Home is where the heart is
You have heard the old saying, home is where the heart is, keep this very true adage in your mind as we consider this topic. One thing is very true about people, where their heart is, there we will find what they truly treasure. What you treasure in your heart will reveal to you where your eternal home will be.
I wonder if you are like me and that most of your life you grew up with the idea that Hell is a place for only murderers and really really bad people.
That Hell works like this:
- You are born
- You live your life and try make sure you do more good than bad
- You die
- God then puts you in some scales to see if your good weighs more than your bad
- If you have more good then God assigns you Heaven (which is a place that is eternal and full of harps and very boring)
- If you have more bad, then God assigns you Hell (a sort of subterranean torture chamber where God sadistically punishes you) or (a never-ending party with all your friends as you party non stop forever)
The above is a common view of life and death, good and evil. There is just one problem, it is totally incorrect and completely false. You are probably thinking right now, well is that not what the Bible says? The answer is no, which is why I can confidently inform you that this view of life, death, Heaven and Hell is wrong, wrong and wrong. As you read on keep this thought in the back of your mind - Hell is locked from the inside. It all starts with your heart.
Heaven & Earth
The first thing to note is that the Bible does not speak in terms of Heaven and Hell, the Bible speaks in terms of Heaven and Earth. Hell is what is referred to as outer darkness and is a place of utter desolation and separation from God's goodness, His good Heaven and His good Earth.
In the beginning God declared His creation, very good. Everything about what God had made was and is very good, including His crowning creation, mankind. So for anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Bible narrative will know that Adam and Eve disobeyed the only command that God had given them.
Sometimes I wonder if it was even a command and more of a loving warning to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A loving warning or a loving command or a beautiful blend of both. One thing was clear in the garden of Eden, to disobey their heavenly Father would result in evil and death.
Evil is to reject God - the living water and for us to dig our own wells that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 - Which means that when we reject God by how we live and act, we are in fact sinning because we are defining good and evil in our own terms. This is the way of all humans since the fall.
Death is not just a casting out of earth, so to speak, we die and are removed from God’s good earth. We are born dead in our sins, so we are already spiritually dead, which is why we need to be reborn. However, death also includes separation from God. So when we die in that sinful separated state we are then cast into that second death, Hell; known as outer darkness or the eternal lake of fire. We are forever lost under the judgment of God in a trackless waste of chaos and suffering that is utterly separated from Heaven and Earth (where Jesus reigns as King).
Every decision is from the heart
We are now in 2018 and the Bible is still spot on about the human heart, Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? From the heart of mankind spring up all kinds of evil, great pain and terrible suffering. All of which is generated in the heart of people and then perpetuated by our continued rebellion against God.
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
You can see from the list that Jesus gives us, that out of our hearts proceeds all manner of sin, which you can see that none of us can be innocent. However, we can learn so much from what Jesus has said. Let's quickly look at each sin mentioned by Jesus to see why hell starts in the heart:
Evil thoughts proceed out of our hearts, this is a very important truth, sin breeds like wildfire and is first conceived in the heart. Then from the heart it turns into a more and more ugly thing, until it is a monstrous nightmare. Evil is perpetuated from the human heart, from the thought life of people. Evil is not some blind entity that is out there in the cosmos somewhere, evil is the very act of rejecting God, by the sinful thoughts and choices you allow yourself to make. See Genesis 6:5,
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Note - if you are a blood bought follower of Jesus please remember that not even your thoughts belong to you. You belong to Jesus and you must take any and all evil thoughts immediately to Jesus. If you don’t your life will get extremely messy and most likely prove you not to be saved in the first place.
Murder proceeds out of our hearts, it first starts in the heart, we either imagine killing someone or wishing someone dead. This is common to all people and before the Lord is counted as murder. Actual murder has its beginning in the heart and can even be an instant reaction born out of years of hatred and unforgiveness.
The murderer rises before it is light, that he may kill the poor and needy, and in the night he is like a thief.
