All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
March 20, 2011
A New Heart
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2010 by Merle E. Koepke
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In Ezekiel 36:26 it says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." This is a prophecy. It is prophesying of the New Creation of man, which includes a new birth, born of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12,13; 3:5-7).
God had a plan for mankind right from the beginning. Before Adam was created, God had great plans for those who will believe His Word. Included in God's plans for mankind were "two creations" of mankind.
The first creation of mankind was Adam (in the flesh). The second creation of mankind is Christ (in the Spirit).
From the time of the first creation of mankind in the flesh until Jesus came and redeemed us from sin and death, no one could enter into the kingdom of God. Even though many people walked with God in the Old Testament times, they could not enter into "the kingdom of God" without first being born again (John 3:5-7).
There were many great men in the Old Testament times that God used to accomplish His will here on earth. Among those were such as Enoch, who walked with God and God took him to heaven (Gen. 5:22-24; Heb. 11:5). There was Abraham, who believed God and was called the father of all who live by faith (Rom. 4:11,16; Gal. 3:29). There was Moses, who led the Children of Israel out from bondage to the Egyptians into the wilderness where God taught them His ways and plans for mankind.
Moses was called one of the great prophets of the Old Testament times. According to Deuteronomy 18:18, Jesus became a prophet like unto Moses. Following Moses, there were many other great prophets in the Old Testament times.
Then came Jesus, "a Man," born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Jesus was called the Son of God because God was His true Father and Mary was His mother. Jesus became the first human being in which God was His true Father.
Jesus was one with the Father from before the foundation of this world. In the beginning, Jesus was called "the Word of God." It tells us about Jesus as "the Word of God" in John 1:1-3, where it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...The same was in the beginning with God...All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Then "the Word of God" came into this world as "the Son of God" as it says in John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
As "the Word of God," Jesus was with the Father from the beginning (John 17:5; 1 John 5:7). Even though Jesus was with the Father from the beginning, He was not "the Son of God" until He became born of the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.
When the Word of God was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary (by the Holy Spirit), a Child was born who was called JESUS. By the birth of Jesus, He became the beginning of "a new creation of mankind." This new creation of mankind became man and God united together as "a new creature." Never before in all of eternity was there "a man" united together with God.
It was by this uniting together of God and man that a new creation of mankind came into being. This new creation of mankind is called "Christ," meaning "the Anointed One." "Jesus Christ" is the Head of the Body of Christ which is made up of all who are "in Christ." (The word "Head" means, "the first one; the beginning").
All who are in the kingdom of God (also called the Kingdom of Heaven in the Gospel of Matthew), are born again into the family of God. The Kingdom of God did not reign here on earth before Jesus came into this world. The Kingdom of God was prophesied already in Daniel 2:44. But, it could not reign on earth until after Jesus became the firstborn from the dead. Jesus, "the Son of Man," was put to death in the flesh and raised again from the dead by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18; Rom. 8:11). The name "JESUS," pertains to His humanity. The name "Christ," pertains to His Deity. As, JESUS, He defeated the Devil and therefore, God has exalted the Name of JESUS above every name (Phil. 2:6-10).
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He became the King of the Kingdom of God (Rev. 19:16). Jesus also became "the Head" of a new creation of mankind, called "the Body of Christ" (Col. 1:18).
Even though there were great prophets throughout the Old Testament times, Jesus said in Luke 7:28, "I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Why is it that those who are the least in the kingdom of God are greater than John the Baptist? At that time none of those in the Old Testament times were born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. They were saved, but not born again.
God had chosen the Children of Israel as His children. God worked with them, and even took some of them to heaven. But, they were not joined "one Spirit with the LORD" (1 Cor. 6:17). God did not dwell in them as He did in Jesus. Therefore, they were not "new creatures in Christ Jesus."
To become a new creature in Christ Jesus a person must become born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is "the Seed" of the new birth as it says in 1 Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit causing the new birth in the spirit, as Jesus said in John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The first birth of mankind is in the flesh. The second birth of mankind is in the Spirit.
This was the beginning of a new creation of mankind, whereby God and man are united together. As we study the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit to teach us, we will see God's plan for mankind from the foundation of the world.
