A Closer Heart

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This morning, let’s take a moment and go into the Sermon on the Mount. When referencing the Sermon on the Mount, usually, the B-Attitudes come to mind. Blessed are the… And Matthew 5-7 is the first reference most of us consider. But today, I want to draw attention to Mark and look at one verse in particular: Mark 7:6. Maybe with a glance, we can have a closer heart to God.

Mark 7:6

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

What Did Isaiah Say?

Mark is recording Jesus, quoting a prophecy fulfilled by the religious leaders at the time. The leaders here are a group of Pharisees and law teachers questioning Jesus regarding some of the rules and traditions their leaders taught them. Jesus then responds, most likely offending the group, with what the Prophet of Isaiah says.

Isaiah 29:13

13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

That doesn’t seem very kind. Imagine walking into your local church and beginning to teach about the heart of God. While you are there, your head pastor and a few elders come over and question you about your attire. They start saying things like, “What are you doing? You don’t even have shoes on – this is the house of God.” You respond by quoting the Bible and telling them that all their work for God is useless.

How would that go for you? How did it go for Jesus? (Spoiler alert: They killed him).

Having A Closer Heart To God

Now we must ask ourselves this straightforward question: Do I have a heart close to God? In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus talks about men and women who come to Him at the end of their lives. They let Jesus know they prophesied, cast out demons, and did mighty work for Him. And Jesus’ response was, “I never knew you.” How could that be? How could one be doing mighty works for Jesus and Him not to know them? Because of the heart.

Isaiah clarifies that just doing what you were taught isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to go to church on Sunday. It isn’t enough to tithe your 10%. To be baptized and take communion once in and while isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to be kind to strangers and feed the homeless. None of this is enough. God wants the heart of a man. The deep inward place down in the soul. The part defiles a man (Matthew 15:18).

God Wants Your Heart

As you are reading, do you feel it? Do you feel the burning inside you? Do you feel an inward part that has a deep longing for more? Pause for a moment and invite God in. Stop reading, pause, and invite God to join you.

There is more. God created you when he speaks out of his mouth (Gen 1:26). How amazing! That God, the one stirring in you right now, is the God who fills the temple with the same amount of glory that fills the world. That temple can be you (1 Corinthians 3:16) if you give God what he is asking. Your entire heart. And that same God is the one who gave us these instructions:

Matthew 22:37

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Repent. Confess. Repent again and Praise Him.

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