Summary: There are three types of heart you may have: 1. A Degenerate heart, 2. A Divided heart or 3. A Delivered heart. This sermon seeks to explore which one you have.
SERMON 04-10-2015 WSG-MSJ
This morning/evening I just want to look at one phrase that Jesus uses and it is this phrase from Mk 10:5 where Jesus said:
“It was because your hearts were hard”
But let me start by telling you a rather unusual story that I came across some years ago.
On 24th February 1948, one of the most unusual operations in medical history took place - at the Department of Research Surgery at Ohio State University..
A stony sheath was removed from around the heart of Harry Besharra, a man thirty years of age.
When only a boy he had accidentally been shot by a school friend with a .22-caliber rifle.
The bullet had lodged in his heart but had not killed him, so the doctors just left it there.
However, little did they know that a lime deposit had begun to form over the protective covering of the heart and gradually was strangling it.
The operation was a delicate one.
It required the separating the ribs and moving the left lung to one side.
Then the stony coating was lifted from the heart as an orange is peeled.
Immediately the pressure of the heart was reduced, and it responded by expanding and pumping normally.
"I feel a thousand per cent better already," said the patient soon after the operation.
And there is a parable of life in this story too.
Our hearts develop a hard protective coating because of accidents and incidents in life.
They are coated by the deposits of a thousand deceits and rebuffs.
They are hardened by the pressure of circumstances.
And they can squeeze the real life out of us.
I have been over in Zermatt as Chaplain to St Peter’s Church there for the last two weeks
And this has given me a bit of time to reflect on my life – and though I might not have worded it as such, essentially the question I have been mulling over is:
Where is my heart?
Let us start by looking at some of the Scriptures relating to the heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart-For they will see God.
As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.
My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep my ways.
So let’s start by considering: What is the definition of the heart.
1. One definition given is it is that organ that DISTINGUISHES the LIVING from the DEAD.
2. Another definition is that it forms the central part of a man.
And it is this definition that I would like consider today.
And to me it seems there are three types of heart
I. A Degenerate Heart
II. A Divided Heart and
III. A Delivered Heart (or Divinely Orientated Heart).
Let us look at each in turn
I. A Degenerate Heart.
Let us start by considering what the Scripture has to say about a degenerate heart..
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Mark: 7: 20-21
What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God for they will return to me with all their heart.
"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour or man his brother saying: Know the Lord, because they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest" declares the Lord.
In fact before we come to Christ – the Bible tells us that our heart is degenerate.
It is not focussed on Christ but on other gods
Football teams, golf, success in business, adultery……
The list goes on
But we have a wonderful promise in Ez. 36: 25-26
I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you - A NEW HEART and put a NEW SPIRIT (the Holy Spirit I believe) within you. I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
John 7: 37
Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, steams of living waters will flow from within him."
2 Cor. 5:17
Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creature, the old has passed away, the new has come.