Idols Of The Heart

There is a place in the heart of man for God. Anything or person that takes the place of God in the human heart is an idol. Idols in the heart are responsible for secret sins. Secret sins have a hardening effect. Idols in the heart prevent prayers from being heard and answered.

The vast majority of Christians have idols in their hearts. These idols birth rebellion and stubbornness. The end result is hellfire for the unrepentant. It is impossible to meet God’s standard for the Rapture of the Church which is the gateway to heaven for any Christian with an idol in his heart.

  1. An evil eye. This is the sin of covetousness. It is the tendency not to be satisfied with what one has. It is related to greed.
  1. Bitterness. Malice, venom. Simon Magus became a Christian after listening to Philip’s gospel message. “Simon himself believed also … was baptized and continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). There was bitterness in his heart. It did not manifest until he saw what he thought was an opportunity to get power and continue to mesmerise the people. Here the sin was trying to become rich through religious activity, a sin that is very prevalent in the modern church. But Simon was genuinely saved for he repented of his sin and sought forgiveness from the Lord when the state of his heart was revealed to him by Peter. “Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” Peter obliged him and he was cleansed (Acts 8:23).
  1. Confusion. This is a state of absolute disorder. Disorientation that is not expected in normal situations. Bestiality for example is absolute confusion. (Lev 18:23). A confused state of the mind is the product of envy, strife and every evil work. Thinking of doing unnatural things produces a state of lawlessness in the heart. Many people are confused in life.
  1. Discouragement. Discouragement like fear is a spirit. It resists faith. It produces murmuring and complaining. The evil report of the ten spies Moses sent out to reconnoiter Canaan so discouraged the Israelites that a whole generation, from twenty years and above, wasted in the wilderness. In Col 3:21 Paul exhorts fathers not to break the spirit of their children through discouragement. They should be allowed to develop their natural abilities.
  1. Contentious Jealousy. It is usually hidden. It is the ambitious desire to surpass others in some of human reckoning or achievement. It also means flagrant resentment of those in superior positions. It amounts to putting down in one’s heart those God has lifted above someone.
  1. Envy. This is similar to emulation except that jealousy is so intense as to lead to murder. It is malicious hostility that smothers in the heart of a close person. In Acts 7:9 Stephen said: “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him.” It was their murderous envy against Joseph because of his dreams that led his brothers to sell him to Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.  
  1. Evil thoughts. Every form of sinful conduct originates from the heart. The Lord said such sins as “adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” proceed from within, out of the heart of men. Meditative indulgence in dead works leads into captivity.
  1. Fear. Fear is Satan’s first fiery dart. It is a spirit. Fear is Satan’s property, It brings torment and discouragement. Whenever there is fear, boldness disappears. (Mt 10:31).
  1. Foolishness. This is presumptive faith. It is closely related to pride. Many adults exhibit the silliness and perverseness characteristic of children. Foolishness is doing good works rather than Godly works. There are many people in the Vineyard of the Lord who are doing good things nobody asked them to do. God is not impressed with activity. Jesus told Martha He was not impressed with her busyness in the kitchen. Jesus came to their home for evangelism not a party. She was doing good works whereas Mary was engrossed in a Godly work. In Luke 7:39 the self-righteous Pharisee was foolish. Foolishness dries the bones.
  1. Hatred. This is hidden enmity. It is also extreme dislike. Delilah’s hatred for Samson led to the death of both Samson and a multitude of the Philistines.
  1. Impatience. This is the opposite of hasty imprudence. It is the iintolerance of delay and restless longing for something before its time of manifestation. It also means failure to endure affliction, suffering, annoyance, or other inconveniences of life with equanimity.
  1. Indecision. Unusual equivocation. The inability to make up one’s mind on matters of faith. As Paul stood before Governor Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). He never had and went to hell at death. Many people will end up in hell through indecision when confronted with Jesus.
  1. Jealousy. The consuming fear, suspicion, or belief that one is being or might be displaced in someone’s affections. The spirit of jealousy is the distrust of the fidelity of a spouse. It produces resentment, anger and wrath.
  1. Lasciviousness. The intense desire to commit adultery, fornication or uncleanness. By and large, adultery, fornication and uncleanness are physical manifestations of sin. Homosexuality is an aspect of “uncleanness.” Lasciviousness is a sin committed in the other sins in the heart. It is self-gratification which may be expressed in lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life or seeking the glorification of self. The grace of God can be turned into lasciviousness (Jude 4).
  1. Malice. Translated as evil, naughtiness and wickedness in Scripture, malice means the heart-felt desire to injure another person. It is concealed ill-will, hatred and wrongful intention. The command of Scripture is “be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Cor. 14:20).
  1. Passivity. Lack of concern especially for things that have eternal value. Non participation in spiritual warfare is passivity. Some Christians have settled it in their heart not to obey some scriptures. Romans 12:1-3 Paul instructs believers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice … and be not conformed to this world.” It takes an act of the will to do this. Its absence is largely caused by lukewarmness fostered by passivity.
  1. Pride. This is self-exaltation as shown in having too great an opinion of oneself, achievement or possession. Most of the contentious issues in the affairs of men and nations are caused by pride. Pride is a harbinger of shame. God hates pride. It brought shame to Lucifer, Miriam, King Uzziah and Nebuchadnezzar. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
  1. Rebellion. Secret and determined defiance of constituted authority. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, a sin that carries the death penalty.
  1. Selfishness. This is inordinate concern with one’s own personal advantage and welfare to the exclusion of the wellbeing of others. It is the lack of consideration for others which is an aspect of hatred.
  1. Strife. Rooted in envying and divisions, strife is rooted in vanity. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth” (James 3:14).
  1. Unbelief. Doubt, a spiritual bar to faith. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12. Unbelief always leads away from God.
  1. Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is the product of anger. When someone annoys or hurts you physically, you get angry. This is a normal human emotion. Take notice of the spiritual implication if reconciliation does not take effect soon after the offence. The offended person then arrests the offender in a spiritual sense.  This is the work of the spirit of unforgiveness. Jesus taught that we must forgive those who have sinned against us. What you do not forgive is bound here and in heaven and God cannot violate your will. The second point to note about unforgiveness is that it deprives God of His right to judge. A person cannot be convicted twice for the same offence. Unforgiveness is the execution of a sentence of imprisonment. Those who harbour unforgiveness make themselves ‘gods.’
  1. Wickedness. To be wicked is to be absolutely without love. This is malicious work of evil in the heart. According to the AMG Reference Bible, wickedness refers to something that is ‘bad, mischievous, injurious, hurtful i.e. giving pain or causing unhappiness.’ It is the hideous thing, a calamity or tragedy that is fashioned against someone.
  1. Worry. This is a state of mental unease and anxiety arising from one’s cares, uncertainty about the future and fear of failure. Faithlessness is the result of needless concern and anxiety. The command of Scripture is to be anxious for nothing “but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6)

