Heart has a place only God can fill. Our hearts have serious issues. We need His love shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. Our fictions must be brought to the reality of the Lord. Trying to save your life is to really lose. Go to the Cross and gain all things. (Psalm 73; Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 16:24-25)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12517
11:00 AM on 5/28/2023

P. Schaller –

Good morning. Oh, wow, it’s great to be assembled in the name of Christ and be Spirit filled and singing. I was
thinking singing is not only for the good singers. How about it? Sometimes, I’ve been in a church
service, and I didn’t really sing because I’m not a good singer. Then, I changed my attitude. I
said I’m going to sing. God hears me. With all my heart. I enjoy worship a lot. I really do. I love it.
I think it’s so great.

This morning, I want to speak about walking in the Spirit and also in the flesh. What does that
mean and something about it, so it will help us live a practical life where God would be helping
us understand that there are sometimes when we are in the flesh. So, what is that? And then
there are times when we are in the Spirit. I think sometimes some believers think they are
always in the Spirit. But we read in our New Testament that we can grieve the Spirit or quench
the Spirit. We are told to be filled with the Spirit. So, I’d like you, to introduce the theme, and
then pray that the Lord will help us with it.

Let’s start by looking at Psalm 73, because this psalm has a simple outline for the subject. In Psalm
73, you see a believer and you could just say – I’ll break it down this way – he is like a normal
believer. A normal believer. And then he sees that he has jealousy in his heart. Jealousy for
successful people. Jealousy over what I see in life. Somebody is succeeding, or somebody is
wealthy or somebody has something that I want, and so I’m jealous. And he describes this.
Then, he goes into the house of God. My outline isn’t that good here. He goes into the house of
God, and he realizes something. He realizes, oh, wait a minute.

I have jealousy, and I realize that I shouldn’t be jealous. I realize that actually and he explains it in the psalm. So, this is verse 1 down through verse 28. And he ends up really with God, and he really understands, wow! I
have God. Wow! I have been foolish. I have been jealous. And I was really wrong. I was really
wrong in how I was thinking. And I realize, wait. Oh, God, thank you. And he is Spirit filled. He is
realizing that he was foolish.

So, if you look up at the screen here, I would like you to realize a few things about this short,
simple outline which I kind of, I hope you can follow it with me. You are a normal believer, and
you have the Spirit of God. You actually know God. You actually have a relationship with God.
And then something happens in your life, maybe in your family. Maybe you get in an argument.
Maybe at work. Maybe your car breaks down and your neighbor has a new car. Maybe your
class reunion, you didn’t make it, but you find out people were talking about you bad things. Oh,
no. Maybe you’ve been slandered. Maybe your boss has an issue with you. And these problems
that we have in life provoke in us what’s called our sin nature, our old sin nature.

In this psalm, it was jealousy. But it could be any number of things that are provoked in my heart
and in my life. So, that will be our subject today. And it will edify you. I believe that it will,
because every one of you, all of us, are able to go before God with these things in transparency.
Have you ever gone before God, and told him the truth about what you are thinking and feeling?
You got to do that. You got to say God, I hate that person. I hate that person. You have to be
honest with God. You got to say God, I’m very disappointed. I am hurting. Oh, God, this is the
way it is. I’m bringing it before you. It’s beautiful. I believe in that. I believe in facing reality. I
believe in being honest with myself. I believe in bringing all that stuff before God.

I remember one little statement someone was talking, counseling, and they said to the person,
what do you do with your jealousy when you pray? Isn’t that a good word? This is what we do.
Here’s my jealousy, right here. And I come to God in prayer, and I just hide it behind me like this.
The Lord says, you’re –. No, everything’s good! You know me. I’m like I’m right before you. You
know me. And the Lord goes, yeah. I know you. I know you. This is called our old sin nature. It’s
a big part of our theology. It’s a very important part of our practical living. It’s a big part of life for
us. Because when I don’t deal with this thing, and I just don’t deal with it. I’m not being really
honest before God with it, then I’m the one that loses.

