Serving the Lord in Truth with All Your Heart, Part 2

By on January 24, 2015

“Serving the Lord in Truth with All Your Heart, Part Two”
1Samuel 12:20-25

September 30, 2007
by C.W. Powell

“20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.”
(1Sa 12:20-25 AV)

The trouble with Israel is that they did not have the Spirit of God. This blessed Third Person of the Holy Trinity only did His blessed work of regneratiion and renewal in a most sparing way before the coming of Christ. The Lord God, the make of the universe in His most sublime and mysterious wisdom reserved His greatest gift for mankind until His Son had come into the world and put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Yes, Israel had some wonderful gifts. They were highly favored of God. Chief among these gifts, as Paul tells us in Romans 3, is that they had the oracles of God. The word of God and the promises of the Redeemer were preserved in Israel until the coming of our Lord We call this gift the promises and the covenants. They had these things, but they did not profit them because they were not mixed with faith, as Paul tells us again. They had Moses and the prophets but they did not believe Moses and the prophets, for if they had believed, they would have believed in Christ, as Jesus Himself tells us.

Israel also had the Law of God, given to them by Moses at Mt. Sinai. But this also was a curse to them, because these tables were a ministry of death, as Corinthians tells us. [The law itself was good, but as it was only engraved on stones it served only to condemn and judge them and pronounce death upon them.] It wasn’t until the Lord Jesus came to suffer the death of one accursed of God that the curse of death is removed from us so that we can have life and joy in Him. It would take the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to write the New Testament on the hearts of people and bring in everlasting righteousness. The law could not give eternal life; that would come from Christ alone.

Because of the hardness of their hearts, Israel rebelled more and more against the Lord their king, and in rejecting God to be their king, they foreshadowed the day when they would cry out against the Lord Jesus, “We have no king but Caesar.” In his wrath, God gave them a king to their undoing and wickedness, even though He used the kingdom for His own purposes. When they cried out for Caesar, He also gave them Caesar and abandoned His temple and His people to their Caesar and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by the Roman Armies in 70 A.D. and the dispersal of the Jewish race.

Last week, I spoke of Samuel’s address to Israel on the day that Saul was inaugurated King after his great victory over the Philistines. “Serve the Lord in truth with all your heart” was the text of Samuel’s sermon. What a sorrow it must have been to Samuel’s heart to see Israel go down this path. But Samuel was a faithful servant of the Lord and He stuck to his post and to his duty to pray for and counsel Israel, even when they were stubborn and rebellious. Sameul was a truly godly and good man, and God had given Him a special portion of His Spirit.

Last week I spoke the first sermon on this text. Three things are important: First, God must be worshipped in fear, with a due regard for the soberness of the business. We are not engaged in fun and games. Second, this fear requires that we worship Him honesty and sincerely, putting away lies and hypocrisy, for this is imported by the words “Serve the Lord in Truth.” All lies, those of doctrine and those of false pretenses must be put away, and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit must engage our hearts and minds. Third, He must be worshipped purely, without a double mind and heart. We must serve Him with ALL our heart, not just a part of it. There is no part of our lives that must be under the authority and power of the Lord Jesus. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, are to be holiness unto the Lord. All is to be done to the glory of God, whether it be in word or in deed. The Christian life is not to be compartmentalized into what is mine and what is God’s, for if Christ died for us, then we are all dead, and must live for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

“Serve the Lord in fear and serve Him in truth with all your hearts,” is the word of Samuel to them, and the word of God to us. I would like to examine these ideas from a somewhat different perspective today.

I. We must keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life, Proverbs 4:23 tells us.

A. The words “keep” and “diligence” are close in meaning. Guard with a guarding. Keep with a keeping. Protect with a diligent protection, is the idea. We are not to be half-hearted in this.

B. The reason, our life issues from our hearts. The true nature of a man is what he is in his heart God does not evaluate your life by what you project to men, but from what you are in your heart. Honest and good men see this in one another and true men recognize this in each other, and are not swayed by flattering words and PR devices which worldly men have artfully fashioned.

C. Jesus said this Himself: Along with his disciples, Jesus was accused of eating without going through the ceremonies of cleansings, required by the Jews. His answer was directly opposed to the traditions of the Jews stemming from their misunderstandings of the Law. We read Mark 7 a few minutes ago.

