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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Heart Surgery 101 - Part 1

Robert Jeffress - Heart Surgery 101 - Part 1


Robert Jeffress - Heart Surgery 101 - Part 1
TOPICS: Seven Marks of a Disciple, Discipleship, Heart

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. If you joined us last time, you heard me say, "That the essence of discipleship is a changed life that comes from a transformed heart". But why is that necessary to transform our hearts? Who is responsible for making that happen? And what does the transformation process look like? Those are the questions I'm going to answer for you today. My message is titled "Heart Surgery 101", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

How many of you desire to live in the Kingdom of God? You say, "Pastor, that is a dumb question". I mean, especially when you consider the alternative, living outside the Kingdom of God. We know what Jesus said outside the Kingdom of God is, it's a place where there's darkness, weeping, the gnashing of teeth, who would ever choose to live outside the Kingdom of God? And yet many people are making that choice right now, to live outside the Kingdom of God. You see the Kingdom of God is not a synonym for heaven.

Now heaven is the ultimate expression of the Kingdom of God. It's where everybody will revere and respect and obey God's will. Likewise, hell is the ultimate expression, and destination of those who refuse to respect, revere and submit to God's will. But that delineation between the Kingdom of God and outside the Kingdom of God, is a delineation we see right now, here on earth. You remember a monarchs kingdom is that area where everyone respects, and reveres the king's will. For example, queen Elizabeth is the monarch over Great Britain. People who live within a territory owned by Great Britain they submit to the queen's will, they are part of her kingdom.

Do you and I obey the queen of England? No, we are not a part of her kingdom. We are outside the kingdom of Great Britain. It's the same way with the kingdom of heaven and those who are outside the kingdom, those who are living within God's kingdom right now, are those who respect, revere and obey the will of God. Those who are outside the Kingdom of God are those who are right now rejecting, and refusing to obey God's will. Heaven and hell are simply the continual eternity of the present choices people make right now.

Now think about living in the Kingdom of God. Probably one reason you said you want to live in the Kingdom of God, is you're thinking about those eternal benefits that await everybody who is going to be a part of the Kingdom of God. We know what those eternal benefits are. We spend a whole sermon series talking about 'em, when we talked about heaven. You know, bodies that never grow sick again, a reunion with our loved ones in heaven, freedom from sin. Those are all part of the eternal benefits of living in the Kingdom of God. But guess what? You don't have to wait until you die to experience the benefits of God's kingdom. Right now, right now you can experience the benefits of living under God's rule.

When you submit, respect, revere the will of God in your life right now, there are some immediate benefits. What are those benefits? Think about freedom from worry, peace, no matter what is happening around you, contentment with your financial situation, harmony in all of your relationships, a freedom from bitterness toward those who wronged you, you don't have to wait until you die to experience that. Right now, those kingdom benefits belong to you. Now, this is where a lot of Christians get mixed up and a lot of non-Christians get mixed up. They may say, "Well, you know, that sounds good. So how am I going to start experiencing those kingdom benefits right now? How do I become a part of the Kingdom of God"?

Let's go back to our Great Britain illustration for just a moment. You know, Amy and I have been watching "The crown" on Netflix, and let's just suppose one evening, we're watching that, and we say, "You know what? That queen Elizabeth, she's a pretty cool chick, and you know, well, we'd like to be a part of her kingdom. We would like to live under her reign". And so what do we do? Well, Amy and I decide to start sipping tea every day at three o'clock, we have high tea. Not only that, we work on developing our British accent and not only that, we memorize the words to the British national anthem, and we sing it every morning at breakfast. Does that make us a part of the queen's kingdom? Does that automatically make us citizens of Great Britain? Of course not.

In order to be under the king's reign we have to become citizens of Great Britain. It is the same way with becoming a part of God's kingdom telling people to quit getting angry, or to start forgiving or be pure in your relationships. That is useless because people can't do that naturally. There has to be a transformation of our life that gives us the desire and the ability to submit to God's will. We're in a series right now called "Seven Marks of a Disciple", and we've said that the essence of being a disciple is a changed life that comes from a transformed heart. If you haven't written that down yet, write it down across your outline because that's what it means to be a disciple. A disciple is somebody who experiences a changed life that comes from a transformed heart.

And today we're looking at that first mark of a disciple which is a transformed heart. You will never become a citizen of God's kingdom, you will never enjoy the benefits of living as a citizen of God's kingdom, until you have that transformation of your heart. And that's what we're going to talk about today. Today, I'm going to answer three questions about spiritual transformation. Number one, why is it necessary? Number two, who's responsible for it? And number three, what is the process by which it happens in our life? Let's first of all, talk about spiritual transformation. What or why is it necessary? Turn to second Corinthians chapter four. We're going to take about a three minute course on anatomy according to the Bible because if you don't understand this, you'll never understand what we're talking about needs to be transformed, until you understand what the Bible teaches about the heart.

