Monday, June 3, 2024

Christ in the Heart: It's just that Simple

In all this deep discussion of prayer and God’s presence and turning ourselves toward Him, we must always return to the basic, simple understanding of who Jesus Christ is to us.

You can sit in church your whole life and never let Christ into your heart. You can try very hard to adjust your outward behaviors but never let His love into yourself.

Many I believe who claim to be Christians are actually rebels against God. They are hard at work trying to be good everyday, not because they love God, but because they desire to prove that they are already good.

They may not fully realize it, but they have blocked God out, and their practice of religion is simply trying to be good without God to prove to God that they are good. And that is the road to hell.

If you are in that path right now you’re in great danger. I recall I was at a conference and we at the table were talking about the Lord, talking about God’s presence, and one person at the table became increasingly uncomfortable. As the Spirit surged around that table, she got up and left. It was astonishing. But I wonder, what was really going on inside her? Does she know Jesus or is she trying to be good to prove to God how good she is?

What I want for each of you is to be able to look into your own heart right now and examine yourself, and then look to Jesus Christ the Lord, and then look back at your own heart, and say three words:

“I Know Him.”

And you’ll know its either true, or not true, when you say it in your heart.

“I Know Him.” I really know Him. I know Jesus. Jesus knows me. We are one. He is my savior. I’m his brother. God is my Father. It’s really true.

Now recently I met with a young man in my office who I’ve known for years here. He expressed his love for God. He expressed how he prays. He knows about Jesus. He talks to Jesus. I dare say he may indeed know Jesus in his heart.

But his actions don’t line up with whom he claims.

I’ve seen this many times. Someone who does know Jesus in their heart. But they are living in so many sins. And the excuse he gave me was that everyone sins, you can’t ever be perfect.

Christians do battle sin. But they are not controlled by sin. Sin does not consume them.

For a Christian sin is like walking through an area of puddles. Sometimes you successfully avoid the puddle, in fact as you pay attention more closely, you avoid the puddles more and more effectively.

But occasionally, you step into a puddle, your shoe is soaked in mud, and you shake off your boot, clean it off, and keep going.

That is very different from someone who is in the swamp up to their ankles and rarely sees dry ground.

These are two separate situations that need remedy. I’m sure some of us here are in the first camp. We’ve never really let Jesus into our hearts. We’ve tried so hard to be good without Him. And we’re exhausted and empty, and we need to let His love in to change us from the inside.

Is that you? Repent right now. Invite Jesus in. Call on the name of your savior, Jesus Christ help me!

Second group, you really do know Jesus in your heart, but you’ve allowed sin to dominate your life. You’ve made excuses for it. You’ve rationalized why it’s ok. You’ve ignored the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And you are living a double-life.

And you probably think it’s too late for you. But you would be wrong. It’s not too late.

You can get real with your savior right now, admit to Jesus Christ what you’ve done, and ask for His help. But here’s the hard part, you’ve got to let go of your pride, and let Him be God.

When he tells you to go to AA, you just go, you don’t argue. When he tells you to read that book, or go reconcile with your enemy or old friend, you just do it. Don’t argue. Don’t try to rationalize. Just take that first step of obedience.

And that first step will begin to lead you down a road of real victory where you’ll see sin after sin vanish from your life in the blood of Jesus.

Walk the road of miracles. It takes courage, but in Him, you will find such victory.

I walk that road. It’s a glorious road. You’ll be amazed. Now take the first step. What is Jesus asking you to do? Is to go to rehab? Read a book? Meet with your pastor? Attend a conference? Embrace the road of victory, victory over sin!

In all this we want to return to the simple knowledge of Jesus Christ, the simple relationship to know who Jesus is, to love Him and be loved by Him.

Real inner knowledge of Jesus. What if every pastor and teacher taught their people the simple path of knowing Jesus, His life, His crucifixion, His resurrection, His parables and teachings, the sermon on the mount, and the kind of life he lived?

As Jeanne Guyon said… “We would see the simple farmer, as he plowed his field, spend his days in the blessing of the presence of God. The shepherd, while watching his flocks, would have the same abandoned love for the Lord which marked the early Christians. The factory worker, while laboring with his outward man, would be renewed with strength in his inner man.” -Jeanne Guyon, p. 118

That farmer, that shepherd, that factory worker knows Jesus in their heart. They really know Him. They’ve honestly authentically called on Jesus to save them from who they were, and as a result, they are no longer who they were.

Call on Jesus right now, and ask Him, "Jesus save me from who I am now, and make me someone completely new."

We have to go straight to the heart.

As Jeanne Guyon wrote, “Go straight to the heart! Laying down rules and trying to change the outward behavior will not produce a work that will endure in the life of a Christian.” -Jeanne Guyon, p. 118

I can’t change your outward behavior. Government and laws can’t change your outward behavior. We just find ways to get around the laws or avoid the authorities. Outward rules can’t produce righteousness. Only a heart change can do that. Only total surrender to God can do that. That often comes in a time of crisis in our lives.

