We've been doing a series entitled "All." If you're new here at Mustang Creek. The Gospel of Mark has been our base that we've been launching from. Jesus is having this conversation with the Pharisees, and they are harassing him, and debating with him, and one stands up and says, “What is the most important commandment of all?” And he says “Hear o Israel the Lord is one love the Lord your God with all your heart your soul your mind and your strength. And the second is like unto the first is to love your neighbor as yourself.” The supporting passage of scripture that we've been talking about is in Jeremiah. Jeremiah 17 in the living bible says this “The heart is the most deceitful thing there is and desperately wicked no one can really know how bad it is.” Then verse 10 says this “Only the Lord knows he searches all hearts. He searches all hearts and examines the deepest motives so he can give to each person his right reward according to his deeds and how he has lived.
Let's pray today, father thank you so much for your precious word God we we just expose our hearts today God we invite you as the God of all creation the omnipresent God the all-knowing God we invite you to come into the house and examine us and speak to our hearts today we thank you for it in Jesus name and everyone said amen.
Whenever Jesus is asked this question about what is the most important commandment, Jesus just didn't pull something out of his back pocket. He didn't pull a cliche out. He didn't just shoot from the hip. Jesus actually was quoting the shema. The shema is a prayer. It's a jewish daily prayer. If we go back in history we find that Moses (he has led the children of Israel out of Egypt) and he's warning them against polytheism which is literally the worship of the culture of the worship of many Gods. In Egypt there were lots of Gods, and then all of the nations around them. The Canaanites and the amorites. Everybody had all of these Gods. So Moses is giving this speech and this warning and he steps up and he says “Listen o Israel there is only one
God.” Man that that just gives the whole context to everything that we're talking about. He says “There is only one God so love him with all of your heart. Love him with all of your soul. Love him with all of your mind. And love him with all of your strength.” There is only one God! This was literally like a daily pledge. It was like how today we think of the lord's prayer. Something that almost all believers have heard or rehearsed or prayed or understand. This was what was encouraged in the jewish culture. Every day, it was their ritual to say this prayer. So Jesus responded with the shema. Now listen, I'm just gonna try to get you caught up a little bit. Pastor Judy outed herself last week, so I got to tag in and since she brought it up I get to preach on it this week. her and I…. Mainly her. She has begun to clean out our garage and we talked about that last week. When we were young, we only had one thing that we fought about as a couple. It was money. We got married very very young and I mean it was terrible. And finally I grew up and became the man that I should have been in the beginning and I realized that she wasn't good with details and with finances and I needed to be a man and step in and take that weight off of her shoulders. But here's the thing. In later years we still only fight about one thing
The garage! She made statements back in the day. , she still makes statements. She said “The house is a reflection of the wife” and I'd say yeah but…. the yard in the garage is a reflection of the husband. She and I both grew up very very poor and she has this thing about letting go of stuff. It wasn't so bad 40 years ago when we got married. I didn't notice it so much 40 years ago, we didn't have anything. But as the years went on, I began to realize people would come over and everything in my house would disappear. It was in the garage! Little by little stuff would disappear and she couldn't get rid of anything and so the next thing I know we can't park in the garage and then the next thing I know we've got this little path through the garage. Anybody feel my pain yet? There's this little path through my garage, and then the next thing we can't even walk through the garage and then before too long I can't even see the wall on the other side of the room. It was always this issue. This tug of war. I wanted the garage clean and she didn't want to let go of anything. I'd say stuff like “Just let me clean it out!” She'd say “No I want to do it! I want to go through it! I want to see what's being thrown away. “Listen now, we've been married for 40 years and over 20 years ago I made one mistake. I mean one mistake in this. She said “don't you remember that one knick-knack of grandma's that you almost threw away?” Over 20 years ago I couldn't live it down.
She says things like “One of these days we're gonna need that!” I respond with “One of these days we're not gonna be able to find it!”
I tell her “Just throw it away. If you ever need it, I will buy you a new one.”
Jeremiah verse 17 “The heart is the most deceitful thing there is and desperately wicked no one can really know how bad it is. Only the lord knows. He searches all hearts and examines the deepest motives so he can give each person his right reward according to his deeds. How he has lived.
