Fighting For The Heart
Fighting For The Heart.
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 9th September, 2018
After my message last week about David having a heart after God’s own heart, and then trying to understand a little of what his heart actually looked like, I haven’t been able to get away from the importance of knowing and understanding our own heart.
Our focus last week, being Father’s Day, became more about knowing the Father Heart of God. But I want to come back to looking at ourselves – and not only ourselves…
We have to acknowledge and be discerning about the battle that is going on for not only our own heart, but for the hearts of others.
The title of my message is actually, “Fighting For the Heart.”
One of the most profound scriptures, I think, comes appropriately enough from Proverbs – the book of wisdom!
Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV), “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
The NLT says to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
And I’d like to take it even further this morning… I’m not adding to the bible, but when taken in context of how important our heart is, I’d like to suggest that we need to “fight” for our heart. And we need to “fight” for the hearts of others.
The battle for your heart is real… the battle for our kids hearts is very real.
There’s a new book out called “Saving Truth.” It says: “Increasingly, Western culture embraces confusion as a virtue and decries certainty as a sin. Those who are confused about sexuality and identity are viewed as heroes. Those who are confused about morality are progressive pioneers. Those who are confused about spirituality are praised as tolerant. Conversely, those who express certainty about any of these issues are seen as bigoted, oppressive, arrogant, or intolerant.
This cultural phenomenon led the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary to name “post-truth” their word of the year in 2016.”
Post-truth!! We now apparently live in a era that is beyond truth. How enlightened we have become!
But crazy statements like that only cause me to become more focussed, more single minded, more passionate and determined to proclaim the absolute truth – that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – the Saviour of the world – the forgiver of sins – the source of our true identity – and the only hope we have in a world gone mad!
Philippians 4:7 (NKJV), “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It surpasses human understanding, but it doesn’t surpass the man or woman who lives and walks by the Spirit. We need as much as Christians ever did, the peace of God, through Jesus Christ, to guard our hearts.
I want to be passionate and sold out for the truth of Jesus Christ. I want to give my life wholeheartedly to the truth as I know it, as I experience it, as I see it in creation, as I see it through genuine love, as the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit has revealed it to me.
Last week I shared with you briefly about David’s heart for the broken men, the distressed men, for those in debt… all those disenfranchised men who gathered to him at a time when David was going through a dark time himself, with Saul and his army hell bent on killing him.
David not only loved them and accepted them – he rallied them together to become known as his mighty men. What David did in forming these men into an army was nothing short of miraculous.
And I want you to try and grasp the devotion of these men’s hearts – primarily towards David, even though I’m not promoting devotion to any man this morning. I am however promoting a life full of devotion and passion.
These guys were gunning for him to become the official King of Israel – and they were willing to give their lives to the cause.
In 2Sam 23 we are given some information about David’s mighty men.
There’s a fellow called Josheb-Basshebeth. He killed eight hundred men with a spear in just one battle.
Then there was another leader amongst the mighty men called Eleazar. He stayed on the battlefield when most of the other Israelites fled. The Lord brought about a great victory that day because of him. And his hand became so weary from battle that it became stuck to the sword. He had had such a tight clench on his fist that when it was all over, he couldn’t physically let go of the sword.
Another guy called Abishai lifted his spear against 300 men and killed them all.
Benaiah had a reputation because he entered into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion bare handed. He was also known for wrestling the spear out of a powerful Egyptian’s hands… the bible describes this guy as “spectacular” Egyptian… and Benaiah took this mans spear and killed him with it.
The point is – there was something about these men. No wonder they were called mighty men.
And I know we’re not called today to slay thousands in a bloody field with our hands clenched to the sword. It’s not going to help for us to go out and slay all the non believers. Praise God we’ve moved on from all that!
Our battle is for people’s lives, not their deaths! But there is still the call for the mighty men and women to rise up and position themselves and passionately and wholeheartedly give themselves to the cause of salvation.
The passion of our hearts is not meant to be for a man like David. Our hearts are called to be given over to Jesus Christ our Lord.
And really, we have no excuse. The men that gathered around David sound like they were even more broken and distressed than we are! Or perhaps not! Perhaps you feel that your brokenness disqualifies you for the battle… But I’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be more broken than some of these discontented and distressed men that gave themselves to the cause of seeing David crowned King.
It was with their courage, their unique giftings, their passion, their straight out determination and stubbornness that they embraced the fight for what was right.
I’ll tell you how much they were sold out to David. David spoke out loud something that was probably just going through his head at the time, and he said in 2 Samuel 23:15 (NKJV), “… “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” He was so thirsty he began fantasying about this one well that had beautiful cool water.
Immediately, without saying anything, three of his mighty men broke through the Philistine stronghold that surrounded the well in Bethlehem, and they somehow managed to bring back to David a container full of this water.
2 Samuel 23:17 (NKJV). “And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.”
David actually poured the water out onto the ground.
I bet if it had been a coffee it would have been a different story! Sorry, couldn’t help myself!
But this is the kind of relationship that these men had. This is the kind of sacrificial love and passion that the mighty men had for the one who gathered them together for a cause greater than themselves.
And I think these stories need to stir own own hearts. We need to fight for the kingdom. But we need to fight for our own hearts… that we wouldn’t just slip into complacency and isolation and think she’ll be right.
The kingdom of God is worth fighting for. The church is worth fighting for. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Your family, your kids… it’s all worth giving the fight of your life for.
As the church together, if we could really gain that same kind of unity and common passion that David’s mighty men had, it would bring an incredible blessing upon the church. And that blessing would turn our world around!
Psalm 133:1-3 (NKJV), “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.”
And we need to know that this kind of anointed unity doesn’t mean we all have to be the same.
Can you imagine how many different personalities and backgrounds, life experiences and abilities all those men came with as they gathered to David? It must have been like herding a heap of cats together. The only thing they really had in common was the cause… oh, and their ability to fight.
God has never called us to be the same. We’re all different. And we’ve all come out of some form of brokenness, simply because this world is broken.
We have different personalities, different gifts and talents, different ways of expressing ourselves in the world.
But God has nevertheless called us to be in unity and to fight for the cause of Christ. And He has, by His Holy Spirit, called forth something incredible from within us. He has anointed us for the call.
The truth is, we are mighty men and women for Christ. We’ve been set apart for a greater cause than ourselves.
We don’t have the confusion of a “post-truth” world. We know who we are. We know who God is. We know that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ the Son. There are not many paths to God. There’s only one path – and it’s a narrow one – not a wide, anything goes, your truth is as good as my truth kind of path.
And when we walk in the unity of truth, that in itself is a weapon of warfare. That’s our spear. Unity strengthens us for the fight.
Paul would encourage his young son in the faith, Timothy, to fight the good fight of faith. He spoke that over him a couple of times at least that we know of.
We fight very differently to David’s mighty men. We might be called to fight with the same kind of spirit. But we fight after the example of the One we are fighting for – Jesus.
He fought His greatest battle as He gave Himself to the cause that He came for – and that was to pay the penalty of sin for you and I and everyone who believes in His name.
And it was a battle for Him. He had to fight to get to the Cross. But He taught us many things about what a true fight looks like and how it becomes a victory!
He fought for us two thousand years ago. He fought for our lives. He fought for our hearts.
He fought to overcome death.
Matthew 26:36-38 (NKJV), “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
We can only imagine what Jesus was going through. He wasn’t only facing the torture and cruel death of the cross. He was facing the moment where He would take upon Himself the sin of the world. The One without sin took all of our sin upon Himself.
And He said out of His own mouth – my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. He was in a state of distress.
There was a fight going on. There was a fight for your heart and mine.
Matthew 26:39 (NKJV), “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
You can hear the wrestling within Him. He was fighting His own natural emotions and inner torment… and why wouldn’t He be crying out to His Father, is there any way this could be done differently? The cup of suffering was overwhelming Him. And yet, even in His distress, He rises above His own emotional torment and says, it’s not about My will, but let Your will be done.
Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV), “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Here is Jesus going through the most horrendous test of His life – and the disciples are asleep.
And He rebukes them because He knows that it’s not only Himself that will face tremendous persecution and testing, but they also will need to be strong for the fight ahead.
And I think there’s a message here for us. And that is – Wake up the mighty men! Wake up to what Christ has done for us. Wake up to the fight that is going on… it’s real!
It reminds me of Joel’s prophecy:
Joel 3:9-11 (NKJV), “Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ ” Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.”
This is a prophetic call to wake up, realise that there’s a cause to fight for, declare your strength in Christ as mighty men and women, and to assemble and gather together as one.
That’s pretty much a summary of my message this morning!
We don’t want to be like Peter and the other disciples and not be prepared or awake to the battle around us.
As you know, all the disciples fled in fear. Peter denied Jesus three times, and he ended up going back to fishing… which is what we often do when opposition comes and we’re not prepared. We retreat and go back to what is familiar.
It all sounds very militant – which I don’t really mean it to be. Our fight is one of truth, love, compassion, grace and hope… it’s a fight, as I said, for life! And for people’s hearts!
We have a scripture decal on our wall at home. It’s says, (Psalm 16:11), “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
That’s what we are fighting for – that those we know and meet would know the presence of God and have that gift of eternal life.
We just need to be awake and ready to respond and move with Jesus wherever He is leading us.
And it might just start with the simple things. Looking for simple opportunities every day to be a witness to the love of Christ.
We can walk in the prophetic words from Revelation:
Revelation 12:10-11 (NKJV), “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
The blood of Jesus has set us free – be so we have a testimony. Every one of us has a story to tell of how Jesus Christ changed our life completely. That’s what we have to fight with – the truth of our own transformed hearts and lives. We just need to look for the opportunities to sow seeds of that story into the hearts of others.
It says the brethren do not love their lives to the death. Well, perhaps we still do love our own lives, our reputation, our favour with men, more than we should.
Mighty men and women are being called to wake up and speak up… recognise that there’s a fight going on for every heart…
We are Anointed to be the victors. It’s a good fight because we win!
We win with love, compassion, the Holy Spirit’s empowering, with truth and clarity, with hope, with joy…
Don’t just guard your heart – stir it up – wake it up… be the mighty man or woman that you are! Fight for the heart!