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The Heart of the Matter Luke 6;43-45 111807

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The Heart of the Matter (Luke 6:43-45)

Intro: The heart of the matter is simply this: It is your heart that matters. The condition of heart is what Jesus is concerned with in the Sermon on the Plain. What our life looks like everyday says a lot about the condition of our heart and the direction of our life.

   Give Background. Read Luke 6:43-45

According to our text, we should consider Four Parts of our Spiritual Life.

 

1.        Self-Inspection (44a)

a.        We are known by our fruit. We should be able to assess our own spiritual condition by examining our own fruit.

b.        The context of the verse leads us to understand that verses 43-45 have more to do with self-examination than application to others. This parable further clarifies the plank/ speck image of verses 41-42.

c.        We are to examine ourselves. We are to look for fruit in our own lives. What is our life producing?

d.        What better mirror do we have to help us examine ourselves than the Bible? 

James 1:22-25  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

ILL: Each year thousands of tourists journey to Mount Rushmore National Memorial that is carved above the town of Keystone in southwestern South Dakota.  It is there that the images of four of the great presidents of the United States are carved in granite.  What the average tourist does not realize is the constant work that goes on to keep this giant sculpture from deteriorating.  For one week in September workers inspect the entire face of the mountain. They go over this magnificent piece of art removing bird nests, pulling shrubs that have grown in the crevices in the rock.  But the most important task of all is filling the hundreds of natural rock fissures that crisscross the executive figures.  Workmen carefully fill these cracks with a special mixture of white granite dust, linseed oil and white lead.  If these fissures were left unattended, the autumn rains and melting snow could creep into the rock and freeze, thus shattering a president's image.

App: We need biblical self-evaluation and self-inspection.

2.        Heart Condition (43, 45ab)

a.        Self-Inspection should show us the condition of our heart. If our self-inspection reveals no good fruit or very little good fruit, then we have cause for concern.

b.        Fruit that is good reveals a good heart. Fruit that is bad reveals a bad heart.

c.        Jesus gives a common sense proverb that is generally true. Like the proverbs in the OT, this proverb tells us that generally speaking that if we pick fruit from a tree and it is bad, we have found a bad tree. I say this is generally true because we all know that good people, even believers, are capable of messing up every now and then. Also, we know that an evil, and unbelieving person, can do things that we would consider good from time to time.

d.        Jesus simply makes the point that good fruit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and self control come from a heart that has been changed by God.  

ILL: One day  a preacher named O.P. Ethridge slammed the car door on his thumb and almost mashed it off.   When he got the mashed thumb out of the door, he said, "Praise the Lord!"  Ernest said, "Are you Crazy?  You almost mashed your thumb off, and you are praising the Lord?"  O.P. said, "I'm not praising the Lord because I mashed my thumb, but because I didn't mash it off." - Jerry Songer, "`Tis the Season to Be Thankful," {Proclaim,}

App: What is the condition of your heart? This is a question for one who has experienced the grace of God and for those who still stand in need of a right relationship with God.

 

3.         Life Direction (44bc, 45ab)

a.        Our Heart’s Condition determines our Life’s Direction. We do follow our heart.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.  Prov 14:12”

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

b.        The picture of the those who pick fruit is another silly image that Christ uses to make a clear point.

c.        It is only common sense that God will never allow those into heaven whose hearts have not been changed by Him. 

Galatians 6:7 – 8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 

ILL: An airline had a mix-up in its schedule.  The passengers waited for several minutes in confusion concerning the destination of the flight.  The plane didn't move away from the gate, and the crew seemed to be deep in discussion.

Finally a flight attendant made an announcement.  "There seems to be some confusion concerning the destination of the flight.  If your destination is Omaha, please remain seated.  If your destination is Dallas, you are asked to exit the plane at this time."

Suddenly the door to the cockpit opened, and the pilot put on his coat, grabbed his flight case, tipped his hat to the passengers, and said, "Sorry, folks -- I've got the wrong plane."

App: If your heart’s condition reveals your life’s direction, then where is your life headed? A changed heart always leads to a new direction. A new heart and a new direction is revealed in one’s Daily Action.

 

4.        Daily Action (45c)

a.        Our lives give daily evidence that shows whether we are living in a daily relationship with Jesus.

b.        The fruit does not determine the tree. The tree determines the fruit. Our daily actions do not determine our Heart’s Condition or our Life’s Direction, but our Heart’s Condition determines our daily actions.

c.        The words we say are never meaningless. The words have meaning, and there is a reason behind the words we use. Of all the actions or activities that Jesus could have used to explain this point, He used the tongue. Our deeds, our thoughts, and our attitudes are all a part of our daily actions, but our words most often reveal our true character. Trent Butler says it like this, “Your daily conversation issues from your heart.