The way to get rid of idols of the heart is a total surrender of one’s life spirit, soul and body to the Lord. Through various means such as Bible study, scripture meditation and sitting under anointed teachers of the Word, the Holy Spirit will identify the idols one by one. It is what Prophet Hosea called ‘breaking the fallow ground.’  As it is is written: “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).

Each highlighted idol must be dealt with ruthlessly as by fire.   To entertain an idol in the heart is witchcraft. It attracts the death penalty. Many Christians are already in hell because of secret idols in the heart at the point of death. The standard of God says forgive everyone who has offended you. Who is right or wrong is not the issue. Idols of the heart are sending more people to hellfire than physical indulgence in sinful acts. In Hebrews 12:15 the Bible exhorts believers to conduct their lives properly by “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Idols of the heart can defile. Defilement is a gateway to the lake of fire.

Five Tenets of The Eschatological Community

God knows that it will be harmful for saints in human flesh to know the day or hour of His coming but those in the eschatological community are knowledgeable of end-time events and will not abuse the privilege but rather use the knowledge to comfort and encourage those in Christ to look up to the heavens for their final redemption. These are mature believers whose lifestyle reflects the attitude of the Issachar tribe in ancient Israel. It is written: “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chron 12:32).

When you subscribe to the tenets of the Eschatological Community:

  1. Your orientation on life and living will change; you will be more heaven-conscious than hitherto. You will be like a bride preparing for her wedding.
  2. You will be desirous of meeting the Lord just as a bride and groom are desirous of, and expectant of, their wedding day and the accompanying ceremonies.
  3. Your evangelistic fervor will increase. You will zealously distribute your ‘wedding invitation.’
  4. You will see the world of men the way God sees it, corrupt, full of wickedness and ready for judgment.
  5. Your expectation of the sound of the Trumpet will increase progressively like birth pangs until the last moment

To be a member of the eschatological community you must abide in Christ and have His mind. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).  Those who will reign with Christ will have one mind with Him. The mind of the Wife of Christ will operate as a repeater Station for the mind of Christ. The mind is a broadcasting station. The contents of the heart and mind are heard in the heaven of heavens. God knows what is in the mind without speech.

