Summary of Sermon Preached by Pastor on 31 May 2020

Text: Jeremiah 17:5-11

The heart is critical to the function of a man. It functions by circulating life-giving blood to parts of our body. Once the heart stops pumping, our bodily functions will also cease. Thus, the word “heart” is often used to describe something that is critical or central to an idea or organisation. For example, when we say something is “the heart of the matter”, it means that it is the most important and fundamental essence of the issue at hand.

The LORD places great emphasis on the heart of man. In 1 Samuel 16:7b, the Scripture says, “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) Similarly, verse 10 of our text today says, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer. 17:10)

Of course, the heart in this case does not refer to the physical heart of man. Rather, it points to the seat of our thoughts and affections (i.e. the inner man). Thus, we are told that the Lord evaluates and judges the thoughts and motives of every man. Man may hide his intentions from others, but he can never hide it from God.

We thus see in this passage two types of hearts. The first is the unregenerate heart. This is the heart that we all possess ever since we are born into this world. The picture of this heart is an ugly one. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) The expression “desperately wicked” talks about a condition that is nigh incurable. It describes how man is spiritually dead in sin, and wholly set in rebellion against God. There is simply no love for God and righteousness.

Shockingly, many of the children of Judah had such a hardened heart. Throughout the years, they rebelled against the Lord by transgressing against His laws and committing idolatry. When the Lord permitted the nations of the world to attack them, instead of receiving the divine chastisement in good light, they refused to repent and continued in their wicked ways.

However, there is now a fearsome enemy at the door – the Babylonians. They had wiped out the surrounding nations. Will the children of Judah turn to God for help? Not at all! Instead, they chose to put their trust in the Egyptians, of whom the Lord led them out during the time of the Exodus. They depended on the arm of their flesh to deliver them. Thus, the Lord’s indictment is as such: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (Jer. 17:5)

When those who profess Christ are willing to set aside Biblical principles to gain power, fame and fortune, are they any different from these wicked children of Judah? Such is the heart of those who are practitioners of situation ethics. May we not have such a heart.

On the other hand, there is the heart of those who are regenerate (see Jer. 17:7). These are those who genuinely believe in Christ, and have their sins washed away. They are those who have a sincere trust in their Lord and Saviour. As stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” His entire disposition has now changed. Previously he was spiritually dead, all set in rebellion against God. However, now he is spiritually alive, ready to commit and surrender his all to Christ. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)

When one possesses such a heart, he will be committed to follow the ways of God no matter what the circumstances are. He fears the Lord above all things, and knows that his life is secure in Christ. Those who have such a heart will surely be blessed.

Which heart do you possess? We pray that it is the latter. To have such a heart, you must born again in Christ Jesus. Are you?

Affectionately in Christ,
Pastor Clement Chew

Weekly Devotion 7/6/2020
Preacher James Tan

Christian Cardiology I – Keeping the Heart
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
[Prov 4:23]

The “heart” is a vital organ of our body, and it is a word often used in the Bible to describe man’s innermost desires, emotions, and thoughts. It can describe the wicked sins that come from a hardened heart, or the wisdom, truth and love from a heart that is right with Christ. The study of the heart from the Bible, is a most needful one today, because of the many issues that arise from it.

The verse begins with the emphasis on “all diligence”. The word “diligence” here, is sometimes used to describe a guardhouse, or a guard keeping watch. This idea of guarding here is not the monotonous regimented duty that we might think of, but a serious watch for any sign of danger, which would make a difference between life and death.

Despite having the Holy Spirit indwelling in us as believers, while in this mortal flesh, we still do struggle with the flesh and sin (Rom 7:23). Our hearts are especially vulnerable, as we deal with temptations from without and within. The word “issues” here originally describes a border or an exit. This is a good way to describe that whatever is within our hearts, will surely “cross the border” and show itself. Our sinful pride and frustrations come forth in words of poison, our lusts showing in our greed, lifestyle and fashions. It is not just a “personal” issue, but one that assassinates the characters of others, discourages, and stumbles others!

The heart that is diligently guarded however, is a picture of temperance and self control. Our words are measured, and thoughts disciplined, our actions deliberate and careful, our passions kept pure and directed to spiritual and holy things. We would not want the slightest crack in our defense to let any sin escape!

If we have issues in life, let us not be quick to blame it on others, the situation, or anything else, but to first find the cause within us. It is like saying the char-kway-teow is the problem, not my clogged arteries!

Even if a situation is difficult, our unguarded hearts can add fuel to the fire by our careless words and actions! There might be trials and temptations, but how our heart responds to it is very telling of our condition.

Just as a cardiologist pays close attention to detect the slightest murmur or change of rhythm in the heart-beat, let us all the more be watchful and diligent over our own spiritual condition.