Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chambers of the Heart...

Chambers of the Heart - Audio

This Sunday I preached from Ezekiel 8:7-12 , a message called "Chambers of the Heart". I found this text to be very interesting as the priests and leaders of Israel were found to be at the temple in Jerusalem, yet they were nowhere to be found in the temple...not in the outer court, inner court nor in the Holy of Holies. These priests who were supposed to be set apart by God were really no priests at all, because they were found to be in a hidden room full of idolatrous images, offering prayer and inscense to them. Their deceitfully wicked hearts (Jer 10:1,17) led them to believe that the Omnipresent, Omniscient God, was nowhere to be found and was not observing their wickedness because His presence had departed from the temple.
My main focus in this sermon was upon the heart, and what lurks inside the chambers of a man's immagery? Christ said that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" and the question of genuine faith is "Where is your heart?" Will it be found in a hidden room such as these priests were in Ezekiel 8, professing to be called by God, claiming to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, yet found worshipping and residing in the lusts of your flesh? Or will your heart be found with Christ, delighting in the Lord, denying self and taking up your cross?
These men in Israel had engraved upon the walls of this hidden room beasts, four-footed animals, and idols of every kind, very similar to those of the people found in Romans 1:22-24.(Ezekiel 8:10 ; Romans 1:23). To me, this means that idolatry has no new faces, no new tricks...all that a wicked man wants is to worship an image of God that he creates with his own mind and he loves what he makes. And the wicked man may even do this while he is so called "serving" the One True God, and this is impossible because no man can half-way serve Jehovah...he must be everything or nothing at all. This is the deception that these priests and many others fall into because they believe that they can serve the Lord and serve their lusts and "no man can serve two masters".
Hiding sins from God, or reserving a place in your heart for self-centeredness exposes that you never had the light of the gospel at all. Hidden sins dont have to be drinking, smoking, fornication, or homosexuality...many people, especially professing Christians believe that sin is defined by things of this magnitude, but the heart is so deceitfully wicked because it will convince a man to believe that he is ok because he is not doing these things, internally or externally, yet the heart lies to a man because he is still serving the idol of self.
The hidden room of the heart where a man spends most of his time, can be filled with sinful things, yet it can also be filled with career, family, material possessions,relationships, reputation, or even morality. Church activities, money, music,TV shows, media, things wanted or things needed, can all be engraved upon the walls of our hearts, and although a man may not have these idols physically present in the room...or he may never even see them in his lifetime, he is devoted to attining them and glories in the adoration of them and these are the things which his heart is set upon. These priests in Ezekiel 8 ENGRAVED these idols upon the wall...they had no statues or "creeping things" present because they knew it would be wrong to bring these things inside the temple , yet they still were wrong because they engraved these images upon the walls (deceived). Sometimes the issue with sin is not necessarily whether the actions your doing are wrong or not...we all know wrong actions are sinful...the issue can be that your affections and desires are for things which appear to be "right" and in this is wickedness because our focus is not upon Christ, the focus becomes the benefit of self...which is the root cause for all sin.
Bottom line...If Jesus Christ is not your treasure, if He is not the one upon which your heart longs for daily, then you have a hidden room in your heart where He is not welcome and His presence will depart from your temple...rather, you might just find that His presence never entered to begin with.
Anything which we give more adoration to and take more pleasure in more than Him is an idol and it must be torn down. The deceitful heart will long to hold on to its hidden treasures yet try to find Christ as a treasure as might even put them on an equal playing field where Christ is just as delightful to have as the shoes at the mall or the 52"TV.....The problem with this is that the one who truly sees Jesus as their treasure cannot and will not hold on to anything else in this life or look to it for supreme satisfaction (a good tree cannot produce bad fruit), while the one who "halfway" seeks Him, or sometimes wants Him, but loves the things of this life far better cannot fake as though they have found the treasure in Christ, their lives will speak for them....they look for supreme satisfaction in other things...and Jesus ( a bad tree cannot produce good fruit).
The fruit of the heart which longs to hold on to its secret sins and hidden lusts, will be passed by and given over by God. This is God's wrath. Yes, His wrath is manifested in Hell: fire, torment, physical, emotional, and spiritual agonies which cannot be fathomed, and eternal separation from Him, yet God's wrath is manifested here on earth upon the one who loves their life and loves their sin more than they love Him in the way that He just leaves them alone. He allows the "rich man" to store up goods for himself and live for himself his whole life and then God says to him "FOOL, this night your soul is required of you and whose will all these things be?" (Luke 12:18-20)
Harden not your hearts, destroy your hidden, idolatrous rooms, and make Christ your treasure...

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