Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

8-4-05

The New Heart

 

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."—Ezekiel 36:26.

I want to begin by revealing a wonder of God’s love.

When God makes one of His creatures, and that creature has a fall from the condition in which he was created, He causes them, as a rule, to bear the penalty of their transgression, and to stay in the place into which they are fallen.

But here He makes an exception; man, fallen man, created by God, pure and holy, has willfully and wickedly rebelled against God, and lost his first estate, but he is to be the subject of a new creation through the power of God's Holy Spirit.

Here is the wonder of God’s love!

What is a man compared to an angel?

Would you say he is little and insignificant?

Here’s what the Bible says about one particular group of angels, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."

God showed them no mercy.

He made them pure and holy, and they should have stayed that way, but instead they willfully rebelled.

He cast them out of heaven for ever; and He didn’t offer a single promise of mercy.

He has delivered them to eternal torment in the place prepared for the devil and his angels.

But here’s the wonder of it; the God who destroyed the angels stoops from His highest throne in glory, and speaks to His creature man, and says to him, "You have fallen just like the angels did; you have made a big mistake and gone astray, but I’m not going to just throw you away.  Instead, I am going to do something for you,—not for your sake, but for my own name's sake. I am going to undo the wrong you have done; I will take away that heart which has rebelled against me. I made you, but you have unmade yourself, therefore, I will make you over again. I will take away your stony heart, and give you a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within you."

Isn’t this a wonder of God’s grace; that mighty angels would be cast into the fire for ever, and yet God has made a covenant with man that he will renew and restore him?

And now folks, I will attempt to show two things with this message. 

First of all, I want to show why the NEW HEART IS NECESSARY, and then I’ll show the work that God does when He gives the NEW HEART. 

And after that I will make a few personal remarks.


I’ll begin with WHY THE NEW HEART IS NECESSARY.

I hope that the Holy Spirit will show us how sinful we really are in God’s eyes, and that we would crave mercy from Him, since both things are necessary if we are going to be saved.

Did you notice that in our text God does not promise us that He will improve our nature, or that he will mend our broken hearts?

No, the promise is that he will give us brand new hearts.

Human nature is too far gone ever to be mended.

It is not like a house that needs a little repair, with a few shingles blown off the roof, and a couple of windows cracked.

But, it is rotten through and through, and there is not a single board in it which has not been eaten by termites; and it’s ready to fall down.

God doesn’t attempt to fix it; he doesn’t shore up the walls, and re-paint the door; he doesn’t try to beautify it, but instead, he decides to tear the whole thing down, and that he will build a new one.

It is too far gone, to be fixed.

Perhaps it could be fixed, if it only needed a little repair.

But that’s not the case; the whole house needs to be repaired.

The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is weak.

From the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head, it has been wounded and bruised.

 

That’s why the Lord doesn’t attempt to repair it; but instead He says, "I will give you a new heart, and a right spirit will I put within you; I will take away the heart of stone, I will not try to soften it, I will let it be as stony as ever it was, but I will take it away, and I will give you a new heart, and it shall be a heart of flesh."

Now, I want to show you that God is justified in this, and that it was necessary for Him to do it.

To begin with, if you consider what human nature has been, and what it is now, it will not be very long before you will agree with God that it is a hopeless case.

For just a moment, think how bad human nature must be to treat its God the way it does.

That may just cause you to feel sympathy for God, and sorry that He is treated in such a mean way.

I am glad He doesn’t treat us like we treat Him.

My friends, there are many men that are hated and mistreated by their fellow man; but there has never been a man who was as despised as Jesus has been.

Many men have been slandered and abused, but never as bad as Jesus has been.

Many have been treated cruelly and ungratefully, but never was anyone treated as terribly as Jesus has been.

Let us look back upon our past 1ives—how ungrateful have we been to Him!

It was God that made us and the first words out of our lips should have been praise for Him.

It’s our duty to worship and praise Him, but instead of that, we have taken His name in vain.

We have never thanked Him like we should, and we never think of Him as often as we should.

It’s like we believe that He has entirely forgotten us, and so we were trying to forget Him.

It is so very seldom that we think of Him that you would think that He doesn’t give us any reason to think of Him.

This little poem may express how we should think of Him.

 

"When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I'm lost
In wonder, love, and praise."


