” They are always thinking about how much it costs.
“Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it!”Proverbs 23:7 NLT
The Tree and Its Fruit.
In Luke 6:43-45 NLT says, “43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thornbushes, nor grapes on bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.“
Figs and grapes were two of the main agricultural products of Israel. A person knows a tree by its fruit. A good (or healthy) tree can’t produce bad fruit, and likewise, a bad (or unhealthy) tree can’t produce good fruit.
Claims are easier to make or fake than results. Even Jesus’ claims would have been ludicrous if he hadn’t backed them up with results. He pointed out that the principle applies universally: You can tell a lot about a tree from its fruit! Our Lord Jesus Christ warned that people are like trees: Examine their “fruit” closely. Our Lord Jesus Christ reminded His listeners that their deeds and speech (what they say) would reveal their true underlying beliefs, attitudes, and motivations. The good impressions people try to make cannot last if their hearts are deceptive. What is in the heart will come out in a person’s speech and behavior.
What We Think Is What We Are!
In Proverbs 23:7 NLT says, “They are always thinking about how much it costs.
“Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.”
In Proverbs 23:7 KJV says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee”.
The word heart is used in different ways all the way through the Scriptures. Let’s see the meaning of the word heart from the Biblical point of view.
In the Bible, book of 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
On Eliab’s appearance, Samuel falls into the same error he made once before (1 Samuel 10:24), of judging on the merit of external appearance.
When God looks at a man/woman, He doesn’t look to see the color of his/her skin. He doesn’t look to see the kind of clothes he/she wears. Nor does He consider his/her social position. The Bible says that God look upon the heart to see what we are on the inside – the thoughts, motives and intents of the heart.
The question we may have to answer is this: Is our heart right with God? And if it’s not right, before we leave we answer it we hope we’ll allow God to make it right.
The Bible indicates a great deal about the condition of the average person’s heart. In Proverbs 6:18 NLT says, “a heart that plots evil feet that race to do wrong,” It speaks of a “heart that deviseth wicked imaginations.” In other words, the Bible says that our heart is full of evil imaginations. And the Bible says, in Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Our heart is deceitful. We can’t trust it, if we’re outside of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“You have very little time in private for God. You spend far more time watching television than you do reading the Bible. You spend far more time reading the press and novels than you do in prayer. You don’t have time for God. Your heart is along way from God tonight.” – Billy Graham
Our Lord Jesus Christ said, in the book of Matthew 15:7-9 NLT, that our hearts are far from God: “7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
Our Lord Jesus Christ blasted these self-righteous leaders with one word; He called them hypocrites. Our Lord Jesus Christ then quoted the Scripture that they claimed to know so well. The great prophet Isaiah had described these religious leaders: they gave honor with their lips, but their hearts were far away (Isaiah 29:13). They had replaced God’s commands with their own man-made teachings. Isaiah explained that their worship is a farce. Our actions and our attitudes must be sincere. If they are not, Isaiah’s words also describe us. The Pharisees knew a lot about God, but they didn’t know God.
Let’s think of it now. There are many of us who go to church. We sing on Sunday morning or afternoon services. We go through the ritual of the liturgy of our church. With our mouth, we honor God. But our heart is far from Him. Our heart – our real self – is taken up with the things of this world.
We have very little time in private for God. Our heart is along way from God. The Bible says that our hearts are dark. In Romans 1:21 NLT says, “21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.”
People’s denial of their own awareness of God is what left them without excuse. When Paul says that they knew God, he is not describing a knowledge that could save them but a knowledge that simply recognized God’s existence. He was describing an awareness of God, that, if not suppressed, would be nurtured by God. But since human beings have, in fact, suppressed the truth about God, the following calamities ensued: (1) they wouldn’t worship Him as God; (2) they couldn’t give thanks; (3) in the void, they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like; and (4) in the end their minds became dark and confused.
When people refuse to recognize God as Creator, they will also fail to glorify or thank Him for His gifts – food, clothing, shelter, even life itself. When they neglect God, they open the door to evil. To omit what is good inevitably leads to committing what is evil. Ingratitude may seem like a small thing, but it begins the downward spiral into depravity. To forget to thank God for all He is and all He has done reveals a dangerous self-centeredness. This causes futile thinking and planning, darkness, pride, blindness, and finally total departure from God that bursts into a flood of sin.
The Bible teaches that our heart is dark because our spiritual eyes have been blinded by the god of this age. Let God open the eyes of our heart.
Let’s answer this another question: Do we know the greatest stumbling block to the Kingdom of God? Murder? No. Drunkenness? No. Adultery? No. Pride. More people stay out of the Kingdom of God because they’re proud than any other reason. We don’t like to humble ourselves and come to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and say, “O God, I’m a sinner.”
The Bible says that our hearts are rebellious. In Jeremiah 5:23 NLT says, “But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me.”
