Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Lexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas
Pleasant Ridge Baptist ChurchLexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas

HAVING A HEART FOR JESUS

Proverbs 23:26 "My son, give me thine heart, ..." Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 26:16 This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul." Deuteronomy 30:2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;" Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge."

Intro: Having a heart for Jesus. There are shallow hearted people who go to church who do not have a heart for Jesus. In fact, they are merely more or less addicted to the habit of going to church, not the love of it. Perhaps it is something they've always done since childhood. Church going became a habit of life without which the week was not complete. Church going became a weekly ritual like brushing ones teeth or saying grace at the table. They go to church seeking their weekly religious fix, conscience appeaser, or guilt remover, but not for a life changing experience or to make decisions which give them a true heart for Jesus.

What is it to have a heart for Jesus? First, what do you think it is? What is going through your mind just now? How would you write down a definition of it? I would say that it has to do with the motive behind all we do in a religious context. Why do we tithe? Attend church? Read the Bible? Pray? The church at Sardis did all the right things but it was only for show and the praises of all who saw it. They had a name they felt they must live up to. But there was no heart for Jesus in their deeds. They wanted no cross to bear. Their deeds were done mechanically, robotically, and not from an emotional attachment to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus declared them spiritually DEAD! Jesus told them to repent of their deadness. Their motive for church going fell short because it was done for the purpose of living up to a name of spiritual life, but in reality they were a spiritually dead church. Was there any hope for them? Yes, because the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ can only work in among the dead!

Church goers should examine their hearts from time to time by taking an honest, but possibly painful look at the reasons WHY they go to church. If we go to church for any other reason than because we have been saved by His marvelous grace and because we do have a heart for Jesus, in due time the reasons for going will fade. Then we will stop going altogether. Isn't this a reasonable explanation for why all churches have members who have quit attending church? They had no heart for Jesus, only a profession of one. They walked the aisle, made a profession of believing that Jesus died for their sins, submitted to the beautiful ordinance of baptism supposing these things somehow would magically produce a heart for Jesus, but it did not!

"Having a heart for Jesus" means that we have a SPIRITUAL ATTACHMENT TO THE SON OF GOD. We know Him personally through the experience of being born again into the family of God whereby we become His brothers and sisters. We therefore, LOVE HIM, because He first loved us. (I Jn 4.19). This LOVE is "a heart for Jesus" and it is something we must continue to develop, cultivate, nurture, grow and pursue. It doesn't come about automatically.

(1) It comes by putting first things first and

(2) giving Christ the preeminence over everything else in our lives.

(3) It comes by resisting the world, the flesh, and the devil.

(4) It comes by pushing the things of the world aside, and following hard on the paths of righteous conduct like cleaning up our speech, quitting bad habits, and curbing unholy desire.

(5) It comes by keeping Satan at bay and by acknowledging Jesus as our Savior, King, Sovereign, ruler, helper, and the lover of our soul.

Once we know that we have a heart for Jesus, perhaps the only way to keep it alive and flourishing is by the hope of Jesus' soon return to rapture us out of this world. If we can live with our consciences fixed on the fact that Jesus may call us home momentarily, it will affect in a positively good way, how we live and what we permit ourselves to do. Why? 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." Personal shame is a powerful motivator for most people. For a person to have no shame is the ultimate evidence of total depravity of their human nature. Mark 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." Romans 6:19-23 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity (frailty) of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

I think the soon coming of Christ to be the most powerful motivator to give us a heart for Jesus. How about your heart? Is it right with God? Is it full of Jesus? Does it bow at His command? Does it thrill at His bidding to draw near Him, to pray to Him, to Love Him with all the heart, soul, mind and body?

Does He make for you the experience of going to church one which gives you more strength for your journey? or is it just a meaningless ritual that you do for some uncertain reason? Do we all know why we go to church?

A songwriter has expressed this subject in his song lyrics: “Give Me thy heart,” says the Father above—
No gift so precious to Him as our love; Softly He whispers wherever thou art, “Gratefully trust Me and give Me thy heart.” Refrain: “Give Me thy heart, give me thy heart”— Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;
From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.” “Give Me thy heart,” says the Savior of men, Calling in mercy again and again; “Trust in Me only, I’ll never depart— Have I not died for thee? Give Me thy heart.” “Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine; “All that thou hast to My keeping resign; Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—
Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”

Do those lyrics speak to our hearts today? Do they go deep down and stir up something we thought was long dead? Do they confirm again that something real is there which has for a long while NOT been stirred up into practice? Is there a tender place there which can be touched by the emotional drama of His dying on the cross for us? Loving us with a love unconditional? Doing for us what we could not, and would not do for ourselves? Do these things suggest to us again that we ALL NEED A HEART FOR JESUS?

Everything good that we need to do must come from a heart for Jesus. Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." We hear much about Christians needing a heart for the souls of sinners, but before that is possible I think we are going to first need a heart for Jesus. 2 Corinthians 6:11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged." Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;" Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace." 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:" Hebrews 10:22 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." 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

What would you claim as your greatest treasure in this world? Your home? car? family? Well, be careful what you boast of being your best treasure in this world because right there is where your heart will be. Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." If we are to have a heart for Jesus, then He needs to be our highest and greatest treasure. He needs to be our pearl of great price, our priceless treasure found buried in the field. The very cost of discipleship means that He needs to mean more to us that all else combined.... better than family, wealth, position, power, or one's own life, Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Family has been known to destroy other members of it or to dissert them, disown them, ridicule them, deny them, but Jesus never turns His back upon His own. John 13:1 ..." when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." His love is the kind that keeps on loving, keeps on giving, and keeps on keeping. Beloved we can do more than as the song says, "I can feel His hand in mine and that's enough for me." No, no! that's backward! It should say, "I can feel my hand in His and that's enough for me." John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

Those mighty hands of omnipotence evoke our deepest confidence in Him to keep us safe and saved. 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

This keeping precludes any possibility of our falling out of His strong grip, Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy," John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition (Judas); that the scripture might be fulfilled."

So, why are we in church today? What brought us here? Habit, ritual, custom, curiosity, or love, devotion, and a heart for Jesus. What do we feel while in church? Power, love, warmth and truth? or Apathy, detachment, hypocrisy, disengagement, anxious for it to be done so we can go to lunch?

SONG: How about your heart, is it right with God?
That's the thing that counts today, Is it black by sin, is it pure within? Could you ask Christ in to stay?
People often see you as you are outside, Jesus really knows you for He sees inside, How about your heart, is it right with God? That's the thing that counts today.

It is sadly possible for us to be under the sound of powerful preaching and never FEEL the power of what is being proclaimed, never SENSE the joy of the message, or never SHARE with others its meaning in our souls. We must hear God's word and heed it for it to be a benefit to our everyday lives. A heart for Jesus therefore is essential. Do we have one? Only you can answer that question? Here's a slogan for us, "GOT HEART? YES!"

 

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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." 

 

SERVICES:

SUNDAY MORNING:

Sunday School 9:30
Worship 10:30

 

SUNDAY EVENING:



Choir Practice 5:00



Men’s Prayer 5:15



Evening Worship 6:00

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING:

Men’s Prayer 6:15

Sermon 7:00