The “Power” Series #3



TEXTS:       Prov. 3:1-6; 4:23; 17:22;   Matt. 5:8;   Mal. 4:6


INTRO:       The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936.  Through 4 decades and a World War she served until she was retired as an anchored floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California.   During the conversion process her 3 massive smoke stacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted ... but once on the dock they crumbled before the scrapping could begin.  On inspection, they noticed that the smoke stacks were nothing more than 30 plus coats of paint ... the 3/4 inch steel plates had long rusted away! – Source Unknown


How like the human heart this can be ... the outside can look so good ... fresh and normal looking, while the heart can be devastated and worn away.  The heart is the symbol of the core of our personality ... it is the very seat of what we think and how we respond, we need to carefully monitor our hearts to be sure they stay healthy!


PROP. SENT:   The Bible teaches us that our hearts are to be carefully taken care of ... heart disease of the soul has much greater consequences than that of the body! While a heart attack can affect your physical life an ungodly heart can affect your eternal life!


I.   THE HEART'S TEACHING   Prov. 3:1-2; 4:23;   Matt. 5:8


A.    Instruction      Prov. 3:1; 4:23

1.   The commands the author is talking about are God’s commands ... His Word!

2.   The heart is also a metaphor for the mind in many passages, the mind requires input just like a computer does!

a.   What goes in ... comes out!

b.   Programming the heart of a man is of vital importance.

c.   Many people take more seriously how they program their own computers than they do their own heart or their children's heart!

3.   Nothing builds the human heart like God's Word!

4.   In Psalm 119:11 David wrote these famous words: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."


ILLUS:      Lee Robertson, Pastor of Highland Park Baptist church told this story:

The phone rang and a rough voice said, "This is an emergency, please come to the hospital."  As he went he found a man, eyes closed, body was bloody.  The Pastor said, "Sir, (The man's eyes opened) I'm a preacher and I want to tell you about Jesus!"  The man responded with, "It's too late!"  He had cut his throat from ear to ear with a straight razor, a victim of dope, drink, and living out of the gutter.  The pastor however continued, "I want to tell you the story of Jesus and the thief on the cross!" "Preacher, I'm a dying man, but if what you say is true, I will take Jesus right now to be my Savior.  I don't want to go to Hell."  Pastor Robertson said, "I'll see you inside the Eastern gate" and left.   Sometime later, a man walked down the aisle with a red jagged scar marred on his throat.  He requested water baptism, and asked the pastor to remarry him and his wife ... today he is attending a church in Houston, Texas ... walking with God!  A little instruction to his heart changed his entire life! -- Source Unknown


5.   No wonder we are asked in Scripture to meditate both day and night on His Word!

6.   Preaching is thought to be an exercise of foolishness in the minds of the world, but it has the power to transform the hearts of men and women by God's Word!

7.   No wonder in Prov. 4:23 we are told to "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

a.   We cannot blame God for what goes into our hearts; we control much of the input ourselves.

b.   “To guard” gives the image of a sentry ... always watching through the darkness for attack ... we need to take seriously our job of protecting our hearts!


B.    Increase    Prov. 3:2;  Matt. 5:8

1.   The positive side of guarding our heart is now addressed ... it will increase the experience of our lives in ways the world could never do!

a.   Prolonging our life is easy to understand in the general sense since those who are instructed in God's Word and His Ways are much more likely to cope with life through a greater sense of purpose and plan!

b.   The Word gives us better coping mechanisms as a believer.

c.   For the believer, we understand that even tragedy plays a plan in building us up ... the world has no similar belief system it can call its own!

2.   The concept of prosperity in this verse (Prov. 3:2) may not just be material ... it is certain that much of what the heart gains is more than just the stuff of this world!

a.   It is prosperity of joy.

b.   It is prosperity of peace.

c.   It is prosperity of salvation.

d.   It may include the blessings of this world as well ... with a proper understanding of how the spiritual rules over the physical, our stewardship may bring us the proper blessings of this world's goods as well.


ILLUS:      Living for Christ is like a sailboat on the ocean ... we count on the sailboat to keep us afloat, (Christ) -- the wind becomes the power that drives us along, (The Holy Spirit) -- but our heart is like the rudder, we control the direction our life takes by how we set the heart ... a boat can be upon the same sea with the same breeze but steer in different directions ... control the rudder of your life carefully!  Steer your heart in the direction of God's blessings ... and not upon the shoals of destruction ... you don't have to choose being shipwrecked! – Source Unknown


II.  THE HEART'S TOUCH   Prov. 3:3-4;  Mal. 4:6


A.    Indispensable    Prov. 3:3

1.   The quality of the heart is as important as the information of the heart!  Prov. 3:3 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."

2.   Here the writer is telling us to bind LOVE and FAITHFULNESS to our hearts, to etch them into the heart itself!

a.   We have an entire generation that needs to understand this kind of love ... faithfulness requires something more than just a feeling, it means real commitment!

b.   The heart cannot love as God designed it to love without faithfulness!

3.   The power of faithfulness in love can transform lives like nothing else can, or the lack of faithfulness can inflict pain like nothing else can!


ILLUS:       Oliver Cromwell, great leader of England had decided a young soldier was to be shot at the ringing of the curfew bell that night. The woman who loved this soldier couldn't bear the thought his death.. they were to be married.  Just before curfew that night 5he could be seen climbing the tower of the bell, she jumped upon the bell's clapper and clung to it, soon the man came to ring the bell for curfew1 the signal for the young soldier's death.  There could only be heard several thuds as the rope was pulled... finally the young lady descended, bruised and bloody, her body torn by the ordeal, history records that Cromwell was so impressed with her willingness to suffer for someone she loved that he dismissed the charges against ~he soldier saying, "Go, there shall be no curfew tonight"!  The faithfulness of this woman's love had won his life! -- Source Unknown


4.   Faithfulness is indispensable to a heart full of love!


B.  Impressive    Prov. 3:4   Mal. 4:6

1.   When the heart is properly tuned by God's Word and full of faithfulness it can have enormous impact on others!

2.   It will not only win the favor of God ... but of others as well!

3.   The world is looking for men and women who are healthy examples of LOVE!

4.   Don't underestimate the impact of living out God's love!

5.   The Old Testament ended with a promise and a warning:  MAL. 4:6 “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

a.   Before the Lord's great coming the prophet of God would turn the hearts of the children toward their fathers, and the father's hearts toward their children...

b.   The point being that the nation where the family is restored will experience God's great love and blessing…

c.   BUT ... if the family unit was not turned inward by God's love ... the land would be full of the curse of God!

6.   Here we are, the family is in trouble ... we need to learn to love and focus God's teaching and His love in our homes if we are to experience God's blessings on us as a nation!  Godly homes WILL HAVE AN IMPRESSIVE IMPACT ON SOCIETY!

a.   It’s not about getting “godly” legislation on the books; it is about getting “godly” homes in America!  Political means will not restore our nation!  Too many people fight to get prayer back in the schools when what we really need is prayer back in our homes!

b.   It takes God's help to carry the burden!

c.   While the world attempts to show it can carry this burden, it will fail!


ILLUS:       Bruce Larson, in "BELIEVE & BELONG" tells how he helped people struggling to surrender their lives to Christ:  For many years he worked in New York City and counseled at his office near the RCA building on 5th avenue.  He would take those he worked with down to the RCA building to see the gigantic statue of Atlas straining to carry the world on his shoulders ... muscles rippling, and the strain in the face and body of Atlas as he barely held up the world on his shoulders.  Then he took them across the street to Saint Patrick's Cathedral where right behind the altar in a little shrine is a model of the boy Jesus holding the world in his hands without any effort at all!  We can strain and strain to carry the world with our own strength ... or submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ and be an example of peace ... even in a struggling world! – Source Unknown


III. THE HEART'S TRUST   Prov. 3:5-6; 17:22


A.    Instinct    Prov. 3:5

1.   Trusting in the Lord with all your heart will take some serious effort ... but will pay back some serious benefits!

a.   The more we trust Him ... the more our instinctive response becomes godly!

b.   What you will be in old age is now being created!

c.   To have godly instincts one must be continuously godly!

