Into The Heart of Truth - Part 2
A Radical Life of Power
Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 31 January 2004
Click here for Part 1
"Reason must be the beginning of every activity, reflection must come before any understanding. Thoughts are rooted in the heart, and this sends out four branches: good and evil, life and death, and always mistress of them all is the tongue" (Ecclesiasticus 37:16-18,21, Jerusalem Bible).
We continue today with the revolutionary biblical teaching that the heart is the centre of all life-power, including our thoughts. "Thoughts," we are told in this passage from the Apocrypha, "are rooted in the heart". Picture, then, a tree. The branches are all the many thoughts we have about life and everything. Beneath them is a single trunk - the mental paradigm of life we have - our life-philosophy, if you like - and the roots are our heart. The heart determines our life philosophy, the way we mentally view and analyse the world. The heart that rejects Yahweh or the existence of Deity may, for instance, embrace a humanist philosophy, and therefore that heart's thoughts will be governed by humanistic and evolutionary ideas. When a humanist tells you, then, that they are atheists because it is the only 'logical' way of viewing the universe, they are not telling you the truth. They are humanists only because at some point in time they decided to reject the existence of God. And that decision came from the heart, not the head.
Thoughts are rooted in the heart. Even after the decision to reject God has been made in the heart, the atheism of the essential-self will continue to feed the mind with its rationalisations. From the heart come our thoughts - the thoughts that galvanise the brain mechanism into action to process them further. But what kind of thoughts are these 'primary thoughts'? Are they words like "I choose not to believe in God anymore" or are they something else?
The heart, the writer of Ecclesiasticus tells us, "sends out four branches: good and evil, life and death". One or more of these are the original impulse that led the mind to start thinking words, phrases and sentences. In a way, there are really only two branches, each of these leading into the next one - good leading to life, and evil to death.
In a tree there is a flow of nourishment both to and from the roots, just as the blood circulates around the human body. The biologists amongst you may have heard of these as xylem and phloem. A tree has a circulation system. Similarly there is a circulation system between brain and heart - they are feeding each other. Thus we read in the Book of Revelation:
"Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near" (Rev.1:3, NIV).
We are blessed only when we hear and "take to heart" the word of life. It is not enough to mentally process the words of salvation or prophetic warning. The soul as a whole cannot respond until the heart has been penetrated by the words. And to do that, there must be a circulatory system of sorts.
Now try to imagine, for a moment, that you are an enemy sabateur working for Satan - a demon, in fact. Your job is to make sure that the system of your human victim occupies the 'death' or 'evil' mode. How are you going to do that? Well, there are many ways, to be sure. You can interfere with the brain so that information is not properly processed - these I call 'demonic bottlenecks'. You can be talking to someone and they will suddenly unconsciously change subject in the middle of a conversation. The natural processing mechanism is no longer present because of a block, and the thought is channelled down an entirely different pathway. That is one way. Another is to stir the heart up into anger, jealousy, greed, or some other negative, evil emotion, which will then precipitate a whole cascade of negative thoughts which in their turn feed back to the heart, making it more angry, jealous, greedy, or whatever. Or you can go one step further and cut the heart off altogether and leave the brain to figure out the 'bigger picture', which it can never properly do. This state is called by some a 'slumbering spirit' and I will speak of this next week.
I have met a number of people whose 'trunk' is blocked off to varying degrees. Now you all know that if you do this, the soul dies. Doctors and nurses will tell you that when a patient loses the will to live they may either recover physically very slowly or actually die. The heart or soul-life is what determines how the physical body performs or doesn't perform. We aren't just a sack of biochemicals. There is more to us that the physical system - there is also the heart, the essential self, which is not physical at all.
I know one man who is largely disconnected from his heart. His brain is seething with activity. He claims to be a Christian. He writes volumes of theological discourses which are both brilliant and at the same time far, far off the mark of truth. He cannot connect to people because the pathway to his heart is barely open. People are repelled by him because all they meet is intense brain activity, but no soul. Demons have all but cut off the pathway which connects his mind to his heart. Without the heart the mind can never produce the truth, because the truth is ultimately a function of the revelation that Yahweh puts the heart. The written Torah confirms it.
