Program Air Date - 8-3-08



Paul once challenged us all to, "Fight the good fight of faith." Are you fighting that glorious fight for God?

Here we are together again on another fine Lord's day! We are so glad you have chosen to be with us today, as we commit this time to our creator. Once again having the privilege to study God's Word and the opportunity to sing praises to His name; this is something we should all be very thankful for. May each of us today do our part in this collective offering to God? Now, let's approach His supreme throne in prayer!


Today, we want to sing a song that reminds us that our Lord and Jesus truly does care. So, won't you do your part in song to God, as we together sing, "Does Jesus Care!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS One of the greatest lessons that Jesus ever taught was in relationship to "turning the other cheek," when someone has done us wrong. On the other hand, the same Bible also says that we are to "fight the good fight." Now which is it, let people do things against us and still act right, or must we fight when the situation calls for it?

Well, the answer is - both! At first you might say but this is a contradiction, but I would say, hardly. No doubt, we are to always act like Christ and turn the other cheek, just as we mentioned earlier, as found in Matthew 5:29. In verse 45, Jesus tells us "why," when He said, "...that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;" You see we must do what Christ did and follow His example.

Now, in relationship to "fighting the good fight," we also see that this is a godly principle. In fact, in 1 Timothy 6:12, the inspired Paul said, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." So what is this "fighting" that Paul and other authors in the Bible keep talking about?

Our answer is found in Ephesians 6:10-12, where we read, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." This fight, battle or warfare we are talking about is a spiritual one! Our goal as Christians is to stand up and to fight in the spiritual battle for Jesus Christ, WHY? So that we can win others over through the efforts of our warfare!

Further on in the same text Paul goes on to talk about the items which we need in this fight. He talks of "girding our waist with the truth," "the breastplate of righteousness," putting on our feet the gospel of Christ," "taking the shield of faith," the helmet of salvation," "and finally, our sword - the word of God. You see, all of these weapons again remind us that this battle is not a physical one, but one spiritual in nature. So let's all put on the whole armor of God, and wage this spiritual warfare, for our own sakes as well as the sakes of those who need to obey the gospel of Christ.

Today, we will again continue our series entitled, "The Things Which God Hates." Our specific topic this morning is, "God Hates The Heart That Devises Wicked Plans." So, after our next song together, I will return with this discussion from God's Word. Now, won't you join in our second hymn of this glorious Lord's Day, as we sing together, "The Great Physician."

(SONG # 2)


By Ray Sullins

Thanks for staying with us this morning as we once again go to Proverbs chapter 6 and we look at another thing which God hates or those things as we have also read that are an abomination to God. So far, we have looked together in verse 17 at a proud look or arrogance. We've looked at a lying tongue. We've looked at hands that shed innocent blood. Then in verse 18 today we will discuss the heart that devises wicked plans.

There obviously are two parts to the statement that is made about that thing which God hates. It first involves the heart. We know the Bible is full of passages and ideas and thoughts as we will even see today about the heart, the heart of man and the heart so to speak of God. It really entails more the mind and the true essence, the thought of man more than the idea of generally what we would think of as a heart, that which pumps blood or keeps us alive in a physical sense, the heart, the thought, the essence of man. And so again, we read verse 18, "A heart that (does what?) devises wicked plans." The key there, I believe, is the concept of devising something that is wicked. It is not always wrong to plan something or to set something in motion, but here by using the word "to devise" or the idea of something wicked certainly implies the fact that this heart is setting in motion or working on things that are what? Contrary to God! No wonder God would hate such or dislike such for a man who chooses to use his heart in a way that disregards God's Will and plans those things that really are according to wickedness or that which devises wickedness in their lives or in the lives of others. Certainly that would be wrong. So whether I myself am engaging in such or I'm planning that others might engage in such, you can find either case certainly can be contrary to the Will of God.

Has this been a problem throughout all the ages? Certainly it has as God has created every man with a heart or a mind. Certainly man of all ages has done things contrary with his heart to the Will of God.

We might look at an example first of all in the book of Jeremiah. We know here the people of God, the Israelites, are being addressed by God through Jeremiah and in fact it is here in chapter 11 that God is telling Jeremiah to say certain things. Look with me if you will there in verse 1 of chapter 11 where it says, ""The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying..." So at first Jeremiah was being addressed here by God and God is saying to him, "Here is what you must say."

If you'll drop down with me then in verse 6, it goes on to say, "Then the Lord said to me, 'Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem saying Hear the words of this covenant and do them.'" You see the challenge of God's Word is to hear and to do.

So what is it that he should tell them? Verse 7, "For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt until this day rising early and exhorting saying, 'Obey My voice.'" God said, "Ever since I brought you out of Israel or out of Egypt, I have exhorted you to do what? Obey! Obey My Will."

And what has the reaction been? Verse 8 has been really the verse that ties it into our discussion today. "Yet they did not obey or incline their ear. They would not hear God or obey His voice but everyone followed the dictates of his own evil heart." They would not follow the covenant of God for they were too caught up in self. They were too selfish. They were too interested in what is in it for me and what I want and what is good for me in this life, what brings me pleasure physically rather than to hear the Word of God and to obey it from the heart. And so their heart here was said to be evil for they rejected God. They rejected His Will for they would not obey as we read in this text.

A few chapters over in Jeremiah 16, if we'll look together at verse 12. There the Bible says, "And you have done worse than your fathers for behold each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart." Again, He says, "You are evil and you are even more evil than those before you, your own fathers for you are following the dictates of your own evil hearts."

Then we'll finally look at in Jeremiah chapter 18 verse 12 there and the Bible says, "And they said that it is hopeless so we walk according to our own plans and we will every one obey the dictates of our own hearts."

And so what is it that they do? Well we see they were warned by God. We see Jeremiah tells them and says, "Here is what you're doing, but what you should be doing is following God, but you're following self." And now they say to God and to Jeremiah, "I will do what I want. I will follow my evil heart."

So I believe we begin to see in this exactly why it is that an evil heart plays out in the lives of many different individuals. I believe we begin to see the attitude, maybe the spirit, the selfishness, the self-centered concept, all these things that say again, "What do I want? What's in it for me? What do I enjoy? How can I have more fun?" Rather than saying, "What does God want? And that He is Lord of my life and I'm going to obey Him." You see that is the difference. A heart that chooses evil ways, that devises evil things, plans evil things, that is wicked or a heart that follows the plan of God.

I think we learn more about what the evil heart is all about over in the book of Hebrews if you'll begin to turn there. In chapter 3, the Hebrew writer here helps us to see again some specific ideas that show us what an evil heart or a heart that is wicked is all about. In chapter 3 we're going to look together at verse 12 as he says, "Beware (or he warns them, in other words pay attention) and hear what I say, brethren, lest there be in any of you (what?) an evil heart." So he says to watch out! You don't want to have an evil heart like those before, those who have rejected God.

Now what ways did they reject heart and thus were they considered as evil? What we've already seen is they disregarded His Law and they were not obedient to Him. Therefore they were not loving Him. What is it that he says here? "Do not have that heart of evilness which is based on (what?) unbelief." The first thing that he mentions here is that when one doesn't believe... Now an unbelief in God would be the fact that you don't believe that there is a God or the idea that you believe and you do not show your faith or your action in that belief. There are many times in the Bible when one is said to have been an unbeliever although they actually believed in God and claimed to follow God, often in the Old Testament specifically. The Israelites were said to be those who were unbelievers for they believed in God but they didn't act on their faith. And so when we look here it says that "those who have an evil heart of unbelief," then certainly that is something that we should be aware of. We are those who should not have unbelief and that is in not obeying once again. You can see the same idea.

Finally another thing that he states here is unbelief in departing, those who depart from what? The Living God. So he says here, "an evil heart again can be founded in one who either rejects the obedience to God's Law, one who does not believe or even does not believe through obedience and then finally the idea that is given here is the one who has departed. In other words, they followed God but then choose to leave God. You know that is one of the most surprising things of all to me, to see someone who knows God, who knows His Will, who have tasted of the heavenly gift and the promises and the Spirit and the Word, and then they do what? They leave God. Can you imagine? But how many every day are those lost sheep, those who turn away from His promises? And so those who do such, we learn, have in God's eyes, an evil heart and the evil or wicked heart is the heart that God abhors, that He hates for they are contrary to His Will.

