15 April 2014

HEARTBROKEN



Luke 19:41-44

What are some of the things that break the heart of God? Death and sorrow breaks the heart of God. Sheep without a shepherd break the heart of God. Broken marriages break the heart of God. Delinquent and self-absorbed parenting breaks the heart of God. Disobedient children break the heart of God. Unbelief and rejection breaks God's heart. My sin, your sin, breaks the heart of God. God’s heart was so broken over sin, we read “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." Gen 6:5-7. The list is endless to what breaks the heart of God because He knows the consequences to these actions and the ignorance of man. And as we look at this passage we read“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

There is one thing that should break our hearts as it does God……..to witness people we know and love who sin against God! We come to a passage of scripture that shows us the heart of God penned through the heart of a man who saw sin as God sees it. Do you know that it breaks God heart to see His children, His creation walking aimlessly under the ignorance of their own hearts? Let me ask you! Do your eyes flow like rivers over the sin of this world? Does your heart ache when people disobey the Word of God? Does your heart ache when you see people walk away from the church? Does your heart ache when you at times find yourself disobeying the Word of God?If you look at this verse closely we see the heart of a God who saw the hardness of hearts. It makes him weep because of the wickedness of man. It makes him weep because of their love for sin. It makes him weep because they are haters of God and His word.

Nehemiah was also another man who weep for the sins of his people! “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.' Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer. Neh 1:4-11

Is this you this morning? Do you feel like Jesus here in this text this morning? When your at work listening to conversations around you. In your car as you look around and see what’s going outside in the communities around us. At school seeing how young people treat each other and the disrespect they give to those who are older than them. At the store where people are in such hurry to go nowhere and the selfishness as they get through the check-out lines at Walmart. At church were people put on their Sunday cloths and faces and disregard everything they heard proclaimed about our sovereign LORD. SO MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, DOESN'T THIS CONCERN YOU? What does your heart tell you right now, after reading a passage that expresses the heart of God who see’s man depravity for what it is! SIN. Especially after the so-called heart felt welcome as Jesus entered a city where He would die for the sins of the world. God said He would never flood the whole earth again, but He didn’t say He wouldn’t pour His wrath upon the sinner. This is why He came! And as Jesus looked over the crowd of people He “wept over it” (v41) “Over it” is referring to the nation of Israel! Showing His compassion for the guilty city, and His strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it if they continued down this road of destruction.

This is the second time Jesus wept! The first time being at the tomb of Lazarus, in John 11, the second being here. The only difference between the two is that Jesus wept quietly at the tomb of Lazarus. Here in this portion of scripture, He expressed His heart with a loud lamentation, like you would see someone mourning over the death of a loved one. Why? Jesus saw that the nation had wasted its opportunities and been ignorant of their “time of visitation” Jesus saw the spiritual ignorance and blindness in the hearts of the people, because they should have known who He really was. Jesus saw the religious activity that accomplished very little if nothing for the Kingdom of God and His glory. This people were so filled with celebrations, festivals and other things, but sadly their hearts where heavy with sin and life burdens that none of them could ever carry on their own if they could only see Christ and His sustaining grace that he offers to sins like these people. That’s why He says "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:42-44. See, Jesus knew the terrible judgement that was coming to the nation, the city and the temple. In 70AD, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, they killed 600,000 Jews, then they would take thousands more captive, and destroy the temple and the city. Why did all this happen? Jesus summarizes it in this statement “because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (v44)

Just as it was in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, just as it was in the time of Noah, just as it was in the time of visitation. Again going back to Genesis “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen 6:5. Just as it is here, the sins of man have blinded the hearts of man to see the glory of God in Christ Jesus during His earthly visit. I want to stop here for a moment and ask you, do you weep over the sin of others? This is not a game! As Matthew Henry said “The eye is the inlet and outlet of a great deal of sin, and therefore it ought to be a weeping eye.”When was the last time you wept over your sin or sin that is around you? Do you shed tears for the lost people around you? Does the sin of our nation, continent, world, grieve you? Are you even affected by the depravity of your culture? Better yet……..Do you even care? Do you love others? I say this because we need to remind ourselves daily about the beauty of the gospel in our lives. “Hosanna in the Highest” in Matthew’s gospel which meaning “Save us now, Oh supremely great and glorious God; save us by the Messiah that comes in Your name.” A holy God who came to save us from holy God who hates sin. A holy God who was grieved over your sin, my sin and He displayed this grief and anger over our sin through the “Messiah”…………His Son….Jesus Christ. That’s what makes the gospel so beautiful and precious to sinners like us. We need to be reminded daily of that truth.

