WHAT IS A DIRTY HEART?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Some of us here this morning have at some time in our lives confessed our sins and repented of them and received Jesus' Spirit into us and some of us here have heard about it a lot, but we really never have ever done that either privately or publicly.
But many who have done that, many who are Christians here this morning, share one thing in common with those of us who aren't Christians. Not all Christians, but many Christians share something in common with people who aren't Christians. They have a dirty heart. They have a dirty heart.
I don't know that you can help, as one man said, "The swallows from flying over your head but you can prevent them building nests in your hair." You can't prevent all kinds of thoughts from the whole world that is around us, flying around in this room, you can't.
You see a nice girl or you see a nice guy or some half thought occurs to your mind, or some half moment of worry about the car or some half moment of grief or covetousness about something you saw in a window even on the way to church this morning. You can't help those half-second thoughts occurring, but many of us find that our hearts rise to those. In other words, our hearts act like blotting papers. They absorb those things and they don't only absorb them but they rise to them and they carry on so you can't help the half-second thought that Satan or the powers of the world send into our minds. But many of us here this morning, who have received Jesus as our Savior, find that our hearts are still unclean. When that half-second temptation comes, we embrace it.
There is something in our heart that is not really clean. We find it, of course, when it gets that iron grip on us. It can get an iron grip on you in worry. We don't normally think of worry as a sin, but it is. God has said repeatedly, "Have no anxiety about anything, do not be anxious for anything, what you eat or what you'll put on." But many of us find it in worry when you think, now what am I going to do about the money, what am I going to do about the car, what am I going to do about the job, what am I going to do about my wife, what am I going to do about my children? And it gets an iron grip on you. You know what I mean, it just holds there, right about there usually and it just grips you and keeps gripping you. You try to break away from it but you can't.
That's really because your heart is not yet truly clean. You worry because you don't fully trust God. You don't fully trust God because you partially still trust yourself. And you still partially trust yourself because you still partially want your way. And so many of us find that an unclean heart shows itself in worry and anxiety that grips us and will not let go.
Many of us find it in resentment. We have real carnal fits at times. We fall into real carnal fits. We run a cold war with our husband or our wife or we run a cold war with our friend or colleague at work. Or we sink into ourselves in self-pity and cry ourselves to sleep. So many of us find our unclean heart shows itself in the resentment that is within us, resentment at what people are doing to us, at what the world is doing to us, or at what God is doing to us.
Many of us find it in covetousness and greed. It's okay to look at a motorbike, it's okay to look at a car, all right to look at a house, all right to look at a coat but the killer with many of us is, we not only look at those things but we think about them and keep on thinking about them. Even when we're trying not to think about them, the heart is going back to coveting them and to being greedy for them.
Now loved ones that's what I mean by an unclean heart. It may not show itself outwardly at all. I think I could stand up here and look very holy and still have a very unclean heart inside. That's the case with many who have received Jesus as their Savior. They've turned away from the outward things. For some of us it was smoking, some of us it was drinking, some of us it was swearing, some of us it was stealing, some was lying. We've turned away from the outward things in our life, from the sins that everybody talks about that Jesus died for, and we've received his Spirit into us.
But we still find within us an attitude that does not look like our outward lives at all. In other words we find we have a heart that keeps on sending up all kinds of dirt. Now that's what Jesus said in the verse in Matthew 15:19. I suppose somebody was asking him, "Is it eating the right food or drinking the right liquids that make you holy?" And he said, "No, no that isn't what makes you holy or unholy at all, those are outwards things."
Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander." And many of us who have received Jesus into our hearts find that there still exist within us those things. That's what this book teaches. This book teaches that that's the situation.