Sermons

← back to list

Jun 06, 2021

Matters of the Heart

Matters of the Heart

Passage: Matthew 5:17-20

Speaker: Marty Godfrey

Series: Sermon On The Mount

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: faith, god, sermon, kingdom, scripture, salvation, sermon on the mount, kingdom of heaven, jesus christ, follow jesus, savior, bible study, blessed, who is god, how to be saved, heart change, scripture study, a new heart, be saved, ask jesus into my heart, principles of christian living

The purpose of the sermon on the mount was Jesus challenging us as believers to fully live pursuing the Kingdom of Heaven, and not the temporary kingdom of this world. He did this by showing us in scripture, that it’s a heart matter, not about checking lists or following the law and commandments perfectly. Pastor Marty takes us further into the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 5, verses 17-20 and show us that we are in need of a new heart. One that Jesus gives us. Our salvation comes because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and through our faith in Him as savior. Some of the principles we learn today center around all scripture being inspired by God – as in breathed out by Him through men, and that every word of scripture is meant to lead us to Jesus. If you have questions about who Jesus is, and why He is so important, then make sure you reach out and let us know. We’d love to help you discover hope in God and find your purpose in this life. - https://www.burnthickory.com/next-steps/accept-jesus-christ/

Well, good morning, Burnt Hickory. How's everybody's summer? Are you getting off to a good start? I know that Matt has been on vacation this week. I've have seen him on campus this morning. Don't know if he's in this one or not. But I had to chuckle a little bit, my apologies to Melissa. But on the way back from the beach, I think they had the car break down. And the reason I have to chuckle just a little is because Matt, and I've served here together, I've been here 17 years with him. And I can't tell you the number of summers that he has been as our former youth pastor has been broken down on the side of the road coming back from a summer trip. And so, I mean, he's right at home with that circumstance. The only thing is, I feel sorry for Melissa because his first response is to break out a football on Frisbee. And I'm not sure she was probably in the mood to do that.

This is a special summer for Becky and me. So next Sunday, a week from today, we will be married 40 years. And so, we'll be celebrating our 40th anniversary. Yeah. And so, in preparation for the sermon today, I was looking at the scribes and Pharisees and the lists that they made, and it reminded me of the first kind of lively discussion, or one of the first, maybe not even the first, or close to the first that Becky and I had when we were courting, when we were dating. And I mean, how many in here are list makers? Let's see before I tell my story, List makers. Good. Okay, I feel some comfort in that. So, here's the picture. We're in college. Right? So, Becky has transferred over from Auburn to the University of Georgia. Right? Yes, thank you very much. Good, good, this a good crowd. I like this crowd. And then, so I was going into my senior year, she was in her junior year, I was majoring in business and accounting, and she was in early childhood education. And so, she kind of fit right into what I’d been accustomed to. I dragged her to the business building each evening to study and as was what I was used to doing most evenings. And about, you know, a few weeks in, Becky looks at me and she said, Marty, you know, I enjoy coming while you study. But she said I'm like three weeks ahead in my classes right now. Is it okay, would it hurt feelings if I don't? I'm like, yeah, it's okay. Yes, yeah, I'm a little bit slow on my studying. Yes.