But I think if we look back at our own lives, we might feel ashamed and want to say to Him, "How could I have treated a good friend so badly and forgotten Him so easily.  He has been a devoted father to me, and yet I have never embraced him? I have never given him a kiss of gratitude? I haven’t even let Him know that I am aware of His kindness, and that I am grateful for His love?"


But there’s something even worse than forgetting Him; it is that we have rebelled against him.

 

We have attacked God and Jesus.

 

Before we were saved, we hated anything that was God-like, and since we were saved we have despised other Christians, and called them hypocrites.

 

We have despised the Lord’s Day; He set it apart for our good, but we use it for our own pleasure instead of devoting it to Him.

 

He gave us a love letter in a book, and he wants us to read it.

 

It was full of love for us, but we have kept it closed and allowed it to gather dust.

 

He gave us a church and asks us go there, because He wants to meet with us and speak to us; but we prefer to watch TV and play board games.


My friends, I want to emphasize again that there has never been a man who was treated so badly by his fellow-creatures.

 

And yet while men have been so cruel to Him, He still continued to bless them.

 

He put breath into their nostrils, even while they were cursing Him.

 

He gave them food to eat, even while they were His enemies.

 

He gave light to their eyes, breath to their lungs, and strength to their muscles, and He blessed them even while they were cursing Him.

 

I am so grateful that He is God and that He never changes, or else we would have been consumed long ago.


I want you to imagine a homeless person dying in a ditch.

 

I hope that such a thing never happens around here, but it could if he begs for food and no one will help him, until at last, he dies in a ditch.

 

That would be horrible; but Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was treated even worse.

 

It would have been an act of mercy if they had permitted him to die in a ditch; but that would have been too good for human nature.

 

He had to go through the very worst, and therefore God allowed human nature to take Jesus and nail him to the Cross.

 

He allowed them to mock Jesus while He suffered extreme agony.

 

He allowed human nature to make fun of Him, and to stare with cruel eyes at his stripped and naked body.

 

Mankind should feel ashamed, because there never was a worse creature than man.

 

Animals might just be better than man, because man has all the worst qualities of the animals and none of their best.

 

He has the fierceness of the lion without its nobility; he has the stubbornness of an ass without its patience; he has all the devouring gluttony of the wolf, without the wisdom which bids it avoid the trap.

 

He is a carrion vulture but he is never satisfied; he is a serpent with the poison of asps beneath his tongue, but he spits his venom all over the place.

 

If you think of human nature and the way it acts towards God, you will agree that it is too bad to be patched up; man must have a new nature.


Now, there is another aspect of human nature where we can see the sinfulness of mankind: that’s its pride.

 

The worse thing about a man is that he can be so proud.

 

My friend, pride is woven into the very core of our nature, and we will not get rid of it until we are laid out in our coffin.

 

It’s astonishing to me, that when I pray, I may try to make use of some humble words; however, I am betrayed by my pride.

 

Pride can keep a person from seeing how sinful he really is.

 

No one should wonder why they go astray.

 

The wonder is that I am not worse than I am, and all the credit goes to God, not to me.

 

So, when we are trying to be humble, we may be foolishly rushing into pride.

 

It’s a strange thing to see a sinful man that’s proud of his morals, and yet that’s a thing you may see every day.

 

You may have seen a man who is an enemy of God that’s proud of his honesty, and yet he is robbing God.

 

Or a man that’s proud of his chastity, and yet his thoughts are full of lust and filth.

 

Or a man who’s proud of the praise he receives from others, but he knows himself; he knows that God and his conscience blame him.

 

It seams strange to me that a man can be proud, when he has nothing to be proud of.

 

What is man but a living, animated lump of clay—defiled and filthy, a living hell, and yet proud.

 

I am the son of a man that robbed his Master's garden, and went astray and was disobedient, and lost everything when he ate a single apple; and yet I am proud of my ancestry!

 

I am living on charity from God, but I am proud of my wealth, even though I don’t have two nickels to rub together, unless God chooses to give it to me.

 

I came into this world naked, and I must go out of it naked.

 

Now, the strangest thing of all is that a man who has a heart that’s full of adultery and all types of idolatry, and lust, can talk about being a good person, and take pride in himself and claim to have some good points about himself, which deserve the admiration of his colleagues, and some consideration from God.

 

It’s human nature, then, for a man to be proud of himself, while he has nothing to be proud of.