App: Your actions, especially your words flow out of your heart. What do your actions and words reveal about the condition of your heart?Conclusion: Invitation:  Salvation; Baptism; Church Membership; The call.
Oh, could they hear His echo     In every song I sing?In eating, drinking, dressing     Could they see Christ my King?Would I be called a "Christian"     If judged by what I read?By all my recreations,     And every thought and deed?Could I be counted Christlike     As I now work and play?Unselfish, kind, forgiving     To others every day?
Would I be called a "Christian"     If everybody knewMy secret thoughts and feelings     And everything I do?Oh, could they see the likeness     of Christ in me each day?Oh, could they hear him speaking     In every word I say?Would I be called a "Christian"     If anyone could knowThat I am found in places     Where Jesus would not go?

ILL: WOULD I BE CALLED A CHRISTIAN? by Mrs. J.F. Moser

How to Liven up Thanksgiving Dinner:

Mid-meal turn to mom and say, "See mom, I told you they wouldn't notice, you were worried for nothing."

ILL: One Thanksgiving season a family was seated around their table, looking at the annual holiday bird.  From the oldest to the youngest, they were to express their praise.  When they came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks to the turkey, saying although he had not tasted it, he knew it would be good.  After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying the turkey.  But then he went beyond that.  He joined together a whole hidden multitude of benefactors, linking them with cause and effect.

He said, “I thank you for the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey.  I thank you for the grocery store people who put it on the shelf.  I thank you for the farmer who made it fat.  I thank you for the man who made the feed.  I thank you for those who brought the turkey to the store.”

He traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate.  And then at the end he solemnly said “Did I leave anybody out?”

His 2-year-older brother, embarrassed by all those proceedings, said, “God.”

Solemnly and without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old said, “I was about to get to him.”

Joel Gregory, “The Unlikely Thanker,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 110; contributed by Todd Coget

A few years ago, the Peanuts cartoon pictured Charlie Brown bringing out Snoopy’s dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But it was just his usual dog food in a bowl. Snoopy took one look at the dog food and said, "This isn’t fair. The rest of the world is eating turkey with all the trimmings, and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog, all I get is dog food." He stood there and stared at his dog food for a moment, and said, "I guess it could be worse. I could be a turkey."

ILL.- Someone said, “Thanksgiving is when millions of Americans get together to drink, talk, eat, and go home again. It’s known as the four G’s: giggle, gabble, gobble, and git!”

ILLUSTRATION:

The Thanksgiving tradition can be traced back to the early Pilgrims who held a feast in 1621 after a substantial harvest.  Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, inviting Indian chief Massasoit and many of his people to this three-day feast.  Squanto, the Pilgrim's translator and friend, was present as well.  While this banquet would not become an annual event, it beautifully signified the heartfelt thanks of the early colonists for God's blessing on them.

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, determined that they would officially express thanks for their prosperity.  By unanimous vote, they instructed clerk Edward Rawson to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving.

It was not, however, until Nov. 1, 1777, that the first official national recognition of Thanksgiving was given, when declared by the Continental Congress following Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga.  The defeat of Burgoyne and his army came following a grueling campaign that began with the British victory at Ticonderoga, and our leaders desired to express thanks to God for the victory.

Throughout the 1700s, it was common practice for the colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout the years.  Then, on Oct. 3, 1789, George Washington, during his first year as president, set aside Thursday, November 26, as “A Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer.” 

On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation distinguishing the fourth Tuesday of November as a national Thanksgiving holiday.  President Lincoln also declared days of Thanksgiving for Sunday, April 13 -- following the Union victory at Shiloh -- and Aug. 6, 1863, in recognition of the Union's success at Gettysburg.

President Andrew Johnson set aside a special Thanksgiving on Dec. 7, 1865 (celebrating the Union victory), and each president since that time has declared an annual national Thanksgiving.  In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the holiday to the third Thursday of November (to broaden the Christmas shopping season), but after much protest, two years later changed Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November, where it remains today.

Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleep

I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned -- the dark meat and white,

but I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,

the thought of a snack became infatuation.

So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door

and gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,

pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,

till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky

With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie

But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees ....

happy eating to all -- pass the cranberries, please!

You can Overdue Thanksgiving if ...

* Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the EZ-Boy

* Your "Big Elvis Super-Belt" won't even go around your waist

* Pricking your finger for cholesterol screening only yielded gravy

* A guest quotes a Biblical passage from "The Feeding of the 5000"

* That rash on your stomach turns out to be steering wheel burn

* Your wife wears a life jacket at night in your water bed

* Representatives from the Butterball Hall of Fame called twice

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