What's in Your Heart?
January 24, 2021 Pastor: Ace Davis Series: The Gospel According to Mark
Scripture: Mark 7:14-23
Date: Sunday, January 24, 2021 Scripture: Mark 7:14-23
Well, this morning we're back in Mark chapter 7. Mark chapter 7 and we're going to be picking up in verse 14 and the title of this sermon this morning is What's in Your Heart.
It's a simple question. What's in your heart?
Many people in our world today think that they are good. You've ever asked a person what they think and how they will make it to heaven. The most common answer that you will hear is because I'm a good person. Why will you make it to heaven? Because I'm a good person. And then you begin to lay the law out for them, and you ask them if, after laying the law out for them, if they are now a good person.
And it's still hard for them, right? To admit that they're bad because we naturally compare ourselves to the worst of the worst and then we come to the conclusion that since we're not like them, we must be good. In many ways, when you talk to an unbeliever, you would expect them to think that they, by nature are good people, because that's what Satan wants them to believe.
But what about Christians? Do Christians believe they're good by nature? In a survey done by Ligonier Ministries called the State of Theology, a statement was given to people who called themselves, themselves, evangelical “Evangelical Christians”. And they were to respond to this statement by either saying that they agree with it, or they disagree with it. And here was a statement that was given to them.
Everyone sins a little but most people are good by nature.
That's a simple statement that was given to them. What were the results of that? 46% of people who profess to be evangelicals agreed with that statement. Which means that almost half of evangelical Christians believe that by nature people are good.
Well, the question that we have to ask is “What does God have to say about this?”
In our text this morning, we're going to see Jesus encounter with a crowd and with His disciples, in which he gives us the answer to this question – “Are people good?”
So let's pick up in Mark chapter 7 and we'll be looking in verse 14. We're going to start there. Would you follow along as I read starting a Mark, chapter 7 in verse 14.
14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 [If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Now as we work our way through our passage this morning, I want to break it down into three points.
- Point number one, is this. The Call to Examine the Heart. The call to examine the heart.
- Our second point will be The Confusion About the Heart. The confusion about the heart.
- and then point number three or The Contents of the Heart.
1. The Call to Examine, The Confusion About the Heart, and The Contents of the Heart. And so we'll pick up here in verse 14 this morning, and we'll look at our first point, the Call to Examine the Heart.
Now, if you remember from our study last week of verses 1 through 13 we saw where Jesus had addressed the traditions of the Pharisees and scribes, and really the traditions of the Jews who had thought that true worship of God was by the things that they did or didn't do. It was all about their traditions.
Their whole relationship with God was stemmed from traditions that had been passed down through oral traditions by the rabbis. But these traditions had trumped the Word of God. And the religion of their day was all about rules and works, in which there are many religions today that are all about rules and works. That's what every other religion is about today even. It's about rules. It's about works rather than a relationship with God. And these guys, they put the traditions of the elders above the truth of God's Word.
And what was Jesus response to that? He was disgusted with it. He was disgusted with their traditions and how the Pharisees had burdened the people with their traditional rules, following instead of pointing them to the Word of God. And if you remember what Jesus called them, what did He call them? He called them hypocrites, right? These guys were hypocrites.
They were play actors who had masked themselves as religious and holy men while being something totally different on the inside. On the outside, sure, they looked holy and righteous. They looked like good men, but inside their heart was full of idol worship of themselves. They worship themselves. They were actually haters of God, even though they portrayed themselves as worshippers of God.
And now after Jesus gets done talking with these phony Pharisees, He turns his attention now to the crowd because He's concerned for them. And He's concerned for their heart.
And so He says in verse 14, it says in verse 14, “After He called the crowd to Him again.” Now, where did these people come from? Who is this crowd and where did these people come from? Well, most likely this crowd had been hanging out around in the fringes while Jesus is there addressing the Pharisees and the scribes. They had withdrawn when the Pharisees and scribes arrived from Jerusalem, remember?
It says over in Mark chapter 7 verse 1 “the Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him as they did had come from Jerusalem.” So they're coming from Jerusalem. They arrive into town, and the crowd scatters as they come to see Jesus. But no doubt this crowd is on the fringes and they're watching and they're listening to everything that Jesus and the Pharisees are talking about. They're listening to this conversation.
And Jesus gets done with the Pharisees, though after He calls them hypocrites and points out that they are putting their traditions of men above the Word of God. And then He turns to the crowd and He calls them to come to Himself.