But here's the thing, she laid eyes on my list of what I was going to accomplish that day. And lo and behold, she found her name as one of those items. And she didn't feel real kindly toward me about that. And she pointed out to me that did I see her as an item on my list to check off? And I said, no, no, no, you got it all wrong. For those of you who are list makers, you know, I said, you know, that is, I mean, to make it on my list number one, that's an honor. That didn't go too well. But I said the fact that I want to spend time with you. I mean, that's the thing. And she's like, so starting from that day forward, she didn't appear on anymore lists, at least that were public, any public lists. Anyway, but as we get into the Sermon on the Mount, let me give you the picture, the big picture, again, the context. So here we are. And it has been 400 years of silence, since God spoke through the prophets, 400 years. And so, during that time, the scribes and the Pharisees played a very important role. You know, a lot of times we give them a bad rap. We talk ugly about them. But during that time, they were the guardians of the word. They were the ones that wanted to make sure that we had copies of the Scriptures, the Old Testament and so the scribes were meticulously and in a very God honoring way copying those. Of course, that was before the printing press. And then they were going through that and then the scribes were also teaching the law. They were also helping people to unpack the law and have opinions on the law. Like our present-day lawyers. That's who the scribes were. And so, they were really focused. Then the Pharisees, they took a vow, or pledge that their whole life would be taking the law and living it on a daily basis in their lives. So, from this, the scribes came up with 613 laws, that they needed to follow. 365 of those were the don't do this, and 248 were the do’s, do this. And then they felt like if you did these and live this out, then you would reach the righteousness that God expects from us. Okay? So, now here's the thing is that they were very well respected. And we've got to be appreciative to them, because without them, we would not have the Old Testament Scriptures, intact and as accurate as they are today. So, here's the deal. So here they were, and then Jesus comes along, teaching. And they immediately started scrutinizing him as they should, because they wanted to make sure that he was teaching the scriptures and not going off on tangents. Well, that's what we teach people to do, right? Is to test the teaching that people do. So, they had a good motivation for doing that. So, they were testing it. But man, it confused them. I mean, they just weren't sure what to make of his teaching. Meanwhile, those other folks, the general public, who couldn't live up to the standard of the Pharisees and scribes, they were just kind of enthralled at this fresh perspective, this teaching in the works that Jesus was doing.

And then we find Jesus in the Galilee area. Let me give you a little bit. So, he's up on the Sermon on the Mount where it took place. So, I'm a country boy, I'm a hillbilly, I'm suburb of Blue Ridge place called McCaysville, Ga. And what's so funny is that many of you know where McCaysville is, because you took the train from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. And we greatly appreciate you because you doubled our economy in the McCaysville, and we really appreciate that. But here's the deal. So, Jerusalem, it was the hub of Judaism. That's where things were happening. They didn't think highly of the Galilee area where Jesus picked many disciples and spent a lot of his ministry because there were a lot of non-Jews that lived there. A lot of Gentiles lived in that area. And so, they weren't fond of it. And so that was about 100 miles north. So, if you can picture, in my country way of doing this, you got Atlanta, and then about 100 miles north, you'll find the great town of McCaysville. And then there's a lake there, Blue Ridge, which is now the rich and famous live there when I went there to learn how to water ski and stuff. Nobody was on there. So, if you envision that's the Sea of Galilee, now the Sea of Galilee was more like the size of maybe Lake Lanier it's larger than Blue Ridge Lake. So that's basically where they were, it was a little bit more country a little bit more rural. Jesus was doing ministry there. So, as he prepares to preach or teach what we call the Sermon on the Mount or the Series of Sermons, you'll find that he has a countryside right here next to the lake and they call it Lake Geneserath today. But you'll see that that grassy hillside, now a lot of times we think the Sermon on the Mount is where Jesus stood on a mountain and preached down. But He stood down below, it's a natural amphitheater, if you would, for people to gather where he could do it without having a microphone like we do today. And so, they would gather here. Now one thing that you may not realize and why this is so strategic, I mean, God knew how to do this. He knew what He was doing, is that this was on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee. During this time, there were three major trade routes. Big time, okay? Three major trade routes; one was called the via Maris, the Via Maris that was called the way of the sea. It started down in Alexandria in Egypt. It went up by the Mediterranean Sea and then it turned and went east into Europe, the major trade route, you'll see where it bends and goes east. Northeast right there and you'll see on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee, there's the Via Maris, which means that when Jesus began teaching there with his disciples, all of a sudden, these people on the trade route are going through there and they hear murmuring, they see this crowd gathering and so forth. And then they come and they're able to listen. Now this is part of how God works with his sovereign hand because just like the time was fulfilled, for Jesus to come into this world because the Romans, the time of the Romans was Pax Romana, which is the peace. It was a peaceful time. They had a road system. They had a common language. And so, God knew when the gospel was set in place, the things it would take to take it throughout the world. And no doubt the trade route here exposed so many people to the teachings of Jesus as they went their way. Now, the message that He was bringing at this time was and Matt brought this out the very first sermon, was that the purpose of the Sermon on the Mount was to challenge and equip believers at the heart level, not the law level to fully live pursuing the kingdom of heaven, and not this temporary kingdom of the current world. Okay? So, he was there to challenge their hearts.

Now, this morning, we need to be just like the folks seated on that hillside. God has preserved His word that He spoke there that day, when lives were changed, and hearts were touched. And He has done that so that we can listen to His words, we can learn and understand them, and that we too, can have a changed heart, a changed heart. And so today, be prayerful that God would prepare your heart to just receive His Word to see what it is that He wants to bring to you. For when Jesus came with his message, He knew that the greatest thing that was needed was a heart transplant. And the scribes and the Pharisees, they were like an overactive immune system, fighting the very thing that would bring them life. Does that make sense? So, the very thing that they needed he was bringing, which was to change hearts, and they were fighting against that. This is where we jump into Matthew chapter 5:17-20. And we want to look at five principles that Jesus taught them that day. Five principles that point to the heart of the Scriptures. Because if we do that, then we allow Him to stir and to work in our hearts. Okay? Father, thank you for the opportunity to read the very words that You spoke 2000 years ago. May our hearts be prepared to receive your word and to make a response that comes from that for that as an act of worship? We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Well, the first thing, first principle that Jesus wanted point out is that every word of the Scriptures is inspired by God. Every word of the Scriptures is inspired by God. Now, we have a wonderful legacy. Here, we have this clip, this audio clip of buddy Crowder, the first pastor of this church, and we break it out occasionally on our anniversaries. And he talks about that Burnt Hickory would be a church; a Bible believing church. And we know that our beloved Pastor Mike, for 32 years, taught and preached and stood on the Word of God. So, we have quite the legacy here. But here was Jesus, He shows up on the scenes and the religious people who were protecting the law, weren't sure where He came out. This is where verse 17 Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets." Now, let's pause there. The Law or the Prophets. Question for you. Was the Old Testament intact when Jesus walked on the earth? The answer is yes. Next question. Did they call it the Old Testament at that time? No. A couple 100 years later, they did. So, what did they refer to it as? In fact, it was in the original language, the Hebrew and Aramaic, and it had already been translated into the Greek Septuagint. During that time, so it was intact. They referred to it though as the law or Moses's Law and the Prophets. So, when Jesus is explaining this here, He's saying, "Do not think I've come to abolish any part of the Old Testament, the Law or the Prophets, I've not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter nor the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished."

You see, He goes through, and He says not only do I affirm the scriptures, but I affirm the smallest letter, which was the Greek letter Iota. And the smallest little tip of the pin, which was like a serif, on a font was like an apostrophe, if you would, he said, I believe it is inspired, even to that point. And he said, until the end of time, it is going to continue to be true, and it is going to continue to be used by God. And so, we know in 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17, it's one that we quote, it says, all scripture is God breathed, the Greek word, there is what inspired comes from, its breathed into. So, the scriptures are literally breathed into by God, and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training and righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. That's why we are sitting here today studying God's word. That's why right now, it is being taught in our childhood ministries. It's being taught this morning in our student ministries. It's being taught in our adult ministries, because God desires that, as it says that we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work, and it is to stand on the word. So, see, you have 66 books in the Bible. 40 different human authors under divine inspiration, who really knew little about each other, and had very little in common most times, they were educated at vastly different places, Moses was trained at the greatest University in Egypt. Peter, on the other hand, the school of hard knocks. And yet, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they wrote with such wisdom, and with such power in the Scriptures. It took 15 centuries to complete the Bible, in three languages, on three continents, and it combines so many different genres from history to the laws, poetry, prophecy, biography, dramatic stories, letters and revelations. Yet, the 66 books don't just stand alone as a collection of books. But they are one coherent Word of God that is inspired, infallible, and inerrant. And that was the whole starting point that Jesus wanted to assure the people is that the last thing He would do, would be to abolish the Word of God. And that should be with us, too. So, he affirms that and then the second principle, He says, and this is in my North Georgia language on your point, we had better not pick and choose which scripture to follow. Like my mom would say, you'd better not! Well, we had better not pick and choose which scripture to follow, which is very popular today, is that you read Scripture and it's like, no, that one's outdated. No, that didn't. I mean, that worked during that time, not in this time. Hey, Jesus is saying that until the world passes away, it is all going to be relevant. And He goes further, in James 2:10, it says, "For whoever keeps the whole law," all of it, "and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." The whole law.

So, but the problem is that we have begun to use human reasoning, we've begun to use some of the same language that the world uses in looking at Scriptures. In fact, the third principle that Jesus puts out there is He said, we had better not pick and choose which scripture to follow, however, we had better pick and choose which Bible teachers and ministries to follow. And here's the reason. In fact, if you look at verse 19, He says, "Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven." We're told in 2 Timothy 4: 3-4, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires. They will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." Now, I want you to notice the distinction here. Okay? This verse doesn't say, hey, watch out for false teachers. It basically says that the reason that these teachers who teach false doctrine are around, is because you and I are wanting to hear people teach the things that we like to hear. Do you see the nuance there? It's a little different. So, he’s saying don't blame the teachers, blame yourselves, because you want your ears tickled. Have you noticed that in the last number of years consumerism has made its way into the church? Have you noticed that? You know what that means? So, for some of you oldies, like myself, you remember the jingle, have it your way, have it your way? That's why I don't sing the phrase. Burger King came up with that jingle. And it was kind of significant of what was said in place, is that, hey, the way life is, it needs to be your way it needs to be according to what you want. Every part of it. And if it doesn't make you happy, then change and get somebody who does. And so, all of a sudden, consumerisms made its way into the church. Now, you pick and choose what you like, you don't like. You know, wasn't too long ago, there was this parody that came out and it's like, hey, waking up, it's raining outside on Sunday morning. Don't feel like getting out of bed yet? No problem. We've got just the app for you. That's right. by downloading this app. What kind of music do you feel like this morning? Not a long prayer set, huh? Well, that's fine. You can go with the ten-minute set or even the five-minute set. Tired of that praise music? Well, hey, how about little country this morning? That's right, design your own praise team, your own praise time. And sermons? You're in for a short one this morning, huh? Afraid you might nod off? Do we have a deal for you? And then you have different options with that. And while that was meant to evoke humor, when that came out; it's like, oh, that's right, where we are. Like in this last year, do you know that folks doing the studies figure that as many as a third of church members may not come back to churches, because of number one, they found out that they could just not go anymore. They had a good excuse. And then others found out like, oh, man, I can just get a cup of coffee and just watch it. Or number three, and hey, we're not throwing our online community under the bus at this point. We love you folks. And there's a good reason you're watching us on the beach this morning, while you're on vacation, thank you for making us a part of your vacation.

So, but the other ones they're like, well, my church is kind of boring, I'm going to dial in on a different one. Let's see what they're like. And so, all of a sudden, here we are with a consumeristic mindset that's come into the church. And you know what happens with consumerism mindset in the church? Not good things. Okay? It becomes all about us. All about what I like, and what I choose and what I ought to have. And if this church doesn't do it, I will go to another church who does? And so, what we do is we just continue that game. Well, basically, Jesus is saying, you need to be under somebody who preaches the whole counsel of the Lord, in the Scriptures, doesn't pick and choose, and you better not pick and choose either what you believe, don't believe, want to follow, and just think that God is just going to overlook it. There will be judgment that we stand before. And so, we look and then, but here's where Jesus lands is that He says that you look the scriptures, He affirms them, you can't pick and choose, you got to watch who you're getting your messages from. But number four, He says every word of the Scriptures, every word is to lead us to Jesus, every word of the Scriptures.

Because He said, don't think I've come to abolish them, I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfill them. So, there's our clue right there, that the scriptures are all about Jesus. And at that time, it was the Old Testament, I've come to fulfill them. It is become popular among Christian culture, to unhitch, the Old Testament from the New Testament. So as a result, we're a lot more comfortable studying the New Testament, and those type things. In fact, as we get to reading the Bible, we think, man, I don't even like that God of the Old Testament. I like the God of the New Testament. We feel like it's a different God. If I asked you this morning, oh, this pains me so much. And through doing teaching, I found that probably as many as 80% of people that may even be in this room this morning, if I asked you how someone was saved in the Old Testament before Jesus came, you'd tell me that it was by keeping the Law or by making sacrifices at the temple or whatnot. And guys, that's like 100%. wrong. That's wrong. Salvation in the Old Testament was by faith. In fact, Paul writes in Romans 4:2-3, "If in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. What does scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." So just like Abraham believed that God would send a Son, into the world for us. So, we believe that Jesus is that Son. So, our faith is the same as Abraham's. Those in the Old Testament looked forward to the cross, we look backward to the cross, but the object of our faith is the same. It is the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. And so, we find that throughout scriptures, in fact, we find Genesis 1 is the first reference of Jesus in the Bible, Genesis 1:26 says, "Then God said, let us make mankind in our image," and there in the Hebrew it's plural. That's because God is referring to the Trinity, to the triune God. So right there, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present. "In the beginning was the Word the Word was with God, the Word was God," Jesus was there. So, Genesis 1:26, first time Jesus is mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 3:15, is the first prophecy that Jesus the Messiah will be coming. It says, "And I will put enmity between you the woman," this was after the sin, and between you because of what he had brought into the world and the woman, "and between your offspring and hers;” He, Jesus, the offspring of the woman "will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." So that's the first word of prophecy when Jesus came, he fulfilled 351 prophecies In the Old Testament. There are still 101 prophecies, at least in the scriptures that are yet to be fulfilled, with his second coming. In addition, if you look in the Old Testament, the Abrahamic Covenant was about the promise of Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant was the picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Covenant is the person of Jesus Christ.

So, we see beginning in Genesis throughout Scriptures. In Genesis, Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman referred to in Genesis 3. In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb. In Leviticus, He is our High Priest. In Numbers He is the Pillar of cloud by day and the Pillar of fire by night. In Deuteronomy, He is the Prophet like unto Moses. In Joshua, He is the Commander of the Lord's Army. In Judges, He is our Judge and Law Giver. In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer. In 2 and 2 Samuel, He is the Seed of David. In Kings and Chronicles, e is our Reigning King. In Ezra, He is our Faithful Scribe. In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of everything broken. In Esther, He is our Mordecai, our Advocate. In Job, He is our Ever-living Redeemer. In Psalms, He is our Shepherd. In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom. In Ecclesiastes, He is our Meaning for Life. In Song of Solomon, He is the Loving Bridegroom. In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace. In Jeremiah and Lamentations, He is the Weeping Prophet. In his Ezekiel, He is the Glorious Lord. In Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace. In Hosea, He is the Faithful Husband. In Joel, He is the Outpour of the Holy Spirit. In Amos, He is our Burden Barrier. In Obadiah, He is our Judge and our Savior. In Jonah, He is the Risen Prophet. In Micah, He is the Ruler of the world from Bethlehem. In Nahum, He’s, our Stronghold. In Habakkuk, He is the Watchman. In Zephaniah, He is the Mighty to Save. In Haggai, He is the Restorer. In Zechariah, He is the Branch of David, the One pierced for you and me. In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness. You want to hear about the New Testament? Yes, yes. In Matthew, He is the King of the Jews, The Messiah, The Christ, The Son of a Living God. In Mark, He is the Servant, He's the Miracle Worker. In Luke, He is the Baby in the Manger, the Son of Man. In John, He is the Son of God, the Living Word, the Way the Truth and the Life. In Acts, He is the Savior of the world ascended Lord. In Romans, He is the Justifier for our sins. In 1 Corinthians, He is the resurrection. In 2 Corinthians, He is our Comfort. In Galatians, He is our Liberty. In Ephesians, He is the Head of the Church. In Philippians, He is our Joy. In Colossians, He is our Completeness and the Glue that holds our world together. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is the Coming King. In 1 and 2 Timothy, He is our Mediator. In Philemon, He is our Benefactor. In Titus, He is the Blessed Hope. In Hebrews, He is our Perfection. In James, He is the Power behind our Faith. In 1 and 2 Peter, He is our Chief Shepherd and our Chief Cornerstone. In 1, 2 and 3 John, he is our Truth, and He is our Everlasting Life. In Jude, He is the Foundation of our Faith, He is our security. In Revelation, He is the Coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen. Amen. Amen. You see, every word of the Scriptures is to point us to Jesus, that parents and grandparents I would encourage you, there's a book that's been written called the Jesus storybook by Sarah Young. And it is we've used it on the mission field, Becky is used that in children's ministry on the mission field, it you go through scriptures, and it will point each thing in the Old Testament to the coming Jesus, we've got to quit unhitching the Old Testament and see how it fits together beautifully with God's redemptive plan.

Now, the fifth principle that Jesus lands on, is a game changer for them and I believe for us too. He says in verse 20, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the scribes, the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Do you hear what he's saying there? So, they're heroes of faith are the Pharisees and the scribes. They're the ones that they see as righteous. They're the ones that they feel like they could never even get that level of righteousness. And here Jesus is not only throwing the scribes and the Pharisees under the bus, but he is also throwing religiosity, he is throwing religion, manmade religion, he is throwing our good words, under the bus. He's saying it is not enough. Your righteousness has to exceed them. What in the world? How could they respond to that? How can my righteousness exceed that of someone who is trying to keep every commandment in the scriptures? Well, the fifth point in your outline is, we do not need any more righteous acts to get God's acceptance. Instead, we need a new heart, which comes through God's forgiveness and God's grace. You see, guys, we don't need just a self-help book or scripture or to try harder. We got to realize that we need a new heart. That's the problem. You see that? Jesus said that your righteous acts is not the way to bridge the gap between a Holy God and your sins. And this morning, I want to kind of challenge you. I believe there's three groups of people here today. The first group is what I call here in the south, if we've got folks who move down here in the south, you heard somebody referred to as well, he's a good Christian man. It's a good Christian family and we turn Christian into an adjective. And it wasn't intended to be an adjective it was intended to be a noun, but in the south, we know what that means. He's good Christian man. It means he did all the things that we would expect a good righteous man to do. He went took his family to church and he gave money, and you know, all these kinds of things. But what Jesus is saying to us Is that if we consider ourselves a good Christian person, it's not good enough. The Pharisees and the scribes that became their problem. And here's what happens. Every faith, if not careful, turns into a religion of works. Now listen, every other religion except Christianity is a religion of works. We're the only one that is not. However, we have Christians who have turned it into a religion of works.

So, the first group of people are those of us who feel like that we've kind of got the Christian life figured out. And if we died today, they could write up in the paper in our obit, that we were a good Christian man. But guys, that's not what God's calling you and me to be. He doesn't want you to feel good about yourself, as a Christian to where we look down our noses at those who don't know Christ, and we stand in judgment of, in fact, this last year would have been perfect time for the church to be salt and light. And yet, we put on our fantasy hat, and we jumped in social media, just like everybody else who doesn't know the Lord who doesn't have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. We lost a great, great opportunity to be Christ to others, because of our pharisaical attitudes. What do we do with that? We have to repent, we have to come to God and say, God, I have got to understand that there is nothing I can do that makes me a good Christian. In fact, that’s the second kind of person, I want to talk to this morning Jesus addressed and that's the person. That's the person that tried to be and no doubt most of the people on that hillside had tried to live up to the standards of Scriptures. Many of you try harder. The first 10 years I was a Christian. That was my idea of the Christian life. I've got this list of do's and don'ts. And I'm going to try harder. And you know where that leads, don't you? I mean, have you ever been there? It leads to guilt, it leads to frustration, it leads to the fact that you just asked Jesus to forgive you this the other day, and here you are again. So now all of a sudden, instead of coming to him, now you're hiding, you're hiding from Him. You're trying to get it all together before you come to Him. And He says, I don't want you to get it all together before you come to me. I need you to come to me, just as you are, there is nothing you can do that would make me love you anymore. And there is nothing you can do that would make me love you any less. Because we've got to understand that is the gospel. He wants you to come to Him just as you are. The third group, I want to talk to this morning, here and online. Those of you who have tried to make ends meet, you're trying to figure out what this faith looks like in your life. And you're frustrated with it. But you haven't come to a point of surrendering your life to Christ, and telling Him in fact, Ezekiel 36:26 & 27 says, "I will give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll remove from you your heart of stone. I'll give you a heart of flesh. And I'll put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." You guys this morning. Do you know if you come to God with your brokenness, with your warts with your scars and your brokenness, He wants you just the way you are? He will do amazing things with you. He doesn't want you to become perfect and then come to Him. It'll never happen. 1921 Myra Brooks Welch wrote a poem I want to close with. Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while to waste his time on this old violin. But he held it up with a smile. What am I bid good people? He cried. who starts the bidding for me? $1 $1 do I hear 2, $2? Who'll make it $3 once, $3 twice, going for 3 but no. From the room far back, a gray bearded man came forward. He picked up the bow. He wiped the dust from the old violin, tightening up the strings. He played a melody pure and sweet, as sweet as the angels sing. The music ceased, the auctioneer with a voice that was quiet and low said, what am I bid for this old violin? As he held it aloft with its bow 1000, 1000, who'll make it 2. 2000 who makes it 3? 3000 once, 3000 twice, going, gone? He spoke. The audience cheered. But some of them cried. We just don't understand what changed, it's worth. Swift came the reply, the touch of the master’s hand. And many a man with life out of tune, all battered and bruised with hardship is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd, much like that, old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game, and he travels on. He's going once, he's going twice, he's going in almost gone. But then the master comes. The foolish crowd can never quite understand the worth of a soul. And the change that is wrought by the touch of the master’s hand.

Today during our time of invitation, you can come down. I'll be positioned here we'll have some deacons, we can pray with you, if you're online, reach out to your online host, there's a way you can text next steps. But here's what I want you to do. And as we enter into this song, I want you to do this. You can stand and sing. You can stand close your eyes and prayerfully just let the lyrics wash over. You can just sit where you are. I like to just sit where I am sometimes. You can have a prayer posture. Ask God to just position your heart before Him. Ask Him to let you see the prodigal son.

When Jesus told that story of the Father after the son had done who knows what, the father is still looking for that son. He doesn't wait for that son to come and crawl on his hands and knees to him. He runs out to him. And no doubt the heart of that son just leaped as he ran, and they embrace. Many of us need to feel the embrace of our father this day. Again, we need His grace to wash over us. Do you need it? I do. I stand in need of it.

Father, as we enter in this time, would you stir our heart. Work in us, Lord, as you desire because of the grace that you extend to us. In Jesus name, Amen.