Summary: Man is in desperate need of a heart transplant.
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.
What’s on the Inside?
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Introduction: In the Movie Godfather III Mafia chief Michael Corleone meets with Cardinal Lamberto, reporting to the cardinal that executives from the Vatican bank and even an archbishop have been involved in a massive case of fraud. After hearing the news Cardinal Lamberto moves to a water fountain withdraws a stone and says: “Look at this stone. It has been in the water for a very long time, but the water has not penetrated it.” He then breaks the stone in two, shows the inside to Don Michael and contuse, “Look. Perfectly dry. The same thing has happened to men in Europe. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity but Christ has not penetrated. Christ does not breathe within them.” (Jim Davis’ Verse A Week Club) The movie scene actually points out a significant spiritual truth – It is not enough to be exposed to Christianity. Man is in desperate need of a heart transplant.
I. Without Christ actively working within, man’s heart is hard.
A. Man may look good on the outside but it is not what is on the outside that counts. It’s what’s inside.
B. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
C. I have here an old watch. It looks like any other watch. It has a case, hands and a face. It has a chain and all the requisite parts that are necessary for it to carry out its function as a timepiece. However, there is a problem with this watch. You see, it just won’t run! Why not? It won’t run because it has a problem with its heart. Inside this case, there is a spring that is the heart of this watch. That spring is essential to the proper operation of this watch as a timepiece. That spring, the heart of this watch, is defective! The heart of the problem with this watch is a problem of the heart of this watch. There are plenty of people in the church and in religious circles who are just like this watch. On the outside they look fine. They appear to be religious and they do good things, but they cannot function as they were designed to function. They cannot truly worship God and bring glory to Him because they have a problem that cannot be readily seen by a mere surface inspection of their life. They have a problem with their heart!
D. I Samuel 16:7 “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
E. Man’s heart is hardened by sin.
• Hebrews 13:3 “Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
F. Man’s heart is hardened by stubbornness.
• Psalm 95:8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,”
G. Man’s heart is hardened by self-sufficiency.
• Daniel 5:20 “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.”
H. Man’s heart is hardened by unbelief
• Mark 16:14 “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
I. Man’s heart is hardened by neglect.
• Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
• If you live in a graveyard too long you stop crying when someone dies.
J. Man needs a new heart to replace the heart of stone. What people need is a new heart, a new character and personality: new thoughts, feelings, way of life, new ways of doing things. Jesus summarized man’s heart, "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (Matthew 15:19).
II. When Christ is allowed to work within, man’s heart is transformed.