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CULTIVATING A HEART FOR GOD (3)
Elements of the Heart (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. When a person cultivates soil, there are certain things done to make the soil rich and productive.
B. The same is true of our hearts. To cultivate a heart for God, there are certain things that must be present in a man’s heart. If these things are there, the individual can be fruitful in his service to God.
C. Last week, we looked at three things that will help us to cultivate a heart for God.
1. A true perception of self
3. Supreme love for God
D. Let’s look at more ingredients needed within our hearts in order for us to have hearts that long for God.
I. A FEAR OF GOD
A. There are two kinds of fear that man can have of God.
1. Negative: a fear that involves dread and apprehension
2. Positive: a fear that involves a reverential awe and respect for God
B. The Bible exhorts us to fear God.
1. Deuteronomy 6:13
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
2. Psalm 2:11
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
3. Proverbs 3:7
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord and depart from evil.
4. Proverbs 23:13
…but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.
C. There are two things, which, if properly understood, will cause man to fear the God of heaven.
1. We fear God for “who” He is (Isa. 45:5a)
I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…
2. We fear God for “what” He has done (Ps. 111:4).
He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
D. Fear is a motivator in a Christian’s life.
1. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… (Prov. 1:7).
2. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil… (Prov. 8:13).
3. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… (Prov. 9:10).
4. The fear of the Lord is strong confidence… (Prov. 14:26)
5. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life… (Prov. 14:27).
6. …by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil (Prov. 16:6).
II. CRUCIFY SELF
A. At our conversion, we were supposed to die to self.
1. Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2. Galatians 5:24
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
3. Galatians 6:14
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
B. One would think that once self has been crucified that he would be dead forever. However, he seems to raise his head and make his demands constantly in our lives.
1. Self rose up to defeat Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
2. Self conquered Simon the ex-sorcerer (Acts 8:18-19).
3. The Colossians were warned to slay self (Col. 3:5).
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth…
4. Demas (II Tim. 4:10)
5. Peter’s words to those of the dispersion (I Pet. 2:11)
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
6. Diotrephes (III John 9).
7. Several of the members of the seven churches of Asia (Thyatira, Rev. 2:20)
C. Paul gives the antidote for the flesh in two verses.
1. II Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
a. The first effort that we must conduct is to control our thoughts.
b. Everything starts in the mind of man.
c. Thoughts must be brought into obedience to the will of Jesus Christ.
2. I Corinthians 9:27
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
a. We must exercise self-control.
b. There will be desires that our bodies long to fulfill, but we must resist those things.
c. We must have rule over our members and involve them only in righteous deeds.
III. CROSS AWARENESS
A. If there is a place to which our minds should be drawn continually, it is to Golgotha and to the cross of Jesus Christ.
B. Three verses:
1. John 19:17
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.
2. Philippians 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
3. Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God.
C. There are so many things that are connected to the cross of Calvary.
1. The love of God (Rom. 5:8)
2. Man’s worst: envy, hatred, injustice, rebellion, ignorance, blasphemy
3. Sin (I Pet. 2:24, Isa. 53:5).
4. Payment (ransom) (Matt. 20:28)
5. Blood (Col. 1:20)
6. Guilt and ignorance (Gal. 3:13; Matt. 27:4; Acts 12:28)
7. Suffering: physical and vicarious (I pet. 2:21; 3:18; 4:1)
8. Shame (Heb. 12:2)
9. War and peace (Ps. 2:1-3; Col. 1:20)
10. Death (Heb. 2:9, 11; I Pet. 3:8)
D. Keeping all of this before us helps us to understand and appreciate the cross of Calvary.
1. Calvary is the plan of God carried out for all humanity.
2. II Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
A. In this lesson, we have seen that the cultivation of the heart involves three individuals.
1. God: He must be feared.
2. Self: He must be crucified.
3. Jesus: He must be remembered on Calvary.
B. There is a man in Scripture who is known for his heart.
1. The man is David.
2. He was a man who had a heart like unto God’s heart.
a. After King Saul’s sin, God searched for a man who had a heart like unto His (I Sam. 13:14).
b. He found it in the shepherd named David (Acts 13:22).
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
3. Question: If we were living back then, would God have found our hearts to be like that of David?
4. We can possess that kind of a heart, but it must be cultivated in the right way.