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Bible Doctrine 1,4 – Man (Newsletter 2-9 Bible College Lesson Preview)

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Man Up Adventures

By Christina Lee

“Man Up Adventures is a wild place where men are encouraged, God is exalted, and lives experience true change,” says Pastor Nate Thompson, co-founder with his father, Pastor Galen Thompson. “It’s an adventure that’s conducted by leaders who have one singular passion: to guide men into the fulfillment of authentic biblical manhood through community, experiential learning, and adventure in a wilderness setting.”

The first deep seeds were planted when Bro. Nate Thompson left his small home church and went to Bible college. “I had a certain naivety to me in that I thought that every Apostolic young person came from a solid family unit similar to mine. I was aware that many of my unchurched classmates from public school came from fractured families or had experienced a divorce in their lifetime, but my first year at Bible college I realized how blessed I was. I had a dad involved in my life and a mom that loved me and parents that prayed. From that realization, I felt a burden for people without a dad in the home.

“In 2007, I had a good job, but I was struggling spiritually. I had a bunch of vacation time so I called my dad, and we went snowshoeing for four days. Combined with that earlier burden and this experience, God unlocked a dream and vision in me.”

The mission statement of Man Up Adventures is “to guide men into the fulfillment of authentic Biblical manhood.” This involves “changing our culture one man at a time. We want to equip men to be the men that God requires and created them to be. A man changed equals a family changed. We will never have sustainable revival without men.”

There has been a lot of positive feedback, according to Bro. Nate Thompson. In May 2013, during the Pentecost Sunday campsite service, two men received the Holy Ghost and another was baptized in French Creek. This year, two more were baptized in French Creek.

One man wrote of his Man Up Adventure, “That afternoon during the teaching…God began speaking to my heart. I found a place to pray, repent, and forgive. When God was done, it was like 40 years of shame was taken off and left there.”

Locations are chosen because of the wilderness aspect. “We look for a place where a man is swallowed up, where it’s challenging and adventurous, and conducive to excellent outdoor classrooms,” said Bro. Thompson.

“Man Up Adventures is not just about getting outside. It’s about God moments and anointing. Not only are people getting baptized, filled with the Holy Ghost, and coming to Christ, but pastors and ministers are being encouraged. Once an adventure is engaged, all titles and statuses evaporate; men are just men, and all are equally transparent.”

People can sign up at www.man-up-adventures.com. Cost is based on Adventure location and activities offered. The age limit is 16, “but we’ve had men as old as 72 participate.”

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Effective Ministry for Men’s Ministry Leaders

By James Holland, Sr.


Becoming effective is of the utmost importance in any leadership role. We must remember we are not simply here to provide information; we are here to see transformation! Our proper attitude toward God, ourselves, others, and prayer will have a dramatic impact upon our effectiveness.

Here are five building blocks that will help us be effective. First of all, it goes without saying, we need knowledge of the Word. So study! Then you need to ask yourself these two questions: (1) What do the people already know? and (2) What do they need to know?

Secondly, we, as leaders, need perspective. Perspective is understanding something because you can see it from a larger frame of reference. We need to see the Big Picture, not just what is going on in our little corner of the world. From the spiritual viewpoint, perspective is the ability to see life from God’s point of view. Perspective produces understanding, wisdom, and discernment in our lives. Perspective will cause us to love God even more.

The third building block is conviction. Our convictions produce our values, commitments, and motivations. Convictions help us be diligent in our continual spiritual growth.

The fourth building block is skill. A skill is the ability to do something with ease and accuracy. We develop skills not by listening to someone talk about them, but by experience and practice. As leaders, we need Bible study skills, people skills, prayer skills, relational skills, time management skills, and many, many others. Skills help us do a good job. In James 1:22, James declares that we are to be “doers of the word, not hearers only”. If we want to be effective leaders and produce effective leaders, then we must train and teach people necessary skills for Godly living and Christian leadership.

The fifth building block is character. We are to have Christlike characteristics. Our character is built in the circumstances of life and how we respond to them. God is much more concerned with our character than our comfort! He wants to use us, not pamper us.


What is Ministry?

Distinguish the difference between preaching and ministering. To preach means to simply declare, proclaim, and inform others about a certain situation. You can actually do this without a burden or a vision. The information you are presenting may be true and good, yet, not actually bringing deliverance to anyone. It seems that we have a lot of “shotgun” preaching and teaching in the Christian community. “Shotgun” preaching and teaching is this – we just throw a lot of good stuff out and hope it hits someone! What we need in order to be effective is preaching and teaching with an objective and purpose in mind.

To minister is to meet a need! Ministering takes on a different perspective than preaching. You become sensitive to the people you are going to minister to. Jesus was an expert at ministering. He located people where they were, saw the need, and then He supplied the need. As the end-time church, we need powerful ministry. We need to be sensitized in the Spirit of God, flowing within the operation and the gifts of the spirit so we can recognize the needs of people and then minister to their needs.

