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A Matter of the Heart

Alan Parker
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Alan Parker

Professor of missions and evangelism and director of Pierson Institute of Evangelism at Southern Adventist University



  • April 22, 2017
    11:30 AM
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Good morning everyone. Today we're going to be talking a little bit about the ordination that was just. And you know thinking about that ordination reminded me of some things that had gone on in my life when I first became. A Christian I had I remember one year things were going particularly well any of you have years where everything just seems to be flying along smoothly yet watch out so I was I was just doing great I remember I've just been appointed to the student youth council that we called the prefix out of like fifteen hundred students there about twenty five that were part of the student leadership and I was one of those twenty five and then I just go on and preach my very first evangelistic series twenty people and made a decision for Jesus and I I was doing really well I was racing go carts and I'd been doing particularly well that year and I just felt so good about myself I remember telling one of my friends you know I said Look my name's pike. And I've just become a preacher and I'm a prefect and then they just appointed me to be president of a brand new youth club at the church and I said you know if you put all those piece together the next thing is for perfect and after he had finished gagging. He said well he might be for pride. And I still think you know those words when I was on my motorcycle travelling in to school I had two motorcycles I just built up one motorcycle and I was on the small amount of cycle and I was just singing songs so excited about how my life was going and then I saw a Qadar across the road and there was no time to really react try to swing into wards the curb see if I could get past it hoping the car would break it did not break I T.-Bone the hood of the car and I flew over and fortune. Wearing a helmet because I rolled and there was still scratch marks on my helmet afterwards I rolled a perfect roll gymnastic roll but unfortunately the motorcycle followed me flipped over the the hood of the car and landed on my leg and so they pulled them out of cycle off and there was some foreign lady there she's like Are you a cake Can you ride I was like No something is wrong with my leg now fortunately I was such a wise accident make I done it right outside the hospital the problem was this was in Africa and that hospital had no ambulances so we had to wait for the main city hospital to send an ambulance and then I was taken to a hospital bed I had to wait six hours because they couldn't find a doctor who could come and give me painkillers and so the pain is getting worse and I'm like God Why are you doing this and it's like my friend's words came back to me pride cometh before a fall that's like look this is not good but he helped me in that moment I die shouted the head of the female. He helped me in that moment to realize in that three months that I had to lie in that hospital room he helped me to realize what was going on in my hide and today that's what I want to talk about I want to talk about what is going on in our hearts and I want to do it through the perspective of what was going on in Israel when they were looking for a king so turn with me to food is Samuel First Samuel Chapter eight. First Samuel Chapter eight just a few books and your bible First Samuel chapter eight and verses three. Sorry verse four and they they come to Samuel and they say all of the Elders of Israel First Samuel chapter eight and verse four and they gathered together and they came to Samuel at Rama and they said to him Look you grown all your sons do not walk in your ways then in verse five it continues now appoint a King for us to judge just like all the names. So here they say look we don't like your sons we want a king and so they begin to look for a king now if you were looking for a leader maybe of a church maybe a leader of your society maybe a president what would you be looking for where they wanted a king like the other nations and indeed there were two kings with remarkably different trajectories that came into Israel at that time the first King of course was Saul and Saul was not somebody that we remember fondly he was somebody who did not live a long life he was somebody who went down an enigma me and the other king became somebody who became the forerunner of the Messiah so he had two kings both get all day and both get annoying to be king but very different pass and what would you be looking for if you were looking for a king. Well let's see the first King Saul and Herod tells us in First Samuel Chapter nine verse two that. Here had a son and he was a choice and handsome son and I said to my wife you know I don't think people use those words to describe me. And she said idea I say what's good that's a good thing. And he was choice and a handsome man and there was not a more handsome person than he among all the sons of Israel from his shoulders an up see was taller than any of the people and so they just say wow this guy he's incredible he was the kind of person they were looking for if you were going to pick somebody you have you ever played this game with when you were kids where they would go down each team captain would pick somebody to play on the team any viewer play that and you know it wasn't always terrible to get picked last but it's always nice never pickle. Asked he was the person who was at the front of the line you know he was popular he was well known he was like on Swartz's name or Kevin heartthrob all Leonardo Di Caprio I mean he was just one of those guys who was you looked at him and you said Man this guy is a winner now he didn't feel that way about himself he kind of had an A very arty complex but when people started looking at him and admiring him that way it started to do something to him and he was like you know maybe maybe there is something special about me after all and so if you wanted to do the king thing you were going to pick Saul he was somebody who you could look up to literally he was somebody who was handsome he was somebody who seemed to have war like skills and so this is what the people wanted somebody tall somebody strong even when Samuel introduces him in the next chapter Samuel said all the people look. This book at this man that that you have that the Lord has chosen Look there is none like him among all the people and everyone goes Wow Long live the kid love nothing I mean the chad just