Summary: An inward look at the condition of our hearts.
Where’s My Heart?
Spiritual Heart Surgery
Morris, the loudmouth mechanic, was removing the cylinder heads from the motor of a car when he spotted a famous heart surgeon who was standing off to the side, waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his Mercedes. Morris shouted across the garage, “Hey Doc! Is that you? Come on ova’ here a minute.” The famous surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where Morris the mechanic was working on the car. Morris straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag, and asked argumentatively, “So, Mr. Fancy Doctor, look at this here work. I also open hearts, take valves out, grind ’em, put in new parts, and when I finish this baby will purr like a kitten. So, how come you get the big bucks, when you an’ me is doing basically the same work?” The surgeon leaned over and whispered to Morris the loudmouth mechanic, “Try doing it with the engine running.”
Now, I don’t want to take anything away from mechanics because what they do is amazing and impossible to me, but what they do does not even compare to what a heart surgeon can do. At my last church, we had a gentleman who went through the heart transplant process. He waited until a donor was available, and then, a doctor took out his heart and replaced it with another. It took over eight hours of surgery, but the surgeon was able to take a heart out of a 30 something year old woman who had died and placed it into a man in his late 50’s. Then, they shocked the heart to restart it, and the man fully recovered from the surgery to have a life that was much improved over what it had previously been. He had more energy, strength, and stamina than he had with his previous heart. That is completely amazing to me.
This morning, I know I am not dealing with heart surgeons, but I want to call on you to act like one. It’s sort of like the catchphrase, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV.” I want you to take a look at your heart and allow God to do some work on it. This morning, we are going to start a series called Spiritual Heart Surgery. And, just like regular type of surgery, this is not going to be easy. It is not going to be painless. It is going to be delicate, because it requires us to get outside our comfort zone and requires us to change. I want us to take an honest look at our hearts through the eyes of God to see what we need to do to have a heart that God desires us to have. And, to do this, it is going to require change. We may have to change our mindsets, our habits, our traditions, and the like. That is never easy, but we will perish if we don’t do it. Just like the heart transplant, we will die and live a life short of what God has for us unless we take out our heart and replace it with God’s heart. First of all, we must find out where our heart is. Let’s take a look at our Scripture this morning in Mark 7:1-8.
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
This morning, let’s take a look at where our heart is by looking inwardly at how we act. We need to ask ourselves some tough questions in order to do that. Before we go any farther, let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
Do I Have the Heart of a Pharisee?
How many of you remember the story of the ugly duckling? I always felt bad for the little guy. He never fit in. Even though he thought he was a duck and tried to act like a duck, he always was ridiculed by the other ducks. They would not accept him. Finally, after growing up, he found out that he didn’t belong with the ducks anyway. Even though he talked, walked, and acted like a duck, the truth was that he was not a duck. He was in fact a swan, but he did not find that out until he saw what other swans looked like and grew into one himself.