Sermon Heart Transplant
“Spiritual Heart By-Pass Surgery”
1 Samuel 7:2-4
“The concept of heart transplantation dates back to at least 400 AD in China. The book of Liezi tells a story of Bian Que exchanging the hearts of two warriors to balance their personal characteristics
The first heart transplanted into a human occurred in 1964 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi when a team led by Dr. James Hardy transplanted a chimpanzee heart into a dying patient. The heart beat for 70 minutes before stopping.
The first human to human heart transplant was performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard in December 1967. The patient was Louis Washkansky of Cape Town, South Africa, who lived for 18 days after the procedure before dying of pneumonia.
The first successful United States heart transplant was done at Stanford University by Doctor Norman Shumway in January, 1968. Subsequently, another transplant was done at St. Luke’s hospital in Houston Texas by Denton Cooley in June 1968. The recipient, Mr. Thomas only survived 8 months before dying of rejection of the transplanted heart.
A series of five subsequent heart transplants were done that month by Dr. Cooley followed by a number of transplants in Houston that year before the program was canceled.
In 1984, at two years old, Elizabeth Craze became the youngest surviving heart transplant patient.
As we gather tonight I want us to think about a different kind of heart transplant. I want us to think about the “spiritual heart transplant” that every man, woman, boy or girl receives who has repented of their sin and expressed their faith in the Lord’s work of redemption upon the cross of Calvary. The heart transplant that God himself promised us through the prophet Ezekiel 36:26 when He proclaimed;
“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.”
Everyone here tonight needs this transplant – if we don’t receive it we will surely die in our trespasses and sins and be forever separated from God in Hell.
But as much as a lost person needs a new heart, most believers in our day need to have “spiritual bypass surgery” because their hearts have been clogged by all kinds of impurities. We proudly proclaim with the hymn writer that we are “Saved, Saved” but our lives appear to be no different than those of the world. Today the world no longer “thinks it strange that you do not run with them” (1 Peter 4:4a) but slander Christians as hypocrites, and rightly so if we don’t demonstrate a life that is different from theirs. When we partake in the same jokes, drinks, entertainment and so on, why should they want what we got? They don’t see our faith making any difference.
Can I be honest with you tonight? I firmly believe that we the members of FBCLP needs “spiritual heart by-pass” surgery. Before you tune me out, listen carefully to what I have to say. If FBCLP is going to be the church that God uses to build the His Kingdom for His glory then we must reorganize our priorities!
Our lack of commitment, our self-seeking, self-serving attitude, and the way we treat our fellow brothers and sisters all point to the reality of a heart issue. Not that we are bad people, we’re not! We have just allowed our priorities to slip and have allowed the wrong things to take its place.
Tonight I want to point us to the Scripture and hopefully we will allow the truth to clean out our clogged arteries.
As I read the Old Testament I find that modern believers are not much different from the Israelites. They experienced God’s hand of blessing and enjoyed the bounty of His mercy but often forgot to make Him the priority of their lives. Because of this they sunk into an all time spiritual lull. The nation turned their hearts from God and turned them to idols and selfish living. God often sent His word of condemnation through His prophets but the people often rejected the message.
It was during one of those spiritually low times that God raised up the Prophet Samuel. Even the spiritual leaders of that day were wicked and led many away from the Lord. Levi’s two priestly sons “were corrupt and they did not know the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:12). And Levi was not much better for he never dealt with his sons as he should have (blood is thicker than water).
Because of the spiritual condition of the nation God allowed the Philistines to capture the Ark of the Covenant and the “glory of the Lord departed Israel”.
After the Lord struck the Philistines they knew they had to return the Ark. So the Ark is returned to a group of Levites in Beth Shemesh but they soon send the Ark on its way because the Lord struck down 50,070 men for opening it and looking into it. The Ark is then moved to Kirjath Jearim into the custody of Eleazar the son of Abinadab and remained there for 20 years.
The recovery of the Ark was a beginning point in changing the hearts of the Nation of Israel. That’s where we will pick up our text tonight. Please turn to 1 Samuel 7:2-3. In this text we will see three principles that will give us a “spiritual heart bypass”.
I. We need to develop a hunger for God
Notice I did not say that we need to develop a hunger for church or for the things of God but for God Himself. The Word “lamented” in verse 2 means that the people went “mourning after God.” It’s like a person chasing down someone they love and begging them through tears to return.
Up to this point the people were content to have the Ark back and pry into it but now they realize that the Ark only represents the presence of God but is not a substitution for the presence of God Himself. I like what Matthew Henry says; “True repentance and conversion begin in lamenting after the Lord; we must be sensible that by sin we have provoked him to withdraw and are undone if we continue in a state of distance from him, and be restless till we have recovered his favor and obtained his gracious returns.”
Let me ask you then tonight; Do you have a hunger for God? I mean do you really want to have a deep intimate relationship with Him? Are you tired of the substitutes for God and are you ready to have Him?
If so you must begin your journey back to Him through “mourning”. Mourning is not crying over spilt milk, but involves putting on “sack cloth and ashes”. Great and mighty nations have turned God’s wrath away through true mourning (Nineveh).
II. We must deal with our sinfulness
As Samuel stood before the nation he hit them in the heart of their sincerity. If they truly are “lamenting after the Lord” then demonstrate your sincerity by forsaking your sin. Notice what he says; (verse 3) “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
Samuel doesn’t play games when he confronts them on their sincerity. He gives them four things they must do to truly be repentant.
1. They must return with “all their hearts”
We must give God all of our heart, for God does not accept half hearted commitment. Jesus told us in Matthew 22:37; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
2. They must return by “putting away” their idols
If you and I are truly repentant then we must do something about it. We cannot tell God we are sorry for our sin without forsaking such sin. The nation could not genuinely return to God without first dealing with their idols properly. I like what Dr. Donald Ackland said; “Neutrality is dead. There are some issues that demand clear cut decisions. Fence straddling is impossible. A man’s will must take him one way or the other.”
3. They must return by “preparing their hearts” for the Lord
“Preparing” means to “direct or to establish”. Samuel is telling them that their hearts must be directed toward the Father and nothing else. Jesus gives us an understanding of this type of focus in the Sermon on the Mount. He said in Matthew 6:33; “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
4. They must return by “serving Him only”
The nation of Israel could not serve other gods and at the same time maintain a healthy relationship with Father God. For God does not accept competition. The Word of God says; “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
III. We must demonstrate our repentance, 4
The nation of Israel took Samuel’s message to heart and demonstrated their seriousness to follow God by putting away their idols. They also committed themselves to serving God only. We too must “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).