Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

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The Abundance of the Heart Written by Pastor Kemar T. J. Douglas, Communication, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Opening Hymn: 286 Closing Hymn: 316

Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:33-37

Outline: 1. Introduction 2. Body - Scriptural Application a. Your Speech Indentifies you b. Your speech reveals your heart c. By Your speech you will be judged - Practical Application a. Prepare your heart for good b. “Hide” the Bible in your heart c. Train your mouth 3. Appeal Introduction The story is told of a young Christian guy, let’s call him Travel. Travel was the manager of a local department store and as his custom was, he would pick up other store workers on his way to work. This gesture was well appreciated by those who worked with him and they often admired how his belief was actively demonstrated in his actions. One morning while on his way to work, having picked up the maximum his car could carry, Travel made his way along a short cut because he was running a bit late. This shorter path, however, did not have the smooth roads that his normal route possessed. As Travel made his way, a dog decided to run across the path of his car. In an attempt to avoid hitting the dog, he steered the vehicle into a pothole and blew the front tire. After getting out of the car and coming to grips with what had just happened, Travel uttered a swear word under his breath. Yes, the one you’re thinking will work just fine. This however, didn’t go unnoticed by his co-workers. They just stood there in shocked silence – they couldn’t believe he had said that. They, however, made light-hearted fun of it, playing on the fact that it had never happened before. But, they never forgot it and brought it up, whenever they needed a good laugh. Travel, though he understood that his co-workers didn’t hold it against him, still felt sorry that the words actual crossed his lips.

CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

2

Today being Communication Day in Central Jamaica Conference, we want to talk about what comes out of our mouths, because what we say, says a lot. It says a lot about our character, our love and our allegiance to Christ, or the lack thereof. And in doing so we will spend some time examining Matthew 12:33-37. The Word of the Lord declares, Mathew: 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by *his+ fruit.” You will see here a basic principle that all of us have come to accept. 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. The significance of Christ’s words, concerning how we talk, cannot be over-emphasized, and we must take them seriously. So in order to communicate the message clearly lets break it down into three very simple but important facts about one’s speech. It is my prayer and hope that through this sermon all of us will gain some very specific information about how important our speech is and also how we can work to develop our speech to reflect a love for and allegiance to Christ. Let us pray. Body 1. Your speech identifies you. Let’s look again at verse 33 which says – “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by *his+ fruit.” You will see a basic principle that all of us have come to accept.” If you see an orange on a tree, what kind of tree is it? An orange tree, right? If you see the best mango – Julie on a tree, what kind of tree is it? A Julie mango tree! And teenagers, this one is one you can answer: if you see money on a tree, then what kind of tree is it? A money tree! A.K.A “parents.” If you see an ackee on a tree, what kind of tree is it? An ackee tree! You get the picture right? A tree is recognized and identified by its fruit. CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

3

So how does your speech identify you? Would it identify you as an encourager? Would it identify you as someone who is in love with Jesus and people? Would it identify you as someone who knows the Word of God? On the other hand, would your speech identify you as a lover of gossip or rumor-monger? Would it identify you as a liar? Would it identify you as a complainer? Would it identify you as someone who seeks to cause division within the church? Whether you like it or not, and whether you realize it or not, people hear what you say and they identify you by it. If you want to be identified as a follower of Christ, you need to talk like one. If you want to know how to do that, simply read through the book of Proverbs, as well as the gospels. All that you will find will be understandable and practical. Here’s the second fact about speech: 2. Your speech reveals your heart. Look back at Mathew : 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Here is another simple but important fact - If your heart is filled with good, your mouth reflects that. If it’s filled with bad, your mouth reflects that. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, but you’re a liar, then you need to re-examine whether or not you are really in love with Jesus. Jesus wasn’t a liar. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, but you spread rumors, then you need to re-examine whether or not you’re really following Jesus. Jesus didn’t spread rumors. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, but you talk about others behind their back and you plot their demise, you need to re-examine your life in Christ. Jesus wasn’t a back-biter. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, but your language is filled with curse words or you ‘cuss’, even if it is under your breath, then you need to check some things. Christ didn’t have a foul mouth. Let’s make something clear – we all mess up from time to time. We have all come short of what is CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

