Breaking the Hard Heart before God has to
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
DATE: 13 Jan, 2008 AM
PLACE: Bible Baptist Church of Ballincollig, Ireland
I. Introduction (1Pet 5:6)
A. We live in a time of a very Messed Up Christianity
1. All kinds of worship, and very little softness
2. Anger and rage is just under the surface of most people
3. No forgiveness, and no tolerance, no Christ-likeness
4. And yet everyone claims to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth! Not!
B. Our problem is called stubbornness!
1. Illustration of a Cow – try to move a cow, and they will push in the exact opposite direction: if you push them, they will push back. The only way to move them is with the promise of food! They are stubborn!
2. Illustration of a Mule – stubborn as a mule! Known for NOT moving until it wants to.
3. Best meaning:
a. Being stubborn means that as far as anyone else is concerned, your way is the right way, better than anybody else's.
b. Unreasonably obstinate; unmoving: like, a stubborn child.
c. Fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute.
d. Resistant to change.
e. Difficult to manage, like, a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain that won’t go away.
f. Hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work with
g. These are all words that describe US, our flesh
4. What God is looking for in us is yielded, pliable, soft worship – no flesh!
5. The phrase is, ABSOLUTE SURRENDER
C. The condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all of our lives, our plans, our dreams, our expectations into His hands. Praise God! If our hearts are willing for that, and yielded to that, then there is no end to what God will do for us, and to the blessing God will bestow.
A. Stiff necks, Hard Hearts and Locked Knees.
1. Deut 9:13
2. Acts 7:51
3. Heb 4:7
4. Zech 7:11,12
5. This is “us!” We are stubborn, just as Israel was – we are no different!
6. People by nature are disrespectful, unyielded to, and hard towards:
b. His name – blaming God for absolutely everything!
c. His people
d. His word – mocking the Bible, and only wanting comic book bibles, and easy to read per-versions instead of the perfect words of God
e. His preachers – no fear of God’s man
f. Parents – shameful treatment of parents
g. Authorities – back-biting, not honouring: “yes sir” “yes ma’am” is gone!
A. Its Meaning – What are we talking about? Humility
1. To GENUFLECT is to 'bow the knee'; to go down on one knee.
2. The word “humble” means to be subdued, be brought down, be low, be under, be brought into subjection. The position of humility is found on one’s knees. Why is that? When one is on his knees, he is at a position that he can not really defend oneself.
3. In simple words, to “bow the knee” means, having a soft, yielded, very flexible approach towards God – so that He need not push or prod you to do His will, His way! No matter if He is chastening you, or just instructing you, you yield and accept His work in your life!
4. The problem and challenge is to get us to the place where we only bow the knee to Jesus Christ as Lord
a. When you want to yield and give in to temptation – bow the knee
b. When you feel depressed under life’s pressure – bow the knee
c. When you feel like getting angry and staying angry, don’t yield to anger… bow the knee!
d. When you struggle with memories and find it easy to just quit… bow the knee!
B. God Expects Our Surrender
a. I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing. It must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another person tries to hold it partly, I cannot write properly.
b. I have a car that is absolutely surrendered to ME driving it! If someone else tries to drive it at the same time, we will both crash!
c. How can God work in your life, unless you are entirely given up to Him? God cannot.
d. The temple of Solomon was absolutely surrendered to God when it was dedicated to Him. And every believer is a temple for God, in which God will dwell and work mightily on one condition - absolute surrender to Him. God claims it, God is worthy of it, and without it God cannot work His blessed work in us
2. We Are Supposed to Bow in the following areas:
a. Worship (Gen 17:1-4) – absolute surrender, to the point of loss!
b. Repentance (Luke 5:8,9) – absolute nothing in His presence
c. Salvation (Mt 18:2-4) – complete starting over
d. Normal Living (Micah 6:7,8) – constant humility
e. Ministry (1Cor 3:6,7) – never thinking you have great abilities
f. Sincerity (Psalm 51:17) – small, and humble attitude through and through
C. It Usually Takes Breaking (2Chron 33:1-13)
1. Oh, this is so important to grasp that I will bring it up again and again!
2. The lesson from king Manasseh
a. Manasseh is the son of king Hezekiah, a good king
b. But Manasseh was a spoiled brat, and was known as evil
c. Gave himself over to demonic worship, idols, murders, wizards, astrology, enchantments (casting of spells)
d. He even put an abominable idol into the centre of the Solomon’s temple
e. He provoked God to anger (33:6)
f. So God brought another empire, more evil, the Assyrian Empire upon them to conquer them – and they captured king Manasseh
g. They took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. Humbled him, broke him – taught him hunger, and pain, and that he WAS NOT the boss!
h. The Assyrians typically treated prisoners with a sadistic brutality! Prisoners were often "hooked" with a metal ring or hook through the jaw, and led around by an attached chain
i. Notice (33:12,13)… And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and [God] brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
j. Such severe treatment cured Manasseh's arrogance, and brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom. While many may regard how The Lord brought Manasseh to repentance as brutal, it was actually a blessing because, come the Judgment Day, many political leaders may wish that they had been “afflicted now” to in order to divert them from God’s final judgment of their evil.
3. Now you know why most of us go through so many trials and troubles maybe! Maybe we are stubborn! Not all, but most of us!
4. And you can certainly expect troubles if you are proud and haughty and stubborn (Prov 29:23)
D. There are TWO Powers at Work in Every Trial and Trouble.
1. Satan will seek to harden you against God, especially in your heart!
2. God will seek to soften you, make you a better person, especially in your heart (Ezek 36:26)!
3. The truth is, we ALL start off wrong, hard, stiff, and usually only become stiffer with time, not better! It takes pressure and learning when to yield
4. See for examples the troubles of:
b. A Canaanite Woman (Mt 15:25-27)
c. The Apostle Paul (2Cor 12:7)
d. Wicked King Ahab (1Kings 21:20-27)
5. How do YOU normally respond to troubles?
III. Conclusion – We will ALL bow the knee – better do it by choice now!
A. Here’s why! (Prov 29:1)
B. Here’s how:
1. Accept that pressure is on you
2. Accept that pressure as from God
3. Yield to that pressure and “bow the knee”
4. Praise God for the name of Jesus, asking for His intervention in your life