As we've seen throughout the gospel of Mark, Jesus doesn't do this very often. Notice this, Jesus doesn't do this very often. He doesn't call the crowd to Himself. He's called the disciples to Himself. He wants to gather the 12, the disciples to come to Himself so that He can teach them, but He doesn't really ever have to call the crowd to come to Himself. Why?
Because the crowds flock to Him. When He arrives, they want to see Him. They follow Him. They want to hear Him preach. They want to see Him do all these miracles. But when they saw the Pharisees arrive, they backed off. “The religious elites are here… Uh Oh, we better back away if they want to see Jesus. Not us, we better back off” and so the crowd does that.
And now that Jesus is done with these Pharisees. He calls them to come to Him because He wants to teach them. They've seen this interaction that's happened here with Jesus and these Pharisees, and now He turns the attention to them because He wants to reveal truth to them.
And so it says in verse 14 “He began saying to them, listen to Me, all of you and understand.”
Now, as Jesus calls the crowd to Himself, who is standing nearby Jesus at this time? The scribes and the Pharisees. They haven't left yet, they're still within the vicinity of where Jesus and the crowd are. And what does Jesus say there, He says, listen to who? Me. Don't listen to those guys. Those guys will lead you astray. Those guys are going to lead you to hell. But I've come to give you the truth. Listen to Me.
What Jesus had to say had an eternal impact on these people. He cares for their soul. He cares for their eternity. The scribes and the Pharisees are just concerned about the outward appearance of men. But Jesus is concerned with the heart. And so He says to them, listen. Listen to Me. And then He says in verse 15 “there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him.”
Now what's interesting is Jesus had just had this confrontation with the Pharisees about what? Hand washing. You remember that last week it was all about washing the hands. And why did they wash their hands and all of their stuff, their pots, and their pans, and all this kind of stuff. They were afraid that somehow they had become unclean. Either from something they touched or from someone they touch right? Namely a Gentile. We ran into a Gentile. We were at the marketplace and if we touched a Gentile, oh, we become unclean. We better go wash, wash the external so that we can become clean. They thought that those external things are what made them clean.
And Jesus confronts them here, and He says, that's not how it works. That's not how it works. Those external things are not what defiles a person. A Gentile is not what defiles you.
Now we need to pause here for a moment because I'm sure many of you are thinking about ceremonial things that were taught in the Old Testament. That there was ceremonial cleansing that had to happen right, and God taught that in the Old Testament -- all throughout the Old Testament -- there were things that God had prescribed certain foods that you couldn't eat, lepers that you couldn't touch. A dead person that you were not to touch. And if that happened, then you were to go through ceremonial cleansing.
But what was the purpose of this? This ceremonial cleansing. The purpose of that was that it was a picture. It was a picture. It was an illustration of a spiritual reality. That's what God is pointing out to them. Those ceremonies were never intended to offer salvation to anyone, and yet the Pharisees had taken the ceremonies and said, if you want to have salvation, here's what you must do… do, and it was all about works.
And God said that was never my purpose in giving you these ceremonies. That was never my purpose in giving you The Law. Salvation has always come by faith in God alone. Remember Abraham? Abraham did what? “He believed God, and it was credited as righteousness”. He believed in God.
It's always been by faith alone. These ceremonial cleansings were just a picture of a cleansed heart that happened through forgiveness and faith in God. That's what it was, it was just a picture. And it was only those who had received forgiveness, who had a clean heart. Not a body, but a clean heart and those who gave themselves to Christ, who believed in Christ, who believed in God… they could then enter into true worship of God.
It was never about the ceremonies. The issue here is not about the external flesh, but about the internal heart of man. It's always about the heart. Which is what Jesus says in the second half of verse 15, He says. “But the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.”
The inner man is what God looks at. God doesn't look at the external. He looks at the heart. That's in fact what David had told his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28 verse nine. He says. “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart, and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
David's whole point to Solomon was --look -- God knows your heart. Seek Him and search after Him with your heart, Solomon. What was Solomon, Solomon about to do? Build the temple, right? That's his job. He was going to go build the Temple of God for the people to come and worship God.
He was given that responsibility. And what does David remind him of? It's not about the things you do, Solomon. It's about your heart. Where's your heart at Solomon? God is concerned with the heart. The outward stuff that we do is just a reflection of the heart, of the inside.The outward stuff that we do doesn't defile us, it's the heart that defiles a man.
