Summary: Preached to a church immediately preceeding the announcement of it’s Senior Pastor’s resignation over moral issues. It is only by knowing the true condition of my heart that I can be intentional and effective in aligning it with God’s heart!
THE CONTENTMENT CHALLENGE
September 4, 2005
“Gone Nutty” – Intro. from the movie, Ice Age
Have you ever been like that about something before? Something you so much desire to attain or keep that nothing, not even a catastrophe (or the onset of the Ice Age) will deter you? What kinds of things, ideas or goals do you pursue like that? Unfortunately, sometimes our desire to attain or keep – even things or during times that are dangerous - is so great that we ignore the obstacles and warning signs and just keep on pursuing, don’t we? But when we do that we will ultimately, even after successfully attaining it, get squished just like the prehistoric squirrel!
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful about all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
How well do you know your heart? To what depths have you plunged in honesty and understanding? I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning about myself and my heart.
I once thought that I knew it very well, but then life stripped away much (unfortunately not all) of my ignorance and arrogance. I’ve come to find that my heart is full of surprises – some good and some . . . not so good. You see, I have learned that it is often only in testing and challenge that we can see or know certain areas of my heart. And, because I am still encountering new experiences and challenges in my life, I continue to discover things about my heart. Sometimes it is joyous. Sometimes it is very painful and humbling. But I praise God for all those times and opportunities.
It is only by knowing the true condition of my heart that I can be intentional and effective in aligning it with God’s heart!
I.)The Heart-Shaped Fulcrum (v. 3)
A.Correct Understanding of Scripture
+ To assess the condition of our heart, we must first discover what a full and healthy
heart is supposed to look like.
+ This model is “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords
with godliness.” That is, the Scriptures.
+ The first key to understanding our own hearts is to have a correct understanding of
+ Correct understanding of Scripture is the fulcrum on which our lives and godliness
+ Paul, in this verse, is comparing the false teachers and their teachings as being “sick”,
whereas correct understanding of Scripture is “wholesome.”
+ False teachers tend to be more interested in promoting theory and debate then in
putting the truth into practice! They have a sick desire to expend themselves arguing
over words rather than applying the words of Scripture to their own lives and helping
others to do the same!
Application of Scripture: Fruit of Godliness
+ When we do apply the clear words of Scripture to our lives, this diet will inevitably
produce the fruit of godliness in our lives!
II.)The Character of Failure (vv. 4-5)
+ Notice carefully the flawed character traits and the failures which they represent.
+ As always, it begins with pride. Beginning that you are better, more special, smarter,
deserve more, and/or are entitled. Therefore, the rules apply differently to you than others.
+ The reality, Scripture here says, is that the proud “know nothing”!
+ Nevertheless, a prideful heart inevitably leads to a laundry list of disease. Beginning with
an obsession with disputes and arguments over words.
+ I can attest to this, I spent countless hours in college instigating and partaking of such
arguments. And in hindsight, they were meaningless, empty, and driven by pride. If I am
not careful, my flesh will still drag me into such.
+ The greater problem is that the results of such are just increasing “envy, strife,
reviling, evil suspicions (and) useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds.”
+ But, it doesn’t stop there. The ultimate result is becoming one who is “destitute of the
truth, who supposes that godliness is a means of gain.”
+ The proud leader stirs division and pursues personal gain.
+ Ever since I first came to Brookdale, people have been asking what is that great “sin” or
disease that has seemed to keep holding us back and creating so many problems for so
many years now? Clearly, it is a heart problem. Not in every individual, perhaps. But
certainly in enough, and too many in positions of official or unofficial leadership and
influence. And it’s not just this person or not. It has been a problem that has apparently
been going on for some time. The names and faces have changed, but there have always
been others to take their place. It is a problem of the heart, and it can no longer be