As we journey through life, we let things into our hearts that were never meant to be there. We’re often not even aware of these things and the impact they have on keeping us from living a healthy life. Just as a little sprinkle of yeast changes an entire bowl of dough, a little sprinkle of yeast will change our hearts. When we give Jesus permission and access to our hearts, He will reclaim the unhealthy parts and restore our hearts to new levels of depth, richness, character, and beauty. In Jesus’ name, it is time to take things back!
Alright, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. Come on, let’s give it up for what God is doing in our church, in this city, in this region. We are so excited that we get to be a part of how God is moving, in this time, in history, missional move, hope for the city, whatever campus you’re at, you are part of it, because you are here, and I’m so excited about how God has been moving, how God is going to continue to move. And I can’t wait over the next few weeks to give you some exciting updates about some great things that are happening. We’re making progress. God is moving. He’s providing. We’re starting to see how He’s bringing breakthrough in a lot of these areas. And so you’re going to have come back over the next few weeks to find out exactly what is happening on the journey because we’re super excited, because this is a season that we’re in as a church, a whole season, and we’re just pioneering. You keep hearing me say this over and over again. We’re pioneering. What do pioneers do? They move into the unknown for the good of others, in the glory of God. And in the process, they find freedom for themselves.
You see, we were created to pioneer. Within you is the spirit of a pioneer. You were made to walk on water, to move mountains, to defeat giants in Jesus’ name. And so pioneers, they say we refuse to settle. We believe this is not as good as it gets, that the best is yet to come, and so we move forward by the grace and the good news of God. And we’re moving forward as a church and we’re moving forward in our individual lives. You see, this first verse tells us that, “Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” In other words, God says, “Hey, you were created to increase and advance.” You were not made to decrease and retreat. You were made to increase and advance, and how we do it? Little by little. One step at a time, we take authority over the areas in our lives.
We bring it into submission and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and then we take another step. And we bring that area into submission and to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, and then we take another step. And every time we move forward, little by little, we don’t give up the ground we’ve already taken. That’s why it’s called increasing and advancing, not decreasing and retreating, or moving and roaming from spot to spot, which is simply called nomading. If every time you take new ground, you give up the old ground, that’s not pioneering. That’s not increasing nor advancing. We’re called to increase and advance, to pioneer. And sometimes as we get started on this journey of pioneering, we have to stop and go back and retake the ground we once had and lost somewhere along the way. Because before you can pioneer, you have to reclaim. You have to get back the areas that you already had authority over. And so we kick off a series last week called, Reclaim, taking back what I’ve lost.
Because if we’re honest with each other, somewhere along the journey of life, we lose things. Things get lost. Things get stolen. Things get misplaced. Things, we used to have authority over, victory in, freedom with, areas where we were flourishing in life, somehow, some way, seemed to get lost, but it’s time to reclaim it in Jesus’ name.
It’s time to take back what we’ve lost, and say, “You know what? I once had authority over that area, I’m not going let darkness rule and reign back there. I’m going back. I’m going to go and get it so I can pioneer and move forward for the rest of the life that God has called and created for me.” And what’s so interesting about the concept of reclaim, the world loves the concept of reclaiming things. It’s because it’s a kingdom concept that resonates in the human soul. Like come on, just think about the world. We love movies where something is lost and it gets found, so I got favorite movies.
Why? Because something got lost and it got reclaimed. We love reading stories or hearing about relationships that were broken and get reconciled, and put back together. We love seeing old classic cars that were beat up in a field somewhere and someone finds it, and it’s like it’s worth $10 trillion after it’s restored. It’s this amazing experience. And if you turn anything on TV right now, you’re going to see all kinds of shows about restoring houses. Yes? Oh, man. I mean, it’s like you see these houses. They have gone through the war, life, hardships, storms, seasons, people living them, they used them. They abused them year after year, after year, garbage piles up in every room. They keep covering things up with more wallpaper and more garbage, and more tile. You’re not even sure what’s original anywhere in the house.