starts up this was exactly what they was looking what they were looking for if you wanted to do the king thing this was your man you see this was what people wanted someone to all someone strong but it didn't always work out well did it I mean by the time you get to Chapter thirteen the story has begun to change yes Saul in his own way has been a pretty remarkable guy he's gone out and he's conquered some of the other nations he's gone out and the people of Israel have rallied behind him and so now he says look let's go out and tackle the fullest signs and so the people were summoned to Saul again now if you look at at first Samuel thirteen it says in verse five that the first line. Said All right you want to fight let's fight and they brought together what in those days was a pretty remarkable Army thirty thousand chariots six thousand horsemen and the Bible says people like the sands where this was a huge group and when Sol saw that he certainly didn't feel so big and strong and neither did anyone else affect this is the Israelites went and they were hiding in caves but saw I've been told by Samuel Look wait for seven days I'm going to come we're going to offer a sacrifice and then you can go from there and so he waits and he waits and the people are disappearing and he's getting really anxious and now it's the seventh day and still there's no Samuel and he what would you have done the people are frightened that people are leaving you somewhat even going across the lines to get to save territory what are you going to do so Saul takes matters into his own hands and he starts doing the sacrifice himself dresses up like a priest says I I'll just do the sacrifices cause everybody together I'm going to take charge I'm a take charge guy now and so he starts doing that while he's just finishing guess who arrives Samuel and Samuel looks at him and says What are you doing what have you done and I want you to notice what Sol says well you know when I saw the people with scattering any of you have children here have you noticed this line of reasoning you know when I saw the people scattering and then I saw you didn't come and the fullest signs were coming and they were gathering against us and then I thought they going to come against us and I haven't even sought the favor of the Lord you know there are really good reasons why this happened any of you had children do this to you I have just recently so this was the kind of experience where they were just coming up with these reasons and he has Saul is saying look I had good reasons and I thought I was doing a good thing and then he says so I forced myself. Doesn't that sound like other excuses you heard like Aaron you remember I threw the gold into the fire and out jumped a golden calf It was amazing so you know I just had to force myself to do this and school is going you know to the east telling SAMUEL Look I I had to do this and Samuel is going you're not even repentant for what you've done you disobey the law you've taken sacred things and made them as if they're not sacred and so he gives a rebuke Samuel says to saw you have done foolishly what you have done is foolish you have not kept the command of the Lord your God which he commanded you for when the Lord would have established your kingdom of Israel for ever did you catch that this is amazing he said this was a test if you had passed this test your kingdom would have lived on Friday he would have been the one that we would have been talking about today. He would have been the one who would have been the founder of Israel but he failed the test why. Something was wrong inside of soul something that we need to pay attention to because when we go on to Christian leadership it may be impacting on us and so Samuel tells Saul what the problem is he says the Lord has sought out a man hell. After his own heart what is he saying to him You followed your heart saw but what God is looking for is someone who follows his hot he's looking for somebody who's going to abate him no matter what who will be as true to duty as the needle is to the Pole who will stand for the right though the heavens fall somebody who is willing to do whatever God asked because he's a man after God's own heart and he says because you have not done this God is going to select his own prince and that would for princes melike his own king over the. People because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you what a sad story soul had everything in his favor but he relied on his smile it's and on his leadership appeal to do what he wanted. So when God asks you to do something. Or. You like saw like the man who followed him see the difference between success and failure in Christian leadership lies in the condition of the what the ha what's going on inside of your heart determines how well you're going to do I mean are you willing to do what's right no matter what comes your way you know back in one thousand nine hundred six it was February twenty some of you a newlywed can relate to this. The Daily Herald in Chicago gave a terrible story a newlywed couple had We're headed out on their honeymoon and they had received money you know how couples like money instead of gifts and so they had put They had twelve thousand dollars in wedding gifts in money and they put it in a black separate case on top of the car and in the excitement they drove off. And that black separate case fell off and they didn't realize that till they had reached their Honeymoon Suite by that time it was gone and according to the bride when she realized what had happened she said I felt I felt overwhelmed I thought that this was the end. Well the same newspaper two days later carried another headline and it said find is keep is not all believe it apparently David ye an unemployed suburban resident had come upon the black bag with the twelve thousand dollars cash and in spite of his own mounting bills and his joblessness he didn't keep any of the money he tracked the couple down and returned the full amount so they asked him why. Why didn't you keep the money and he said Look whether it's fifty dollars a thousand dollars or a million dollars It doesn't matter if it doesn't belong to yours. His integrity was worth more than twelve thousand dollars and here is what was at stake with so all so was being asked to have integrity and the word integrity in the Hebrew really is pure onus of hide homeless and he was being asked to have integrity and he couldn't by the way David year was found that just the year before he had returned fifty dollars to someone else he got such news prints from this that people are offering him jobs and he said I don't feel it would be right for me to accept