 

Let’s put our pride away, and let God give us something new for the old nature, since it can never be made better.

 

It is helplessly insane, decrepit, and defiled.

 

What's more, I am pretty certain that human nature cannot be made better, since many have tried to do it, but they have always failed.

 

I have seen men try to make themselves religious, but they wind-up making a mess of themselves when they try to do it.

 

They go limping along in the service of God, and everyone soon discovers the inconsistencies in their life.

 

It might be easier for a leopard to change its spots than it would be for a man to imagine that he can conceal the wickedness of his nature by any attempts at religion.


I have tried for a long time to improve myself, but I never had much luck at it.

 

I found I had a devil within me called the flesh or the old nature.

 

Instead of becoming better, I became worse.

 

Now I had the devil of pride and jealousy and lust, and many others had come to take-up lodging with them.

 

My friends, you may try and reform, but you will find you can’t do it, but even if you could, it still would not be the work that God requires.

 

He will not accept reformation, because He wants renovation.

 

He wants you to have a new heart, and not a heart that’s changed a little-bit for the better.


There’s another reason why we must have a new heart that becomes apparent when you consider how Christ wants Christians to live and enjoy Him.

 

Can you imagine that a lion will lie down with a lamb, and eat straw like a cow, so long as it is a lion?

 

No; there must be a change.

 

You may put sheep's clothing on it, but you cannot make it a sheep unless the lion-like nature is taken away.

 

Try to improve the lion as long as you like; try for a thousand years, but you’ll never make it into a sheep.

 

There must be a total change of character, so if you ask me if it is possible for a man that is a drunkard, and an adulterer, and has cussed God, to sing the high praises of God in heaven as well as a man who has loved and had communion with Christ for a long time?

 

My answer is no, never, unless his nature can be entirely changed.

 

So long as his heart is what it is, he will never be capable of having the spiritual nature of the child of God.

 

Therefore, folks, there must surely be a new nature put into us.


I want to conclude the first part of the message with this point.

 

God hates a depraved nature, and therefore it must be taken away, before God can accept him.

 

God hates the sin, but not the sinner.

 

The Lord is not only angry at our sinful acts, but against the nature which orders the acts.

 

God is not so short-sighted that He merely looks at the surface; He looks at the source of our disobedience and sin.

 

He said, "in vain shall it be, though thou shouldst make the fruit good, if the tree remain corrupt.  In vain shalt thou attempt to sweeten the waters, so long as the fountain itself is defiled."

 

God is angry with man's heart; he has a hatred for man's depraved nature, and he will have it taken away, he will have it totally cleansed before he will admit that man into any communion with Himself—and above all, into the sweet communion of heaven.

 

There is, therefore, a demand for a new nature, and we must have it, or otherwise we can never see the face of God.


And now for my second point, I want to try to describe for you, very briefly:

 

THE NATURE OF THIS GREAT CHANGE WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS IN US.


And, I’ll begin by saying that it is a work of God from first to last.

 

God alone can give a man a new heart and a new nature.

 

"Salvation is of the Lord alone;" this truth will stand the test of time, because it is the indisputable truth of God.

 

And this truth, applies to this indispensable part of salvation; the making of a new heart within us. 

 

That must be God's work, since man cannot reform himself.

 

But how can man give himself a new heart?

 

How can man put a new heart into himself, given that the heart is what motivates all life, and must exert itself before anything can be done?

 

But how could an old heart, by its own efforts, bring forth a new heart?

 

I have heard of some kind of insects that when they have lost their legs, they are able to grow new ones.

 

But take away the source of power, the heart, and what power is there that can repair it, unless it’s a power from above?

 

My friends, there hasn’t been a man yet who can make himself a new heart.

 

Only God can make a new heart and put new life into the soul, and most likely, He will have to overcome a man’s resistance against it.

 

Once, again, this all happens because of God grace.

 

When God puts a new heart into man, it is not because man deserves a new heart; the Lord simply gives a man a new heart because he wishes to do so; that’s his only reason.

 

It could be that someone would ask, "Suppose a man was earnestly seeking for a new heart, would he get one?"

 

I’m sorry to say it’s impossible; so long as the man's heart is depraved and vile, he will never do such a thing.

 

The fact is, no man ever did, or ever will seek a new heart, or a right spirit, until, first of all, God’s Spirit begins to draw him.