God started with Adam, the beginning of mankind in the flesh. Adam was earthly, of this earth (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45-48). Then Jesus came into this world as "the Son of Man," and "the Son of God." Jesus was a man, born of Mary and the Holy Spirit. Being that the Holy Spirit caused Mary's conception, Jesus is truly "the Son of God." God was Jesus' true Father.
Jesus is called "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45). The word "Adam" meaning "mankind." Jesus became the beginning of a new creation of mankind. This is all explained in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48, where it says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit...Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual...The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven...As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly."
The first Adam was not spiritual, but natural (earthly, of this earth). The last Adam was spiritual (a life-giving spirit from heaven above). In the first Adam we have earthly life. In Christ Jesus we have heavenly life. These are two different lives. The first Adam was earthly, with a natural physical body of flesh and bones, which needed air to breathe. The second Adam is heavenly, with a spiritual body that does not need air to breathe.
Being that Adam was earthly of this earth, mankind needed to become born again to become "spiritual" with eternal life. Man was created as "a living soul," with a body of flesh and bones and a spirit within him. God's plan for man never included "a new living soul." It did include a new heart, a new spirit, and a new spiritual body.
In the new birth we do not receive a new "living soul." But, we do receive a new heart, a new spirit, and a new spiritual body. We are still the same living soul, and God adopts us out of Adam into Christ (Rom. 8:9).
A New Heart
When we receive a new heart there are many changes that take place in our lives. One of the first things that takes place is the desire for studying the Word of God. Reading and studying the Word of God becomes one of the most important things in our lives. We could say that it is like falling in love with the Word of God. It seems to be the greatest desire we have in life.
There are many who say they received the LORD when they said a sinner's prayer. There is a difference between being saved and being born again. When a person is saved, they are delivered and/or protected from whatsoever they are saved from. But, that does not always mean they were born again. In the New Birth, we receive a new heart, a new spirit, and a new spiritual body.
When we receive a new heart, our whole life changes. We lose the desires for many things we desired before we were born again. We lose the desires for "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). Those things were the desires of the old heart that we had before we were born again.
If anyone who says they are born again does not have a great desire and love for the Word of God, they need to be sure they are truly born again and not just saved. Saved means "delivered and/or protected." All throughout the Old Testament people were saved. They were delivered and protected by God from whatsoever they needed to be delivered and protected from.
Noah and his family were saved at the time of the flood, which destroyed everyone else living at that time. Noah was not born again. He was only saved. Lot and his two daughters were saved when Sodom was destroyed. Everyone else in the city of Sodom was destroyed. Lot was saved, but Lot was not born again.
The children of Israel were saved when they crossed the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his army was drowned in the Red Sea. The children of Israel were saved, but they were not born again.
No one could be born again until Jesus became the firstborn from the dead (Rom. 8:29). Even today, many are saved, but may not be born again. Many are delivered and protected by God, and they experience the power of God setting them free. They know it was God and not man that set them free. They feel the power of God going through their body and healing them from all sorts of conditions. They know they are saved.
How many are born again? Saved and born again are two different things. When a person is saved, they experience their deliverance from whatsoever they needed to be delivered from. But what about a new heart, and a new spirit? Did they receive a new heart and a new spirit?
When the Children of Israel were saved from Pharaoh and the Egyptian slave masters, they did not receive a new heart or a new spirit. They still wanted to go back to living like they did when they were in Egypt. The desires of their heart were not changed.
All throughout the Old Testament the Children of Israel needed to be saved over and over again. In the book of Judges, it seems about every forty-years the LORD had to send a judge to save them. They would call upon the LORD and He would raise up a judge to save them.
Then the LORD gave them prophets. Samuel was the first of the prophets after the judges that the LORD gave the children of Israel. At the time of Samuel, the LORD also gave them kings. Saul was the first king in Israel.
All of the time from Moses to Jesus, the Children of Israel were saved many times, but their heart was not changed. They were not born again. They were only saved.
What about those today who say they are saved, or born again? Do they still desire the world and the things of this world? Is their heart changed to desire to follow Jesus? Is the Word of God more important to them than the things of this world?
