Scars of the Heart

Scars of the Heart ~ June 23, 2019 ~ John 16:33 ~ Dido Montijo, guest preacher

For this past month, I’ve been trying to ask God what it is that He wanted me to say today. So, the two hearts that He gave me were the defiled heart, and the righteous heart. If you were to look into John 16:33, it speaks:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

So, the idea is that everything that we go through, all the battles, all the trials, anything that we go through, He’s already won the battle. So, the journey that we go through, even though we gain all these scars, at the end, He’s already won. So, right now, the choices that we make is what the type of scarred heart that we have: the defiled, or the righteous.

So, I want everybody to take out your Bibles hold it up. We’re going to do a quick prayer. We’re not going to do the one that pastor usually does, I’m going to do my own prayer. But I want us to remember whose authority that we’re supposed to be under.

Dear Heavenly Father: we thank You for Your Word. We thank You that we have the capability to be able to speak to You by reading Your Word. It’s a letter from You. It’s a letter that we can actually stand before You and hear Your voice in some way. The same way as prayer which allows us to stand before Your presence in Your courts. So, I ask today, right now, that You would open our hearts; that You would allow us to be able to just hear Your voice, hear what You’re trying to teach today. Use me, Lord. Use me in a way that it can be serving towards others and serving towards You. But I ask today that everybody here, that their hearts be open, that their minds be open; and that they listen, and that they understand what You want them to know, because I know that this is what You want me to teach. So, I ask Lord, to always remember your authority in Scripture. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 So, the defiled heart has three parts that I want to talk about. The Pharisee, the hypocrite, the false teacher and wolf. These type of people are going to be a part of your life in many different ways. They could be at home, your family and friends; they could be at work; they could be anywhere, okay. These are the type of people that sometimes we think are unsaved people; but a lot of times they’re actually Christians who have allowed the scars of their life to impact the way that they think. So, instead of them actually understanding why Christ died for them, they start using what I think is the idols that they follow, which is pride and power. They desire to know what it means to have control versus allowing God to use them. So, instead of being righteous in the way they think, in the way they talk, in the way they present themselves, they actually are defiled. So, if you were to look up, guys, Matthew 15:10-20:

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said,” and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”

“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
(Matthew 15:10-20)

May give you some diseases in some cases, but it won’t defile you.

So, the one thing that came across my mind is that a lot of times we watch shows and movies like Hallmark – Hallmark’s famous for this – where they always tell the main character, “Follow your heart! Do what you think is right! Follow your heart!” In truth, if everybody was good, naturally good, that would work. But we’re not. We’re born into corruption and sin. So, by following our heart, we’re following more of our self-desire, what we want, versus what actually God wants. So, we need to remind ourselves that when somebody tell us, “Hey, follow your heart, just listen to it, it knows what it’s talking about,” that no, it doesn’t. Because if you were to read Jeremiah 17:9:

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
(Jeremiah 17:9)

Well, the answer is, God does, because He knows our sin nature.

So, the thing is, we can’t trust our heart. We can’t trust what it’s telling us, because it’s not going to tell us what is right. So, what can tell someone what is right is only the Holy Spirit. That’s why accepting Christ, gaining the Holy Spirit gives us that understanding, so that we know what we’re supposed to be doing.

So, a lot of times when we’re talking about these three categories, the first one is going to be about the Pharisee. The Pharisee in most cases is the person that usually dresses just right. I remember growing up in the Baptist world, they had the two pictures. There was the Baptist that wore the black suit and tie, no offense Len, but that’s just the Baptist thing. But they wore a tie, suit, pants, and they had the big giant black Bible, and they always walked around, their hair was always perfect. We used to joke around because Bob Jones’ kids, they would go to college, they would come back, their hair was always to the side, and always trimmed the same way. I mean, my mentor, as much as I loved him, it was always interesting to see, but his hair never moved. I never understood that, but it never moved. We even thought maybe he ironed it, because it always sat in the same direction all the time. Even after playing basketball or doing something, his hair never moved! He would sweat, but the hair would stay. It was crazy.

