Sunday’s Sermon Series – Guarding the Heart

 

Matters of the Heart – Everyday Life

CSB and RVR 1960


In yesterday’s Military Devotional we discussed a different type of guard duty against assaults. Today let us look specifically at guarding one’s own heart against rebellion against God.  PSALM 119:7 makes it abundantly clear our ability to praise God requires a clean heart grounded in His judgments (teachings). 


SERMON:

ILO the usual sermon today I decided to provide a piece in 17 short sections written by John Flavel entitled Keeping the Heart.

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John Flavel (or Flavell) was born in 1628 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He was the son of Richard Flavel, a minister who died of the plague in 1665 while in prison for nonconformity. John Flavel was educated by his father in the ways of religion, then “plied his studies hard” as a commoner at University College, Oxford. In 1650, he was ordained by the presbytery at Salisbury. He settled in Diptford, where he honed his numerous gifts.

He married Joan Randall, a godly woman, who died while giving birth to their first child in 1655. The baby died as well. After a year of mourning, Flavel married Elizabeth Stapell and was again blessed with a close, God-fearing marriage, as well as children…  read more….

Keeping the Heart by John Flavel

Saturday’s Military Devotional – DUTY

With COVID-19 and the lock-down still a happening, old movies seem to be all the rage on TV. The other night as I was driving my wife crazy flipping channels I caught part of A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise and Kiefer Sutherland are discussing the finer points of military “code” Honor, Duty, Corps, etc.

I can’t speak as a Marine but in the Army we have a “code” of sorts for leaders it delineated or set forth the perimeters for our daily duties it was “My Mission, My Men, My Self.” 


Normally at this point I would introduce a bible verse and peel back the layers of the verse to expound upon it and hopefully impart some wisdom. Today however I wish to use a quote from one of my favorite Puritan Authors to do the same: 

John Flavel Author Biography | Reformed theology, Wisdom thoughts ...


 

Context:

Definition:

I think it helpful to define what we mean by duty. In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary we see: 

1. That which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral or legal obligation, to pay, do or perform. Obedience to princes, magistrates and the laws is the duty of every citizen and subject; obedience, respect and kindness to parents are duties of children; fidelity to friends is a duty; reverence, obedience and prayer to God are indispensable duties; the government and religious instruction of children are duties of parents which they cannot neglect without guilt.

5. The business of a soldier or marine on guard; as, the company is on duty. It is applied also to other services or labor.

6. The business of war; military service;…

Now I see You: 

American Service members (as the Marine’s in A Few Good Men) have a duty to their country. We are and have been an all volunteer armed forces since July 1973 when the draft ended. They also have a duty to their unit and fellow service members to carry out their individual assignments (Jobs) to the highest of standards insuring the safety and welfare of all their fellow service members. Members of the US armed services also have a duty to conduct themselves to a high ethical, legal and moral standard in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and all Local Laws. These are the observed duties that John Flavel is speaking about the things people see you doing everyday and can easily identify you and your character by.

Keeping Secrets:

Again in the movie A Few Good Men secrets are kept that are not in the highest tradition of the Marine Corps or even “the code.” As the conclusion reveals all deep secrets eventually come out and in this case the secret “code red” failed a fellow Marine, and the two young men realize they are guilty for not stepping up and protecting him. 

One of the hardest things for many service members to do is separating their military life/job from their personal (or secret) lives. Prior to the Gulf War era (and some Vietnam era too) when a member became stressed out it was called shell shock, battle fatigue or worse cowardliness. Today we know it as PTSD and it is a very serious problem among many of our veterans. 

One thing I have noticed is that few if any cases of PTSD involve service members with a strong biblical foundation. Coincidence, I would say not. During my career in the Army I was not a Christian but looking back I can remember those who were. They had this secret duty that I could not comprehend  giving them a demeanor, calmness, confidence, unlike mine. 

John Flavel says they were engaged in maintaining secret duties. What is this secret duty? Ecclesiastes 12:13 makes it very clear;  “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”


 

Conclusion:

Priorities; what are your priorities?

Once again looking back at the movie A Few Good Men Keifer Sutherland’s character priority is obviously sucking up to Jack Nicholson and riding his coattails for all they are worth even if it mean perjury.

Remember their “Code” Unit, Corps, God, Country. That order conflicts with the bible and causes conflict for any true believer. God is always first and foremost in a believers life. He and He alone is numero uno, top of the heap, first priority in all we think and do. 

That is what John Flavel was implying when he said “but the secret duties maintain our life”  It is that duty we have to maintain and strengthen that  inner personal relationship with God on a daily basis that will get us through life’s turmoils. Other’s may not see this daily duty but they will see the effects of it. 


The Joyful Duty of Man by John Piper

Today’s Questions:

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on DUTY?