When you endeavor to minister to the needs of people, you will always have someone to minister to. The most powerful word in the world is the Word of God. So, we see that ministry is a higher level or dimension of preaching and teaching. It is the dimension that we need to be in today. The only authority we have is to in Mister the Word of God. Our attitude toward God must be right. In fact, if our attitude toward God is not right, then our attitude toward others will not be right either. We must love God unconditionally.

When you minister, you must minister out of the sensitivity of the need. You can preach to people without loving them, but you can’t minister without loving them and recognizing their need. This is exactly what Jesus did. He felt their pulse, their need, their burden and the weight of all they were dealing with. He overwhelmed those to whom He ministered with His love for them. It is easier to stay focused on being effective when we realize that there is nothing that we do in our lives that takes God by surprise. He is not surprised because He is fully aware of our strengths and our weaknesses.

Psalm 46:1-2 states “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in the time of trouble, therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Then, in verse ten, it says, “Be still and know that I am God and I will be exalted among the heathen and I will be exalted in all the earth.”

Through ministry, we have the opportunity to exalt the name of God. We must know that He is God. He is sovereign. He is in control of my life. He is working with my best interest at heart. We not only have faith in God, we have confidence and trust in Him as well.

If you hate people, you will not be a good leader and you certainly have no business being involved in the ministry. People have a way of offending and hurting you because most people are very self-centered and one-dimensional when it comes to their thinking and attitude. So, we have to spend time adjusting our attitude toward others if we are going to be effective. No matter how grotesque people may seem, we must hate the sin that has made them the way they are, while reaching out in love to minister to them.

Most people create storms of their own making and then try to figure out how to get out of the storms. If you are looking for people who have no problems, quit looking. There is no one like that on planet earth! You must realize that most sinners will not be overjoyed to have you as a leader or minister around them. Yet, realize also, that we are in the people-business when it comes to reaching the harvest that Jesus has declared we must reach. It is people whom the Lord came to save, so you must always reach out to people. As leaders, we must be able to feel the heartbeat of the people we are endeavoring to reach.

On September 8, 1860, The Lady Elgin, a passenger ship, was floundering in the waters not far from Evanston, England. A ministerial student who witnessed the ship in distress swam out to the ship and rescued seventeen people from the sinking vessel. One at a time, He carried them to the safety of the shore. This rescue affected his health for the rest of his life. When he died a few years later, it was noted that not one of the seventeen people he saved ever came to say “thank you.”

As a leader, there will be many whom yet will rescue and, yet, they will never acknowledge you for it or even stop to say “thank you.” Yet, if you are to be effective, you must continue on. You minister because you care about people. People are the harvest God wants you to gather.


Be Yourself!

To be effective, simply be yourself! Don’t try to be a prototype of someone else, be who God made you. It’s okay to learn from others around us. In fact, God will place people in our lives to help us get to where we want to go. None of us can get there by ourselves.

Let God develop you. God wants you to be the best you can be. If you are five foot ten inches tall, don’t desire to be six foot one. Let God tap the abilities and talents you have because He knows what you are capable of doing. God requires us to be thankful and focused on doing our best. When we do this, God will develop us into the best individuals in the kingdom of God that we could ever be. So, be real! Be You! God evidently likes diversity. Just look at all He has included on this planet where we live. What a dull, boring world this would be if we all had exactly the same personalities and traits.

In being effective, we must not let our attitudes go unchecked for extended periods of time. If we do, we will self-destruct. Joy is one of the greatest gifts God gives to the believer. Joy plays a very important role in our salvation. In Psalm 35:9, David speaks about the joy his soul found in the Lord. Then in Psalm 51:12, David prays, “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

We all know that life does have its joy zappers! I once told someone that where they were was so dead spiritually and so depressing that they needed to get out of the place. They responded by saying that their loved ones were buried there in the cemetery, so, because of that, they had to stay. I responded that I understood their reasoning, but I felt like their loved ones would leave too if they could.

Nehemiah referred to joy as a strength in our spirit. As leaders, we need to keep the wells of joy open. If we act worse off than those whom we are trying to reach, guess what the results are going to be! Isaiah 64:5 says, “You meet him who fully works righteousness remembering you in your ways.” This scripture is reminding us that as we work and lead, if we do it joyfully, God will meet us in our labor. If circumstances are not what you envisioned them to be, just keep going and be joyful! Paul wrote the most joyful epistle of the New Testament from a jail cell while he waited to be executed because of his faith! Think about it!

Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the spirit is joy.” The spirit of God brings joy to our hearts. To have an effective ministry, we need a good dose of joy on an on-going basis.


Pray – You Stay!

We must guard ourselves against becoming so busy that we lose our connection with the God of whom we are serving. We are commanded in the scriptures to pray one for another. For one not to pray is spiritual suicide. Let’s look at the scriptural pattern that Jesus Himself set. Jesus prayed and then He went out and ministered to the multitudes. Then He came and replenished Himself through prayer. Simply put, He prayed and came in power! This must also be the pattern we, as leaders, follow in order to survive and be effective. Prayer keeps our system clean so that we can continue in our journey.

