Sermons

Summary: The importance of guarding your heart, which is "the wellspring of life."

Guard Duty 1/20/02 Prov. 4:23

Introduction

This week, a team from the International Red Cross is paying a visit to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to determine whether the detainees captured by U.S. forces are being kept in conditions which are acceptable according to the terms of the Geneva Convention.

The fact that there is a document such as that which was signed in Geneva in 1949 indicates that there’s a good way and a bad way to guard somebody –

The bad way devalues the person – it says, “You’re my enemy, so you are not worth being treated like a human being.”

The good way protects and values the person – even our enemies. The good way says, “You’re my enemy, and I am going to restrain you from fighting me and my country, but I value human life so much that I will not mistreat you now that you are in imprisoned and unable to defend yourself.”

That is what lies at the heart of the Geneva Convention’s protections of POW’s.

If we are so careful to guard our enemies in such a way that they are not harmed, how much more careful we should be when we guard something that is precious to us.

Last week as we looked at this verse, we saw that our hearts are the place where God Himself dwells and from which He speaks to us. We saw how the condition of our heart determines the quality of our lives. I gave the example of how, in my own life, it was through my heart that God revealed His calling to me. We saw that the heart is, as this Proverb tells us, the wellspring of life.

What would happen if you built a brand new house – everything is shiny and beautiful

You haul the very last box in on moving day, and go out to the kitchen to get a glass of nice cold water.

You turn on the faucet and the water comes out brown and slimy.

It even smells terrible

Well, you think, maybe I just need to let it run a bit, maybe something’s settled in the pipes.

So you let it run… and run… and run

And it doesn’t get the slightest bit clearer.

You think, “I watched them put that plumbing in – the pipes were brand new and clean.

I put it in a nice clean glass

What’s the problem?

Why is the water so filthy?

So you take a little walk over to the reservoir your water comes from

And you crouch down and scoop up some water, and immediately, you know what the trouble is:

the water in the reservoir is polluted!

It’s brown and slimy, just like the water in your kitchen.

How are you going to fix that problem?

Either you need to clean up the water in the reservoir, or you need to filter out the junk that’s coming in.

Our hearts are like that reservoir

They are “the wellspring of life”

The quality of our life depends on what kind of “water” is in our hearts.

If you were here last week, you heard Cindy give a wonderful children’s message.

I was tempted to just read the Scripture and say, “Just like she said…”

Do you remember it? Cindy had a tube she claimed was magic, and she would put something in one end and – lo and behold! – it would come out the other end.

Somehow the kids weren’t too impressed with her magic tube. I mean, what do you expect? What goes in, comes out.

But what’s more silly is that we expect something different in our lives.

We want good things to come out of our lives, but that’s never going to happen unless we’re putting IN good things

If we want to respond to situations in godly ways, we need to fill our hearts with godly words, godly truths, godly wisdom.

Jesus didn’t die to make us wise

He didn’t die to teach us more about the Bible

He didn’t die to make us more fervent in serving God

He didn’t even die just to show us God’s love – although His death certainly did that.

Jesus died to make us holy

Some of you will say, “Jesus died so we could be forgiven”

Or, “Jesus died so we could have a relationship with God.”

And those things are true.

But listen to these Scriptures, and these are just a few of many I could share:

Comparing the sacrifice of Jesus to the actions of the High Priest when presenting a sin offering, the writer of Hebrews says this:

Hebrews 13:12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

NIV Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

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