And then if you’re watching this show, someone walks up, The Expert, you know, walks up and knocks on the door, and here comes the person, and somehow you always have a camera already inside the house. Did you ever notice that? Like the person’s acting like they’re totally surprised but there’s a camera crew somehow in their house just magically as they open the door, and they open it up and they’re like, “It’s Chip and Jo,” or whatever, right? And the show, they watch you and they take you in, and they go through each room in the house, and they’re like, “Oh, man. This house is rough. It did — wow, it’s been beat on.” And you’re going in every room, and it’s just piled like from floor to ceiling with garbage and everything. It’s just kind of distorted from years and years of living. And what the homeowners have to do is they have to give permission and partner with The Expert if they want to see their house get restored. And when they give permission and they partner with The Expert, and they say, “Chip and Jo, come on in, baby, and work your magic.
Chip and Joe, come in.” Got to kick them out for a little while. They go to work and when the whole thing is done at the end of the show, they bring you back in and the house is unbelievable. They walk you back through all the garbage is gone. Everything has been restored. Every room is perfectly decorated. And as they walk you through, they point out things, and they’re like, “Look. Right over here you see the shiplap on the wall. This was covered up by like nine layers of dry wall. And as we started to pull it all back, we realized and discovered this was like the shiplap on Christopher Columbus’ ship. Can you believe it?” And it’s like, “Oh, my goodness.” And they take you into the kitchen and they’re like, “You see this brick floor, it’s amazing. Yeah, it was under four layers of tile and three layers of carpet. And as we ripped it up, we discovered it was the original brick from like the streets of London in the 1600s.” “Oh, my goodness.” You know what I’m talking about, right?
I’m trying to paint the picture for you. And by the end, as this house gets restored, it’s worth significantly more than it was when it was first created, because there is a depth and a richness, and a character and a beauty to it. And that is a kingdom concept. It’s a picture of our life. We go through storms and brokenness, and pain, and destruction, and relational issues. And year after year, we start covering all kinds of things up in our life, layer after layer, after layer. And garbage starts piling up from the floor to ceiling in every area of our hearts. And then, The Expert knocks on the door, and when we open it up and we invite him in, give him permission, and start to partner with him, by the time the whole thing is done, we become even more beautiful and valuable than we were before. Why? Because now, there is a depth and a richness and a character to us that can only be created by something that has been lost and has been reclaimed again in Jesus’ name.
You have to reclaim before you can pioneer. And if you say, “I got no interest in pioneering with what the church is doing.” That’s fine, but I promised you, you have an interest in pioneering your own life. And if you say, “I don’t like that word.” Fine. You have an interest in moving forward in your life. You can’t move forward not until you go and get back what you’ve lost. And I’m sure some of you, you’ve showed up in the series and you’re like, “Bro, listen. I’m just — I need to reclaim my marriage, my finances or my purpose.” That’s what I need. I get it. I know. But hear me, until you reclaim your relationship with God, you will never be able to reclaim anything else in this life. This is why Second Chronicles tells us, “If My people who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,” God says, “If you will reclaim your relationship with Me, then, will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” In other words, if you’ll reclaim your relationship with Me, I’ll help you reclaim every other area in your life.
And so that’s how we started last week. And if you missed that message, I would — I not only would encourage you, I would challenge you. Please go online and watch it, because that is a foundational pivotal message for where we are in this time in this season, even as a church family, like it’s time to take it back. And so this series is different. It has a different tone. I’m preaching it different and I’m just trying to talk to your heart. And so again, we say, “Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Show us what’s going on inside of our lives, the things that have been lost and help us take them back in Jesus’ name.” You see Proverbs 4:23, it says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” It’s a big verse. Above all other things, guard, protect, steward, take responsibility and ownership over your heart because it is the wellspring of life.
In other words, the bible tells us that the condition of your heart will determine the quality of your life. That the one thing that you need to take care of, that you need to make sure you don’t lose ground in more than anything else in your life, is your heart. Why? Because the realities of your heart will determine the realities of your life. The kingdom in here will become the kingdom out here. The atmosphere in here creates the atmosphere out here. And if you lose ground in your heart, you will lose ground in every other area of your life. But if you take ground in your heart, you will take ground in every other area of your life. Why? Because however your heart goes, so your life goes. This is why the next verse tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” In other words, the condition of your heart will determine the quality of your life.
