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.