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY –15 & 16 August

TRANSGRESSORS

The way of transgressors is hard – Proverbs 13:15

Sin is the womb of our sorrows and the grave of our comforts. – Thomas Watson

Stayers are evermore sufferers for it. – John Flavel

WEAK CHRISTIANS

He [David] is weary and weak handed – 2 Samuel 17:12

Many are sickly and weak among you and many sleep – 1 Corinthians 11:30

The weak Christian is willing to live and patient to die; but the strong, patient to live and willing to die. – John Boys

There is no place for loose stones in God’s edifice. – Joseph Hall

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
“THE HOLINESS OF GOD” And “GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS”

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY –13 & 14 August

PROMISES

Exceeding great and precious promises – 2 Peter 1:4

It is better to be low as hell with a promise than in paradise without one. – John Flavel

Grace and truth are the two ingredients of an evangelical promise. – John Owen

THE UNCERTAINTY OF RICHES

Riches and certainty makes themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven – Proverb 23:5

Riches are not forever – Proverb 27:24

Riches may leave us while we live, we must leave them when we die. –  Thomas Fuller

Riches are long in getting with much pains, hard in keeping with much care, quick in losing with more sorrow. – Thomas Fuller

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
“GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE” And “GOD’S POWER

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 16 & 17 July

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

God himself hath said, I will never, never forsake you – Hebrews 13:5 (Weymouth)

Whatever God can do, he unquestionably will do, if he has promised it. – John Calvin

Two negatives make an affirmative in grammar, but ten thousand will not make one in divinity. – Thomas Goodwin

THOUGHTS

The thoughts of thy heart – Daniel – 2:30

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man – Psalm 94:11

Thy thoughts are vocal to God. – John Flavel

Thought are the spies and messengers of the soul. – Thomas Manton

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
“FACING DEATH” and “A WOULD-BE FOLLOWER”

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 10 & 11 July

READING AND WRITING

Give attendance to reading – 1 Timothy 4:13

Having many things to write unto you – 2 John 12

To read much and practice nothing is to hunt much and catch nothing. – Thomas Brooks

In reading books, regard not so much the science’ as the savour. – John Flavel

DESPISERS

Michal … saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart – 2 Samuel 6:16

And they said, Is this not Joseph’s son? – Luke 4:22

His bodily presence weak and his speech contemptible – 2 Corinthians 10:10

It is far worse to despise a Saviour in his robes than to crucify him in his rags. – Stephen Charnock

God takes more unkindly the despising of his love than he doth the slighting of his wisdom. – Thomas Goodwin

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
“THE KINGDOM OF GOD PART I” and “THE KINGDOM OF GOD PART II”

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 06 & 07 July

THE DANGER OF PROSPERITY

Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Howbeit … God left him – 2 Chronicles 32:30, 31

In prosperity the destroyer shall come – Job 15:31

Power is seldom a friend to humility. – William Gurnall

The heart of a Christian, like the moon, commonly suffers an eclipse when it is at the full, and that by the interposition of the earth. – John Flavel

UNBELIEF

An evil heart of unbelief – Hebrews 3:12

Unbelief was the first sin, and pride was the first born of it. – Stephen Charnock

When God is not believed we must needs give credit to the devil. – Stephen Charnock

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
A TOTALITARIAN DEMAND and CLOTHES AND DURATION OF LIFE

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 30 June & 01 July

WORLDLINGS

The children of this world – Luke 16:8

He that loves the world is a worldling. – Richard Sibbes

Men have their name and denomination in the Scripture by that which they are ruled by, Richard Sibbes

FEAR OF MAN

I feared the people, and obeyed their voice – 1 Samuel 15:24

But the fearful – Revelation 21:8

Neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid – Isaiah 8:12

Let none but the servants of sin be the slave of fear. – John Flavel

God can secure us from fear, either by removing the thing feared, or by subduing the fear of the thing. – William Beveridge

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
WHAT HAPPENS IN REVIVAL? PART 3 and PREACHING

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 28 & 29 June

WISE SPEECH

Sound speech that cannot be condemned – Titus 2:8

The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth – Proverbs 16:23 (R.V.)

It is impossible that a disordered heart should ever produce a well-ordered conversation. – John Flavel

When the heart is full of God few words run then at the waste spout. John Flavel

THE SPIRIT, THE WORD, AND THE NEW BIRTH

Born of water and of Spirit – John 3:5

The washing of water by the word – Ephesians 5:26

Born again… by the word of God – 1 Peter 1:23

The Christian is bred by the word, and he must be fed by it. – William Gurnall

The word is the chariot of the Spirit, the Spirit the guider of the word. – Stephen Charnock

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
WHAT HAPPENS IN REVIVAL? PART 1and WHAT HAPPENS IN REVIVAL? PART 2

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 24 & 25 June

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye are more in number than any people; …but because the Lord loved you – Deuteronomy 7:7-8

To be God and sovereign are inseparable. – Stephen Charnock

As God did not at first choose you because you were so high, so God will not forsake you because you are so low. – John Flavel

CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir … The king’s daughter is all glorious within – Psalm 45:9,13

The church comes out of Christ’s side in the sleep of His death. – William Jenkyn

The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude but in purity. – John Calvin

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
THE REAL REASONS FOR REVIVAL: THE GLORY OF GOD and THE REAL REASON FOR REVIVAL: THE HONOR OF THE CHURCH