But the thing is what I learned that my time in high school was that it was about standards. It was about holding on to human-designed standards, by which we were supposed to be faithful to God. But the problem was it was man-made, it wasn’t God. So, for years, I was taught all these rules and regulations – especially the most famous one was if you were sitting next to a girl, there had to be a Bible between you, because it was you, God, then her. That was the joke, but it was the truth. They did it. There was even some jokes and truths that over in Bob Jones University that they had supposedly paved white and paved blue sidewalks, and you weren’t allowed to walk on those. So, it was very interesting how legalism, which is what it’s really called, can really control a Christian’s heart. So, the Pharisees, instead of actually serving God, were holding on to their traditions and rules, their regulations. They weren’t really seeking out to find a relationship with their God as much as they were trying to make sure that they looked right. That’s why sometimes they would go out on the corners and pray out loud on their knees, because they wanted people to recognize how great they were in their prayers. How they would make fun of technically people who gave less when they would give more, because they weren’t concerned about the people as much as they were concerned about themselves.

So, the next one is about the hypocrite. The hypocrite is someone who I think a lot of Christians happen to walk on very thinly, where they have a line cutting through the world versus God and they like to stand on both, because they want to be able to have both. They want to enjoy what the world has to offer just as much as they want to enjoy God. But sometimes instead of standing on both, they sometimes stand on one side for a while, but then when they need to be a Christian suddenly they’re over here and they’re doing what they’re supposed to be, praising God, and then other times they go right back to the way they were. So, a lot of times we have to be careful because the hypocrite is someone who never really understood their relationship with God. They understood, almost like a pharisee, the rules. As long as I look good when I’m supposed to, all the bad stuff that I’ve done is going to be outweighed. And they start fooling themselves. So, if we were to look at 1 John 4:20:

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
(1 John 4:20)

So, the idea is, guys, if we are sitting here saying, “Hey, we love God! We love God!” so we stand on this side, but then on the other side we start acting just like the world – looking at Him, treating people really bad, not caring about them – guess what? You’re being a liar. That’s not what God’s asking of you. If you believe in God, the people you see there, remember, they’re made in His image. He made them. Even if they’re a horrible person, He still made them. We should be excited about redemption, having them come from whatever side of the worldly view, and having them find Christ. We shouldn’t be condemning them and just going after them just for the heck of it, just because they did wrong. We should be hoping – even the people that have murdered people – we should be hoping that they discover Christ. That’s the love that Christ wants us to have for people.

Now let’s look at 1 Peter 2:16:

For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.

I like to add the verse in front and after as well, because it says:

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you… Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
(1 Peter 2:15-17)

So, if we’re supposed to create unity with each other, people with the scarred hearts that are defiled, they can’t do that, because that’s not their intention. Their goals aren’t for unity. Their goals are to create disruption, or to gain stuff from you guys.

So, that’s why the third, which is the false teacher or wolf, is just as important. Because these people, their intentions are basically, I think in some ways, worse than the other two, because they don’t come in because they want to create change for positive by any means. At least the other two at some point will recognize the falseness of their living. This type of person, their goal is to create chaos. They want to create control for themselves. They’re only concerned for themselves. If we were to look up Acts 20:29-30, it states:

“I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.”
(Acts 20:29-30)

So, the one thing about these people is that once they get their footing inside your church, your home, your family, wherever it may be – because you can see these types of people in families. You probably have someone that you can think of right off the bat, where every time they come over it’s chaos. They always create some type of problem that does not need to be there. Sometimes it’s at work, because I had it – the one time I had it was at work, with a gentleman that every day would come over to my office and say, “What are you doing?” and I’d say, “Well, I’m doing work.” And he goes, “No, you’re looking at porn.” And I said, “No, I wasn’t looking at porn.” And he’d be like, “Oh, yes you are, oh, yes you are.” And I said, “No, I’m not.” And every day – he did this for like six months – every day he’d come into my office, because he found out I was a Christian and he was trying to figure out if he could press my button, he was trying to figure out if he could destroy my character. So, it was very interesting that he kept doing that. And it’s funny, one of the other guys started changing. He started going over to his office doing the same thing to him. So, finally, our foreman finally told him, “You need to stop doing that.” So, he backed off, but the thing is, that’s how Satan works. He uses people. He wants people to come into something that’s supposed to be going somewhere – your family, you know, is doing right, you know, your work is going really well, church is doing what it’s supposed to be doing – and someone comes in and they change everything the way that they want it. They want to do it their way. So, a lot of times, if you go against them, they do everything possible to break you. So, they try to come after you and hurt you in some ways.

So, we’ve got to remember that these three types of people, the only reason why they’re struggling, though, is because of their heart. There’s a heart issue, okay? They desire pride and control.

