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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, December 09, 2005

Where is Your Heart?

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Daily Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 13

Puritan Catechism
Question #9 - What is the work of creation?
Answer - The work of creation is God's making all things (Gen. 1:1) of nothing, by the Word of his power (Heb. 11:3), in six normal consecutive days (Exod. 20:11), and all very good (Gen. 1:31).

Devotional Thoughts
Matthew 6:21 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Although a rather short verse, this verse is indeed a challenge to us. Jesus has been teaching us about our treasure - what and where to treasure. He has told us not to treasure for ourselves, but to treasure the eternal. Things we do and say everyday that have eternal ramifications for us and for those around us. Now the final challenge along these lines is to examine our treasure!

You see, Jesus tells us that what we treasure shows us where our heart is! In other words, whatever we value and really care about will tell us about the condition of our heart. We may claim to value God and the Word and the Church, but is that really what we treasure? How can we be sure? Look to our heart! We must examine our hearts. After all of this, Jesus has taught us not only how important heart attitudes and motives are, but He has begun to show us how we can give ourselves a spiritual checkup.

How can we check our hearts? Obviously this isn't talking about our physical beating heart - the organ that pumps blood through our body. This heart, as we all know, is the "seat of our emotions," or the center of our being. It is "at the heart" of who we really are. And what we believe deep down in our hearts is what determines how we behave, speak, live, and respond to others. What we believe will come out for all to see!

The best example I have ever heard for this is from Dr. Larry Gilliam, my mentor. He says that if we were to go on a trip out into the woods and suddenly we hear a noise in the bushes coming toward us – and if we BELIEVE that it is a bear coming to eat us then we will run just as fast as if there actually was a bear after us. We will act on what we believe.

So in regards to what Jesus has just said, where our treasure is there is our heart, what do we really treasure? From this day forward we must be totally honest with ourselves. Jesus tells us to treasure things above, things of eternal value. We must not be consumed with the here and now. What do we really treasure? Look at our lives for a moment. Do we love the Word? Do we love attending church? Do we love ministering to others? Do we love meeting needs? Do we love speaking the truth in love to comfort or confront? Do we love praising God and praying? Do we love seeing Jesus fill us with the fruit of the Spirit? Do we love God?

Now, to answer these questions - answer this one question – "How do I live?". That one question provides the answer we need about what we treasure! Do I live like I really treasure the things listed above? Or do I live to please self and lay up for myself treasures on earth? Do I live a life of obedience? Do I desire to be right with God and others? Is my time consumed with thoughts of God and ways to please Him and show my love for Him?

And now there is one final test. We can fool ourselves and others when it comes to outward actions. Look at the Pharisees. We are able to lie and be hypocrites! And we can get pretty good at deceiving even ourselves about our true spiritual state and the things we value. But the one test we can't fake is the test of what comes out of our mouths! What do we say when we hit our thumb with a hammer? If we truly value God and His standards then we don't even think the wrong things!!! Because the things that are in our hearts, Jesus tells us, will come out of our mouth in what we say!

Think about it - what do we talk about? What do we dwell on? What do we joke about? What do we tell others about themselves or our co- workers? What do we say when we are all alone and no one can hear us? Really? Read these verses and then decide what we value, "Not what goes in to the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart." (Matt. 15:11, 18) "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (Prov. 23:7) "He who loves purity of heart has grace on his lips." (Prov. 22:11)

So, as challenging as these verses are, answer honestly, "What do the things we say, think, and do tell us about what we truly value?". Have we laid up for ourselves treasures in heaven - is that where our heart is? Or do we need NEW hearts? Christ has given us a new heart if we have been regenerated by the Spirit abd believed on Him and repented of our sin, so if we still don't treasure what we should then we need to confess our sin and repent of a hardened heart and from this day forward be obedient!

Puritan Voices
The Nature of that Faith and Obedience which the Holy Scriptures Teach - by Thomas Boston

First, as to faith. Divine faith is a believing of what God has revealed, because God has said it, or revealed it. People may believe scripture truths, but not with a divine faith, unless they believe it on that very ground, the authority of God speaking in his word. And this divine faith is the product of the Spirit of God in the heart of a sinner, implanting the habit or principle of faith there, and exciting it to a hearty reception and firm belief of whatever God reveals in his word. And the faith which the scripture teaches is what a man is to believe concerning God. This may be reduced to four heads: What God is; the persons in the Godhead; the decrees of God relating to every thing that comes to pass; and the execution of them in his works of creation and providence. Now, though the works of creation and providence show that there is a God, yet that fundamental truth, that God is, and the doctrines relating to the Trinity of Persons in the Unity of the Divine Essence, God's acts and purposes, the creation of all things, the state of man at his creation, his fall, and his recovery by the mediation and satisfaction of Christ, are only to be learned from the holy scriptures. Hence we may infer,

