09.12.12 - What overflows from our heart?

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. Romans 10:8-13 - But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Wow!!! What an amazing text and also a very dense and profound text.  This is such a core passage to the Christian journey and I would encourage everyone to be familiar with it and able to locate it.  Paul uses three Old Testament texts (verses 8, 11, and 13) to show the continuity of Scripture and the heartbeat of God. 

The word ‘heart’ really stood out to me from this passage as well as from the message on Sunday.  We are seeing the continued repetition of conflict in the Gospel of Matthew with the religious leaders of the day and there is an intensification of the plot to put Jesus to death.  Jesus is definitely transitioning the practice of faith, but the core of the message in both Old and New Testament is trust, surrender, faith, and obedience because He is Lord and we are not.  Their actions reflect their heart and they don’t want to give up their places of power and authority.

To confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ (which is one of the earliest Christian confessions of faith) is to clearly delineate our role and His role.  He is Lord---we are not!  It takes humility and the recognition of brokenness to speak and truly believe that phrase.  The speaking of those words without the follow through of the heart/life is empty and hollow.  The American Church can sometimes focus too much on praying a specific prayer and then quantifying those responses, because we like to be able to measure things and make the things of faith tangible.   We think the words spoken save us and this can give us false hope that eventually leads to damnation.  It’s clearly the words spoken, believed, and lived out!

I heard about a popular pastor from a couple centuries ago that would hold huge revivals in fields---people would approach afterwards and ask, ‘How many people were saved today?’  He would reply by saying, ‘We will know in a few years.’  The pastor correctly interprets the message of Christianity to be more than an empty recitation of words, but the confession of faith and subsequent following of Jesus that results in life change.  I am not saying that what we do makes us right before God, but the Christ follower is always shown to have regeneration and life change. 

Matthew 12 states that ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’.  Well, the religious leaders’ hearts were speaking loud and clear!  They considered Him a demon and would never dare bow to Him.  The religious leaders had hearts of stone and could not fathom coming under someone else’s authority.  We also see that they (and every other human) will be held accountable for their words.    

Jesus speaks frequently about the heart as the place of denial or response and the place that guides our actions.  When we are surrendered to the Holy Spirit and come under Jesus’ Lordship, our lives produce fruit---not because of our ability, but because of the Spirit living in us.  We receive these words in Romans with joyful and grateful hearts, along with humility and we respond through confession and surrendered hearts to Jesus.  Then we are motivated to share this incomparable message to all those we encounter!

Is it easy to confess your faith, but hard to follow Him with your heart?  What do your words and actions show about your heart?  What promises from this text grab your attention?  I would love to hear how this passage, along with the message Sunday struck you.