Burning in our Hearts for God
I’d like to ask you to think about something this morning. Have you ever had a “burning in your heart” for anything? It’s like all you have to do is just think about something, and this feeling comes over you. Have you ever had that burning in your heart for another person? Maybe it’s for a husband or a wife. Or maybe for a son or a daughter, or a mother or father, or even a best friend. But you just think about them, and there’s this feeling in your heart, or maybe we should say, in your soul. Maybe you see a picture of them, and that feeling comes over you.
Do you ever feel that way about God?
We’re told in Hebrews 11, verse 6; “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and, that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Think about that idea of “diligently” seeking God. You’ve got to have a certain burning within you, “a burning for God”, to be willing, to seek Him, as “diligently”, as He wants to be sought.
You know, so many people think that there is nothing that man needs to do, nor is there anything that he CAN do, to secure his own salvation. “It’s all God”.. They say! But what does God say? God says that “He is a rewarder, of those who diligently SEEK Him”. And God says, you must BELIEVE that, if you’re going to please Him. In other words; If you do not diligently seek God, on your own, and through your own efforts, then God won’t be pleased. And I think the conclusion would be evident, that if God is not pleased with you, then God will NOT, count you among the saved.
Remember what God said about Jesus, upon His baptism by John the baptist.. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Mathew 3:17) Did Jesus “diligently” seek to do His Father’s will? Indeed He did! “My food”, Jesus said, “..is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)
Let me say something about the idea of “diligently” seeking God. You know, you can do a lot of things, but not do them very diligently. But God demands our diligence! He wants us to seek Him, in such a way, that WE demand, of ourselves, that we find Him. One man put it this way; “This seeking of God, is only as valuable (or viable) as the motive which drives it.”
Remember that verse where Jesus says “seek and you shall find” ? Well, same idea there.. We need to be seeking God in such a way, that we are demanding of ourselves, that we find Him! We’re requiring it of ourselves! And we will not rest, until we’ve found, and we have come to know, the God of the bible, and His will for us.
In other words, we need to be passionate about it! We need to have “a burning” in our hearts and souls, for God!
I want to read to you a passage that I think can serve as an illustration of this burning in our hearts for God, and for Jesus. The passage is from Luke chapter 24. Actually, let me begin with the last three verses of chapter 23, verses 54 thru 56; “It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Now the women who had come with Him (with Jesus) out of Galilee, followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. (these women were determined in their hearts, to know what was happening with their Lord) Then they returned, and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath, they rested, according to the commandment.”
Now Luke chapter 24, verses 1 thru 8; “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, (they didn’t waste a second, in fulfilling that burning in their hearts) “..at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (what do you think went on in their hearts and minds a this point?)
“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; (they were angels weren’t they?) And as the women were terrified, and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them; “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” (NOW can you imagine the burning within their hearts when they heard that?)
And the two “men” said to the women; “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day, rise again!” And they remembered His words..” What kind of feeling would that put into your heart? Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was crucified, and died, and was buried! And now you come to the tomb (the very tomb where you SAW that He was laid) and you look inside, and He’s gone; And you’re told; He has risen! What do you feel in your heart?
There’s got to be a burning in your heart! Or maybe not a burning, but maybe shives that run up and down your spine, as you think of the reality of the fact that just as Jesus had said, He has bene resurrected from the dead!
Now back to Luke 24, verses 9 thru 11; “Then they returned from the tomb (the women did) and told all these things to the eleven (the apostles) and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.”
But now, good ‘ole Peter jumps into action.. Verse 12 says; “But Peter arose, and ran to the tomb, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves, and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened!”
Evidently Peter had a burning in his heart too. He knew the promises that Jesus had made about His resurrection.
Now verse 13; “Now behold, two of them (not two of the apostles, but two of the disciples who were also there) were traveling that same day to a village called Emma-oos’, (if you’re following along in your bible, that’s the pronunciation of the name of the village, Emma-oos’) which the bible says; “..was seven miles from Jerusalem.” I’d have to presume that when it says “two of them” it means two of the apostles. So they’re traveling down the road, from Jerusalem, to the village of Emma-oos. And here’s verses 14 thru 16..
“And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.”
And so here’s Jesus, risen from the dead, and He’s walking along with these two disciples. “And He said to them; What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?”
“And he said unto them; What things? And they said unto him; Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet, mighty in deed and word, before God and all the people! And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him! But we trusted (in other words, they had believed) that it had been He, which should have redeemed Israel. And beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.” You can almost hear the sadness in their voices, as they express their disappointment, over the fact that Jesus had evidently NOT redeemed Israel! And you can also hear, how their hope was all but gone.
And then these two disciples said to Jesus, in verse 22; “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning. And when they found NOT His body, they came saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was ALIVE! Some of those who were with us, went to the tomb, and found it just exactly as the women also had said; But Him they did not see.” (they didn’t see Jesus)
“And He said to them; “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all, that the prophets have spoken! Was it not NECESSARY for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them (He explained to them) in all the scriptures, the things concerning Himself.”
“And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though HE were going farther. But they urged Him, saying; “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them.” Now listen.. Verse 30; “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, (they were gathered around a table to eat) He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him! And he vanished out of their sight.” Now what are they all feeling?
“And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” Does that remind you of Mathew 26, verse 26? “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said; Take, eat; this is my body.”
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew him! And he vanished out of their sight.” What was going on in their hearts? In their souls!
And verse 32 says; “They said to one another; “Were not our hearts burning within us, while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” “Were not our hearts burning?” I tell you what.. Mine would have been!
“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, (they went seven miles back the other way, where hey had just come from) (when you’ve got that burning in your heart for the Lord, you’ll go those extra miles!) “..and they found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying; The Lord is risen indeed! And hath appeared to Simon.”
“They began to tell their experiences on the road, and how He was recognized by them, in the breaking of the bread.” Now again, try to imagine how these people were feeling! What an overwhelming flood of emotions, that would have been going through them. And THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, verse 36 says; “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them; Peace be unto you.”
I don’t know if I could take it, could you? “But they were startled and frightened, and thought that they were seeing a spirit! And He said to them; Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: Handle me, and see; For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.”
“And when He had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. While they still could not believe it, because of their joy and amazement, He said to them; Have you anything here to eat? So they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it before them. And he said unto them; These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.
“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them; Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; And that repentance and remission of sins, should be preached in His name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”
The burning in their hearts for Jesus! Can you feel it? I think we can if we try. We NEED to be able to feel it. Because, if we don’t feel that burning within us for God, and if we don’t seek God DILIGENTLY, then we’ll probably not ever, be truly pleasing to God.
Once again, Hebrews 11, verse 6 says that “He is a rewarder, of those who diligently seek Him.” Let’s all be diligently seeking the Lord, everyday of our lives. The invitation is yours, to hear His word, believe His word, confess your faith, repent of your sins, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and continue faithful unto death. If we do that diligently, we’ll be pleasing to God eternally.