Summary: How we tend to have divided hearts, and how God wants us to be single-hearted for him.
The Undivided Heart (Bishopsgate, 10/99/00)
1. Introduction- discrimination; the Internet (my U6, search for ‘God’); saying ‘no’ to things- deselecting is harder than selecting; every choice you make, there are ten you don’t- imperative to get it right, then? How can we? How do we know what to say no to, and what to say yes to? And once we have decided, how do we stick with our choices without wavering? Example- imagine you’re going along a main road…very narrow, but clearly signposted side road…Once we’ve made the choice, to follow this road, will we persevere with it? Only if we know it’s absolutely worth following. If we still have a grain of doubt in our minds (maybe I should have stuck with the broader road), our heart will be divided. Only if we know it’s the right road will we have an undivided heart towards it.
2. Finding the right road
a. Look in your own heart (example- woman on radio- go my own way ; verses- selection on ‘imagination’; last verse in Judges)
b. Look for leadership (example- Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot = death & evil; even Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, etc. = death; verses- Psalms 146:3, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help")
c. Look towards loved ones (example- family, friends = death & evil sometimes…cannot satisfy; verses- Job 1:21- “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”)
d. Look towards literature and philosophy (Koran, Das Kapital, Bhagavad Gita, Geri Halliwell’s If Only…; verses- Ecclesiastes 12:12, "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh"; Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death")
e. Look towards The Creator and His Word. God is there and He has spoken- in Creation (Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse"), the written Word (just because there are counterfeits, it does not mean there may not be a single book which is true- Psalms 119:160, "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever") and the Word made flesh (John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth"; Hebrews 1:1-3). God= transcendent, ineffable, immortal, invisible (1 Timothy 6:16, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen"). Therefore, only by God’s self-revelation (in flesh and book) can we know Him, and therefore know the right road to take- the via dolorosa, the way of the Cross- Matthew 16:24, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." This road is difficult and narrow- Matthew 7:13,14- but entirely worth it- Psalms 16:11, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.")
3. How? In what ways do we tend to have divided hearts towards God?
a. We are proud, self-righteous, hypocritical, egotistical, vain, pretentious, ostentatious show-offs! (Matthew 6:1-4,16-18; example: Jehu- 2 Kings 10:16, "And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot"; 2 Kings 10:31, "But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.")
b. We insist on worshipping the right God in the wrong way (vs.5-8, Abraham & Ishmael, even Aaron and the Golden Calves, cf. Jehu)
c. We say we love God, but hate those whom He loves (v15, cf. James 3:9, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God." & 1 John 2:9, "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now"; example- Diotrephes, 3 John)
d. We love other things more, even good things! (v19-21,24; examples: money- rich young ruler; women- Solomon- 1 Kings 11; even though- Proverbs 31:3, "Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings"; Colossians 3:2, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Arni’s letter to his dad- that which endures)