On the other hand, we do know the Bible speaks of a pure heart, a loving heart, a godly heart, a righteous heart. The Bible says that we are to be those who, in shunning evil and wickedness and sin, strive to be more like God and strive to have a heart like God. Now if you think about that for a moment, we can even see examples of those in the New Testament who were faced with such challenges, those who seem to be faithful such as in Acts 5 of Ananias and Sapphira, who seem to love God, who even sold things to give to God and the church and even were coming to worship to give those things that they had received, but then they lied to God. They lied and so really where was their heart? With God? With righteous things? Or with evil and wicked things? You see again, a person that knows God, who has in one way and seemingly a pure heart, but then yet their actions shows something quite different.

You know when we back up to the great lesson there given referred to as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, we see there again that the pure heart (verse 8), "the pure heart is the one who will see God, the one who focuses on purity." What is purity all about? Well we see other words like "being holy for I am holy, being righteous for God is righteous, being those who love for God is love." You see that is what we strive for. That is the challenge of what we want to receive and we must strive for that. We must set our minds on those things of God rather than wickedness. Why? For the writer of Proverbs, Solomon, once said there in chapter 23 and verse 7, "As the heart is, that is how we are, so is He." Whatever we think upon, whatever we dwell upon, whatever we act upon, all of these things determine who we really are. For what do you see in the actions of someone? What do you hear in their words? Well you hear that which is from the heart or inside the mind. You know you might be able to fool some of the folks some of the time, but you can't fool God certainly and you're not going to fool people all of the time. So what begins to come forth from a heart or a mindset that is based on the world, wickedness or evil or sin is that very thing. But one who is focused on God and righteousness, what do we find coming forth? That thing, righteousness, holiness and godliness.

And so that is the description that John gives even in his first letter to the brethren as he challenges them to know that heart, to know the purity that is necessary and to understand that if they are children of God they must focus on good and godly things.

Look with me at verse 18 for instance. "My little children," he says, "let us not love in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth." Don't just talk about it, do it! Why? Verse 19, "And by this we know that we have the truth and shall assure our hearts before Him." If we do what? In word and deed everything that God has said. On the other hand, verse 20 says, "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things, but if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence towards God." Do you see that? Do you understand there the idea that our heart, with God, for God, focused on God, is stronger? God helps. God is there. But a heart that condemns us is a heart, as we read here, that has not been assured by Him. It is a heart that is not focused on Him, a heart that is not committed to Him and therefore although one heart may speak of God and may speak His Truth, are they really doing it? Are they really living it? Are they really pursuing those things that show forth that heart of God, a heart that is focused on God?

In 2 Timothy chapter 2, I want you to look at verse 22 with me as he again encouraged this young evangelist to "flee youthful lust," but there it says, "pursue (what?) righteousness..." There is that godly aspect again. "Faith, love, peace with those who are called on the Lord out of (what?) a pure heart." There again the pure heart. The pure heart is focused on what? Godly things whether it again is righteousness, whether it is love, faith, peace, whether it is any of those wonderful attributes of God. That is where the pure heart is. That is where the godly heart is and that is where Peter says that "our heart must be focused" (1 Peter 1:22) "for the pure heart obeys truth and the pure heart loves one another."

On and on we could go about the different ideas trying to understand that a heart must be focused on God to actually be an asset and a heart must be godly in order to know what? That we will see God. For in seeing God, we know that we will have eternal life. We know we will have the reward of Heaven someday.

On the other hand, a heart that condemns us because we are devising wicked plans or doing things contrary to God or involved in sin is that heart that keeps us from that reward not only eternal life but the blessings and rewards that God has promised us today as we have need of.

So let me challenge you today to know God, to obey His Will, to confess His name, to repent and turn from sin, to be buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism so that you might become a child of God and that your heart may come to focus on, that your mind might be set on things above and that you might demonstrate in everything that which is righteous, holy and pure so that one day you will see God making sure that you stay away from that which is wicked, that which is earthly so that you will not lose your soul and therefore not be found pleasing to Him. Will you accept the challenge to have the pure heart before God?

(SONG # 3 - "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!")


Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, as we gave this time to God. It is always a blessing to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to doing the things of God in His Way!

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Let's all strive to have the pure heart that God requires. For we all know the reward for such a heart; Yes, the pure heart will see God and be with Him forever!

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