Into The Heart of Truth - Part 1
The Manipulated Heart
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 24 January 2004
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a lady I am ministering to and she remarked to me how absolutely incredible human beings are. I didn't think at the time to ask her exactly what she meant though in my spirit I sensed what she was saying. You see the word 'incredible' has two meanings - it can either have the positive meaning 'amazing' or 'marvelous', or a negative one, 'beyond belief' in the sense of being outrageous. I am quite sure she meant the latter because of what we had been experiencing spiritually a little before.
I am quite sure - in fact, I don't have the slightest doubt - that at times we all view one another as 'incredible' or 'beyond belief' because of the outrageous things we say and do. And we are outraged not just because people say and do things which are stupid but because we know that they know it is stupid too, and yet they persist in their outrageous behaviour.
The sinful nature is, by definition, contradictory. To sin is to 'miss the mark' or to 'fail to hit the target' of truth. Today I want to ask even more probing questions as to why apparently intelligent, and sometimes even 'spiritual' people, continue to miss the mark again and again. And I am going to suggest that one of the reasons is that we have misunderstood our spiritual anatomy because of the way we have been taught to think by scientists. You'll see what I mean in a moment.
A couple of months ago we were watching a documentary about the history of medicine. I think we were all struck by just how ignorant people were generally about the human body in the early days and the way people got ill before a systematic study of these things were made by scientists. Most of the cures prescribed by doctors at the time, such as 'bleeding' or attaching bloodsucking parasitical leaches, made their patients more ill, not better.
The Bible tells us the astonishing truth that the heart is the centre of human thinking and not the brain. And if this surprises you, bear with me, because I think you will find great liberation in your souls as you discover how we have been deceived by well-meaning but ignorant scientists. Even psychologists recognise, for the most part, that the only way you can explain the conscious life is by postulating that it is the heart which governs our thoughts and not our minds.
Those of you who are biologists will know that the heart is the first of the heart and brain to live physically. The Bible very clearly and unambiguously places in the heart all the active factors that we tend to believe originate in the brain. The head is the exact outward expression of the heart. You will recall that in the Mystical Body of Christ, Yah'shua (Jesus) is the head, not the heart. "The Messiah (Christ) is the head of the Messianic Community (Church)," Paul writes to the Ephesians (Eph.5:23 - also Col.2:19; 1 Cor.11:3). This begs a question: How can people who are not rightly related to Yahweh, whose inward disposition has not been changed, be a part of this mystical Body, if Christ is the Head - in other words, if Christ is the true expression of the Body, especially in the centre of its life? For here we have a great and vital key in our understanding of human nature. And the answer is, they cannot.
In the Old Testament the head has the prominence of blessing given to it because it is the outward expression of the condition of the heart. "Blessings are upon the head of the just," Solomon says (Prov.10:6). Other passages refer to "the countenance", meaning not only the face and the front of the head, but the whole being or radiance of a person which is the expression of the person (Gen.48:14; 49:26; Lev.8:12; Ps.133:2). The countenance is the true mirror of the heart when the heart has had time to manifest its true life. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after talking with Yahweh, we read: "... Mosheh did not know that the skin on his face shone since he had spoken with [Yahweh]" (Ex.34:29b, ISRV). Also we read in Isaiah: "The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it" (Isa.3:9, NKJV; also see Mt.17:2; 2 Cor.3:13; 1 Sam.16:7).
Not only does the Bible clearly teach that our facial expression reflects what is going on in our hearts, but deep down we all know this to be true. Moses shone not because his face had been lit up externally by being in the presence of the Light of Yahweh but because the Light of Yahweh had so transformed his heart that his face had lit up from within. The change in his countenance was not primarily caused by a change in his thinking (which came afterwards) but by a change in his heart. And that is because the head is the manifestation of what the heart is like - the outward expression of the heart, just as a tree is the outward expression of the root.
As a scientist I was taught that our thinking is essentially a product of biochemical reactions and that the brain is the centre of our thinking. But the Bible makes the heart the centre of thinking, and the brain merely the machinery which the heart uses to express itself. Is not this point vital in the way we judge people? If you judge people by their brains then the inevitable conclusion is that human beings are fools because of all the 'incredible' things we say and do. Yahweh, however, never judges men by their brains! He judges us by our hearts.
Now when the Scriptures use the word lev or 'heart' it is not referring to the organ of the same name but to the essential personality or 'me'. The heart is not, biblically-speaking, merely the seat of our affections, but is the centre of everything that is 'us'. The heart is the central altar, and the body the outer court. What we offer on the altar of the heart will be revealed ultimately through the extremities of the body. Don't we all know this instinctively?