managerial jobs that I'm on equipped for that would be dishonest Where would you have that kind of integrity and so saw doesn't and this is what goes on as we go down through the line you see this was the problem with what happened with Saul and Israel and this comes from patriarchs and prophets. To saw God had given in Saw God had given to Israel a king after they watch their. Own hot he was of noble stature he was of princely bearing his appearance accorded with their conceptions of royal dignity he would be best calculated to secure respect and honor from other nations they were like This is what we're looking for they did not ask for one who had true nobility of character who possessed the love and fear of God and God gave them such a king as they desired one whose character was a reflection of their own. They were looking for a king who would be just what they wanted they wanted to be head and shoulders above everybody else that would be so all they wanted a king who would make them look like a prince among the nation's debt. He saw and so when they looked at him they said this is the man we want and God sometimes gives us what we want because he knows that that's the only way we'll learn that we don't need it. In Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People he talks about a change over the years he says over the years there's been a shift in the nineteenth century a lot of the literature of leadership talked about character integrity success humility simplicity fairness modesty love courage justice the Golden Rule but he says after the First World War things began to change people became less interested in character and far more interested in a person's individual personality. They said things like public image how you dress how you perform in social interactions positive mental attitude skills and techniques to get people to behave in act in certain ways these were the things that were now important and while some of the newer literature briefly discussed character it was merely lip service he said as long as you say and do the right things and packages self in the right ways you will likely get the results you want. And Nat's the problem when you pick a song when you want somebody who has all the bells and whistles but they don't have the character and want to contrast between so all and who comes next David because David is chosen in a very different way than so as chose not even Samuel doesn't get this this was our scripture reading your member Samuel called a feast and and just C.N.N. sons would gather there and when he catches sight of eally app he says Surely the Lord's anointed is before me because I was tall and strong again just like Saw and the Lord's like now not him he says we're at the next one and he goes through all the others none of them match up. To what God is looking for because God has something else in mind and he rebuke Samuel he says look you are looking on the height of his stature but the Lord looks not as man sees for man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the hot seat the hot represents their character who they are really in love with their heart represents how they are motivated their heart represents their passions and if their passions are self glory instead of God's glory says I'm not interested what I want is somebody who will care for the things of God. That's who I want and so they have to call in David I can just imagine how that happened you know Samuel Sr don't you have any other sons and look in fairness to Jesse he did have eight sons one two three four five six seven Oh yeah there's one more can you go call David someone had to beat him in the ships or so they David comes back maybe the sheep are with him I don't know kind of bleeding in the background it was kind of laughing as David comes it says he was ready sunburned you know he's out there and he's walking back what's going on he wondered why he never got to the feast in the first place and they kind of call him clean up a little bit the prophet wants to see you and then Samuel anoints statement in a little private ceremony. And you know what happens after that. Nothing. He just goes back to the sheep Thanks David that was all nice can you watch the oil of your face just a bit of food back to the sheep and he stays with the sheep now and nothing remarkable happens after there is no no grand entrance into Jerusalem Bethlehem was not seen as praises just go back to your ship because God's not interested in the fanfare in the fame gods interested in the high sea. What made David so special from. All of his brothers what was was what was what was going on inside of here. This is what X. thirteen was twenty two says and when he had removed him that speaking of song he raised up David to be their king of WHO ME testified and said I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart now it defines what that is who will do all my will. That's what makes a person after God's own high somebody who is willing to do all of God's will that's what distinguish him that's what made him unique and this is what I've learned leaders who have the heart of God are entirely submissive to his will they are not going to be driven into fear and embarrassment. They act out of integrity because God completely rules their hearts. That's what makes a man after God's own hide when you see Saul he's always worried about the people what do the people think What are they going to say he's always explaining his actions by say but the people made me do this but when you see David you see someone who is able to do the right thing no matter what the people say the people can be afraid he stands firm the people can be encouraging him he's not moved by that now of course not always just like us he made mistakes but that was what drove David in general and I thought about it what was it that made David like this and I thought back and I realized. You know David had a wilderness experience what do you think he was doing in the wilderness with those sheep. He was praising God he was meditating Isn't that how the Psalms begin what's a righteous man do on the Isle. Lord do I love to meditate day and night. David said you know that I would have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against what David was doing was was filling his life and his mind with God's words and I thought you know that's a that's powerful that's what he did and then I went back and I read patriarchs and prophets and it describes the same thing because one of the ways in which he did it was out in nature I'm going to connect with God and I'm going to hear what God is saying and become a man after his own hide and that's why David could