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Defending the Faith

These Daily Reflections supply the messages from Grace Church as daily video clips from the most recent sermons. Each day's clip will last about 10 minutes and if you watch them all, you will have reviewed morning and evening sermons from the previous Sunday.

Ministry Reflection - June 19, 2009

What’s Really in Your Heart?: Proverbs 4:23

In the latter reflections this week, we’ll begin to look at a series of arguments Jonathan Edwards uses to prove what we should already know: Our actions are the best of all the evidences we have that we have saving faith. They’re better than any spiritual light we think we have. They’re better than any comforts we may have received through the Gospel. And they’re better than any grace we think we may have found in our hearts. Our actions speak more loudly than any hopes we might have, because they show us most clearly what is in our hearts. Even though we know this now, we’ll know it much better and with more conviction by the time we’re done. In the next few days, we’ll consider: First, how reason shows us that we choose what we really want. And second, how Scripture shows us the same thing.

First, reason shows us that when we are left to our own choices, we will choose what we really want to do. (Children, pay attention to this. You are at an age when your parents make most of your choices for you. What will you choose when they aren’t standing over you requiring you to walk in the right direction? That is what your heart is really like.). If we are true believers, according to what the Scripture says, we will love God more than anything else and will be willing to sell everything for Christ. Not only this, but we will actually live this love out in our choices. Our choices will show where our hearts are at: When we are faced with a choice between God and something else – something that requires that we compromise our duty to God – we will choose God and not the world. We will show that we have forsaken everything to follow Christ in our hearts by forsaking sin in our lives. Edwards writes, “When a man is at liberty whether to speak or keep silence, the most proper evidence of his having a heart to speak, is his speaking. When a man is at liberty whether to walk or sit still, the proper proof of his having a heart to walk, is his walking. Godliness consists not in a heart to intend to do the will of God, but in a heart to do it. The children of Israel in the wilderness had the former, of whom we read, Deut. v. 27-29. “Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it, and do it. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” The people manifested that they had a heart to intend to keep God’s commandments, and to be very forward in those intentions; but God manifests, that this was far from being the thing he desired, wherein true godliness consists, even a heart actually to keep them.”

It’s absurd to pretend that you have a gracious heart, while you live a wicked life or do not obey all of God’s commandments. Edwards writes, “Men that live in ways of sin, and yet flatter themselves that they shall go to heaven, or expect to be received hereafter as holy persons, without a holy life and practice, act as though they expected to make a fool of their Judge. Which is implied in what the apostle says, Gal. vi. 7. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” As much as to say, “Do not deceive yourselves with an expectation of reaping life everlasting hereafter, if you sow not to the Spirit here.” Again, “If in his name men have prophesied and wrought miracles, and have had faith so that they could remove mountains, and cast out devils, and however high their religious affections have been, however great resemblances they have had of grace, and though their hiding-place has been so dark and deep, that no human skill nor search could find them out; yet if they are workers or practisers of iniquity, they cannot hide their hypocrisy from their Judge; Job xxxiv. 22. “There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” “Would a master suffer himself to be shammed and gulled by a servant, that should pretend to great experiences of love and honour towards him in his heart, and a great sense of his worthiness and kindness, when at the same time he refused to obey and serve him?” In the same way, if you do not obey the Lord, you do not love Him.

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