Because he’s very willing to bring me through this process and fill me with the Spirit. He is very much wanting your blessing and my blessing in life. He very much wants that. So, this is our theme today.
Let’s read. Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s go to Psalm 73. I’m reading out of the English Standard Version. I
hope I don’t go too fast, but here we go. vs. 1-10. How wrong we can be about the proud. We
find no fault in them. They are successful. They are prospering. It seems that they are blessed.
But what about me? What about me? I’m struggling in life. They are making it. They are blessed
in so many ways, but what about me? I have cleansed my hands. Look at vs. 11-13. My
Christianity hasn’t done anything for me. I have cleansed my hands and it hasn’t meant anything
for me. vs. 14-15.

If I talked openly about what I am really thinking, I would cause my sisters and
brothers to stumble, and I don’t want to do that. But he put it here in the Bible for us to let us
know that he knows how we think, and this particular pattern of the flesh and jealousy and envy
and of blindness. vs. 16-17. Up on our diagram, this is here. He went up in the house of God
here, and he understood something.

We have our carnality, our flesh, our way of looking at life by our nature, and then we have the
Holy Spirit teaching us. We go into the house of God, and the Holy Spirit teaches us where it’s
going, what this is really about. So, vs. 18-22. Insensitive beast. Animal. Animals are insensitive.
Like an animal, the predator in the wild is insensitive about you. They have no mercy. When
they meet you in the woods or in the jungle, there’s no mercy. The animal is just powerful,
aggressive, and has to eat. And it will eat you. It has no music, no poetry, no history, no memory,
no conscience. It’s just a powerful animal. That’s what the psalmist is saying about himself. I
was blind to the whole thing. I didn’t realize it.

And that’s what the Holy Spirit does in your life. The Holy Spirit refines you. The Holy Spirit
helps you love children, helps you love your neighbor, helps you understand your enemy. The
Holy Spirit helps you step back and understand life, and realize that this is about God not
animals. This is about God. Angels and God. This is about forgiveness and grace and patience
and perseverence and commitment and honesty and truthfulness and facing the music. The
flesh doesn’t like to face the music.

But when we go into the house of God, we are willing to submit ourselves to what the Holy Spirit
wants to say to you. When he says to you, you are jealous, then face it. When he says you don’t
love, then I face it. When he says you don’t have patience. When he says control your mouth,
and I say, no. I learned – I was thinking at work people learn how to behave in the environment
of their working place. And when they are gossiping and slandering at the working place, the
Christian comes under that influence and the Christian does the same thing. He also is cursing
the boss. He also is slandering the secretary. He also is saying I can’t wait until work is over. I
hate this place. He comes under – or arrogance. People that know everything all the time.
They’re like pushy, manipulative, arrogant.

We come under that atmosphere and we live like those people until we go into the house of God
and the Spirit says, no. Don’t live like them. Live like the Son of God. Live in the Holy Spirit. Be
filled with the Spirit.
So, this is what happened in the text. vs. 23-25. That’s like Song of Solomon. His love is better
than wine. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. This woman in Song of Solomon, it’s a
love poem between the believer and God. And they are rapturously occupied with each other.
None do I have in heaven but you. None upon earth but you only. Yes, I have my life, but I have
you more than life. I have you, you know. The Greek words ZOE and BIOS. I have the biological
life, but I have more. We have the spiritual life. So, vs. 26. My flesh and my heart may fail. They
do fail.

I know of a case where a very tragic thing happened, and it took some years but the person was
fine. They survived. They were enriched. They were devastated, hurt, really very tragically hurt.
My flesh and my heart fail. This is real for us. We are not making it up. This happens. Sorry, but
it does. But wouldn’t God who made the heavens and the earth know? Wouldn’t God – doesn’t

he care about the number of hairs in our head, our downsitting and our uprising? Doesn’t he
know? Yes. And isn’t our life affliction only for a moment in our life? Yes, it seems like a long
time maybe but my heart and my flesh they fail. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the
strength of my heart and my portion forever.

vs.27-28. Be near God. Be near God. Walk with God. The best thing we could do for our family
is to be Spirit filled. The best thing we could do in our marriage is be filled with the Spirit. The
best thing I could do at work – I work hard. I do the best I can, but there’s something greater. Be
filled with the Spirit every day. The best thing we can do in our life, the great thing, is to be near
God. vs. 29. So, we’ll speak on that for a few minutes. We’ll also do that tonight. We have a lot
to say about it. My prayer is that it will minister to us today.

