February is an interesting month. It is the only month with fewer than 30 days. It is the only month that sometimes has a different number of days—28 except for every 4th year when it has 29. It has some interesting holidays. This past Thursday was Groundhog Day—and the Groundhog saw his shadow in Pennsylvania even though it was cloudy in Branson. I hope that means Branson will be exempted from the 6 weeks of bad weather up north! And if you have been to any drug store or Big Box store you have to know that it is almost Valentine’s Day—What gift will you give to your loved one this year? February 15th is designated “Flag Day” on my office calendar. February 20th is Presidents Day and February 22 is Washington’s Birthday. Throw in a few birthdays and we can just celebrate the entire month.
O yes, there is another emphasis in February: It is designated as Heart Month.’ Healthfinder.gov website tells us that: “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.”
Iamproheart.org lists these as warning signs of a heart attack:
Don’t ignore the signs.
• Chest pressure, tightness, and heaviness
• Extreme fatigue
• Fainting and lightheadedness
• Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms
• Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
If January was the month for making New Year Resolutions, February is the month to make decisions to work towards a healthy, heart healthy lifestyle.
And anytime is the right time to choose the spiritual healthy heart lifestyle.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51 records the prayer of King David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan of his sin with Bathsheba and the conspiracy to have her husband killed. David touched on several important points in this Psalm.
In verse 5 He wrote, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
In verse 17 he wrote, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
And in our text, verse 10, he wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
With these 3 verses in mind, let’s consider “The Heart of the Redeemed.”
I. OUR DISEASED HEARTS
a. David understood that from the moment of conception there was something amiss in his heart—something sinful. We understand that the Bible clearly teaches that from the time of the fall—when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and partook of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—humanity has suffered from a heart condition. We often call it Original Sin or Depravity.
b. In Genesis 8, after the Flood and after Noah and his family came out of the Ark and offered a sacrifice to God, in verse 21 we read, “The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood And never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done.’”In the New Testament, Jesus points to this evil nature of the human heart in Matthew 15:18-19 when he said, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts-murder, adultery, sexual immorality, thief, false testimony, slander.” In Paul’s Letter to the Romans in chapter 3 he writes about this heart condition that stands in opposition to God. Romans 3: 10-18 says, “As it is written, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” There is no fear of God before their eyes.” And then in Romans 3:23 Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”In Romans 7 Paul describes the human condition as being a slave to an evil taskmaster called Sin.
c. Redemption is paying the price to buy the slave’s freedom. As we have seen, the heart of humanity is in terrible bondage to sin. The only hope we have is that Someone will pay the Redemption price to set us free. And someone has—in Romans 7:24 & 25 we read, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” In 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
II. THE PATH TO HEART HEALTH.
a. King David was right on target when he prayed in Psalm 51:17, ‘My sacrifice, O God, is a broken Spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God will not despise.”
b. This week my cousin’s son had a major heart attack. If he survives, at the minimum he will have to have several stints. As of Thursday the lower 3rd of his heart is paralyzed. The doctor’s aren’t sure if that is a temporary shock or a permanent condition. And earlier this week my Aunt Fran had tests that revealed her heart valves are leaking. And while they think medicine will help, probably she will have to have heart valve replacement in the future.When you are in those conditions, you are beyond the self help of healthy food and exercise. The only hope humanly is for medication and surgery. A person must place themselves in the hands of a medical professional if they have any hope of survival.
c. And when we consider what the Bible has told us about the condition of our spiritual hearts, it is obvious that it is going to take more than just self discipline and determination to get well. We just cannot cure ourselves of the heart disease called sin. We must place ourselves in the hands of the Professional.I always snigger to myself when I hear someone say that they are about to have surgery and they have been told their surgeon is considered the best in the world—I would be amazed if all the best in the world surgeons practice in Springfield or St. Louis or Kansas City. While the medical surgeons may be very good, I’m sure there are others in other places who are just as good. But we like that reassurance that we are going to be in the hands of the best.I want to tell you that there is only One who can successfully do spiritual heart surgery. We call Him the Great Physician.
d. And the pathway to a Redeemed heart is the way of a broken and contrite heart. It is the realization that my personal sin is the cause of my condition—and that I was born with this nature that is sinful and flaunts itself against God in rebellion! King David prayed in Psalm 51: 3-4, “For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”
e. In 2 Corinthians 7: 10 we read, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
f. We often talk about the importance of asking for forgiveness, but the Bible teaches us that along with asking for forgiveness there is the implied condition that we are indeed sorrow for our sins and realize that we have sinned against God! That is the reason we ask Him to forgive us! We must admit our guilt and the shame associated with that guilt. And we must seek to turn away from that sin and seek to do right in His sight!
g. When we have started this route, we are on the pathway to spiritual health. But it takes more than just what a person determines to do. The Great Physician must do the work.
III. THE GIVER OF HEART HEALTH
a. In Psalm 51: 10 King David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
b. We have determined that the heart of the natural person is not a “pure heart.” It is a “sinful heart.”
c. We have determined that the way to correct that heart condition is through Godly sorrow and repentance as we seek God’s forgiveness.
d. But, only after we have placed ourselves in the hands of the Great Physician and given Him permission to do in us what we cannot do for ourselves do we experience that transformation. And David was very insightful when in his prayer he used the words “Create in me…” God doesn’t just forgive– He changes a person’s heart. That sinful condition can only be removed by the creative powers of Almighty God. He only can, “Cleanse me with hyssop and [make me] clean, wash me and [make me] whiter than snow” (see Psalm 51: 7).
This is February. It is Heart Month. My prayer for you is that you allow The Great Physician to “Create in you a pure heart.”
• A pure heart is a heart that is full of joy.
• It is heart that is guarded by the “Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, [that]…guards your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 7).
• It is a heart filled with “…an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).
• It is a heart that loves God with its entire being and loves its neighbor as itself (see Matthew 22: 37-39).
• It is the heart that God gives to those whom He has redeemed through the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus.
• It is a heart like that of Jesus because Jesus has placed His Spirit in your heart.
Wouldn’t you like to have your heart condition corrected today by the Great Physician?