2.   We all would like to be at the place where we respond to trials with an almost godly instinct ... without great effort, as natural as can be, but this comes from faithfulness in our walk with God and with continual trust in God!

a.   There will be times when our understanding will be blocked ... but our heart can still learn to trust God at such times.

b.   Instincts develop from repetition, good or bad!


ILLUS:      Marqaret Sangster Phippen wrote that in the 1950's her father, British minister W.E. Sangster began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg.  When he went to the doctor, he found he had an incurable disease that caused progressive muscular atrophy ... his muscles would gradually fade away and his voice would fail ... until he could not swallow, and die!  He threw himself into home missions, figuring he would be able to write longer than he could speak ... and that now he would have more time for prayer!  He stated, "Let me stay in the struggle, Lord ... I don't mind if I can no longer be a General, but give me just a regiment to lead."  He wrote and organized prayer cells throughout England, telling people he was only in the kindergarten of suffering!  Soon he lost the use of his legs, and then his voice ... but he could still hold a pen.  On Easter morning just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter, in it he said, "It is terrible to wake up on EASTER morning and have no voice with which to shout, ‘HE IS RISEN!’ ... but it would be still more terrible to have a voice to shout, and not want to shout!" – Source Unknown


3.   Here was a man who had learned the value of trusting God and not leaning on his own understanding ... and in the end developed those instincts that kept his heart intact!


B.    Insulate    Prov. 3:6; 17:22

1.   Insulation is important becomes it protects us from the cold in our homes!

2.   What insulates the heart against spiritual coldness?  ACKNOWLEDGING GOD IN ALL OUR WAYS!

a.   This will insulate our hearts from coldness!

b.   This will insulate our hearts from despair!

c.   This will insulate our hearts from anger!

d.   This will insulate our hearts from sin!

3.   Insulation will not work however if it is not applied!

a.   It is not enough to believe God is at work in your life ... we need to acknowledge it!

b.   It is necessary to acknowledge God's hand in everything we do ... and to apply His life in us to everything we do ... a good theological perspective is not enough if it is not applied!

c.   Like Paul who wrote to Timothy: 1 Tim 4:16 "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (KJV)


ILLUS:        Many people know that Abraham Lincoln was for freeing the slaves ... but what many people don't know is that long before the Proclamation of Emancipation he had practiced it!  When in New Orleans one day he came upon a slave auction.  Among the slaves a young mulatto girl was being sold, as the bidding started, the first was for $500.  The bid quickly rose to $700.  Suddenly a voice called from outside the crowd, “$750!”  The slave owners each advanced the bid, but each time the voice from outside came in just $50 more than their own.  Finally, the voice from outside won with a bid of $1,450.  When the girl noticed that the man who bought her was a Northerner she became disgusted.  The northerner came forward and paid the price ... and made arrangements to receive his new "property" in the morning.  When Lincoln arrived in the morning he handed her a paper ... without reading it she assumed it was her papers of ownership and she began to cry, "Sir, I am ready to go with you."  He however responded, "I don't want you to go with me!"  The paper was a proclamation of her freedom ... she was free!  Lincoln looked at her and said, "I BOUGHT YOU THAT YOU MIGHT BE FREE!"  With that she fell at his feet and kissed them and responded, "SIR, I WILL GO WITH YOU AND BE YOUR SERVANT FOR EVERMORE!" – Source Unknown


4.   As we acknowledge Christ in all our ways He makes our paths straight!

5.   When our paths are straight ... our joy is full!

6.   So many Christians want God's joy ... but without the process or the insulation!

7.   The point of PROV. 17:22 is that real joy comes from real commitment!

8.   Why not make your life easier by submitting to Christ's Lordship ... HE BOUGHT You So You CAN BE TRULY FREE ... WHY NOT BECOME HIS SERVANT FOREVER!


CONCLUSION:     The heart is the main organ of the body for supplying all the rest of the body with nourishment!  So, as it is with your heart spiritually!  Why not keep your heart healthy by walking with God ... when you walk with Him you will never lose your way!