face any kinds of challenges because he knew what to do now I just want to give a quick illustration him I want you to imagine I'm playing basketball OK I have some height this is not a bad illustration but I actually don't know how to play basketball at all so they put that basketball in my hands and I am going to try and shoot a basket like who's this here Le Bron James right so I try and stand like a broad and then I go down the court and I try to jump like Le Bron you know I've watched him I've seen on television and I know exactly what to do so I go down and I try to jump like him and I try and slam the ball in like him am I going to succeed no why not. Because he has taken years of practice to get to that point and he's taller than me and he knows how to jump better than me because white men can't jump so he's taken years of practice to get to that point. I can't do it in the moment but you know Christians try to become good people in the moments you know something comes along to remember those little responds What would Jesus do like you could look down at your respond and it was so close to solve temptation to then it work like you just go you know what would Jesus do you would do that but I want to do verse you are not going to be successful in the middle of temptation in the middle of a crisis and less You've been practicing that way of life ahead of time you know Jesus. Overcame temptation you know how he did it you remember how what did he do. He used the word of God By the way you know where he quoted from in the Word of God. Judah Ronna me he had been studying the law and as you've been studying the law as I've been filling his mind with the law when temptation came he knew exactly what to do David had so filled his mind with God's word and with God's works that when a crisis came he knew exactly what to do and this is how leadership is there's really no such thing as in the moment performance without a lot of practice and a lifestyle that leads to that and I love this quote from desire of ages page six sixty eight all true obedience comes from the hot it was hot work with Christ now knows what can happen to us and if we consent he will so identify himself without thoughts and names so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His Will they went to Bayne him we shall be but carrying out al own impulses we will do this naturally was not powerful and so this was what David did that's why he could go and face Goliath and that this was a ridiculous thing to do you know you don't go up against a giant full of armor but he goes out because he says I go out in the name of the Lord and I've seen him work miracles before he's going to work America again and by the way you know when we sing only a boy named David there's something wrong with that song have even noticed that. God's not mentioned anywhere in that song. Even if David had had had been a good slingshot you with me in Israel Jeremy We had Andy Nash and and Gordon beats playing David and Goliath I'll let you guess which one was which. And and you know even if you were Sweeney that if the guy had on or on could a stone have penetrated the helmet known so it took a miracle for go I have. And some pride for go I asked to pull up that helmet so the David could get a good shot of his head otherwise there's no way he would have brought down that's why it took five stones because he's like I don't know how many it's going to take but he knew that God was going to bring about the miracle and did God do that yes because yes he had seen God it would before he had seen bears come down he says used to grab them by the graph of the beard I wouldn't try that he had seen lions come down because he knew God could do it he had no fear in facing a man and even when he had the opportunity to take the kingdom sometimes it was standing up when everybody fell down other times it was refusing to do something if God hadn't said yes remember when he had the opportunity when Sol stepped into the cave and all the men around him are David Now's your chance just just get rid of him It's your opportunity God has given you the kingdom and he says I will not touch the Lord's anointed he cut off a little piece of his of his robe and then he felt guilty about that you remember that story he refused to take from this guy this is the Lord's anointed head and David been anointed to wasn't David the next in line wasn't David the guy that so was trying to kill How could this guy be the Lord's anointed he had thrown it away can you see how David had every possibility of excusing his behavior but he refused because he was a man after God's own high and that's the encouragement that I want to give to him that really deep down it's a matter of the hives. You know I was lying there in that hospital bed. And. They brought me some material to read. And they brought me a Bible and they brought me some guide magazines and I started to read these things and then I picked up a series called conflict. The ages and if you heard of that. And I began to read through it and I felt something strange happened. My pride was being stripped away by the way I obviously didn't do well in my racing career that. Day found someone else to be president of the youth club and. They said you obviously can't be a part of the senior council is like I lost everything but I also gained everything because inside God was teaching my high and when I finally was able to walk again and to go back to school and back to church I found God gave those things back to me. But it was with a different attitude now. It was like This is not what I'm doing this is simply an opportunity to serve. Because the only way that you can have a high that is a heart for God. Is when you've so filled yourself up with God There's no room for self. That's why and steps to Christ it says if you want to know if you're a Christian he has what you need to ask who has the high With whom are al thoughts whom you love to talk about who has our warmest affections and our best energies if we are crisis our thoughts are with him and our sweetest thoughts are of him all we have and our is consecrated to Him We long to bear is image breathed His Spirit do His will and please here in all things how do you want to heart like that and. You know I had a roommate and his pick up line was the stick with me. I'll make you famous. And when I was getting asking Nicole to marry me I'd. I said. I give you. All of my. And if you want to be successful. Because of the same. This media was brought to you by audio. A website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio. If you would like to listen to more. 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