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“Thoughts and Intentions of the Heart”

By Fred Myers

Published on Sep 25, 2016

The Book of Hebrews exhorts every Christian to faith. Not just a faith that merely exists in disobedience, but a faith that exists in obedience. But what disobedience is Paul talking about? You may be quite surprised to see that it is not just open sins, such as not entering the land in the days of the wilderness wonderings, but hidden personal sins— “thoughts and intentions of the heart”. These verses reference the sins that led to the rebellion. The rebellion in the wilderness harbored unbelief in God, rebellion against leadership, and personal fear. All of these sins arose from “thoughts and intentions of the heart”. Heb 4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Paul especially speaks of hidden sins in these next verses, because these are the sins that cause the most damage. Thoughts and intentions lead to divisions. Paul understood that there would be those that were always striving for their own power and purposes—selfishness. Are you troubled, is your family troubled, your church troubled? To find the answer to your trouble, look for the cause of the division—division is always selfishness. Somewhere, someone has “thoughts and intentions of the heart” that are contrary to peace. But, “all are naked and exposed” in the eyes of God. Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Many times resolutions for peace do not seem to stick, the staying power of peace is often short-lived. It can be due to a number of things, but one of the main reasons for another outbreak of trouble is that the trouble that came with the selfish “thoughts and intentions of the heart” are not confessed. The “throne of grace” can also be read as the “throne of favor”. Christians draw near the throne of favor to receive favor, but favor is only given in the wisdom of fellowship. God only blesses in wisdom; He can do no other. The apostle John reminds every Christian that sin must be confessed to heaven, not just admitted to on earth. 1 Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. How can Christians draw near with confidence if there is division? Without confidence, there is no mercy and no grace in a time of need. Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The loss of unity is a great and grievous sin, disunity creates division, and the Devil will enter that space—only confession evicts him from that space. The longer the division and resultant anger, the wider the space becomes—the Devil will always enlarge his territory if given the chance. Christians cannot give the Devil the opportunity to occupy any space created by division, and the anger must be confessed before the sun goes down. Eph 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, Eph 4:27 and give no opportunity to the devil. Do you want to close the space created by division, then “seek peace and pursue it”? How—remember “the eyes” in Hebrews 4.13, “all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account”—those same eyes for accountability come with ears for prayer— “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. All sin is harmful, but certain sin, such as the sin of division among the Lord’s people, is very grievous to God. 1 Pe 3:11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Paul warned, taught, toiled, and struggled with all of the energy that the Holy Spirit worked in him to encourage hearts in his congregations to be knit together in love (unity), in order to reach understanding, knowledge, and wisdom such that no one could delude his congregations with plausible arguments. Paul understood division was one of the greatest enemies of faith therefore, division must be confessed, as well as the “thoughts and intentions of the heart” that led to the division. Col 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. Col 1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, Col 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col 2:4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. Finally, “all of you, have unity of mind”! 1 Pe 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

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