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CULTIVATING A HEART FOR GOD (6)

 

Elements of the Heart (5)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     Cultivating a heart for God is a task that requires focus, time, and diligence, and intentional application of God’s Word to our lives.

 

B.     The spiritual heart is the key to our Christian lives.

1.       Faithfulness or unfaithfulness springs from the heart.

2.       Love for God or love for other things springs first from the heart.

3.       A productive life or an unproductive life originates in the heart of man.

 

C.     We have been looking at many of the qualities that we must develop in our lives if we are going to cultivate a heart for God. 

1.       In this lesson, we will continue to look at three more qualities that are needed.

2.       As we look at these things, let’s keep Solomon’s words to Israel in mind (I Kings 8:61).

 

Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as it is this day.

 

I.             MOLDED INTO CHRIST’S IMAGE

 

A.     There are many passages in the New Testament that exhort us to be like, to follow, and to conform into the image of Jesus Christ.

1.       John 13:15

 

For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you.

 

2.       Romans 8:29a

 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…

 

3.       Galatians 2:20a

 

I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…

 

4.       Hebrews 12:1-3

 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

5.       I Peter 2:21

 

For even hereunto were ye called:  because Christ also hath suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps.

 

6.       I John 2:6

 

He that siath he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

 

 

B.     There are numerous elements of Jesus that we need to incorporate into our lives.

1.       His humility

a.       Definition

1)       Our nothingness

2)       Our consent to let God be all

3)       Our surrender to God’s working in us

b.      The description of Jesus

1)       Matthew 11:29

 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.

 

2)       John 5:30

 

I can of mine own self do nothing:  as I hear, I judge:  and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent me.

 

c.       From His humility flowed two more attributes we need to emulate.

2.       Obedience to God (John 8:29; Phil. 2:8).

 

And he that sent me is with me:  the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

 

3.       A servant to others

a.       Mark 10:45

 

For even the Son of man came not be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

 

b.      The great example of Jesus’ servanthood (John 13:4-17, esp. v. 14).

 

If I therefore, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

 

II.           COURAGE TO CONTEND FOR THE FAITH

 

A.     In the spiritual world, there is a battle that is being waged at all times and on all fronts within our lives.

1.       Satan is the archenemy (I Pet. 5:8).

2.       He also has companions who are assisting him (Eph. 6:12).

 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

 

3.       His efforts against us are many.

a.       Tempt us to sin (James 1:14-15)

b.      Influence us through false doctrine (II Pet. 2:1-2)

c.       Take away our Christian joy (Job 1-2)

d.      Take away our fervency (Rev. 3:14-22)

 

B.     In this battle, Christians have been called upon to stand and fight.

1.       I Timothy 6:12

 

Fight the good fight of faith…

 

2.       Jude 3

 

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

 

 

3.       Ephesians 6:10-11

 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 

C.     To fight this battle, we will need at least three ingredients.

1.       Commitment to the truth

a.       Commitment involves being bound and obligated.

b.      In this case, we are bound to the truth of God’s Word (Prov. 23:23).

 

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

 

c.       If there is no commitment, there is no reason to contend.

1)       One church

2)       Baptism for the remission of sins

3)       Acapella music

4)       Book, chapter, and verse preaching

2.       Courage

a.       Courage can be defined as “heart.” 

b.      It involves moving beyond any fear that swells within us.

c.       It is an action of faith, faith that God is fighting with us and for us (I Sam. 17:45-46).

 

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest unto me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield:  but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand…

 

3.       Christ-likeness

a.       Jesus did not hesitate to engage the enemy.

1)       He fought the temptations of Satan in Matthew 4:1-11.

2)       He battled with the religious leaders of His day often (Matt. 15, 22, 23).

b.      Matthew 10:24

 

The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

 

III.         OTHER WORLD MINDED

 

A.     There is another world that is hidden and that is different from this present world in which we live (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30).

 

B.     That world is much better than this one.

 

This World                                                            The World to Come

 

1.       Passeth away (I John 2:17)                                                    1.  Endureth forever (II Pet. 1:3)

2.       Satan’s realm (II Cor. 4:4)                                                    2.  God’s realm (Ps. 11:4)

3.       Suffering, tears (John 16:33)                                                 3.  No tears (Rev. 21:4)

4.       Sin (Rom. 3:23)                                                                  4.  No sin (Rev. 21:27)

5.       Work and toil (Gen. 3:17)                                                   5.  Rest (Rev. 14:13)

6.       Death (Heb. 9:27)                                                               6.  Eternal life (Mark 10:30)

 

C.     Our eyes are to be constantly fixed upon the “other” world.

1.       Colossians 3:1-2

 

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.

 

 

2.       II Corinthians 4:18-5:1

 

While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal.  For we know that is our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not make with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     Three questions:

1.       Is becoming like Christ your daily quest?

2.       Do you have the courage to contend for the faith?

3.       Are you a near-sighted or far-sighted Christian?

 

B.     Song:  Is Thine Heart Right with God?