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Summary: The sermon deals with the hardening of the spiritual heart.

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The Heart of the Matter (Part Three)

"Spiritual Cholesterol"

Introduction

A. "For this people’s heart has become calloused; their ears are hard of hearing, and

they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with

their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." (Matt.

13:15)

B. "These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8)

C. "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing

up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous

judgment will be revealed." (Romans 2:5)

D. "Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their

unbelief and hardness of heart." (Mark 16:14)

E. "Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart

falls into trouble." (Proverbs 28:14)

F. What do you think about or what comes to your mind when you think of someone

being hard hearted? What kind of picture do you see?

1. Do we think of Adolph Hitler? All of those innocent people who suffered and died.

2. Do we think of a mass murderer? He has no conscience or guilt feelings at all.

3. Do we think of the husband who tells his wife, "I want a divorce! I want you

out of my life and I don’t care what you think!"

4. Do we think of a mother or a father leaving or abandoning their children?

5. Do we think of a young person (a teen) who looks at her parents and says, "I

hate you! I don’t want to live here anymore. I wish you were out of my life!"

G. Did any of that hit close to home? Maybe you were thinking, "Ouch! I don’t

want to be like that! I don’t want anyone to ever say that I’m hard hearted!"

H. It’s a shame to see people act like that, isn’t it? But what is more pitiful is to

see people who were once such dedicated Christians who, because of years of

life or bad circumstances, have become hard hearted.

I. Has your relationship with Jesus become lifeless and stale because your heart is

hard? Are you no longer moved by a lesson or touched by a scripture?

J. Point: Spiritual hardness of the heart, just like the hardening of the arteries, can

happen to the best of us!

K. In our series on "The Heart of the Matter" we have discussed heart trouble and

intensive care for broken hearts.

1. Our lesson for today is "Spiritual Cholesterol—The Hardening of the Heart."

2. This heart condition is the most serious and dangerous one of all.

3. Why is it the most serious and dangerous one? Because once I block God from

my heart there’s not a lot He can do.

4. O, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t powerful. But God didn’t create robots! We

are free to choose what we do!

5. Good News: If we will open our hearts to God, He has the power to get our

hearts running smoothly if they have become clogged with spiritual cholesterol.

L. I’m not quite sure when they discovered the effect that cholesterol has on the

heart. However, once the discovery was made and people heard about the danger of having a high cholesterol number, people made sure to have their cholesterol level checked.

1. I remember the first time mine was checked. My number was 128. (Jealousy!)

2. But if your number is up in the 300’s or 400’s then there is a strong possibility

that you will experience a hardening of the arteries.

M. I find it very interesting that we pay so much attention to the condition of our

physical hearts and yet we ignore and neglect the condition of our spiritual hearts.

N. A few moments ago, I asked you what comes to mind when you think of some-

one being hard hearted.

1. Some of the things I mentioned were "hot button" topics. They were emotional,

family type of things.

O. But what about spiritually? Do any of these situations hit close to home?

1. Have you ever knocked on someone’s door to visit them or to have a study and

they say, "No thank you! I’m NOT interested! Bye!" They slam the door.

2. Or you visit someone to encourage them to come to worship services more often

or to get involved in the work of the church but they say, "Listen, we’re coming

to worship on Sunday morning only and that’s it! Nothing more!"

3. What about the person who at one time was so active in the church but they

have fallen away and no longer have anything to do with the church? When

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