If they still love the world and the things of this world, it could be they were only saved and not truly born again.
When the Apostle Paul was born again, he received a new heart. In Acts 9:3-6 it says, "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven...And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks...And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
When a person is truly born again, they receive a new heart. There is a change in the desires of their heart. They no longer want to do the things of this world. Their desire is to do the will of God. Saul's first response was, "Who art thou, Lord?" (Acts 9:5). Saul's second response was "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6).
In the new birth, the desires of our heart are changed. It is no longer what we want to do. It is LORD, what do you want me to do?
For the Apostle Paul, the desires of his heart were changed. From that day forth, the Apostle Paul was converted from doing his own will to doing the will of God. He went into Damascus, and waited for Ananias to come and lay his hands upon him that he might receive his sight and the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).
In the new birth there must be a change in a persons' heart. The old desires of their heart must change and new desires should come from the LORD. The new desires should line up with the heart of God.
When a person is born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, they should become a new creature in Christ Jesus. The same desires that were in the heart of Jesus should also be in their heart. The willingness to do the will of God must be in their heart.
There should be a difference between the old creature in Adam and the new creature in Christ. It should show up in the desires of the heart. A new heart brings new desires. Jesus said in Matthew 12:35, "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."
The day I was born again there was a complete change in the desires of my heart. The change was so much different that I did not understand what happened.
I could not think of the things of this world that I had desired before I was born again. Before I was born again, I wanted to own property and retire at the age of fifty-five. The same day I was born again, I lost all interest in owning property and retiring at the age of fifty-five. I tried to think of owning property, but I could not. All of the desires of my heart had changed.
After I was born again, all I wanted to do was to study the Scriptures day and night. All I desired was to learn all I could about God's will for my life. I wanted to live the rest of my life doing whatsoever God wanted me to do. I lost all desire for the material things of this world, and desired only to do the will of God in my life.
I had read my Bible for years before I was born again. I believed what I was taught by those in the church system I belonged to. But, once I was born again, reading the Bible was like reading something I never read before. Especially the Gospels in the New Testament. It took time for me to get rid of a lot of teachings of men, and understand what Jesus was teaching in the Gospels.
When my desire was to do the will of God in my life, God began to teach me His will. There was a total change from what I had believed to what was being revealed to me in the Scriptures.
At first the change was so drastic in my life that I looked for someone to help me understand what happened? I did not know anyone whom I could talk to concerning what happened to me that I could not think of the things of this world as I did before. I found out about a Christian Psychiatrist in California by listening to a television broadcast. I contacted the television station and asked for the address of the Christian Psychiatrist. By the time I received the information I was already desiring the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The desire for the baptism in the Holy Spirit came very shortly after I was born again.
The more I studied the Scriptures and the more I desired the baptism in the Holy Spirit my understanding of what happened became very clear to me. I knew I had experienced the new birth that Jesus spoke of in John 3:3-7. I knew I was no longer the same person I was before I was born again. I knew I needed to continue to study the Scriptures to find the answers to life.
By the time I received the information on the Christian Psychiatrist, I already knew I did not need a Psychiatrist, all I needed was to keep studying and searching the Scriptures.
Once a person is born again the love of God comes into them. When the love of God comes into a person, they no longer love the world the way they did before. The love of God is greater than the love of the world or the things in this world.
In Mark 4:13-20 Jesus explained to his disciples what happens when a person first receives the Word of God. Jesus first said, "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mark 4:13).
Then Jesus explained the parable to them, saying, "The sower soweth the word...And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts...And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness...And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended...And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word...And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful...And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred" (Mark 4:14-20).
Christians who do not understand this parable will easily be deceived by Satan. When Christians let the devil steal the Word of God out of their heart, the desires of their heart will wax cold. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Where we will spend eternity will be determined by what is in our heart when we leave this earth for the last time. Is the love of God still in our heart?
In 1 John 2:15-17 it says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him...For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world...And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
Jesus said in Matthew 24:11-13. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many...And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold...But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
There could be multitudes of people today that the LORD put His Word in their heart, but they let Satan come and steal the Word out of their heart (Mark 4:15).
