The Praying Heart, Part 2

In my last post we saw Jesus’s heart to glorify the Father. The love of the Father produced a faith in Jesus the Son of man to completely surrender his self-well to the purpose and plan of his Father. In obedience he proved both his faith and his love. Jesus’s resurrection proved the Father’s love for the Son. The two are one in heart.

Today’s prayer shows us Jesus’s heart for the church in its infancy. In John 17, Jesus intercedes on his disciples’ behalf. In our language he’s “got their backs.” They have confessed him before men.

“And Simon Peter answered and said,

Thou art the Christ,

the Son of the living God…

And Jesus answered and said unto him…

upon this rock I will build my church;

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

( From Matthew 16:16-18)

Now, Jesus confesses them before the Father.

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me:

and they have received them,

and have known surely that I came out from thee,

and they have believed that thou didst send me.” (verse 8)

Now, as he prepares to return to the Father, Jesus gives his disciples back into the keeping of the One who gave them to him.

“I pray for them:

I pray not for the world,

but for them which thou hast given me:

for they are thine.

And all mine are thine,

and thine are mine:

and I am glorified in them.”

These men have honored Christ who has honored them. It’s hard to say good-bye to those he holds in his heart. He knows the world they face. He knows the One who will keep them.

And now I am no more in the world,

but these are in the world,

and I come to thee.

Holy Father, keep through thine own name

those whom thou hast given me,

that they may be one, as we are.”

(verses 9-11)

He prayed for his disciples to have his joy.

“And now come I to thee:

and these things I speak in the world,

that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

(verse 13)

The Father answered his prayer as the Holy Spirit descended, the word spread, and the church grew as more disciples came into the kingdom of God.

“And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 13:52

Jesus continues to seek the Father’s care and keeping of them when he prays-

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world,

but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

(verse 15)

The promise:

“But the Lord is faithful,

who shall stablish you,

and keep you from evil.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Then as Jesus has sent these into the world, he prays for their sanctification, their need to be set apart from the evil and the lies that would seek to destroy them and the fledgling church.

“Sanctify them through thy truth:

thy word is truth.”

(verse 17)

The answer;

“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God…

By the which will we are sanctified

through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…

For by one offering

he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Hebrews 10:9a,10,14

Jesus leaves them with promise and assurance.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth:

It is expedient for you that I go away:

for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you;

but if I depart, I will send him unto you…

the Father himself loveth you,

because ye have loved me,

and have believed that I came out from God.”

John 16:7,27

Jesus left them with a purpose.

 “That we should be to the praise of his glory,

who first trusted in Christ.” Ephesians 1:12

Jesus began with a handful of men whom he loved. The church was conceived. It suffered birth pangs until Christ’s resurrection and Pentecost. Then came the joy. Love of the church filled and fills the heart of Christ.

”Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it

with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself

a glorious church,

not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;

but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25b-27.

Even today the church Jesus loves suffers from growing pains. But one day he will come and take her for his own. Until then we find the church is still in his heart and he still prays on her  behalf. More on that in the next post. Until then, remember we are the church.

A Heart Moved by Wisdom

DSCF4224The heart of God contains a never ending flow of love. No matter how much he pours out, the stream continues forever  for –

“…God is love.”

In this week’s posts we have seen through scripture the love of God poured out for all. Those who receive it know his inexhaustible love in abundance. Those who do not have yet to experience the fullness of love. The apostle Paul tells us apart from the love of God our works satisfy our  longing to know love for a moment in time, then fade away into nothing. He describes God’s love we need in order to know and give true love.

God’s love is –

  • *Longsuffering, covering our sins with the blood of Christ;
  • Kind, forgiving our sins for Christ’s sake;
  • Not Envious, but showers his blessings upon us;
  • Not pushing itself forward but does lift us up to heavenly places;
  • Not Proud, but humbled to the point of death on the cross;
  • Courteous, thinking of our need above his own life;
  • Self-controlled, extending mercy and grace through the years instead of wrath;
  • Thinks good toward us;
  • Saddened by our sin;
  • Rejoices when we walk in truth;
  • Bears all things by not withdrawing his love;
  • Gives us faith to believe, hope for strength, and patience to persist.
  • Never failing- it is eternal for God is love and he is eternal. 
  • *God’s love is perfect for he is perfect.

Unlike God, our love falls short being guided by emotions and limited knowledge. God’s heart of love is guided by his wisdom.

“He is wise in heart,

and mighty in strength:

who hath hardened himself against him,

and hath prospered?”

Job 9:4

And God’s wisdom comes from above. It is –

“… first pure,

then peaceable,

gentle and easy to be intreated,

full of mercy and good fruits,

without partiality,

and without hypocrisy.”

James 3:17

  •  Pure-holy not contaminated by any ulterior motive but expressed in his perfect love.

“…Be ye holy: for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

  •  Peaceable- removes the division between him and people; 

“But now in Christ Jesus

ye who sometimes were far off

are made nigh by the blood of Christ…

And came and preached peace to you

which were afar off,

and to them that were nigh.