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jesus said to be angry with someone in your heart is murder. The Lord is showing us that all sin is serious and will result in serious consequences of judgment, from God:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Matthew 5:21–23 (ESV)
Adultery and Sexual immorality proceeds out of our hearts. This devestating sin points to how we break our covenant relationship in the union of marriage. God gave us marriage, that one man be with one woman until death. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Jesus and the church, in God's wisdom He gives us a real covenant relationship that points to a spiritual reality with Him. When we commit adultery we are committing a great evil, to reject your covenant partner for temporary pleasures is a hellish sin. It points to how mankind have rejected God, in the same way we commit adultery because we have rejected God.
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
Just as a husband and wife should only seek their pleasure and joy in each other. So mankind must only seek their ultimate happiness, pleasure and joy in God alone. Our souls are made to only find our true joy and happiness in God, who is the living water for our souls.
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Many people freak out when they hear these words of Jesus, because we are all guilty and we do not want this verse to be true. But for men and women to look with lust is actual adultery, and notice where that sin is committed… in the heart. To turn another person into the object of your evil lust is to reduce that person to an object for your self gratification. This is at the core of this evil sin, because you are blaspheming the image of God in that person. All people are made in the image of God, can you now maybe see why it is so serious? This verse makes it extremely plain:
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Theft proceeds out of our hearts, because we live with a sense of entitlement. We define right and wrong on our terms, so when we feel we deserve this or that we take it. Theft takes place on so many levels that it boggles the mind. From actually stealing money or breaking into homes and cars, to robbing your boss of time or not doing your job properly. To robbing someone of their dignity or robbing a child of their childhood by being an evil cruel parent, or worse. Theft also involves this, everything you have is given to you by God, your breath, your strength, your mind, your wit, your skills, all of it given by God and you steal from God. You take all that God has given to you and you steal it for yourself and you refuse to give God glory and thanks and praise and honor that is due His Holy name.
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
False witness proceeds out of our hearts, which means lying. False witness is to give a false statement, to lie about anything. Lying also goes deeper than just our words but also includes half truths, quarter truths and the so called white lie. Lying also includes making something appear better than it is, like false advertising.
This washing powder will make your life amazing.
The truth is more like: Our washing power is the most expensive and does the same thing as all other washing powders. Oh and by the way we also use slave labour to maximise our profits.
Most sins require the help of lying to secure all of your deceptions. Adultery requires lies and coverups, murder and theft the same. Normally lies need more lies to hide the lies, but the Bible says:
But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.
Slander proceeds out of our hearts and is speaking bad of people and trashing their name, some people even do this with their words wrapped in scriptural language. Something we know the Lord hates, see Psalm 101:5,
Whoever slanders his neighbour secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
The New Testament is full of warning against this:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
1 Peter 2:1
Do not speak evil of others, or point to other people's sin as though you are guiltless. Be sure to confess your sins to God and not to think of yourself better than others. Jesus said, love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.
So, how on earth do I land up in Hell?
By allowing your heart to perpetuate and breed sin, you will over time become more and more dehumanised. If you do not humble yourself and confess your sin to God and ask Him to forgive you through Jesus Christ, you will be lost forever. You will never receive the gift of salvation and be reborn, which means you will not receive grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. You must be born again, born from above by the free grace of God in Christ.
If you remain in your sin, your own heart will condemn you, your own heart will set the very fires of hell ablaze in you. The door of hell, so to speak, will be locked from the inside by you. Because you refused to turn from your sins and ask God to save you through Jesus Christ.
This is scary, I don't like it
You should be scared, but make sure you are scared of God because He is your maker and judge. To have a fear of God is good as it will generate in you a fear of sin… fear of God leads to true repentance… a fear of sin will drive you into the arms of Jesus. Jesus died on a cross 2000 years ago to pay the full penalty for your sins. You are more sinful than you even realise, please consider your eternal destination.
Your heart and what you love reveal where you will spend eternity. Even if you are a Christian, or think you're a Christian please examine what is in your heart and what you currently desire and love more than Jesus at the moment. Today is the day of salvation, do not harden your hearts. Repent and turn away from sin and run to Jesus. Turning away means you must love God more than anything else, you will know you are loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength when you turn away from sin.
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