As Jerry Bridges wrote “To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means to continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you. … You can be sure of one thing, though: When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.”
We have Christians who don’t weep over the sin of others because they are too busy or self-absorbed with their own cares of life….and sadly this type of person has a tendency to forget about the gospel that saved their wretched souls from His perfect and pending wrath.So what are some things that we can do as God’s children when it comes to ignorance of Christ and sin and this pending doom for so many?

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING FOR THOSE WHO ARE ENTANGLED IN SIN......As Paul said “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Eph 6:18. It’s that idea of “pray without ceasing” which means never stopping because there is simply too much to pray about. Prayer is work, plain and simple, which is why most believers don't do it and struggle in this area of life. And it’s one of the reasons we don’t concern ourselves with the cares of others….but it should as it did Jesus here in this passage.

GENTLY AND CAUTIOUSLY COME ALONGSIDE A BROTHER OR SISTER AND HELP THEM TO BE RECONCILED WITH GOD.......Jesus said "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matt 18:12-15. Our desire is not to find restitution to fill our prideful hearts, when we have been wronged. Our desire should be for a sinner to reconciled back into the fellowship with our Lord and King. We should desire the same God desires for sinners to repent and find their comfort and peace in the Son of God.

PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THEM IN EVERY OCCASION WITH THE WORDS OF TRUTH......As Paul said “Preach the word [the gospel truth]! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. In all occasion share the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ; which is to be preached always. Faith in Christ comes by hearing the word of God! Rom 10:17

NEVER GIVE UP ON A SINNER, DESPITE WHAT THE OUTCOME MIGHT BRING....In the gospel of John we read “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:2-5. Jesus washed his feet. It was only one example of the agape love of Jesus Christ and the way He reached out to Judas. This example of love He took to win Judas even at this late hour made His love all the more wonderful. Never giving up because God’s desire that no one perishes even though many will in the end. Never give up on a sinner no matter how wicked or reckless a person might be.

LOVE THEM AS CHRIST LOVED THEM AND WEPT OVER THEM BECAUSE YOU KNOW THEIR COMING JUDGEMENT........As the Hebrew writer said “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Heb 9:27. What does this judgement look like? We read in Rev 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Can you see why Jesus wept at their celebration on this Palm Sunday? Many according to His powerful Sermon on the mount would end in this terrible place. He loved them so much He died for them despite how they felt about Him. The gospel saves and need to tell the world about this message! Remind yourself of that truth in the word of God and others as this one writer said, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity. Don’t miss this truth as so many of the people that Jesus came to saved did! For some it may be too late…..for others it’s the power of God that some will be saved by His amazing grace. As this amazing story of a man incarcerated as He was asked “What would YOU say in a letter to your younger self?”

Dear Peter,

It’s great to be able to talk to you, I’m 55 years old now, and living in prison for the past six years. Let me tell you kid; it’s no way to live. A lot if the things you’re going to do are good, a few of them are really stupid. If you think something’s might be a bad idea…..BELIEVE IT! Don`t do it. If you think you feel the Lord in your life, believe it! You will receive many blessings, many signs of what you should do. Keep your eyes open wide and pay attention, do what is right and you won’t need to go to prison. God loves you, live by His word.  Love Peter!

What do you think the people who physically witnessed Christ but loved their sin instead would write if they had a chance to write their younger self? "Listen to Jesus, love Jesus, because He came to give us peace through his death and resurrection." Don’t miss the invitation of His visitation found in the gospel that saves. He came to save the lost! Though He wept over her, He loved and gave Himself for her. Today is the day of salvation.

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