When you have the mind of Christ you know what is in the mind of God. It is only what is spoken out that the earth hears. To be one with Christ, you must have His mind and abide with Him until you see Him in glory either through sleep or the rapture, whichever occurs first.  Your thoughts, desires & imaginations must be in tandem with Christ’s. Unless the mind of Christ is in you, you may not qualify to be part of the Wife of Christ.  God and Jesus have the same mind. Angels have the mind of Christ.

How can one have the mind of Christ? It is obtained through encounter with Christ. It is a characteristic of the baptism with fire. When the fire has burnt every aspect of your life and nothing about you is left on the Burnt Offering Altar then you become crucified with Christ. From that point on three things disappear: fear of man, besetting sins and the desire for pleasure. You become a living sacrifice.

To reign with Christ you must have His mind. Mind-to-mind communication is the main means of interaction in the millennial kingdom. You should desire to be baptised with the fire of the Holy Spirit.

 

Encountering The Word Made Flesh

Like Saul on Damascus road, you must encounter the Lord Jesus Christ in this life or perish. This is because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5). What King David said is applicable to all. God is not bothered about the number of people returning to “hell beneath” (Prov 15:24) from where they came to the surface of the earth. 

God mourned the loss of His created human beings in the Garden of Eden. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked … Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Gen 3:6-9). God in mercy promised to send Seed of the woman to redeem fallen mankind. The promise was fulfilled more than two thousand years ago in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ “who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead” (The Apostles Creed}”.  

God’s present activity on earth is that everybody has a chance of hearing the gospel message. What happens thereafter depends on man, not God. A free-will acceptance of the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross of Calvary is what matters. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Some Christians will miss heaven because of their lack of love for the brethren. You cannot shun brethren on earth and expect to socialize with them in heaven. Living for eternity in God’s presence is like a four-legged race. You are not a winner until you have won all stages of the contest.

The abundant life Jesus brought from heaven to earth is not only for this life but for the hereafter. It means to be saved, enjoy the things that accompany salvation in time and enter heaven in grand style to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever. Since being born again is good but not always enough to guarantee entry into heaven, a Christian must therefore work out his or her salvation with fear and trembling through mind renewal with the Word of God.

Imperatives For Being Born Again

You cannot abide in Christ except you are genuinely born again. The vast majority of those who claim to belong to Christ have no relationship with Him at all. You must be infused with a Hypostatic Chip in the power of the Holy Spirit who is currently in the world to convict mankind of sin, righteousness and judgment.

You were created to exist forever. In the beginning Adam had a sinless nature. His fall resulted in spiritual, physical and eternal death as decreed by God. Thereafter the human body became mortal; it was made of dust and will revert to dust by reason of Adamic sin.  But the real you is not your body. You are a spirit being. You have a soul. These two constitute the real you. Have you noticed that when you sleep you dream dreams and see yourself doing things as you would in the natural?  It is the real you that goes out in the spirit realm to engage in sundry encounters, some good, some horrible. You need the new birth to realign your life with God your Creator.  For you to be a child of God you must be infused with a part of God, eternal life, which I prefer to call Hypostatic Chip because of its characteristics.

If you have not changed your spiritual status by a conscious and voluntary surrender of your life to Jesus Christ, then Satan is your spiritual father.  Your status in life has nothing to do with it.  Your wealth, education, political position or social standing cannot change the situation. That is the stark reality of your status before God.  You may not appreciate the gravity of that horrible state of affair now until your life on earth is terminated.

The final destination of unbelievers is the lake of fire.  At death unbelievers are taken to hellfire which is in the middle of the earth where they will remain until the millennial reign of Christ and the White Throne Judgment when, without exception, they will be herded into the lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever. 

Being born again is the first step towards entering heaven. Regeneration alone does not guarantee entry into heaven. Jesus spoke about discovering the narrow road to heaven (Mt 7:13). The message was for believers. Some believers are on the narrow road; some remain where they were when they got born again. All unbelievers are walking along the broad road that leads to hellfire. An unbeliever cannot be on the narrow road to heaven because he or she is already spiritually dead. An unbeliever cannot ‘see’ the narrow road in that state. For such people physical death is a confirmation of eternal death, which is irreversible separation from God.

Jesus said the road to heaven is narrow; the gate at the end of the road is very narrow. Entry into this road is by volition. Many born again Christians do not find this road for lack of follow-up; they eventually backslide. God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Some believers who find the road grope alongside it without knowing what to do for lack of appropriate input of doctrine.

