Speak To The Whole Heart About God’s Love

The heart matters

I recently read about a psychologist bemoaning the treatment he received from scientists involved with “real” science (indicating that they thought psychology was not a legitimate science since it deals with “matters of the heart”). Apparently feuds exist. In summary, he said, “Biologists and physicists tell me that emotions are not real science and ultimately don’t matter, but then they complain constantly that their wives are leaving them and their families are falling apart.”

Whoever thinks emotions don’t matter is out of touch with his/her emotions. That’s a dangerous place to be. Why does the Bible talk about joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness? Why do we sometimes define these clinically and not organically?

We sometimes treat the topic of emotion like Spock would–purely logical. But we’re not trying to convince Spock or some robot to become a Christian. We’re trying to reach humans. And a human cannot give himself completely to Christ without giving his heart–all of his heart.

The Heart Is A Wonderful Servant And A Terrible Master

As we reach out to others, we need to speak to their hearts. The Biblical “heart” comprises several different things. It thinks and decides. It also feels. A balanced Christianity is one that takes into account ALL of the heart. This is where influence begins.

And this is where you can help impact others for Jesus. No one wants emotional manipulation, so instead, let’s focus on spreading glad tidings that bring hope and joy to people who have little to look forward to in the world. That is a fundamental pursuit in The Truth In Love and a fundamental pursuit of Christians.

That’s not to suggest that we should be overly emotional or that truth should never feel painful. (Actually truth is not painful, sin is, and that pain is felt in the presence of truth.)

Our aim is not to please everyone, but it’s certainly not our aim to make everyone angry either.

How can we help you and encourage you? How can you serve and help others and reach their hearts?

How To Know If Your Heart Is Open To Truth

open heartThe first rule for spiritual development is to be open to truth. Without this, growth will be extremely unlikely. So if we want to develop properly, we need to accurately judge whether we are open to the truth so that we can make adjustments where necessary. One big problem with judging our openness is that we tend to fool ourselves. We can’t always trust our opinion because our mind can fool us. It often does.

 

  • It’s how a woman ravaged by eating disorders can see her 95-pound body in a mirror and call herself “fat”.
  • It’s why there are very few “guilty” people in prison. It’s always someone else’s fault.
  • It’s why Al Capone thought of himself as a “good guy”.
  • And it’s why you are not growing in Christ if you are stagnant.

We all have heard the saying that if you are not growing then you are dying. While true, that only serves to frighten us sometimes. How do we know if our hearts are developing properly? How do we know we are not simply fooling ourselves into thinking we are faithful? It’s not an easy question to answer.

The Difficulty in Answering the Question

It’s not easy to answer because there is no litmus test for development. Is there some way to know where any given human should be in his growth at any given time? There are no set of laws that once we have met them we have no other obligations for development. It’s not possible to look at another person and tell if they are “coasting” and not putting in any effort. And how can anyone look at themselves and know with certainty they are not fooling themselves and “coasting”? Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, “In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.”

We might prefer to have a list to judge ourselves by. Of course, the “list” is the Bible, but we all know we are not going to perfectly keep God’s word and that there is the allowance for growth. How much development does God require? I’m not even talking about sin. For example, we know we are to be patient. How patient must we be? Where is the line that says, “After you pass this level you are patient enough”? And if we cannot find a “line” how will we know if we have surpassed it? This is a challenge, but there are some principles we can use to make some judgments about our progress.

How Open Are You To Truth?

Today I want you to consider that the fundamental question of faithfulness relates to our hearts, specifically, openness to the truth. If you are not open to the truth, there is no chance that you are developing properly. But openness is a sign of potential development.

How would you rate your openness? Here are some interesting principles from Proverbs 2:1-5 to help us make adjustments if needed.

Here are the verbs of an open heart:

An open heart receives and treasures instruction (Proverbs 2:1)

When is the last time you learned something new or saw something old in a better light? If it has been a while then we can conclude one of two things. Either you have already become perfect, or you are not looking for truth.

An open heart listens and applies instruction (Proverbs 2:2)

A heart that is open to truth is one that will try to understand it. Those struggles that you face from time to time where you are trying to figure out the best way to handle a situation and be faithful to God–those are times that show you are applying your heart to understanding.

An open heart asks questions (Proverbs 2:3)

Questions are the lifeblood of growth. We only learn the things we ask about. What was the last question you had about the Bible or how to apply it to your life? This is surely a sign of how open your heart is to the Word of God.

An open heart searches for more truth (Proverbs 2:4)

I’ve often had questions that I wanted to have answered but did not want to find the answers myself. Teachers, remember that if a student wants to know an answer, he or she will ask. He may not ask you, but the questions will be asked. Provide the answers for them. If they are not asking questions, even spoon-feeding them the answer will not work. They will only retain what they want to learn. The same is true in Bible study. When was the last time you decided to search out an answer for a spiritual question? The idea in that verse goes beyond merely asking a question. The verse mentions searching “as for hidden treasures”. Are you really interested enough to find the answers yourself without someone just giving you what you’d like to hear?

Here is a way to test your heart, to see if you are genuinely open to the truth. Your life may well depend on how you relate to these points. The good news is that if you find yourself doing these things, you can have good confidence in your pursuit of truth. Even if you are not at the goal, with these attitudes, you soon will be. Jesus said that whoever seeks will find.

And if you are not where you should be, the good news is that you CAN be this way. It’s merely a decision you make daily.

Open Your Heart To Truth

Your heart is the garden in which the plants of your life grow. What grows is determined by what seeds you allow in the garden. Put God’s word deep within your heart and what will grow will astonish you! The first step to that growth is an open heart to truth. (By the way, if you’d like to see more lessons on the heart, click here.)

Where are you in the journey? Need some help? Let’s talk!

1486 Heart Problems: Worry

Do you often find yourself worrying? There are certainly legitimate concerns in life, but when they become overwhelming, we need tools to help us cope. In this powerful lesson, Robert shares with us a way to cure our worries from a biblical perspective. His wise advice includes how you can solve all of your worries with only one penny.

ROBERT >> High blood pressure, heart disease, stomach ulcers, anger, frustration, discouragement, distraction, a loss of productivity. These are the kinds of things that worry can do to us. Worry is another problem of the heart. What is it? What is it that we worry about? Is there any remedy for worry?

>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love

ROBERT >> What is worry? Someone defined it this way: A painful uneasiness of the mind usually over an anticipated ill. We fret, we’re anxious, in our heart there’s such a stressful emotion; but what is it that causes this to come upon us? What is it that we worry about so much?

