Deficiencies of the Heart Matt 13:15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
During Jesus’ ministry he had to deal with people who had several deficiencies of the heart. Their hearts were why they could not receive and live by the things he was saying. Some had a:
Gross heart – Matt 13:15 – a gross heart is a heart deficient in knowledge; ignorant. In Matt 13:19, Jesus explained what happens in the hearts of those who don’t understand. We can see evidence of how people with gross hearts react to Jesus’ words. The Pharisees accused Jesus of not being the Son of God because they said he broke the sabbath [Mk 2:23-28]. But the sabbath was made for man; man was not man for the sabbath. When they considered his miracles, they attributed them to the devil.
I was approached by a Jehovah’s Witness who said the 144,000 who go to heaven are special Jehovah’s Witnesses. I mentioned that the Bible says they are all Jewish, male, virgins, from the twelve tribes of Israel. He countered that there was a new tribe in the list in Rev 7, the tribe of Joseph, a 13th tribe. However, this isn’t a new tribe, but rather the tribe of Ephraim [Rev 7:8, Ezek 37:16]. When you reject Jesus Christ, like the Pharisees did and like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do, you don’t believe what he said. The reason is that your heart is gross; you have chosen to believe something you’ve been told that contradicts what Jesus said. Get over that and be saved.
Distant heart – Matt 15:8 – Jesus said they “honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” This can happen easily to Christians. You sing hymns and say prayers, and your heart is not involved, at all. You sit in your seat at church and the preaching and the teaching of the words of God doesn’t affect your heart because your heart and mind are miles away, occupied with other things. Draw close to the Lord.
Hard heart – Mk 6:52 – even after feeding 5,000 men besides women and children with just five barley loaves and two small fishes, the disciples were fearful in the storm they encountered that night because their hearts were hard. They had each participated in the miracle of feeding the five thousand. The Lord gave them the bread and fish that he had blessed and broken and they fed the people. There were so few fragments of bread and fish in each of their baskets when they started feeding the people. And by the time everyone had eaten, they had twelves full baskets of fragments leftover. They knew this, and yet they didn’t believe they would survive the storm. Our hearts get hard like this when we forget all that the Lord has done for us. It’s like the Lord asks us, “How many times do I have to show you? Can’t you trust me yet?” Notice how the disciples had to deal with their hard hearts even after the resurrection [Mk 16:14; Lk 24:25].
Doubting heart – Mk 11:23 – a doubting heart adversely affects our prayer life. So, we should ask ourselves a simple question. “If I don’t believe he’s going to answer my prayer, why do I even bother to pray?” Sometimes the reason our prayers aren’t answered is that we doubt whether God will answer our prayer. We need to quit doubting him. He answers prayers and he always answers in ways that are far better than we could even ask.
Troubled heart – Jn 14:1 – it’s easy for our hearts to be troubled because Jesus isn’t here. See also Jn 14:27; 16:22. Jesus has given us assurance, peace and joy to calm our troubled hearts in the midst of our trials while we wait for his return. When you feel troubled in a time of difficulty, just remember that the Lord is here and he is soon to return.
An honest and good heart – Lk 8:15 – the word of God bears abundant fruit in your life when it is sown in a good and honest heart. Darlene Rose obviously had a good heart to endure all that she did in New Guinea through WWII when the Japanese invaded and put her and others through horrendous trials and heartaches. Even after all she endured, she was willing to keep serving the Lord after her release because her heart was not distant, hard, doubting or troubled.