You may be seated. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 16 for our text. So, we have the sketch up on the
wall here. Psalm 73, and we’re continuing on this thought of our self-life. Our self-life. And the many
expressions of our self-preservation, our self-interest, self-absorption, self-occupation. It’s
normal. It’s natural. So, we define it this way in our Bible psychology class which I think is a very
good class. We say at the heart of every life is our heart. We read that. Our heart is so instrumental in our life, in our decisions. I draw it this way and actually make a little three-
dimensional picture like this with a hole in the heart. The heart is fundamentally who we are. Our heart.

The hole is in our heart, because we have sinned. And what did we lose when we sinned? We
lost God. That’s our problem. We lost God. Where is God? God is there looking for us. God
cares. He knows where we are. He knows all things. But in relationship, he actually said that,
didn’t he? He actually said, Adam, where are you? Well, God knows everything. He knows
where Adam is. But he’s saying something else. I know where you are geographically, but I don’t
know where you are in relationship to me, your Creator.

When he lost God, there were two words that really embodied this loss and it is security and I’ll
put here the word “secure” and “value” or “significance.” I really a word, it’s love. He lost love.
Cause love gives you those two things. When you are loved, you are secure. When you love,
you are, you have value. You are loving. To be loved makes you secure, and to love others is
valuable. When you love God, when you are loved by God, then your heart is okay cause I have
God. Do you have money? No. Yeah, but not much. But I have God. Does that mean anything?
To a lot of people it doesn’t mean much. They don’t buy it. They don’t say God is enough. They
don’t agree with that. They are busy about living their life and filling the hole. And we draw it like
this with little orbiting parts, created things. Girlfriend. Job. Career. Good looks. Vitamins.

Lotions. Hand lotions. Face cosmetics. Another job. A nice house. A good reputation. Any
number of things that are circling around my life. I invent a mission statement for me. I say the
purpose of my life is to be successful. The purpose of my life is to have friends. The purpose of
my life is to be respected. The purpose of my life is to be without problems. Like avoiding
problems. That’s what my life is about. Avoiding problems and living like safely. Like surviving.
Making it safe and so on.

So, we make up what Larry Crabb calls guiding fiction. Little constructions in our hearts and
minds that guide us in our life, and this is from a heart that has lost God. So, when Jesus came
into the world, it’s the first time we meet somebody that doesn’t have this problem. There’s
nothing about him insecure. There’s nothing about him that is lacking. He is fully satisfied in
himself without these little circling, orbiting elements of life that are so important to people. Do
you have any friends? Jesus would say, I’m with my Father. Watch what happens. Are you trying
to make friends? No, that will happen. I’ll have friends. But they will fail me, but I know that. I
have my Father. Jesus, how about your money or your career? We have found a person that is
fully satisfied that actually knows the Father, lives by faith in the Father, lives by the Word that
comes from the Father and he’s fully satisfied and contented. Isn’t that amazing?

Read Matthew 16:24. So, we have one phrase here we need to take a look at. Deny myself. What do
I deny? This diagram. This is what I’m doing. I’ve found that if I can take this diagram and it changes, I could find another way. That this diagram would not be governing my life, the hole in
my heart. How can I get rid of the hole in my heart? By denying myself this. This model goes
this way. The hole in the heart like this shifts to a heart without a hole in it.

Where could that come from? Where could a heart without a hole come from? It’s Ezekiel 36:26.
Is it? Okay. I want to read it or put it up for me. Ezekiel 36:26. Notice something in our Scripture.
We have the heart is it 600 times in the Old Testament and 120 times in the New Testament.
More than 700 times we have the word “heart” and no where do we find that the heart is fixed.
The heart is not repaired. There must be a new one.

Why am I making this point? It’s that our heart has serious problems. It says in Jeremiah 17, it’s very
deceitful. Who can know it? It can’t even be known by our own selves how we can deceive.
There is a book called” I Told Me So.” It’s a book about corporate America how a man can
deceive himself. A CEO or a leader of a non-profit can deceive himself, and reward himself with
a lot of money. But he doesn’t even realize it, because the heart is deceitful.