Number one today is.. The heart is the place where we hide our stuff. Pastor Judy and I had this conversation that almost everybody in the house has had. With this ridiculous housing market right now. Are we gonna sell or are we gonna stay? The interest rates were low and the housing market was booming and her and I. We looked, we talked, we discussed. If we sell high we're gonna have to buy high. I don't want to go back into debt. I just turned 58 this week and I see the end in sight baby. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a train but it's the end of the tunnel anyway. So we just decided we are not going to. We're not going to go further in debt like that. We're just going to refinance lower interest rate get a little bit of money out because she was saying “If we stay I really want to remodel my kitchen.” Little bells went off in my head! aha! She really wants to remodel her kitchen! I said “I tell you what, let's make a deal. If you will help and you'll clean out the garage I will remodel your kitchen. She wanted that more than she wanted that (Garage). We got that garage on the run. She finally came to the point that it was sore she said “I just need some help”
Daddy showed up! I got a special phone number in my phone for a dumpster company and y'all I ain't talking about no little dumpster like outside. I'm talking about a dumpster as long, almost as this platform. A 30-yard dumpster. you should have seen her eyes when that truck backed up in front of my house. She always had that struggle. That wrestle of “Well i i pull it out, and and I sort through it and then then all of a sudden the sun goes down. It's time to close the garage and keep people from stealing so I have to pull everything back in the garage and in and out. So I got on the phone with u-haul. I got the biggest truck 56-foot box truck. Backed it up in the driveway. Pulled out the ramp. I said, “You can store everything you want to and sort it out. Everything else goes in the dumpster right?”
There's something about each one of us. Everybody has a place where they keep their secret stuff. It may be the garage. It may be safe. It may be a special closet or a special compartment in your vehicle. It may be that secret facebook account or that extra hidden email account. The additional phone that nobody else knows about. Everybody has a hiding place for their stuff.
The heart is the place where we hide all of our secrets and the scripture says, “God searches all hearts. That's to to be searched out to be found out to be ascertained, to be examined. Proverbs says this, “Above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from the heart.” Everything we do. Now listen, I'm reestablishing a little bit this morning. I want you to get that the heart is the epicenter that everything else flows out of. Now listen to the verbiage here. I'm not talking about the filter for everything. My character may be the filter for what comes out of my brain. Some of us don't have a filter, anybody know somebody that doesn't have a filter? Come on now…. you're just afraid to raise your hand because you think you're sitting next to them right? It might be my brain, or it might be my upbringing, or my education or my fear of perception that is my filter. The heart is not that. The heart is the core of everything. Out of the heart flows all of the issues of life.
Number two. The symptoms aren't really the issue. How many know what I'm talking about when I'm talking about symptoms? Symptoms aren't really the issue. We all deal with symptoms but they're not really the core. Look at Matthew chapter 15. Jesus says this in verse 10 he says “And he called the people to him, and said to them, “Hear and understand.”” See, they had been having this conversation, and Jesus had already ticked everybody off. He's having this conversation with the Pharisees and they're having this discussion about their tradition of washing their hands. What they eat, and all that kind of stuff. Jesus has already made them all mad He said “It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.” His disciples came and said to him that the Pharisees were offended when they heard of this saying.
Jump to verse 15 it says, “But Peter said to him “Explain this parable to us.” and He said “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not know that whatever goes into the mouth passes to the stomach and is expelled but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Now watch what Jesus says. He goes beyond this. Verse 19. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, and then he moves directly from evil thoughts to murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander, These he gave his examples obviously. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone. Jesus declares that all of these things that come out of us. It's not “Oh i was just raised that way, oh I just have a little slip of the tongue every now and then. Every now and then my old attitude just gets a little sideways every now and then.” Jesus says “Out of the heart come all of these things.”
Jesus says it's not what goes into the mouth but it's what comes out. It comes out of the heart and it defiles us. That word defiles, corneo is the word there in the greek. To pollute, to make common, to make unclean, to render unhallowed, to defile, to profane, to declare or count unclean.
Number three. Look at this. It's important to pay attention to the symptoms.
I learned that lesson a long time ago. We have to pay attention when something's going on in our body. Not too long ago I needed to lose weight. You understand what i'm saying” So I decided the pops have got to go. The coke and all that kind of soda water got to go. Too much sugar in it. But y'all i love me some tea, i'm not talking about just tea i'm talking about texas sweet tea. Like sugar coma tea like chick-fil-a tea y'all. I love some sweet tea and I could cut a lot of calories if I just quit drinking tea. The only time I quit drinking coffee is when I'm fasting. But drinking tea.. I gotta cut the tea out. I began to wake up in the mornings and I would have this horrible aching pain in my side. I mean so bad that I couldn't stay in bed. It was just sometimes I'd double over. Overwhelming pain and what I had done is I had given up the pops and i'd given up the tea and every time i'd go. Pastor Judy would buy me lemons at the store or when I went to the restaurant I'd order water with lemon. I’d squeeze the lemon in the water and put some equal in there. So I'd make myself some lemonade and I thought man i'm doing great i'm gonna lose weight. And it's free! But all of a sudden I began to realize I was having symptoms. What i'd been what i had learned over many years is i learned that whenever something started going wrong in my body that I needed to begin to pay attention to what was surrounding what what happened. What did I eat the day before? Did I sleep on my right side? Did I sleep on my left side? Did I sleep on my back?
