What The Bible Says
“What The Bible Says - Vol. 2 / No. 13”
What The Bible Says
Vol. II - No. 13 / December 1, 2019
HOW DOES THE LORD "OPEN" HEARTS?
In Acts 16 we read: "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lyda, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us. whose heart the Lord open that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." (vs. 13-15). How did the Lord open her heart? Does He do the same thing to people today? Does this imply the necessity of a direct action of the Holy Spirit? Is it possible to know and obey the will of God without miraculous divine intervention in our lives?
Look carefully at this immediate context. Notice that they "spake unto the women" (vs. 13), and Lydia "heard us" (vs. 14), and she "attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul" (vs. 14). It seems clear that the means by which Lydia's heart was opened was by the Word of God. There is nothing mysterious here. Rather, it is a demonstration of the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16), and an example of God's plan for "preaching to save them that believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).
Whatever the Lord did, and however the heart of Lydia was opened, it was the same thing that occurred in every other case of conversion in the book of Acts. Remember, God is "no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34,35). On Pentecost they "heard" and were "pricked in their heart" (2:37). On that day many "gladly received his word and were baptized" (2:41). Other examples abound in the book of Acts that directly link the teaching of the word with a heartfelt, obedient response (4:4, 8:12, 13:12, 13:48, 15:7, 16:32-33, 17:32-34, 18:8, 19:5).
The Lord "opens" hearts today in exactly the same way He always has -- through the preaching of the Word.
"ASK JESUS TO SAY TO YOU, JUST DO IT!"
If I do what this billboard advertisement says, I will say, "Lord, save me!" for this is what a major denomination in this area teaches from radio, television, billboards, and pulpits. But Jesus has an answer to those who want salvation from sin simply by uttering the words "Lord, save me" or "Jesus, come into my heart". Jesus' answer is found in Matthew 7:21 - "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.” (Emphasis mine, ERH)
It could also be that this statement is believed to have Bible basis because we are told to "ask and it shall be given you" in Matthew 7:7. But that's not the half of what the verse says. Jesus said, "ASK, and it shall be given you; SEEK, and ye shall find; KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:7,8).(Emphasis mine, ERH) There is more to it than asking; there is seeking and knocking.
Anything for which we ask must be according to His will. "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." We cannot ask the Lord to save us a way that is not "according to His will". Faith only and praying your sins away are not according to His will and we cannot ask Christ to save us by doing either of them. He will only save us from sins if we DO ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. To properly "seek" the Lord, we must do His will wholeheartedly. "Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." (Psalms 119:2).
The Scriptures teach that we are saved by the blood of Christ. (Matthew 26:28). We contact the blood of Christ when we, too, “obey from the heart that form of doctrine” (Romans 6:17). When we are "baptized into Jesus Christ", we are "baptized into His death". "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3,4). Jesus has TOLD us what to do, just do it!
—E.R. Hall, Jr.
"KILL THE SPIDER"
One of the deacons was frequently called upon to pray at the mid-week service, and he always concluded his prayer the same way: "....and now Lord, clean out all the cobwebs in our lives.” I think you know what he was talking about - those little unsightly words, deeds and thoughts that we let accumulate throughout the week.
Well, it got to be too much for one brother who heard him say that prayer so many times. So, one Wednesday night, just after hearing these words again, this one brother jumped to his feet and shouted, "Don't do it, Lord, KILL THE SPIDER!"
Brethren, how well it would be if we would kill the spider rather than continually having our lives full of cobwebs. We will never be able to live acceptably for God and reach heights that Christ presents for us until deep within us we have that clean and rightful desire.
The great problem in the average Christian life is that we do not have the desire to really give up the world and completely surrender to Christ. Thus, we always find our lives cluttered with “cobwebs” - with sins.
Let’s start inside of our lives. Create that humble desire; and the external part of Christianity will come. Once we have killed the spider, we will no longer have to worry about bothersome cobwebs.
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--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
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For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
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Evening Worship …………………........ 5:00 PM
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