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Don't Follow Your Heart - Follow Christ

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Intro

Good morning, if you would like to go ahead and turn your Bibles to Jeremiah chapter 17 we will be reading from there shortly. As I'm sure you are aware, todays popular culture has embraced the idea of worshipping self. If you turn on the radio, go to the movies, or watch the TV, you will be bombarded with the idea of "Follow your heart". The "Follow your heart" mantra is now so deeply rooted in our culture that the effects are obvious and disturbing. On the surface, it seems like an innocent slogan, but unfortunately our culture has turned that phrase into, "Do what YOU want, Do what makes YOU happy, happiness is the number one thing in YOUR life. Find happiness at all costs"
If you look at social statistics for the past 30 years you can see where this kind of thinking leads. An incredibly high divorce rate. Drug addiction rates at all-time highs. Consumer debt levels that are higher than ever. Then there is probably the worst example of where self-worship leads: murder in the form of abortion. The culture of this country and the law of the land permit the murder of little babies for no other reason than a baby just doesn't fit the lifestyle that the mother wants.
What does the Word of God say about the heart? says:
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? ( NASB)
Proverbs 16:25 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
When we survey the world news and statistics, the fruit that has been borne through following the terrible advice of “following your heart” becomes obvious.
876,000 divorces a year.
65,000 deaths due to alcohol and drug use every year.
A pornography industry with an estimated $1.8 Billion in revenue every year
Over 1 million abortions every year in the United States.
These are symptoms of a culture that is following deceitful and desperately sick heart!
The Hebrew word for heart is leb and the Greek word for heart is Kardia, which is where we get the English word cardio. According to Strong's Concordance, The heart is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. Now I didn’t have a chance to study all 800+ mentions of the heart, so I hope you brought your Bibles as we have plenty of material to try to cover in a short amount of time. It’s obvious that the word heart in is not referring to the physical organ inside all of us. So what does the Bible mean when it speaks about the heart?
Answering that question is not as easy as one might think. Just as our current medical community can't agree on the definition of the word "mind", scholars still have differing opinions about the definition of the heart. However, In general the word heart can be defined as the center or seat of physical and spiritual life. According to scripture the heart is responsible for a man's thoughts and beliefs, his will, his emotions and his conscience. Jesus accused the Pharisees for thinking evil in their hearts in when he told a paralysed man that his sins were forgiven.
Romans 10:10 ESV
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
The heart is also attributed emotions such as Joy, gladness and sorrow. Just as the heart organ is at the center of our circulatory system and provides oxygenated blood for our bodies to keep working, our spiritual heart also feeds our thoughts and actions. warns us to
The heart is also attributed emotions such as Joy, gladness and sorrow. Just as the heart organ is at the center of our circulatory system and provides oxygenated blood for our bodies to keep working, our spiritual heart also feeds our thoughts and actions. warns us to
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
and Jesus said in Luke chapter 6 verse 45 that
Luke 6:45 ESV
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
So let's look at all the information we have so far. We know that the scriptures tell us that the heart is desperately sick and more deceitful than all else. We also know that our hearts are at the very center of what we do, believe, feel, say, and think. And we know that we live in a culture that promotes following the desires of that very deceitful and sick heart. Is there any wonder why we have a society in moral decline?
From early on the human race has had a heart problem. Mankind hadn't been around for very long when in
Genesis 6:5–8 ESV
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Genesis 6:And we know that God did that by bringing a flood that killed every living thing except for what was on the ark that Noah built out of obedience to God's command. Skip a few chapters to chapter 8 starting in verse 20 we pick up after the flood waters had receded and Noah and his family along with all the animals have come off the ark "Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done."
And we know that God did that by bringing a flood that killed every living thing except for what was on the ark that Noah built out of obedience to God's command. Skip a few chapters to chapter 8 starting in verse 20 we pick up after the flood waters had receded and Noah and his family along with all the animals have come off the ark
Genesis 8:20–21 ESV
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.
Genesis 8:20-
What we see in verse 21 is that God knows that the heart of man will always be sick. So is hope lost? No!
"Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done."
What we see in verse 21 is that God knows that the heart of man will always be sick. We also see throughout the Old Testament that the Lord had plans for changing our hearts. I wasn’t able to be here this morning to hear Chuck’s lesson, but I understand from what I read on our Facebook page in summary of his lesson, that he mentioned prophesies as evidence of Biblical accuracy and proof of its trustworthiness. Let’s take a look at a few of those prophesies that mention the heart specifically. In Genesis chapter 17 we see that God made a Covenant of Circumcision of the flesh with Abraham, but later we see in Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 6 that what God really desired was for God to change them through a circumcision of the heart. Then of course we have God giving Moses the written law and commandments, but then we see what God really desired in Jeremiah chapter 31 and verse 33 was for His law to be written on their hearts and minds. God knew that it was going to take heart surgery to fix what was broken inside of us.
