You can listen to this sermon here Key thought – don’t follow your heart, train your heart to follow Jesus. You hear this all the time! “Let your heart be your guide” “Follow your heart!” “Use the compass inside you” Where does this saying come from? This is one of the dominant philosophies of western culture! – you do what’s right by you! Like Jon Bloom says in his new book this week – “it’s a tempting gospel to believe” He goes on: “My heart tells me that all of reality ought to serve my desires. My heart likes to think the best of me and worst of others, unless those others happen to think, well of me—then they are wonderful people. But if they don’t think well of me, or even if they just disagree with me, well then, something must be wrong with them. And while my heart is pondering my virtues and others’ errors, it can suddenly find some immoral or horribly angry thought very attractive.” Heart = center and fountainhead of life and affections (Prov 4:23) And it’s true! – you will always head in the direction of your treasure. – have you ever noticed how you’re pretty busy, and don’t have much money.. But if there’s something you really want to do, a band you really want to see, a thing you really want to buy, you’ll make sacrifices necessary to not miss out… Whereas if it’s just meeting skth Where do we see it in the bible? – garden of Eden (ate the fruit; rebelled) – Abraham (slept with Haggai) – Moses (struck the rock) – David (slept with Bathsheeba & killed her husband) – the crowds followed their hearts and yelled ‘crucify Him!’ – the disciples followed their hearts and ran away – the bible is full of people following their hearts; always as a description and warning, never as a prescription of what to emulate. – see the compass inside us is like Jack Sparrow’s.. It doesn’t point true north, but to what we desire most. God considered David a man after his own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). Stephen gave us insight into what God meant: “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13:22). What qualified David to be king was that he followed God’s heart. And when he did, he did very well. So, what does the God teach us about following our heart? – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9 – 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Matthew 15:18-19 – if you were to take advice from someone.. If you were wise.. Would you go to one who is deceitful above everything? To one who brings murder, evil thoughts, stealing, and slander? – you would NEVER go to that person! – so why would you ever follow your heart? – Prov 28:26 “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.”(NASB) – Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. – Proverbs 23:19 – Romans 1:24 (ESV) describes how, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…..” – Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” (James 1:14–16) – Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” As my mate Adam Ramsey put it: “Our appetites are strong. Our hearts are tricky. Our minds are forgetful. Our enemy is deceptive. The bait is compelling.” Here’s the problem.. You can’t just tell your heart how bad sin is and overcome it with raw willpower. “The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.” – Thomas Chalmers We need a new heart! Heres the key for today, we need to gospel our hearts – remind them of, and point them to Jesus. Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV) God promises, “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.” In Luke 10:27 (ESV) Jesus says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” Colossians 3:2 (ESV) says, “Set your hearts on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Don’t follow your heart! Instead of being led by your heart, lead your heart to Jesus. The heart is like the bridle in a horse’s mouth. It turns the whole body. Give your bridle to God, let him lead your heart, and he’ll lead you into paths of life and righteousness. – Luke 8:15 “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” – you need the word of God to have a good heart. – train your heart in the word. You train your heart – 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:14-17 – heart isn’t a good leader, but can be a useful guide: – to see where/to what your heart inclines – to illuminate your idols – to show us our desperate need of a saviour – to empathise with other sinners in their struggles/temptations – to test your discipleship/sanctification – are you more refined/inclined toward The Father than this time last year. – are ‘the desires of your heart’ more in line with those put there by God? – and remember from Philippians; to struggle with temptation isn’t to fail! That means your heart ultimately desires what is right!! This is great news! If there was no struggle, you might doubt whether you were a new creation… But not with the struggle to please God. Finish here – 6 the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:6-11 _____________ Genesis 8:21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. Healing – Salvation – Heart-transplant Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (NIV) Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (NIV) Jeremiah 31:33-34 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (NIV) Psalm 24:3-5 3 “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 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