Biblical Heartburn, Burning Hearts and Truth: Part I
Luke 24, Acts 2, 5, 7

The series: Biblical heartburn and Truth from Luke 24 and Acts 2, 5, 7 is intended to get to the heart of the matter – your heart. When is the last time your “heart burned?” Interesting question and I am not referring to physical heartburn. Rather I am referring to an inner-man response. We hear of violence in the United States and around the world. Our hearts may burn with zeal, passion, and or concern. Your heart may burn – being moved within – when you come face to face with tragedy, death, or some other situation. God made man with the capacity to think, desire, and act in both the heart and the body including the brain. Feelings flow from the inner man to the brain and perhaps to other parts of the body; they are the product of thoughts, desires, and actions.

How should believers think and process those situations associated with burning hearts? We does biblical heartburn and truth have in common? No matter the nature of one’s heart. truth always ignites the person within. He or she will respond. We are talking about a physical sensation but generated from within the inner man – the person’s heart. Biblically the heart is the heart of the matter (Proverbs 4:23). It is where a person thinks, desires, plans, reasons, and purposes. It is the real you, known imperfectly by you and perfectly by God. It is the target of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating and illumining work.

The above is not to say that man is only inner man. Man is a duplex being as opposed to a divided entity. He has a body but he is not only body. He has a soul/spirit but he is not only a spiritual being. He is a whole person – inner and outer man. They are linked so that you think, desire, and act both in the inner and outer man. Paul teaches in Romans 6:6 that the body’s enslavement to sinning and sin has been broken as a result of regeneration.

When was the last time your heart burned within? Go with me to the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32). Remember the story. Post-resurrection, Jesus joined two disciples. They walked and talked together for some distance (24:13-24). The two disciples were clueless as to the identity of the person who was with them and asking them questions. Jesus challenged them and referred to them as foolish and slow of heart. They were not with it! He then explained the whole of Scripture – what had been prophesied and what had been promised (24:25-27; see John 1:14-18). Early in his gospel, John wrote that Jesus had come to exegete – make known and explain – the Father (1:18). Jesus is the image of God and had been explaining the Father throughout His life on earth (John 14:6-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15-18; Hebrews 1:1-3). He does not work without the Holy Spirit!

After the Lord Jesus had prayed and they ate together, their physical and spiritual eyes were opened (24:31). They fully recognized and knew Jesus as Jesus in contrast to verse 16: they were kept from recognizing Him. Jesus vanished and the two disciples exclaimed in unison that their hearts burned within – they were greatly moved or unsettled in the heart. Fire had broken out within. When did it begin? It began when Jesus opened up the Scriptures to them – truth, both written and Living Truth – came alive and resonated within. Spiritually their heart was touched by truth and the Truth-teller. Their spiritual eyes were opened as their physical eyes had been (24:31). What did they see? They saw and heard a Person and Truth – Jesus Christ. They had a sensual experience. But because they were believers they had a suprasensual experience – they saw and interpreted what they saw by the eyes of saving faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). They saw Jesus both physically and spiritually. They embraced Him as truth. Their view of Him and themselves had changed radically and forever.

Many people had the same experience at Pentecost upon hearing the truth of Jesus Christ and themselves (Acts 2:37:… Brothers, what should be do). They were cut at and in the heart. An awakening had occurred. This awakening led to changed thoughts, desires, and actions. In response, they asked Peter what they should do. They were unsettled and they knew they had unfinished business which they addressed (Acts 2:38-41).

Yet others are moved in an entirely different direction when they encounter truth (Acts 5:33 and 7:54). Upon hearing the truth of the gospel by the apostles, members of the Sanhedrin were furious and wanted to destroy them. Luke, in Acts 7:54 described a similar response to the preaching of the Word. Stephen gave the crowd a history lesson and as a result their hearts were moved – stirred within. When the crowd heard the truth about God and themselves they were so pierced to the core that they murdered Stephen.

Burning hearts occur in the context of the presentation of truth about God and self. The truth and the Truth always elicit some type of response. In Luke and Acts the truth was Christ crucified and resurrected. This truth addressed both personal and national or corporate well-being. In response to the truth, believers and soon-to- be believers understand and they rejoice. The disciples in Luke 24 spread the good news (24:33-35). They were changed. Those in Acts 5 and Acts 7 did not appreciate truth about Christ and themselves. The two are linked. The people responded by removing truth so they thought. The Sanhedrin censored the apostles but to no avail (Acts 5:33, 40-41). The apostles rejoiced that the cause of Christ had been advanced and was advancing (5:40-41). In Acts 7, the crowd totally rejected the truth about Israel and themselves. They chose to silence the truth-teller.

1. What is your source of truth and how do you use both the source and the truth?
2. What is your response to truth?
3. Truth and falsehood is around every person and in every person even the believer. The truth will set you free (John 8:31-32). What is your response to both of those statements?

