Call to Worship: John 14:23
Scripture: John 14: 15 – 17
Bobbie Hunt – Irwin Church 3-10-19
Series: MY HEART, CHRIST’S HOME
Based on the booklet of the same name by Robert Boyd Munger
Every Sunday, our welcoming words invite us in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We hear – “in the name of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us”. We worship the Triune God, who is three in one. For the purpose of this series, we are talking about Christ’s Holy Spirit. When we accept belief and faith in the saving grace of Christ’s work on the cross, it is Jesus that we invite into our hearts. This is a permanent relationship, He is a constant presence in our faith walk. Our hymns contain scripture and snippets of theology. We just sang, “He Lives”. The last line is “You ask me how I know He lives…..He lives within my heart.” There is scripture that supports the concept that Jesus IS a very real presence in our hearts. We heard the words of Jesus from John 14:23……”and we (being God the Father and Son) will come to them and make our home with them.” And from our sermon scripture John 14: 17….”you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Let’s be honest with each other, in our human-ness connecting to things we cannot see is difficult. We connect with things we can see and touch, the 3-dimensional world. And we are not necessarily receptive to the intangible, the things we feel and sense. And our mind’s eye visualizes from what is known to us. Our finite minds have difficulty processing images that aren’t part of our mental records. A human heart is relatively the size of a fist and weighs less than a pound. Making our Jesus small enough to fit in our heart just doesn’t seem right. Our “heart” in the Bible is a composition of all the components of our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—plus the most important part of our spirit—our conscience. Scripture quotes Jesus as referring to our hearts as “thinking”, “of having purpose”, “of rejoicing”, “of blaming us”, of course of “loving”. Bibles for American publishes that according to the Bible, our heart is not simply something we feel emotion with. The biblical heart, because it’s composed of our mind, our will, our emotion, and our conscience, does much more; our scriptural heart also thinks, decides, and senses right from wrong.
InThe Economy of God by Witness Lee , it is explained this way: “Our relationship with the Lord is always begun and maintained by the heart. Of course, to contact the Lord is a matter of the spirit, but this must be initiated and maintained by the heart, for our heart is the gateway of our whole being.” So whether we open or close the doors of our heart determines what we let into our inner being. “In other words, the heart becomes both the entrance and the exit of our being. Whatever enters into us must enter through the heart. Whatever comes out from us must proceed through the heart.” In other words, we’ve invited Him in to the place within us that is command central.
What do you visualize when you call upon Christ? Do you envision Him hovering near your or walking beside you? But don’t allow those mind pictures to show you a Jesus who comes and goes as you summon Him. Christ is not at our beckoning and call. He is LIVING with us and in us always. The fact that Christ dwells with us is simultaneously exciting, frightening, and humbling.
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So following the imagery written by Robert Munger in his study My Heart, Christ’s Home, we will begin to look at rooms in our hearts, like rooms in our homes, which are a metaphorical reflection on how we approach the relationship with Christ, the person we have invited to live with us.
In our homes, some of us have one room that is the center of our living. We might call it our living room, or family room, or rec room. Look around your room and what do you find? There will be reading material like books, magazines, or newspaper, perhaps a device of some kind that plays music, probably a television – one with a big screen, and perhaps a laptop, a chromebook or Ipad, and an older model tv gaming console. The room has furnishings, perhaps a comfortable chair and sofa, lamps, pictures on the wall, maybe even a fireplace. The use of the room is “gathering” and “entertaining”. It is likely the place where guests are made to feel comfortable. It is the place where we escape from the pressures of life by the ways we entertain and distract our minds. But Christ dwells with us. He is in this room WITH us. We have pledged relationship with Him. What things in this room and that take place in this room are not suitable to be where Christ is?
- In Philippians 4:8 scripture says “whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such
things”. What we take in with our eyes
and our ears is highly influential to our scriptural hearts.
- Is there a well-worn bible in this room, or do you see magazines like the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit edition that flaunt sexuality…not quite porn which wouldn’t be out in the open, but yet not lovely and noble. Is there literature that temps you to purchase the new car you can’t afford and don’t need, or pictures in House Beautiful that make you dissatisfied with what you have. Do you want Christ flipping the pages of your reading material?
- What is playing on TV? Is it a reality show that emphasizes foul language and people who are tearing each other down? Is the object of the video gaming your child is playing to kill human images? Do you want to hand a controller to Christ and invite him to play too?
- Is the radio or blue tooth playing music? Is Christ hearing His name praised or is He hearing music peppered with the “F” word?
- Perhaps you’ve invited friends over for a party. Are the refreshments refreshing or is this a reason to over indulge in alcohol to the point that consciences are numbed and behavior has no boundaries. Joe is saying mean, ugly things making Jill cry, so Bill uses his fists to stop the tirade. Do you want to hand Jesus a shot of luxury Scotch Whiskey so he can catch up on alcohol intake and get with the party?
- This room is comfortable space with an inviting sofa. You walk into the room and Jesus is sitting on the couch. He smiles at you at pats the cushion beside his, inviting you to spend time and conversation with him. You have no time for this here or now. You came into the room to retrieve your cell phone. You have text messages, emails, and unanswered phone calls. These are, of course, the priority and so you give Jesus a little wave and say not now, I’m too busy with worldly things that keep me connected and make me feel important.
It is very possible to damage our consciences into accepting ugly, degrading, violent images and sounds as harmless. It is very possible to allow our electronic devices to become Lord of our lives, the thing we respond to forsaking all else. When we accept that Jesus is with us, we will surely make the things we surround ourselves with more appropriate for godly living. We have invited Him into “command central” the heart of our being who He made us to be. And, if we are not careful, the clamor and distortions of what the prince of darkness throws at us, can interfere with the beautiful and noble, praiseworthy and admirable, things that make our relationship with Christ thrive.
We have Christ’s love, mercy, and forgiveness even when our activities are not noble and not praiseworthy. But when you picture Christ sitting in the living room of your heart where you have asked Him to be……Is He being ignored? Is He so sad at what is going on that He is weeping? Or is He sitting back, relaxed in the space, legs crossed and smiling at you in encouragement? On your very best days, perhaps He is giving you a hearty “thumbs up” in your victory over ungodly living.