The Blameless Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week, with a sermon titled “The Blameless Heart”, based on James 4:8 and Psalm 24:3-4.

James 4:8 (ESV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Psalm 24:3-4 (ESV)

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.

Draw near to God with a blameless heart.

  • Because God is holy.
  • Because God commands us to be blameless when we come.
  • Because God has made provision for us to be blameless.
  • Because a blame-filled heart is unhealthy.
  • Because a blameless heart is at peace.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Is there a difference between blameless and perfect?
  • How can we be blameless when we’re not perfect?
  • Why is a heart with blame in it dangerous?
  • What would being blameless look like for you at home this week? School?

A Humble Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week, with a sermon titled “A Humble Heart”, based on Matthew 11:29 and Philippians 2:1-11.

Matthew 11:29 (ESV)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If you want to be like Jesus you need a humble heart.

  1. A humble heart takes the position of a servant to others.
  2. A humble heart is not conceited.
  3. A humble heart counts others as more important.
  4. A humble heart pursues the interests of others.
  5. A humble heart does not grasp at rights and privileges.
  6. A humble heart is obedient to God’s plan.
  7. A humble heart receives its reward from God.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Do you find it hard to put others first? Why?
  • How would you describe a humble heart?
  • What does the opposite of a humble heart look like?
  • How can you show a humble heart at home this week?

The Circumcised Heart

Pastor Jay continues his “Guard Your Heart” series this week, with a sermon titled “The Circumcised Heart”, based on Deuteronomy 30:6.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (ESV)

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

God calls us to a circumcised heart.

Four imperatives:

  1. We need to understand the uncircumcised heart.
    • An uncircumcised heart is stubborn.
    • An uncircumcised heart is corrupted.
    • An uncircumcised heart resists the Holy Spirit.
  2. Desire a better condition.
    • A circumcised heart loves and receives the gospel.
    • A circumcised heart loves God wholly.
  3. Circumcise your heart.
  4. Ask God to circumcise your heart.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are the things that get between our hearts and God?
  • How do I know if my heart is tender to God?
  • How can I tell if I am stubborn with God?
  • What should I do if I am stubborn and resist God?

Willing to Rest?

My cluster group has been reading through Isaiah, tackling two chapters a week. We’ll try to read through the chapters multiple times on our own and then discuss them at our meeting.

The first section of Isaiah is written to God’s people at a time when there was a rising threat from the Assyrian Empire. Over and over again, God promises judgment on the nations, harsh discipline for God’s people who have been led astray, and ultimate rescue for the faithful. One commentator describes it like this: “The question forced upon Judah by this threat was one of trust: in what will God’s people trust for salvation—in human strategies of self-rescue, or in prophetic promises of divine grace?” (ESV Study Bible-Introduction to Isaiah)

I think Christians in our modern culture face a similar choice. The cultural change that surrounds us can feel like a rising menace, threatening to punish or marginalize those who would hold to Biblical truth. And we must decide who we will trust. I’m not talking about a lip-service kind of trust, but something that runs much deeper.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’
But you were unwilling” – Isaiah 30:15

The thing about that “quietness and rest” kind of trust is that it gives God all the glory. If I am saved from a difficult situation by my own maneuvering or striving, then I am the one who gets glory. But if God works while I am waiting and trusting in him, then he is glorified.

That is why this kind of trust is so important to God–it shows that we understand our proper place in relation to him. I’m not saying we should never take action in difficult situations, but deep in our hearts, let’s rest in God–knowing that it depends on him and not our efforts.