Lose ground in your heart, you’re losing ground in your marriage, your finances, your work, your purpose, your passion, your destiny. Start taking some grounds. Start pioneering some ground in your heart. Start taking back the ground you’ve lost in here, you’ll start taking back naturally ground in your finances, in your marriage, in your parenting, and your purpose, in every other area of life. So here’s the question for this week, how’s your heart? I love asking this question to people I love. How’s your heart? See, we don’t like to talk like that and we don’t like to ask each other that, because it’s like we got it under nine layers of drywall somewhere back in here. And when we do get asked a question like that, we quickly respond with how the circumstances are going, the situations are going. What’s up with our kids or our parents, or what we’re working on? Rarely do we actually talk about our heart though. So here’s the question, like how’s your heart?
In fact, let’s just put in on the scale for a second. Like where is your heart? Where would you put your heart on this scale? And I’m going to give you some different things because we’re all going to look at it slightly differently. Like is your heart unhealthy or would you say it’s healthy? Like just between you and Jesus, like evaluating your own heart right now, like where is your heart? Is it broken? Is it kind of shattered and knotted, and pulled apart, or is it whole? Is it free and fresh, and flourishing? Is it prideful and hard, and resentful, or is it humble, and soft and flexible? Where would you put yourself on this? Is it full of the works of the flesh like lust and greed, and idolatry, and jealousy, or is it full of the fruit of the Spirit? Like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control? Like where would you put your heart on this? In fact, one more. Is it childish or is it childlike?
Is it childish in your heart? Like rebellious, stubborn, difficult, unwilling to serve? Like inside your heart, you have one of those like, “Hmph.” You know, a little guy and you go, “Hmph.” Is that where your heart is? That would be childish. Childlike would be full of awe and wonder, peace and joy, easy to receive love, easy to give love. Where’s your heart? Where would you put it today? Maybe, just maybe somewhere along the way, you’ve lost some ground in your heart. Maybe some things have happened. Maybe people have said some things, maybe the situations or the circumstances. Maybe some choices. Maybe — I don’t know. But maybe somewhere along the way, you think, me and my heart used to be a whole lot more healthy, whole, humble, full of the fruits of the spirits, and childlike than it is today. So that means you lost some ground but let’s take it back in Jesus’ name.
You may not be where you were but you don’t have to stay where you are. You got to take responsibility. Above all else, guard your heart. Take responsibility and ownership and say, “Today is the day I’m getting it back. Because I’m tired of losing it in Jesus’ name.” See, I’ve been thinking about this all week. Like what defines a healthy heart? It’s a really interesting question, isn’t it? We would all say maybe some different answers, but like biblically, what is a healthy heart? Well, I would submit to you that the definition of a healthy heart is a childlike heart. A childlike heart is the ultimate biblical definition of a healthy heart. A childish heart is the ultimate definition of an unhealthy or a broken heart. You’ll say, “Where do I get that from?” Well, think about this. Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to little children.” He says, “The rule and reign of God, the place of wholeness, redemption, victory, life, belongs to little children.”
So what He’s saying is the childlike heart is the heart of a kingdom. Therefore, a childlike heart is the healthiest heart there is. In fact, think of the person that walked on this earth who ever had the healthiest heart. That would be? Jesus. Do you know how Jesus wanted to be known? As the son of God and the son of man. The guy who walked on this earth who had the healthiest heart out of anyone who ever lived, He wanted to be known as a son. He had a childlike heart, full of awe and wonder, and peace, and joy, and it was easy for him to receive love, and it was easy for him to give love. You see, the moment we put our faith in Jesus, we’re born again. In other words, He restores to you the childlike heart. That’s why to all who believed, to all who received, He gave the right to become children of God. He restores to us the childlike heart in a world that wants to make it childish, broken, damaged and destroyed.
