“The promise of a new heart.”
Tired of a sin sick heart?
A. The good news is that God promised a new heart.
“They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols.  I 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.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.” [Ezekiel 11:18 – 21]
1. God does not want us to have “vile images” and “detestable idols.”
a. In the Old Testament, the God prosecuted Israel for “adultery” when they worship images and idols.
b. An “image” is a picture used to represent God or an object of worship. [Genesis 1:26 – 27, Romans 1:23] It is a “SUBSTITUTE.”
c. An “idol” is a physical (3 dimensional) representation of God or object of worship. [Habakkuk 2:18, Acts 7:41] As a substitute, it becomes a worship of demons, intentional or unintentional. [1 Corinthians 10: 19 – 20]
2. The heart is where we are devoted, the image/idol what we are devoted to.
a. Like the stone of an idol, the heart can be stone.
b. Stone is not living, so it cannot respond, it cannot hear, it cannot obey.
B. The new heart is an undivided heart.
1. The heart of flesh CAN respond, it CAN hear, it CAN obey.
a. The divided heart or mind is unstable. [James 1:8]
b. “So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.  Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.” [1 Kings 18:20 – 21]
2. The undivided heart has chosen.
a. With a sin sick heart, comes the sin culture.
1.) The sin culture blames instead of taking responsibility.
2.) The sin culture grumbles (low grade rebellion) instead of being thankful.
b. The undivided heart has chosen to reject the sin culture.
1.) The focus is on seeking God and His kingdom. [Matthew 6:33]
2.) Its real strength is its honest dependence on God.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:3]
3. Being undivided means “focused.”
a. Bad things happen when we are spiritually unfocused.
1.) We become spiritually undisciplined. (Dissipation.)
Jesus warned us, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap” [Luke 21:34]
2.) Which leads to unhealthy behavior patterns.
3.) Which weakens us and makes us susceptible to falling in times of testing and temptation.
b. Good things happen when we are focused.
1.) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6]
2.) “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Luke 11:9 – 10]
C. With the new heart comes a new power.
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” [Ezekiel 36:24 – 27]
1. The power to follow and keep God’s law comes from the Holy Spirit.
a. “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” [Acts 2:17a]
b. God is the one who removes the heart of stone... in His time.
2. What does this mean?
a. Few have the ability or sense of when it is appropriate to “self-doubt.”
b. We are born helpless, taken care of by others. We become teenagers where our parents seem to be our biggest doubters (in the form of criticism or control). We are trained to have high self-esteem. We enter adult life, sometimes optimistically sure that we are the center of the universe capable of all good things.
c. Repentance is the beginning of the heart beat and it is the very heart beat of the new heart.
1.) As long as we cannot see, or admit that we are not right... then repentance is not possible.
2.) As long as we see our life in context of being for our own use, privilege, and enjoyment... then repentance is not possible.
3.) BUT once we repent, it becomes a way of life AND we learn the appropriate use of (and for) “self-doubt.”
4.) When we develop the sense of “self-doubt” we learn to trust God and believe God (not just believe “in” God).
D. With a new heart comes a new life.
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" [2 Corinthians 5:16 – 17]
1. We become a new person as we rethink Christ and ourselves: “culture-shift.”
a. We tend to see things from a “self-centered” point of view. We interpret things from our past experience, traditions, nature, how we reason. It is distinctly unique and very human.
b. When we learn to rethink Christ and ourselves under the influence of the Bible, we become aware of an outside perspective: God’s.
2. Paul can say “he is a new creation” because:
a. We do not see from a “self” perspective.
b. We do not chose from a “selfish” reason.
c. We do are not motivated by naturally sinful point of view.
d. Our attitudes and thoughts are modified to the point where we can see the before and after effect.
3. Thus, “the old has gone, and new has come.”
a. Because of, in, and through Jesus Christ we become “new” (different) people.
b. That’s why we need that “broken spirit” and “contrite heart.”
1.) As long as we are fighting against the good God wants to accomplish... it will be slow and unprofitable (to us).
2.) The challenge is to let go of ourselves (and the idea that we are right) long enough to trust God.
(Ill.) Of a drowning person being rescued. Often, once they panic and start thrashing it is difficult for them to calm down and realize that someone is there to help them.
c. But once we end our self-panic inspired thought patterns and behaviors and see God’s love, He gives us a steadfast spirit.
(Ill.) On man asked a friend, “What are you thinking of? You look so depressed.”
“My future” came the reply.
“Well, what makes it look so hopeless and dismal?” asked the friend.
The Bible says, “the old has gone, the new has come!”