Thursday, March 29, 2012

Open Heart Surgery by John Samson

Often times we will hear a preacher tell his audience to “open their heart” to the Lord. What strikes me about this phrase is that the only time I can find the concept of the opening of the heart mentioned in the New Testament, it refers to God being the one who opens hearts, not man.

Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well…”

Knowing this is extremely liberating for preaching and teaching. Obviously, for someone to be converted, the heart must be opened. A new attitude is needed. Hostility towards God and His gospel has to dissipate. There has to be openness to the message.

When we understand that it is Almighty God who acts to open the heart of man, it allows the preacher to preach all the counsel of God, including the so called “rough edges” of the gospel. He can preach anything found in the word of God and do so with boldness, knowing that some will reject the message outright but others will experience this opening of the heart, as God the Holy Spirit does His work under the sound of the gospel. If we really get this, we can preach anything the word of God says – absolutely anything – we can “tell it like it is” and be free to do so.

God will accomplish all He intends to accomplish. His word will not return to Him void but will accomplish everything He intended; either the hardening or the opening of the heart. Continue reading

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