Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SERMON: What will change the heart of man?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 1/3/2014

As I walked by the TV, I read the following: “Is religion returning in the United States?”

Forgive me for not being more excited. A basic definition for religion: an organized system of doctrine with an approved pattern of behavior and a proper form of worship.

As I walked by the TV, I read the following: “Is religion returning in the United States?”

Forgive me for not being more excited. A basic definition for religion: an organized system of doctrine with an approved pattern of behavior and a proper form of worship.

The Apostle Paul witnessed this first hand.

“When Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. Paul then began to reason in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace with anyone who happened to be there” (Acts 17).

Paul took his message to the intellectuals of the day when he went to a meeting of the Areopagus. They were a group who met to hear new ideas and discuss philosophical issues.

“Men of Athens!” Paul said. “I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an alter with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”

From this, it’s clear the religious establishment wanted to cover all the bases. To do so, they had erected an alter to an unknown god. Paul proceeded to explain the nature of God and how He relates to human beings, especially through Jesus Christ.

Paul said Christianity is not a religion — it’s a personal relationship.

A religion based belief runs counter to Christianity. You can get your head full of religion, but you can’t move it to your heart. You see, if all we have is religion, nothing changes in our life. We have a doctrine, a pattern of behavior and a form of worship. There is nothing there that will change the nature of a man.

On the other hand, when one accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, the heart is changed.

God said: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

The mind cannot change the heart, but the heart can and will change the mind. Then we will see man changed.

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