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A Safe Heart: When Compliance Isn’t Enough

Christian Martin
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Christian Martin

Lead Pastor of the Living Hope SDA Church in Haymarket, Virginia.



  • July 18, 2020
    11:30 AM
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Our Father in heaven thank you lord that you created a time and opportunity to worship you without a hard with our soul with our mind and today Lord we seek you we seek your face I pray that whether we're here today in person or watching from home that you would tune our hearts right now to be able to discern and hear your still small voice convict our hearts Lord do whatever is necessary for us to be able to be transformed we want to be changed so to speak Lord and we thank you for answering our prayer in Jesus' name amen my message is today's entitled a safe heart when compliance isn't enough across the country and around the world compliance is a buzzword nowadays particularly in efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus we hear about it compliance with social distancing compliance with wearing a mask compliance with washing your hands and the list goes on and on and on a few months ago in the early onset of the pen Demick my parents were literally stranded in Argentina. As countries in one the world sealed their borders the streets of Buenos site is which is of it's the largest city in the country with a population of nearly 3000000 people the streets were absolutely empty you see a couple of days after arriving to Argentina to visit family the pandemic alert unexpectedly unexpectedly reached a level that called for major trends restrictions my friend Adam is here today he experienced something very similar in New Zealand a strangely a strange Leah this happened all around the womb countries responded to the pen Demick and my parents one week stay turned into a 50 day lockdown during which they were expected to comply with several mandates while their long distance buses trains and don't mess to clients stopped running overnight walking outdoors was prohibited bicycle riding not allowed schools closed social distancing at least 6 feet was in forced numbers of occupants was limited every store temperatures taken at every entrance squirts of sanitizing gel was offered at by every cashier citizens were forced to stay home except for medical reasons or for just an hour. If you're going to go buy groceries period otherwise stay home police checkpoints were everywhere to ensure compliance with the rules and believe me in Argentina as it isn't various other countries breaking the public health order means I have to be fined or up to 2 years and in the end Argentinian prison I understand that Singapore among other countries does the same why and here's here's the point why because national compliance with rules and standards is believed to be essential for the safety of all if you want to be in a save and Vironment comply if you want communities to be safe comply if you want the country to be say comply keeping the coronavirus under control stopping the spread not allowing entry to anyone who is contagious is after all every once and resold there is good intent you've got to stay safe. Compliance governors here in the United States reassure us that if they things are kept clean if you wash your hands regularly if you use sanitizers often and if you comply with restrictions that are put in place we should we should have this virus under control. And as a result of making our homes and our country safe after all we all want to be safe Amen absolutely absolutely we all want to be safe. The name of the website that I came across was called a secure life it's what everyone wants secure life in and on this website I found an article on rest a gentle safety become my tension because after all who doesn't want to be safe and secure from all of the longer ones we sing about it don't we and so this article offered some safety tips when one goes away on a long trip that caught my attention after all there's there's times that we do leave on trips and I thought this would be something of interest in it so I started reading the article and let me share with you a few tips on what people can do before they leave on the long trip to keep their home as secure as possible the list included ask a neighbor to park in your driveway. That's clever that's clever and Ok simply place garbage in your garbage can oh that's that's that's clever too maybe a little too far but I kept reading I kept reading it said keep your garage door closed and lock so that no one sees that your car is gone I mean. That's that's kind of common sense and I'm not going to leave the garage door open but. Now this next one I thought was really clever it says good automatic I immerse to turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening vary the lights to be turned on and have a radio or television on a timer now we're getting very very clever here and the list goes on and on but you get the idea right all in all the idea is to create the illusion Don't miss this to create the illusion that somebody is inside the house for the purpose of preventing a break in or or an unwanted entry. I suppose that all these ideas could potentially deter a thief from breaking into your house complying with