John T. Willis

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Lord Looks on the Heart

The human heart is an invisible, intangible, mysterious, complex gift which God our Creator has bestowed on every human being on earth. The Bible presents very important testimony or witness about the nature and function of the human heart. Here are a few thoughts about this.

I. Yahweh constantly looks on, observes, weighs, evaluates every human heart.
a. Human beings tend to look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. The prophet Samuel assumed that Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse, was the right choice to be the next king after Saul.
"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the HEART." 1 Samuel 16:6-7.
b. The author of Hebrews declares:
"The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account."
c. The Lord TESTS or TRIES or PROVES or REFINES the heart. These verbs derive from the practice of refining precious metals like gold or silver to remove alloys from impure metals when they are taken out of the ground.
Psalm 26:2
Psalm 139:23-24
Jeremiah 9:4-7
Jeremiah 17:5-10

II. The Heart is the CENTER, the DYNAMO of every human being from which all thoughts and words and actions flow.
Proverbs 4:23
Matthew 15:10-20=Mark 7:14-23

III. The decisions of the heart distinguish between true religion and false or hypocritical religion.
Matthew 6:1-18
Luke 18:9-14

IV. The feelings of the heart distinguish between genuine JOY and counterfeit joy.
a. Many people APPEAR to be happy because they are healthy, wealthy, and surrounded by friends. But whether they know it or not, they are not REALLY JOYFUL. Psalm 73:1-12.
b. Genuine JOY consists of an intimate, daily, personal relationship with God and loving others as we love ourselves.
Matthew 5:10-12
John 15:10-11
John 16:20-24
1 Peter 1:3-9

I hope YOU will read carefully all these biblical texts and ideas. EVERYTHING from a human perspective is the value of the human HEART. Keep YOUR heart with all vigilance.

Share YOUR experiences and feelings and reliefs and problems with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Disciples of John the Baptist converse with Jesus--Luke 7:18-35

After relating two accounts in which Jesus performed miracles in Luke 7:1-17, Luke gives an account of two disciples of John the Baptist who come to Jesus who seek significant questions. This appears in Luke 7:18-35, and naturally falls into three paragraphs.

I. John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to Jesus to know whether Jesus is the one to come or to wait for another person. Luke 7:18-23.
a. As the background of this section of Luke, remember that Luke 3:20 states that John the Baptist was in prison. The disciples of John the Baptist reported all the things described in Luke 7:1-17 to John. John summoned two of his disciples probably as evidence of two witnesses proclaimed in Deuteronomy 19:15 and sent them to Jesus to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" The two disciples came to Jesus and asked John's question. John's question suggest John's doubt, hesitation, or surprise that Jesus did not seem to be the kind of messiah John expected. 7:18-20.
b. Jesus' response is that he is indeed the one who is to come. The proof is that he had just cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. Jesus tells the two disciples of John to go and tell John what they had SEEN and HEARD: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised (a reflection of Isaiah 26:19), the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at Jesus. This is an echo of Isaiah 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18. 7:21-23.

II. After the two messengers of John the Baptist leave, Jesus tells the crowd the kind of person John the Baptist is. Luke 7:24-30.
a. Luke states that the messengers of John the Baptist left, and Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. 7:24a-b.
b. Jesus asks the crowds three questions about John the Baptist. 7:24c-27.
1. Did you look at John the Baptist as a reed shaken by the wind? 7:24c-d. Since John the Baptist was in prison, the crowds might assume John was very ordinary, not worth the trip his two disciples made to converse with Jesus, frail and fickle, standing in bold contrast to Herod in Luke 3:19.
2. Was John the Baptist dressed in soft robes? Such people put on find clothing and live in luxury like people in royal palaces. People like this do not usually live in the desert like John did. 7:25.
3. Was John the Baptist a prophet? Jesus says John is more than a prophet, the one announced in Malachi 3:1, since John is the precursor of Jesus the true Messiah. 7:26.
c. Jesus declares positively that John is the greatest among human beings, and yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist. One's natural status is much different from one's spiritual status. In the eyes of God, the most important thing is the commitment of an individual to God. 7:28.
d. All the people who heard John's preaching about people treating other people justly and righteously accepted God by being baptized by John's baptism, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose by refusing to be baptized by John. 7:29-30.

III. Jesus gives a parable about how people receive John the Baptist and Jesus. Luke 7:31-35.
a. Essentially, Jesus proclaims that "the people of this generation" rejected both John the Baptist and Jesus.
1. Jesus compares this generation with John the Baptist as a hermit who lived isolated for most people. They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another:
We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not weep.
John the Baptist ate no bread and drank no wine, and the crowds said, "He has a demon." 7:31-33.
2. Jesus compares this generation with Jesus as a sociable party person. Jesus frequently associated with tax collectors and sinners. He ate and drank with the commong people. The crowds thought of him as a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. 7:34.
b. It does not matter what a person does. People who are critical are going to find a way to condemn and find fault and denounce severely other people. WISDOM personified is vindicated by all her children, here John and Jesus and his disciples. 7:35.

Share YOUR expectations and realizations and concepts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Frequently, God through Jesus Christ warns God's people to BEWARE of certain people and concepts. Here are a few reminders.

1. Beware of religious people, especially so-called religious leaders, who seek praise and honor from other people. Study carefully Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47.
"As he [Jesus] taught, he said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.'"
Churches, institutions, universities are full of people who seek honor, respect, and the best seats. We will always have people who are self-centered, arrogant, confident they are the best people on earth. God through Jesus Christ warns honest, devoted Christians to avoid being trapped and overcome by this subtle sin.

2. Beware of covetousness. Study carefully Luke 12:15-21.
"And he [Jesus] said to them [the crowd]: 'Take care! Beware against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.' Then he told them a parable: 'The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, "What should I do, for have no place to store my crops?" Then he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will said to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry,' But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
This is a DEEP HEART PROBLEM. Each person must make a decision to spend his or her life for himself or herself or spend his or her life devoted to God. One cannot serve God and wealth. What a wasted life to spend oneself on personal possessions, when God has given us abundant blessings and gifts to serve God and to serve others.

Share YOUR concepts and experiences and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis