May I take a few minutes to discuss a burden that has been on my heart for quite a while now?
Each and every day I am out among the public and talk to a large number of people. I have noticed that you can tell quite a bit about a person just by listening to what he or she has to say. Maybe you have found this to be true.
So let’s open our Bible’s to Matthew 12:34b and read, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Did you grab hold of what it says? What’s inside a person will come out.
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-36).
What is in the well of the heart will come out through the bucket of the mouth, someone has said. Now my point is this: It breaks my heart to hear a person who professes to be a Christian without even batting an eye use vile, filthy language.
You see, when a man or woman truly comes to faith in Jesus Christ, his or her life will be changed. One will have new desires. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
There is no truer indication of a bad tree than the bad fruit of speech. Every man or woman is judged by his or her words, because they reveal the state of the heart. People who believe they are Christians simply because they have been baptized, or because they are a card-carrying member of so-and-so church, are on the broad road and heading full throttle to destruction!
When we are truly born again, Jesus not only becomes our Savior, but he also becomes our Lord. There are those I am sure reading this today who will call Christ Savior but have never made him Lord of their lives. Why? Because that involves a commitment to him alone! Many want Him as Savior, but that’s it. They call it fire insurance.
Then there are those who profess Jesus as Lord, but you would never know it by their actions. To this Christ said: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Friend, the Christian life is not going to church on Sunday then living like the rest of the world Monday through Saturday. No, it is a daily walk devoted entirely to Christ.
It isn’t sufficient to give lip service to Jesus Christ’s lordship. Genuine faith produces obedience; remember, a tree is known by it’s fruit.
Then we have those who stand by the pew and sing, “O How I Love Jesus” having never had their lives transformed by repentance and faith, but hoping they will make it to heaven one day because they say, “I am a good person.” Ever hear that?
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John14:15). Can a true, blood-bought, born-again child of God live any longer in sin? God forbid.
If you take a lamb and place it in a mud puddle, what happens? It gets out and cleans itself, because that is not its nature. Now take a pig, wash it clean and place a bow around its neck. Let it loose, and what happens? It runs as fast as it can back to that same mud puddle.
Friend, examine yourself to see if you are who you say you are. Be sure of where you stand before God. Our soul is one thing we cannot afford to lose.
I urge you right now, by faith, to call upon Jesus Christ and admit that you are a sinner and need His salvation. Confess your sins to God, ask His forgiveness and commit your life to Christ. Then trust Him to do what He said He would do.
Lance Stevens pastors at Huntsville Evangelical Community Church in Pendleton. He and his wife, Judy, live in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.