Turning Hearts Toward the Lord – And One Another in Him

May 19, 2007

“And he (the newly born again Saul) spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.” (Acts 9:29-30) 

 

These are people that at one time feared him and, at that time, he hated them. Now they are his “brethren.”  

 

As I looked at this, a term (turned their hearts) came to me that I rarely think about so I looked it up and saw that it shows up about a dozen times in the Bible. I think the Lord has a word for us in this. 

 

“Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings18:37) 

 

It seems to me that whenever people respond favorably to the Lord, hearts turn. As I write this I can see an image here...a sort of mini vision. I see hearts on tablets; rather, the hearts are shaped like tablets of stone and they have eyes on them.  

 

I see two of these facing in different directions. Then the Lord intervenes and they turn their hearts toward the Lord and He is in the midst of them. Can you picture this? So, when they turn their hearts toward Him they must face Him and when they do they must also face one another. The tablets that are their hearts, in turning to Him, turn to one another. 

 

In Acts Chapter 9 we see this: 

 

“When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.” (Acts 9:30) 

 

Men and women who were formerly turned away from Saul...who was turned away from them...find themselves face to face. Then, as the Lord moves and leads, they both turn their hearts toward the Lord. When the Hellenists come, they face the threat as One, in unity, as BROTHERS

 

Whenever anything comes into our midst to attack us, it is trying to change our focus off the Lord. This is to ultimately get us to turn our hearts away from Him and, therefore, away from one another so we will not functionally be one. We must not allow this because it dishonors the Lord. In addition, it causes His body to function as a split personality - its heart is split and looking in two or more different directions. 

 

This would be one of those things that we should purpose ahead of time: that we will seek the Lord to turn our hearts so as to fight satan against the split. In this fundamental way we can honor the Lord because the Body of Christ is fragmented enough. It is very fragmented and operating with split personalities. 

 

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11) 

 

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2) 

 

Purposing in our heart is a wonderful thing to do but it has to do with a present decision about how we will conduct ourselves in the future. Repentance has to do with a present decision about how we have conducted ourselves in the past and in the now with a mind to the future. We must look around and see if there is anything in place that turns our hearts away from the Lord. We must also look for anything that turns our hearts away from one another.  

 

Jesus doesn’t need a schizophrenic bride. 

 

“When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.” (Acts 9:30) 

 

Here the hearts of people who were formerly turned away from one another are now one; they are brothers. This seems so significant to me, considering their history. It wasn’t that long ago that Saul was helping the Hellenists kill Stephen. Now his new brothers help him escape the Hellenists. 

 

Next, Luke says something interesting, using terms that don’t, at first glance, seem to go together. 

 

“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31) 

 

The first part, regarding “the churches”, is ok. It refers to that one body that existed then and exists now in each geographical area. The churches had peace internally and with one another in surrounding areas: Judea, Galilee and Samaria.  

 

The term “had peace” doesn’t mean they weren’t warring or even that they weren’t all having a Vacation Bible School the same week of the summer. It means that there was unity in all of them. It means that they were one in each region and across regions, that they had true peace in that they were not divided.  

 

They were also edified. The term “were edified” means that they were being built up like a house. Every house needs a good beginning...a foundation. 

 

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11) 

 

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22) 

 

I have been “seeing” this issue a lot lately. God is constructing His kingdom and that has to do with what He is constructing in different geographical regions and that has to do with what He is constructing in each of the living stones - in us. 

 

“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) 

 

This means that when I yield to Him to allow Him to build something in me He will build me into something. Then, with me as a part of that, He will assemble something bigger and that will be a part of something still bigger that He is building. When many of those come together, assembled by the Master Builder, THAT is His Kingdom. 

 

His Kingdom!  

 

It is important that we walk with Him in this so we will be led to our places in that Kingdom. 

 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…” (Ephesians 1:7-9) 

 

I have quoted those verses for a reason. He has set this in place for a purpose: 

 

“…(so) that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10) 

 

His Kingdom has to do with gathering us together in order to construct us into something glorious. This is for His glory. 

 

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22) 

 

Can you see this happening? Can you see the idea of it occurring right now in history? It is. This means that all the hassles, all the problems, all the strife and contention has to do with the Master Builder, shaving off the excess - chipping away things that don’t matter, so we will better fit together as ONE HOUSEHOLD.  

 

Some of us see a big part of the Church tearing itself apart as it struggles to be autonomous from the entire body of Christ. It comes against the unifying hand of God and that grieves us. It’s almost as if the body of Christ, as a building, wants to build itself into a mess of disconnected walls. 

 

In the end, the Master Builder will prevail. He IS God.  

 

Jesus spoke of it to the Father like this: 

 

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  

(Matthew 6:10) 

 

Paul put it like this: 

 

“But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Corinthians 13:10) 

 

What I have found in myself is that it would be easy to despair at the state of the schizophrenic body of Christ because I see its state and I see how powerless I am to fix it. For this reason I have determined something: that I would rule and reign over that aspect of the body of Christ entrusted to me.

 

This is, ultimately, just my life and I will submit THAT to the Master Builder.  

 

That is always how it begins. Then, as we live that life, being built up internally and built up into something by God, someone else will see it and will see the harmony with the Lord that is intrinsic to that. That person will crave it and, thus, we will evangelize the body of Christ with that idea and the Lord will fit us together. It is not unlike a “prefab” house; all the parts are assembled separately and then put together to form a whole building.  

 

“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31) 

 

These groupings of people, all the One Church, existed in separate geographical areas but they were one and were one with one another.

 

Therefore, so there WAS peace and they, in response, grew....were built up. Walking in (living a habitual lifestyle of) awe-fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (in a tangible sensation of His nearness) they were multiplied.  

 

This is how it was for them. Why should it be any different for us?  
It shouldn’t be and it isn’t any different for us – here and now.  

 

It is so empowering to me and such a rescue from godly despair to know that I can do my part to bring this to pass. I can do this simply by submitting myself to the Lord and by experiencing His discipline and craftsmanship. 

 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6) 

 

I believe the Lord has woven something together here.  

 

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:11-12) 

 

Let us go with God, together and face to face. 

 

Join me in this prayer if it is your heart to do so: 

 

"Father, we receive Your Son as our foundation and as the Master Builder. We submit ourselves as living stones to be shaped by Him, fitted and joined together. Form us into Your building, Your holy temple, Your house to Your glory. Turn our hearts to You. As You are in our midst, turn our hearts toward one another. Complete us, as a body. Multiply us. Lord Jesus, redeem Your schizophrenic Bride. Gather us together. Cause Your Kingdom to come in power. Thank You for including us. We are humbled and delighted, Father. Build Your kingdom in and through us. We pray this in the name of the King, Jesus. Amen."

 


 

Pastor Mike McInerney   

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc. 

Decatur, TX 

© March 28, 2007 

(For use with permission)

 

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