Summary: What does it mean to have a heart changed by God with a focus in on Zaccheua
Thinking Clearly About A Changed Heart
If someone were to ask you, “why do you follow Jesus” what should your response be? Because I want to go to heaven. Because he died for my sins. Because He’ll make my life better. These things may all be true, but the reason behind it all is the recognition that “I needed a change.” How many of you have looked at yourself and realized not only were you not perfect, but there were some parts of your life that you didn’t even like. Is there anybody like myself, who has taken a step back from themselves, looked at themselves and said, “you really do need some help, you need to make a change.”
The person who thinks he or she is basically a good person is a person who will never love and appreciate that Jesus Christ gave His life so that his or her sins might be paid for and removed. Do you remember in Life-Sharing/Pioneers a couple of weeks ago how Simon the Pharisee loved Jesus a little and the prostitute loved him much? Simon thought he was pretty good inside especially compared to that prostitute. Do you remember last week in life-Sharing/Pioneers how the righteous religious leaders loved Jesus little, but Matthew gave up everything to follow Jesus? The religious leaders Pharisees thought they were pretty good on the inside, especially compared to Matthew the tax collector.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being a near saint, where would you friend rate you on a chart as a good person. Write it down on the chart in your mind. Now pass the chart over to youself and write down the score you would give to yourself . Now pass the chart to God, and ask God to give you a score based on what He knows about you on how good you are. Did anybody’s score go down each time a number was written God? When God writes the number, most of the time it goes down.
When we think clearly about having a changed heart, we have to first recognize the true condition of the human heart. Most of us think, “I’m not that bad and if Jesus would just help me out over here, I’ll be happy.” That’s not seeking a a changed heart.” It’s more like a new year’s resolution. We often think it’s the stuff on outside that makes us fall or makes us sinful. If only he didn’t look so good, if only she hadn’t of dressed like that, if only I hadn’t come across those drugs, or if only that money had not of been lying there so easy for me to get it.
But Jesus didn’t say that stuff on the outside of us is what gets us into trouble. No it’s the heart that gets us in trouble. Matthew 15:18-19 (NIV) But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ’unclean.’  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Have you ever noticed any of these things in your heart?
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are giving Him permission to change our hearts. How many of you know, there’s some parts of our hearts that we do not want to have changed? Ever made up your mind you were not going to speak to somebody for a certain number of hours or days just to pay them back for what they did or did not do. That’s a heart condition that we do not want changed.
We all know that an alcoholic or crack addict will not change until he or she has hit the bottom and genuinely wants a change. They have to admit they’re an alcoholic or an addict. Some times we are addicts and don’t know it. Just like the alcoholic uses alcohol as means of dealing with life, we can use jealousy, bitterness, envy, materialism, greed, unforgiveness, anger, lying and a host of hidden sins to deal with life.
Do you realize that some of us do not want to let go of these addictions in our hearts for Jesus Christ. When we think clearly about a changed heart, we have to think in terms of the whole heart. What would you do if you went to get an oil change in your car and the guy changed the oil, and the filter but was short on new oil. So he tells you, I put into three quarts of new oil before I ran out. “I just put back some of the dirty oil back in to fill it up completely but you don’t have to pay me for that.” Are you going to say thanks, I really appreciate it?