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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Feb. 20, 2009

  • 2009 Feb 20
  • COMMENTS
 

Christ Abiding in My Attitude

 

John 15:1-8

 

God expects fruit in the life of His children. That fruit comes from a good heart. That good heart is made good by God in a process called the new birth.

 

We all were born bearing fruit, only it was bad fruit – that is why God saved us, He wanted to change us from being a bad tree bearing bad fruit into being a good tree bearing good fruit. Fruit means change and that is what God is seeking in your life and mine this morning.

 

Twenty-six hundred years ago God explained the new heart that bears fruit in Ezekiel 36. Turn there with me and see what He says.

 

Ezekiel 36:26-27

 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you (that is when God gives us the good heart of Mark 4.8 & 20);

I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (then God removes the hard, crowded, and shallow hearts);

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes (then God gives us the power of His Spirit so we can do what God expects);

and you will keep My judgments and do them (that is our responsibility to respond in the fruitfulness that God expects from us).

 

There is no heart God can’t change. There is no life, no past, no sin, no stain, no failure, and no habit that God can’t change if you will let Him. Are you letting the Lord change you? Are you responding? Is Jesus Christ controlling you more each day?

 

One of my favorite illustrations of what God wants to do is the documented change that took place in a generation of people from 1910-1931. To understand what God can do when He changes a heart turn with me now to Galatians 5.19. As I read these verses let me introduce you to the people of the 8 tribes that C. T. Studd worked among for 21 years. Their biography was written by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5.16-21.

 

Galatians 5:19-21:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:

 

adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, (these headhunting tribes constantly stole women, violated them, and treated them as their own personal livestock – and had done so for generations);

 

idolatry, sorcery, (the cannibals were lovers of the dark, they were worshipping demons, fearing spirits, and total servants of the Devil and had been for centuries);

 

hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, (these tribes men killed for sport, loved to eat the flesh of their enemies, swore oaths of revenge and hatred, and had no regard for human life);

 

selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; (these primitive savages lived to eat, drank themselves drunk, danced naked around the fires to the worship of their spirit masters, and sank in revelry until they passed out to sleep on the ground until daylight.)

 

of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

So modern history testifies to what will happen to those who accept the Word. To illustrate that go back with me to 74 years ago this month, and meet a living legend named CT Studd. After serving 15 years in China and 6 in India, he invested his final 21 in the heart of Africa's vast, dark jungles among the fierce, cannibal, head-hunting pygmies.

 

Once a lean and fit professional athlete, C.T. is now gaunt and emaciated. He is hunched over, halting with each step. But in July 1931 he is surrounded by thousands of glistening black bodies wearing banana leaves. The pygmies of the heart of Africa’s jungles have come to hear their beloved Bwana for the last time. He speaks to them only after over two hours of singing the songs he had so lovingly taught them:

 

“Wounded for me, wounded for me,

there on the cross He was wounded for me,

gone my transgressions and now I can sing,

all because Jesus was wounded for me!”

 

There in front of his cot sit 5,000 former headhunters.

  • Once their bodies were the habitation of dark, foul fiends from the pit – now they are temples of the Living God.
  • Once they were naked and grossly immoral lovers of darkness -- now they are not only clothed in Christ but also modestly clothed in banana leaves.
  • Once they lived as a continuation of generations of murderers, years of darkness, and lives of savagery – now before their beloved father in the faith they sit in an immense sea of white-toothed smiles.
  • Once they were all mortal enemies, never without the weapons of war. But no weapons of war are left, only the bond of love. With faces turned heavenward these former enemies sit shoulder to shoulder, singing of the sweet by and by and that beautiful shore they will someday see.

 

That congregation of saints were converted and transformed by the Lord through the simple, passionate preaching of the truth of God's Word in the Bible. Why have believers all through the ages seen lives transformed by the preaching of the gospel? Because they simply obeyed what Jesus left them and us to do.

 

What about America today? The same sins abound, we just call it by different names. We are surrounded by a nation of individuals who seem to try to get their own way all the time. Listen to the list Paul gave and the modern form of these sins our culture has developed.

  • ADULTERY/FORNICATION: is seen in people’s repetitive, loveless, cheap sex;
  • UNCLEANESS: is seen in America’s stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage;
  • LEWDNESS: is seen in people’s frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;
  • IDOLATRY: is seen in people’s trinket gods;
  • SORCERY: drugs, occultic entertainments of all kinds and our modern magic-show religions;
  • HATRED: is prompting paranoid loneliness;
  • CONTENTIONS: seen in daily cutthroat competition;
  • JEALOUSIES: evidenced in all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants;
  • OUTBURSTS OF WRATH: we are awash with brutal tempers;
  • SELFISH AMBITIONS: has left us with an impotence to love or be loved;
  • DISSENSIONS: we are a land of divided homes and divided lives;
  • HERESIES: people obsessed with small-minded and lopsided pursuits;
  • ENVY: the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival;
  • MURDERS: we kill our unborn, and euthanize our aged, and ignore the starving poor that circle our planet while we sip our exotic drinks and complain about the long lines at the mall and restaurants
  • DRUNKENNESS: we are a nation of uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions;
  • REVELRIES: college years have become an orgy, life is a weekly wait for the next party, and mindlessness reigns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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