciousness to those realities.
  • “Covenantbreakers” is from the Greek word asunthetos (as-oon’-thet-os) referring to a person who cannot be trusted to keep promises.
  • “Without natural affection” is from the Greek word astorgos (as’-tor-gos) referring to a person who is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
  • “Implacable” is from the Greek word aspondos (as’-pon-dos) referring to a person incapable of making commitments (let alone keep one).
  • “Unmerciful” is from the Greek word aneleemon (an-eleh-ay’-mone) referring to a person unwilling to help the needy or a person without any compassion for others regardless of the severity of their predicament.

THEY KNOW JUDGMENT IS COMING

The closing statement of Romans 1:32 informs us that the Holy Spirit has fully convinced this person of God’s pending judgment on his/her life. “Knowing” is from the Greek word epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) meaning this person has a thorough perception of what will happen to him once he dies yet he has no fear of God about it because he continues to deny the inner witness of his conscience to God’s truths and existence.

“Judgment” is from the Greek word dikaioma (dik-ah’-yo-mah) referring to a sentence by a judge for a crime committed. The intent here is that this person is fully convinced in his conscience about the eternal death sentence upon him (Romans 6:23). Yet he lives in denial of that cloud of doom over his life. Because of this denial, he not only continues on this pathway to destruction, he forms a partnership with others involved in the same practices which reinforces both his sinful practices and theirs.

WE WILL ALL DIE and FACE GOD

History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear.”

  • Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
  • Sir Thomas Scott, once president of the English Lower House said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
  • The great evangelist D. L. Moody, on his deathbed, said, “I see Earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”

Are You Ready to Face God?

For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not “in the faith” as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled “The Almost Christian”:

I did go thus for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.”

Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”

Is your thinking “upside down?” Could you be a moron, useless to God?

Take the Moron Test for backslidden Christians:

1. Do you ENJOY reading the Bible?

2. Do you allow God to speak to you and guide you through His Word?

3. Do you go days without even thinking about God and what He wants you to do?

4. Do you do things today that years ago you said you would never do?

5. Do you hear about immorality or watch immorality without it bothering you?

6. Are there things you do that friends and relatives would be shocked to learn about?

7. Do you find yourself thinking that God loves you just the way you are?

8. DO you find yourself arguing with other Christians about what behavior is OK?

If you don’t care what the results are, or what God thinks about your heart, YOU ARE A MORON!




Remember-Lots-Wife

Jesus tells us to “Remember Lot’s Wife” in Luke 17:32. I remember watching some movie where it shows her looking back longingly on Sodom, and then suddenly turning into a pillar of salt. It was horrifying to a young child. How could God do something like that?

The RaptureWhen Jesus mentions Lot’s wife, it is in context of looking for His return. So does this mean that when Jesus returns and shouts “Come up hither!” that those that look back or say “wait a minute, let me finish this project” or “let me go back and turn off the iron” will not be raptured?

Elder Brother Left BehindI think what it means is that the Rapture, or any Call of God, simply reveals what is in our heart. Millions of people who thought they were believers in Christ will reach over and find their spouse gone. Many deacons will be left behind. Even many pastors. Jesus began this discourse with His response to the Pharisees demand to know when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus replied that the Kingdom is not something you look for, it is already here, within us.

Surely he did not mean it was within those self-righteous Pharisees. But ANYONE can have the Kingdom of God within their heart! And if you have the Kingdom of God in your heart, it won’t matter when Jesus comes back!

Jesus does tell us that even with the Kingdom in our heart, the days will grow so wicked that we will long to see Him return. There will be false messiah’s, but when the day of Jesus return is here, everyone will know it,  just as we know there is lightning all around us.

Lots WifeJesus tells us to remember Lot’s wife. She lived in wickedness, yet when the time came to leave, she obeyed, but looked back. She was turned into a pillar of salt. That is what Christians are supposed to be to an evil world, salt. So God left her. I doubt that she ended up in a container of Morton’s salt!

Pillar of SaltWhat does this have to do with Elder Brother’s? The Father was pleading with the Elder Brother to see what was really important, becoming alive from the dead (like the prodigal son), and come in to join the feast. The Father was saying, “hey, come enjoy the Kingdom of God, come enjoy fellowship with Me!“, but the Elder Brother was going “what about my field, what about the crops, what about his behavior, what about MY STUFF!”

Elder Brother Left Behind2So the story ends with the Elder Brother being left behind.