Unless you see the kingdom of God you cannot begin to walk along the road that leads to the gate of heaven. The gate of heaven must open for you to enter the celestial city. To be able to survive the perils along the narrow road you need the water of God’s Word imbibed in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is imperative to learn kingdom-life principles applied in daily living to be fit to live in heaven. You do not learn how to live in heaven in heaven. You learn how to live in heaven on earth as you cannot do in heaven what you are not used to doing on earth. That is why the Bible gives strong commands regarding love, forgiveness and being one another’s keeper.

Let brotherly love flow is heaven’s standard for redeemed mankind.

Seven Ways Christ Shed His Blood

In Adam all sinned, and the penalty for sin is death, which culminates in eternal separation from God.  To redeem sinful man, blood must be shed because without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin. Since life is in the blood, the only way to mitigate the death penalty already passed on humanity is to ransom the life in the blood of an Innocent Person whose blood has the ability to remit sin.  Jesus is the only Person who is qualified to make the sacrifice. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev 17:11).

Here the Bible is instructing on the Old Covenant type of offering the blood of bulls and goats for the covering for a time of the sins of the people.  That was the only way a Holy God could have dealings with His people until the New Covenant became operative to deal with the sin question once and for all.  Thus, the life of Jesus was given in exchange for the life of all the posterity of Adam and Eve through shedding of His blood on Calvary’s Cross.  The blood of Jesus made a once-for-all atonement for the remission of the sins of the world because Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary unaffected by the original sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and valves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption  … so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:11-28).

By shedding His blood on Calvary’s Cross, Christ became our substitute, exchanging our sinfulness for His righteousness.  Whoever accepts Christ therefore has His righteousness imputed or accounted to him.  The Bible declares, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Gal 3:13).  In other words, our redemption from sin, which includes the removal of the curse of the law, is complete in Him.  Furthermore, the ways Jesus shed His blood mirror the particular aspects of the curse that Adam’s transgression activated.  Let us consider seven of such applications.

  1. Sweat As Blood In The Garden Of Gethsemane. Lk 22:44 – And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Sweat is a symbol of hard labor.  It typifies struggling for existence and survival.  This curse, “in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” contracts with life of comfort Adam enjoyed in the Garden of Eden before he sinned when he had dominion over God’s creation.  So, the blood that dropped as sweat from Jesus in the Garden redeemed man from struggling for existence.
  1. Crown Of Thorns. Mt 27:29 – When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head. A thorn is a plant or brier that abounds with pricks. It is not cultivated, but grows on its own to inhibit, choke or destroy life-sustaining crops.  God cursed the ground for the sake of Adam and commanded it to bring forth thorns and thistles. When Roman soldiers planted a thorn on the head of Jesus, blood dripped from the points where the pricks on the thorns tore into His flesh.  The effect on man of the blood that dripped to the ground was the removal of inherited or generational curses, such as barrenness, poverty and oppression.
  1. Beard Plucked Off. In Bible times, the tradition of keeping the beard signified beauty, favor and dignity. The beard of Jesus Christ was yanked off His face in a brutal manner.  The hair was not shaved off; it was pulled with the skin mercilessly with blood oozing out (Isa 50:6; 53:3).  That judgment restored beauty and favor to redeemed man.
  1. Jesus Gave His Back To The Smitters. Jn 19:1 – So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. Jesus received thirty-nine strokes of the Roman cane. The scourging was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isa 53:4-5). Jesus willingly gave His back to the ‘smiters’ and by reason of the bleeding and laceration of His back He purchased our healing.  Thus the believer has been redeemed, inured against sickness and disease and protected from all forms of bodily infirmities.
  1. Hands Nailed To The Cross. The hands of fallen humanity shed innocent blood. That was why Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.  By nailing His hands to the Cross, Jesus re-established the works of our hands to glorify our Maker. Ps 90:17 – And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.
  1. Feet Nailed Together. The feet symbolize dominion. God’s standard for His people is that ‘every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you.’  Also, ‘the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever.’ Sin and iniquity mortgaged that provision to the extent that the feet of men are swift in running to mischief.  The judgment on the feet of Jesus restored dominion to the redeemed of the Lord.
  1. Blood And Water From His Side. Jn 19:34 – But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. The shedding of the Blood of Jesus was completed with the blood and water that flowed from His side. It is the seal of the New Testament.  The blood of Jesus sprinkled the whole world, bringing salvation to whosoever believes in Him. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels … to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24).

Therefore the Blood of Jesus saves from eternal death; restores beauty and favor; confers dominion; prospers the works of our hands; removes sickness and heals bodily infirmities;  redeems from inherited and generational curses; and removes human struggle.