Summary: Contrasts and compares a new heart given by God to the old sinful heart with Scriptures from Jeremiah, King David, and Paul.
"A New Heart or a Wicked Heart"
Jeremiah 17:9-"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?"
Being well aware of where you are this morning, you may be wondering what this scripture has to say to you. After all aren’t we all Christians? Won’t we all be going into some form of Christian ministry or another? Aren’t we all saved? That may well be true, however, this scripture still has a lot to say to us this morning.
Jeremiah called the heart desperately wicked. It is interesting that he would say that. The New International Version renders this as "beyond cure"; that is a good insight, it could also mean deadly sick. Now if you are wondering how this might apply to you I want you to listen carefully. I would propose that often we try to fool ourselves and we try to fool God into believing that there is nothing wrong with us. But Jeremiah laid it on the line when he said that the heart was beyond cure--LISTEN, there is no hope for the heart of sin.
Again you are saying, "I’m saved, and I’m past all of that". Well Praise the Lord! But the Word of God sends a stark warning for all to hear that we must endure to the end. Even the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:27 stated, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." Paul recognized the very real possibility of losing the salvation that he preached so tirelessly. If the Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest evangelist since Jesus, realized the possibility of backsliding and losing his eternal soul then so should I. King David is a good example of someone who was spiritually tremendous but yet he fell. Imagine if you will King David- the man after God’s own heart. Not a perfect man but nevertheless a man that God had anointed. Here he is King; people look up to him, they respect him, they come to him for advice. And who could have known that inside this kingly heart murder and adultery stood ready to pour out? I suggest to you that he did not first experience his problems when he first saw Bathesheba. NO. Perhaps it started with something smaller, something less conspicuous, less noticeable. Something that he laughed off. But whatever started it, it took hold and it grew until it possessed his whole heart and his walk with God was no longer straight and pure. No, I believe that it started with something small; until the devil could say, "Behold Bathesheba!" and David fell. We know the rest of the story. He went on to sleep with Bathesheba and to kill her faithful husband, Uriah. David’s trek into sin began with something much smaller to our eyes- it began with his own self-reliance. When decisions arose and questions had to be answered he no longer consulted the Lord, he used his own ’knowledge, wisdom, and power’. He trusted in his own strength. David’s heart grew to be so black and ugly with sin that when Nathan the prophet confronted him with it, he did not even recognize his own life. He had to be shocked into a realization. Is that happening in your life or in mine, is that happening in the life of a Christian around us that we can see but they seem oblivious to that fact? It’s amazing how far you can fall.
What can we do? Jeremiah said that the heart was hopeless and incurable. What treatment is available? A heart transplant. Even in David’s time when there where so few medical procedures available, he recognized that God was in the heart transplanting business. How about that! God owns and still operates the first cardiac care unit!! In Psalms 51:10 after realizing his horrible state of sin, David said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." David knew his need to start over. He gives us a remarkable insight into God’s medical procedures. The Hebrew word for ’Create’ that David used was ’bara’. Do you want to hear something truly amazing? It is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the universe. It literally means, "to take nothing and to make something". Just like God took the blackness and the chaos and turned it into a wonderful universe, He takes the blackness and chaos of a sin-stained heart and turns it into a wonderful, new creation. Do you want to know something else? Of all the times that it is used in the Bible, God is the only subject of ’bara’. For God and God only can do the miraculous, not man in his wisdom and power, only God. Only God can create something that is totally new, something new like a life or a fresh start.