So if you want take back your heart, it’s moving it towards being childlike. And I know there’s some guys in here right now and inside, you’re going, “Hmph.” You’re like, “I’m a man, hmph. I don’t want a childlike heart.” All right, well, let’s just think about this for a second. If Jesus had the healthiest heart and it was a childlike heart, and Jesus was the guy who walked on water, raised the dead, defeated giants, destroyed the entire kingdom of darkness, changed the world, I would submit to you that maybe a childlike heart is the most effective kind of heart we can actually have. Like maybe if you want to be successful and have purpose, and live a big life, maybe we need to reclaim our heart in Jesus’ name to have some awe and wonder, peace and joy, and make it easy to receive and give love.
Because that’s what the world wants to steal, are you with me on that? You see, one day, Jesus and the disciples, they got into a boat and they were going across, and the disciples have been with Jesus now for a while. They have watched Jesus raise the dead, heal the sick, multiply the bread and the fish. They’ve watched Jesus do these amazing things. So they’ve seen Him in His divine state, and the unbelievable power He had with His childlike heart, submitted and surrendered to the Father. And we go to the next thing, it says, “When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. ‘Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Be on your guard.'” Guard your heart. Above all things, guard your heart, guys. “Guard your heart against the yeast of the Pharisees, Herod,” and Mark’s account of this same story, Mark uses Herod. That’s why I have it parenthesis there for you. “Herod and the Sadducees. They discussed this among themselves and said, ‘It’s because we didn’t bring any bread that He’s mad at us.’
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand?'” He’s trying to teach them something about the kingdom and they think He’s mad that they forgot lunch. Come on, look at the next thing. He says, “Don’t you remember the five loaves that multiplied and fed 5,000? And how many basketfuls did you gather or how about seven loaves for the 4,000? And how many basketfuls after that? How is it that you do not understand that I am not talking to you about lunch?” He says, “Oh, come on, man. I am the bread of life.” “You don’t need to be worried about whether or not you got lunch, I need you to understand what I’m trying to tell you.”
And so you know what He says? Don’t go to the next one yet. What he says is, “You’ve lost some ground.” He says, “You guys, you’ve lost some ground in here. Because just a few days ago in your heart, you are full of faith, hope and love. And now I ask you one question, you forgot all the revelation that we had and you went to a posture of fear. So you lost some ground in here. We got to take it back.” Go to the next thing. He says, “Be on your guard. Guard your heart against the yeast of the Pharisees, Herod and Sadducees. Then, they understood he was not telling them to guard their heart against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees, Herod and Sadducees.” Okay. See if you can track with me on this. Jesus tells the disciples, “Guys, you got to guard your hearts against the teaching of the Pharisees, Herod and the Sadducees.” He says, “It’s like yeast. Their teaching, their perspective, their way of life, it’s like yeast, and if it gets into your heart, it will influence the entire reality of your life.” See, if you remember what yeast is, let me try to explain this to you. Yeast is just an active ingredient that you just put a little bit into a lump of dough. And as it goes into that dough, it begins to influence everything on that lump of dough and it changes the whole thing by putting some yeast in it.
And what Jesus is reminding us is how powerful yeast is, how active it is, that it’s an ingredient of change that if introduced, it will change everything and it spreads really fast. If you’re not familiar with yeast, think of like of mold. A little bit of mold, man, that takes off pretty quick. A few weeds in your backyard that you don’t deal with, all of a sudden, you got a yard full of weeds. A few little brown spots on one banana, the whole thing, the banana goes in about an hour. Do you know what I’m talking about? Okay, that’s what He’s saying. And what He’s trying to tell us is that our hearts are like a lump of dough and we have to take the authority to guard our hearts from allowing the yeast, the teaching, the thought pattern of the Pharisees, Herod and the Sadducees from getting in. Because if it influences our heart, it will influence the rest of our life.