I’m afraid that many of us worry about money, how we’re going to get it and earn it and make it and steal it and spend and save it and hoard it and invest it. And then what do we do? We lose it all on a six month to a nursing home.

We worry about what we have said and done more than what we should say and do. We worry about baldness and bridges and bifocals and bulges, and generally die of a heart attack. We worry about things purely imaginary. Yes, worry can be a big problem of the heart for many of us.

I want you to think this morning about two kinds of worry; because you see, there is a proper care and concern that we ought to have in our hearts about certain things, and there’s also an improper care and concern that can really cause problems and can be a real problem of the heart.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 12:25 we read about the care that we ought to have for one another in the body of Christ. That’s proper. It’s not that we’re always worrying about each other, but that we do care and we are concerned about the souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:28 the apostle Paul talked about the anxiety that he had for all the churches. This great minister of the gospel had a proper care and concern for these churches, that they not be drawn away by false doctrine, that they not fall into sin and lose their souls, but that they be the kind of churches that God would have them to be. And in Philippians 2:20 we read about the apostle Paul writing to the church at Philippi, sending them Timothy, his coworker, to help them, and how that Timothy cared for them like no other.

There is a proper care and concern that we all ought to have for each other. That kind can be good. It moves us to take care of things. It helps us to be careful. Some things we need to be concerned about; and certainly we need to be concerned about each other and about our relationship with the Lord.

But there’s also an improper care and concern that we need to address that so often becomes a problem of the heart. If you will, look with me in Psalm 37:8. Here’s what the Bible says: Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret; it only causes harm.

Yes, there is an over concern or a misplaced concern. Some people are even neurotic about their worries. And so he says don fret like that. It can be very harmful to you. Look a little further in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 12:25, Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression; but a good word makes it glad. Yes, we’ll be wise not to become so over concerned about things that it causes us to become discouraged and puts us in a condition of depression. That kind of over concern and misplaced concern or neurotic worry is useless; in fact, it’s very harmful to us. Jesus has much to say about worry and many things that will help us here. I want you to look over in Matthew 6:25-34. And you’ll notice in this passage that not once and not twice, but three times Jesus says do not worry, and he tells us why we should not worry.

Notice here in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Isn’t it true that sometimes we worry too much about these things? And that’s what Jesus is talking about. The most important thing is not this life or the things of this life. Certainly we need to take care of our bodies, we need things to eat and to drink, but let’s let God take care of that for us, and let’s put him first in our life as Jesus teaches us in this very passage.

Look at verse 33, where he says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

You see, if we’ll put God first, we’ll make him the priority of our life, our number-one concern, then these other things will take care of themselves. If you look a little closer at Jesus’ teaching, he says in verse 26, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Yes, we can see that God is going to take care of his creatures. And if he takes care of his creatures, how much more is he going to take care of us, his people? Look at it a little further as you go on down in verse 30. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith? Yes, you see, worry is just a symptom of little faith. But instead of worrying, let’s learn to trust in God with the things that we need.

There’s another interesting point that Jesus makes in this reading. In Matthew 6, notice again now in verse27-28. He says, Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. You think those lilies worry about it, worry about what they look like and how they appear?

We worry about our clothing, we worry about these things and our appearance and all of this so much; but he says it’s useless, it’s not going to do any good. Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Is it going to make you any taller? Of course not. We know that worry itself is not going to do us any good. And so Jesus says don’t worry, trust God with these things in your life.

He reminds us as we look further here in verse 32, For after all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Don’t think that God doesn’t know everything about us. He knows what we need, and he promises to provide that for those who seek him first. Jesus concludes this section in verse 34 when he says, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things; sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

It seems that if we can’t find anything in the past to worry about or anything in the present, then we’ll look to something in the future and worry about that, things that probably will never happen, anyway. We’ve got enough to take care of right now today, and so let’s take care of the things that we have before us, and let’s trust God with everything else. Worry is useless, Jesus teaches us, and never lifted a single burden and never solved a single problem and never dried a single tear. And besides, it’s unnecessary to worry about what God promises to take care of. But now before we leave this lesson today, we need to talk about the remedy for worry. How is it that we can overcome this problem of the heart? Well, the remedy for worry is prayer.

Look with me if you will in Hebrews 4:16. The Hebrew writer encourages us to pray. He encourages us to come to the Lord with the things that we need. Tell God your needs. Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Yes, God encourages us to come boldly, to come with confidence and assurance that he will hear us and that he will provide for us. He tells us here that his throne is a throne of grace. That is, God wants to give us the things that we need. He wants to be gracious towards us. And he says in coming to him with that kind of confident faith that we can be sure that we will obtain his mercy, that we will find his grace to help us in our time of need.

Let me encourage you when you come to the Lord and you come to him in faith with confidence to be very specific about what it is you feel that you need, that you want in order to carry out God’s purposes for your life and to be the kind of Christian that he would have you to be. If you’re worried about something, whatever it is, tell it to God.

Find a place, find a time to talk to God about it. The Bible teaches us to let your requests be made known unto God. That’s in Philippians 4:6-7. He tells us to do that, to turn it over to God so that we can get rid of our worries. So tell your needs to God. There’s something else that will help us when it comes to the remedy for worry, and it comes to praying to God and talking to him.

Don’t just tell him your needs, but remember to be thankful. There in Philippians 4:6 when he said, Don’t be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And so when we come to God with these needs, let’s remember to be thankful. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to always be thankful for all things. It’s when we’re thankful, when we realize our blessings that it’s easy for us to forget our worries. And not only that, but being thankful reminds us of how God has taken care of us in the past, reminds us of what God is doing for us in our life today, and it gives us more confidence and assurance so we can turn our present worries back over to him.

You know, blessings and the wonderful things that God has done for us bring such joy to our hearts. And that joy is so much greater than our problems. When we realize as Christians we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, as the Bible says in Ephesians 1:3, then our worries seem to fade into insignificance. I think about how God has blessed my life with forgiveness, how he’s blessed me with the church and his word, how he’s blessed me with the privilege of prayer, the joy and the hope that God has brought to each and every one of us who have put our faith in him who belong to him. So when you ask God for your needs, when you take your needs to him, remember to be thankful, and that will assure us of God’s ability to take care of us.

But there is a third thing we must learn to do, and maybe this is the hardest one. It’s one thing to tell God our needs and to remember to be thankful, but it’s something else to take our worry and just leave it with him, just turn it over to him, because we want to keep carrying it around with us. Look with me in Psalm 62. The Psalmist helps us to learn how to turn things over to God. In Psalm 62:1 it says, Truly my soul silently waits for God; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be greatly moved. You see how the Psalmist is talking to himself? He’s calming his spirit and he’s building his faith in God. He says, Truly my soul silently waits for God. He believes in God. He’s trusted God for many years, he’s seen what God has done in his life and he is able to do, and so he says there’s no reason for me to be upset and to be worried. And so he calms his soul and he waits for the Lord. But he waits for him with expectation.