But that’s the best part about redemption, is that God can redeem a heart that’s broken like that.

So, the other three that we’re going to be talking about is going to be from the righteous heart. There’s three types of people, there’s the shepherd, the sheep, and the sheepdogs. Now, sheepdogs are not in Scripture word for word, but it’s a concept that’s kind of going around in some articles that I thought was quite interesting. The righteous heart are people who do have scars, and they are damaged, and they are struggling, okay. They’ve gone through just as much as the defiled heart. The difference is that they allow God to get into their heart. One of the cool stories is that Japan, when they have pots and pottery and they have cracks, they would fill the pot cracks and the cups with gold, because they realized that the beauty wasn’t in the perfection of the bowl or the cracks. The beauty was it could still be useful; that it was unique; that it was something still specially that could be used.

So that means, everyone one of us, as every trouble and trial we go through, the battles that we go through, okay, that means that God can still use you. He can fill those cracks with His glory and His love and still use you. You’re still going to be unique in your design.

So, if you were to imagine that God can still use you, even if you’ve had the hardest life you ever could think of, God still has a plan for you. There’s still hope for you. You don’t have to fall into defilement. You don’t have to think I’m not worthy anymore, because those are Satan’s words. He wants you to think that all you can be is the world, you can be what God wants. Only perfect people can do that. But guess what? There is no perfect people. Christ is the only one perfect person that ever came to earth. So, the fact is that God can use you, even today, no matter how worthless you may think in your head you are. He doesn’t see the worthless in you. He sees the worth.

So, if you were to take the shepherd, in most cases the shepherd is usually considered the pastor, the leader. We do have leaders that lead whether you’re at work or not. They may not be the shepherd because their goal is not the flock, but to compare, you have managers, the people who should be watching out for the people underneath them. The father of the house should be watching over his family, or the mother if there is no father. That’s their responsibility. There’s even, when you’re with your friends, some of you should be leading your friends versus being following your friends into a direction you shouldn’t be going. That’s the responsibility of a person who’s supposed to be like, in design, a shepherd. Someone who’s watching out for its flock, training them, teaching them. That’s why I encourage some of my guys, in their relationships, to make sure that they remember that they are the model for other kids, the younger kids, or even other men; because if you’re walking in uprightness, other men and the young people are going to start watching that and want that, and think of it.

So, if we were to go to 1 Corinthians 3:4-6:

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.
(1 Corinthians 3:4-5)

So, the responsibility of the shepherd is to always remind people who you’re following, who you are the servant to. So, if you are a leader at your work, people should be recognizing that you are walking in truth, that you are a Christian, because one of the questions I always ask the kids: “Do your friends know that you’re a Christian?” and when I first got here, some of them said, “No, not really.” So, I said, “Let me ask you this: If you were to walk down the street and I saw you and I didn’t know you, would I know that you were a Christian?” Because who you are at work, at home, at school, in front of your friends shouldn’t be different. There shouldn’t be different sides of you. You should be the same person all the way through, because if you’re following Christ, that’s who you should be. Because then what happens if you’re not careful, as a leader, people start following you, and so you’ve lost that position of leadership, because they’re seeing you and not Christ. That’s the one thing I love about Ryan, is that he always reminds himself when he’s up in worship, that he’s not worshiping for you to praise his capability, that he’s worshiping because he wants to remind you who God really is. That’s the mindset of a leader that is shepherding people to recognize who he’s serving. And that’s how we should be, especially if we’re in leadership positions.

And the second one is sheep. We are all Christ’s sheep. The true shepherd is Christ, kay? So, we are here to serve our master, and we are here to honor our master. That means, in unity – because one of the pictures I always think of when I think of a flock of sheep, are they mostly separated all over the place? No, they’re usually in a big pile of fluff, okay? That’s all you usually see. So, they’re always next to each other eating, fellowshipping, having fun, enjoying each other’s company, but as Christians we should always be reminded to encourage one another. You know, we shouldn’t have cliques where we have people going off doing their own thing and ignoring everybody. That’s not how unity is supposed to look like.

