1. We learn from Jeremiah 17:10 that God is very concerned about the hearts of His people -- He "searches" them, and He judges accordingly. 2. To further illustrate how God is concerned about the hearts of His people,: a. He looks on the heart and not the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7) b. He knows the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). 3. We certainly want to have hearts that meet God's approval. 4. In our lesson we are examining a number of passages that will help us. Discussion: I. FIRST, GOD'S WORD IS DESIGNED TO AFFECT THE HEART
A. This point is clearly made in Hebrews 4:12-13. 1. According to vs.12, God's Word is alive and powerful, it pierces and divides, and it is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 2. Vs.13 shows why we must allow God's Word to affect our hearts -- God knows, and He sees all. B. In order for God's Word to affect our hearts it must be heard correctly. 1. The people in Jerusalem on Pentecost are a positive example -- they heard Peter's message correctly, and they were affected by it (Acts 2:37-38, 41). 2. Felix is a negative example -- he did not hear Paul's message correctly, and the condition of his heart was not changed (Acts 24:24-26). 3. Jesus illustrated how God's Word can be heard differently in His parable of the sower (Luke 8). a. Jesus presented the parable in vs.4-8. b. Jesus explained the parable in vs.11-15. 1) God's Word will have no lasting effect upon 3 types of hearers. 2) The proper way to hear is explained in vs.15. 3) Let us heed the Lord's warning in vs.18a. 4. God's Word is designed to affect the heart, but it must be heard correctly to be effective. C. Let us turn our attention to several . . . II. SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS THAT RELATE TO THE HEART
A. David's writings teach us to allow God to examine our hearts so they will please Him. 1. Psalm 139:23-24 2. Psalm 19:14 B. Solomon's writings teach us to "keep" our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). 1. We are to do this "with all diligence." 2. We are to do this because "the issues of life" come forth from the heart. 3. Keeping the heart is a lifelong responsibility. a. Solomon allowed his heart to be turned away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:3). b. David showed how the heart can be turned back to God (Psalm 51:10). C. Jesus emphasized the importance of having a pure heart when He gave the 6th Beatitude (Matthew 5:8). D. These passages teach us that God is concerned about our hearts, and He wants us to be concerned about our hearts. Conclusion:
1. Have you asked the Lord to search your heart lately? 2. If you have, what did He find? 3. Let us remember that we will be judged accordingly (Jeremiah 17:10).