And you say, “Okay, great. Who the heck are the Pharisees, Herod and the Sadducees?” Let me show you what He’s talking about. First thing is this. The Pharisees is a picture of religion. He is saying, “Guard your heart from being religious.” The Pharisees were the religious dudes. They walked around with these robes and these tassels. They thought they had it altogether. They knew the law. They were so religious, they added law to the law. They were like, “It’s not enough rules. We need more rules added to it.” That’s who they were. They were the religious guys versus like this. Describe religion. It’s a form of godliness but has no power. That’s religion. It looks really good on the outside but it has no power. So here’s the question, has there been any yeast of religion that’s gotten into your heart? Where am — I look really good on the outside but there’s no power? Like there’s no power in your life or breakthrough and victory, and restoration, because all of the power comes from grace, not the law.
Or how about this verse? “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” That’s religion. Religion likes to say, “Yeah, yeah, Jesus, rah, rah.” But this is a million miles away. If something happened in here, then maybe it’s easy to come in here and just give some lip service to Jesus. But man, it’s just — Lord, it’s just not there. Well, how about one more? “Not everyone,” Jesus says, “Who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will I enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then, I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, away from me, you evil doers.'” Like that’s harsh, bro. That’s religion. Religion does a bunch of things for God but has no relationship with God.
And what Jesus is saying is, “I don’t want you to run around and do a bunch of stuff and give me lip service.” He says, “What I want is your heart.” So did those verses feel like anything in your life, maybe some ground that you’ve lost right now? And here’s how you know. These are the things that will start manifesting in your life. If some influence of religion has gotten in there, performance, pride, and offense. If religion has gotten into your heart, you’re starting to perform. You think you have to earn your way to God. You have to perform for your significance. You have to try and strive, and struggle, and strain. That’s exhausting. Pride starts to show up where we think we’re better than everyone else and we start judging other people. Do you find yourself being very judgmental in this season? That’s a little bit of yeast of religion or offense. Is it easy for you to get offended by other people in what they do and what they say? That’s religion. And can I just tell you something? Religion is nasty.
It’s insidious. It gets in your heart and it makes you think you’re something. It makes you think putting other people down makes you better than them. It makes you think that you got to keep doing all this stuff to keep up with God, and it is an exhausting, insidious way to live, and it will leave you weary and broken. “So guard your heart against religion,” He says. The second thing He tells us is to guard our heart against the yeast of Herod or worldliness. Herod was the Roman king. He was the Roman ruler. He was a worldly guy. He was full of darkness and death, and destruction. And what Jesus is saying is, “Don’t allow Herod’s thinking, Herod’s way of life into your heart. Because if it gets in there, you’ll become worldly, and it will influence everything else in your life.” In fact that’s why this next verse tells us, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.” Pause. Do you find yourself in this season having a love for the things of the world? Is your heart wanting to run after the world? Does the world seem enticing, seductive, attractive?
That’s the yeast of worldliness. He says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father, but from the world.” In other words, if a little bit of yeast of the world gets in there, you want the world. You want to run after it. You want to chase it instead of chasing God, and here’s what it says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” It doesn’t say that the person doesn’t love the Father. It says the love of the Father is not in him, which means I am not receiving the Father’s love for myself, so I have no love to give back. And if the love of the Father is not in me, I will try to get the world’s love in me because my heart was created for love. Does that make sense to you? You’re like, “This one isn’t as fun.” I know.
And here’s how it starts to manifest in your life, sin, selfishness or self-dependence. If the yeast of the world gets in there, ongoing unrepentant, sin starts showing up in your life. Selfishness where it’s all about you and what you want or self-dependence where you literally live your life, wake up saying, “I’m going to do my life my way, I don’t really need God.” But can I ask you a question? Can you wake up on most days of your life and get through your whole day without needing God? I would say a lot of us do. And when we live that life, it’s a life of self-dependence. It’s a life of worldliness. I’m self-made man or woman, I can do it myself. Has this crept into your life? The third thing He talks about is the Sadducees. The Sadducees are a picture of hopelessness. See, the Sadducees were the guys that didn’t believe in the resurrection. They didn’t believe that there was eternal life. If you don’t believe in the resurrection and you don’t believe in eternal life, the only thing you’re left with is hopelessness.
