Summary: What indicates the need for a new heart? As sinners, all of us need a new heart. Have you had a spiritual heart transplant? God’s Spirit will circumcise unbelieving hearts and give a heart that loves God, desires to obey Him and has the power to obey Him.
Opening illustration: A friend who is a heart transplant cardiologist has an appreciation of Ezekiel 36: 26 that not many of us can understand. Dr. Mohan was one of the top Christian heart-transplant surgeons. He’s often in the operating room as he removes diseased, discolored hearts and replaced them with vibrant, pink “new” donor hearts.
Dr. Mohan explained that the process for selecting who gets a “new” physical heart is similar to who can get a “new heart” from God (Ezekiel 36: 26). In both cases, NEED alone is the criterion.
Ezekiel’s mention of the people of Israel someday getting a “new heart” is a foreshadowing of the change that takes place at salvation. Ephesians 4: 24 and 2 Corinthians 5: 17 refer to it as “new man” and “new creation.” For the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day and for those of us living today, only one criterion must be met for us to acquire a “transplant.” We must need it. It matters not whether we’re rich or poor, respected or scorned. Citizenship, social status, and ethnicity are inconsequential. If we need a new heart from God, we can have one through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
What indicates that need? As sinners, all of us need a new heart. Have you had a spiritual heart transplant?
Let us turn to Ezekiel 36 in our Bibles and get study God given instructions for a ‘heart transplant’ ..
Introduction: God’s Spirit will circumcise unbelieving hearts and give a heart that loves God, desires to obey Him and has the power to obey Him. This is clearly a description of the New Covenant which is promised in Jeremiah. We need a new heart because we inherited a sinful heart from Adam (Romans 5: 12; Jeremiah 17: 9). While God commanded Abraham to carry out physical circumcision, ultimately His desire for all mankind (women included) is spiritual circumcision. In Deuteronomy Moses speaking metaphorically instructed Israel to "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart." (Deuteronomy 10: 16KJV) How is this humanly possible? It’s not! Moses gives us the answer (addressing Israel but applicable to all mankind) declaring that "Jehovah your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live (spiritually, all mankind needs a "divine heart transplant" = Ephesians 2: 1). Remember that Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture (Compare Scripture with Scripture), and so we go to Colossians where Paul teaches us that "in Him (Christ) you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands (Paul is addressing those who have already become believers or saints by grace through faith, see "the Gospel" in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. (Personal faith or belief in His death, burial and resurrection gives us spiritual life via the New Covenant in His blood) having been buried with Him in baptism (identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection), in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were (spiritually) dead in your transgressions and the un-circumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions" (Colossians 2: 11, 12, 13). The passage focusses on having a new heart installed in lieu of the old one.
(A) What happens in a ‘heart transplant?’
1. Heart becomes SOFT and TEACHABLE (v. 26; 11:9)
• You can enlighten someone’s understanding, but if their heart’s wrong, it only enables them to sin w/greater weight of responsibility resting on him.
• He knows good to be good, but he prefers evil.
• He sees the light but prefers darkness.
• He turns from the truth because his heart is alienated from God.
• I will change the whole of your infected nature; and give you new appetites, new passions; or, at least, the old ones purified and refined.
• The heart is generally understood to mean all the affections and passions.
• I will renew your minds, also enlighten your understanding, correct your judgment, and refine your will; so that you shall have a new spirit to actuate your new heart.
2. Heart is RENEWED (v. 27; 18:31)
• What Moses law could not do God does through His "Spirit within you." His dwelling within enables the "new heart."
• The heart of stone has been removed and replaced with a "new heart" and "a new spirit."
• Only the sovereign grace of God can do that.
• As the believer yields to the Holy Spirit He enables us to "walk" in the statutes of God and carefully observe His "ordinances."
• The holy life is an exchanged life.