restrictions and guidelines sure can potentially eat prevent somebody from catching the virus these are all measures that we can take in order to be safe. And secure but a question 10 the appearance that somebody is at Home Depot her the enemy who comes to steal kill and destroy in the spiritual realm can comply with restrictions and guidelines prevent somebody from being unsafe. And I would ask Can complying with biblical restrictions and principles make the heart say Come with me to the Gospel of Luke today as we explore a parable that Jesus taught that really takes us to the heart of the matter what produces a safe heart is it is it is a complying with people cool principles and standards how do we deter the thief the enemy of sold us from entry into the life Luke Chapter 11 Luke Chapter 11 here we find in this chapter Jesus himself answering the question in an intriguing and rather bizarre parable let me tell you the media context of the parable found there in verse 24 the immediate context is that Jesus has just cast out a demon out of a man that's the context so that context is so immediate that the multitude around Jesus listening to him are still with their jaws down to the ground their mouths are wide open because they have to witness with their very own eyes is Jesus casting out a team they're still in awe in fact Matthew says that they were they marveled and so and so the people are captivated by what is happening in and Jesus speaks a parable there in Luke chapter 11 verse $24.00 she says said when an unclean spirit goes out of a man he goes through dry places seeking rest. And finding none he says I will return to my house from which take aim and when he comes he finds it's swept and put in order and then he goes and takes with them 7 other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter and dwell there and the last State of that man is worse than the 1st and of the parable So here's a demon possessed men whose life is compared to a messy can Temin a good dirty house but the evil spirit is cast out and some time later we don't know how much time transpires here but the evil spirits returns he returns to the men and finds him to be like a clean disinfected house swept and orderly the evil spirit leaves and comes right back only to repossess him along with 7 other spirits and now it goes without saying his condition is even worse the question I have for you is this and it's a legit question What is it that granted unclean spirits per mission to replace Sas a clean life emphasis on the contrasts they didn't come back. To a house full of junk and filth and trash a place that you would. Assume would be attractive. To demonic forces but instead they find a house that's clean everything's in its place it's wept yet they repossess in the text itself. If you look at the actual text the house is described as being swept and put in order indications of compliance somebody obeyed. The wishes the commands given to clean up the place it indicates or it gives a sense of determination that the House doesn't just clean itself it's done by somebody that has and resold and minded this house Miss be cleaned up there's determination here and there's also a high standard the House could have been just put in order but swept I mean that's going a little extra There's a high standard here so there's the likes of compliancy germination high standard again it does not sound like the kind of place that attracts demons last time I took a close look at all the stories in the Gospels of demon possession last time I thought about the instances where I've witnessed in my life. The my mic presence in somebody's So life it doesn't really sound that the kind of place that would attract demons bad unclean spirits aren't supposed to gather in good clean houses right. In the Gospel of Matthew. That's why I love studying all 4 gospels together because you can look at parallel passages and and compare what is recorded the Gospel of Matthew includes the same parable almost word for word in fact as Luke recorded it except for just $11.00 little word and I I really mean one little word that makes all the difference come with me to Matthew Chapter 12 Matthew Chapter 12 The parallel passage and this begin at the start at the beginning of the parable to get its full meaning Matthew Matthew Chapter 12 and will go to 1st $43.00 Matthew Chapter 12 verse $43.00 and it says when an unclean spirit goes out of a man he goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none right pots we we want to examine all the points that Jesus is attempting to communicate with captive audience one thing we can conclude off the bat with this one verse at the very at the very start of the parable is this let's make it perfectly clear that when the nun clean spirit goes out of a man he goes out of a man why because he was come men did too in the name of Jesus point number one there is freedom in Christ can somebody say amen there is freedom in Christ don't underestimate it don't deny it don't be indifferent to it believe it there is power in the name of Jesus and by claiming the authority. That we have in Christ alone unclean spirits have no choice no option but to obey to obey and he goes out of the man why because somebody he commanded him to in the name of Jesus and then our immediate contacts that happen right there in front of their eyes says