Heartfelt Religion

HEARTFELT RELIGION
(James 1:27)
 

INTRO: The expression “heartfelt religion” is a common one. The phrase is not found in the Bible, yet properly explained, the idea is there. The term is widely used and yet misunderstood in religious circles. Religion is not something one “gets,” but rather is a system of faith and practice. Let us note the idea of “heartfelt religion.”

I  WHAT IS THE “HEART?”
  
A. Much misunderstanding here.
         1. Not the blood pump in the physical breast (John 14:1).
   B. Rather, it is the intellect of man which:
        1. Thinks (Gen. 6:5; Prov. 23:7).
        2. Reasons (Mk. 2:8).
        3. Understands (Matt. 13:15).
        4. Believes (Rom. 10:10).
        5. Loves (Deut. 6:5).
        6. Desires (Rom. 10:1; Psa. 37:4).
        7. Purposes (Dan. 1:8; 2 Cor. 9:7).
        8. Obeys (Rom. 6:17).

II WHY THE SINNER’S HEART NEEDS CHANGING
   
A. Note the condition of such a heart:
         1. Thoughts are evil (Gen. 6:5).
         2. Reasons from the human standpoint (Mk. 2:8).
         3. Understanding is darkened (Eph. 4:17-18).
         4. Believes a lie (2 Thess. 2:11-12).
         5. Loves the world (2 John 2:15-17).
         6. Desires and sensual and devilish (Jas. 3:15).
         7. Purposes are temporal; not eternal (Rom. 13:14).
         8. Obeys selfish desires (Rom. 6:17).

III HOW THE SINNER’S HEART IS CHANGED
    
A. Negatively:
         
1. Not by direct operation of the Holy Spirit.
     B. Positively:
         
1. Thoughts are changed by weapons of the word (2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:17).
          2. Reasoning is changed by testimony (Psa. 19:7).
          3. Understanding changed by God’s word (Psa. 119:130).
          4. Belief is changed by the word (Rom. 10:17).
          5. Love is changed by a love for God (1 John 4:19).
          6. Desires are changed by God’s promises (Rev. 22:14).
          7. Purpose are changed by a desire to do right (Prov. 11:23).
          8. Obedience is changed by a love for God (John 14:15)

IV WHAT CONNECTIONS HAVE FEELINGS WITH CHRISTIANITY?
     
A. Good feelings are no evidence of pardon.
          1. Belief of a lie may produce the same feeling as a belief of the truth
              (Gen. 37:23-36).
          2. Many heathen religions are “heartfelt,” yet they might offer human
              sacrifices!
     B. The truth about feelings and salvation.
         1. Some think they are saved because the “feel good.”
         2. But the Christian “feels good” because he is saved!

CONCLUSION: Do not rely on your “feelings” when it comes to salvation. When one lets the heart rule the head, he is in spiritual trouble! Christianity is a religion that appeals primarily to man’s intellect, and not only his feelings and emotions.