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Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16:1-6

"Follow Your Heart"


1.  Men & women were created in the image of God; Pure in heart with no shame or guilt of sin, Gen. 1:26-27; 2:25.

2.  All continue to be born pure in heart, Matt. 18:3; Rom. 7:9.

3.  Jer. 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

4.  Why? What happened? What changes the heart? Eccl. 7:29



  A.  Lusts from Within and Enticements from Without, Jas. 1:12-16.

  B.  “They have Sought out Many Schemes”, Eccl. 7:29.

    1.  Sin takes “opportunity/occasion”, Rom. 7:8, 11.

    2.  “Sin lies at the door” of your heart; you should rule over it, Gen. 4:7.

  C.  Foolish to Trust your Heart as Your Standard, Guide and Confidence, Prov. 28:26; 16:25.

    1.  Prov. 16:1-3: Our ways are pure to us…but God judges.

    2.  Prov. 19:21: Contrast between man’s heart and God’s counsel.

* Gen. 3:1-7: Cain and Abel teach lessons on “following your heart.”



  A.  In Your Personal Faith and Religious Service.

    1.  Personal Faith: Cain and Abel: One followed his heart and one followed God’s word, Gen. 4:3-5; Heb. 11:4.

      a.  Cain: He did not act “by faith” (Heb. 11:4). His gift was rejected; Cain was not “righteous” before God.

      b.  Abel: Acted in faith.

      c.  cf. Saul: His personal faith was not faith at all! Acts 26:9; 1 Tim. 1:13.

      d.  Heart may convince us we have personal faith, but what does the word of God say about it?!

    2.  Religious Service. (cf. Jas. 1:26)

      a.  Cain: Gave what he knew, what he valued & what he wanted to offer; God did not receive him or his offering (Gen. 4:5).

      b.  Abel: Gave what God said he wanted ("by faith…more excellent"…God testified he was righteous by accepting his gifts, Heb. 11:4).

      c.  Matt. 7:21-23: Religious service w/o God’s word of approval is rejected today, too! (Heb. 8:5; 2 Tim. 1:13)

        1)  Worship: Add instrument, entertainment, ceremonies, etc. (Jno. 4:24).

        2)  Church: Add denominations, human names & organization (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23).

        3)  Doctrine: Add human creeds & reject pure doctrine (Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:10).

-Prov. 16:25; Jer. 17:9-


  B.  In Your Personal Morality.

    1.  Cain: Hate and murder, Gen. 4:8 (from heart, Mk. 7:21).

      a.  Motive: Cain’s works were evil, 1 Jno. 3:12 (10).

      b.  Premeditation (Gen. 4:8).

      c.  He was a liar, yet he rationalized, 4:9.

    2.  Abel: He was a moral man (works righteous), cf. 1 Jno. 3:12.

    3.  Personal Morality:

      a.  Evil language (Eph. 4:29; 5:4); Heart not converted to purity.

      b.  Worldly values & conduct (1 Pet. 4:1-3); Heart given to flesh.

      c.  Dishonesty (Eph. 4:25; 1 Pet. 2:12); Heart deceives itself.

   -Prov. 16:25; Jer. 17:9-


  C.  In Family Values.

    1.  Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9)

      a.  No love in his heart, 1 Jno. 3:11-12.

      b.  We are to love our family in the flesh & our family in the faith, 1 Jno. 3:13-15.

    2.  We can do very unloving things in a family while saying we are “following our heart:”S

      a.  Divorce: “Find myself” – without you (Matt. 19:6).

      b.  Demanding and selfish: “My right” (Eph. 5:21, 33).

      c.  Disobey parents: “They don’t understand me” (Eph. 6:1-2).

      d.  Disrespect each other: “He/she doesn’t respect me – give a taste of his/her own medicine!” (Matt. 7:12)

   -Prov. 16:25; Jer. 17:9-



1.  The heart is deceitful, not because God created it so, but because we yield to temptations and as a result, sin distorts, damages and destroys the purity of our heart!

2.  The way of Cain was one in which he followed the promptings of his heart (temptations to sin), leading him to vain worship, hatred, murder, lying and God’s curse. (Jude 11)

3.  Abel lived by faith & still speaks to us to faithfully follow the word of God instead of the dictates of our heart.