Elder Brother’s must stop looking around at the stuff and start looking to the Father. They must stop saying “what about” and start SEEING the Kingdom of God! They must start saying “what about YOUR HEART Father?The Kingdom is NOT in meat and drink and stuff, but it is in the Father, and in His righteousness, His peace, His joy.FaTHER INVITE eLDER BROTHER IN

He calls all Elder Brother’s to COME! Are you looking back like Lot’s wife? Does His CALL reveal the worldliness and selfishness of your heart? Are you so self-focused that you would hate to be interrupted by the RETURN OF JESUS? If so, I hope you like salt.SALT1



Tompkins Family 1970As an Elder Brother I must confess I was never close to my earthly father, especially growing up. He was typical of most fathers at the time-not touchy feely, not very open, a man of few words; but when he spoke, you obeyed because you feared the consequences. Even as a young man working for him, we were never very close. I knew he loved me and had my best interests at heart, but there never was a closeness that some sons enjoy. He was always gone in those important 4-14 years, a traveling salesman. When he was home it was usually in a disciplinary fashion. Mom had had enough of dealing with three and then four rambunctious boys all week long. Friday evening was reckoning time around our house. I loved my Dad, I respected my Dad, I even feared my Dad, but I never felt close to my Dad.

Jonathon-attacks-PhilistineJonathon must have had that type of relationship with his father Saul. Saul had great responsibilities leading Israel, but he was a poor father. He was even a poor King. One day (1 Sam 14) Jonathon did a typical Elder Brother thing. He went with his armor bearer and tackled a guardpost of Philistines deep in Israeli territory. They killed as many as 20 men, causing the other Philistines to think an army was upon them. King Saul was told what was going on and ordered an assault. The Philistines were in disarray and suffered heavy casualties. Saul was so focused on complete victory that he ordered his soldiers to not eat or drink anything until all the Philistines were killed. His men were weak from hunger and thirst. Jonathon, unaware of the command, dipped his spear in some honey and was instantly energized after eating it. When told of the command of his father, he said the order was nonsense.

King Saul Orders attackKing Saul inquired of the Lord to get further military instructions (at least he was still trying to follow the Lord at this point). No Word from God came. He was upset and sought to find out the cause. Even if it was his own son, Jonathon, the perpetrator would be killed. The answer came back that Jonathon was indeed the cause, and Saul ordered him KILLED! The people intervened and Jonathon was spared. Some dad eh? All mine ever did was spank me!

Imagine how difficult it would be for Jonathon to get close to that kind of father. Selfish, conceited, unloving, such was King Saul. Fortunately, as a young teenager my life was influenced by a Divine Father who desired a close relationship with me. I discovered He is the most loving Father anyone could want. We all need to be loved, to have close friends, even us Elder Brother types.

Touch Hem to be WholeWhen Jesus walked this earth, people were drawn to Him, but only those who had a relationship with Him were changed. Mark 6:56 reveals why: “as many as touched (háptomai) him were made whole.” We think that the tactile touch was all it took, but the word haptomai means much more than a physical touch. This “TOUCH” means that “the handling of an object was done in such a manner as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself”.

I experienced such a TOUCH in times of reading my Father’s Word, in times of praying with my Father. Those ‘touches” exerted a modifying influence upon me, upon my heart.

When I was 19, my earthly father touched me with a confession. With tears in his eyes he told me that God had given him a second chance, and he asked my forgiveness for not being around when I was growing up. I remember the converstaion as if it was yesterday.

Father-and-Elder-BrotherSuch is this God, this Divine Father that loves us so much. When He touches our heart, we are never the same. That touch will open our hearts to those around us, those in our care. When God touches us with His Love and Forgiveness, it gives us the ability to Love others!

Elder Brothers need to be touched, need to have our hearts opened up to the needs of those around us. The Elder Brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son kept his heart closed, resisting the touch of his father. The younger brother had nowhere to go, so he eagerly accepted the touch and kisses of his father.

jonathan_davidJonathon met a younger brother named David, and their souls became knit together. Jonathon gave everything he had to care for David. He was the Elder Brother that David needed when everyone else was against David. Jonathon was even the target of his father’s own spear because of his love for David. The time came for David to go into hiding because it was obvious King Saul wanted him dead. Jonathon and David met secretly and said their goodbyes, “Then David bowed three times to Jonathan with his face to the ground. Both of them were in tears as they embraced each other and said good-bye, especially David.” (1 Sam 20:41)

Have you been touched by your earthly father? Have you been touched by your Heavenly Father? Is there a younger brother who has been touched by you? Will there be tears when you say goodbye?

My dad went to be with God in 1995 at the age of 63. In typical Elder Brother fashion I was the strong one during the funeral and the days following. I could not cry. I drove down to my Mom and Dad’s home in Destin Fl, to get some things of my dad. While I was there, trying on some of his clothes, it finally hit me. I broke down and wept and wept and wept. I don’t know how long, I only know I had never wept like that before. It was at that time I renewed my commitment to my Divine Father to serve Him and to answer the call to preach that He had given me 24 years earlier.

Jim-Tompkins-Sr-My-DadIn those few moments alone with the last remnants of my earthly father, my heart had finally been touched in a way to open my heart and eyes to the needs of others.

Dad, thanks for touching me with your life, thanks for opening my heart to serving the younger brothers around me. Your touch continues to be upon my life all these years later. When I preach, when I teach, when I serve, I know it is your touch that is by my side.

Father: Thank you for those who touch our lives. Would you open our hearts to be sensitive to the needs of all those around us. Would you allow us Elder Brothers to touch you and be made whole!