What I'm saying is whenever I noticed these symptoms I began to look at the things that surrounded to try to figure out what was going on. Listen, what a great way to know what's going on in our hearts. I've been saved for a long time and there are things that would pop up and I would go “oh man, i'll do better next time, oh man i've got an attitude. Oh man! I got some pride! I began to understand that I needed to pay closer attention to some of the desires and some of the feelings and some of the reactions and some of the attitudes and some of the appetites that I had that, they were symptoms of what was in my heart.
What a great way to know if we've turned our hearts fully over to God. Jesus said “It's not what goes into a man's mouth but it's what comes out of a man's mouth” because it comes from the heart. All of these things come from the heart. Listen, I need you to get this. The symptoms aren't really the issue. The symptom, the pain in my side wasn't the real issue. It was a symptom of something. They did all kinds of tests. They did the scope, they did this, they did that. They couldn't find what it was, but by me paying attention I figured out that it was the acidity in the lemon that was setting something on fire on the inside of me. Listen, the symptoms aren't really the issue. The heart is always the issue. Why do I act like that whenever someone upsets me?
We took ownership for a little bit this morning. Why does my spouse act like that? Why does my teenager act like that? Why does my coworker act like that?
It's a heart issue.
I will say something.
Adultery is not the real issue.
Murder is not the real issue. Rebellion is not the real issue. Lust is not the real issue. Your eating. Anger is not the real issue. It's a heart problem
See the issue is that i've given place. Ephesians the third chapter verse 17 Paul prays “That believers would be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
Number four is this. The heart is the most valuable piece of real estate on planet earth. Because the heart is the dwelling place of God. We have this saying around here that real estate is at its prime. We joke about that all the time around the church. Many of you have heard me say “When we came to forney in 2006/2007 found this property and we were looking for a piece of land to buy and they told me it was two dollars a square foot. The house just comes with it. All you're buying is the dirt. I thought these people have lost their ever loving mind. This land is not gold and they're charging me two dollars a square foot for this land. Then a few years later it went up to six dollars a foot and a few years later it went up to ten dollars a foot and then just recently it went up to 13 dollars and 50 cents a foot and now i don't even know what the price is per square foot because it's going up like gas. Amen. It's just crazy! Everybody's looking for another piece of land that they can occupy. Now we say that about the building and about this property. We say real estate is at its prime. Nobody has anything that we just say “This is mine. Nobody else can share it, nobody else can have it.” When Brian and Mandy moved in and we moved out of the cabin as offices… I'm over here in this green room. Pastor brian's over there in that green room. We have a men's class in the playground back there. We've got a closet that pastor Allen occupies back there as his youth pastor office. We talk about it all the time. Real estate is at its prime.
The more stuff we allow to stay in our hearts, the less we have of our whole heart to love Him.
When I got saved I took over this illustration from pastor judy. When i got saved it was like “oh God!” and i gave up and i just came to the end of my rope and it was like “oh God yes oh God my drug addiction i know i know it's got to go! oh God my drinking i'm just. I'm not a very nice person to be around. God I had this tobacco issue since I was a young junior high. I've had this bad addiction and I just won't God. You can have it! God!”
Little by little I'm pulling out all of the stuff and I get down to a certain place and we're good. There's only so much you can do in one setting right?
How many here have actually looked at a house to buy in the last two years? There are certain things that are deal breakers right? There are certain things. We want to live in these certain areas, that zero lot line just doesn't work for us. We don't want to be able to reach out our window and high-five our neighbor. You understand what I'm saying? We just don't want to do that and we got dogs so we got to be able to take our dogs and we just had these deal breakers that we like the open floor plan and one of those deal breakers is when we would walk into a house and they would show us the house and they would say man “That bedroom right there… We want to keep that.
What? Come again?
“Yeah now we're really attached to that, and there's some stuff in there that we really don't want to move out. We really don't want to give up. We're just not really. We're ready to sell all of the rest of this though.
I think that would be a deal breaker for most all of us right? But sometimes that's what we do with God. The more stuff that we hang on to, the less room for God. God said “All I want is all.” Love the lord your God with all of your heart
It's dangerous for us to ignore symptoms. I've been joking, and playing here with pastor Judy about some of her, some of her dirt, and some of her baggage but listen. I can be one of the most stubborn men on planet earth. Years ago was this sound man. He would witness a giraffe if it would listen long enough. This guy didn't want anybody to slip into eternity without Jesus. He would book trips, he would take weeks off of work, and he would take his vacation to go down on mardi gras week and witness all week long to the worst of humanity and man he was just a witnessing machine, an evangelizing machine. I would get in the vehicle with him ,and we would begin to drive, and the things that would come out of his mouth. I wondered if this guy was even saved. And then the more I began to pay attention to some symptoms, I thought “oh Jesus i've become him!”