Jesus had just come handed a demon to come out up a man. What else is the verse say he goes through dry places seeking rest and finds 9 I find that intriguing because yes there is freedom in Christ yes he is cast out so why does the evil spirit go to dry places I mean there has to be there has to be something there because Jesus is he when he tells the parable Jesus is very intentional in his choice of words he's very intentional and what he communicates Why do demons go to drive places. Also with you my thoughts because the righteous the righteous according to David in song Chapter one The writers are like trees trees planted by what by the rivers of water. The evil spirits go in search of dry land to claim as their own. Because they know that when one is in Christ we're coping with his Roopa rights this is the right says the right says aren't the right choices just because of their behaviors just because they act godly and they go through the motions that's what the Bible describes as the right says you can you can fool somebody into thinking that you are right this by the way that you behave and even by the way you dress but that's so with God When God calls somebody righteous it's not because of any outward appearance because but because he's looked at the heart and when the righteous in Christ's walk in life demons hung going to get anywhere close they can't touch them so they're going to go to dry places for the writers are like trees planted by the rivers of watchers dry places implies that the righteous are not rooted and grounded in the very source of righteousness so they look for ground that they can claim and that's unguarded dry places and why rest did you notice that the demons seek rest and you wonder why demons would seek rest why would they seek rest or share with you my thoughts because evil spirits don't want to encounter any rhesus stands they don't like it they they may be a gray rather be able to have all out access so they can do their damage they don't like resists is who does. I mean think about it if you're if. You're not going to be checking out places where there's security guards and police cars coming through and lots of people walking by you're not going to go to those places because there's going to be recessed spends as you engage in your evil plans but but you see for places where there's little to no you re systems seeking rash so you can have it easy. Demons hate rhesus since say look for places with little or perfervid Lee No Reeses stands so after a period of time a notice what the unclean spirit decides to do next verse $44.00 then he says I will return to my house from which I came as I shared earlier Jesus chooses his words carefully in the sparrow. Because he wants to drive home the point home knows with me that in this parable of the evil spirit doesn't say I will return it to his house he didn't say I did it he says I'm going to return to whose house. My house the unclean spirits set us. From or something there this demon is claiming own nurse. He calls it a house of a deadly He still claims the ground. On which that house stands he claims the ground on which that house stands please listen you may no longer be active in the present in that inappropriate relationship that may be the case but the enemy can still claim the ground that was given to him. If more failure was left Rhys saw merely being determined not to misbehave once again is not taking bad ground given to the enemy he still has a base of operation evil spirits of the LAs will entice unclean spirits of fornication who in turn will include impure spirits supreme not your feet and it's only a matter of time before to become $5.00 and $5.00 well total 7 or more other spirits more wicked than the 1st in the other which With that simply means is that it's a downward spiral things not only are bad they're going to get worse because make no me so mistake about this the reality is is that there are unclean spirits that specialize in particular strongholds and one gives place for another and another until there is absolute destruction you may no longer return evil for evil as the moments. But the enemy can still gray the enemy can still claim claim ground if bitterness is left unresolved there's the evil spirits of wrath that will welcome the evil spirits of anger that will give way to the unclean spirits of you will speaking and so on and so forth he still claims it's my house it's my house though we may keep ourselves from behaving certain ways. When strongholds are left on re solved. The enemy can still clean the ground and call it my house that was given to him once before we're going to examine how to take back that ground but for now just be aware that the enemy wants to have that piece of operation that he can clean this is. So he can create havoc and trouble in our spiritual journey but wait how can any I thought he was still I thought he was cast out one might say after all that's what the pair would self says yes he was cast out but he still can because he returns and finds the door on locked that's right now it's verse 44 and when he comes he finds the swept empty swept and put in order. Some of you saw the little word that one little word he enters the living room. Only to find it vacant there's no one there he glances into the kitchen still no one inside. He cautioned this is cautiously walks