In Jeremiah 33:1-3, Jeremiah was in prison for preaching what folks did not want to hear. Yet, in this situation, Jeremiah heard from God. When things come our way, we sometimes lose our direction. You can, however, be assured that God doesn’t! To get your focus and direction back, remember that prayer is always the key. God told Jeremiah to “call on me.” God wants us to know that we have to call on Him. Nothing is beyond His power to solve. The battle belongs to God. It is never ours! The victory is ours. When we call on God, He will show us things that we do not know. God is the “I am!” He is not the Great I Am trying to Be, neither is He the Great I Was!

Our prayer life not only helps us stay focused, it enhances our relationship with God. Prayer is a must if we are to remain usable in the Kingdom of God. What good is something that isn’t usable? It is just taking up space. No leader will ascend to the spiritual levels that are needed in this day without an effective prayer life!


Beware of P.M.S.

There are three things that a leader will never be able to control in his or her life without an effective prayer life. The first one is P – Population. Paul said to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life. Popularity will be your downfall if you do not maintain a prayer life. Jesus taught us this principle. While He was on earth, on several occasions, the people as well as the disciples wanted to exalt Him to a position of popularity because they were only considering things with their carnal reasoning. If this had happened, it would have aborted the plan of God. It is good for us that Jesus did not lose focus on the purpose for which He came to this earth.

We must constantly ask ourselves a very sobering question -“Whose Kingdom am I building? Mine or His?” Beware of your ego. Without God’s help, our endeavoring to lead and minister will fail miserably. Remind yourself often that if you drop off of God’s radar screen today, His Kingdom will continue. No one is beyond being replaced. No one! God designed it that way. Some of the same individuals who may think you are so great today would be just as quick to watch your demise tomorrow under slightly different circumstances.

We need to be careful to give God the glory for what He is doing. It’s not our glory; it is His. There is only room for One God in this kingdom and it isn’t you or me! Always remember, except God gives us a word, we don’t have a word that will give direction or bring deliverance. So don’t let anyone put pressure on you to perform. Whether it is a pulpit ministry, a teaching ministry, or any other leadership ministry, you must always endeavor to handle God’s truth properly. [Note: Truth handled the wrong way can bring just as much destruction as a lie can].

M stands for Money. Money is a necessary ingredient in the structure of our society to accomplish almost anything that one would be involved in. While money, in itself and of itself, is neither good nor evil, it goes without saying that the past battlefields of the kingdom are covered with the remains of great warriors who did not handle this commodity properly. Someone has said, it’s not what money does for you that is good or bad, but it is what money does to you that can be good or, in some cases, can be bad.

As leaders, we must handle money instead of letting money handle us. We must do this on two fronts. First of all, in our personal finances. We need to have a good report with those whom we engage in business transactions. The second front is how we handle money in God’s kingdom. God does not want to withhold any good thing from us. He, however, wants us to be possessed only by His spirit and nothing else. He teaches us that everything is His. We are stewards, ones who manage another’s possessions.

S stands for Sex. Sex has been perverted into a demented, deranged experience in our society. I remind you that sex was a God-idea in the beginning. Like so many other things God designed for us humans – such as marriage, having children, building good strong communities – sex seems to have drifted away from God’s plan.

As leaders, you must set perimeters around you. While traveling through the mountains (my wife and I love the mountains), I’ve noticed over the last few years that they are erecting guardrails beside the roadways along the edge of the mountains. In researching some of the accidents in these mountainous areas, one recognizes quickly that over time, people, by not paying attention, have driven off the mountainside, many of them plunging to their death. Others have been injured in such a way that for them life, as they once knew it, would never be the same again.

Statistics proved that it was cheaper and safer for the states to install guardrails in these dangerous areas, even though they knew that someone would eventually run into the rail and it would have to be replaced. Yet, it is cheaper to replace a guardrail than it is to have an emergency helicopter dispatched to clear up a crash and burn site and then notify families of the victim’s death. We should learn from this principle. If you place guardrails in your life, you won’t go over the edge so easily. We have already had far too many leaders crash and burn in this area. This is never the will of God. Remember Leader, no leader is above the instructions and guidelines in the Boss’s
Manual (The BIBLE)! These rules apply to you as well as everyone else. Be wise, not foolish and blind. Stay on the road!

In all your ways acknowledge Him. And lie shall direct your paths. Do not he mine in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.”
Proverbs 2:6-7

Article “Effective Ministry for Men’s Ministry Leaders” excerpted from “Developing the Ministry within You”. By James Holland, Sr. 

Posted in AIS CD - Featured Stories, MM - Men's Ministry0 Comments

Man, God’s Creation

Man, God’s Creation
By Don Hyrkas

Genesis 1:27
Genesis 9:6
I Corinthians 11:7

I. Man is the theme throughout the Bible

A. All that God is would be meaningless if man were not involved.

B. Man was created – Did not evolve

1. The highest of God’s creations

2. Of him alone said – “God breathed into him…”

3. Of him alone said – “He became a living soul.”

4. Created righteous – without sin

II. Bible has 3 main characters.

A. God – a spirit – omnipresent, omnipotent-In the beginning God.

B. The Devil – Lucifer, Satan – Fallen angel

1. Isaiah 14:12-15

2. Pride caused him to exalt himself- Pride will cause us to fall.

3. Cast down to earth – “Prince of the power of the air.”

C. Man – God’s greatest creation – The crowning glory of all else God had done.

1. Psalms 8:3-9 Created to worship (God thrives on it) clothed with righteousness.

2. This man became the object of Satan’s attack.

3. He had no power to destroy him, but he could separate him from God if he could persuade him to disobey God. Read Romans 8:35-39

III. How did man fall?

A. Temptation is not sin.

1. Hebrews 4:15 – “Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are yet without sin.”

2. It is the yielding to temptation that brings

B. There are definite steps that lead to sin.

C. James 1:14, 15 – “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed then when lust hath conceived bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.”