The heart, then, is the centre of living, the true centre of all vital activities of the body and of our whole soul. When the Apostle Paul says, "for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Rom.10:10, NASU), he means by the word 'heart' more than we usually mean. Indeed, does the Bible not usually mean more than we usually mean? The term 'heart' in the Bible means the centre of everything! The human soul has the spirit in and above it, and the body by and about it; but the vital centre of all is the heart. When we speak of the heart, figuratively or literally, we mean the centre most part of a person - his core. The Bible teaching differs with that of modern science in that it makes the heart the centre of all the parts of our being - spirit, soul and body. It is the centre of physical life, the centre of memory, the centre of damnation and of salvation, the centre of Yahweh's working and the centre of Satan's working, the centre from which everything works which molds the human mechanism.
It is possible to go into a church where people believe in exactly the same theology and yet behave in totally contrary ways. Yet as we all knows the countenances on their faces can be radically different. And you can find Satanist infiltrators who for years say all the right words using their brains but whose hearts are darkened. Satan is the ultimate wordsmith and knows his theology far better than we do ... the words of theology, at any rate. As Ezekiel so eloquently puts it, "With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain" (Ezek.33:31-32, NIV). So do not be deceived by people who know how to use words but look into their hearts - look at the countenance of their faces.
Yes, human beings are 'incredible' - they have learned to shift the centre of their beings by artificial means from their heart - their essential self - to their brains where they have created artificial entities lacking life. Remember, that when we refer to the heart it is not just the seat of our feelings, but to the essential self - the 'real' you and me. The essential self - the real you and me - is both the problem and the solution. It's the problem because without the redemption of Christ it remains "desperately wicked". Without Christ it consistently misjudges. And I don't mean Christ as a 'name' or a 'word', but without the essential life that is Christ - without the resurrection power of Yah'shua (Jesus) the heart remains corrupt.
Let me give you an interesting example. You all know the story of David and Goliath, and you all know David's motives. He was a man who was after the heart of Yahweh, whom Yahweh called His 'friend' - his essential self was pure and good. Yet how did David's older brother react? And why did he react in the way he did? David had said: "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1 Sam.17:26, NIV). Here is a pure soul filled with righteous indignation at the lack of faith of the Israelites, none of whom would face Goliath, including his brothers. We read on:
"When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle" (1 Sam.17:28, NIV).
Aren't human beings incredible? you might will ask yourself, knowing what kind of a man David was, knowing what his motives were. Yet his eldest brother totally misjudged him, and accused David of being conceited, irresponsible and wicked! So my question to you is this: did Eliab misjudge because he had a lack of information about David's true intent or was it because his heart was corrupt? Consider this carefully for herein lies the crux of what I am talking about today. Would Eliab's judgment have been any different if he had had the correct information before him? What do you think?
You will have to do some hard thinking and seek the spirit of discernment to fathom this issue out, but it is worth the effort. Eliab made his own judgment based on an impure and defiled heart, which is no doubt why Yahweh chose the youngest brother David to be the successor of Saul and not Eliab! Eliab proved by his inactivity and cowardice that his heart was defiled. He also judged David because of his age - David was a mere boy, Eliab a mature man. How many times have you met people who assume that because they are older that they must by definition be wiser? I know of one woman who will not even consider that she may be wrong if the one expressing a contrary opinion is younger than her! In fact she has said quite openly that she is wiser than I am, no matter what, because she is two years older and therefore has more experience! Aren't human beings incredible? An older person may, on occasion, have more information than a younger one but wisdom, however, is not a function of age but of a pure heart. Thus Yahweh said through his prophet, Isaiah:
"The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator ... I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them" (Isa.3:2-4, KJV)
Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself declared:
"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Matt.11:25, KJV).
It doesn't matter what your education or experience in life has given you if your heart is impure. No matter your age, experience, knowledge, fame, skills, or reputation amongst men may be, to get right with Yahweh you must have a radical change in attitude. Thus the apostle Peter declared:
"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:1-3, NKJV).