He knows that God is going to come through for him or that God is going to help him to get through whatever it is that he’s facing in his life. He says he’s my rock, he’s my salvation. I can stand firmly in my faith for God because, you see, I know that he’s that stable one I can always trust in. He’s the dependable one I can always rely upon. He changes not. And just as he’s been faithful in the past, he’ll continue to be faithful now. He’s my solid rock that keeps me from being moved. Yes, he’s my salvation, he’s my deliverance, he is going to deliver me out of whatever it is that’s going on in my life. And so as I come to him and as I wait for him, I do so with great confidence knowing that he’s going to come through for me. I look down in verses 5-8 of Psalm 62, and the Psalmist says, My soul waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

Once again the psalmist speaks to himself, be silent, be calm, don’t worry. I know, God, that you’re going to be there for me. He goes on to repeat again, He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory. The rock of my strength and my refuge is in God. Yes, the psalmist has one to whom he can come and rest secure and safe. God is his refuge. And so he says in verse 8, Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him. Got is a refuge for us. When you’re worried, when you’re upset, you take all of that, and you take it to God, and you leave it with him.

In 1 Peter 5:7 Peter simply says, Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. When’s God going to answer our prayer? When is going to meet our need? When is he going to bring deliverance into our life? When will our burdens be lifted? The moment that we give our worries up, the moment that we turn these things over to him, we can trust that God will take care of them. It’s as though they’ve already been done. It’s like a hitch hiker with a backpack, and he’s walking down the road, and a car comes and pulls over to pick him up, and he jumps in the car. But the driver of the car looks over and says, You still have your backpack on. Why don’t you take it off and put it here in the back seat? I think we’re a lot of times just like that hitch hiker when we come to God and he need his help, but we keep the backpack on. We won’t let go of the worries and the things that are burdening us. Until we take it off and give it to God, God’s not able to bless our lives like he really wants to.

You know, you may be able to cure all your worries for a penny. Carry a penny everywhere you go. When you’re tempted to worry, you take it, and you read the message inscribed on it, In God we trust. There is the real remedy for worry.

You see, before we can worry, we’ve got to think three things about God. We’ve got to think, number one, he doesn’t know my problem. We’ve already found out that God knows everything about us. He knows our needs even before we ask him. And so we don’t have to worry about that. He knows your problem today. He knows whatever it is that’s going on in your life. He understands your worry.

But before we can worry, we must also think that God doesn’t care. Maybe he does know, but maybe he doesn’t care. Oh, no, God cares for us, as we’ve already learned. God cares for us, and he loves us, and he does not want us to have to suffer, and he doesn’t want us to have to be hurting. He’s made a way for us. You know, sometimes we don’t understand why we go through the things that we do and why God doesn’t immediately answer our prayers, or even after a long time we’re wondering where is God, and we have all of these questions and doubts in our heart.

But I want to take you back 2,000 years to the cross of Calvary and remember what he did for all of us there. Having left heaven and come to the earth as a man, Jesus Christ the Son of God lived a perfect life and then gave himself on the cruel cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins. Folks, that’s love. That’s genuine care. That’s how God feels about you today. So never doubt his care and his concern for you. Never doubt his love for you.

But before we can worry, we must also think that God can’t do anything about it. If he knows my problem and he loves and he cares for me, then why doesn’t he do anything about it? Maybe he can’t. But that, too, is not true. Because he’s God, he can do anything. He can do everything.He’s greater, Hebrews 6:13 tells us, he’s greater than anyone or anything. With God all things are possible, Matthew 19:26.

So today, don’t worry. Turn it over to God. He knows your problem. He does care about you, and he can do something about it. He can bring deliverance and blessing into your life. Just pray this simple prayer. Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle. And let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

>> There is beyond the azure blue a God concealed from human sight.
He tinted skies with heavenly hue and framed the worlds with his great might.
There is a God, he is alive, in him we live, and we survive.
From dust our God created man, he is our God, the great I Am.

Our God whose son upon a tree a life was willing there to give
that he from sin might set man free and evermore with him could live.
There is a God, he is alive, in him we live, and we survive.
From dust our God created man, he is our God, the great I Am.

>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.

While everlasting ages roll, eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view, rise in succession to their view.

Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing, oh almighty king.
Holy, holy, holy Lord.

ROBERT >> Thanks for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you. Let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966800-819-2966 FREE. Also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace, from the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.

Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

1485 Heart Problems: Pride

Someone said pride is all about its central letter: “I”. Its caused the fall of nations and individuals. Are you suffering from a pride problem? In this lesson, Robert shows us the meaning of pride and how to remove it from our hearts.

ROBERT >> Are you a prideful person? I don’t mean do you have a normal self-respect and a dignity about yourself that we all ought to have; I’m not talking about being happy for the success of others like a parent is proud for his child; but I’m talking about an inflated sense of worth or importance, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, as Paul warned about in Romans 12:3.

I love how one missionary translated the word to a tribe he was working with as, Ears being too far apart. Yes, pride is having the big head. Or as Abraham Lincoln put it, He who sings his own praises usually gets the pitch too high. What does the Bible say about this other problem of the heart, pride?

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Somebody said, People are strange; they want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention. Yes, it’s true that many of us have a pride problem. Somebody said, “Pride is the only disease that everyone around you suffers from except yourself.” Isn’t it hard sometimes to see that we have a pride problem when it’s so easy to see that in others?

Another said, “The mental cases most difficult to cure are those people who are crazy about themselves.”

Yes, pride can come into our heart, and we might not even know it. And it could be that this is a problem that you’re dealing with in your heart, in your life today, and you don’t even know it. Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about it.

What is wrong with pride, and how can we deal with this and root this out of our heart that we might be the kind of people God wants us to be? Well, first of all, let’s look at the Proverbs, because the Proverbs are filled with information that will help us with this very problem. In fact, I want us to notice four warnings from Proverbs concerning pride. Let’s look first of all at Proverbs 11:2. Here we find inspired messages of wisdom.

And he says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Yes, wisdom doesn’t come from pride, but shame. Wisdom comes from humility, rooting out that pride.

How many times has pride caused you to embarrass yourself? Doesn’t it keep us from maturing spiritually in our knowledge and in our understanding? Only when we set pride aside and humble our hearts are we going to be able to learn and to grow in the Lord. So we need to be warned that pride brings shame and not wisdom.