1. That there can be no right knowledge of God acquired in an ordinary way without the scriptures, Matt. 22:29. 'Ye do err,' said Christ to the Sadducees, 'not knowing the scriptures.' As there must be a dark night where the light is gone, so those places of the earth must needs be dark, and without the saving knowledge of God, that lack the scriptures. Thus the Apostle tells the Ephesians, that, before they were visited with the light of the gospel, they were 'without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.' Eph. 2:12.

2. That where the scriptures are not known, there can be no saving faith. For, says the Apostle, Rom. 10:14, 15, 17. 'How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet. of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.'

3. That there is nothing we are bound to believe as a part of faith but what the scripture teaches, be who they will that propose it, and whatever they may pretend for their warrant. 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,' Isa. 8:20. No man must be our master in these things: 'For one is our master even Christ,' Matt. 23:10. He is Lord of our faith, and we are bound to believe whatever he has revealed in his word.

Secondly, As to obedience, it is that duty which God requires of man. It is that duty and obedience which man owes to God, to his will and laws, in respect of God's universal supremacy and sovereign authority over man; and which lie should render to film out of love and gratitude. The scriptures are the holy oracle from whence we are to learn our duty, Psal. 19:11. 'By them is thy servant warned,' says David. The Bible is the light we are to take heed to, that we may know how to steer our course, and order the several steps of our life. 'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path,' says the Psalmist, Psalm 119:105. From whence we may infer,

1. That there can be no sufficient knowledge of the duty which we owe to God without the scriptures. Though the light of nature does in some measure show our duty to God, yet it is too dim to take up the will of God sufficiently in order to salvation.

2. That there can he no right obedience yielded to God without them. Men that walk in the dark must needs stumble; and the works that are wrought in the dark will never abide the light; for there is no working rightly by guess in this matter. All proper obedience to God must be learned from the scriptures.

3. That there is no point of duty that we are called to, but what the scripture teaches, Isa. 8:20, mentioned before. Men must neither make duties to themselves or others, but what God has made duty. The law of God is exceeding broad, and reaches the whole life of man, outward and inward, Psalm 19; and man is bound to conform himself to it alone as the rule of his duty.

Thirdly, As to the connection of these two: faith and obedience are joined together, because there is no true faith but what is followed with obedience, and no true obedience but what flows from faith. Faith is the loadstone of obedience, and obedience the touchstone of faith, as appears from James 2. They that lack faith cannot be holy; and they that have true faith, their faith will work by love. Hence we may see,

1. That faith is the foundation of duty or obedience, and not obedience or duty the foundation of faith, Tit. 3:8. 'This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men;' and that the things to be believed are placed before the things to be practised, in order to distinguish between the order of the things in the covenant of grace, and what they were under the covenant of works. Under the latter, doing, or perfect obedience to the law, was the foundation of the promised privilege of life; but under the former, the promise is to be believed, and the promised life is to he freely received: and thereupon follows the believer's obedience to the law, out of gratitude and love for the mercy received. This appears from the order laid down by God himself in delivering the moral law from mount Sinai. He lays the foundation of faith, first of all, in these words, 'I am the Lord thy God,.' &c. which is the sum and substance of the covenant of grace; and then follows the law of the Ten Commandments, which is as it were grafted upon this declaration of sovereign grace and love, Exod. 20:2-18. And let it be remembered, that the Apostle Paul calls gospel-obedience the obedience of faith, as springing from and founded upon faith. And if we examine the order of doctrine laid down in all his epistles, we shall find, that he first propounds the doctrine of faith, or what man is to believe, and upon that foundation inculcates the duties that are to be practised.

2. That all works without faith are dead, and so cannot please God. For whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and without or separate from Christ we can do nothing. Faith is the principle of all holy and acceptable obedience.

3. That those who inculcate moral duties without proclaiming the necessity of regeneration, and union with Christ, as the source of all true obedience, are foolish builders; they lay their foundation on the sand, and the superstructure they raise will soon be overturned; and they pervert the gospel of Christ, Such would do well to consider what the Apostle says, Gal. 1:9, 'If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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