When God Sets His Heart on You: Final Part in a Series
(When you deny Jesus’ Word, you deny his person.)
For many European ministers, speaking out on sexual sin can mean a fine and jail time.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the tide is also turning to an anti-Christ agenda.
Again, we turn to the great cloud of witnesses.
How did Peter and the apostles answer their persecutors?
"(They) answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men…. And we are his witnesses of these things [the Resurrection and Ascension]; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:29, 32).
The household of Cornelius is also among this cloud of witnesses who have something to say to us.
Here is Cornelius’ testimony from the biblical record: "Peter came to us preaching Jesus.
"He said he had personally witnessed the Lord’s resurrected body and had even touched him.
"He told us Christ was shown openly to the people, with over 500 witnessing him after his resurrection" (see Acts 10:34–41).
Peter then told Cornelius’ household, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" (10:43–44).
Because of Peter’s preaching, Cornelius’ household knew freedom from sin.
Cornelius’ testimony says to every child of God today: if you want the Holy Spirit to come upon you, your family, your ministry, then preach and believe in Christ’s forgiveness.
And trust it in your personal life.
When Peter preached forgiveness, those in Cornelius’ household believed it and the Holy Spirit fell on them.
I don’t believe this multitude of heavenly witnesses would speak to us about holding to complicated theologies or doctrines.
Consider the voices of other witnesses, speaking to us the simplicity of truth:
* The author of Hebrews witnesses to us that we are to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
We are to keep preaching the victory of the cross, endure the accusations of sinners against us and lay aside our besetting sin, running with patience the race set before us (see Hebrews 12:1–2).
* King David witnesses to us that we can trust in the Lord’s forgiveness and he won’t remove his Holy Spirit from us.
David committed murder and was an adulterer and a liar.
But he repented and the Father would not let him go because he had set his heart on David.
He gave David a new heart, making him a witness to the Lord’s abundant forgiveness.
Today, we New Testament believers have a blood covering and mercies which David could only dream of.
* Peter witnesses to us that he sinned against the greatest light a man could ever have.
This disciple walked in Jesus’ presence, he touched the Lord, he received his calling from Christ personally.
Jesus was Peter’s friend as well as his Lord.
Yet Peter cursed him, sinning against warnings which came from Christ’s very lips.
Peter wondered if he could ever look in his Savior’s face again.
This man could have lived in guilt and condemnation, but God set his heart on him.
Peter was told to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith.
Likewise, we are to take our sin and give it up to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
We are to rise up and move on, no matter what sin we may have committed.
Jesus has removed our iniquity as far as the east is from the west.
* Paul would tell us not to fear our afflictions.
Jesus suffered every day of his ministry and he died in suffering.
And when Christ called Paul to preach the gospel, he showed him how many great afflictions awaited him.
Throughout his years in ministry, Paul was indeed afflicted.
Yet afflictions prove that God has set his heart on you.
"Let no man be moved (or shaken) by these afflictions: for you know we are appointed thereunto" (1 Thessalonians 3:3).
And so we return to Job’s witness: "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?
"And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
"And that thou shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment?" (Job 7:17–18, my italics).
When God sets his heart on you, you will be tried often.
But the fact is, the longer and harder your affliction, the more deeply God has set his heart on you, to show you his love and care.
That is the witness of Paul’s life and indeed, of Jesus’ life.
The enemy may come against you, but our Lord has raised up a standard against him.
We find absolute rest in Jesus.
All of these voices from that great cloud of witnesses tell us so.
Do I hear a witness in your spirit?