But here’s another warning from the Proverbs. Look at Proverbs 13:10. “By pride comes nothing but strife; but with the well advised is wisdom.” Yes, not only does pride keep us from growing in wisdom and keep us from understanding and knowledge and cause shame in our life, but pride also brings strife. How many times has pride caused you to get at odds with others? Doesn’t it keep us from enjoying so many blessings of God? I look over in Proverbs 28:25, and here the wise man writes to us, “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife; but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.” So let’s take pride out of our heart. Let’s humble ourselves. Let’s put our trust in God and not in ourself.

But there’s a third warning from the Proverbs concerning pride. Look at Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Yes, it’s true that pride often gets us into trouble. We shame ourself, we stir up strife, and it ultimately brings destruction to our heart, to our soul, to our life, to our families, to our nations.

Somebody said, “The higher you stand, the harder you fall.” Yes, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. As Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, take heed to yourselves. He says, “He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

Just about the time we get to thinking that we cannot fall, that we have arrived spiritually, that nothing could ever happen to us, that’s when we fall, because we’re not on guard. We’re no longer careful about how we walk and puffed up in our pride. That’s what brings our destruction.

Still there’s a fourth warning from the Proverbs that I want to remind you of, Proverbs 29:23. Here it says, “A man’s pride will bring him low; but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Yes, pride can humiliate us. It can bring us low. It will cause us to be shamed, embarrassed; it will cause us to stir up strife and get at odds with others; it will cause us to fall on our face; it will bring us low.

Somebody said, “People who sing their own praises do so without accompaniment.” The person was emphasizing the fact that we might think we’re something else, and we might brag about ourself and boast about ourself, but if we truly want to be honored by others, we need to humble ourselves.

In Luke 18:14, this was the message of Jesus, especially towards the religious leaders of his day who thought they were better than everybody else, who looked down on others. He said here in this passage, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Yes, this man in this passage was the man who would not so much as look up into heaven, but he beat his breast and called out for God’s mercy because he was a sinner. When we humble ourselves before God, then we’ll be lifted up.

You know, you see this contrast between those of pride and those of humility in Satan and in Jesus. I want us to think a little bit today about Satan and pride, about Jesus and humility. In 1 Timothy 3:6 we read about the pride of Satan, the devil. And this is given as a warning to elders. The apostle Paul reminds Timothy that men should not be appointed to be bishops or overseers of the church, that elders should not be brought in as pastors of the church that are novices, that are new converts, lest they be puffed up in pride. Here’s what it says, “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”

This must have been Satan’s problem. He became too proud of his power and his position that God had blessed him and privileged him with. And that was the reason for his fall. There’s a few passages that seem to suggest this very thing in the Old Testament scriptures. In Isaiah 14:12-15, I want you to notice here what Isaiah has to say to the king of Babylon who had become puffed up in his pride. He’d been given power over all the earth as king of this great nation, but he would fall because of his pride just as Satan fell. And as we read this passage, can you not see the allusion to the fall of Satan and that Isaiah’s warning the king of Babylon that just as Satan fell, he also could fall?

Isaiah 14:12 says, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

When we begin to exalt ourself above God, begin to think that we’re greater than all, that we can do anything, that’s when we’re going to fall just like the devil.

There’s another passage with a similar teaching in Ezekiel chapter 28. Notice here this, too, is a prophet speaking to a king. In Ezekiel chapter 28 he’s talking to the king of Tyre, who like the king of Babylon had become puffed up in his pride. But again he compares his fall to that of Satan. Listen to what it says. “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. And by the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; and therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”

Can you see in this passage that God created Satan beautiful and privileged and blessed, but he sinned; and as a result of that, he was cast from heaven. This is a warning to the king of Tyre, and it’s a warning to any of us who become puffed up in pride.

There’s another passage in Revelation the 12th chapter that also speaks of the fall of Satan. And the one writing the Revelation, the apostle John, reminds us of the fall of Satan as a warning to the Roman empire that was persecuting God’s church, that just as Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven, so would these servants of Satan, Rome, fall. In Revelation the 12th chapter we read about how that Satan tried to destroy the Christ child as he was born into the world. But he was unsuccessful. He was defeated. And then we see how that he tried to destroy the Christ child in putting him on the cross and not allowing him to be raised up and establish his kingdom; but of course we know again Satan was defeated.

Jesus was raised and ascended to heaven, and there he won the victory over Satan, over sin, over death. Now Satan is out to destroy the church, but he can never do that. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I’ll build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Satan is a three-time loser, and Satan will always lose when he comes against Jesus Christ. But I want you to see in the Revelation how that when John pictures Satan being cast out of heaven, he’s reminding us of that original defeat when he was puffed up in pride so that we not be puffed up in pride. In Genesis 3:1-8, the first temptation of that old serpent, the devil, Satan, had to do with this very problem of pride. You remember the woman was tempted by Satan to partake of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God warned her not to take of, lest she die; but she being deceived partook of that fruit.

You remember the temptation of Satan? Notice what he said here in verse 4. “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die; for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ And so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

Yes, that desire to be like God, that desire to be powerful, to be great, a prideful reaching for that kind of position and power is what deceived the woman and caused her to die that day, spiritually become separated from God because of her sin, and the man also as he partook of that fruit.

We need to be warned as John said in 1 John 2:15-17 not to love the world and the things in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life because they’re not of the Father, they’re of the world.

But now having talked about Satan and pride, let’s consider Jesus and humility. Oh, the humility of Jesus Christ. How that Jesus, though he was in a form of God or an equality with God, did not think it a thing to be grasped or to be held onto, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We read about that in Philippians 2:3 and 8. But you see, it’s Jesus coming to this earth, humbling himself that he was able to fulfill the mission of God in saving the world.

Having come and lived a perfect life, he was then able to offer that as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. But what humility, to give up the glories of heaven, to become one of us, to suffer, to be tempted and tried, to be rejected, to be crucified upon a cross. But Jesus was willing to do that to serve us. And it’s that kind of humility that will enable us to help others and to help others towards heaven and to please our God and ultimately to be raised to glory. As Jesus himself was raised from the dead and ascended back to glory, so we’ll share with him in that glory someday if we walk in humility.

In Matthew the 20th chapter, Jesus wanted to teach his apostles this very thing because they were arguing about who was the greatest among them, they were fighting for great seats in the kingdom on his right hand and on his left hand. But he wanted them to know that that’s not what his kingdom was about, and that kind of pride is completely opposite of the humility that Jesus displayed in his own life, that that kind of pride is not true greatness.

