Thursday, February 02, 2006

Is Your Heart Right With God?

In the movie, "The Passion of the Christ," there was a riveting scene involving Jesus and his mother, Mary. After one of the times that Jesus falls while carrying the cross towards Calvary, the scene suddenly flashs back to a time when Jesus was a young boy. We see a time that Mary recalls Jesus falling, and she runs over to rescue him. She lovingly picks him up and comforts him. It portrayed that very special kind of relationship between mother and son. It was one of the most touching and emotionally moving scenes in the movie.

The scene swiftly returns to the current day where Mary is seeing her terribly bruised and beaten son falling under the weight of the cross. She runs and attempts to get closer to him. She is held back by the Roman soldiers. Jesus sees his mother and says to her, "Behold, I am making everything new."

Mary realizes that there is nothing that she can do in this situation for it is the will of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, at work. Despite the awful suffering inflicted upon our Savior, He WILLINGLY went to the cross to be the propitiation for our sins. He had the power to call legions of angels to his rescue.

No human being had the power to either prevent or compel Him to that cross! The power of the cross was manifest through Jesus alone! The redemptive mission that he was carrying out was necessary for our sakes. If Jesus backed away from the mission, he would have re-entered heaven alone.

When I came home from viewing "The Passion" movie, I immediately researched where that verse ("I am making everything new") appears in Scripture. It is found in the book of Revelation.

5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Revelation 21:5-8 (NIV) (Note: italics mine)

God is the Creator. The Bible begins with the majestic story of his creation of the universe, and it concludes with his creation of a new heaven and a new earth. This is a tremendous hope and encouragement for the believer.

Just as God finished the work of creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and Jesus finished the work of redemption (John 19:30), so the Trinity will finish the entire plan of salvation by inviting the redeemed into a new creation.

Revelation 21:7,8 gives us both a warning and an encouragement. Notice that we are given the encouragement FIRST.

6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:6-7 (NIV)

This verse identifies that God as our Creator is the first and the last as well as the beginning and the end. We can't live without God! We wouldn't even have life or be here without Him. All of the knowledge, wisdom, scientific achievements and accomplishments made by man are nothing compared to our Creator. Without Him, they do not mean anything either.

Think about it.

Whatever you have on this earth will one day disappear. Our earthly bodies die. There is a 100% death rate in the world.

What are the things in life that truly matter?

What is it that we take with us into eternity?

The answer is our spirit, soul and love. Then, we are either united with God in Christ in heaven or, because of rejecting God's provision for our salvation, we sentence ourselves through our own free will choice to end up in a place that was originally created for satan and his demons.

Revelation 21: 7 & 8 reveals who will not be able to "drink without cost from the spring of the water or life." The "cowardly" are not those who are fainthearted in their faith or who sometimes doubt or question. (Been there, done that!) It refers to those who turn back from following God! They are not brave enough to stand up for Christ; they are not humble enough to accept his authority over their lives. Remember, man looks upon the outward appearance, but God examines the heart.

2 Corinthians 10:7 (NKJV) - Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's.

The Bible mentions "the heart" in 554 verses!! This shows the importance of where our "hearts are" concerning God!

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, the LORD asked Adam, "Where are you?" Do you think that God didn't know his physical location? Do you think that God didn't know he and Eve had sinned? It was a rhetorical question elicited to examine Adam's heart now that he had sinned and knew evil.

God asks each of us that question today. Where are you? Where is your heart in relation to God today? Are you far away from Him or is He indwelling your heart in the form of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 8:21 - Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Our hearts need to be right in the sight of God! The Bible tells us how and what we are to do in order to be right with God!

Ezekiel 36:26 - A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Look at Ezekiel 36: 25-27 in the easy to understand NLT:

25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.* 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.

Those who are born again in Jesus Christ experience this cleansing and regeneration.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(italics mine)

Back to Revelation 21:7,8

People who overcome "stand firm to the end" (Mark 13:13). They will receive the blessings that God promised:
(1) Eating from the tree of life (2:7).
(2) Escaping from the lake of fire (the "second death," 2:11).
(3) Receiving a special name (2:17).
(4) Having authority over the nations (2:26).
(5) Being included in the book of life (3:5).
(6) Being a pillar in God's spiritual temple (3:12).
(7) Sitting with Christ on his throne (3:21).

Those who can endure the testing of evil and remain faithful will be rewarded by God.

Is your heart right with God?

1 comment:

Susan Smith said...

Good question for this last work day of the week, Christine.

On Monday during staff devotions here in Jerusalem, I told my coworkers how much I love each of them individually. I also told them that sometimes in my flesh I have hated some of them and on occassion I have despised them. There is nothing good in my flesh (see ROM 7:18). I do not walk "in the Spirit" 100% of the time. The flesh is the same in a born-again person as it is in one who is lost and headed for hell. We are born again in the spirit... not in the flesh.

Though the Messiah is my Lord and Savior, there are times I doubt and mentally debate certain things. You spoke well when you chose the words: "...but God examines the heart." Only God knows our hearts.

Much love and Shabbat Shalom from the Holy Land. (ss)