Biblical Heartburn, Burning Heart, and Truth: Part II
Luke 24, Acts 2, 5, 7

Hearts are moved because the whole person is moved. Every person has presuppositions and a framework that lead to thoughts, desires, and actions. Every person brings thoughts and desires to every situation. The disciples on the road to Emmaus had a changed heart by virtue of regeneration. Yet they were still slow of heart. They were sluggish and the fire of truth only smoldered. Faced with the living Word and after some delay they responded appropriately. The fire was hot within and they acted accordingly. Biblical heartburn and Truth are manifestations of a changed heart by the Holy Spirit.

The same intensity of heart motivation was present in the people in Acts 5 and 7. However, the burning within their heart erupted from the exposure of their wicked hearts. They exposed themselves – anti-God and pro-self – and their mantra followed: kill Jesus and kill anyone associated with truth. The combination of biblical heartburn and truth in the heart of a believer is a wonderful thing. The person is on fire for the Triune God and His truth. On the other hand, truth sets the unbeliever’s heart on fire but against God and for self.

Presented with biblical truth, the response of the group in Acts 2 differed completely from the response of the people described in Acts 5 and 7. Biblical heartburn and truth was in evidence in Acts 2. The people had heard truth proclaimed. Their response was submission, seeking, and turning to God, the truth-Giver (Acts 2:38-41). In Acts 5 and 7, the people rebelled, turned further from God toward self and Satan because they loved the darkness (John 3:17-21; Romans 1:18-23). Hearts must be prepared by the Holy Spirit. When it is and truth is presented, hearts burn out of a sense of the greatness and holiness of God Who stoops to meet mankind in His Son by the Holy Spirit. He saves sinners in spite of themselves (Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-10).

How does a person properly manifest a burning heart when confronted by biblical truth? This person must be a believer or soon-to-be a believer. For the believer, the same question can be asked as: how does a person keep his way pure (Psalm 119:9-12)? Both are the result of the Holy Spirit’s activity as the believer uses the word and truth that is hidden in his heart. Hidden refers to a deposit ready to be used and useful as opposed to hidden away so that it is not accessible without much effort. Believers must and will develop zeal for God and His word. The two are linked. A high view of God leads to a high view of His Word and vice versa. It is a matter of life and death.

Psalm119:9-11 tells us how. The person hides or places the Word in his heart. On the road to Emmaus the truth must have been there but it was not readily accessible. The connection between truth and life was not yet realized. At regeneration, the Holy Spirit starts a fire within every believer. He indwells every believer so that the believer can and does think God’s thoughts and desires God’s desires enabling him to please God. Truth is never neutral. Since God is truth, His word is truth, and the truth sets you free; facing truth in whatever form is never neutral (John 14:6; 17:17; 8:31-32). As we saw in the examples from the book of Acts (Acts 2, 5, 7), people respond to truth and hearts burn properly or sinfully.

A properly burning heart moves the person away from self and misconceptions about God, self, others, and God’s providence. It moves the person toward God and His word. How does the believer hide the word in his heart (Psalm 119:9-11)? How does he develop fear of the Lord? Consider these points as daily activities with the goal of developing a properly burning heart.
• Read and recite the Word;
• Mediate on and memorize the Word;
• Verbalize the Word audibly and inaudibly;
• Personalize the Word – answer the question: how do certain biblical principles apply to you in your situations;
• Actualize the Word. The Word of God is to be used – applied it to daily life. It is to be used to fulfill the two great commandments: Matthew 22:37-40. Love of God and love of neighbor flows from a rightly motivated and stimulated heart by adding fuel to the fire.

Truth is to be used. Read and recite the Word throughout the day – have it readily accessible. Memorize it and mediate on it until it becomes part of you. Verbalize it in word and song. Speak God’s Word to yourself as you develop fellowship and intimacy with God. Speak it to others so that you comfort others as you have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Bless others as you have been blessed by intimacy with God through His Word and Holy Spirit. Thanksgiving for Who God is and what you and the Church are in Him is crucial.

Personalize the Word so that you have a piece of it. Psalm 34:8; 119:99, 105; and James 1:22-25 speak to this fact. Tasting God is experiencing Who He is through the gift of saving faith exercised and the gift of understanding Him in His word (Psalm 34:8). The Word is a lamp and light not only for the way but also for the one who walks – the walker (Psalm 119:99, 105). The blessing comes in the doing (John 13:18; James 1:25). The Word filets the heart of the believer but God always provides the proper closure (Hebrews 4:12). The Word is the Holy Spirit’s tool to expose and close every believer. God never loses a “patient” during His heart surgery.

Lastly, actualize the Word – use it – apply it in your daily life as you grow in Christlikeness. Enjoy that growth individually and corporately. Without truth, growth will be stifled (2 Peter 3:18). Truth and zeal are always linked – one without the other leads to dead orthodoxy or a feeling-dominated Christianity. Neither honors God.

1. Do you have biblical heartburn? Why and why not?
2. What truths do you have at your ready when faced with God’s providence often termed hard and good times?
3. What are the results of applying those truths?