You think about, we just started a new year. And many people in new years, they've got what? New Year's resolutions. And a lot of people have great New Year's resolutions. They want to be a better person. I want to be a better person in 2021. I want to stop cursing. I want to stop lying. All of these things that I want to do so that I could become a better person in 2021. But they get about two weeks into it and what happens?
They start lying again and they start cursing again. Right? All of that, that they had longed for at the beginning of the year, is all of a sudden out the window. Why? Because that's where their hearts at. Their heart is full of sin. It's in their heart. It's going to be exposed, and that's exactly what Jesus is saying here.
Sure, you can try and do all this stuff, but it's in your heart and it will come out. Because it's in there. What's in your heart? And that's what Jesus is telling this crowd as He gathers them to Himself and He calls them to “examine your heart.” It's a radical call. They are living in a system of externals, and He says no, examine your heart. Where is your heart at? Jesus is calling this crowd to examine their heart and He calls us to examine our heart.
Friend, where is your heart at? What's in your heart? Have you examined your heart lately? Are you just trying to live as a good person? Or you seeking after God. Are you desiring to live a godly life? Are you examining your heart and confessing and repenting of your sin? God calls us to examine our heart and this is a call for us to listen to, as Jesus calls the crowd to Himself and says, listen to your… look at your heart. Examine your heart. He calls us to do the same thing as well.
But there was some confusion about this. I'm sure with the crowd and we know for sure with the disciples there's a confusion about this new teaching. “Jesus. What is this new teaching that you're teaching us?” Which really isn't a new teaching, right?
As we saw in the Old Testament, God always talked about the heart. It's always been about the heart, but for these people, and even for Jesus disciples. They were confused. “What is this new teaching that you're teaching us, Jesus?”
2. And so let's look at point #2. The Confusion About the Heart. The Confusion About the Heart.
We're going to pick up in verse 17. If you notice in verse 16 in your Bible, there's some brackets around there. Those brackets there mean that that sentence, that that verse there in verse 16, was not in the original manuscripts, in the early manuscripts that we have there. Sure, it was something that Jesus said over and over again. We see it many, many times where Jesus says “if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear”, but it's not in the original text in Mark, so we're going to pick up in verse 17 there. Let's look at verse 17.
“When He had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.”
Now, what's interesting is that if you look over at Matthew's account, and what Matthew tells us about what goes on here in Matthew chapter 15 in verse 12, it's when Jesus was with His disciples. It says
“then the disciples came and said to Him, do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”
Oh Jesus, don't You realize when You said this statement back in verse 15, that there's nothing outside of the man which can defile him, but the things which precede out of the man? And what? Defile him. “When You said that Jesus, did You realize that the Pharisees were offended?”
Matthew 15:12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Let him have their way. They're fixed on it. Just let him go. The disciples knew that the Pharisees had heard Jesus teaching and knew that they were offended by it, and of course they were offended by it. Why? Because the truth offends. The truth offends. And the truth offends sinners, especially. Right?
Matthew goes on and he tells us it was Peter that asked Jesus to explain this parable that He taught the crowd. Who is Peter who asked this question to explain the parable. Jesus is pretty straightforward. This is not really a parable in a sense of a parable, right? As you study the parables of Jesus, this is not really in a sense a parable. I mean, it's pretty straightforward if you read through this, there's nothing outside the man which can defile him ,if it goes into him. Pretty straightforward, right? But these guys were confused.
“Jesus, what is this parable that You're teaching to us? We got to know this”. It seemed like a parable to them because they didn't understand it. They didn't get it. Why? Why wouldn't these guys get it? What did they have grown up with? What did they grow up with? Judaism? Right? They grew up with Judaism.
They grew up with all of these traditions that the Pharisees were teaching. And so they're confused about it. “Wait, but this is what the religious elite were teaching us, Jesus. This is what has been passed down to us through all of these traditions, Jesus. And now you're telling us this. What's going on here? What are you talking about?”
They're confused about this. They don't understand it. But Jesus is coming here and He's turning over all of these traditions, and it seems like He's teaching something totally new. Something totally radical. But Jesus is just teaching what's been taught all along in Scripture, right? He's teaching what the Bible has always said. What God has always said, it's about your heart.
It's not about your rituals, it's about your heart. God, throughout the Old Testament tells us again and again that he looks at the heart of man. But this went against all of the traditions that they had grown up with. All of them. Warren Wiersbe says rightfully “It is not easy to change our religious traditions.”
Right? It's not easy. It's hard. It's hard for people to change their religious traditions, but Jesus is calling them to turn away from those, to examine their heart. Jesus is confronting them and they're confused. And then He says in verse 18 -- look what He says there “are you so lacking in understanding also.”