Let’s eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die, and the whole thing is over. That’s a hopeless way of living. In fact, if that’s what gets into your heart, what will start manifesting — go through the three points for me, what will start manifesting in your life is depression, skepticism and apathy. When hopelessness gets in your life, you’ll be depressed. You’ll be depressed. Depressed literally means to be pressed down on. And if you’re hopeless, you’ll find no reason to get back up again. You’ll start being called skeptical. You won’t believe in anyone or anything. And all of a sudden, you’ll become apathetic and you will lose all level of passion in your life. So can I ask you the question, has any of that gotten into your life? Have you lost some ground? Go back to the next one for me. Go to the next slide, please. Is there any religion, worldliness or hopelessness that’s crept into your heart along the way?
Because if there is, it’s time to take it back. See, there’s one more type of yeast and that’s called the yeast of the kingdom, and this is life. This is why in Matthew 13, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked through all through the dough.” In other words, when the yeast of the kingdom gets in there, it starts to work and it’s meant to influence your entire life, and it’s stronger than any of the yeast of the religion, of the world, or of hopelessness. And it gets in there, and when the yeast of the kingdom gets in there, it starts to make that dough rise. It starts to make your heart rise. And when your heart rises, everything in your life starts to rise. Your head lifts up. You start looking out there. And all of a sudden, you’re rising up in victory, in authority, in freedom. You start to flourish. You start to have faith, hope and love showing up in your life. You see, faith, hope and love are the evidence that the yeast of the kingdom is taking work. In fact, go to the next one for me.
You see, Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. Steal, kill and destroy your heart, but I have come that you may have life. And have it to the full. So maybe it’s time to take some things back in our heart in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that? You see, what happens to all of us as we go in this journey with God, stuff just gets in there. I’m trying to give you a context and a filter to just pull some things to the surface. But the truth is just stuff gets in there. It gets in there along the way from all kinds of different places. And when we don’t guard and we don’t protect, it starts to influence. And then, we wake up one day and we’ve become religious, worldly or hopeless, and we didn’t even know how. We find ourselves sitting in a service just like this and we’re kind of resistant, which would be religious, or kind of worldly, like checked out, thinking about other stuff, who would become hopeless?
We sit here and say, “It’s not going to work for me,” and that’s a tough place to be. You see, God wants to restore your heart. In fact, this is why Ezekiel, Chris, can you go to Ezekiel for me? This is why Ezekiel says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Come on, when you put your faith in Jesus, He takes out your hard heart and He gives you a soft heart. And if He could remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh, a childlike heart when you got saved, if you put your faith in Jesus, then guess what, He can restore anything in your heart that’s currently lost or broken, or has been buried up today.
And so, we got to just have the faith to take it back. You see, here’s what I believe. I believe that right now God is at the front door of your heart and He’s knocking. He’s knocking. The Expert has showed up in this room and He’s knocking, saying, “Why don’t you let me in?” In fact, this is why Revelation 3, He says, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens up the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” In other words, Jesus is standing there and He’s knocking, saying, “Hey, The Expert is here. I’m better than Chip and Jo. Why don’t you open up the door and let me in?”
But He only comes in through the front door. He only comes in when we open up and give Him permission, and partner with Him to come in. You know what Satan does? Satan comes in the back. Satan comes in the back and He sprinkles a little here and a little here, and a little here. When your ex said that thing about you, he sprinkles a little bit of yeast right there. When that situation fell apart, he sprinkles a little bit right there. When the thing happened when you were a kid, he kind of snuck in the back door and he put a little bit right there, and all these years, that active ingredient has been growing and multiplying, and churning, and churning, and it’s been stealing parts of your heart all along the way and you’re not even sure.