D. 4 steps to sin

1. Brawn away with lust.

2. Enticed

3. Lust conceived-Action added to desire .

4. Brings sin-sin finished brings death

E. Eve SAW – DESRIRED – TOOK – ATE

F. Their sin affected us all and still does

1. The ground cursed to man

2. Woman was to suffer in child bearing

G. The entire human race fell

Romans 5:12 Romans 6:23 – Wages of sin is death
Romans 5:19 Romans 3:23 – All have sinned and come short of the glory of

H. God set about to redeem fallen man.

1. The Bible gives us the full story

2. First promise of a savior – Genesis 3:15

IV. The dispensations of time:

A. Innocency – Creation of Adam to expulsion from

B. Conscience – Expulsion to flood

C. Human government – Noah to dispersion at Tower

D. Promise – Abraham till law given to Moses

E. Law – till Jesus came – Calvary

F. Grace – Pentecost to rapture.

G. Kingdom – 1000 years millennial reign

V. All was leading man back to that place of reconciliation with God.

A. 2 Cor. 5:19 – God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.

B. II Cor. 5:18 – Hath committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. 1. Man
involved in all that God did – partnership – laborer’s together

VI. Four things God wants man to know

A. He is lost- No man can be saved until he realizes lost-separated from God.

B. He cannot save himself-powerless to change Adamic be born again.

C. Needs a Savior – Someone to save him

D. Christ came to be that savior-Luke 19:10 “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.

VII. Three things God does not know.

A. Any sin that he does not hate

B. Any sinner that he does not love-love is the motivating force behind all God’s dealings with man.

C. Another way of salvation

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.

From, A workshop with a Biblical Perspective/16691 Gothard street Huntington Beach, CA 92647, by Don Hyrkas

Posted in AD - Apostolic Doctrine, ADGE - General Apostolic Theology, AIS File Library0 Comments

Are You “Manning Up” in Your Marriage

Are You “Manning Up” in Your Marriage?
By Jody Burkeen

As you walk into churches today, you see many of the programs and ministry outreach efforts performed by … women. In some cases, these same women are also the head of the household, raising kids, paying bills and sometimes bringing home the bacon. The biblical model that God gave us, that men should be the leaders in the church and home, is not being followed by many Christian men today.

Countless married Christian men have become spiritual sissies. These men have their tail between their legs, and their wives have them by the collar. Many of these men have allowed their wives to call all the shots, and they just follow her around like a lost puppy waiting for the next treat. In many cases, it”s not because the wife wants to act this way but because she doesn’t have the choice: Her husband isn’t stepping up.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not being a chauvinist with these statements. Women have a major role to play in God’s kingdom and the home, and they are equally gifted in many areas of ministry. As a matter of fact, the Bible gives us many examples of women God used mightily for His kingdom.

But unfortunately, this has become the stereotypical view of Christian men today: whipped like dogs and too frail to stand up for their God, their family or their marriage. Men need to bronze themselves and man up.

The Picture of a Spiritually Sissy Husband

When I was married in 1990, my wife was far more mature than I ever thought about being. Some might say she still is. But since I became a Christian in 2003, our roles have reversed.

During the first 13 years of our marriage, my wife was raising me. I mean that in the sense of the way you raise a child. She always had to mold me, scold me and hold me, just like a kid. And I came to the point where I actually liked it.

The day before I got married, my mom made my bed. The day after I got married, my wife made it. I had just gone from one mom to the other. I was the biggest sissy around. My wife was my mom, not my soulmate. She spent many years training me to become a man. It didn’t work too well because that isn�t the biblical model, and I think over time she finally stopped trying and just let go.

In the early years of our marriage, when people asked us about having kids, I would jokingly say, “She has to raise me first.” What I later realized was that it wasn’t a joke. Not a good way to be a biblical husband.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Eph. 5:25-31).

After I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I began to read what the Bible says about being a good Christian husband. What I found was that I wasn’t even close to the biblical model, and neither were most of the men I’d met in church.

But reading about what kind of husband I needed to be and actually doing it were two different things. I had 13 years of bad habits to get rid of, an old, comfortable routine. I had a wife to convince that I had changed, and I had to close my ears to Satan telling me I couldn’t do it. This, so far, has been the biggest challenge for me in my Christian walk.
In my marriage, I had made a lot of mistakes. I had let my wife down more than once. So for me to start trying to assert my newfound “spiritual head of the household” attitude … well, it was going to take a long time, a lot of prayer and actions that were much different than what I had shown in the past. As she has always said, “Actions speak louder than words.”