We saw last week that by 'heart' the Hebrews meant the essential-self or personality that includes both thoughts and feelings. The brain, and its thoughts, are directed by this essential self. The origin of our personality is not, as we have been misled to believe, the brain. That personality is revealed in our countenance, the aura which we carry around with us in our faces but which does not originate from the face itself.
I wonder if you have ever come across the sort of person who makes you 'freeze' when you come near them? Do you, when you come near to such a person, suddenly find that you can't think, no 'connection' is made, and everything feels tight and mean? And yet you can come into the zone of another kind of person and all those tight, restrictive bands disappear - you surprise yourself at how clearly you can think, and everything seems to 'go' better. You can take a deep breath and say: "Goodness, I suddenly feel better! What on earth happened?" The first person brought an atmosphere that froze your heart whereas the other warmed and vivified it. The first person froze your heart not just physically but psychically as well - he kept it cold, kept it down, kept it back; but the second person gave your heart the chance to expand, and develop, and surge throughout your whole body. Am I communicating with you? Is this what you have experienced with people? Yah'shua (Jesus) warned:
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap" (Lk.21:34, NIV).
Or as the King James version puts it: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting
". Modern passages render 'dissipation' and 'surfeiting' as 'gluttony', that is, eating too much, but the word has a much wider meaning than that. The Aramaic says, "take heed in your nefoshot (souls) that your hearts never become heavy in excess
" (HRV). We're not just talking about the effects of too much food and drink on the body, but the effect on the heart or the essential self. Anxiety has its effect on the body with many kinds of physical ailments but Yah'shua (Jesus) is talking of more than the body - He is warning of the effects these things have on the personality. In the wider context He is speaking about the terrible times which constitute the last days and warns us to make sure that our heart-life is not destroyed by them.
As we saw last week, the heart is the centre of all physical life, more so than the brain. But it is much more than that - it is also the centre of all the imaginations of our mind. Anything that keeps the physical blood in good condition and the heart working properly benefits the soul life and spirit life as well. Whenever Paul mentions certain kinds of sins he calls them idolatry. He calls covetousness idolatry - eagerly desiring something that is not rightfully ours - because every drop of blood in the life of a covetous man is drawn away from Yahweh spiritually. Our physical or nefesh life is in our blood. Sensuality, drunkenness, and vengeance are three more examples of idolatry. Vengeance is probably the most tyrannical passion of the carnal mind. The first wonderful thing done by the new life given to us by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is to 'loosen the heart', making it more expansive, generous and caring, and as we obey the Ruach (Spirit), this divine manifestation becomes greater and greater, changing our personality to become more Christ-like. Satan, however, is as subtle as Yahweh is good, and he tries to counterfeit everything Yahweh does, but if he cannot counterfeit it, he will limit it. He will put chains around your heart so that you stop caring about others, and especially Yahweh. He will 'cool' you off.
Hearing me preach like this may surprise you. I have long preached the importance of right-thinking. I have long insisted the importance of correct doctrine. And these things remain true. However, right-thinking without a right heart is not only ultimately useless but impossible to maintain. The man who I mentioned a little while ago, who lives in his brain, is constantly changing his theology. Because there is no life coming from the roots, he is constantly replacing the trunk! Keeping up with him is almost impossible and most who know him don't bother. They sense an absence of life. They sense the presence of death, and they flee from it. Satan is using him to waste people's time by drawing them into great intellectual systems of thought which titillate the mind but which starve the soul and serve no practical use.
The scriptures mention in many places the "testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus)". Having a testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus) constitutes one of the two essential parts of the Christian life. Yah'weh's angels also have this testimony (Rev.19:10). Satan is quick to attack and kill those who have this testimony (Rev.17:16) because it is such a threat to him. The second essential part of being a Christian is Torah-obedience:
"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus)" (Rev.12:17, NIV).
This testimony, coupled with obedience to Torah, is clearly vitally important. Believers are only able to overcome Satan by means of the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) and by means of this testimony (Rev.12:11) because it is the only kind of testimony that generates saving faith. What, then, is the nature of this testimony, and where in the anatomy of the soul is it located?
