- Sermon Notes
Guard Your Heart
August 15, 2021
A. What does it mean to guard your heart?
STORY: Teenage Guard Your Heart Message
– This passage has been used in teen and young adult ministry for so long without context. We are called to purity and we are called to not be ruled by our emotions. But I believe we need to be on guard for much more than just our feelings about some girl we like. God is interested in transforming the condition and content of our heart.
– Guarding our heart is not just about controlling our emotions but living according to the calling of believer and living out steadfast faith.
TRANSITION: As we see in this passage there are some key things we are called to do and not do in order to guard our hearts.
I. Follow God’s instruction not your heart.
– Napoleon Dynamite once said “Follow your heart that’s what I do.” While this was a nerdy character in a low budget comedy movie… I believe his worlds show exactly what our world and culture believe today.
– World’s View: Whatever you feel in your heart is not only good for you but it is healthy for you to believe whatever you want to believe. Taking it a step further, it is okay for you to have you own truth and it is wrong for anyone to tell you otherwise.
– We live in a word that is flaming with emotions right now! This is exactly what we see in our culture and our world… Follow your heart. And the Bible teaches something very different
Jeremiah 17:5-6,9-10—“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives…
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
– The heart is deceitful above all things and is beyond cure! We cannot trust our heart. We cannot trust our feelings. If we walk down that path and if we play that game we will end up in a ditch
Transition: It is only thru a regenerated heart and the work of the Spirit that we can even begin to know what pleases God. And his Spirit never will contradict his Word so we hold to his instructions!
John 14:15–“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
– Do you love God? Keep his commands!
– Do you need help? Let his spirit spring up a well in you!
– Does the world not accept His truth? They don’t see him or know him. Share his truth. Bind it around your neck
Proverbs 3:3—Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
– We need to hold close the instructions of God in times of turmoil and confusion.
– We also need to preach the gospel to those living in darkness so they can be set free.
– Transition: If we forget there will be consequences in the wandering.
II. The way of the wicked will leave you spiritual bankrupt
– When we look at this passage in Proverbs it tells us what the lifestyle of the wicked leads to.
1. They are restless. They are robbed of sleep. (Verse 16)
2. They do not understand why they are stumbling (Verse 19)
3. Their lives are consumed with wickedness and violence (17)
4. They live in deep darkness (19)
– Follow your heart, ignore the truth, and you will find yourself down a road you never wanted to end up. And many find themselves abandoned on the side of that road. Maybe some of you in this room know that road all to well…
– Question: Has sin robbed you of rest? I have experienced those nights. Sitting up rehashing thru your arguments from the day. Rethinking moments when you messed up and wishing you could take back the things you said or did.
– Have you found yourself sick from an appetite of sin? Like a fast food menu it looks good on the outside, goes down easy, and leaves you sick. You are starved for so much more.
– Is your heart heavy from the problems facing our world and facing your family? There is no doubt that we live in a very troubled times. I myself have cried in the past month over just how broken and divided these times have become. I mourn for the teens that I serve here at Calvary and have grown extremely angry at times by the circumstances.
TRANSITION: The path of wickedness and our struggle with sin is great… but there is good news! God is greater! And his promises still stand!
Matthew 11:28-30–“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Don’t let those words pass you by. Jesus is calling you into His rest and he desires for you to come and learn from him.
– Jesus desires for you to come and find rest in his truth.
TRANSITION: There are promises in this passage for us if we choose to follow his instructions and to hold on, guard, and listen!
1. The years of our life will prosper (Verse 10)
2. Our steps will not be hampered (Verse 12)
3. We will not stumble thru the dark any longer (Verse 12)
4. We will walk a path that is like the morning sun and full of light! (18)
III. Pay Attention, Listen, Avoid, and Hold On!
A. Don’t have forgetful faith!
– Will we leave what we know God says is true in the parking lot of the church or collecting dust with our bible on shelf?
