Summary: This sermon looks at the nature of the human heart and considers some of the characteristics of a heart that is hardened
Introduction: Let me ask you a question: What about your heart? Is it right with God? Notice I did not ask you about your life. If your heart is right your life will be right, but sometimes our lives may show all the external displays of faith, and yet our hearts be very far from God. In the words of Jesus, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)
So what about your heart tonight? Is it right with God, or as text puts it, “Have ye your heart yet hardened?”
I want to consider three aspects of the heart tonight:
I. The Importance of the Heart
II. The Impertinence of the Heart
III. The Impenitence of the Heart
I. The Importance of the Heart.
A. It goes without saying that the heart in a physical sense is a vital organ of our bodies.
1. Without a heart we could not live, and when our hearts are in trouble our lives are in danger.
2. When the Bible speaks about the heart it is obviously not addressing that blood pumping muscle sitting behind our rib cage, but is speaking about the inner man, the real you and the real me, the soul and the spirit, if you like; the very centre of our rational and spiritual nature.
3. Therefore when someone determines to do something we say, “He has decided in his heart,” or if he gives himself totally to something we say, “He is doing it with all his heart.”
4. The heart is the centre of our thoughts and ideas.
a. The heart perceives – Deut 29:4
b. The heart understands – Prov 8:5
c. The heart deliberates – Neh 5:7
d. The heart reflects – Luke 2:19
e. The heart plans – Pro 16:9
f. The heart feels:
(i) It feels joy, pain, despair, love, hate, and every emotion in between; it is the centre of our feelings and affections.
5. That is why, in Proverbs 4:23, Solomon, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, wrote, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
a. Many things in life we are to keep.
b. We keep good things from getting harm and bad things from doing harm.
(i) The success of our keeping hinges upon diligence, earnestness.
(ii) We keep our homes, gardens, cars, clothes, and finances.
c. If we would apply ourselves to keeping the heart as earnestly we would be all the better for it.
(i) Indeed the Scriptures here urge us to me even more diligent about the heart than these other matters.
• Keep thy heart with = lit “Keep above all keepings.”
• Think of the time spent upon your home vacuuming, cleaning, dusting, decorating cp how much time is given to keeping the heart.
(ii) Like many of the other things we keep the heart will not keep itself - Illus: garden
(iii) Heart by nature unclean, deceitful
d. We need a clean heart, for a clean heart is the key to a clean life.
(i) Everything in life, both good and bad stems from the heart.
(ii) Out of it are the issues of life.
B. The condition of the heart then is a fundamental not an incidental.
1. God wants our hearts to be right, to be pure, to be tender, to be open to His will and closed to the world.
2. How important is the heart?
3. What about your heart? Is it right with God? Have ye your heart yet hardened?
II. The Impertinence of the Heart
A. As important the heart is, it has a quality that is less than flattering, the heart, though it is central to all that we are and all that we do, has a fatal tendency to deceive.
1. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
2. Can you really trust your heart? Should we always follow our instincts and feelings.
3. Recently a friend gave me this advice, “do what you feel God wants you to do and to follow your passions.”
4. Is that good advice? I don’t think so.
6. Because first of all what I feel God wants me to do is of little consequence without reference to His Word, and secondly, if I follow my passions (my heart) I will certainly be deceive d into doing something I ought not to have done.
7. No God has given me a guide for the heart, He has given me His Word, but sometimes our hearts are so brazen they try to supplant the very Word of God to us.
B. Listen to some of the responses pastors receive when they counsel folks from the Scriptures.