Summary: God has promised to give us a "new heart".But why not fix the old heart.... and what would a baby born in a manger have to do with this gift?

OPEN: A 4 year old girl was brought to the ER with a severe cough. But as little girls sometimes do… she talked and talked and talked which made it difficult for the nurse to listen to the sounds in her lung.

Finally, the nurse said, "Shhh, I have to see if Barney is in there."

The child looked up and calmly said,

"I have JESUS in my heart. BARNEY is on my underwear."

Ephesians 3:14-17 talks about having “Jesus in your heart”. Paul writes:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”

That truth is reflected in some of the old time hymns.

Sing them with me:

“Just now, your doubtings give o'er; Just now, reject Him no more;

Just now, throw open the door; Let Jesus come into your heart.”

Another sings it this way:

“What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart;

I have light in my soul for which long I have sought, since Jesus came into my heart.

CHORUS: Since Jesus came into my heart - since Jesus came into my heart;

Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.”

Everybody understands… having Jesus in our hearts is important

But our ability to have Jesus come into our Hearts depended entirely on the fact that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4

If Jesus hadn’t come… our hearts would be empty

One of the reasons Jesus came was to fulfill God’s promise to change our hearts.

Ezekiel 36:26 says

“I will give you a NEW HEART, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Jeremiah 24:7 “I will GIVE THEM A HEART TO KNOW that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah… I will put my law within them, and I will WRITE IT ON THEIR HEARTS. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

God promised to change our hearts!


The heart is perhaps the most vital of our organs. You can’t live without a heart – the heart dies, you die. And God knew that, and so He used the heart as one of the central symbols that symbolized what makes us… US.

For example Jesus quoted the Old Testament Law when He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, and with all your soul and all your mind”

But the heart is just a muscle… you can’t love with a muscle can you?

Of course you can’t “love” with a muscle. And yet God wanted us to understand the VALUE of love so He used the most valuable organ in our body to reflect how important love was.

And you see God do that several times throughout scripture

But God ALSO used the heart to symbolize what can be wrong with us. You see, if your physical heart goes bad… life gets difficult real quick.

Ephesians 4:17-19 says “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their HARDNESS OF HEART. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”

God was telling His people, a hardened heart lies at the very center of our problems.

In fact, God drives home the fact that we ALL suffer from this kind of heart disease.

For example Proverbs 20:9 declares

Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"?

And Jesus said “… out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’" Mark 7:21-23

The Bible tells us that all of us suffer from a heart problem.

As it says in Romans 3:23 “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Now, the problem is…

Most folks don’t think they have a problem.

They don’t believe they have a heart issue.

They think their heart is fairly healthy just the way it is.

If you ask them if they’re “bad” people… and they’ll get offended.

They’ll point at all the “Good Things” they’ve done.

Or they’ll point at their neighbors or relatives and how much worse someone else is than they are.

But God isn’t impressed by our righteous acts, nor by how much better we are than someone else because - compared to GOD’S righteousness - “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6

ILLUS: Try to look at it this way. Most people think of themselves as decent folks.

You’re decent people aren’t you?

Me too!

I mean, yeah… you and I sin, but we don’t sin THAT much.

So let’s do the math.

Given that even decent people sin, how often would a decent person sin?

I mean – would they sin say “3 times a day?”


3 sins a day x’s 7 days in a week = 21 sins a week

21 sins a week x’s 52 weeks a year = 1092 sins a year

Let’s say you that you only sin for 50 years = 54,600 sins

And THAT’S a decent person!!

Now that’s not to say that God hates US for this.

He’s just pointing out a spiritual reality!

If God hated you He wouldn’t have sent His only begotten son so that you might believe in Him and have everlasting life.

And if God hated you He wouldn’t have spent all that time setting things up so that “… when the fullness of time had come, (He would send) forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem (us) so that you and I might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5

One person said it this way:

“God loves you just the way you are.

But He loves you too much to leave you that way!”

(Max Lucado?)

But why a NEW heart?

Why not just fix the OLD one we have?

Well, apparently God knew fixing the old one wouldn’t work.

That’s why God had promised:

“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the HEART OF STONE from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Notice that phrase “heart of stone”

The heart had gone to the point of no return.

And when your spiritual heart gets that bad… you can’t FIX it.

You have replace it!

ILLUS: Have you ever considered the fact people who have needed a physical heart transplant didn’t just wake up one morning and find that their heart was bad.

The heart had grown bad, day after day, year after year until FINALLY it was on the verge of dying

By the time we realize we need Jesus in charge of our lives our spiritual heart has decayed and deteriorated to the point it can’t be fixed. That’s why part of what God says we need to do to be saved is REPENT. Repentance is the acknowledgement that our sins have robbed us of any chance of getting into heaven.

That’s the BAD news.

The Good news is that God had always had a plan for that.

He had always planned to replace our Old heart of stone with a new one of flesh.

He had always planned to remake us as a New Creation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 declares: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

And Romans 6:4 tells us that when we rise out of the waters of baptism that “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

ILLUS: I’m told that many Chinese believers understand this. They say that in some churches in China, they welcome new believers by saying, "Jesus now has a new pair of eyes to see with, new ears to listen with, new hands to help with, and a new heart to love others with."

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 229-230.

That was God’s message in sending Jesus as a baby.

A baby is a “brand New thing.”

They’re cute and pink and cuddly.

They’re not decayed and deteriorated.

And they're also innocent and gentle.

And that was part of the message in the manger.

When God sent His Son to earth in the form of a baby He did it because people can identify with the innocence and gentleness of a child.

That’s a powerful message, because we live in a world that is filled with selfishness, greed, manipulation. immorality, malice, deceit, lewdness, arrogance and folly.

It’s decayed and corrupt.

It’s spiritually dead at its heart.

I got to thinking about innocence and gentleness and I got to thinking about Disney.

ILLUS: Disney is the symbol of innocence and gentleness in our society. Parents feel they can trust Disney not to mistreat or mislead their children.

And yet… have you noticed that a vast number of their child stars have pretty much trashed their lives?

Bobby Driscoll (the voice of Peter Pan). Before he died at age 31, Driscoll faced numerous arrests for drug possession, assault and forgery and was sentenced to six months in prison and spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

Lindsay Lohan has repeatedly arrested for offenses ranging from DUI and burglary and has been in and out of rehab for drugs and alcohol abuse for years

Shia Labeouf is known for his foul mouth, repeated intoxications and bar fights. In 2014, he was arrested and escorted from a Cabaret show for harassing a homeless man.

Britney Spears, a successful rock star that has had a mental breakdown, divorce, a messy custody battle and estranged from her parents. And a serious struggle with drug abuse."

These are just a few of the messes in the lives of kids we would have tho’t were nice kids.

Why have they turned out like they have?

Well, they’ve turned out that was because Disney is a secular organization trying to project innocence with kids that are living in a secular world. Sooner or later… the sinfulness of the world was going to win out.

Disney is working with damaged goods… people with damaged hearts.

The folks at Disney - just like us - need a new heart

Now compared to those Disney CHILD STARS, God has given us something better.

God gave us His Child… and He pointed to that child with a REAL STAR.

And God has offered us more than just a Disney SHOW about innocence and gentleness. Instead God has offered us a chance to be part of the story where we become innocent and pure of heart. A chance to change who we are… to place Jesus inside of hearts.

But the key thing is this…

In order to experience that change in our lives

You have to WANT to have Jesus in your heart

You have to WANT Him to be part of your life

You have to realize how empty your life is without Him.

CLOSE: There was once a missionary team that had been invited to Russia to teach Christianity. It was Christmastime, and as they taught the story of Christ's birth at an orphanage, everyone listened in amazement. None of the kids or the staff had ever heard it before.

The missionaries said: "We gave the children some materials and instructed them to create the manger scene that they had just heard about. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat; he looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project.

"As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but 2 babies in the manger. I called for a translator to ask why. Looking at his completed manger, the child began to repeat the story accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.

Then Misha started to ad-lib his own ending to the story.

"He said, 'And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mama and no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him forever.'

"Putting his hand over his face, Misha's head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. He had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him forever."

Story related by Stan Cole

Misha understood the message of the manger

It was a message that said - God loved Him and wanted him to be His

It was a message that said – God could make his life NEW again