A MATTER OF THE HEART
Matters of the heart in our text today Paul says so that the eyes of our heart will be open that we can know God better by the power of the Spirit! Some of you will remember Al Capp, creator of the famous comic strip Lil Abner.
Once Al Capp was invited to a university to give a lecture to the students. Before he could begin speaking to the large group assembled in the auditorium a very unkempt-looking student at the back shouted a vulgar word at him Calling Al this name.
The word rang in everyone's ears. There was a shocked silence, but Capp, keeping his composure, said, "Now that you've given us your name, what's your question?" In our text this morning Jesus was in one of his familiar controversies with the Pharisees.
Look at Matthew 15
The Pharisees had certain rules--not rules of hygiene, but religious rules--concerning the washing of hands. Jesus was trying to get them to change their focus to matters of greater importance. Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' " "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean." (NIV) Jesus is saying what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what is in our hearts.
So when Al Capp said to the young man with the filthy mouth, "Now that you've given us your name, what's your question?"
he was speaking truth. The young man had stated who he really was on the inside by the quality of his speech.
Have you ever thought of water as being strong? Well, when it's in a river, it can be strong--or in a flood. But how about a drop of water?
Did you know that in a very short time drops of water can begin to erode solid rock One drop of water would be nothing, but drop after drop starts making a difference. Drop after drop of water will carve an impression into solid rock.
That’s how our hearts are we give up a small area and slowly the rest begins to erode.
A deacon and son were driving down a country road and saw a watermelon patch a little way off the highway.
The deacon told his son to keep a lookout while he went to get a melon.
He snuck into the patch, took a melon and called to the boy, "Is anyone coming? Look both ways."
The boy wisely responded, "But Daddy, shouldn’t we look up too?"
Having a pure heart is to be so close to God that we don’t have to look up to see if he’s watching. It means we have a personal relationship with God and we only have to look within in our heart to see Him.
After creating Heaven and Earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them was: "Don't." "Don't what?", Adam replied. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." "Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?" "It's over there," said God, beginning to wondering why He hadn't stopped after creating when he finished making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw the kids having an apple break and He was angry. "Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the First Parent asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you?" "I dunno," Adam answered.
God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own.
The book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament describes a relationship between God and humanity that very much resembles a parent and his child.
You know how children love to play chase – or tag etc.
Well, it seems as adults that’s what we do with God our Father as well – Now if somebody is chasing you, there are two things you can do. Either you can keep on running, hoping to put distance between yourself and your pursuer. Or you can go into hiding, and hope that he cannot find you. And there are two basic responses to God’s pursuit. When God comes looking for us, either we can keep on running, hoping to put more and more distance between ourselves and God. Or we can try to hide from Him, we can put on camouflage and hope He won’t notice.
Just know this, whichever method you choose: God is pursuing a loving relationship with us that is real and personal. He wants to set up house IN OUR HEARTS-
Our hearts have developed a hard protective coating because of accidents and incidents in life.
They are coated by the deposits of a thousand deceits and rebuffs.
They are hardened by the pressures life's circumstances/ Situations.
Inevitably, our hearts become smothered and insensitive to Our Father God. Ever so easily we find it easier to sneer than to pray.
To be cynical rather than optimistic. It becomes simpler to work than to worship. Self-satisfied, proud, cynical, our hearts need a spiritual operation that only Christ can perform when we dare to surrender our hearts’ burden before the Cross of our Lord and savoir. God describes to Jeremiah the condition of the heart like this:
( "Judah's sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their hearts and on the horns of their altars.")
The sins which we commit habitually make little impression on our minds, yet every sin is marked in the book of God; they are all carved on the table of the heart, that they will all be remembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heart will become plain in the life; - our actions show the desires and purposes of their hearts.
Cleaning up the Graffiti – God tells Jeremiah this; "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jer. 31:33
God is saying I will write my law on your hearts – God is talking about a transformation See we have the graffiti of Sin scrawled all over our hearts –
The Old Testament stories show time and time again that -
WE on our own have not the power to change and follow Gods law –
We cannot do it on our own accord or power –
we need an inner transformation that brings us to the point to where we say –
I WILL God is looking for more than just behavior modification –
it’s not just to stop the stealing – lying- and coveting
God wants to clean up the graffiti in the heart. God has been saying this all along - that the only way to become what he is calling us to be is through a change of the heart – it’s not a new idea -WE are just think headed:
Look here at Deuteronomy 6:5-6 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts This has always been the purpose of God – the question is how can we get the Law of God into our hearts so that we get from the external “Thou Shalt” to the internal “ I will”
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
The world that God created is full of wonders. Salt for example is a wonder. It is composed of two poisonous substances: sodium and chlorine, either of which if taken individually could kill you.
Yet when these two substances are combined, they produce a substance called salt that is necessary for life.
Water is another wonder. It's chemical formula is H2O.
That means two parts of hydrogen for each part oxygen.
Oxygen is an oxidizer while hydrogen so readily burns that it can be explosive.
Yet when hydrogen and oxygen are united into water you can use it to put out fires!
Yet the greatest wonder of all is the regeneration that takes place when one is saved.
How God can take a poor, vile, hopeless sinner and transform him into a (pure new creature) respectable person a new person - is the greatest wonder on this earth.
Yet, it happens every day.
Here’s how I know about 30 years ago God stooped down one night and picked up this dirty piece of mud and He breathed new life in me by His Spirit, and from that very moment I have been a new creature, changed from a Cussing, lying, drinking, wretch into a man lead by God.
Christ cleaned up the Graffiti and I find my Purpose saying your will be done Lord.
– Christ said: "Blessed are the pure in heart," the sincere, the repentant, PERSON- "for they shall see God."
What does that mean, "to see God"?
The pure in heart can see God again because their spiritual eyes, have been opened the eyes of their hearts, have been cleansed. Have you ever tried to look out through dirty glasses?
Hard to do, isn't it?
Self-examination, confession, and repentance - cleanses our spiritual "glasses." Once we are cleansed spiritually, we can see life as it truly is.
When we're "clean" spiritually, we can start to see God all around us. Working in us and through us we begin to see our purpose more clearly –
OUR HEART YEARNS AND BEATS FOR GODS PURPOSE. Open the eyes of my heart Lord!
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