Listen to these words in Matthew chapter 20 and let’s begin in verse 24. “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them; yet it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”

Oh, the ten were displeased with the two, James and John, whose mother wanted them to sit on the right hand and the left hand of Jesus, because you see, they desired those same kind of seats of power and position and authority. They wanted to be great like God. But Jesus said to be great like God is to be not first, but last, is to be not served, but a servant. For He Himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Yes, the very heart of the gospel is the teaching of humility, of sacrifice, of giving.

As Jesus was with his apostles before going to the cross, at that last Passover meal, you may remember they had all gathered there to eat, but no one had washed their feet. Coming in off the dusty roads of Palestine, it was their custom to wash their feet before they would go on in the house and continue to eat the supper together. But no one had been washed. I suppose that they might have been thinking, you know, it’s somebody else’s turn to wash our feet, and certainly I should not have to wash the feet. But it was Jesus Christ who got up and who took the towel and the water and went to each one of them to wash their feet.

He was setting them an example to do for each other what he had done for them, to be a servant, to love others, to give to others, to sacrifice for others. And that takes humility.

Pride will always cause us problems. Let’s remember the warnings of the Proverb, that it will bring us to shame and embarrassment, that it will cause all kinds of problems with others, that it will bring our destruction, it will bring us low. But it’s humility that will bring us in favor with God so that he will lift us up and he will reward us and he’ll bring us home to heaven to be with him someday.

I’m no so thankful to God that he’s made a way for me, a sinner. One lost without Jesus, I was in desperate straits. Needing his salvation, needing his forgiveness, knowing that I could never obtain it on my own, I put my trust in the one who came to save me, who humbled himself, who became obedient to the death of the cross. I realized there how much God loves me and how awful my sin is, that it cost the blood of that perfect one. It was in humility that I decided to turn away from my sin and to live for Jesus, to give myself to him. I remember walking the aisle at the church building, confessing the name of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, my Lord, my Savior, and then being immersed in the waters of baptism so that my sins could be forgiven, and then raised up out of that water, cleansed, pure, whole a child of God, a new start, a new life.

It’s in humility that each of us who have made that same decision, who have come to Christ in that same way, who have been cleansed, who have been forgiven, who have been saved, it’s in humility that we must continue to walk before our God, to be honest about ourselves and who we are, and continue to strive to follow Jesus Christ, always trusting him, knowing that he can bring us home to heaven. God bless you with the humility of Jesus. And please, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new blessings I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

ROBERT >> I hope that you found today’s lesson helpful. And to help you in your continued study, we’d like to offer you a free copy of today’s lesson. Thankfully, members of churches of Christ make these materials available to our viewers absolutely free of charge. And all you have to do is contact us and let us know the name of the program that you’d like to have a copy of. You can see the title of today’s program on your screen. Let us know the format in which you’d like to have it. You can have the program in the form of an audio CD or a DVD or a written transcript. You can have any of these formats, again, free of charge. It won’t cost you a thing.

You can contact us in a number of ways. We have an 800 number that’s a voice mail system where you can leave the pertinent information. The number is 800-819-2966. If you’d like to e-mail that request, our e-mail address is requests@ttil.tv. And you can go to our web site, which is www.ttil.tv. If you want to send us a postcard or a letter, our mailing address is P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. Again, we stress to you there’s no cost or obligation. We just want you to have the material, and we thank you for watching.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace, from the toils that bind me it will bring release. Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all. Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

1484 Heart Problems: Loneliness

Loneliness is a powerful emotion that can destroy us if we all it. We all ecperience it, some more than others. How can we combat it? What can we learn from it? And how are we to react when we face it? This lesson of hope is sure to be a favorite of many.

ROBERT >> Do you feel isolated or separated? Do you feel like you have no friends, that you’re all alone, no one to talk to, to listen to you, to care about you, or no one to share with? I hope you’ll stay tuned as we consider this other problem of the heart, loneliness.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love

ROBERT >> There are many in our society today who suffer from loneliness. Maybe it’s an orphan or a single person, a divorcee, a widow; it could be a prisoner or someone who because of their health has become isolated or separated; it may be an aged person, an outcast; or perhaps you’re a newcomer to the neighbor or to your school or to the congregation where you worship, or you’re new on the job. All kinds of people suffer from loneliness. And how may loneliness affect us?

Let’s notice that loneliness not only affects us negatively, but it can affect us also positively. Yes, loneliness can make us tired and weary and depressed. Some have even become suicidal. It can make us bitter and angry and afraid. It can affect our health. It can affect our efficiency in life. But on the other hand, if we deal with it properly, loneliness can also bring us to God. It can help us to reach out to others and it can help us to better understand ourself. So let’s talk for just a few moments together from God’s word how a Christian can deal with loneliness.

Let’s notice first of all today that we need to remember as Christians we never walk alone. I love these words from the book of Joshua in Joshua chapter 1 as God had appointed him to lead his people Israel across the Jordan river into the promised land. They were going to face a mighty enemy. They had a great work to do. Joshua had a tremendous responsibility as the leader of Israel. He needed to know that he was not alone. And so God encouraged him here.

In Joshua 1:5 the Bible says, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

What courage that must have brought to the heart of this one, to know that God himself had promised to be with him and not to leave him.

We read a little bit later on in this same chapter in verse 9 these words, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua needed to know that whatever situation he might find himself in, whatever circumstances might arise, whoever he might face there in the promised land, that God, the Lord God, would be with him, that he would walk with him, that he would never be alone.

These same words are repeated by the Hebrew writer in chapter 13 and verse 5 as a promise for all Christians. “ I’ll never leave you, nor will I in any wise forsake you,” the Lord says. He went on to say, “So with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what shall man do unto me?”

We don’t have to be afraid, because we’re never alone. God walks with us as we continue to trust in him and look to him for the help that we need. 2 Timothy 4:16-17, some of the very last words written by the apostle Paul, address this very subject. You can imagine if you were an aged man like Paul, you’d been through a great deal of suffering for the cause of Christ, you had received all kinds of persecution, and now you’re a prisoner of Rome, and you know that your life is soon to be taken. What would you do, and how would you feel? Certainly Paul felt lonely as many had left him, there were few that were with him. He said, Only Luke is with me. He was calling for others to come and to stand by his side. But he also knew that his God had not forsaken him, and that even in that hour of death, he would be there to deliver him.

Listen to these words of faith in 2 Timothy 4:16-17. “In my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me; may it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion; and the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me for his heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

You see, Paul could look back and see how time after time after time, God had delivered him. And he knew that even in this last hour, God would deliver him. He spoke with great courage and assurance, knowing that even passing through death, he would find a better place on the other side, a better position. He knew that he would be in the arms of God. All of us need to take heart who are Christians, who are trusting in the Lord, who are following after him, to know that God has a better place for us, and that even passing through death, we’re not going to be alone. He’ll be there to meet us on the other side.