So, if you were to go to John 10:3, it talks that:

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
(John 10:3)

To me that is so powerful, because if you’re walking in uprightness, if you’re seeing who Christ is to you, you’re going to recognize His voice when He calls out to you. That’s special. Can you imagine having Christ coming in, and we didn’t have no idea what He looked like, but He walked in and spoke and we knew who He was? That’s what it’s talking about. That’s why it’s very important as you walk every day, as you make decisions, if you’re following Christ, if you’re listening to His Word, you’re praying, you’re spending time with Him, you’re creating that relationship you’re supposed to have, you’ll be able to recognize His voice. Because you know who else is trying to speak in your ear? Satan. Satan is always going to remind you what you can’t do. He’s always going to discourage you. He’s always going to tell you you’re worthless. He’s going to remind you of all of your past sins. He’s going to put that all in the forehead, making you think about it daily, and then you start failing. Because you start thinking you can’t do anything. You start saying, “I can’t,” “I’m not able,” “There’s no way I can do that.” And then God’s like, “No, that’s not me. Listen to my voice.” But then the only way you can understand it is by studying His Word, spending time. That’s why it’s so special for us to be sheep, because we get to recognize our Lord’s voice.

So, the third one is sheepdog. When I look at verse John 10:3, what we just said, if you notice in the beginning it says, “The gatekeeper opens the gate…” okay? To let the shepherd in. That is the one verse that actually stood out to me from some of the articles that kind of points that there is kind of a caretaker or a protector in between the sheep, and also for the shepherd. Because the thing is, if you think about it from a church perspective, pastor has a lot of responsibilities, right? He’s doing a lot of different things. But then you also have people that work underneath pastor that can be those gatekeepers. So, pastor may not be able to do everything, but the thing is sometimes people can be in between to help him and to encourage him, but also be there for the people.

So, the sheepdog was supposed to be the concept of someone who is in the church that a lot of times is in the middle of the flock and is always keeping an eye what’s going on around. And most of the time, what happens to the sheepdog is they’re not really liked, because the thing is sheepdogs remind people of evil. They remind people of bad things that are going around. And everybody doesn’t want to think about that, everybody wants to think that everything is okay, because the Lord is watching over us, which is true; but sometimes these sheepdogs need to kind of step out and jump and protect, you know, the flock the best they can.

There’s a quote from the Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, it’s from his book called On Combat. He states:

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep, and that is okay. But you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes or anything happens, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one; but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down, and you will never have rest, safety, trust, or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision everyday to dedicate, equip, and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf (or anything happens in your church) comes knocking at the door.

So, the idea is that you have to understand that sometimes these people that are there stepping up for their church, their company, people, their family, their friends – you understand what happens. When you step up from being what you used to be and start being a different type of person, what usually happens? Your family starts kind of treating you kind of bad, because they’re like, “Why don’t you do any of this stuff? Why don’t you hang out? Why don’t you…” And you’re just like, “Well, because I’m different.” Okay? When we accept Christ, we’re supposed to be different. We’re not supposed to look like how we used to. There should be growth. There should be fruit, okay?

So, the thing is, a lot of times, when people become these sheepdogs in their families, or in work, or at church, they get nailed. They get nailed hard. Why? Because they’re in the forefront, they’re usually the first ones seen. So, if we were to look at Acts 20:28:

“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock – his church, purchased with his own blood – over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.”
(Acts 20:28)

A lot of times these sheepdogs become leaders, and a lot of times it should be like, especially dads and moms of the family, you should be protecting your home, you should be the gatekeepers of your home. You guys should be standing there protecting your family, not allowing things that shouldn’t be in your home to be in it – especially if it’s causing corruption in your family. You should be protecting it. And if you’re not, you’re not doing your duty. You’re not protecting. We’ve got to remember that.

I have an article that I like the story that’s here, it’s pretty neat. It says:

As a young shepherd is laying asleep in the sun, his flock grazed peacefully on the lush slopes of the valley, nibbling on clover, alfalfa, and fescue. The round bodies dotted the mountainside like so many clouds merging and parting like the real things. Without warning, two young wolves burst out of the forest and looped towards the flock. Sheep started bleating in panic and colliding in their panic to escape. The wolves drove right to its center, hoping to scatter it so they could pick off one or two stragglers who got caught in the open; but when the sheep parted, the hunters stopped dead. Waiting for them in the space they’d cleared was a beast of a dog. Its white shaggy coat blended in with the sheep, so it had been guarding the herd from the inside.