The Bible teaches that our heart can be hardened. The same sun that shines on the clay hardens the clay, but it melts butter. And the same Gospel that is preached here will soften some hearts until they will yield to our Lord Jesus Christ, but it will harden others. And it’s possible for others to harden their hearts by delaying to receive Christ until it is so hard that, when God speaks, they no longer hear Him.
Now, there’s something else in Scripture. The Bible talks about the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible talks about the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ. And all the way through the New Testament, we have the expression the blood of Christ. What does that mean? That means that the heart of Christ, in its compassion and in its love, bled on the Cross for our sinful hearts. His pure heart, His perfect heart, His glorious heart, His loving heart, His tender heart, His compassionate heart – bled on the Cross.
And when they put spikes in His hands and spike through His feet, and they put a spear in His side, near His heart, His heart bled literal drops of blood for us.
In Hebrews 9:22 NLT says, “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
Blood from a sacrifice symbolized cleansing and forgiveness, thus nearly everything was purified by sprinkling with blood. In fact, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Why does forgiveness require the shedding of blood? This is no arbitrary decree on the part of a bloodthirsty God, as some have suggested. There is no greater symbol of life than blood because blood keeps us alive. Our Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood – gave His life – for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to experience spiritual death, eternal separation from God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of life, not death. He gave His own life to pay the penalty for us so that we might live.
What does it meant for us? God meant that without the death of Christ, there could be no forgiveness of sin. Do we know why? Because you and I have broken the laws of God. We deserve death, judgment and hell. But our Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross and bled and died in our place.
In Romans 5:7-8 NLT says, “7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
The highest expression of human love is when someone gives his or her life so that another person can continue to live. People are able to understand sacrificial love, even though it is rarely practiced. This kind of sacrificial gesture is almost always dependent on a relationship that already exists between the one sacrificing (parent, sibling, spouse, fellow soldier or marine) and the one benefited.
Even so, people do not readily die for others. But God’s love stands in stark contrast to even the deepest expression of human love because God showed His great love for us by sending our Lord Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Our Lord Jesus Christ’s death is the highest manifestation of God’s love for us. While we were rebellious and despicable, our Lord Jesus Christ died for us so that we could come to God, find peace with Him, and become heirs of His promises. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not die so that we could be made lovable; Jesus Christ died because God already loved us and wanted to bring us close to Himself.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NLT says, “20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,* so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
Ambassadors are official representatives of one country to another. Paul described himself and his coworkers as Christ’s ambassadors, representatives of Christ to the world (2 Corinthians 5:19). God was using them to speak to the Corinthians the message that they be reconciled to God – accept God’s free gift of reconciliation. Paul did not announce this message halfheartedly. He implored – even urged and pleaded – everyone who would listen to him to accept God’s free gift of salvation. It was extremely urgent, for it would change their eternal destiny. And it was a gift that had an expensive price tag.
In life, rarely will anyone claim perfection. Sin is a part of life, so much so that many people simply expect to encounter dishonesty, self-centeredness, and greed in other people. If they don’t, they are surprised. That is why many people in our Lord Jesus’ day expressed surprise at Jesus’ life. They could not find anything wrong with Him (see Pilate’s words in Luke 23:4-22, the centurion’s words in Luke 23:41-48, and God’s testimony in Matthew 3:17; 17:5). The disciples, Jesus’ closest friends and followers, did not find any evil in His actions (see Peter’s testimony in 1 Peter 2:22 and John’s testimony in 1 John 3:5). Our Lord Jesus Christ never knew what it meant to sin: He always followed God’s ways. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ bore the consequences of believers’ sin for their sakes. Since our Lord Jesus Christ, who was perfect and innocent, took on the penalty of sin, death itself, our Lord Jesus can make those who believe in Him right with God. His perfect righteousness can cover our corrupt and imperfect lives. When people trust in Jesus Christ, they make an exchange – their sin for His righteousness. We as Born-Again Christian believers’ sin was placed on our Lord Jesus Christ at His crucifixion. His righteousness is given to us at our conversion. This is what Born-Again Christians mean by Christ’s atonement for sin.
It’s a mystery, that death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great atonement of Christ. None of us can understand its depths, its height or its breadth. But we do know this: that in some mysterious and glorious way, God was in our Lord Jesus Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself at the Cross. He bled, and His heart was broken for us.
In Proverbs 16:1 KJV says, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.”
Finally, the Bible gives us this glorious promise – that God will give us a new heart. If you will come to our Lord Jesus Christ and surrender your heart to Him, God says, “I’ll take out the old heart. I’ll put in a new one.” An old heart will not do. He must give you a completely new heart. God doesn’t just patch you up when you come to Him. The Bible says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
In Ezekiel 36:26-27 NLT says, “26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
May we invite you to experience to be Born-Again Christian. Please visit our website and take a look of one of our ministries: https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/
God bless you all,
Pastor/Chaplain Elias A Busuego Jr PhD DTM
Reference: The Spiritual Heart by Billy Graham
THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer
Author’s eBook, “From The WORDS And THOUGHTS To The SWORDS And BATTLEGROUNDS
What We Think Is What We Are!