down the hall it's quiet to stay there's no one to stop him there's no one to prevent him there's no recess stints there is no one to make him want to play he did to catch that it was a little weird. That Matthew uses but is not included in Luke's account he sighed into that one word is. T.v. and he found the house empty reminds me of an experience I had at the Opera House in Sydney Australia at the time we lived in the Philippines My parents were missionaries there and I graduated from high school through homeschool international and so having finished high school my my parents bless their hearts they think I do you know we ought to give you a senior class trip and so they had some friends who were in Sydney and so they arranged for me to spend a week in Sydney with friends and so I went out there and and sure enough while there we went out to do some sightseeing and how could you go to sit be without going of course at least taking some really nice pictures of the famous opera house well I I I had my camera bag and and a point that evening I don't remember the details so it was many years ago. I found I caught myself wondering. Towards the opera house and eventually into the Opera House as I walked into the opera house mind you this is evening prime time for some be bent but as I walked in no one met me at the door there was no ticket person there there was nobody at the at the booths and that was a little strange but since nobody was there why do you think I did kept walking after all you know I am the kind of guy that likes some adventure I'm a curious kind of guy inside I kept walking and I kept walking now I found myself in the foyer and still no one to say scuse me sir can we help you none of that So what did I do kept walking now I'm walking down this massive hallway with multiple doors on either side and and I see this one stairway that just kind of went up and I went up to because there's nobody tell me stop. May help you where you go in. That so now I'm in the 2nd level now walking down another hall and I'm designed is going because no one's there to stop me and then I see another door and I open these double doors and I walk into a rather dark room but the light was coming from behind this veil this curtain that was up on the other side and I thought this interesting so I go up to it as I'm drawing closer to it I'm hearing some opera singing I don't know so yes I would be doing the Opera House because as what they do I go up to it and then I and I pull the curtain slightly open. Going to believe really I was. Some balcony overseeing one of the larger big opera auditoriums there was so full house an opera was going on on the platform and here I was looking at all of this I couldn't believe it less somebody here says now you gotta be making this up like I've been able to prove it because I'm a video camera so I can't believe this can happen leave us. Needless to say I didn't stay there very long I did an about face and I retrace my steps quickly and directly out of the facility back out doors and never once was I stopped no rhesus since he will spirit must have had a very similar experience he went from room to room unhindered and found it clean and put it order no Reeses students there was no junk there the Pernod a fee that was once there is now gone to liquor and the joys who were once they're gone the magazines that were once there D.V.D.'s gone even the Ressa do of a Cold think activities is gone the garbage has been taking out take note the mere cleanly nurse does not stop the enemy. Verse $45.00 continues then he goes and takes with them 7 other Spears more wicked than himself and they enter and well there and the last State of that man is worse than the 1st so saw it also be with this wicked generation it doesn't matter whether the door was open or close Jesus simply says they end turd period they enter again why is it so easy remember my Opera House experience I was able to freely and her and Roan why and this is the this is the the bullet right here why I was able to do that simple because there was no superior authority t. present to stop me I love this illustration from Martin Luther Martin Luther was asked how he overcame the devil he replied Well when when he comes knocking upon the door of my heart and ass who lives here the dear Lord Jesus comes to the door and says Martin Luther used to live here but he has moved out and now I live here. Gone Church remember this one line when Jesus occupies my heart Satan has no 10 trim 6 seed with the most a together when he ready 123 when Jesus occupies my heart Satan has no hidden trends when Jesus occupies my hard. I would have to skiver it and it's frankly been the hard way at times but it would have discovered is I gotta stop trying to keep the devil out emphasis I I I can have determination I can white knuckle it I could be disciplined I could be strong. But it I feel every time I got to stop I got to stop trying and start dying for dying or what I mean die Paul said it better than what I could ever see I have been crucified with Christ I'm dying yet not I but Christ's lives in Milwaukee I gotta stop trying I got to start dying for is when Christ lives in me that the enemy can touch me who a by it's in your heart. I'm not asking if you kept it swept that may be I'm not asking if you keep things in order that may be your case I'm not