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expected. But, when we do fall short of the standard we must repent and ask for God’s forgiveness, and if others were wronged, ask for their forgiveness also. Because we all have sinned and come short doesn’t mean that we have an excuse. It doesn’t mean that we can just say, “Oh well, that’s just the way I am – deal with it.” There’s no, “He’s always been that way.” There is absolutely no excuse for using speech that dishonors God and hurts others. None. We know it’s wrong, and it’s up to us, you and me, to do something about it. And we’re going to look at some ways shortly. Here’s the third fact that we need to address about our speech from this passage: 3. Your speech will be judged. In verses 36-37 – 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Once again these words are clear. If we’re serious about being followers of Jesus in every area of our lives, then we need to take these words seriously. Words are better indicators of a person’s true character than his or her carefully planned and prepared statements and speeches. Take for example this sermon. It is my duty, and you would expect that what has been prepared would honour God and be beneficial to all. But what I say outside of a sermon or prepared presentation is a much better indicator of the condition of my heart than what you hear in church. It is my prayer that they are pretty much the same, with the only variation being I don’t preach to people when I’m talking to them, but I want my words to be Christ-like no matter where I am. If your speech is filled with – gossip, backbiting, lying, or other evil speech, then it says that your heart is not right with God. Once again let me be cautious, I am not saying that we won’t have moments when a word slips. We’ve all had them, and we all regret them, I hope. But as we become more intentional about watching our speech and as we mature in Christ, this will happen less and less. Because, as we remove the bad and replace it with good, through the power of the Holy Spirit, only good things will pour out from our lips. What I believe Jesus is saying here is that our words not only reveal our character, they also reveal our salvation. If there is nothing in your speech to indicate that you have a love and allegiance to Christ, CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

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then maybe you don’t. Hence, God will use your words as evidence against you when your name comes up in the judgment. So how do we fix the problem? How can we make sure that only good communication comes out of our mouths? Seeing that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew12:34; Luke 6:45). Here are three steps in helping to store up good in one’s heart, for proper communication: Step 1. Prepare your heart for good. Let us quickly look at two passages: Colossians 2:7 – “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. “ Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Both passages of scripture look at the heart. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are supposed to remove the bad and evil things, and add the good things such as love, compassion and forgiveness. It is impossible for anyone to have a good and noble heart if it’s filled with rage, anger, bitterness, slander, and malice. These things don’t nourish the soul, they poison it. Thus, it is easy to see why those who are filled with these things speak in ways that dishonor God and hurt others, even if they claim to be followers of Christ. The second step is to Step 2. “Hide” the Bible in your heart. Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” How do we do this? Well first you need to read the word – “search the scriptures” (John5:39). Then study the word – “line upon line, percept upon percept” (Isaiah 28:10). Then we need to memorize and mediate on the word. And finally we need to live by the word – “thy word is a lamp unto my feet ” (Psalm 119:105). The third step requires hard work: Step 3: Train your mouth. Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart

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the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” You may be asking, how does a discussion on a having a good heart, include having a good lip – well just bear with me. When you become much more intentional about what passes out of your lips, then you will also find yourself becoming more conscious of what’s going on in your heart. And as this happens, you become painfully aware of the areas you need to be praying about and seeking the help of the Holy Spirit to do His work in you. One of the best ways to train your mouth is to remember the words of James 1:19 “is to be slooooooowwww to speak.” One of the best things you can ask yourself is this – “Is this going to be Christ-like?” If not, then you’re probably better off not saying it. Another thing you can do is just simply ask, “Do I need to say anything at all in this situation?” Often this will lead to talking less. With the added benefit of not saying something way off-base, embarrassing, or something that would make the situation worse. It’s been said that it’s better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt! But in any case, we need to make sure that we are training our mouths to say only those things that honour God and help others. Appeal For many of you – the fact that your speech betrays you is nothing new to you. The fact that out of the abundance of the heart words flow from the lips is nothing new. But, it is my prayer that through this sermon and by the words of Christ your heart was touched like mine. You might be sitting here today and you’re feeling that your speech hasn’t been all that good. You’re guilty of very same things mentioned, and your heart is heavy because of it. The good news is that forgiveness is available. He promises that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). You can call out to God for forgiveness and he promises to give it. And if you’re serious about it, he’s ready to do something in your heart, beginning right now. Indeed Christ has taken the first step by pointing out our sins and then offering grace. We need to take the next step. We need to walk to the altar declaring in our hearts that “Lord, you are right. Forgive me and help me to become a person whose heart is good and whose speech is like yours.” So will you do it today? The invitation is for all of us, and if you are not a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church we especially want to pray for you as you make this step. Let us pray. CJC Communication Day

July 13, 2013

Written by Pastor Kemar Douglas

Sermon: The Abundance of the Heart 1 CJC ... -

Jul 13, 2013 - This gesture was well appreciated by those who worked with him and ... work, having picked up the maximum his car could carry, Travel made.

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