My wife had spent our marriage providing the majority of the income. She had moved up in the ranks as a pharmaceutical saleswoman in the largest company in the industry. She was successful, beautiful and confident, and she was fast becoming the No. 1 salesperson in the company. This was something I was proud of but also very jealous of. The jealously part is something I didn’t bring up very often.

But after having kids, my wife’s job began to suffer. We had a full-time live-in nanny while we both worked, but the thought of leaving her children with another woman became just too painful for my wife, and it began to affect her attitude at work.

On top of all this, for the first time in our lives, we were listening to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to direct our lives. What He was telling us to do was a hard pill for me to swallow. God was telling my wife she needed to stay at home with our kids.

This was not something I felt like we needed to do�not because God wasn�t talking to me too, but because I was not ready for this kind of change. All I was worried about was the money, the lifestyle and having to step up and be the man of the house.

If God is calling you to do something, no matter how far-fetched, He will see you through it. It won’t be without trial or without error, but He will see you through to the end.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2�4).
God Spoke
After fighting through the conflict and after I was eventually convicted by God that my wife did need to stay home with the kids, she quit her job, and we haven’t looked back since.

Although there have been trials and tribulations in our life, it was the best thing we have done to date. As I said earlier, God will get you through the bad times if He called you to it.

Look at Paul. After God called him on the road to Damascus, he spent many years in prison, faced death and stoning, and was shipwrecked. But he followed God’s call, and this is what he said near the end of his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

God’s plan for your life may not turn out as you want it to, but whose plan would you rather live, yours or His? Keep fighting the good fight.

After listening to God, my wife quit her job to stay home, and God began to do a mighty work in both of us. For my wife, it was to start letting me take over as head of the household, both spiritually and financially. For me, it was becoming the man God intended me to be. We both dug into Scripture to figure out what it was we were to do. Through this process we have had ups and downs, but thus far, God has been faithful to us.

The preceding is an excerpt from Jody Burkeen’s book, “Man Up: Becoming a Godly Man in an Ungodly World”. You can purchase the eBook here. Jody is the founder of Man Up God’s Way Ministries, birthed out of his desire to help change the way Christian men “do” Christianity. He is also a regular columnist for charismamag.com.
From: www.chrismamag.com web site. January 2014.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