You know, in our culture, we have been influenced by Greek Philosophy. Greek Philosophy separates the mind from the heart. The mind is the real us, it's our intellect, it's our will. The heart is simply that a seed of emotions that can never really be trusted. But according to the Bible, the heart is the center of the real us. It's the center of our intellect. It's the center of our will. And it's the center of our emotion. For example the Bible teaches the heart is the center of intellect.

Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks in his" what? Heart. "Heart so is he". Where do we think, it's in our heart? It's also the center of our will, the choices that we make. In Mark 3:5, there's a description of the pharisees who rejected Christ. It says, "And looking around at them with anger, grieved at the hardness of their heart". It was their heart that had made the decision to reject Christ. Even many times in the Bible, the heart is the center of emotions. Now, sometimes in the Old Testament, especially, the seed of emotions were the bowels, the intestines of a person, but in the New Testament, they decided that for valentine's day, you didn't want to put a picture of somebody's intestines, so they started talking about the heart as being the place of emotion. And you see that throughout the New Testament.

For example, Luke 24:32, remember, there two disciples of Christ after the resurrection who were walking on the road to a Emmaus, and Jesus appeared to them and started conversing with them, and at first they couldn't figure out who he was, but notice verse 32. "And they said to one another, were our hearts not burning within us while he was speaking to us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us"? The heart in the Bible, is the center of our thought, our will, and emotions. Your heart is the real you. Now, there is a visible you that everybody sees but then there is the real you that God sees. Man, looks on the outward appearance, the physical, but God looks at the heart.

Now the Bible teaches us that the visible us, that is our bodies, begin deteriorating the moment we draw our first breath. Did you know that? The moment you were born your body starts deteriorating. And then when you hit age 50, it hits warp speed. Do I hear an amen on that? But here's the good news, even though we are decaying physically, we can be transformed spiritually. Second Corinthians 4:16 says, "Therefore we do not lose heart but though our outer man is decaying, yet, our inner man is being renewed day by day".

Now, when we talk about spiritual transformation to allowed us to live the kind of life we want to live, we're talking about the transformation of our heart, our mind, our will, and our emotions. Why is that transformation necessary? Well look at what the Bible tells us about the heart. There are three insights the Bible gives us about our hearts. First of all, our hearts determine our behavior. Our hearts determine our behavior. Acts of sexual immortality, outburst of anger, greed that would cause us to steal. These are not involuntary responses, they are all the fruit, the manifestation of what is in our heart. Jesus said in Matthew 12:35, "The good man, out of his good treasure, brings forth what is good, and the evil man, out of his evil treasure, brings forth what is evil".

To try to change somebody's behavior without changing their heart is absolutely futile. You know, it used to be popular in youth groups, a few years ago, to have these campaigns for sexual abstinence, in order to encourage teenagers to say no to premarital sex there would be programs on abstinence, and you would actually have a ceremony where people would put on a ring to make a pledge that they were going to remain sexually pure until they got married. A wonderful goal, something everybody should desire to do. The problem with those programs though, was people went through the ceremony and then that was Sunday, then came Friday night, and they're in the backseat of somebody's car, and the hormones start to rage, and they give in to their desire for immorality, and they end up breaking that pledge. So they come back and they make a new vow. Lord, this time, I really mean it and I'm going to do it. Maybe they put on another ring, but they fail again.

Now I'm not ridiculing that desire to do that it is a worthy goal, but here's the problem, after a couple of failures the teenager comes to the conclusion, this just isn't working. It is impossible for me to ever have any victory over these desires in my life and they give up completely, to try to instigate, eliminate or modify your behavior without the change of a heart, is futile. And it leads to frustration and a life of defeat. If you're going to teach sexual abstinence, and we do here at first Baptist, Dallas, we also have to go along and say "How do you change your thoughts, your will and your emotions to allow you to say no, to those things that are displeasing to God"? The Bible says, "Our heart is where all behavior emanates from".

Secondly, the Bible teaches, our hearts have been polluted. We have all inherited a polluted heart. Did you know that's true of how God views every person who is born? The moment we are born into this world we are born with defective hearts. And the only thing that comes out of our minds are evil thoughts in God's eyes. Through Jeremiah the prophet, God said in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it"? People today want to talk about the goodness of the human heart. That's not God's point of view. By God's absolute pure standards, every heart is desperately wicked. How did that happen? How did our hearts become wicked? Romans 5:12 tells us, this virus that infects our heart came through Adam. "Therefore just as through one man's sin entered the world and death through sin and so death spread to all men because all sinned".