Psalm 68:5-6 also helps to comfort our hearts when we feel alone. In fact, there are many passages in the Psalms that would be helpful to us when you’re dealing with these feelings of isolation and separation. And so let me encourage you to read these from day to day. But here’s what the psalmist writes in Psalm 68:5-6. “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His holy habitation.”

God sets the solitary in families, He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. You see, though God is high in the heavens, there from where he dwells, he is able to help us. He is able to help the orphan, he is able to help the widow, he is able to help the poor, and he is able to place us with others, to surround us with others so that we’re never alone. I’m so thankful for family and for friends, for brothers and sisters in Christ; and I know that when I lose one, that there are many others that God has brought into my life. We need to be thankful for those that God has given to us and learn to develop those relationships and find strength from those around us. Let’s remember that even when nobody else is there, that God is up above and he’s looking down upon us to bless us in every situation and circumstance of our life. Remember that we never walk alone. There’s something else that I want to encourage you with today, and that’s to try and gather strength from solitude. In those moments when you are alone or when you need to be alone, it is a time when you can find strength from the Lord. Let’s go to Matthew chapter 14. In this passage we’re reading about the life of Jesus Christ while he was upon the earth. And of course Jesus was a very busy man. He was busy preaching and teaching, healing the people, casting out demons, performing great miracles; all of this to try to reach them, to try to turn their hearts back to God, to prepare them for the coming of the savior and his kingdom. Here in Matthew chapter 14, as Jesus had many multitudes around him, there were many things going on. He needed some rest. In fact, he had just gotten news that his dear friend, John the baptizer, who had proclaimed his coming, who had served him well, had not only been imprisoned, but now had been beheaded. His life had been taken from him.

And here’s what the Bible says, Matthew 14:13, “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. And when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.”

Sometimes it’s good to be alone. Sometimes we need to be alone. Even the Lord Jesus Christ while in the flesh recognized this great need; and so he himself went to a deserted place, tried to get away from the crowds. He needed to renew his heart, to strengthen himself and to find help from the Lord in this difficult time; and so do we. Often it’s in those moments when we lose those who are very dear to us or when tragedies come into our life or into our families that we need that time alone with God, just like Jesus looked for here in Matthew 14:13. And as you read there, the multitudes were still looking for him and coming after him. Jesus would feed them. Five thousand had gathered, and Jesus had them all sit down, and he performed a great miracle there to provide for these who had been following him for so long. But even after that, at the end of the day, in verse 22 the Bible says, “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. And now when evening came, He was alone there. It was time to send the multitudes away.”

It was time to be alone. So Jesus found a place where he could be alone. He had to go up onto a mountain by himself to pray. We all need to find a place where we can be alone. Sometimes we need to send others away so we can just spend time with God, praying, talking with him. It’s so important that in those moments of silence that we find strength from the Lord.

In Mark 1:35 we see that this was a regular habit of our Lord’s as he would often try to get away by himself at the end of the day or when he was tired or when things were difficult and he needed this special help from God. Here the Bible says, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”

Jesus felt a need to get up early before the others so he could be alone, so he could prepare his heart for the day ahead. You and I might need to make that same kind of schedule so that we can find a time to be alone. And what better way to start the day than to start the day alone with God in prayer. We go a little bit further in Matthew 6:6, and we see when Jesus was talking about prayer, he talked about the importance of private prayer, secret prayer. Yes, we need the prayers of the congregation, we need to pray with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We can find great strength in these kinds of public prayers and in shared prayer; but we also need to take time just to get alone by ourself with God.

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “But you, when you pray, go into your room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Now of course Jesus in this passage was trying to speak against hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day who just wanted to be seen by men, who were trying to impress men with their religious nature, saying these prayers in front of others just to let others know how religious they were. But here we see that in private, in the closet, there in that secret place, we can share with God openly and honestly. And it’s not about anybody else, it’s just about us and God. And God rewards that kind of prayer. We’ll find great blessing in just spending some time looking for God’s strength in prayer.

I also want to read to you Psalm 46:10. This is a great Psalm, because it reminds us at the very beginning to take refuge in God, to find strength from him because he’s there for us, and we don’t have to be afraid. And as we go on down in this Psalm, he tells us how to take hold of our spirit, to calm ourselves before God.

Psalm 46:10, the Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

All he wants us to do is to slow down and to just sit still and just concentrate on God, remember who he is, and that he’s there for us. There’s great strength in that kind of solitude, in that kind of silence. And so in your loneliness, remember to be still and know that God is. Isaiah 40:31 tells us how that we can indeed find great strength if we learn to wait on the Lord. I know that those of you who are Christians today, you’re listening to me, and you say you believe in God and you trust God; and yet sometimes I know it’s also very hard for us to wait on the Lord, because he doesn’t always do things the way that maybe we would expect him to do them or in the way that we would want them or desire; and sometimes it looks like God is not acting at all or that he needs to hurry up, and we become impatient with God.

But Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

You see, we need to realize that God is in control, that we can trust him. We need to be patient with God and leave all of our cares and our worries, our frustrations, our ambitions, leave these things with God and trust him to take care of them in his time and in his way. And learning to do that will bring great strength to our heart and to our life.

In James 4:8, the Bible teaches us how to draw near to God. Listen to what James says here.

James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded; lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom; humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

You see, James is telling us that in our solitude, we need to take a look at ourself, we need to bring our sins before God, we need to recognize the awfulness of the evil of this world, and we need to get serious about what’s going on in our life and in the world around us, but to bring all of this before God and to humble ourself before him, under his mighty hand, knowing that he will lift us up at the proper time, that God is going to take care of these things. You draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Don’t forget that great Psalm of old, Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd, and how we learn in that Psalm he’s going to take care of all our needs. And when we become weak or when we try to go away, he’s going to bring us in the right way and he’s going to restore our soul. And even when we walk through those difficult, dark valleys of life, he said I’ll be with you. Ultimately God is going to bless those who follow him and bring them home forever.

But let me also remind you today to learn to live with self. “The second great commandment in the Bible is to love your neighbor as yourself,” Matthew 22:39. This is repeated numerous times in the scripture, in Matthew 19:19, there in Matthew 22:39. And in Romans 13:9, the apostle Paul says really this is the sum of all the law, all the things that God has given us. The commandments about how to treat one another are summed up in this word, to love one another as you love yourself. And so you see implied in that commandment to love yourself. If we truly love ourself, then we’re going to love one another. It’s only as we love ourself that we learn to love others.