Jesus is saying this: after all the time that I spent with you, do you still not comprehend these spiritual truths really guys? Come on. All of this that I've taught you in all the time that I've spent with you, the miracles that you've seen in all of this stuff. I mean, I just walked on water, guys. And you don't understand this. Come on guys. And so we have to state it again. “Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him? Because it does not go into the heart but into his stomach and is eliminated.”
The food that you eat doesn't even touch your heart. Think about that. It doesn't even touch your heart. Passes right by your heart and goes straight to your stomach. Food gives us nourishment and energy for the body, but the heart is what drives the man. It's the heart that drives us. And man's actions are not a result of what we eat. But it's a result of our heart. The issue is not the food. The issue is not the external things. The issue is your heart. And that's what Jesus is after.
If you remember in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5 verse 8, Jesus said this very thing.
“Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Do you want to see God? You need a pure heart.
You need your heart cleansed. Our problem is our heart and our heart is not good. That's what Jesus is saying here. Our heart is not good, sadly. While almost half of evangelicals believe that the heart is good, Jesus is telling us here your heart is not good. Your heart is bad.
God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9-10 “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately…” what? “wicked.” Sick, “Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the” what? “heart.” Look, God knows what's in your heart. He knows exactly what's in your heart. While these Pharisees are worried about what's on the outside, God is examining the inside. God sees your heart and He wants your heart to be devoted to Him.
Well, Mark goes on in verse 19 and he tells us. “Thus He declared all foods clean.” Oh, what is this all about? Why does Mark tell us here that Jesus has declared all foods clean? Jesus here at this moment is breaking down the line between Jews and Gentiles. He's breaking that line down. The Jews had dietary laws in the Old Testament, but Jesus is breaking down those walls between Jews and Gentiles because that's who He came to save, right? We're a reflection of that. We're Gentiles. He came to save us.
And while the confusion about dietary laws would continue, which is why God had to give Peter a vision. Remember that in the book of Acts? God has to give Peter a vision --to say, look, Peter, All foods are clean. You can eat now.
Jesus had already declared it earlier on, but there's confusion about this. And he's got to give Peter a vision in order for him to understand. Look Jews and Gentiles. That wall has been broken down. God has come to save both Jew and Gentile. Peter, Jesus is very clear here…not only declaring that all food is clean, but also making it clear that food is not the issue. It's the heart of man that's the issue. Our heart is the issue.
That's why he says in verse 20, and he was saying “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.” Living in California, we had to, every two years, you had to get a smog check on your car before you could get it registered. I'm grateful that we don't have to do that here because it's a pain and a hassle. But we had to do smog checks there, and when you would go and take your car in for a smog check, they would hook it all up and they'd put all this stuff in your tailpipe and they would run it through a computer system and do all these tests on it. They wanted to see what your emissions were like.
Were they clean? No! Go to LA. you'll see smog everywhere, right? Just full, full of smog there. But they wanted to see if it was clean enough, and if you failed your smog test. The issue was not the gas that you put into your car. The issue was what? The engine. There must be something wrong with your engine. The bad emissions that are coming out was because of something that's going on in your engine, and that's what Jesus is saying here.
What's coming out is what's in your heart. What comes out, the bad stuff, that comes out of us is because that's what's in our heart. And what's in the heart of man? Well, Jesus gives us a list. Look what he says here in verses 21 through 23.
3. Point #3 The Contents of the Heart. The Contents of the Heart.
As a cardiac surgeon would open up the heart to work on his patient. Jesus opens up the heart to show us what's inside, and He says in verse 21 “for from within out of the heart of men proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,” and He goes on and on.
But what Jesus is doing here is He starts off with this list. He says “out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts.” Evil thoughts. Those evil thoughts are basically an overarching category here. And then what He's going to do, is He's going to list out two lists of six that we're going to go through here, but He starts off with this overarching category of “evil thoughts.”
The heart is the center of your thoughts. Your heart and your mind are connected. But what you think comes from your heart, it comes from within you. The heart and the mind are connected. It's your inward reasoning. It's what makes you, you. And because it's evil, what you produce is evil. Because the heart of man is evil, what they produce is evil.
One commentator says “they are thoughts that unite with the will to evoke action. Thoughts and the will unite to provoke action.”
What you do is devised in your heart, within your thoughts, and then you act upon those thoughts, right? That's what happens. And what's interesting is the Pharisees had their list of things that you couldn't do and what you could do in order to earn a right standing before God, but Jesus comes in and he crushes them with this list. Says listen, it's not about those do's and don'ts. It's about your heart. Oh, and by the way, let me reveal to you what is in your heart.
He gives us this overarching “there are evil thoughts” in there, and then He breaks it down to lists of six. The first one is what we'll call six actions. He gives us six actions, the first one in this list of six actions that you can see there is fornications. Evil thoughts, broad category… six actions.
- The first one, fornications. This is a broad sweep of any kind of sexual sin. In fact, the Greek word that's used here is porneia. Which we get our English word…what? Pornography from. That's what he's talking about. It all starts in the heart. Fornications.
- Number two. He gives us thefts. You take what's not yours. You steal. The Greek word is Klope.(Klow-Pay) And a word for it is klepto. Which is where we get our word kleptomaniac from. If a desire to steal. This inward desire to continue to take things that aren't yours. Fornications, and theft.
- The number three says, murders. Murder is simply the illicit taking of another person’s life. As a pastor at another church and we had a guy in our church that claimed to be a believer and he came to all of the Bible studies. And he was there every Sunday. He went to all of the men's discipleship stuff and all of the, all of these things that he did. He was heavily involved in the church. Part of the church for many years. Yet this man ended up murdering his wife. Why did he do that? because it was in his heart. Sure, on the outside -- Oh, he looked great. Looked like a Bible believing Christian. But what was in his heart? Murder. Jesus tells us that that's exactly what's in your heart. Fornications, thefts, murders. Jesus takes murder to an extreme as well, right? And he says, if you hate another person, you have committed what murder in your heart with that person. That's what we read in 1 John chapter 3 this morning. Murder is in the heart.
- Number four, he says, adulteries. adulteries. This is different from fornications that we saw there in the first part of the list there. Well, that has to do with broad sexual sins. This is specifically sexual sin within marriage, and it violates the marriage covenant. Sexual sin within the marriage covenant, adultery is in the heart.
- Number five, he says, deeds of coveting. This is the inner craving for what is not yours. Some think that this actually has to do with sexual sins as well, this coveting, but it can be brought into just a general coveting that is motivated by greed. By greed I want. You want what you don't have. Greed, coveting. And you do deeds in order to satisfy that inner desire, right? That, coveting that you have. You then do deeds in order to satisfy yourself. Where does it come from? The heart.
- And then number six in this list of actions he says wickedness. These are just acts of wickedness of evil. It encompasses all other sins that you would do that goes against God's holiness. Wickedness. Acting out in evil and wickedness.
And so those are the six actions. But then Jesus continues on and He gives us six attitudes of the heart as well. Six attitudes of the heart he goes on in verse 22.
- And the first one that He lists there is deceit, deceit. This is trickery that traps others for your own personal advantage. That was Jacob, right? If you've been reading through Genesis in our year-long reading. That was Jacob. He deceived his father Isaac to get the blessing. He was a deceptive man and then what happened to him? Deception. Right. He had it coming to him. Deceit was in his heart. And it was there even before he deceived Isaac, when he deceived who? Esau, his brother. Deception was in his heart, and you see it played out. You trap others for your own personal advantage. Attitude of the heart.
- Number two, the 2nd in this list of attitudes is sensuality. MacArthur says this is a reference to the unbridled lust of a dirty mind. The lust of a dirty mind. And we see this happen through pornography today. It's rampant throughout our world. Dirty minds, sensuality, unbridled lust of a dirty mind. It’s all you can think about. It all comes from the heart.
- And then number three, he says, envy. Envy. This word could be translated literally as an evil eye. Someone who is envious has an evil eye. It's shown through jealousy and hatred towards other people. You're envious of someone else. Where does that envy come from? The heart.
- Number four, he says, slander. Slander, that's abusive speech towards others, and it is often done to put someone else down so that you can do… what? Make yourself look better, right? That's why people slander. They're going to put someone else down. So that they can lift themselves up. And all of that comes from the heart.
- Number five, he says, is pride. Pride, the root of all sin. And means to show one’s self above others. It is the picture of a person who has a swollen opinion of himself. A swollen opinion. “I'm the best, life's all about me.” Pride.
- And then number six he ends in this list with foolishness. Foolishness. Now this word foolish here or foolishness. It doesn't mean a stupid or an unintelligent person. It's not what he's talking about here. This foolish person is a person who says there is no God. That's the foolish person, the one who says there is no God. Psalm 14:1 it says“the fool has said in his heart there is no God.” That foolish person says in his heart there is no God. It stems from his heart. And what's the conclusion of that? Psalm 14 verse 1 continues on and answers that for us, and it says “they are corrupt. They have committed abominable deeds. There is no one who does good”. No one. Foolish.