“3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (Mr 7:3-23 AV)

Please note:

1. Christ’s issue was not over ceremonies, but over their whole approach to the Law of God, for they sat aside the true meaning of the law by their traditions. They honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from God.

2. They did not understand that the primary force of the law was to the heart, not to the body, as Paul said, “The law is spiritual.”

3. They had devised a really neat way of avoiding the 5th commandment, as they had all the rest of them, all in the name of a form of piety but not the reality.

4. Men’s hearts are heavily fortified against the truth of the law of God, and use many devices to avoid the true implications of the law, which leave us without excuse and naked before God.;

5. Men will do a great many things before men that conceal the true nature of their hearts.

D. The things that defile men are the things that proceed from the heart out of the inner man.

II. The heart is the inner religious core of a man, where he is always in the presence of God, although he denies this to be true.

A. The natural man has a lying idol enthroned in his heart, which affects the whole man. The virus of sin is at the core of his operating system, redirecting and corrupting all that he does.

B. “22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Pe 1:22-23 AV)

1. The soul must be purified, the truth must be enthroned, love must be without hypocrisy.

2. This new life is the result of the pure seed of the Word of God, by the Spirit, unto unfeigned love.

3. It is the inner man that is renewed, not to faked love of the brothers, but sincere and honest. “a pure heart fervently.”

4. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the regeneration.

III. This work of regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, and it comes through the preaching of the cross of Christ.

A. The idol in the heart of the natural man: “I am my own God, I WILL do as I please.

B. The idol is a religious idol, and is most practiced in the practice of religion: Cain, the Jews, modern opastates. Man’s worst sins are religious sins, and the worst of men are religious men.

C. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” The message of the Gospel is not one of moral renewal and change of direction. It is not one of doing better. It is not one of bondage and despair. It is one of hope, but a special kind of hope: it is the hope of life from death–

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of man, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

“By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his pleasure. “28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Ro 8:28-34 AV)

IV. This work of the Holy Spirit is the great gift of God to the church that far surpasses those gifts which God gave to Israel. This is the new wine that was put into new bottles: Observe:

A. It is the Holy Spirit that gives assurance that all things given to us of Christ are true: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1Jo 2:27 AV) This is the reason that the church cannot be finally deceived by anti-Christ, for this is the context of the passage. Not “all things” in an absolute sense, as if they did not need ministers and the church, but with regard to the essential things of faith and Christ.

B. It is the Holy Spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Ro 8:14-16 AV) This is the reason that we do not need signs and wonders. The call for signs and wonders is an admission that the word and spirit are not convincing, and is only made by a wicked and adulterous generation. The sheep hear the voice of the Lord and do not need anything else but the word of the master.

C. It is the Holy Spirit that gives the irresistibility to the grace of God. Ephesians 4:16 speaks of the effectual working of God in every part of the church by the risen and reigning Lord. It is the Holy Spirit that “worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” according to Philippians 2:13.

D. Finally, it is the Holy Spirit that gave unto the apostles, and through them the people of God, not the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and soundness of mind.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Ti 1:7 AV)

1. Only the Holy Spirit can work that confidence in His ministers, and through them, the confidence of the people of God, for Rom. 8 tells us that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. The Spirit of God gives us the boldness and energy that we need to give a faithful and loyal confession of our faith in Christ.

2. Only the Holy Spirit can work the unpretending love in our hearts that the law requires but cannot give. Love is necessary so that our power and confidence does not break the boundaries of Christian love, but that our zeal remain within the bonds of the fellowship and mutual submission that the Lord requires of us.

3. Only the Holy Spirit can work the soundness or sobriety of mind that is necessary for us not to chase off after every stray dog and strange doctrine that may tickle our fancy, but to remain within the boundaries of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.


1. Let us make much of the Holy Spirit in our lives, for the works of the flesh are always the same and produce the same fruit as Paul warns us in Galatians 5

2. Let us make much of the cross of Christ, for in believing in the broken body and shed blood of Christ we receive the benefits of His death, even the gifts of the Holy Spirit without which we cannot be formed in the image of Christ.

3. Let us heed the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:

“1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” (Eph 4:1-5 AV)

May God bless you.

Amen and Amen

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