I want to emphasize again, a man is saved by grace through faith, not by any effort of his own.

 

When God first begins the work of changing the heart, he finds the man is totally against such a thing.

 

It’s natural for a man to kick and struggle against God, because he doesn’t want to be saved.

 

Now, allow me to tell you about my struggle with the Holy Spirit.

 

I must confess I never would have been saved, if I could have helped it.  

 

I rebelled and revolted, and struggled against God as long as I could.  

 

Then one day I heard some preaching, and a tear rolled down my cheek. 

 

I wiped it away and defied him, but the pull of the Spirit was too powerful and it began to melt my heart.  

 

Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer. 

 

I was only nine, and I was alone, but I moved from the pew and walked to the alter. 

 

It’s been 54 years, but I could still show you the very spot where I accepted Jesus for my Savior. 

 

I have never regretted that decision. 

 

Today, He is even more than my Savior, He is my Lord.

 

My friends, Jesus will save to the uttermost anyone who believes in Him, and when He does it He will give that man a new heart and a new nature.

 

And furthermore, this change is instantaneous.

 

The Lord can give a man a new heart in an instant, in one solitary second.

 

He can put a new heart into a man faster than the lightning can flash, and then make him a new creature in Christ Jesus.

 

You may be sitting where you are today, and you’re an enemy of God, with a wicked heart that’s hard as a stone, and dead and cold.

 

But if the Lord is calling you, He will drop a living spark into your soul, and in that moment you will begin to tremble; you will confess your sin, and rush to Christ for mercy.

 

Other parts of salvation are done gradually but rebirth happens on the spot and it’s the work of God's sovereign, powerful, and alluring grace.


Now, if any one here is without Christ, I WANT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT SHOULD GIVE YOU HOPE AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

 

If you want to be saved, and you have been praying for days or weeks or longer for God to save you, that’s a sign that God is ready to claim you for His own. 

 

Your prayer has already been heard.

 

You may even have a new heart right now.

 

Perhaps you won’t realize it for months yet, therefore continue to pray until God opens your eyes, so that you may see that the prayer is answered.

 

But rest assured it is answered already.

 

If you hate sin, that is not human nature.

 

If you long to be a friend of God, that is not human nature.

 

If you desire to be saved, it is not human nature.

 

There is something good in you already; the Lord has begun a good work in your heart, and he will carry it out until it is complete.

 

You could never have attained these feelings on your own.

 

God has helped you by His grace, and as sure as he has started to save you, he will carry it out, until he places His arms of love around you in heaven.


Now, I think there is someone here who has lost hope.

 

The devil has told you that you cannot be saved, because you are too guilty and vile.

 

Everyone else in the world might find mercy, but not you, because you do not deserve to be saved.

 

Listen to me now, I have tried to make it as plain as the nose on your face that God never saves a man because there is anything good in him.

 

The greatest sinner is just as eligible to receive God’s mercy as the very least of sinners.

 

Any criminal is just as eligible for God's grace, as the man who is the very model of morality.

 

I say that, because I know that God doesn’t want anything from you.

 

He can take a thief, a drunkard, a prostitute, or anyone else and he can put you on your knees, make you cry for mercy, and then make you lead a holy life, and keep you until the end.

 

If anyone says, "I wish He would do that for me”, if that’s what you truly want, he will.

 

If you want to be saved today, you will be saved today.

 

If you want to be saved today, I will invite you to the cross of Christ.

 

Jesus Christ has borne the sins of men, and carried their sorrows; look at Him hanging on the Cross, and trust Him.

 

Then you are saved.


And now I want every one of you who are without Christ to think about this; this morning you are in the hands of God.

 

We deserve hell: if God sends us there, there is not a single argument that can be made against His doing it.

 

We cannot save ourselves; we are entirely in his hands; like a moth that lies under the finger, He can crush us now, if He pleases, or He can let us go and save us.

 

What are you thinking about if you believe that?

 

Why, we ought to cast ourselves on our faces, and cry-out to God to save us, and as God is my witness, He will not refuse anyone their request.

 

So, go and try him!

 

See if He won’t forgive you.

 

He is kinder than you think He is.

 

I hope you will try Him.

 

The Lord will even help you to try him, and when He saves you give God the glory, and He will give you happiness in heaven, for ever and ever.


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