A Change of Heart

The Transformation Series: A Change of Heart
Selected Text, Preached at Harambee Church by Pastor Mike Gunn on December 16th, 2007

“A new lifestyle (The outward FRUIT of a believer’s life) does not grow out of a stoic obedience to the commands of God, but from a heart that has been captured and captivated by the Giver of those commands.”

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

“The key to holiness is falling in love…The power that the pleasures of sin exert on the human soul will ultimately be overcome only by the superior power of the pleasures of knowing and being known, loving and being loved by God in Christ.”
Samuel Storms

Week #1 Understanding our destination in Christ gives us hope during trials.
Week #2 Our hope rests in a relationship with Jesus
Week #3 God’s work of transformation happens in a loving community
Week #4 We need to see our lives and our world from God’s “Big Picture.”
Week #5 God understands the full range of human emotions.
Week # 7 The THORN bush reminds us how we often respond to our circumstances sinfully.
Week #8 All sin grows out of a heart that has been captured by something other than Christ.
Week #9 Because Christ lives in us, we already have what we need to live a godly life.
Week #10 Living under the CROSS means balancing our need for repentance and our recognition of the grace and love of God.

5 Gospel perspectives
1. Our sin is worse than we can imagine, but God’s grace is greater than our sin!
2. God is concerned about transformation at the heart level, not the behavior level.
3. We should benefit from our relationship with Christ here and now, and in eternity.
4. God calls us to grow and change.
5. Our Christian life is a lifestyle of Repentance and Faith

From the Head…
As Proverbs 4:23 reminds us the springs of life flow from the heart. Biblically the heart is a place that includes the thoughts and emotions of humanity, but also its motivation and will. Our hearts are the motivational structures of our life. We can possibly do something “Good” with poor motivations. However, God wants us to show obedience out of love and loyalty, not out of law and conformity. We are going to take a look at four aspects of the heart in a transformed person.

The Centrality of the Heart in Obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Mark 12:28-31)
The heart is central to obedience. God is not concerned with lip service or religious duty. False pietism is actually an affront to God (Isaiah 1:10-15).

God Judges the Heart; Not His appearance (1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 139:23-24)
Religion judges the outward appearance of man, and doesn’t see the heart. Our own relationships are littered with us judging other people’s actions without determining the heart of the matter. Sometime a person can do or say something that seems hard, but their motives are love and concern for you. David himself was a “Man after Gods own heart,” yet he failed miserably in some big tests in his life.

God Creates a New Heart In Us (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 22:24-28)
Here we see that only God Himself can create a new heart in us (See Psalm 51). Without this change we are incapable of pleasing God with our works. But we can rejoice in the fact that we have been given a moldable heart, which isn’t formed perfectly, but is being molded, and has been made moldable. That is the difference between a heart of flesh and a heart of stone.

Christ In Our Heart Is Not Spatial (Ephesians 3:14-21)
The idea of “Christ in your hearts,” is not a spatial thing; it is qualitative. It is all too often misused to mean some superficial choosing of Jesus to join our own agendas. This has to do with the Holy Spirit empowering you to live in the love of Christ in everything we do. The idea of Christ “Dwelling” in our heart is to rule it, so that it is reconstructed and motivated to obey God by love and not fear or pride (See John 14:15, note that 16ff speaks of the Holy Spirit whom is needed in order for this to be real).

…to the Heart
The kind of heart that produces FRUIT, is the kind of heart that is given to us by God, and made stronger by lovingly obeying/trusting God with our lives. A heart that consistently prays to God and asks Him to show him his/her heart (Psalm 139:23-24) and acts on what God reveals in His word and prayer through faith will become a heart that is after God’s own heart.

Books for further study: Most of this material is taken from “How People Change” and “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands” by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane, as well as their accompanying workbooks

Next Weeks Verses: Psalm 4; Galatians 5:13-6:10


2 comments so far

  1. Gilles on

    The sermon? Good stuff, as usual. Just a side comment on your side comment on demon possession. You left us cowering in fear that we could be possessed at any time! The concept of demon possession hinges on what the word actually means. It means to be controlled. From my experience on the mission field, the people who are controlled by demons have in some way, often knowingly, invited their presence through association with demonic sorts of things. People walking in the Spirit don’t do that, so they do not fall under the control of demons. However, anyone, spirit-filled or not, can be oppressed (i.e. assaulted). I was once, with the witness of two people. Why? God wanted my attention. I wasn’t praying against the demons that were harassing my village friends on a nightly basis. My wife and I began to pray, things changed. God is in control, especially when it comes to those who love Him. Not demons.

  2. ruthsgleanings on

    Lovely rant. I think this message is underclarified in most churches.

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