For an unsaved person, as you grope toward God in the dark, the heart should be your target. The mind will argue, the mind will rationalize, the mind will justify, the mind will try to dance around the facts, but not the heart. The heart knows that God is real. 

The mind when given apologetics, evidence for God’s existence, explanations for the problem of evil, is able to dodge and weave and escape and argue and create any sort of pathway away from the truth.

But the heart is different. You can tell a person, God is real, you can see it through nature, cosmology, and DNA and so on. But the mind may say well all this is ridiculous, how could there be a God, where did God come from, how could Jesus rise from the dead, it’s all ridiculous!

But when you go to the heart, directly, and indicate to the heart, you know in your heart that God is really real. You also know that you’ve sinned against God. You know you’ve done wrong. And you know deep down that you need a savior. And you know when you read the Bible, something deep inside your heart says, “It may sound odd. Yet I know it’s all true.”

In the heart is where you believe in Jesus and find salvation. In the heart is where you come to a state of desperation strong enough to call out to Him for forgiveness. In the heart is where you come to Him. 

We wrestle in that back and forth between heart and mind, resisting it and embracing the truth, and when that crisis culminates, you will either cry out to Him, or turn further away from Him. But we’re offered that option again and again and again in our lives.

After the heart has been changed, after the heart has given itself over to Jesus, after you’ve allowed Jesus to be the King of your heart, to have authority over you, then, after, we begin to instruct the mind in the ways of God. And from degree to degree the mind is transformed.

And you add power and logic to your faith through apologetics after salvation. You learn the evidences for God’s existence, you learn the scientific facts, you learn the historical realities, you learn the manuscript evidence, and slowly but surely your mind becomes the defender of the heart reality that already exists.

That is all the lead up to salvation, the battle within the heart to be willing to turn oneself over to God completely. That’s surrender to God. That’s asking Jesus to forgive your sins. That’s repenting of your sins and allowing God to remove them from your heart.

Now we’re off on the journey together toward heaven. And so it becomes a daily pattern of seeking God within each day. Because the moment of salvation is not the end of the journey, it’s the beginning.

Now for the believer to prosper they must learn on their own to continuously seek God. Not just in church. Not just on Sunday. But all week.

Jeanne Guyon writes, “Accomplishing all this is very easy. How? Simply teach a believer to seek God within his own heart. Show the new Christian that he can set his mind on Jesus Christ and return to Him whenever he has wandered away.” -Jeanne Guyon, p.121

Does that mean that you actually will? I have no idea if you do or not. I get you for an hour here on Sunday. I pray for you, and I know you pray for each other during the week, but at the end of the day, I don’t actually know if you take any of this and apply it. That’s between you and God. I’ve done my job to tell you plainly what to do next to grow in your relationship with Him.

If you don’t then you’ll have to explain that to God on judgment day. But I’ve done my part.

Your goal should be a single eye on God. As Jeanne Guyon writes:

“Furthermore, show him he should do all and suffer all with a single eye to please his God.” -Jeanne Guyon, p. 121

The goal is, to seek to please God in your life.

Just as much, your goal is to express love for God and be loved by God.

“The simple, undisguised emotions of love express infinitely more to Him than the words of any language.” -Jeanne Guyon, p.123

All this happens in the heart. Love expressed toward God is more important than any words. That’s what God wants. For us to learn to love Him with all of our heart.

This is all very simple salvation in Jesus. Love Him in your heart. Cry out to Him in your heart. Let your heart go to that place of inviting Him in. Let your heart be desperate enough to want Him. Then once being changed by Him, seek to love Him, and please Him the rest of your life. 

Jeanne Guyon writes, “It is amazing and delightful to see that it is the simplest Christians who often progress farthest in an inner relationship with Jesus Christ!” -Jeanne Guyon, p. 123

The greatest heroes of the Christian faith were not necessarily the most brilliant men and women. They were simple people who hungered for God. Brother Lawrence was a dishwasher at a monastery, Madam Guyon was not a pastor, Smith Wigglesworth was a plumber, Peter, James and John were fishermen, it’s the simplest of people who God uses. 

They were simple, but the word of God made them special, because they sought it out so diligently. 

As the scripture says about wisdom: “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed." -Proverbs 9:4-5

And as Jesus himself said: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” -Matthew 11:25

In conclusion, allow God into your heart! It's that simple. It’s in the heart we believe and are saved. Pray right now and invite Him in to save you, to change you, and to lead you down the victorious pilgrimage road to heaven.

Review of Main Points:
1. Avoid the trap of trying to prove to God that you are already good – repent of this evil way, and ask for forgiveness of your sins, and let Jesus change you

2. A true believer is able to say in the heart: “I Know Him”

3. A genuine believer lost in sin can find the victory road in allowing Jesus to direct their pathway out of sin

4. Go to the Heart to find a true knowledge of God, then afterward train the mind to follow what the heart has found in Christ

5. The believer having found their love must now keep their eye on one main purpose: To please God

6. What God wants most from you is for you to honestly love Him, and to honestly receive His love

7. The most simple Christian is often the one who takes the relationship with God the furthest