asking if you are complying with biblical principles and policies or mandates you may be obediently observing all guidelines what I'm asking is Is his presence his authoritative here your presence abiding in your heart when Jesus cast out that unclean spirit from the man in good Darragh the man of today are there in March chapter 5 we discover that when he is about to leave the the man says G.'s o. s. which allow me to go with you but the Bible says that Jesus did not permit him. Did you ever wonder with the reasons why the the former Mad Men would have wanted to be with Jesus I'll tell you why it's my gasp I think it's an obvious one. What if these demons come back with if they come back Jesus I know that the 2000 swine that were demon possessed fell down but fell over the precipice and they drowned but but but she says I don't think demons drown would if they come back but Jesus did not permit him apparently Jesus did not does not worry about that why why I say that and that not even a concern for Jesus I'll tell you why because Jesus knew what was in this man and essence Jesus was saying listen your heart is full of my presence so no unclean spirits are going to want to come near you go I'm commissioning you to go to your friends and your family and all of them the great things that the Lord has done for you and how he has had compassion on you with the authoritative presence of Jesus no demon whatever come close to his dwelling place not even 7 of the most daemonic forces. Steps to crisis is that classic book biology why that has blessed my heart so many times they're not little book page 18 there's a there's a quote I want to share with you she writes education culture the exercise of the Will human effort they all have their proper sphere. But here they are powerless they may produce an outward correctness of behavior but they cannot change the heart they cannot purify the springs of water or of life there must be a power working from within a new life from above before men could be changed from sand to holiness that power is Christ His grace alone can weaken the lifeless faculties of the soul and attracted to God to holiness so let's close with application when it comes to sanctification being transformed to reflect in the loving character of Jesus having a safe heart were Jesus to Alice where his holy presence is there his appear your authoritative presence is there what practices or behaviors come to mind when it comes to being a healthy and say person with a safe heart for some we caught the health message. It's the ingredients and plants that we have on our plates rather than on the feelings and thoughts that we are cultivating in our hearts towards others I want to propose to you suggest to you that the health message as we so commonly refer to it as this is so much more to be so much more than what we consume and put into our Mal it's it ought to be what is in the heart what are we called to be with then. What if the health message. Was not so much being vegan with meals but more of being emotionally saved and unconditionally loving with people now not to say that diet is a non essential to health no not at all experiments but our mental emotional and relational health is so much more at the core of what it means to be Christ like than the longevity of our lives after all the through the Spirit which we display as sanctified Disciples of Christ is love joy peace longsuffering kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self control what are these characteristics these are relational dynamics how we relate to people and people who have love joy peace longsuffering kindness good as faithful as gentleness and self-control they have save hearts more than just learning to eat well as Christians we should 1st discover in practice what it means to love others well so i can we expect to have a safe heart the answer is simple do not leave the heart empty be intentional about saying Jesus I give you permission to have your own way in me and she is service I take back the ground given to the enemy in the name of Jesus renounced seeing the strongholds and the law is have been spoken to us by the enemy but how do we counter that with the truth of the Word of God which. Put so way the power of the enemy and his lies and truth sets us free yes 3 nouns and godly John put away immoral filth throw away prideful trash sweep and put it all in order in your life but do not leave the heart empty lead she says dwell as a permanent occupant of the heart in John Chapter 14 verse 23 listen to a Jesus said in John 1423 he said these words If anyone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love me don't miss this next part and we will come to him and make our home with here the Apostle Paul Gosar to step action plan on how to welcome Christ in your heart simple 1st be filled with His word 2nd be filled with the Holy Spirit period I can assure you that if these 2 elements are priorities in your life which by the way if you're like me these are 2 things 2 practices that I so easily take for granted because there give them says it's not rocket science but isn't it something that the simplest things are often the most important things but the very things that we so easily forget or don't pay attention to because they're so simple I want to go deep really deep and we go so deep that do we doubt only