I can stand up and bear an oral testimony that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living Elohim (God), whose Name is Yahweh. Bearing testimony is necessary to bring souls to salvation and eternal life, but it is never enough. Listen carefully to the apostle John:
"This is love for Elohim (God): to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of Elohim (God) overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Son of Elohim (God). This is the one who came by water and blood - Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Ruach (Spirit) who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Ruach (Spirit), the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement (they are one - echad). We accept man's testimony, but Elohim's (God's) testimony is greater because it is the testimony of Elohim (God), which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of Elohim (God) has this testimony in his heart" (1 Jn.5:4-10, NIV).
Anyone who believes in the Son of Elohim has this testimony in his heart. Please note that this testimony lies "in his heart", in his essential self - in the core of his being and personality. This is what true faith is, because unless it is well and truly in the heart, it never leads us to obey His commandments! It can be in parts of our being - in our mind, for instance - maybe in our head we have accepted the logic of the plan of salvation - but unless it is in the whole soul it will never lead to the kind of faith that makes us willingly obey Torah.
"Who is it who overcomes the world?" asks John. He replies: "Only those who believe that Yah'shua is the Son of Elohim." And what does that mean? It means that we accept the three-fold life of the Messiah as being a part of our essential selves. There are three aspects to this testimony - water, blood, and Ruach (Spirit). And the Ruach (Spirit) is truth.
Peter obtained his witness directly from Yahweh. He bore witness that Yah'shua (Jesus) was the Messiah (Christ). This was not merely a conclusion that he had come to by reason and the evidence of his eyes, but primarily because Yahweh-Elohim, the Eternal Father, had placed that testimony in his heart - into the core of his being.
These days, with so much sin, blasphemy, rebellion, hard-heartedness and internal fracturing of the soul, people are only coming to Christ in fragments. They are complaining that they can't seem to find the full spiritual life, and they want to know why. People are confused by their fracturedness and are desperate to function as Yahweh intended them to be, and to properly connect with Him.
"In the past, [Yahweh] let all nations go their own way. Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy" (Ac.14:16-17, NIV).
The testimony of Yahweh is all around you. The evidence is plain. And even if you have never heard His true Name, of His Torah, or of the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus), He is nevertheless nourishing your hearts - the core of your being. Yes, even the most wicked of men and women are enjoying His testimony, the goodness of His provision, which every soul can rejoice in. Yet they are either attributing these blessings to blind chance or to some demon posing as a god.
The enemy has messed around with us through the destructive philosophies of men, transferring the centre of our being to the wrong place. Judging by all the junk emails I get, most people these days seem to think that the centre of life is between their legs. Others have relocated it to their brains, and others still to their fickle feelings - everywhere but the true heart and centre of the soul. Satan has made nearly everyone dysfunctional.
All of us need the power of the heart-life. If our hearts are right with Yahweh, we come to this amazing realisation: everything nourishes and blesses our lives - including rain, crops in season, and plenty of food. And these things are enough to fill us with joy. Of course we can go too far in the other direction as James reminds us:
"You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter" (Jas.5:5, NIV),
or as the King James Version more precisely puts it, "ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter". We can develop within our heart-life whatever we want - there is no limit to its possible growth and development. If we give ourselves over to the meanness of Satan, there is no end to the growth in devilishness. If we give ourselves openly over to Yahweh, there is no end to our development and growth in grace. We should by no means fear opening our heart to Yah'shua (Jesus) because what He promises is boundless love and grace. No wonder we are warned to take great care of our hearts, for it is written:
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov.4:23, KJV).
We must carefully guard the heart - it is the centre of everything important. How wise Solomon was at the beginning of his life when he prayed for an "understanding heart" (1 Ki.3:9). Or Paul who admonished:
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb.10:22, KJV).
There is surely no more noble prayer that to ask Yahweh to give us a "true heart" and to ask Him, by whatever means, no matter how painful, to cleanse our hearts out. For if we do not, however can we know pure joy? How ever can we come to dwell with Him, and commune with Him? For it is in the human heart that he meets us, and we Him. It is the place that we are known, and know. It is the place where can know whether we have made our calling and election sure or not (2 Pet.1:10). It is the place of final reckoning and also final acquittal.
Ask Yahweh to enter your heart today and direct your whole being therefrom. He will guide you in your steps and ensure that you are not deceived. Amen.
This page was created on 3 February 2004
Last updated on 3 February 2004
Copyright © 1987-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved