“CHECK YOUR HEART” Heb. 10:19-25
INTRO – AED – need this when someone’s heart is in need of a shock to get it going again. Shirley Busby can testify to the usefulness of this piece of equipment.
The human heart is an amazing organ. It pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body to sustain life. This fist-sized powerhouse beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day. Your heart has valves & walls & leaflets & ventricles & its own electrical system. It pumps blood out into the lungs to load up the blood with oxygen. Then it takes that blood back into itself & then pumps that blood out into the 60,000 miles of blood vessels throughout out body. Then it receives that blood back to start the process all over again 100,000 times a day. What an amazing masterpiece of God’s handiwork! It’s no wonder that the David said in Ps. 139:14, “I am fearfully & wonderfully made.”
In our spiritual lives, the heart is absolutely critical. Every exercise & physical fitness program & regimen has some component that focuses on the strengthening of the heart. Cardio is so important in our physical fitness. Just as our human heart needs to function properly, our spiritual heart needs to be functioning properly. This is why in 2016 we are focusing on those fundamentals for our spiritual growth that are so important:
- 2 essential spiritual disciplines
- 0 tolerance for sin
- 1 direction to go – forward in faith
- 6 important questions:
- Am I saved?
Today, we need to do a heart check. The Word of God is FULL of verses that speak to the heart. The phrase “all your heart” is used nearly 50 times throughout the Bible. Here are just a few of those verses:
- “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Matthew 22:37)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” (Proverbs 3:5)
- “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart…” (Psalm 9:1)
- “You will seek me & find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
- “…serve Him with all your heart…” (Joshua 22:5)
- “…obey Him with all your heart…” (Deuteronomy 30:2)
- “…David…followed me with all his heart…” (1 Kings 14:8)
- “…the people worked with all their heart…” (Nehemiah 4:6)
- “…I will extol the Lord with all my heart…” (Psalm 111:1)
And as we continue thinking about “The Battle Plan for Prayer” & the need for us to keep going deeper & stronger in our own prayer life as individuals & as a church, we need to check out hearts & make sure that they are as strong as they can be. Look at this quote from Pastor Jim Cymbala: “If our churches don’t pray & if people don’t have an appetite for God, what does it matter how many are attending the services? How would that impress God? Can you imagine the angels saying, ‘Oh, your pews! We can’t believe how beautiful they are! Up here in heaven, we’ve been talking about them for years. Your sanctuary lighting – it’s so clever. The way you have the steps coming up to the pulpit – it’s wonderful…’ I don’t think so. If we don’t want to experience God’s closeness here on earth, why would we want to go to heaven anyway? He is the center of everything there. If we don’t enjoy being in His presence here & now, then heaven would not be heaven for us. Why would He send anyone there who doesn’t long for Him passionately here on earth?” (Jim Cymbala)
The writer of Hebrews tells us to draw near to God w/ a “true heart in full assurance of faith” (v. 22). That means that our hearts need to be “real” & “sincere.” Last week, we talked about how Jesus taught His disciples in Matt. 6 to not be like the hypocrites in their prayer lives. In other words, He told them, “Don’t fake it!” That’s the same thing that this passage is telling us. Don’t fake it! Make sure that your heart is true, that it is real, that it is sincere. Folks stories told of pottery merchants who would rub wax into cracks to hide the imperfections. Latin word – sincerus – “no wax.”
Our confidence needs to be in the right place – v. 19-21 – And that right PLACE is in the right PERSON, & His name is JESUS! He shed His blood so that you & I could have complete confidence to come into the very presence of God. We can come boldly into God’s presence. It means we have “freedom of speech” in God’s presence. Again, goes back to what Jesus said in Matthew 6 about not just running your mouth, but being REAL in our prayer life. That doesn’t mean “brashly” or “pompously.” We come in humility & amazement & awe that we have this privilege. And the ONLY way we have this privilege is b/c of finished, completed work of JESUS on the cross! On the Day of Atonement, the high priest could not enter the holy of holies unless he had the blood of the sacrifice (Heb. 9:7). But our entrance into God’s presence is not because of an animal’s blood, but because of Christ’s shed blood. There definitely is “wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.” The wonder is that, as undeserving & unworthy as we are, we can have confidence to come into God’s presence through the blood of Christ! Paul said in Eph. 3:12 – “In HIM & through faith in HIM, we may approach God w/ freedom & confidence.”
Our conscience needs to be pure – v. 22 – There is such a need for purity in our lives. Practical righteousness & holiness is a critical aspect in the health of our spiritual hearts. Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The blood of Jesus is our only hope. It cleanses us & makes us fit to be in the presence of God.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to be concerned about how we live our lives. Our consciences need to be clean & pure through the confession of our sin & the repentance from our sin. There needs to be zero tolerance for sin in our lives. Yes, it is true that we are made righteous by the blood of Christ. And it is also true that we need to make conscious decisions everyday to live in righteousness. These decisions affect every area of our lives:
- How we spend our $?
- How we spend our time?
- What we allow our eyes to see & our minds to think about?
Our confession needs to be strong – v. 23 – The readers of this letter to the Hebrews were tempted to walk away from their confession of Christ & go back to the old way of living & place their confidence in old covenant system of worship & sacrifices. They were looking backwards instead of looking ahead to what was to come.
Our confession needs to be strong in the hope we have in Christ! That’s why we have only 1 direction that we can move in as Christ-followers – forward in faith! We are looking forward & moving forward to the day when we will see Jesus!
- 2:10 tells us that He is bringing many sons to glory
- 3:1 tells us that we “share in a heavenly calling”
- 3:6 tells us that we can boast in our hope
- 6:11 – we can have “full assurance of hope until the end”
- 6:19 tells us that our hope is a “sure & steadfast anchor of the soul”
- 9:28 tells us that Jesus Christ is coming again
- 13:14 tells us that our hope is in a city that is to come, a heavenly city
Our confession of hope keeps us moving forward, not looking back. Phil. 3:13-14 – “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Our consideration needs to be sincere – v. 24-25 – So while we are still here, we’ve got to deal with each other. We’ve got to STIR IT UP! Sometimes when folks talk about fighting w/ someone, they say they’re about to “Mix it up!” Now, I’m certainly not advocating that we fight w/ each other. But, I AM saying that the Word challenges us to stay in each other’s lives, actively pursuing those who are wandering away from the faith & from the Body of Christ. Those 6 questions would be good questions that we ought to ask, not only ourselves, but to ask others in accountability relationships:
- Am I saved? Are YOU saved?
- Am I serving? Are YOU serving?
- Am I supporting? Are YOU supporting?
- Am I speaking? Are YOU speaking?
- Am I sharing? Are YOU sharing?
- Am I stuck? Are YOU stuck?
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 315). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.