"Heart Flow"

Stand Alone  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:17
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Intro: Rossville flood 2015
It was the day after the flood waters receded and all of the utilities were turned back on. We had no hot water because of the water tank being destroyed by the flood.
The main thing was to just get rid of all the sweat that was pouring off of me after our initial clean up.
We were told to be safe as we got back to the routine of day-to-day things in our house. We wanted to make sure that we unhooked the water heater.
They said to do this so that the sewer water was not flowing through our main line. After going through the check list, I took my cold shower. To be honest it felt nice.
As the water poured over my face, I started hearing a noise coming from the basement that I could not place.
Now you have to understand, I was meticulous about checking every single thing on the list. I couldn't have forgotten anything. I checked the list. Then it hit me.
I had told them about everything that I had in the basement except for one key piece. I forgot to tell them about the water softener. That was still running!
The water softener was running with all of the raw sewage in it! I forgot to unplug it! I was in the middle of the "crappiest" shower that I had ever taken in my life in a very literal sense!
How did I miss that detail? Such an easy detail, and yet I missed it. I did not protect myself or my family because I was so ready to just cool off in the cold shower.
We’re going to go ahead and get to our passage this morning. We will be in Proverbs 4:23-26, and later we will be in Hebrews 3:15-19.
As you’re turning there, I want to remind us all the behavior modification approach to Christianity has brought a lot of heartache.
Behavior modification can either lead to depression when you can’t fully address your problems or pride if you are able to solve your problems. These are both problematic.
We are all sinners by nature, so we are all broken at the heart level and bent toward sin. That means we love things that God hates, and we hate things that God loves.
So, we can try to modify the behavior, but it won’t bring lasting change because we are only treating the symptoms and not the source. So, what do we do? Read Proverbs 4:23-26
Proverbs 4:23–26 ESV
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
When Solomon refers to guarding the heart, he really means the inner core of a person, the thoughts, feelings, desires, will, and choices that make that person who he/she is.
The Bible tells us that our thoughts often dictate who we become (Proverbs 23:7; 27:19). The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not simply his actions or words.
Verse 23 is so pivotal to understanding this. The heart is the key and source to everything in your life. The heart is the source of the river of your life; it’s the command center.
Everything you do flows from your heart. The way you think, talk, and act flows from your heart. The heart is the agent governing all your body’s actions.
This is why God examines the heart of a man, not simply his outward appearance and what he appears to be (1 Samuel 16:7).
Just as there are many diseases and disorders that can affect the physical heart, there are many ailments of the spiritual heart that can impair growth and development as a believer.
Atherosclerosis (ather row skull rosis) is a hardening of the arteries due to accumulated cholesterol plaques and scarring in the artery walls.
Hardening of the spiritual heart can also occur. It occurs when we are presented with God’s truth, and we refuse to acknowledge, accept it, or just flat out choose to live outside of it.
Let’s reflect for a moment to what Hebrews 3:15-19 had to say. Read: Hebrews 3:15-19
Hebrews 3:15–19 ESV
15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
When we engage in activities that hurt us like, pornography, judgment, gossip, impurity, greed, idolatry, anything outside of God's plans for our lives,
we shift our focus away from the plans, purposes, and past blessings of God to the things of the world.
God sees this as a lack of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Instead, Christians are instructed to strive for contentment in all things, trusting in God to provide what is needed in His good time (Hebrews 13:5).
Guarding against a complaining spirit and cultivating a spirit of gratitude and trust is the second step toward guarding the heart.
What happens to a heart when it is not guarded? What would that look like today?
By not recognizing the ways of God meant that Moses’ generation did not grasp either the favor that God had shown them or the consequences of rebelling against Him.
Because of this, a whole generation did not enter in God's rest. If it happened to Israel, it could certainly happen to anyone.
So how do we guard our hearts? What steps can you take? As I mentioned before, there was an entire generation of the people of Israel who were not permitted to enter the Promised Land.
They were not permitted to enter because they rebelled against God again and again and again, until finally he said, "That's it. You're not ready for life in the Promised Land, and you refuse to get ready. I can't let you enter."
This is the unfortunate decision He must make sometimes. He can't lead you into his rest if you're not ready to rest. You can't enter the Promised Land if you're still nursing the Desert lifestyle.
Illus: Leaving the Rockies game and Jonah had to have a happy meal. What he really needed was rest.
The Israelites missed out on the Promised Land because their hearts were hard, in other words, their hearts were far from God.
Unbelief lies at the root of our bad behavior. When we don't believe God will provide, we don't bother to pray. Instead, we prefer to worry.
When we don't believe God will be faithful in a difficult situation, we take matters into our hands and start doing things our way, whether it's right or not.
When we don't believe God is watching out for our best interests, we gripe and complain and whine and bellyache. All these things get us off course.
Do you know what did the Israelites in? It wasn't lying and cheating and stealing. It was a lack of belief in the goodness of God.
That’s what caused them to turn their hearts away from Him. Once their hearts were turned away, their actions followed.
How do you keep your heart close to God? How do you prevent from becoming hardened? Three key words. Surrender. Believe. Obey.
Surrender. Every day of your life, countless times throughout the day, you need to surrender your heart to God.
Believe. Every day of your life, you must choose to believe the promises of God. I'm not saying you choose to feel a certain way, I'm saying you choose to believe.
Obey. Every day of your life make a sacrifice of obedience to God. When the opportunity presents itself, choose to obey God.
Even if it's not easy, even if you don't feel like it, choose to obey. Every time you make this sacrifice of obedience, you soften your heart.
If you want to enter into all that God has planned for you, guard your heart. As Solomon said... Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
If they can be disqualified from entering God's fullness, then any of us can be at risk, too. You can't live your life on the strength of a spiritual experience you had at camp or CIY.
You can’t base it on the strength of your faith in high school, or back in the in your years of VBS, or back when you first started coming to church. It's not enough.
So why this message today? Because I preach every week and I watch people miss out on all that God wants for them.
I fall in this trap from time to time too, but it breaks my heart when I see God's people missing out on His rest.
God wants you to be involved, engaged, connected to Him in the present, in this moment, today. He wants his people to enter His rest, that place of special blessing found in His presence.
He's not trying to exclude anyone. He's trying to prepare everyone. He wants to get you ready for life in the Promised Land.
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