Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Psalm 139:23,24)
Psalm 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
A. I want to begin this series with a survey of the human heart!
B. There are many different viewpoints about the human heart:
1. “A little messed up, but generally good” is the way people see it today
2. “Not that bad”
3. “Just needing a little work – a little help here and there, now and then”
4. In reality, most people don’t worry about the condition of their hearts
a. They worry about their hair, their job, their car, their pets, their music
b. But their heart? Not a bother
C. But something is definitely wrong with the human heart
D. And I am not speaking about the organ beating in your breast 70 times a minute
E. But of the centre of your soul
1. The place where every emotion swells from
2. And where every decision is settled
3. THE real heart – the one that is at the centre of the real you!
4. It thinks like your brain, but more than that, it believes, it loves, it hates, it rests, and it panics
5. It is YOUR innermost person – and it is more important than your brain!
F. And if you would be honest today, it is all messed up and in need of more than just a little repair!
II. Message - Here is the Gospel Truth about our Heart
Whether you like it or not – whether you agree with it or not…
A. It is Deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9)
1. It seeks nothing but its own gratification, and own purposes, at YOUR expense
2. It is a lying, deceiving, cunning, crooked, devious, cheating, scheming, faking, treacherous part of every one of us!
3. You don’t trust politicians do you? Why? Because they are LIARS!
4. Don’t trust your heart either! It is a fraud!
5. DON’T follow your heart! You CANNOT trust your heart!
6. It is more deceitful than anything else in the world
7. It not only lies to those around us…
8. It lies to ourselves – it tells us what we want to hear
9. It lies about everything – always twisting, always squirming – never straight or true
10. It makes us believe irrational things, promising success, riches, popularity, acceptance
11. Never actually ever being honest about the consequences of our wrong choices and our sins
B. It is not only wicked, but Desperately Wicked (Jeremiah 17:9)
1. “Who can know it?” In other words, “There is no limit to the depths of what the human heart can do!”
a. King David, a man after God’s heart, lusted after another man’s wife, drew her into his bed-chamber, committed adultery with her, and then when he found out she was pregnant, he desperately tried to cover it up, and in the end had her husband murdered so no one would find out he was an adulterer!
b. Throughout history people, parents, husbands, wives, children have done the most unthinkable things to those closest to them!
1) In the last 20 years, 400 CHILDREN have been convicted of MURDER in the UK, with the youngest just 10 years old!
2) Domestic violence in Ireland is skyrocketing with 1 in 5 couples being brutalised
3) 1 in 4 people in Ireland have been sexually abused as children
c. And I am talking about not only pagans, but religious people
d. Religions, and prayers, and beads, and popes and cathedrals cannot ever fix the human heart!
e. So today, in our enlightened, tolerant society…
1) Homosexual sins are welcomed and paraded in our streets
2) Abortion is being DEMANDED today here in Ireland
2. The human heart is incurably wicked!
a. Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
b. Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
c. There are only two kinds of heart you can have:
1) An evil heart full of wicked thoughts and actions
2) Or a good heart, full of good things
3) And any of us can tell just by the words you say!
3. We Are Bent Towards Evil
a. We love sin (James 1:13-15)
1) Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
2) Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
3) Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
b. And SIN is attracted to our hearts, like metal to a magnet
C. Over Time a Heart only Becomes Harder (Zech 7:12; Jer 5:3; Eph 4:17-20) – it doesn’t get better with Time
1. Zec 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
2. Jer 5:3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
3. The more it knocks against other sinful hearts, it becomes numb, insensitive, and hard!
a. Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
b. Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
c. Eph 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
d. Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
D. It’s Not a Problem With Our Genes, It’s a Problem With Our Heart
1. Take a glance at the NEWS HEADLINES for any given day and you will see endless reports of thievery, bombings, murderers, bigotry, racism, and bullies. Are we genetically flawed towards “evil” behaviours like selfishness, violence, and cruelty? Or, is it an unfortunate side effect of our society? Those who make a living studying human behaviour (psychologists, anthropologists, comedians, etc.) haven't been able to figure it out yet!
2. The 20th century has been called the bloodiest century of all time: WWI, WWII, and about 247 other wars spread throughout only three generations! Totalling over 175 million people through war alone!
