Written On Your Heart
Here are the sermon notes from our student ministry this week. We had a great time discussing the applications and practicality of the subject matter given. Enjoy!
Key verse this week: Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that comes by Christ Jesus.”
Last week, we talked about our guilt and how a Christian can deal with guilt. One of the references given was when we quoted David in the Psalms as he said, “I have set the Lord always before me.” Psalm 16:8. It can also be translated, “I have set my eyes upon the Lord.”
Tonight I want us to take a look at Romans 3 and see what God says in verses 23 and 24 and apply those verses to our lives in a more practical way. I want to show you all how we can live in such a way that glorifies God and that will keep us from being too conceited about our relationship with God. Another thing I want to show is how acknowledging our own guilt can lead us to have a proper perspective on our lives.
There is a tendency among many people to be on either side; an imbalanced view of God. On one side you have the very religious person who believes they’ve done all they need to do to be “right” with God. On the other side you have the person who is burdened down with their guilt and cannot seem to deal with it – the weight is too much to bear for their sins. And we found that those people are the ones that Christ can save… Those who acknowledge they cannot do anything on their own.
Let’s read what the apostle Paul has to say… Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that comes by Christ Jesus.”
Okay, now… can someone tell me what “Grace” is?
Grace, is what we call “unmerited favor”. Basically, grace is forgiveness granted to someone that did not deserve to be forgiven…. it is pardoning someone for their crime… But according to Romans 3:24, God doesn’t only FORGIVE us… leaving His perfect law to be disobeyed….. but he also takes the penalty for our crimes upon Himself, in order that he satisfies his justice and honors His word.
Remember a few weeks ago when we told the story of how the man took the punishment of the forty lashes for his mother? He satisfied both the perfect law, and his love for his mother.
Okay, now, there may be some of you who may ask, “well, I understand what you’re trying to say, but how do I apply it to my life everyday?” or “So, what’s it mean to live having the Lord always before me?”
Turn with me if you will, to Psalm 19:7-14. I want to read with you real quickly what David wrote. And I want to discuss with you practical ways for you to live for the Lord and the promise that the bible says we will have when we live in light of knowing God’s grace in us.
Let’s read: “7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise he simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
The way we live with Lord always before us, is to understand that we have the Word of God written in our hearts, so that when a situation arises, we can respond in what God says, instead of our old “natural” way.
Look at what David says the Word of God does for us…. 1) it refreshes the soul. 2) it makes the “simple” people wise. 3) Gives joy to our hearts 4) it gives “light” to our eyes 5) and it endures forever (nothing else in this life will endure forever! And that’s why he says it is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey).
He also says that the Word of God will help us to attain a great reward, because it warns us not to do certain things. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
In verse 12 David asks a great question… “who can discern their own errors?”… and he responds, knowing he can’t, by saying “Lord please forgive me for the things I don’t know are wrong in my heart!” 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
We must pray this prayer to the Lord just as David did – not because we are righteously zealous for God, but because we love Him and what Christ does for us. This is why David prayed this prayer to the Lord. He loved Him and wanted to obey Him the best he could, knowing that God would forgive Him for even the hidden evil in his heart. And God does this for us through Christ.
The rest of the prayer goes on… 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
David then says (and I’m paraphrasing), Lord I want even my thoughts and the things I meditate on to please you…
Now, we cannot do these things unless we have the Holy Spirit living in us. We cannot have God’s word written in our hearts unless Christ is our savior. The bible states in 1 John 2:27 “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” We must have the Holy Spirit in us for God to be able to teach us the bible. I could stand up here all evening trying to talk to you about passages of scripture and how to apply them to your life, but if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, it will be meaningless to you.
The grace that we have been given through Christ helps us to understand God’s perfect will for us. (Romans 12:2).
In closing, I’ll just share with you all what helps me with remembering how to live and act on a daily basis in a way that pleases God and it also helps me to love other people… It helps me to remember that my relationship with God is not something that I do religiously, but reminds me of how I can love God and others.
During your prayer time.. try to pray to the Lord in a way that also reminds yourself of what the bible says God wants us to do… You are praying to God of course, but this is how the Holy Spirit interacts with your life when you pray… You read a passage of scripture that day, and you use it in your prayer time with The Lord. For example…
God tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 “you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It also says in verse 26, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
I will take a passage of scripture like that, and this is how my prayer time would go: “heavenly father, I pray that you help me today to do what your word says. Help me to put off my old self and my old desires. I know your word says that I need to be made new in the attitude of my mind… Please forgive me for not doing this a lot of times… I know I usually try to do things on my own and I get angry and resentful towards other people and at times I am unforgiving… I know your word says that when I get angry, I shouldn’t sin and that I cannot let the sun go down while I’m still angry. Help me to do what your word says today and help me to put on my new self that was created to be more like you – give me the strength to forgive (whoever it is there is un forgiveness with) and help me to have an opportunity to talk with them to settle the matter.”
Here’s another one:
Colossians 3:5-10 “5 put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rate, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self, with its practices 10 and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
When you pray to God with this passage in your mind, you can almost see yourself “walking” in these ways.. and “putting” on the new self, just as we put on clothes in the morning. You can see your self in the spiritual sense putting off the old self, and putting on the new self. That’s how God will work in our lives to make us more like Christ. And the more we are LIKE Christ, the more we will want to be WITH Christ. And we will desire to be with Him forever.
Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
“Lord, please help me today to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Help me to forgive others because you have forgiven me of my sins. Help me to do this all by putting on love, which binds all these good things together, Amen.”
Let me give you a physical example. I’m going to hand someone a heavy bible. They will stand in front of the group and demonstrate the person who tries to fulfill God’s Law by applying the biblical laws to themselves without Christ’s help. Hold the heavy bible out – away from your body with one hand. After a little while (and it doesn’t take long), you will lose your strength and the bible will eventually fall to the floor. Why?
Because you’re trying to uphold God’s word by your own efforts.
Now, take the same bible and open it. Hold it out in front of you using both hands and with your arms and shoulders relaxed. You will be able to hold your position for hours upon hours. It is much better for the believer to actively be in relationship with the Lord, with an open bible, and in prayer. God will help us and will be the strength we need to “uphold” His law. Yes, eventually you will tire and grow weary again, but God’s grace is sufficient for us to repent and return to our place of standing.
So, as we’ve been reading through Romans about our relationship to God.. how we are ALL sinners… and how we should view God’s great love for us… We will have a proper understanding of how our faith interacts with God’s grace. Romans 1, 2, and 3 has brought us to THIS point.
This is how we show that we have the Word of God written on our hearts… Let’s pray…
Credit: Featured Image from Sermon Central video, “Written on your Heart”.