Ephesians 5:28 reminds husbands to love their wives as their own bodies. We love ourself. We know how we want to be treated. Let’s treat our wives that way. Let’s treat others that way. You are made in the image of God according to Genesis 1:26-27. You’re very valuable. You’re very important to him. ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loves you, and he gave his son for you so that you could have eternal life. We need to recognize that we’re valuable in the eyes of God, that we’re loved by God, and that as we love ourself, we’ll be better able to love others. So learn to live with self and to love self. And don’t forget to serve others. That’s why Jesus came, that he might bring salvation to all mankind. I love Philippians the 2nd chapter where the apostle Paul encourages us to have the mind of Christ, a mind of humility and a mind of service.

Listen to these words in Philippians 2 beginning in verse 3. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

And he goes on to describe how the Lord left heaven to become one of us, to die on Calvary’s cross, ultimately to be lifted up in glory. Let’s remember what Jesus did for us, and when we feel alone and isolated and separated, to make the sacrifice that Jesus made, to reach out, to do what we can to serve others, to help them towards heaven. And we hope here at The Truth In Love that you’ll let us know how we can help you towards heaven today. If you don’t know the Lord as your savior, if you don’t know Jesus Christ as the one who came and died for you, who rose again to give you not only the forgiveness of your sins, but the hope of eternal life, then let us know about that. We want to talk to you about him and what you need to do, how you need to trust in him for eternal life and give yourself to him in the waters of baptism, to take hold of his promise when he said in Mark 16:16, He that believes and is baptized will be saved; he that disbelieves will be condemned. We hope that you’ll become a Christian today, that you’ll know what it means to have God in your life every day, every moment, so that you’re never, ever alone.

SINGING>> Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The love of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is best.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and he is on the throne
It is enough; earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
and Jesus calls us to heaven’s perfect peace.

SINGING>> Beneath the cross of Jesus, I feign would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way from the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.
I take, oh cross, thy shadow for my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face.
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we would really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program and encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of our program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.

1483 Heart Problems: Hypocrisy

Have you ever known a hypocrite? Maybe you’ve been one yourself sometimes.  What does the Bible say about hypocrisy? And how can we avoid being one? In this lesson, Robert gives us a balanced approach to this important topic.

ROBERT >> Have you ever pretended to be somebody you’re not or tried to cover up who you really are? Why is it that sometimes we play the hypocrite? And do we realize that hypocrisy is just another problem of the heart?

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Why are we hypocritical?

Well, it usually goes back to the heart. Maybe it’s fear in our heart that causes us to try to cover up things or pretend to be something we’re not. Maybe it’s pride in our heart. Or perhaps we’re just seeking popularity with other people. Or maybe it’s for our own personal gain.

All of these things, you see, are problems of the heart that cause us to act like hypocrites. I want you to think about this morning with me some examples of hypocrisy in the Bible that’ll help us to see more about what we’re talking about today.

I want us to go back to the Old Testament and to take at some examples that we find in the history of Israel where God’s own people played the hypocrite. They acted as though they were very religious, they acted as though they truly loved God, that they believed in him, and that they were trying to worship and to honor him; but the fact is that they were just playing the hypocrite.

Isaiah 1:11-18, Isaiah condemned Israel because of their hypocrisy, and in very strong terms. It says here in verse 11, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? Says the Lord. I’ve had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls or of lambs or goats.”

You see, God was so sick of their offerings and their sacrifices, not because he had not commanded them and did not want them to bring this kind of sacrifice to his altar, but because of their hypocrisy. Notice further as we read on in verse 12.”When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand to trample my courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices. Incense is an abomination to Me, the new moons, the sabbaths and the calling of assemblies. I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.”

You see in this passage that they were coming together, they were keeping the feasts, they were doing what God had instructed in the law, but you notice that they were guilty of iniquity. They had sin in their heart. They had sin in their lives that made all of these things futile, vain, meaningless. They were just going through the motions of worship.

As you read on in verse 15, “When you spread out your hands, I’ll hide My eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.”

Yes, they were guilty. Guilty of murder, but guilty of many sins in their heart and in their life. So God would not even hear their prayers. They would lift up their hands, they would call out to him, but he refused to hear because of what was in their heart. Read a little bit further and see how God told them to take care of this problem.

It says in verse 16, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil; learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. You see, they needed to get their hearts right with God before they tried to worship him, to offer sacrifice to him, to come before him, to call out to him in prayer. They needed to turn to him before they came before him in this way, to find cleansing, to find forgiveness for their sins. Don’t let us think that any of us are worthy and able to come before God until we first turn away from our sins and find his cleansing and forgiveness.

Let’s read a little further. Another prophet of Israel, Amos, spoke about their hypocrisy, Amos 5:21-27. Here he says, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

You see, God was not interested in the sacrifices that they were making, the songs of praise that they were giving to him, because, again, they refused to do what God had asked them to do in their lives. Their lives were marked by injustice rather than justice, by unrighteousness rather than righteousness.

And so he says in verse 25, “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried Sikkuth your king and Chiun, your idols, the star of your gods, which you made for yourselves. And therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose is the God of hosts. Our God is a jealous God.”

They could not keep other gods in their pockets. They could not be going around worshiping other gods and think they could come before the one true God and their worship be acceptable. That’s hypocrisy. Another prophet, Micah, also spoke about the hypocrisy of Israel.

In Micah 6:6-8, listen to his very strong warnings to this people of God. “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? What will God accept? If I do all of these things, I give thousands of sacrifices, I’m even willing to sacrifice my own child, would God accept that?”

Well, God doesn’t want our sacrifices as much as he wants our obedience.

And so Micah says in verse 8, “He has shown you, O man, what’s good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Our worship and our honoring of God, the sacrifices we make for the Lord are all worth absolutely nothing if we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we live unrighteous lives and refuse to come to him and turn to him and find his forgiveness, only then are we ready and able to bring our offerings to the Lord. This is something that the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, also failed to understand and to take care of. He sharply rebuked them because of their hypocrisy.

Notice in Matthew chapter 6 beginning in verse 1 Jesus says, “Take heed, that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

You see, Jesus pinpointed the problem in their heart. They wanted to impress men more than God. They wanted to please men. They wanted the honor and reward that comes from men rather than from God. They were hypocrites because it was about being seen by men rather than honoring God. He gives us a few examples of this. He says in verse 2, “Therefore when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, and that your charitable deed may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

Yes, you see, when we try to help somebody else out, do some good deed for someone, make an offering to help those that are poor or in need, let’s not do it to be seen by men, to be rewarded by men, but to receive the reward that comes from God.