He just shows up in the back door, drops some, and leaves. Because he knows if he comes and knocks on the door, “Hey, I’m the king of darkness. I’d like to put some junk in your heart. You want to let me in?” You’re like, “No, I already got enough junk in here. No, thank you.” So he comes in the back. So when Jesus comes to the front, we got to open up the door and we got to let Him in. We got to say, “You know what, there is some junk in my heart. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know how it built up. But Jesus, I invite you in,” and then we can’t be embarrassed. And here’s what we can’t do, we can’t invite Jesus into our foyer. “Welcome. So glad you’re here.” And He’ll say, “What’s in that door?” You say, “We don’t — you don’t need to worry about that. I got it closed.” What Jesus wants to do is have you lead Him into every room of your heart. He wants you to open up the door and say, “It’s really gross in here.” And He’s going to say, “That’s okay. Watch what I can do.”
And He’ll come in and He’ll start peeling back the layers. And as He peels back the layers, you know what’s going to happen? He’s going to reclaim everything that’s been lost. And all of a sudden, there’s going to be a depth and richness, and a character, and a beauty. He’s going to restore awe and wonder, and peace and joy. He’s going to restore your ability to give and receive, love, and walk in victory in Jesus’ name. But you got to decide to let Him in. It’s the only way it works. You see, what I think is so fascinating is that while the disciples are sitting in the boat next to Jesus, the yeast of the Pharisees, Herod, and the Sadducees was getting in their heart, which means you can be right next to Jesus and still have junk in your heart.
You can sit in church every single week. You can be in a small group every single week. You can read your bible every single day. You can listen to the radio, Christian music on the drive to work or school, every single day, and you can still have junk in your heart. And in Jesus’ name, it’s time to remove it and take it back. Because He wants you to flourish and He wants you to be free. See, oh man, there’s so much I want to say to you, and like you have no idea how many verses I just chopped out along this way. None. All I’m trying to do in this series is bring your attention to some things that maybe have been lost. I’m trying to give you a little bit of context so you can look at it and say, “All right, I can admit that there’s been some pride that’s gotten in my heart or some apathy, or some selfishness.”
I’m trying to give you like tangible context that you can look at to be honest enough to admit it and acknowledge it in Jesus’ name so that you can take it back, because you can’t go get it until you admit that it’s been gone. And it is always harder to reclaim something than it is to go get something new but it’s in going back in restoring your heart that it will launch you into a new life. That’s why Jesus says, “Guard your heart, guys.” He says, “I love you so much that I want you to guard your heart. Let me in the front door and let’s close the back door together. And we’ll guard it and we won’t let any of that junk in here. And when it does, we’ll deal with it fast.” You see, what I think is so cool, let me close with this, is that I literally probably have four messages in this one message. I’m not even sure what to say to you right now, so here’s one I’m going to say.
Everything that happened on the cross was prophetic and it was redemptive for us. Every detail matters. The last thing that happens to Jesus when he hangs on the cross, He takes his last breath and they shove a hard spear into His soft heart, so your hard heart could once again be made soft. But what’s so fascinating in John is it tells us that, “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side, his heart, with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” I’ve never seen this before. Blood and water. What is the blood for? The forgiveness of the sin in our heart. What is the water for? The constant cleansing, that no matter what kind of junk builds up along the way, the flow of the springs of living water will keep us clean in Jesus’ name. No matter what kind of yeast gets in there — no matter what kind of religion or worldliness or hopelessness has crept into your heart, not only is it forgiven and then restored to a childlike state, in Jesus’ name, the springs of living water are washing it clean. Like come on, have you ever tried to take dirt out of water? Have you ever had like dirty water in a cup or in a glass? Have you ever tried to figure out how to get the dirt out of water? Like how do you make the red river water clean? There’s no way to get it out. What do you do? You put fresh water in and you keep filling it with fresh water. And over time, that fresh water will drive out every bit of debris and the entire thing will become clean.