I begin to pay attention when feelings, and emotions, and passions, and desires, and attitudes would come up. Things that I've always played down as a simple lapse of judgment.
I begin to pause and go “Wait a minute.” Jesus said “Out of the heart.”
It is impossible for me to love God with all if I have not made room.
See pastor Judy and I had this ongoing situation, this ongoing tug of war. Finally we came to this impasse where she wanted that (Kitchen) more than she wanted that (Garage)
We ignore symptoms and ignore symptoms, and ignore symptoms until what happens is we would put stuff in the garage with the best of intentions. “One of these days we're gonna go out and we're gonna clean it out…. one of these days.”
The more we ignore and the more we put off, the more the situation exacerbates and snowballs until one day it becomes so overwhelming that we give up.
One day pastor Judy said “I've got to have help. She opened the door and I began to make phone calls. She has done an amazing amazing job, but listen. Here's the deal. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes emotion. Listen when you're going through a box and you you see a happy time and she sees a time in her childhood when her dad was an alcoholic, or you look over here and this picture is a wedding picture and you have a happy memory and all of a sudden the very next picture is your son that's passed away. You pull out things there's symptoms.
I'm just telling you we went out and bought stuff because we didn't have one. But really we had four. It's old or it's moth-eaten or moldy. They're symptoms that you keep ignoring. We have the best intentions of taking care of it, but the truth of the matter is that there are things that are in our hearts and symptoms of anger or attitude or whatever it is that keep coming up and we shut it down and we shove it back in the garage. We shove it back in that hiding place. All God wants is “all.”
I really believe God has us on a journey to know him to walk with him. I really believe God is drawing us in and wanting every part of us. Every hidden place. When I was a teenager. Young young kid, i had a hiding place for my pornography. Then i got older and i had another hiding place for my pornography. When I was a young man my anger was out in front of me. See the scripture says “Some sins man's sins go before them they're very recognizable but some men sins come behind them”
So as I grew up I learned I just shove it in the garage nobody'll see. If I just shove it in there nobody will know that unGodly emotion or feeling or temptation. What do I need to look down deep and have I truly not given all to God?
The heart of man is exceedingly wicked above all things. Who can know it? But God searches every man's heart. To know all the secrets and all the motives. This all-knowing God. David turns the table. The scripture says “God is searching the secrets. Searching the hearts, the secrets of man's hearts.” David turns the table and he says, “Oh God would you search my heart?”
Instead of “Oh God I love you.”
Here's what we figured out. While pastor Judy was cleaning the garage, I'd be out there.
I'm 58 years old. This past week was the greatest birthday present in my life! 58 years! I got my garage cleaned! But, she was no longer just saying she loved me.
She was showing me she loved me.
“Oh God!” Would you search my heart and see if there's any wicked way in me? Because I want to love you with all of my heart! I want you to have all of the real estate! I want you to have every room! If you would join me today and say pastor “I want to agree with you today, I too am sensing the holy spirit turn the light onto places in my heart that i've made excuses for. That I've ignored that I've been allowed, that I've stuffed back, and that I've neglected giving him all. I've been saved for about 38 years now and I'm still finding spots. I'm still finding corners. I'm still finding hiding places and stuff that I've given him almost all, but not quite all.
If you identify with me and say pastor “I feel the tug of God putting his finger on stuff that he wants me to let go of. Stuff that he wants me to clean out. Stuff that he wants me to release and surrender. If that's you this morning. If you would identify with me would you just slip your hand up all over the house? Yes all over the place. If you'd say pastor “I don't have a relationship with Jesus.” Maybe you've never had a relationship. Maybe you've never realized that God loves you no matter what you've done, no matter how far you've gone, no matter how good you've been, no matter how bad you've been. God is still the answer. It's our surrender to him. It's what Jesus did. Not what we've done. Maybe you're in the house and you used to walk with him but you walked away. You grew cold. He didn't leave you but you left him.
Would you just be honest before the holy spirit today. Don't wait. Let God do his work in your heart today. Don’t wait God is dealing. If you’d say I've got to have that relationship with christ. I'm cold in my heart and I want to come back home.
I really believe that God is taking us to a deeper place. I really believe God is calling us and saying I want “All” love me with all of your heart. Let's just be like David and open our hearts and say God search me. I'm gonna stop making excuses. Call the dumpster company. Call the u-haul. You just may need to allow the holy spirit to get the wish broom out but whatever the case is. Whatever we're not giving up is room we're stealing from God. Would you just take a moment and spend some time with God?