When I was first born again, a Pastor of a church tried to tell me that what happened to me was just some illusion. He said that within a short time things will be back to the same as they were before. Satan tried to use that Pastor to steal the Word out of my heart.
Before I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, people came to me, tempting me to follow them and their ideas of what it means to be a Christian.
Even after I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit many came to me with all sorts of doctrines and theologies of what a Christian should do. I listened to some for a time, but I did not have peace in my spirit as to some of the things they were teaching.
Many have been taken in the snare of the devil by listening to the teachings and doctrines of men. Satan uses multitudes of Christians to cause others to lose the desire of their heart that God gave them in the new birth. Once the desire of their heart is no longer what it was when they were first born again, something is wrong.
Only God can put His desire in our heart. We cannot do the will of God without God first putting His desire in our heart. This is why it is necessary for "a new creature in Christ" to have "a new heart." God said, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).
There are many false prophets and false teachers in the churches today, trying to lead Christians to follow them, and their ideas, their doctrines, and their theologies. We must receive the will of God for our lives from God, not from man.
What are the signs of a new heart? If we remember when we were born again, what were the changes in our lives? What happened to our thoughts? Did our thoughts change?
Jesus is the head of the body of Christ. Do our thoughts line up with Jesus' thoughts? Study the Gospel of John in the things that Jesus said about Himself. For instance, Jesus said in John 5:30, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." Is this our attitude also? Are we trying to do things of our own self? Are we still seeking to do our own will?
How do we know if we are doing the will of God the Father? If we do not study the Scriptures, we will not know the will of God the Father. When we receive a new heart, the first thing that should happen is we should desire to study the Scriptures. We should do as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
In John 5:19 it says, "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Is this our attitude? In John 8:28 it says, "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things." In John 8:38, Jesus said, "I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father."
There are many other statements that Jesus made of Himself. We can know the attitude that Jesus had by the things He said and did. Then in Philippians 2:5-8 it says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God...But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men...And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
In Romans 12:1-3 it says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service...And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God...For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." What are we doing about our bodies? Are we still conformed to this world? Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought? These things are important to God. Are they important to us also?
According to what it says about a person who is born again into the body of Christ, we are joined "one spirit with the LORD" (1 Cor. 6:17). If we are one spirit with the LORD, then we should act like the LORD and live like the LORD.
Galatians 5:25 says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Colossians 3:1,2 says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God...Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
The New Testament is full of examples of how Christians should act and live. In 1 John 2:6 it says, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
Just studying the Word of God in the New Testament gives us all the details of how to live in this world and do the will of God. Find out if our heart is right with God? Find out if our heart's desire is the same as Jesus' desire and the desire of God the Father?
Jesus set the example for us by doing all He can for us. Jesus gave His life for us. Jesus did all He could that we would be free of the works of the Devil. Is that our attitude toward others who are born again into the Body of Christ?
Jesus never told us we should help those who are not following His example. Those who are not following His example are still following the example of those who are not born again. Those who are not born again are still walking according to the knowledge of good and evil, which brought sin and death upon mankind. This is not the way we should be living our lives here on earth.
If our heart is not right with God, we need to make some changes. Do not wait any longer. God is waiting all the time, twenty-four hours a day. God is always ready to give us a new heart, and take away the old heart that did not have His desires in it.
A new heart is a part of a new birth in Christ Jesus. Many people may have been saved. But, were they truly born again? Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).
Do not go by what someone else says. Do what Jesus said and become born again into the body of Christ. When we do, we will receive a new heart along with a new spirit. We will know beyond all doubt that we are a new creature in Christ Jesus. We will see a change in our attitude. The desires of our heart will change. We will know beyond all doubt that we are truly born again and not just saved.
There are many who have let Satan steal the Word of God right out of their heart (Mark 4:15-19). In Luke 24:47, Jesus said, "...that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Christians should repent, and receive the forgiveness of sins, and be restored to fellowship with God and those in the body of Christ. The Prodical son in Luke 15:11-32 did repent and returned. You can also repent and return to God and be restored in your heart and mind.
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