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What Is Your Hearts Desire

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Acts 13:22                              What is your hearts desire?

 

Epitaph-a short composition in prose or verse written as a tribute to a dead person.

 

Some are serious and others are humorous:

1.      Boot Hill Cemetery-Dodge city: Here lies Old Joe.  He died with his boots on.  (A pair of boots sticking up out of the ground at the foot of the grave.)

2.      Shakespeare: He was not of an age, but for all time.

3.      85-year-old scientist: He died learning.

4.      All dressed up and no place to go.

5.      Remember friend, when passing by, as you are now, so once was I.  As I am now, soon you will be, prepare for death and follow me.

6.      Someone later added: To follow you I am not content, until I know which way you went.

The epitaph, to me, that is the most inspiring and perplexing of all is found written in the Bible. 

Let us now hear the words of Acts 13:22.  “And when He had removed him (speaking about King Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will do all My will.””

 

What can we learn from David?

 

            The life of David makes for a fascinating character study.  This is one of those rags to riches stories.  David started out a shepherd boy, and ended up a king.  He became a great warrior and consolidated the tiny nation of Israel into a powerful kingdom that ruled a large part of the Middle East during the 10th century B.C.

            But with all his accomplishments, David's great claim to fame, so to speak, is God's epitaph, "I have found David... a man after my own heart."

            As I said earlier, I find this statement perplexing.  God is declaring his approval of David's heart and life.  This is puzzling, in light of the fact that David's actions weren't always godly.  In case you're unfamiliar with David's life, let me give you a brief overview of his checkered history.

1.      David was a warrior who shed much blood (1 Chronicles 22:8).

2.      David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4).

3.      David later found out he had gotten Bathsheba pregnant.  To solve the problem, David ordered Bathsheba's husband put into a forward battle position where he was killed (2 Samuel 11:5-17).

4.      David had multiple wives (2 Samuel 3:1-5).

5.      David was a negligent Father, and his family was plagued with strife and tragedy (2 Samuel 13:15-18, 28-29; 18:33).

6.      Contrary to the Lord's command, David pridefully numbered his troops, causing 70,000 of his people to die in a plague (2 Samuel 24:10, 15).

And yet God states, "I have found David... a man after my own heart."  How can that be?  How could God possibly commend a man with that kind of background?

I'm glad you asked those questions.

Yes, David was a man with feet of clay, a man who at times committed sins that most of us could not imagine, let alone commit.  Yet, over the long haul, David sought to be righteous and his hearts desire was to do God's will.  This is the kind of person God looks for (Jeremiah 5:1-9).  God doesn't expect perfection, as we can clearly see from David.  With all the David had done wrong in his life, God could still look at David's heart and say he was a man after his own heart-a man who did God's will.

This my friends is the enabling grace of God.  There can be no other explanation.  By his actions, David doesn't deserve God's blessings.  But in his heart he had the right desire-a longing to follow and please God.

That brings me to an important question.  Do you want to be a person after God's own heart?  Or put it another way, is your hearts desire to follow after God?

You may think that's unrealistic because you have a tendency to take three steps forward and two steps back in your spiritual walk with God.  You may imagine that being a person after God's own heart is too lofty a goal.  You may conclude that it's not possible, because of some of your past actions.

But you and I must never forget one thing: God looked at David's heart.  And that's where God is going to look in our lives two.  When it comes to becoming a person after God's own heart, we can count on grace to enable and strengthen us at all times.

There was a man named John Newton (1725-1807).  He was a rough, wicked slave trader who later described himself as a wretch, who was lost and spiritually blind.  But one day the grace of God used a fierce storm to put fear into the heart of this wicked slave merchant.  According to Newton's own testimony that storm and a book called "The Imitation of Christ" led him to a genuine conversion and brought a dramatic change in his life and in his way of life.

John Newton never ceased to marvel at God's grace, which had transformed him  so completely.  To express that marvelous grace, Newton wrote the now famous hymn "Amazing Grace."

            Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like named!  I once was lost, but now I'm found; was blind, but now I see.

 

You see, God looked at John Newton's heart, just as he looked at David's.  And my friends, that's where he is going to look in our life, too.

 

 

The grace of God to you.

 

  1. When God looks at your life, what does he look for?
    1. He doesn't look for perfection.
    2. Like David and John Newton, every person has sinned.  Every person has disobeyed God.
    3. But now for the good news.  Because Jesus was perfect and new no sin, he was able to die for your sins and mine to pay the penalty for sin, which his death.

He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Because of what Jesus did, we can be cleansed of sin and approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

  1. What does it mean to become a Christian?
    1. Looking to God and his grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
    2. Repent of and turning away from our sins.
    3. Accepting God's gift of eternal life through his Son’s death on our behalf.
    4. Receiving God's mercy for forgiveness, and living by his grace.

Being a Christian doesn't mean you and I don't sin anymore.  We still sin, but sin will cease to be the dominating pattern of our lives.

  1. Have you received Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life?

Perhaps you have already taken that step of faith and received Christ as your Savior.  If not, this is truly the time to take that first step.  It begins here at the altar.

If you are a Christian, this epitaph found in England, could well be written about you:

                  I have sinned;

I have repented;

I have trusted;

I have loved;

I rest;

I shall rise;

I shall reign.

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