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the burning heart

They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed...!"

(Luke 24:32-34 ESV)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, 

"The great need of the church today, in our sadness and in our slowness, is to discover the secret of the burning heart.

"We are so aware of the problems, so immersed in them, that we have forgotten all of the glory that is around us and have seen nothing but the problems that lead to this increasing dejection.

"And the first thing we must do is wake up and gird up the loins of our minds and think and understand the truth and begin to apply it to the situation in which we find ourselves, instead of giving way, instead of giving in, instead of just commiserating with one another.

"Slowness of heart. Now this is something we must be conscious of. It is not enough to say, 'Well, I don’t feel like it now.' I should ask myself, 'Why don’t I feel like it now?' Slowness of heart is a condition that must be dealt with.

"They failed to take in all that the Scriptures had written. Is this failure not the real explanation of the state of the Christian church today? 

"Higher criticism is man picking and choosing out of the Scriptures, believing what he likes and rejecting, or ignoring, the rest.

"We are so anxious to please the modern scientists, the modern educated people, that we have lost our gospel.

"If you begin to pick and choose from the Scriptures, you will soon end in a state of dejection.

"We must submit to the Scriptures completely, entirely, whether we understand them or not.

"There is a unity in the Scripture that must never be broken. There is a wholeness and a completeness, and it is only as we submit to this that we can look to the real solution of our problems.

"Their hearts were burning when they still regarded him as a stranger. It was as he was opening the Scriptures when they were walking together on the way.

"You do not need to have a vision. You do not need to see him with your natural eyes. There is only one thing that is necessary for this burning heart, and it is this—that you look in the Scriptures.

"He [John Wesley] said, 'My heart began to burn within me. I knew that my sins, even my sins, were forgiven.' The cold iceberg of a heart began to melt, and the fire came in, and the man became a flaming evangelist.

"The burning heart is the one great need and necessity of every one of us. Do you have it? If you have not, realize why you have not. You are a fool! You are not giving your time to this. You are spending your time with your television or your radio or your newspaper. Give time to the Scriptures. Bring your mind at its best. Discipline it. Read the Scriptures. Start in Genesis and go all the way through. But never read without praying for the Spirit to enlighten your eyes and to open them and to give you understanding. Ask for this blessed unction and anointing that alone can enable you to find Christ. Look for him, the living Christ, the resurrected Christ. Look for him everywhere in the Scriptures." 

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Setting Our Affections upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church.

Drawing above is a detail from Rembrandt's "Emmaus." 


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