Foolishness, pride, slander, envy, sensuality, deceit. All of that stems from the heart. And then Jesus gives a final summary statement in verse 23, and he says “all these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” It's the heart that is the problem.
And what does Jesus say about the heart? Is it good? No. It's bad, it's wicked, it's full of wicked and evil. That's the heart of man.
So how can it be changed? How can your heart be changed?
Well, first of all it must be born again. It must be made new, and that happens when one repents of their sin and put their faith in Jesus. If you are here this morning and you haven't done that. If you're here this morning and you're looking through this list and you're going, “Woah, that's me.” Repent and put your faith in Jesus, come to him, and He will cleanse your heart. He will forgive your heart. He will wash your heart as white as snow. And he offers that as a gift to you this morning.
Come to him in repentance, turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ and He will forgive all of your sins. Every single sin in this verse, here in this passage, that we've studied this morning, every single one of these sins is forgivable. Through the blood of Christ, through believing in Him. Isn't that amazing? That's what God offers to us. That's the salvation that God has offered to us. He lists out our heart and all of us would say, “Well, I'm damned…then my trajectory is hell”
But God, out of His great love for us, sent His son to die on a cross for us. So that we could have eternal life, so that our hearts could be cleansed. So that our heart could be made new. So that a heart of stone that's full of sin and evil and wickedness and hatred of God could be cleansed. And so that we could believe in Him and have eternal life.
But we must repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. Don't try and do it on your own. You're not good enough. Your good deeds cannot save you. Sadly, almost half of evangelicals believe this, but God tells us in His Word you are not good. That's why we need a savior. That's why we need a savior.
Some of you are here this morning as believers and you're looking at this list. And you're going, oh man. I've fallen into some of these. What's the answer? Repent. Repent and run to Christ. Beg Christ to forgive you.
1 John 1:9. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, but we must confess our sin before God. We must make our hearts right before God and come to Him in repentance. That's what He calls us to do.
Sadly there are some of you here that don't cry enough. You don't beg God enough. You don't plead on your knees with God enough to call God and ask Him and beg of Him to remove these sins from you. And so you continue to struggle and struggle and struggle. And God says, beg of me and I will answer you. But we don't come to Him on our knees. “Don't worry God, I got it from here.” You don't. And you'll never have it alone, because your heart is not good enough.
Come to Him, beg and plead with Him, and He will remove this from you. He will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all of your unrighteousness. Come to Christ. Plead with Him. Beg of Him. Examine your heart this morning. What's in your heart? Examine it. And make your heart right before God.
As you come to Him in worship and praise and adoration, and we come to know God and be cleansed of our sin, even by His Word, some of you struggle because you're not in His Word. Because you don't listen to His Word, but Psalm 119 verse 11 says “your word I have treasured in my heart that I might not…” What? “…sin against you”. Do you treasure God's word in your heart?
The sins that you're struggling with, as you struggle, and you have that battle… as we know, Paul had the battle, right? “I do the things that I don't want to do.” Why do I do this? Who can help me? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He can help me. He can set me free from this. Take His Word and treasure it in your heart. And think upon God's Word as you battle and struggle with sin. Treasure it in your heart so that you might not sin against Him.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for a word from you this morning that reveals to us our heart. Father, as we've seen our heart is not good. There is no one who does good, no, not one. You tell us in Romans chapter 3 “There is no one righteous, no, not one.” But Father, we rejoice that You have given us the answer to our sin, to our heart problem, in Jesus Christ. Thank You that through the blood of Christ, our sin is forgiven. And we can live in obedience to You, not on our own, but in total dependence on You. By walking in the spirit with You Father, I pray that You would help us to do that. Forgive us for the times where we have tried to live life on our own and try and be good on our own. Father help us to be totally dependent upon You in every area of our life. So that we might live in obedience to You and bring glory and honor to Your name. Thank you for your son Christ, in whom You have sent to redeem us and forgive us, and have our hearts washed as white as snow. Oh Father, we rejoice in the gospel. The good news that you have given to us. Father help us to live in light of that good news, in obedience to You. We pray all of this in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
More in The Gospel According to Mark
April 24, 2022Clarity and Confidence in God's Word
April 17, 2022The Astonishing Account of the Empty Tomb
April 15, 2022The Details of a Divine Burial