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"The Heart of a Man"

By Pastor Russell Williams

Arlington Baptist Temple, Arlington, TX

Text:  Jeremiah 17:9-10

Introduction:  Wednesday evening, September 15, 1999, a terrible event happen at the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. It was see you at the Pole day. A gunman changed our lives forever as he opened fire on a youth service, killing 8 people and wounding others. The inedible question has been raised, Why ? What motivated a 47 year old man to commit such a horrendous crime and take such innocent life ? ARTICLE:  MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR by Alfie Kohn. Psychology Today, Jun 1988

It has been taught and believed that man has natural aggressive tendencies and energy. Present psychologists take issue with this believing instead that aggressive or violent behavior in higher mammals (including man) comes from external stimulation. It is also now thought that aggressive energy is stimulated, not dissipated by observing or participating in aggressive activities such as competitive sports. Some new arguments against the theory that we are naturally aggressive: universality does not equal biological; aggression (on the part of man) is not universal anyway; violence leads to outrage, which leads to overstatement, whereas in actuality most humans live quite peaceably. This leaves mankind with a choice about such behavior. In fact, history shows that war likeness increases in proportion to civilization, and "...the United States to be one of the most warlike societies on the face of the planet, having intervened militarily around the world more than 150 times since 1850." In this country mass media perpetuates the myth that aggression and violence is a biological and normal drive, by depicting such acts as normal and common. This allows us to excuse it and absolve feelings of responsibility or guilt. "Treatment of any behavior as inevitable sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy," but history and research show that aggressive or violent behavior is a matter of choice. The Word Heart is found 830 times in the Bible and it means the same in Hebrew & Greek -- It means the heart; also used (fig.) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the center of anything:

I. The Rejecting Heart

    A. REJECTING REVELATION : Pharaoh -

Exodus 5:1-2 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

    B. REJECTING REASON :

            1.  Felix ....

Acts 24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

            2 Agrippa ....

Acts 26:28-29  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

II.  The Rebellious Heart : Saul

    A. RIGHT START:

1 Samuel 10:1, 8-11  Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? ..... And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and show thee what thou shalt do. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

    B. FOOLISH CHOICE:

1 Samuel 13:12-13 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

    C. STUBBORN REBELLION:

1 Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass..... 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly...  22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

III.  The Righteous Heart : David

    A. CLEAN HEART -

1 Samuel 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Kings 8:39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

Psa. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

    B. CONVICTING HEART -

2 Samuel 24:4-6 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

Psa. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

    C. CONQUERING HEART - Nothing is impossible if the Heart is right !

Matt. 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Ill. David & Goliath

1 Sam. 17:26, 29 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? .... And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

CONCLUSION:

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Prov. 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Song: Is Thy Heart Right With God

Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
    Is Thy heart right with God?
Doest thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
    Is thy heart right with God ?

~ Hast thou dominion over self & sin?
    Is thy heart right with God?
O-ver all evil with-out and with-in?
    Is thy heart right with God?

~ Are all thy powers un-der Je-sus control?
    Is thy heart right with God?
Does He each mo-ment a-bide in thy soul?
    Is thy heart right with God?

Chorus:

Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made ho-ly, hum-ble & low-ly,
Right in the sight of God?

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