Posted in AIS File Library, MM - Men's Ministry0 Comments

The Heart of Man

There are many people with troubled hearts in the world today. There are many reasons why these hearts are troubled. Whatever the reason, we can be assured that God knows and stands waiting to give peace to
every troubled heart who will come to Him in faith. God loves you and wants to live in your heart.
The heart of man as used in this account means the seat of man’s affections, or the “real you.” The things that you are doing spring from your heart.
God, the Creator, created man in the very beginning. He intended for man to happily live and serve Him in the beautiful garden of Eden. Something happened to spoil God’s plan. The devil, whom we call Satan,
hates God. He caused man to doubt and disobey God. Because of this,  man’s heart became evil and sinful. No longer could he have the communion with God that surpassed all other joys. His heart became
deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Man was separated from God.
Because of His great love, God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for man’s sin. New hope is offered to every person. God wants to dwell in each man’s heart and someday take the saved to live with Him in His beautiful dwelling place called Heaven. He has decreed that no sin will ever enter there.
Sin is any thought, attitude, action, or belief that is contrary to God’s will. These defile man’s heart. God not only looks on man’s outside, but sees into his heart. Nothing is hidden from God. He commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). If this command is disregarded, man will be cast into the lake of unquenchable fire called hell (Matthew 25:41).
Our sins must be repented of, confessed, and forgiven. Then God creates a new heart within us that loves and serves Him. His Spirit no longer convicts man from the outside, but moves into his heart to
comfort and guide him. And finally, when our lives on earth are completed, God will receive us to Himself.
THE SINNER’S HEART
This is a heart that is ruled by the prince of this world. He dominates the life of a sinner with his many evil spirits, two of which are the spirits of pride and selfishness. In our illustration you will see Satan at the center of this heart. The peacock, lion, pig, serpent, and other animals represent some of the vain, violent, unclean, and subtle spirits which dwell in the sinner’s heart. Even the apparent good that such a heart produces is unacceptable to God because it is motivated by pride and self-honor.
In this heart may be sins such as drunkeness, resulting in behavior that brings shame and disgrace. It may be filled with lust and speak evil things (Proverbs 23:29-33). The habit of using tobacco is often
found in this heart, disgracing and defiling the body God would desire to have as His temple (I orinthians 3:16,17).
Human or fleshly lusts, immorality, fornication, and adultery dwell here, if not in deed then in thought. Jesus said that even to look on a woman with lust is to commit adultery with her in the heart (Matthew 5:28). It delights in the shameless and sinful lives of people about it. Dance halls, cinemas, theaters, and filthy literature feed the lusts of a sinner’s heart, “He that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (I Corinthians 6:18).
Excessive eating is equated with drunkeness, and under the Old Testament law it was treated as a very serious sin (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Marijuana, cocaine, opium, hashish, and many mood altering
drugs may occupy this heart. Some of these destroy not only the mind but the body and soul of man.
Gambling, cheating, stealing, lying, and deceit bear heartbreaking fruits. Many of these sins are justified by excuses such as, “Everybody is doing it.” These deeds are minimized by saying, This isn’t all wrong,” or, “This won’t hurt anybody;’ or “Everybody else does it.”
Covetousness, which is to desire something that belongs to another, rears its head. It beholds the possessions of others and lusts for them. It endeavors to obtain them, or something similar, through
legitimate or illegitimate means. The intent of the ungodly is to accumulate earthly treasures. This sin leads to a condition such as that of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. This man opened his eyes in hell and pled for a drop of water to cool his burning tongue. Slothfulness (represented by the turtle), indifference,
procrastination, and laziness are temptations or sins in this heart. Too lazy to work and labor honestly with his own hands, he covets the things which others have (Proverbs 21:25,26).
Witchcraft, horoscopes, astrology, and seances are as crafty as a spider and are used to guide the heart that is void of the Holy Spirit. God despises these sources of Satanic influence, for they can do nothing for the sinner’s heart but further the deceit and corruption already there (Isaiah 47:12-15).
Hatred and cruelty break out, many times in the form of a vile temper. Anger and outrageous behavior are frequent and revenge is sought, often in the name of justice. Psalm 37:8 commands us to put these sins away. Yet the sinner’s heart is unable to love unselfishly. It may be able to contain these cruel spirits for a time, yet soon they break out in their fury and destructiveness. The result is sorrow, heartbreak, pain, and even death. Jealousy, envy, and ill will control this heart, bringing misery, unhappiness, and sorrow into the lives of others.
Pride lifts its ugly head in this heart in its vain and conceited ways. Caring little for the feelings and well-being of its fellow men, it seeks only its own welfare. It adorns itself in the worldly beauties of self-respect, education, fashions, material possessions, fame, honor, arrogance, high-mindedness, self-righteousness, and its own rights. It is easily offended and hurt and carries grudges. When not well regarded by others, it seeks ways of injuring and disturbing. Pride may seek exaltation in family ties and deeds of its ancestry. It lusts for power and acclaim. It places great emphasis on its good deeds and overlooks the efforts of its fellow men. Pride ignores the plainness and simplicity taught in the Scriptures; it reasons and justifies itself until it hears no rebuke or reproof.
Pride was cast out of Heaven and will never again enter through its gates. God hates even a proud look (Proverbs 6:16,17). Its origin was with Satan, and its destiny is hell. “Pride goeth before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). God hates and resists pride in every form, but will give grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5).
The conscience continues to trouble the sinner even though it be trampled on, sinned against, or seared with a hot iron (I Timothy 4:2). Yet it is there, and in the quietness of some moment it will judge and condemn, producing guilt and fear. This is God’s way of declaring to man that judgment awaits everyone, for “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
The sinful heart through deceitful ignorance, slothfulness, and drowsiness, openly resists the love of God. It consoles itself as it beholds the vast multitudes of similar hearts which are traveling to eternal doom. It believes that some future time would be more convenient to face and deal with the sins it enjoys or to which it is in bondage. In unbelief it turns from the Holy Scriptures which bring condemnation and accepts the vain counsel of other sinners. Satan, without mercy, blinds its eyes to truth. He endeavors to mislead the heart when it reaches for the Word of God. He tempts it, as he did mother Eve, to doubt God by asking the question, “Hath God said?” Yet God continues to speak to this heart. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Yes, troubled heart, God is calling. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