What about our prayers?

And when you pray, he says in verse 5, “and when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father as in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. And therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows the things that you have need of before you ask Him.”

What about when we pray to God?

Is it to be seen of men?

Is it to impress men?

Do we use big words and flowery speech so that we might show people how smart or intelligent we are?

Or are we concerned about talking to God, having a conversation with our Lord? Prayer is not something that we do to be seen of men.

That’s hypocrisy. But rather it’s a way that we can honor our God and develop a greater relationship with him by speaking to him. I look a little bit further in this chapter, and I see this was also a problem for the Pharisees when it came to things like fasting.

In verse 16 it says, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. When they were fasting, they weren’t doing it again to develop that relationship with God, to honor and worship him.”

No, it was more about being seen by men. They wanted everybody to know what they were doing for God, to impress men when they should have been trying to honor their God. In Matthew 15:1-9 we find another example of this. Daily they would wash their hands, and before they would eat they would wash the outside of the pots and the utensils that they would use. And all of those things are good and fine. That was their custom. But you see, what they failed to do was to keep the commandments of God. And that, too, is hypocrisy.

When we allow our customs and our traditions to be more important to us than the word of God, than the commands of God, that’s also hypocrisy. Let me read to you from Matthew 15:1. Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. He answered, and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor your father or your mother, and he who curses father or mother, let him be put to death. But you say,” Whoever says to his father or mother, Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God, and then he need not honor his father or mother; and thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”

You see, when God told them to honor their father and mother, instead of doing that, they took what they would use to take care of their parents, to honor them, and they offered it as a gift for God. They violated the commandment of God through their tradition.

He warns them, and he quotes from Isaiah to help them to see who they really are; verse 7, “hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying, These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Oh, those Pharisees were highly esteemed by the people of the day because of their knowledge, because of the keeping of their traditions, the gifts that they would offer to God, and they liked to be seen as that kind of people; but they failed to do justice, to do good, to walk humbly with their God. Like Israel of old, they, too, were hypocrites.

Read Matthew chapter 23 where Jesus gave a scathing rebuke of these people because they wanted to be seen by men rather than honor their God. But I also want us to consider Luke the 18th chapter, because here we see a contrast between a heart of hypocrisy and a heart of humility.

Luke chapter 18, beginning in verse 9, “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others. Two men went up to the temple to pray; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven; but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled; and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Yes, there are many like the Pharisee in the parable of Jesus here that think that they’re good enough, that they can get to heaven on their own merit, that they don’t need a savior. The only way they can do that is pretend to be something they’re not, to act as though they’re without sin and they don’t need a savior. But if we truly want to be right with God, we must humble ourselves, and recognizing our sin, acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior. It’s not hypocrisy that will get us to heaven, but true humility.

Now, before we leave our lesson today, I want us to think about what we can do to help us deal with hypocrisy. We’ve seen that God will not accept a heart that pretends to be something it isn’t, that plays the hypocrite. God wants us to be open and honest to him. And so let’s learn to open our hearts to God.

The psalmist teaches us this in Psalm 26:2. Here the Bible says, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart.”

You see, he may not be able to see everything about himself, but he wants God to see it. He’s not trying to cover himself up, trying to cover his heart, his thoughts, his actions up. He’s saying God, I acknowledge that you see these things, and I’m accountable to you.

I love how the psalmist puts it later on in Psalm 139:23-24. “After reminding us that God knows and sees everything, he knows everything about us, he then turns himself over to the Lord. He says, Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties, and see if there’s any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It’s that kind of honesty and acknowledgment of God and trust in the Lord that will get us to heaven.

In 1 John 1:8-9, John wrote to the Christian, and he says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourself, the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

You see, God is in the cleansing business, not the whitewashing business. We cannot whitewash our sins away. We must turn them over to the Lord in true humility. As long as we keep hypocrisy in our hearts, as long as we play the hypocrite, as long as we keep pretending, we’re lying to ourself. We need to open our hearts to God. He knows what’s there, anyway. And let him cleanse us of our sin and lead us in the way everlasting. Secondly, open your heart to others. We all need to be held accountable by others. Look at this passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 6.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13. The apostle Paul recognized that we all are accountable to each other and that we can help each other to stay where we need to be. He says here, “O Corinthians, we have spoken openly to you. Our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now, in return for the same, I speak as to children, you also be open.”

Paul said I tried to be open and honest with you, and I want you to open your hearts to us in the very same way. So in this way that we can have the kind of relationship we need in the body of Christ as fellow Christians to help each other.

In chapter 7 verse 2 and 3 he goes on to say, “Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we’ve corrupted no one, we’ve cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn, for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.”

Well, that kind of love, honesty, and openness is what’s needed among fellow Christians.

In James 5:16 the Bible says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another.”

It’s this accountability that will help us to no longer play the hypocrite, but to be open and honest, to humble ourselves before God. As we humble ourselves before each other, we can help each other. And finally, open your heart to yourself. You’ve got to be honest with yourself about who you really are.

In Romans 12:3 the apostle Paul reminds us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

Who are you, really?

What kind of life are you really living?

God knows, and you know. And so be open and honest. Only then can you improve, can you make corrections, can God change your life and transform your heart into the image of Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:5 warns us to examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith.

Have we lost faith in Jesus?

Have we turned our backs on Jesus?

Do we keep going on lying about our relationship with the Lord?

If you want to remove hypocrisy from your heart, you must be honest with God, you must be honest with others, and you must be honest with yourself.

When we all come face to face with the cross of Jesus Christ, there we see the perfect one, the one who was tempted in all points as we, yet without sin, Hebrews 4:15. We see that innocent one being penalized for our sins, suffering and dying to pay the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven.

Looking at him and seeing his glory, his love, his sacrifice, his perfection, we begin to see ourselves for who we are. And seeing ourselves for who we are, we bow before him, confessing him as the Son of God, giving ourselves to him in baptism, as the scripture says, we die with him, we’re buried with him, and we’re raised with him to walk in newness of life. There in that moment we can find forgiveness and cleansing, a new heart, a new life. That kind of honesty, admitting our sinfulness and our need for the savior is what’s important and essential to bringing us home to heaven.

SINGING>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great and grace was free,
pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burden soul found liberty at Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan;
oh, the grace that brought it down to man;
oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great and grace was free,
pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

SINGING>> When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
when you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
count your many blessings,
name them one by one,
and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
So amid the conflict whether great or small do not be discouraged,
God is over all.
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

ROBERT >> I’m so glad that you watched our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like more information about the lesson today, or if you would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or write us at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.