That’s what we do in Jesus. In Him, we position ourselves in ways that the springs of living water can wash over our heart. This is why we come to church. This is why we engage the scriptures. This is why we change our minds and meditate on the word of God. This is why we worship even when we don’t feel like it. This is why we come to church even though we’re like, “It’s memorial day. I want to be at a picnic.” Don’t you want your heart being cleaned out in Jesus’ name? And the cleansing flow of God. See, catch these two verses. Blood and water. Go to the next one. “And by the blood of His cross, everything in heaven and in earth is brought back to himself, back to its original intent, restored to innocence again.” In Jesus’ name, the blood of Jesus can restore your heart to a childlike state once again. You become born again. It belongs to the children of God, a heart that is free and healthy. You with me on that?
And the next one is this. “Now, Lord, do it again. Restore us to our former glory.” Help us reclaim what has been lost. Help us get the layers and layers, and layers of junk gone. “And may the streams of your refreshing flow,” the water, the springs of living water, “flow over us again until our dry hearts are drenched once again,” in Jesus’ name. My guess, go to the scale. Go to scale, please. My guess is that your heart is somewhere on this spectrum, because maybe your spouse, or your kids, or your friends, or the job, or that cancer, or that car wreck are just life, man. Let’s put some junk inside your heart. And it’s been festering and moving. And like yeast, it’s been infiltrating your entire heart. And when it gets into your heart, it gets into every area of your life. So where are you? It’s time to take it back in Jesus’ name. It’s time to say, “In Jesus’ name,” the scars, the pain, the wounds, all of it.
He is the only one who can reclaim it. And I’m tired of living with a hard heart, a broken heart, a prideful heart, a rebellious heart, a childlike — a childish heart. I want a childlike heart in Jesus’ name. So you close your eyes with me. What do you think God wants to say to you today? How’s your heart? Just between you and Jesus, like how’s your heart, man? You can be the strongest man in this room or you can be the youngest student in this room. How’s your heart? You are made to have a childlike heart full of awe and wonder, peace and joy that receives and gives love with ease. But the world beats it up, tears it down. Darkness comes in the back door and throws all kinds of junk. Maybe today is the day we take it back in Jesus’ name. So I don’t know, because I think we’re just supposed to do this in this series. If you want to say, “I want to take back the places in my heart that have been lost,” I want to invite you again this week to just stand up by faith. If there’s something in your heart that somewhere along the way, you say “You know what? Today, I can admit with humility that I’ve lost the childlikeness of some of the parts of my heart, and today’s the day I’m taking it back. I want awe and wonder. I want peace and joy. I want the kingdom of God and its life of faith, hope, and love to be the primary characteristic of my heart.”
And again, it requires humility to stand up. Because what you’re saying is “God, I can’t change my own heart because, man, I’ve been trying. So I’ve been running after the things of this world trying to fill my heart with the love of the world or I’ve become religious without even realizing that trying to tell everyone else what’s right and wrong, and good, and bad, or I’ve become so hopeless that I really don’t believe the things in my life will ever be able to change. In Jesus’ name, today is the day that I, by faith, break that off.” And so if you stood up in some way again like we did last time, just even by faith, reach out and say, like, “I’m taking it back.” In your own way, faith always puts itself into action. It moves forward. It’s like I’m taking it back, in Jesus’ name. So Lord, every person that’s standing right now, would you restore the childlike nature of their heart? Would you remove the yeast, the change agents of the brokenness, of darkness?
And would you replace it with the kingdom of God? Would you bring faith, hope and love, awe and wonder, peace and joy? And would you peel back the layers that have been built up over the years to protect ourselves, to cover things up, to hide things that are in the darkness? Would you rip them down in Jesus’ name and restore, reclaim their hearts to a place that there is a depth, and a beauty, and a richness, and a character, and a joy in Jesus’ name? I declare joy over the lives of every person who says, “I’m taking something back in my heart today.” Restore to us the joy of our salvation. Search us and know our hearts, and remove the debris that doesn’t need to be there, in Jesus’ name. And so everybody else, if you would just stand up with us, Lord, thank you so much for what you doing in this time, in this place. Would you continue to reclaim the most important things in our lives that we may walk in victory and freedom with you and pioneer to new places? Thank you for courage and faith, and boldness, in Jesus’ name, we take it back. We love you, Lord. Amen.