CONVICTED AND REPENTING
The sinner in this heart begins to respond to the love and judgment of God. The Holy Spirit has been convicting of sin and judgment to come. He has been inviting the sinner to look to Jesus for salvation.
Prayers have been ascending to the throne of grace; many times not through lips. but through a cry of despair coming from deep within his soul. Though outwardly there is apparent liberty, within there is
bondage to a cruel and tormenting taskmaster. The God of Heaven and earth has noted this condition; He hears and will respond to the cry for help (Exodus 3:7). By grace from God the Creator, the heart is receiving light and understanding-light to see its sins as they are illuminated by the Holy Scriptures, and understanding to receive the Word of God and accept it by faith. Great distress and anxiety prevail
in this heart.
This sinful heart recognizes himself as vile before God. He realizes he has nothing with which to appease the wrath of God which awaits him. He realizes that his wounds stink and are corrupt because of his
foolish life (Psalm 38:5). He cries out like the jailor in Acts 16:30, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” As he recognizes the depravity of his heart he cries out. “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
The Word of God offers hope and condemns sin. It comes as a light penetrating the darkened heart. The brightness and presence of God’s authoritative Word drives the devil with his proud, vile, and unclean
spirits from this heart. As he retreats, the devil, with his evil spirits, resists the mighty power of the Holy Ghost. He tries to hide in the recesses of this heart, endeavoring to cover many sins from the probing eyes of God.
As this heart yields to the gentle embrace of Jesus, its Savior, it suddenly beholds the cross: so shameful in its loneliness, but oh, so radiant in its splendor! He beholds the Son of God hanging, wounded
and bleeding. His garments taken from Him, shamed and reviled, He is lifted up for all the world to see. Though sinless and pure, He is hanging between thieves. “He was numbered with the transgressors”
(Isaiah 53:12). The agonizing sinner hears the words from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).”I find no fault in this man;’ cries the repenting heart. “It is my
sin, my wretched heart worthy of death and eternal damnation, that deserves this vile and shameful death on the cross. How can it be that He dies for me?”
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5), whispers the comforting voice of
the Holy Spirit, “Your sins have been judged by the suffering and death of God’s only Son:” “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah
66:2) is the consolation given to the trembling heart, as it sinks in deep sorrow and remorse at the foot of the cross. Satan’s hold has been broken. A new heart is being formed, and peace is being given from Heaven by God the Father.
A NEW HEART
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). A perfect peace has been given. Redemption from a life of sin to
a life of holiness has been effected. Confession has taken place and restitution has been made. The heart has been crucified to the world and its vain ways (Galatians 6:14). Now the indwelling Spirit. prefigured as a dove in our illustration, has come to guide this heart into all truth (John 16:13). This heart desires and feeds on the sincere milk of the Word of God (I Peter 2:2). The fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance is becoming evident in this heart (Galatians 5:22,23).
As the sheep are led by the shepherd, the new heart is led beside the still waters (Psalm 23). Discernment from the Holy Spirit enables the new-born Christian to distinguish between obedience and disobedience,
both in his life and in the lives of his fellow men. He hears many naming the name of Christ, yet they have not departed from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19); from such he turns away. He studies the Word of God
and is not ashamed to embrace it in all its teachings. A boldness has come with his freedom; he is not ashamed to speak of those things which he has seen and heard and experienced (Acts 4:20). This new heart sees its need of continued cleansing, praying with the psalmist of old, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23,24).
The Holy Spirit purges the branches of this heart, removing that which hinders it, that more of the precious fruit may be born (John 15:2). It submits to the cleansing work, knowing that without Christ, it can do nothing.
His crucified and risen Lord is ever before him, high and lifted up. Christ is his chief joy, and he seeks to please Him who has given him a new life.
This heart has confidence in the keeping power of God. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish. neither shall any
man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27,28). As long as he will continue to hear and follow the Shepherd he is safe. Even Satan cannot remove him from God’s hand.
He is instructed to watch and pray because Satan will tempt him with his former lusts and desires. Sometimes Satan comes as a roaring lion to try to overpower him; at other times he tries to seduce him as an angel of light. If he accepts Satan’s suggestions he will lead him away from the Shepherd. Satan’s aim is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. However, as this heart submits to God and resists the devil,
Satan must flee. As this heart listens to the Shepherd’s voice and follows Him, he is safe.
THE BACKSLIDDEN HEART AND ITS END
This heart is one of tragedy. Gradually, through the deceitfulness of Satan, sin, unconcern, and neglect have come back and the gentle graces of the indwelling Spirit have begun to depart. Satan and his
wicked spirits, kept out by the presence of God, are coming back in their evil forms and ways. They drive from the heart the gentle graces illustrated by the dove and lamb. This heart is beginning to turn from the Savior, and is leaving the eternal promises of God once claimed for its own.
Faithful obedience and diligent watching would have kept this Christian in his new life. Even now his spiritual brethren are pleading with him through admonitions.
“Awake thou that sleepest” (Ephesians 5:14), is the call given by the Holy Spirit again and again. but the backsliding heart slumbers on.Satan’s hand has grasped the cradle, rocking to sleep this child of
God with the intent that he should never awaken. Through the cares of life or the deceitfulness of riches. the lusts and casualness of youth, the neglecting of daily prayer, or ceasing to feed on the Word
of God, the tempter has been able to enter with empty and deluding promises.
At first the outward form of Christian life is maintained. The backslider goes to church, comments on the Scriptures, kneels in empty prayer, and leaves a testimony. Gradually and surely the foul sins of
pride and neglect are hardening this heart. Worldly friends are preferred; and glitter and vanity of entertainments and sensuality cause the head to turn. Foolish and immoral conversation and joking
become more prevalent. The conscience, once clear, has been seared and its reproving voice is hardly heard, opening the door for the enjoyment of sin. Bitterness, envy, offence, and unforgiveness again
rule the thoughts, giving evidence to the rising of pride as a dominating spirit. The former lusts and carnal living offer themselves and slowly enter this heart, once clean and pure. In this backslidden