– This makes us hypocrites and Jesus spoke this way about the Pharisees who lived the very same way…
– Matthew 15:7-9—You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain their teachings are merely human rules.”
– We need to pray and ask the Lord to sustain in us his instructions. We need to actively choose to have an attitude of submission and surrender.
B. Don’t be fooled by fruitless living
– Jesus challenged the Pharisees not just in the condition of their heart but in their actions.
– Matthew 3:8—Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
– The Pharisees were certain that they were safe and righteous. However, while they made the right sacrifices at the temple and sought to keep God’s instructions just like Proverbs is telling us… They were loveless, heartless, judgmental, and hardened.
– This shows us that it is not just a enough to know the right answers but to actually be transformed by the Spirit in every area of our lives.
– QUESTION: Is the way we are living producing fruit? And what things in your life would have to change so you can prioritize a fruitful lifestyle?
– Jesus wants to transform you not just to free you from your sin but he wants to use you to bear fruit that will give him glory.
– He wants to use you in the lives of your children/grandchildren to raise them up and disciple them.
– He wants to use you in your work place as a vessel of his kindness and grace. So that men would come to know him thru your life.
– A fruitful life is a life that matters. It is a life that gives glory to God and it is a life where your soul is thriving cause your heart is secure in the promises of God.
C. We need to avoid sin while not being ignorant.
– Jesus wants us to avoid sin and flee from wickedness
– STORY OF JOSEPH– Even behind closed doors God is calling us to be on our guard. And when the attack happens we need to go running out the door.
– 2 Timothy 2:22—So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
– We cannot play with fire… When temptation arises we need to have systems and plans ready to go in order to combat and defeat the entanglement it can have on our hearts.
– Walking in wisdom means we are going to cut out the things that lead us down paths of wickedness.
D. Avoidance is not ignorance or apathy.
– Joseph understood the consequences of giving into his temptation but he also wasn’t ignorant or passive. We have to remember that Joseph did not run from Egypt but trusted God thru his mistreatment and wrongful imprisonment.
– We do not retreat into a bubble. We need to hold onto truth and we need to do battle with lies and deceit.
– Joseph went to prison but God used him there.
– I think of John the Baptist who spoke out against King Herod’s unlawful divorce and marriage of his brother’s wife. John the Baptist was beheaded for speaking the truth… he did not avoid speaking out against what was wrong.
– We need to pray that God will give us discernment on how to speak the truth in love. There are many who simply need to hear the truth and while some will despise it… Jesus says the truth will set you free.
TRANSITION– Our speech seems to be a key here…if we want to know the condition of our heart then look no further to the words in which we speak.
IV. Our heart and our words are deeply connected.
– What flows from our lips is a reflection of how well we are guarding our heart.
– I think this also extends to the dialogue of our fingers on a keyboard and the inner dialogue of self.
– Jesus explains it clearly to us how these things are connected
– Luke 6:43-45–“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
– The dialogue of our nation right now is divisive, heated, and argumentive to say the least. Have we ever stopped to ask ourselves why? It’s the heart… an unguarded heart.
STORY- “Stop… Open your heart up again… before it gets hard.”
– Maybe you have felt that hardening happening to your heart. As you have struggled with frustrations, regrets, and worry… you have allowed the dialogue of your heart to be a whirlwind.
Conclusion– Fix Your Gaze on Christ
– Jesus wants to calm that whirlwind. He wants to speak to your heart again and strengthen your faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2– Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Don’t turn to the left or right but fix your gaze on Him.
– I think of the hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
– May we allow his spirit to transform our hearts and may be steadfast in our pursuit of the one thing that truly matters: Christ alone!
Proverbs 4:10-27 NASB
10 Listen, my son, and accept my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have instructed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
And if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil people.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And [a]they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they [b]stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 They are not to escape from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And healing to all [c]their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Rid yourself of a deceitful mouth
And keep devious [d]speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your [e]gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 [f]Watch the path of your feet,
And all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.