From Adam, we inherited this defective heart. And Paul describes exactly what the result of that heart is in Romans 5:6. He says, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly". The phrase or the word ungodly, describes the condition of our life because of our defective heart. You know, in the English language that prefix un, means a not, for example, we think of an unattractive person as somebody who is not attractive, a person who is unintelligent is a person who is not intelligent. So we assume that when we see the word here, ungodly, that means somebody who is not godly, but in the Greek language that prefix un, actually means, against, an ungodly person is not just somebody who is unlike God, well duh, we're all unlike God, but that phrase actually means somebody who is against God.

And the Bible says, "Christ came to die for all of us who are ungodly". That is our state in God's eyes. We are against God. And that's why every time God says, "No", our first inclination is to say, "Yes". And when God says, "Yes" to something, our first inclination is to say, "No", we are born ungodly. Our hearts are the center of our actions. Our hearts have been polluted. Thirdly, our hearts can be transformed. That's the good news. Now in Ezekiel 11:19-20, God points to that day when we're going to receive a brand new heart. Look at verses 19 and 20. "And I shall give them one heart and shall put a new spirit within them, and I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances, and do them, then they will be my people and I will be their God".

Did you know, one day you're going to have a heart transplant? God's going to give you a brand new heart that is free from any defect whatsoever. A heart that automatically wants to please God. A heart that is never tempted with evil again. How many of you are ready for that kind of heart? Well, the good news is, it's coming. The bad news is, you have to wait for it. That heart transplant one day is coming. Does that mean, then I have to walk around with this defective heart, that is opposed to God, and keeps me from benefiting from the Kingdom of God? No, even though we don't receive a new heart right now, we can experience a transformed heart.

Again, think about your physical heart. Maybe what you'd really like is a brand new heart but you can't afford that right now. So do you have to walk around with a completely defective heart? No, the doctor will say, "There's some things we can do to strengthen the heart that you have right now. We can give you some tablets that will help reduce the plaque buildup in your arteries that restrict the blood flow to your heart. Here are some exercises you can perform to strengthen your heart muscles. You can have a transformed heart right now". God says the same thing to us. We don't have to live as citizens outside the Kingdom of God. We can experience the benefits of obeying God from a heart that wants to know him. We can have a spiritually transformed heart.

Well then, that brings up the second question. We understand why it's necessary to have something change in our heart, but who is responsible for that spiritual transformation of our heart? Who is responsible? I don't know if you've ever been in a meeting like this before. There's a group, maybe you're a part of a club or a church, or even at your company, and as a team, you get all excited about some future goals, yeah, that's what we want to do in our organization, that would be great. Everybody gets excited, but the moderator ends the meeting before ever delegating the responsibilities. Who's responsible for what? And nothing ends up getting done because the truth is, everybody's business becomes nobody's business unless there's a clear understanding of who is responsible for what assignment, nothing ever gets done. It's the same way in the spiritual transformation of our heart. Who's responsible for that? Is God responsible or am I responsible? We better understand it, if it's going to happen.

Now, there are some people who would say, "Oh well that's God's responsibility, pastor, surely you know that". Just as we can't save ourselves, God alone can save us, only God alone is capable of transforming our hearts to become the kind of people we want to become. In fact people who believe that will actually point to scripture. Galatians 3:3, Paul said, "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh"? They say, "Paul is very clear, if you were saved by grace, do you think you can become more like Jesus through the flesh, through human effort"? But an examination of the context here, shows you that's not what Paul is talking about. He's not talking about how we become like Jesus as Christians, he's talking about salvation. He said, "If you begin by trusting in Christ' grace alone for your salvation, why would you switch horses in the middle of the stream, so to speak, and start depending on your flesh, your good works to save you"?

f you began by trusting in the Spirit of God, why not keep on trusting in the Spirit of God for your justification. He's not talking about how we transform our lives here. You know, Dallas Willard has a great insight on this. He says, "Grace and effort are not opposites". We get the idea in Christianity, if we exert any effort, there's something wrong, it all has to be of God. No, grace and effort are not opposites, grace and earning are opposites, working for your salvation is heresy, but working out your salvation is basic Bible. Grace and effort are allies, not enemies.

Let me show you that in scripture, turn over to Philippians 2:12-13. Philippians 2:12-13, Paul says, "So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Oh Paul, I can't believe he said that, we're not supposed to work for salvation, it's a free gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Hey, read it again. He didn't say work for your salvation. He said, "Work out your salvation".

When he talks about salvation, he's not just talking about our ticket to heaven, salvation, in the fullest extent, is becoming the person God wants you to be, yes, it includes going to heaven but it includes right now, living as that person who experiences the benefits of living under God's rule. He said, "That is something that we work out, not that we work for, we work out". Then he goes on to say, verse 13, "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure". God is the one who is in you, giving you the power to become the person he wants you to be.
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