Summary: A question worth answering isn’t it?
DOES GOD HAVE CONTROL OF YOUR HEART?
TEXT FOR MORNING READING: Luke 10:30-37
This morning you heard read to you probably one of the more familiar stories of the Bible, the story of the good samaritan. This story Jesus told came in response to the testing questioning of a "expert in the law" about the requirements for eternal life. Here is what happened:
Luke 10:25-29 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus then replies with this revealing look at the character of a truly good man vs the characters of seemingly good men. This story is clearly Jesus’ illustration of the commandment to "Love your neigbour as yourself" as he answers the sarcastic question of the expert in the law regarding who his neighbor is.On another occasion, Jesus encountered a similar situation:
Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV)
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Again an "expert in the Law" walks up to Jesus one day and this time asked what is the greatest commandment in the Bible? Now, this wasn’t a question asked in ignorance, the Bible tells us that the Pharisee’s intent was to test Jesus – to see if they could catch Him in error. What is interesting about Jesus answer is that Jesus concludes his reply with this, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" Everything God has ever commanded in his word hinges on these two commandments – all of them. Remember that Jesus was speaking to a very legal crowd. The Pharisees had thousands of rules and regulations for "holy" living. Jesus narrowed it down to two commandments. In doing so, I believe to both "experts of the law" and through the story of the good Samaritan Jesus was trying to get across a major truth.
Today, I want to focus on six words that were spoken in both instances.
"LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART"
GOD WANTS YOUR HEART!! This is the major truth that is found in these two commandments. In the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus spoke directly to the outward "acts" and legalistic "rules" and "laws" of the Pharisees. In that story both a priest and a Levite walked by the wounded man – both probably on their way to do "service" for the Lord. Maybe they didn’t touch the wounded man because that would make them unclean according to the rules and regulations. So many people confuse being a Christian with "having a religion" In other words, they think that being a Christian means that you’ve got to follow a set of rules and perform at least 10,000 good deeds everyday etc… No, no, NO, NOO!!
GOD DOESN’T WANT YOUR GOOD DEEDS, HE WANTS YOUR HEARTS Christianity is not religion it is relationship. The Samaritan did a "good deed" but not because he had to! He did it out of love and compassion. Christianity isn’t about being required to do things but instead doing things as a result of your relationship with Jesus Christ! Giving your works of service to God apart from your heart is not what God wants!! Notice also Jesus didn’t say, Love your neighbor as yourself and then Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind! It is only when you give your heart to God that He can effectively show His heart to those around you.
Let’s talk about the heart for a few moments.
WHY THE HEART – WHAT ABOUT IT?ASK: When you see the word heart? What’s the first image, or thought that pops into your mind?
To the doctor the heart is an organ in our body, to the poet the heart is the seat of love, to the plumber the heart is a really good pump, to the weight-lifter the heart is the strongest muscle, to the car-driver the heart is an engine – but to God: