If It Isn't Broken, You Can't Fix It!
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Introduction: A well known saying states "If it aint broke, don't fix it," but I would say, if it isn't broken, you can't fix it. Several years ago there was a song an the secular charts that was called Don't Go Breaking My Heart. Sometimes our hearts need to be broken. Too often, we guard our heart from pain, when the best thing that could happen to our heart is that it would be broken. We sing "Search Me Oh God" and "see if there be any wicked way in me," but we sing it with the blinds pulled down on the windows of our heart, that the painful searching light of God would not penetrate into the center of our hearts and cause pain. If revival is to start, it must start with the heart, out of which flows the issues of life (revive = make alive again)
I. Conquer a Resistant Heart.
Psalm 95:8 (NIV)
8do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert,
A. Resistant Through Rebellion
A mother repeatedly told her little boy to sit down. The boy continued to stand, disobeying his mother. Finally, the mother went to him, and plopped him down in a chair. Fuming, the boy said, “I may be sitting down on the OUTSIDE, but I am standing on the INSIDE!”
- I will do what I want, like a horse that gets the bit in its mouth.
We put on the face of doing what God wants, as we ask him, What would you have me do God? We say it with practiced conviction and meaning, and then go about doing what we wanted to do in the first place, and then put God's name on it.
* A tramp, on reaching a crossroads, threw a twig three times into the air. A bystander asked, "Why did you throw the twig high into the air like that?" The tramp replied, "To give me guidance as to which way I should go." "But why three times?"
"Because the first two times it didn't come down the way I wanted it to."
B. Resistant Through Hardening
- Like a virus strain that builds up resistance to treatment
* Dr. Morris Weigelt tells of a childhood memory: "I can recall the various stages a pond near my house went through as it began to freeze. As the water just began to freeze, it formed a thin sheet of ice that you could throw a small pebble through. After it had frozen a little more, you could throw a small rock through it. Soon it would be thick enough for a squirrel to run across it. A little longer, and it was almost rubberlike; a person could jump on it as the ice gave just a little. Finally, it became so thick and hard that you could drive a tractor across it!" --Mike Ward
- Our hearts are like the hardening pond at times. We resist the things that we consider little things in God's word, and as we build up resistance to those things, soon the weightier things in God's word find a resistance they can't break through, until it comes to the point that though God's Word be hurled at our hearts with great force, it can not break through the resistance that has built up.
II. Come with a Rent Heart
Joel 2:13 (NIV)
13Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
A. Broken for Real (No Pretense)
-Velcro Shoe Buckles, Loud ripping Velcro wallets, Jewish Garments with Velcro collar rips sewn into them.
Tearless Altar calls, and unemotional conversions. Worse yet, lip service, but life sameness.
B. Broken for God (New Passion)
- Not sorry for the punishment which means you are sorry for yourself, but sorry for the distance you have gone from God. Sorry that their was ever drifting away that would cause him to call you to return. Sorry enough to buckle your knees at the discovery and cry out to God across the distance you yourself have created.
III. Cultivate a Receptive Heart
A. Prepare the Ground
Matthew 13:7 (NIV)
7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Matthew 13:22 (NIV)
22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
- Our desire for spiritual things must never take a back seat to our material concerns. You can not serve God and Mammon (riches).
- Monks used to take vows of poverty, and though we must recognize the need to care for our families and live in the midst of a demanding economy, I think the monks saw the danger material possessions hold in their potential to choke out the things of God. If this is so, do not we, as the wealthiest people of God need to look at this with deep concern?
* A woman met a friend of her father's who had not seen him for many years. The woman's father was a devout Christian, so she found great joy in telling his old acquaintance about her dad's trust in the Lord, and the way he faced suffering, trials, and even the prospect of death. The friend, however, had lived a different kind of life. Having given himself over completely to earning money and hoarding every cent he could, he had become very wealthy. But he didn't have the same glad anticipation of the future as his friend did. He explained it to the daughter in this way: "Your father can be more optimistic about heaven than I for a very simple reason. He is going to his treasure. I'll be leaving mine!"
B. Plow Deep
Jeremiah 4:3 through Jeremiah 4:4 (NIV)
3This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:
“Break up your unplowed ground
and do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,
circumcise your hearts,
you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it.
- Not an outer circumcision, but one of the heart.
- Be willing to not only deal with the acts of sin, which are the symptoms, but the cause of sin in the heart.
- Calloused hands have built up a resistance to pain, and it takes deep cut to get through the callous so the pain can penetrate to the nerves. So it is with our hearts. The Sword of Gods Word must be allowed to cut deep, so that our calloused hearts begin to be stirred and once again feel the prick of conscience.
IV. Consent to a Renewed Heart
A. The Lord is Willing
Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)
19I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
- When God says He will, who are we to say he won't? God can be taken at His Word, and His Word says he will!
- If we take him at his word to save from the penalty of sin, can we not take him at his word to deal with our sinful hearts? God says, "I Will give them an undivided heart."
B. The Lord is Waiting
Ezekiel 18:31 through Ezekiel 18:32 (NIV)
31Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Psalm 51:17 (NIV)
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
God will not turn away a broken heart. The way to become whole is to be broken.
Your heart is an open book before God. You can not fool him. He knows whether your heart is proud, or broken and open before Him.
John 2:25 (NIV)
25He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
Only when you allow your heart to be broken can Jesus make it Whole.
The way up is down. Sometimes we think that revival is just God taking us higher from the point we are at, but spiritually, the way up is often down. We have to get down on our knees before God will lift us up.
1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
We have to humble our hearts before we are lifted up. We have to be broken before we are fixed, because "If it isn't broken, it can't be fixed.