How about in the ministry? How about somebody following Jesus and he doesn’t even realize
that he’s on the wrong side of things. Judas Iscariot. Are you kidding me? You saw the
resurrection of the dead and the healing of the blind and you don’t believe in Christ. I don’t
believe in him. It’s not in my heart. How could that be? The heart is deceitful and desperately
wicked. You’re saying not my heart. I got a good heart. We all say that. We even say that about
our pets. My dog’s got a beautiful heart. I don’t have a dog, by the way. You know. My son. What
a heart. And on it goes. No. yes, but not really. Not really. This is a problem with us. And unless I
deny myself, I have to realize this about me.

So, the verse says a new heart will I give you. This has got to be the heart of Christ that’s given
to us. Not Tom’s heart in the repair shop to get an overhaul. No. Tom’s heart crucified at the
cross with a spear going up through the chest cavity to judge it. And the thorns on the brow
judged. And the hands judged. And the footsteps judged, and I am crucified with Christ. This is
what God says about it. I will give a new heart. There’s another word there. vs. 26. And a new
spirit.

So, we put these together. Heart. We have heart and spirit. This is your new life. This is your life
for God. This is where the love for God comes from. It comes from the new birth. It comes from
when you are born again. You begin to love God, and are open and humble and receiving from
God and built up in God.

One of the words that is significant – by the way. When you become a believer, you have both
capacities. You have a new heart and reversionism is when you slide back to your old heart.
This is simply another way of saying I live in the flesh. I’m jealous. I got in a fight in my family. I
told them exactly what I think. I let it go. I really told them exactly how I think. Yeah, but were
you speaking in the flesh or in wisdom and love and humility. How were you speaking? People
are very proud about telling people off. It’s the flesh. Don’t do that. Didn’t I say earlier you pick
up in the environment that you live in how they talk and operate and so much is the flesh. And
you can’t live like that. There’s a better way. Okay. Alright.

So, vs. 26. Have you ever seen those chemicals, you know, where you have epoxy and there’s
two elements and there’s a syringe. The two elements come together and there’s glue and it
hardens. Also, I think in concrete work they add a hardener maybe to speed up the process of it
hardening. Like I know that was something that was done here on our property. Adding
something to harden the heart. Adding something. People’s hearts harden. What element
hardened your heart? What happened in your life that was like a hardener that hardened your
heart of your, you know, of your heart?

So, what’s the answer for this? Jesus said it in Matthew 26. He said unless you deny yourself in vs
24. Let’ s make that short list here. I like to go, it’s slow. I know. Cause you’re thinking. I am, too.
I am, too. I think we are talking about something lifechanging, very precious to us. We have #1

we come after Jesus. We come after him. We are here listening. We are believing him. We are
submitted to him. Then he says, you deny yourself. We are so quick to defend ourselves. He did
it. Whenever I find, I’m to be blamed I immediately go to he did it. She did it. Don’t blame me.
You know. I was tired. I want out of here. I have a list of seven defense mechanisms for our
flesh. Do you want me to give them to you? I think you’re all in shock right now!

Denial. I didn’t do it. Peter denied when he was confronted. Woman, I know him not. Peter said,
man I am not. About an hour later, man, I know not what you say. We are good at this. #2.
Projection. Blaming others. The man said the woman you gave to me, she gave me of the tree
and I did eat in Genesis 3:12. Isolation. I like this one. “If I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away
and be at rest. Then would I wander afar off and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my
escape from the windy storm and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8). I shut down. I withdraw. I isolate. I don’t
want to face it. I don’t answer the phone. The doctor’s office calls. I don’t want to hear about it. I
shut down. I refuse to see it. I don’t want to face the music.

The principal of the school calls me and I’m sick that day. The grades are posted in the hallway. I don’t go down that hallway. I’m avoiding. I’m isolating. I’m shutting down. I’m hiding.
This is a mechanism that we use, and with God, too. I don’t want it. I want you to receive what
I’m saying today. If you will come after me, and deny yourself and take up the cross, right? Deny
and then I take up the cross. There’s four more. Regression. Numbers 11:4-6. Rationalization. Luke
14:18, making excuses. Displacement, shifting or redirecting to something more acceptable like
John 21:3. When Peter said, I go a fishing. There’s been a disaster in Jerusalem. Christ has
been crucified. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. He has been raised from the dead, but
Peter just says I’m going fishing.

