“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
For some, a cardiogram might be a non-threatening experience but to others it might be a stress test. For those wanting to examine their own insides, let’s begin with a chart measuring health, the attached chart of a normal, healthy life.
Our heart examination must be made against this standard or model set by God. How is your heart? Healthy? This is especially important for the leaders because they are the heart of the organism we call the church. If the heart is not healthy, the rest of the body will have problems. One of our faculty, Jack Layman, would tell us that the “fish rots first at the head!”
How can we evaluate the heart condition? Look at the chart! The evidence is not in the feeling, but in the activities of life. Out of the fulness of the heart, the mouth speaks. By our fruit we are known, by the outcomes, the behavior.
Let the Bible examine your heart in a few action-patterns and let the Holy Spirit trace the profile of your heart condition. Let’s begin at the bottom of the chart, the output. What does the standard, the model look like? God’s purpose is that people should not perish but have everlasting life. That is God’s heart. Is it yours?
The object of God’s heart, His HEARTBEAT: He loved the WORLD. Even that half of the world with no one to tell of the good news.
The Lord appointed 70, not just the 12 leaders, and sent them on ahead of him…and he said to them, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way…”
There were two churches in the same state; one was 40 years old, one was 150 years old. Both gave 50% of budget to missions, both have reputation of being the missions center for their region. The younger church supports 180 missionaries, the older church 61, but the younger church is three times as large. There is a basic difference, however. The 180 supported by the younger church are all sons and daughters of the church. In the church with 150 years of history only one has ever gone to the field; and when I was there she was present. Retired. They did not like to be asked about that, though they had paid me to come and give an examination of church vitality. The pastor especially did not like it. What is your heart condition? Are you participating in sending out laborers, reproducers, pioneers? What proportion of membership would be appropriate for people who love the WORLD? Perhaps a tithe? 10% of the church body? Not just short term for two weeks, but for years — learn their language, their culture, their worldview and love those who do not know of God’s love.
Let’s go back to the chart, the standard. The evidence of God’s heart condition was that he gave and the strength of that giving, the depth of that love was that he gave His only son. Have you thought about the depth of His love?
Sixteen years after I caught this glimmer of truth, God let me experience it in a small way: I have three sons, but what a crushing blow to lose even one of them. And a loss I never chose. What would I deliberately choose to give for another person? Especially for a worthless enemy? And think of it, my son immediately translated into celestial bliss. God’s son went to hell. And not one person’s hell, but hell for all of us! God so loved that he gave…
Such is the evidence of God’s heart, the strength of God’s love. Love is measured by the sacrifice it makes. What love for you, what love for me!