This morning, we’re continuing a new message series entitled, “Hearts Turned.” In this series, we’re being challenged with where are hearts are directed. After all, it is critical not that we follow our own hearts, but that rather our hearts are steered and directed down the right path. As Solomon wrote:
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
So far, we learned a bit about how to keep our hearts steered in the direction that the Lord has planned for us; into His plans which are greater than we could even ever think, ask, or imagine! We learned from Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal and his longing to see the people’s hearts turned back to the Lord. We also learned from John the Baptist how to turn the hearts of others to the Lord by preparing the way for Him.
So we’ve learned about how to turn our hearts to the Lord and how to turn the hearts of others to the Lord, this week, we learn of the tragedy which occurs when a heart turns away from the Lord from Solomon.
After going over the details of all of Solomon’s splendor, we read about the slippery slope that he started down which lead to having it all stolen away from him.
1 Kings 11:1-13
1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Solomon was given by God the wisest and most discerning heart that anyone would ever possess. Leaders of nations would travel great distances just to hear his teachings. With that heart, he gained vast treasures and greatness like none ever had or ever will possess. However, as he grew old, that same heart began to turn away from the same God who so richly blessed him.
It is so easy to look at someone else’s life and clearly see their hearts turn away from the Lord and toward something that is leading them astray. However, it is very challenging to see that happening in our own lives. Unfortunately, when this heart turn begins to take place, we will justify it and explain it away and sometimes even become hostile to people who love us enough to point it out to us.
Solomon even had a personal visitation from the Lord twice and still his heart turned away from him. If he could make this turn, then how much more susceptible to this turn are we? In fact, even greater than Solomon was another of God’s creations whose heart turned away from the Lord. This should be a loud cry of warning to each and every one of us to guard our hearts and allow the Lord to show us any way that is veering away from Him before we are far from Him! This creation was much like Solomon in the wisdom and splendor that it possessed and it was in the presence of God at all times, yet still it’s heart was swayed away from the Lord. It is said of Satan:
12b “‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
To have our hearts turned away from the Lord really doesn’t take much. Satan’s weakness was his own beauty and splendor; the very strengths given him by God. Solomon’s weakness was the women that he chose as wives. Each of us also have a weakness that can be leveraged to lead our hearts away from the Lord. It is absolutely critical that we are aware of these weaknesses and that we guard our hearts in these areas. We need each other to hold ourselves accountable in these areas so that our entire lives are not lead away from the Lord.
When we allow our choices to turn our hearts away from the Lord, there are consequences. Satan was kicked out of Heaven, falling faster than lightning, along with a third of the angels who followed him. Solomon lost his kingdom and all of the wealth and splendor that he accumulated. Solomon’s father, David, chose to have an affair with Bathsheba and his home fell apart. Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives because they deceitfully kept a little profit for themselves while claiming to have given their all.
Sin comes at a cost. This isn’t because God hates sinners and is pouring out His wrath on them, it is because anytime that you use something in a way it was not designed for, damage occurs. God created mankind intentionally and with a purpose. When we use our lives for something other than what they were created for, we will feel that pain of it.
Now, we were all born into sin and most of us have already sinned since the time we woke up. In fact, God’s word says that:
1 John 1:8-10
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Truth begins with truth. We must be honest with ourselves and stop sugar-coating what God sees as rotten, harmful, and needing to be thrown out of our lives. Forgiveness begins with confession. If we lie to ourselves about our sin, then why would we even expect God to forgive us for what we “didn’t do?”
Sin is often misunderstood. It literally means that we missed the target. Sin, by its definition, is what turns our hearts away from the Lord. Sin is either doing what we are not supposed to do or not doing what we are supposed to do. All of us know the commands of God, AKA His user manual for life, and that to do what God says, “thou shall not” is sin. However, we often miss the other edge of this word.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
It is equally sin to choose not to do with you are supposed to do. This is still missing the target that God created your life to hit. The most fulfilling and enjoyable life that any of us could ever live is the one that stays on the straight and narrow path straight into the destiny that God created us to reach as we blow through bullseye after bullseye target along that path. God is not a fun-sucker, He created fun and wants us to truly be filled with joy. In fact, the kind of joy that God wants to fill us with is described as an inexpressible joy that accompanies this bullseye lifestyle.
Choosing sin over God’s plans, purposes, and destiny will simply be painful for us as the natural consequences follow. I have plenty of flat screwdrivers once used to pry on things that are very difficult to use when trying to work a flat head screw. I have a battery from a cordless drill at home that no longer charges or operates the drill because it didn’t make the best hammer. In fact, the nail pierced straight through it! This was all a result of using a valuable tool in a way that it was never designed to be used.
Think about the pain and sorrow that we often pierce ourselves with for the same reason. God, our Creator and Designer, never intended us to use our lives in the way that we do. Consequences come as a result and we would be wise to learn from those consequences and not continue down that path of destruction!
The Bible is clear that there will be some that even lose their inheritance in the Kingdom of God altogether because of what their hearts turn to instead of the Lord.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We see all around us the result of continuing to live with a heart turned away from the Lord and toward sin. The consequences are a cursed life leading straight to a slow and painful death. Here in this letter from Paul to the church in Corinth, we find the answer to a heart turned away from the Lord.
We’ll finish out this message series on this note.
A person with a heart heading into sin and away from the Lord is who you were, but as of this very moment, you can become a person washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God! In the same way that turning away from the Lord begins with a choice, so is the path to turning back to the Lord; a choice. The choice is yours. Choose this day whom you will serve. Choose this day life and blessing or death and curses. The choice is yours and the consequences are all your own as well.
The best choice is to repent, to agree with God that you have missed the target of who you are supposed to be, which He calls sin. Agreeing that your choices were wrong and that you are deserving of hell because of them. Then, agree with God that all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved! Agree with God that who you were when you walked through those doors isn’t the person that you are now! You may have squandered the abundant life and blessings that God promised you by choosing sin then, but now, oh but now, your whole heart is turning back to Him! Because you call on Jesus in faith for forgiveness and turn your heart back to Him, now everything changes for you!
Now, but the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within you, you will shake off the binding shackles of sin and run the race to Jesus with all you have until the day that your race is complete. Now you are turning back to the Lord and there is nothing going to hold you back from receiving every single one of His promises! Temptation isn’t all that tempting anymore because it’s fading away in the wondrous light of God’s glory that now fills you!
No longer are you going to sulk around in shame and condemnation ashamed of parts of your life, you’re going to walk around like Moses with your face beaming the radiant glory of God that fills your life! You’ve got nothing to hide because the Lord knows it all and forgave it all and you’re never going back to it! You’re not going to allow the enemy to steal away from you anymore, he can keep his empty-promises of sin because you’ve traded them all in for Heavenly treasure that will never spoil, fade, or be stolen nor destroyed that far exceeds all else!