Today’s church has a heart problem and desperately needs a change of heart. Here’s why. Jeremiah 9:6 “You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord. 7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? 8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them. 9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 12 Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? 13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” Matthew 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Jeremiah also said Jeremiah 11:7 “From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” 8 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.” He even compared the people to a worn-out belt. Jeremiah 13:10 “These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless!” Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.” Today’s church is filled wit stubborn hearts.
When Solomon was praying, his words also apply to the church as the church has been taken captive. He said 2 Chronicles 6:36 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.” The church has been taken captive just like Israel and needs a change of heart but is not willing and most are so stubborn they will risk missing eternal life. Ezekiel was told Ezekiel 3:4 “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Many people have been deceived because they think they have confessed from their mouth and believed with their heart. Romans 10:8 “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The problem is the church has followed other gospels and has not called on the name of the Lord. When following false gospels, saying Jesus is Lord is not the same as this verse is talking about. Jesus is not Lord of your life if you refuse to follow His words. So many who thought they were Christians have lived their lives completely deceived and under delusion. Many are also filled with arrogance and pride because of what they have built with their own hands. Even though they say God blessed them, He has not. He does not bless the teaching of other gospels. Jeremiah 23:30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” Obadiah 1:3 “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ 4 Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.” Don’t be deceived by the pride of your heart and don’t let the stubbornness of your heart keep you from following the truth.
The problem is that the church seems to love it the way it is and continues to go their own way with stubborn hearts. One of the reasons for not turning back, other than the deception by satan and delusion by God, is that the church really doesn’t want to have a change of heart because the presence of the Holy Spirit, the power and authority that follows, changes everything. Many are enjoying the manmade power and authority they have and loving the prestige and money that comes with it. Those who follow these men and women also like it and they are comfortable attending once a week yet Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Most people don’t even think about the end, as they have been deceived into thinking they are safe and secure, even though scripture makes it clear they are not. Leaders and the people following them really don’t want to change. Sure, on Sundays they sing change my heart O God, but the reality is it is just a song as they really don’t want their hearts exposed to the light. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Proverbs 26:24 “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations (Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community) fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.”
Most do not want anyone looking at their darkened hearts. Simeon said about Jesus Luke 2:34 “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” Matthew 9:4 “Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matthew 15:9 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Luke 5:22 “Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” We also see another example with Elisha. 2 Kings 6:8 “Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place. 9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel? 12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” The word of God has been set aside for this very reason. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Most really don’t want the attitudes of their heart exposed and don’t want to repent and say “we have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly”
There is a remnant that will follow God’s word wholeheartedly. Psalm 139:3 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” They do not fear what others think but do fear what God thinks. They are willing to come into the light. John 1:11 “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” They don’t want the heart they have and will ask God to change their heart. Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?” Ezekiel 36:22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. 24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, people of Israel!”
God is looking for people after His own heart. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” To get a new heart, we must be fully committed to His word. Psalm 24:3 “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Acts 13:22 “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Having a heart after God means you will do what He says. When Saul was filled by the Spirit of God, he was powerfully changed. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 11 When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” When God changes our heart, we will do as God commands no matter what but as we saw with Saul and Solomon, Judas Iscariot and many others, if you disobey God will turn His face from you. This filling of the Holy Spirit doesn’t turn you into a robot. You must keep your eyes on Jesus.
A changed heart means there will be power and yes, most people are afraid of this power. This power is not what many think they are seeing in charismatic churches. This changed heart, for those who are seeking God, means they know that true power and authority is the only way satan will be defeated. In the account in Acts about a man after God’s own heart, we see the power the church is supposed to have. I want to share this to show why we must have a change of heart, especially as we tear down the false teaching that is everywhere in the church. We see that Acts 11:26 “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.” First of all, it is crucial to have prophets in the church, as this is God’s plan for the church, it’s not about bricks and mortar. Ephesians 5:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” This is missing in the church as is the laying on of hands. Prophets are part of God’s plan for the church just as Apostles are too. What we see in the charismatic church is not part of God’s plan. Prophets don’t add to the word of God, they tell the church what they don’t want to hear, plus they can forewarn coming events, but it is not fortunetelling. Acts 13:1 “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit” The church is missing this also.
This is why the church today really does not want a change of heart; when the power of the Holy Spirit is present, our hearts are revealed. When reading this, think about all the false prophets in the church today. Acts 13:6 “They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun. Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.” That is the power of the early church but so is this. Earlier Ananias and his wife Sapphira both lied to the Holy Spirit and died because if it. Acts 5:9 “Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also. 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” How many in the church today should be told “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” How many would die because they tested the Holy Spirit with lies? This was the power that was present in the early church and nowhere does the bible say this power was supposed to stop and not be part of God’s plan for the church. Are you listening to God or man?
This is the church we need to return to. Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Are willing to get a new heart? Ezekiel 18:31 “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?”