condition, self-righteousness may have ensnared the imagination of this backslider. causing him to pray thus within himself: “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are” (Luke 18:11). He has
returned to the ways of the world and is lost just like the heart which never accepted Christ.
Jesus, the Shepherd, observes this heart with great concern. He is out in the storms of life seeking this sheep. He has counted his sheep at eventide and one has not come home. His love is not to be quieted. He
pleads, “Come back, I have shed my blood for thee!”
The cross has become an offence, and self is no longer denied. The ways of the children of God and their fellowship seem narrow minded and of little value. Yet “the Spirit and the Bride say come”
(Revelation 22:17). The chastening hand of God is felt in many ways but self-pity has taken the place of a godly sorrow for sin. Self- justification and excuses have replaced justification by faith in Jesus Christ.
False and unconverted shepherds lull this heart into contentment and consolation, and it is not willing to be delivered from those sins it has again come to enjoy.
The unclean spirit which had gone out has come returning to its house. “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself: and they enter in, and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Luke 11:26).
Oh, how wretched and pitiful is this condition! Even the sinful pleasures he once enjoyed no longer bring satisfaction. But the grace of God is still calling to repentance.
Oh, backslider! Say in your heart, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee” (Luke 15:18). Hasten, for today is the day of salvation;
harden not your heart. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Do not continue to reject the mercy of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Hasten to accept the offer of salvation while the door of mercy is open.
Time moves rapidly. The sinful heart is approaching the day of its death. Its body may be full of pain and the heart full of fear. The accumulated riches, if any, are of no avail. Friends found in times of pleasure are now absent. The vices of sin stand in silent accusation. The ten commandments, God’s eternal law, speak plainly and clearly in the moment of death. The voice of God speaks once more, “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3), and now is heard no more.
The Spirit of God now turns to the living and in final testimony says, “Behold the wages of sin.” It is awful to behold the sinful heart in its dying hour: no hope, no Savior, no light; only darkness and utter despair. Wailing and gnashing of teeth and furnace of fire await him. (Matthew 13:42). This doom awaits all sinners, whether they never turned from sin or returned to sin like the backslidden heart. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement” (Hebrews 9:27).
HOMECOMING OF THE OVERCOMING HEART
This heart is victorious. Its intent is to walk worthy of God who has called him unto His kingdom and glory (I Thessalonians 2:12). Through the transforming power of the new birth this child of God endeavors daily to lay aside the sin and weights that so easily beset it, running the race of life patiently, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of his faith (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Satan remains close at hand with great power, but the Christian has peace and security, for he is kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5).
The trials of life present themselves In due time. God’s child may suffer great hardship, with persecutions even by loved ones, being despised and rejected by his fellow men. At times the temptation to
lay down the cross of Christ and its affliction may almost overwhelm him. The, glitter of the broad road with its gaiety and laughter come to the eyes and ears of this pilgrim. The flesh is tempted through its
love of ease, asking for a way that would give it greater liberty. Satan wishes this heart to forget its past bondage, urging a backward look to its past indulgences and carnal life. The Holy Spirit warns that, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
The Shepherd has continued to lead this heart, as one of His own sheep, into green pastures and beside the still waters. How many times, when beset with affliction and trials, this faithful heart is led back to the stillness of this place, and here his soul is restored (Psalm 23). The table prepared in the presence of his enemies enables him to love them and pray for them even though despitefully used (Matthew 5:44). There is nothing he would accept in exchange for his soul. His desire is to see Jesus only.
By the wisdom and grace received through the counsel of God’s Word, this heart seeks the children of God. When it finds the body of Christ, the Church of the Living God, with scriptural water baptism
and pure sound doctrines taught and practiced, the longing of this soul is satisfied (I Corinthians 12, Acts 2:41). To love and proclaim this glorious gospel as an ambassador for Christ gives great joy to the child of God. He is as a tree planted by the water bringing forth much fruit in his season (Psalm 1:1-3). A onscience void of offence
gives liberty and graciousness to this life; a perfect love has cast out all fear (I John 4:18). Earthly language fails to describe the joy and glory of the heart that follows in the footsteps of Jesus.
By faith the Christian can already see that beautiful city whose builder and maker is God, which He has prepared for them that love Him. He hears Jesus say, “Let not your heart be troubled . . . In my Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you. ” ‘ ” I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). The Christian joins in saying with the Apostle Paul, “Death is swallowed up in victory, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory”
(I Corinthians 15:54,55)? He is comforted when he remembers that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and
believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25,26).
All mortal flesh must die. So also, this overcoming heart must soon face the departure from this earthly life. He may not desire the experience of death itself, but looks forward to the joys of immortal life which await him.
Peace and quietness. familiar to him in life, surround his bedside in the last moments of his earth life. At his departure, the assurance and testimony are there that through his redemption in Christ he will now receive a crown of life.
This faith that has sustained him in life will not fail him in death, for it is anchored in the eternal Son of God. Jesus will send His angels to bear his soul away (Luke 16:22).
The Apostle John, in the vision he received on the Isle of Patmos, saw “. . . a great multitude, which no an could number. of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried, . . . Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb . . .” He was told “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. . . They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, . . . For the Lamb. . . shall feed them, . . . and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:9-17).
Can any more be asked of life than this? Is Heaven beckoning? Are loved ones waiting at the portals of glory? Would you not wish to be in that vast throng that John beheld? Is Jesus even now standing at
the door of your heart? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Come! Come now
lest you hear His voice no more!
(The above material was published by the Gospel Tract and Bible Society in Moundridge, KS.)
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