The sheepdog rose to its feet and stared at the wolves. Though it was big, it was still only a dog, and these wolves were wild and dangerous, muzzles wrinkled back in growls. The three sized each other up. Two to one was not good odds, but the sheepdog did not back away. The wolves, realizing their advantage, stepped forward, heads held low to the ground, long yellow teeth bared. Still, the sheepdog did not move, but only raised its heckles. The wolves moved to the sides, and the dog began to panic; but it smelled the scared sheep and the sleeping boy, and knew that if it ran, they would all be in danger. The dog’s love of its charges kept it rooted, even as the wolves closed in. The dog knew it had no choice but to stand its ground. This is what it’s meant to do: protect the weak from those who prey on them, guide the flock, make sure everyone came home. In its dog brain, the sheepdog was ashamed of its vicious cousins who would hunt and kill the defenseless sheep.

The dog barked a noise like a thunderclap, and the wolves hesitated. This pathetic trained pet was acting as if it could actually win this fight. It was not behaving like a creature about to get ripped apart and eaten; instead, it was standing confidently, its tail upright and alert. It gave off all the smells and signals of an alpha, even in its role as a servant to these soft creatures.

The wolves stood upright and relaxed. They had come looking for an easy meal, but instead they had found this dog that behaved like a wolf, but its power in service of the sheep. They could not understand why something so strong would help these weak, and this confusion blunted their hunger and aggression. They covered their teeth, smoothed their fur back, and lifted their heads. Giving the dog one last look, they turned and trotted into the woods.

The dog watched them go, and when it was sure they were gone, it collected the scattered sheep so they could enjoy the remaining daylight.

So, what’s really interesting is that sometimes these people are people that take the big hits. I have a picture that actually it was kind of cool that Linda Porter put on Facebook where the sheep is comforting the sheepdog for what he did, or what she did, I don’t know what it is. But the imagery is that sometimes whoever’s in leadership, whatever you’re doing, they go through a lot themselves, and we forget. That’s why it’s so important for congregation to pray for their pastor, to pray for people that are in leadership, because we don’t necessarily know what happens to them when they go home. We don’t know, no one knows what happens to them when something bad happens to them, because a lot of times, they have to stand up here and still love on you, still look like everything is going well, but inside, they’re broken, okay? That’s why we have scars in our heart, because we’ve got to remember that it’s only through Christ that we can be healed. And we’ll still have those scars, they won’t go away. Because they’ll not go away until we go to heaven. Those scars will be a part of us. Those scars will be there on us, because it’s to also remind us one, that God is always there to comfort us, but two, because it strengthens us.

One of the things I’ve been learning for the past couple weeks, when you get crushed, when you get crushed, just like grapes, when you want to make wine you crush the grapes, that there’s a reason to be crushed. Because when you get crushed, that’s where the fine wine comes from. That’s where what you’re wanting to come out – because otherwise we stay like the grape, and we don’t do anything because we’re comfortable. So the thing is, we’ve got to remember that God is looking for us to allow our hearts, as scarred as they may be, damaged as they may be, to come to Him and ask for forgiveness for things, or to come to Him and surrender all the pain and the hurt that you have, because He’s willing to use you, He’s willing to take those scars and put gold in them so that you can be unique for His purpose. That’s not what Satan wants. Satan wants you to continue to remember those scars for how evil they are; because if you can recognize the purpose that God has for you, then you’re not doing what Satan wants you to do. He’s trying to get you away from God. He’s trying to get you to not think about God. He’s trying to get you to think that God can’t use you at all. But that’s a lie, and don’t listen to that voice. Pay attention to God’s voice.

So, as the worship group comes up, I want you guys to take a moment, I want you to bow your heads, and I’m just going to ask if anybody here is wondering or hoping for Christ to be a part of their life. If you want to, I would appreciate if you would raise your hand and we have Kyle and Jordan, even myself, Pastor, even Renee after, if you want to know Christ, come and tell one of us. But if everybody could close your eyes real quick, I don’t want people to not feel embarrassed, but if you feel today that God wants you to know Him as your Son, raise your hand in confidence. And if you don’t, if you still feel uncomfortable, come to us and let one of us know. And secondly, anybody here who has scarred hearts, but they want God to fill it with the gold and with His power, and to return to Him, you know, get rid of the damage and the brokenness inside you, also take a moment if you want to raise your hand. if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, go to Jordan, or Kyle, or any of us, and just talk to us about it. Because God’s going to use you if you’re willing. But it takes you to make that decision. He can’t force it upon you.