We also see throughout the Old Testament that the Lord had plans for changing our hearts. On Sunday evenings we have been going through the book of Genesis and last week we talked about the importance of Covenant to God. Let’s take a look at a few of those prophesies that mention the heart specifically. In Genesis chapter 17 we see that God made a Covenant of Circumcision of the flesh with Abraham, but later we see in Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 6 that what God really desired was for God to change them through a circumcision of the heart.
Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
De Then of course we have God giving Moses the written law and commandments, but then we see what God really desired in Jeremiah chapter 31 and verse 33 was for His law to be written on their hearts and minds. God knew that it was going to take heart surgery to fix what was broken inside of us.
Then of course we have God giving Moses the written law and commandments, but then we see what God really desired in Jeremiah chapter 31 and verse 33 was for His law to be written on their hearts and minds. God knew that it was going to take heart surgery to fix what was broken inside of us.
Jeremiah 31:33 ESV
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: 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.
Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
and in
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
And 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.
Of course we know that God accomplished this by sending His only son to pay the price for our sins (). We also know that through obeying the Gospel () that we are added by God to The Church which is His Body (, ). In Colossians chapter 2 starting in verse 9 we finally see that God has fulfilled His promise to us by performing surgery on our hearts.
Colossians 2:9–12 ESV
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
You see, the only way to cure that desperately sick and deceitful heart is through the circumcision of Christ and continuing to accept God's Laws into your mind and heart. This is the fulfillment of the circumcision of the heart spoken about in
Deutt 30:6
Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
When we obey the Gospel of Christ our hearts and minds should be transformed to accept the truth of God’s word! We should desire that the truth contained within these pages of scripture don’t remain only on this paper, but as we read and study that God’s will gets transferred to the walls of our hearts! Transforming our hearts from one that desperately wicked, to one that has been changed.
When we obey the Gospel of Christ our hearts and minds should be transformed to accept the truth of God’s word! We should desire that the truth contained within these pages of scripture don’t remain only on this paper, but as we read and study that God’s will gets transferred to the walls of our hearts! Transforming our hearts from one that desperately wicked, to one that has been changed.
However, us in the Lord’s Church are warned against letting our guard down even after this operation takes place.
James 1:26 ESV
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
states that “26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” verse 8 “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” tells us “6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Philippians 4:6–7 ESV
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
:8 “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” tells us “6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6 ESV
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
tells us “6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If we continuously seek to do the will of God through prayer and studying his word, God will guard our hearts.
So now we finally get to what we should be shouting from the mountaintops in opposition to "follow your heart" which is "Follow God's Will!" Jesus himself told his disciples in
John 4:34 ESV
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
that “His food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” In Luke chapter 22 starting in verse 42 Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane “42saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus was completely dedicated to doing the will of His Father to the point that he endured humiliation, torture, and death on the cross for our benefit.
In Luke chapter 22 starting in verse 42 Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane
Luke 22:42 ESV
saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Jesus was completely dedicated to doing the will of His Father to the point that he endured humiliation, torture, and death on the cross for our the glorification of God in Him reconciling us to the Father.
Naturally that raises the question, “If God’s will for his Son was humiliation, torture, and death on the cross, what is God's will for us?” We are told in
1 Timothy 2:3 ESV
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Timothy 2:3–4 ESV
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
that "3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [c]knowledge of the truth." and again in " The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." We also see in "For this is the will of God, your sanctification;” God wishes that everyone come to know the truth and obey the gospel of His Son Jesus the Christ to become sanctified which means set apart for Him.
and again in
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
We also see in
1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
" The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." We also see in "For this is the will of God, your sanctification;” God wishes that everyone come to know the truth and obey the gospel of His Son Jesus the Christ to become sanctified which means set apart for Him.
God wishes that everyone come to know the truth and obey the gospel of His Son Jesus the Christ to become sanctified which means set apart for Him.
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification;” God wishes that everyone come to know the truth and obey the gospel of His Son Jesus the Christ to become sanctified which means set apart for Him.
Have you bought into the lie of our culture to follow your heart? Paul wrote in
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Once again we see that following the will of God is the thing we ought to be striving for, not trying to blend in with the world.
Once again we see that following the will of God is the thing we ought to be striving for, not trying to blend in with the world.
I want to encourage you all today to seek first to do the will of God. We all have friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances that are walking around out there today with a sick and deceitful heart that they are being told that they should follow, without knowing that doing so will destroy them. We must let them know that there is a cure found through an operation and that God's operating table is always ready. Maybe you are sitting out there tonight with a sick heart and you are wanting to change. If so you know you have been following that deceitful heart for way too long, and we urge you don't wait any longer. If you have that need, you can come now as we stand and sing.
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