Guile, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking all come out of an impure and corrupt heart, and yet you would be surprised how so many people with darkened hearts deny that they behave in this manner at all. The heart is conceited, exalts itself, and thinks better of itself than it actually is. It employs the mind to work our various rationalisations and then feeds back this self praise to its essential self. The defiled heart believes its own lies and at length becomes puffed up with pride. And then when it is told that it must become "as a newborn babe", it is offended, and will offer further excuses to be reformed. The defiled heart cannot understand the children of Yahweh, for the things of Yahweh are indeed hidden from them. "I can't understand you," will be a common retort, and yet the children of Yahweh understand each other very well. The truth will remain hidden from the defiled until they acknowledge their need, repent, and submit themselves as pupils all over again, to be taught afresh by their Creator. And remember, this edification is not mere words - it is not mere mental reprogramming - it must be an education of the heart, of the essential self, as well. The mind can only be renewed if the heart is renewed first - there must first be a desire for holiness in the core of our being.
The Book of Job illustrates well the difference between a pure heart - Job's - and that of his theologically brilliant friends. Job was not persuaded by the intellectual eloquence and self-righteousness of their words because he knew that his heart was right and theirs were wrong. He understood that the truth cannot be perceived by the merely intellectual. And in the end it was his friends who had to come to Job to pray for them before Yahweh would acquit them of their sin.
But not all people appeal to mind-power. Many, if not most, today appeal to the heart, but not a pure one. They make the fatal assumption that all people are basically good and that therefore we can rely on our feelings. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders ..." (Mk.7:21-22, KJV).
This passage is detestable to an unspiritual person, it is in absolutely bad taste, and 99 out of 100 people don't believe it because they are grossly ignorant about the heart. But in these verses Yah'shua (Jesus) is saying that 'no crime has ever been committed that every human being is not capable of committing'. That's right, every single one of us is potentially an adulterer, fornicator, and a murderer, and I defy anyone to stand up and swear on all that is sacred that they have not at some time in their lives entertained adulterous and murderous thoughts. If those thoughts have surfaced in your mind it is because they had, as their point of origin, a defiled heart - a corrupt essential self.
And that is why Yah'shua (Jesus) said that the evil heart - the evil self - must die. Until it does, the potential for great evil will always be but a breath away. Only recently a highly respected Christian minister in America murdered his wife whom he loved. Those who knew him could not believe it when they first heard the report. And yet I knew from my first encounter with him that something was seriously wrong within his soul - in spite of the eloquent words - and he was a very brilliant man - I knew that there was evil within his soul, I knew that Christ had not penetrated his essential self.
Paul says that we must "put off" - that is, get rid of altogether - "the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and ... Put on the new man that was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph.4:20-24, NIV). This he is saying to Christians! He is saying this to those who may have accepted Christ in their heads but not actually done what is required of them - to attend their own funerals. And if you're not sure what I mean by that, I will tell you more next week.
Thoughts and feelings are buts facets of the essential self, and if the essential self or heart it defiled, the feelings will deceive as easily as thoughts. Indeed, they will ally themselves in a bid to escape repentance and the only real solution is the funeral of their defiled heart. People can turn their minds or feelings off if they want to - it isn't natural and such behaviour always stores up trouble for the soul - or they can twist both and dance over the red-hot coals of a seared conscience. Neither work, do they? Something or somebody always comes along to disturb the artificial world of make-believe.
There is no truth in the natural man until words of truth are first heard and then planted in the soil of the soul. But that soil will never be soft enough to receive it until the old life has been buried. Nothing ministers preach from the pulpit has any meaning until the old man or woman first dies - why do you think some people leave services edified and buoyed up, and others go away bored, tired, irritated, or indifferent? It is because some have been to their own funerals and others resolutely refuse to - they would rather continue living in spiritual death. And if these words confuse you, consider the words of Paul who said:
"... all of us who were baptised into the Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) were baptised into his death ... We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Rom.6:3-4, NIV).
The words of scripture will remain dead to those whose hearts are dead, but become alive to those who have attended their own funerals and received a new resurrection life. The spiritually dead have learned to detach their thinking mechanisms from their hearts by rotation. People can be analytically cold and critical one moment and then have childish emotional outbursts the next. I have met intellectual geniuses who have deceitful hearts, and simple-minded people who have loving hearts. Which of the two do you think Yahweh honours and exalts?
King Artaxerxes once asked the prophet Nehemiah: "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart" (Neh.2:2, NIV). Nehemiah was sad because his people were in exile and the city of his fathers, Jerusalem, lay in ruins. A heart that has not made peace with Yahweh is in exile, and the foundation of a happy and contended life lies in ruins. Why not consider attending your own funeral and getting a new heart - a new centre to your life? Then with Isaiah you will be able to exclaim:
"Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy" (Isa.60:5, NIV).
Click here for Part 2
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Last updated on 16 January 2004
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