17 Aug 14
What Does a Moment in Time Reveal about Who or What Has Authority Over Your Heart?
This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
Hearts can be tenuous to say the least. Moments in time can reveal what or who has authority over the human heart. A moment in time can reveal that a heart is healthy, or a moment in time can reveal that a heart is sick, weak and vulnerable.
Jesus knew about the human heart and how it responds to the Word of God. In our text, Jesus talks about four different kinds of “heart soils” and what (or who) has authority over the human heart.
Big Idea: A moment in time demonstrates who or what has authority.
Question: What controls or has authority over your heart?
Text: Luke 8:1-15
HEART #1 - THE HARDENED HEART
Jesus identifies this heart in verse 5 and explains it in verse 12.
In the Middle East, conditions are already dry. The path is the place where farmers walk, where sheep make their way to water and grass. The path ran through the common fields, separating the plots, and the foot traffic hardened the soil. The path is hard and dry, and the seeds don’t have a chance
What Jesus states clearly with this heart (but is certainly implied in the next two hearts) is that there is a spiritual dynamic that shapes our heart. The enemy uses people, places and things to damage our hearts.
What do you note about this heart? What are your observations? I think we would miss a major point of application if we did not realize that the enemy can also harden the heart of a believer. There are many believers walking around with an unhealthy heart.
What does the enemy use to harden the human heart?
Would you not agree that life can harden your heart very easily if you don’t guard it?
Have you ever noticed hardness in a heart, your heart?
What does that hardness look like?
A moment in time demonstrates who or what has authority. For some, it is hardness and the cause of that hardness that holds the ultimate authority in the human heart. The seed bounces off this kind of heart.
HEART #2 - THE SHALLOW HEART
Jesus identifies this heart in verse 6 and explains it in verse 13.
In many parts of the Holy Land you find a substratum of limestone covered with a thin layer of soil (like Kingston). The shoot can grow up, but the roots cannot go down, and the sun withers the rootless plant.
How much time has this person invested in the Word?
What are their disciplines like when it comes to spending time in God’s Word?
A moment in time demonstrates who or what has authority. What has authority over this heart? What do the roots reveal about authority? I would sum up what has authority with two words – “EASY BELIEVISM”. This person has bought the lie that says I can say yes to Jesus but there is not much beyond the yes. These kinds of people may look back at a moment in time when they said yes to Jesus but every moment since has indicated that they don’t invest in the Word. They have set their spiritual life on auto pilot and think that they will safely arrive. The result is that they will crash. “Easy believism” will put you in the ditch.
HEART #3 - THE CLUTTERED HEART
Jesus identifies this heart in verse 7 and explains it in verse 14.
Someone said a long time ago that if the Devil can’t make you sin, he will make you busy, because either way your soul will shrivel. Our world will divert your soul’s attention because it is a cluttered world. And clutter is maybe the most dangerous result, because it’s so subtle.
Note how Jesus gets specific with the clutter - worries, riches, pleasure.
What has authority over this heart?
Here is a clue - What is choking the life out of this person? Would you not say that, if you can choke someone to death. you probably have a degree of authority or control over that person?
I would sum up what has authority in one word - IDOLATRY. Idolatry can refer to when good things become ultimate things.
What happens when those idols fail us?
“If you live for career and you don’t do well it may punish you all of your life, and you will feel like a failure. If you live for your children and they don’t turn out all right you could be absolutely in torment because you feel worthless as a person.”
Only if your identity is built on God and his love, says Kierkegaard, can you have a self that can venture anything, and face anything.
A moment in time demonstrates who or what has authority. Unfortunately for this heart idolatry is fully in charge.
HEART #4 - THE HEALTHY HEART
Jesus identifies this heart in verse 8 and explains it in verse 15.
Note the contrast with the other hearts.
• Good soil versus - hard, shallow, cluttered
• Good harvest versus- trampled, fall away, choked
• Good focus (persevere) versus death on all three accounts.
What has authority over this heart?
Describe what it is like for this person to hear or read the Word of God? What describes their response to it?
What is your heart attached to?
What does a moment in time demonstrate about what your heart is attached to?
What did this week at work, at school, when no one was looking demonstrate what your heart is attached to?
What does how you treat others demonstrate about what your heart is attached to?
What does your marriage indicate about what your heart is attached to?
He who has an ear, let him hear!
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