miss the simplicity of the victorious Christian life but we we neglected. Be filled with His word how you filled with this word read in it's read it but don't just read it you can read it and be like that good seat that falls on the heart and that because it doesn't go deep with the roots it falls on the surface the birds come and they snatch the the word out of the heart and it doesn't grow roots that go deep into the heart growing roots is application may believe that we read the word but if we choose read it and then walk away and go carry on with our life in the business of life and don't take time to apply it we have neglected to do the most crucial crucial experience and that is application application only happens when you let the Word of God sink in. And to let its think good means to ponder meditate put thought into it that's how you that's how you let it sink it into your mind to your heart and then apply it how Here is what I just read going to make a difference at work when I am about to even 5 minutes how is this word that I just read going to make a difference in my interaction with my boss my manager my coworkers houses passion is going to make a difference in my life and what I practice at home with my children with my spouse what difference will it make applied in your life application application application is what it means to be filled with the word study the Bible so you solve approved take time in the Bible that's why I can't overemphasize the value of Sabbath school Sabbath school. For far too many Christians church attending Christians and by church I mean the 11 o'clock hour we have we have just turned Sabbath school into a very light absolute 0 if I have time if I have motivation kind of experience but Sabbath school is the very tool that compels us motivators disciplines us to actually set time apart for the purpose of studying the Bible and obeying the word is part of the application because you can't apply the word unless you are willing to obey application is obedience and obedience isn't turn application and 2nd be filled the Holy Spirit of a father good father is willing to give good gifts to his children how much move or are we is he willing to give us all the Spirit to those who ask just as what was the last time you specifically asked Lord fill me with the Holy Spirit specifically pray it more often and enter at your own risk so to speak because the Holy Spirit will expose junk in your life that you never imagined you had he is going to expose it but with that exposure he's going to lead you to cleansing to purification from there he's going to lead you to empowerment and turn into a mighty witness for Christ but you've got to be filled with His presence Ellen see why it helps us to re-examine our hearts I love these guys that she writes. And sets of Christ once again page 70 to ponder this consecrate yourself to God in the morning make this your very 1st work let your prayer be take me oh Lord asshole with I I lay all my plans that they feet use me today in the service Abide With Me and get all my work be right let and let all my work be right in be this is a daily matter to Izzie each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day that day surrender all your plans to him be to be carried out or given up as his providence shall indicate thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ Jesus concludes his parable by stating so solid also be with this wicked generation but I have good news it doesn't have to be that way with you or with me it doesn't have to be that way with your generation or mine if we put say take my life take my life and let it be holy consecrated Lord. Take my life that's all that's all that Cheesus is waiting to hear. But past right that this last Sabbath when I was here at church. Praise God I'm glad he did. But that was last week. By day yesterday that was yesterday. There's a need to do it right now. And I may be talking to someone here that's known all this eve knowing all of this but today you realize that it wasn't being taken seriously. You have a good clean life. So but so was that man's house and that made no difference. Only one thing makes a difference. And that is something that we can remain you right here right now and the same sees us. I give you permission. To not only abide in me but have a permanent rest pseudonymous in my house. Take my life. That's your prayer. It's my Such your prayer. If it is with you by heads with me as we pray. And Father in heaven. We hear you knocking. We hear you knocking in right now. With the freedom of choice that you give us. By exercising our will we choose to open the door. And welcome you into our hearts to find a permanent place of residence to take our life Lord Philis with the Holy Spirit guard our hearts to keep your word deep within a hard choice give us courage in willingness to ponder to meditate on your word to apply it be the roots go deep Lord really deep but your presence would be in this continuous Lee And so having a subpoena or your presence in us. And consequently living the life. Of victory and power and showing because the enemy can to touch us in this be our experience both now and moment by moment in the name of Jesus we pray Amen. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit w w w audio verse or.


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