For through him

we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Ephesians 2:13,17,18

  • Gentle – fully aware of our need and carries us as the Good Shepherd;

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:

he shall gather the lambs with his arm,

and carry them in his bosom,

and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

Isaiah 40:11

  • Easy to be intreated- Jesus has made the way for us to come to the Father;

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

  • Full of mercy- his mercy towards us is from everlasting to everlasting extending to us his favor instead of judgment;

 “O give thanks unto the LORD;

for he is good;

for his mercy endureth for ever…

And of his fulness have all we received,

and grace for grace.

For the law was given by Moses,

but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

(Psalm 136:1; John 1:16,17)

  • Filled with good fruits- these express who God is and are given to every believer by the indwelling Holy Spirit;

“But the fruit of the Spirit is

love, joy, peace, longsuffering,

gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance…”

Galatians 5:22,23

  • Without partiality – for it is available to all who come to him, no matter color or status;

“There is neither Jew nor Greek,

there is neither bond nor free,

there is neither male nor female:

for ye are all one in Christ Jesus…

For God so loved the world…”

Galatians 3:28; John 3:16a

  • Without hypocrisy – There is no deceit in him.

“And ye shall know the truth,

and the truth shall make you free…

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way,

the truth,

and the life;

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.”

John 8:32; 14:6

The Lord’s wisdom knows the end from the beginning. His heart of love carries his own into eternity with him.

“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust

under the shadow of thy wings.

They shall be abundantly satisfied

with the fatness of thy house;

and thou shalt make them drink

of the river of thy pleasures.

For with thee is the fountain of life:

in thy light shall we see light.”

Psalm 36: 7-9.

He holds us under the shadow of his wings – next to his heart.

*Author’s interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and 1 John 4:18

Having a Heart to Heart

When someone says they need to have a heart to heart, we understand the person wants to discover or relate meaning behind an action. Our heavenly Father has had a heart to heart with his creation. He sent Jesus to relay his heart’s message through the gospel.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,

how that Christ died for our sins

according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried,

and that he rose again the third day

according to the scriptures:”

1 Corinthians 15:3,4

“Christ died for our sins…

“Knowing this,

  • that our old man is crucified with him,
  • that the body of sin might be destroyed,
  • that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6

God’s heart was and is to free us from sin’s penalty and power through-

“…our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • Who gave himself for our sins,
  • that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
  • according to the will of God and our Father;” Galatians 1:3b,4

God reveals his heart through the love of his Son, his sacrifice and his elevation of us in his kingdom –

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.

  • Unto him that loved us,
  • and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
  • And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
  • to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5,6

according the scriptures…

The scriptures reveal God’s suffering heart through Christ’s suffering. It was all for us.

“Reproach hath broken my heart;

and I am full of heaviness;

and I looked for some to take pity,

but there was none;

and for comforters, but I found none.

They gave me also gall for my meat;

and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Psalm 69:20,21

  • “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
  • yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
  • But he was wounded for our transgressions,
  • he was bruised for our iniquities:
  • the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
  • and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4,5

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,

but not for himself…”

Daniel 9:26a

And that he was buried…

Through Christ’s burial God manifests his heart to put away the flesh in order to receive new life.

“And when Joseph had taken the body,

he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

and laid it in his own new tomb,

which he had hewn out in the rock:

and he rolled a great stone

to the door of the sepulchre and departed.”

Matthew 27:59,60

“And he made his grave with the wicked

and with the rich in his death:

because he had done no violence,

neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

Isaiah 53:9

“And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him,

they took him down from the tree,

and laid him in a sepulchre.”

Acts 13:29

and that he rose again the third day…

In the resurrection of Christ, God reveals his heart to guarantee we will be with him forever.

“And the angel answered and said unto the women,

Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus,

which was crucified.

He is not here:

for he is risen, as he said.

Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

Matthew 28:5,6

“But God raised him from the dead:

And he was seen many days of them

which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem,

who are his witnesses unto the people.”

Acts 13:30,31

“But now is Christ risen from the dead

and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

1 Corinthians 15:20

“I am he that liveth, and was dead:

and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen;

and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Revelation 1:18

according to the scriptures:”

God’s heart is truth as seen in the fulfillment of all the scriptures.

“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;

neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life:

in thy presence is fulness of joy;

at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Psalm 16:10,11

“Now the LORD had prepared a great a fish to swallow up Jonah.

And Jonah was in the belly of the fish

three days and three nights.”

Jonah 1:17

Jesus is speaking:

“For as Jonas (Jonah)

was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly;

so shall the Son of man be

three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Matthew 12:40

“Therefore (David) being a prophet,

and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him,

that of the fruit of his loins,

according to the flesh,

he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

He seeing this before

spake of the resurrection of Christ,

that his soul was not left in hell,

neither his flesh did see corruption.

This Jesus hath God raised up,

whereof we all are witnesses.”

Acts 2:30,31

From God the Father’s heart to Jesus, God the Son’s heart to the heart of all who will receive it –

“For the Son of man is come

to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:10

The Gospel –

  • The crucifixion of Jesus, the Son of God, for the death of our sin nature; sins forgiven.
  • his burial for the putting away of sins power over our flesh;
  • his resurrection for our guarantee of new and everlasting life.

This is the heart of God.