3. The amount of violence on our TV's and movies is astounding -
a. In some ways we aren’t much different than the ancient Romans with their gladiator games and fascination with blood and gore.
b. The TV is full of investigative crime shows like NCIS with gruesome crime scenes, most news programmes stick with the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ philosophy, the more violent the sport today, the more it is popular. Without a doubt, we have a definite attraction to violence.
c. Do you not understand that we like watching it! Isn't that crazy?
d. Primitive people live for the thrill of the kill.
e. And it seems, so do we, as a culture!
4. The fight begins in the WOMB
a. See Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:21-23)
1) Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
b. Put two young children in a room with only one toy and watch the sparks fly!
5. What is REALLY in our hearts (Mark 7:20-23) – look at the partial list Jesus gives:
a. Evil thoughts
j. An evil eye
m. Foolishness – living like there is no God
n. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
1. A man is barely driving down the road, weaving, and wobbling, scraping the road constantly, black smoke is coming out of the exhaust
2. It is not because of the driver, but the CAR is a mess – ruined
a. Two flat tyres
b. Broken back axle
c. Front right tyre is bent outward
d. Engine has no oil and over heating
e. The inside is filled with smoke from the engine
3. No matter what the man does, it doesn’t get much better
a. Tries to add oil
b. Pumps up the tyres
c. Pulls in the front bent tyre
d. Uses some serious Grey Duct Tape to hold the back axle together
e. Rolls down the windows so some air can get in
f. But to tell you the truth, the man needs a new car! Seriously!
F. Left to Ourselves, We Would Never Seek God (Romans 3:10-18)
1. That’s why God goes after us
2. Sending someone with the Gospel, the TRUTH, to preach it to us
3. Opening our eyes, turning us from Satan, unto God
G. Our Heart has to BE Changed before it is too late – and the sooner, the better! (Psalm 145:20)
H. It Cannot Change Itself and make itself better
1. Remember, it is DESPERATELY Wicked – it means, beyond repair – ruined – incurable!
2. Something that is partially good, cannot make itself perfect
3. Our hearts may yearn to become better, but cannot ever find perfection in ourselves
4. That’s why there is so much religious, and religious endeavours:
a. To help people get “better”
5. But God became Man to actually accomplish the impossible task
6. Things which are "impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27), for "with God ALL things are possible" (Mark 10:27).
7. That’s why every man, woman and child desperately needs a new heart given to them, or this life is going to be just one rat-race-to-the finish, with no other purpose than pleasing yourself!
a. There is good in us – we were made in the image of God, with all His characteristics. But sin is in us, that is not in Him! And it has ruined us.
b. And made it so that we all need not a patched-up heart, or a puffed up heart, or a fake heart – but a completely new heart
III. Application – What’s It Like Having a New Heart? (Ezekiel 36:26,27)
A. Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
B. Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
C. It’s NEW
1. There is nothing like having something NEW
2. A new car
3. A new house
4. A new computer laptop
5. A new baby
6. It’s not just patched up, pumped up, spruced up, dolled up
7. It is brand spanking new! Through and through!
D. You feel Relieved
1. That something so hard, so deadly, so painful has been taken out!
2. Like a hard cyst – stone deep in your hand or foot
E. You become Sensitive to God
1. Wanting to walk with Him
2. Wanting to do things God’s way (Ezek 11:19,20)
3. Wanting to do right and be like Jesus
F. You become a Spiritual Man (1Cor 2:14,15)
1. A new man on the inside
2. From now on always hungering for something more than can be held, bought
3. Feel guilty when you are doing something wrong now
4. Sense the quite voice of the Holy Spirit as he gently guides and directs your steps
5. Not like an animal on a leash, but like a trusting child obeying his parents commands!
G. Soft, tender, feeling, able to be hurt again
1. That’s a good thing! Being able to hurt, and feel, and be disappointed, and let down
2. You become sensitive to people again
3. To THEIR needs instead of your own
H. You become Clean (Psalm 51:10)
I. You have Good Attitude (Psalm 51:10)
IV. Does ANYONE Want the New Heart that Jesus Offers?
A. It is a gift from God, offered to anyone who is tired of the one they have
B. You can just continue to live with yourself – the person no one wants to be around
C. Or you can get a new heart – a brand new one!
D. If you already are born again, you may have left your first love, and grown cold in your heart towards God – He can warm that heart and make it burn like the men on the road to Emmaus
E. If you would simply spend time with Jesus in His word, page after page, listening and obeying!