Not a bad idea I think, as long as I carry the truth with me and I’m willing to face what’s next. And Jesus went and found him there and said, cast the net on the right side. And Peter welcomed. He welcomed him. And then fantasy. That’s drugs and alcohol, Revelation 18:2-3.

Okay. So, I want to finish this up. Go to that verse and we’ll finish. Matthew 16:24, I am sorry. Yes, I
did that. Yes, that happened. I like this. Working in an environment in our church where we are
this way. Yes, I take the responsibility. Yes, I am sorry about that. That did happen. I hope it
never happens again. Or yes, let’s face it. Okay. We can do this. Cause trust is at the very heart
of a healthy, of healthy relationships. Is trust. When somebody can apologize or admit failure, it
helps build trust. It’s not that you failed. I didn’t expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to
be honest with me. And I hope I can be honest with you. It’s a beautiful way to live in families
and in working places.

But we are afraid of it many times, because it can lead to trouble. We are not to be hiding from
trouble, because remember this new heart. Where are we? This new heart. This one.
Remember this new heart is, it doesn’t have to have a perfect life. It has God in life. It doesn’t
have to live without failure. That’s not the mission statement. It is in life whenever life happens,
we have a new heart. That heart is one with God. That life with God is able to carry us. And
teach us. And empower us. And give love. And love and serve others to be servants. That heart
is like the heart of God, isn’t it? Jesus’ heart.

So, he can take up his cross. Taking up the cross means that actually though I am innocent, I
can actually – I haven’t done anything wrong personally, but you have problems and I’m here for
you. I’m here. I can help you. We become servants. Isn’t that true. We are here in the world with
a bigger capacity than just protecting ourselves. We have lost ourselves. We have found him,
and now we are able to serve like he does. We are able to love like he does. We are able to
forgive like he does. Take up his cross and follow me. vs. 25.

Whoever will – this one. You save your life. You always try to find the satisfaction. You always
saving your life. This is my life. But your life has a big hole in it. Yeah, but it’s the only thing I got,
and I got to save it. I got to arrive. I got to be. I have to be who I’m supposed to be. I have to find
my life. I have to succeed in it. After you do everything to get there, are you really there? Is that
really what it was about? Did you actually succeed at it?

How come many people when they live their life and they do succeed, they can say did I get
there? Was that the point? Did I make it? It’s not enough. What was missing? I missed it. I still.
And we say, yeah. The flesh is never – it will never work in our context about what is it is about.
Augustine said it that there isn’t any peace until a man finds the peace that comes from God
alone. There isn’t any woman that can fit in there or anything that can do it. It’s only Him. So, we
have made a great big deal, a good thing with God. We didn’t negotiate, but we said okay. I’m
going for it. I’m going to lose my life, and the Lord said you will find it. If you try to keep this one,
you will lose it. The little you got, you’re going to lose it. If you lose this one, you’ll gain it. You’ll
gain a new one. And that one is fully satisfied.

Let’s finish. vs. 25. There are a lot of people that will lose their life but not for Jesus’ sake. They’ll
lose their life. They will be dedicated to some cause. Or lose their life by taking their life to
suicide. Sadly. They won’t gain anything, but only lose what they have. But if you lose your life
for my sake, give it to me, then you will gain it. You will find it, and that’s my promise to you.
Some of you probably have done this. Some of you are maybe thinking about it. Some of you
are maybe like don’t understand it totally. I could say with the church, the history of the whole
church in the last 2,000 years and more – go back to the Old Testament. Abraham. Esther.
Solomon. David. The prophets and so on.

There’s plenty of examples. We can say with full assurance to all people, it’s the greatest deal going. Maybe the best kept secret. The people in the world don’t get it. On the other hand, God reveals it to you. If he shows that to you and you
follow and trust him, you will find that longing and satisfaction. That longing and desire filled. You
will find him. Okay. Amen. Would you pray with me. This is a Sunday morning Bible psychology
class, and I have a lot to say about it. Tonight, too, we’ll have a version of it. And Wednesday
night, also.

 

Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.