A New Heart
by Daniel Kolenda - (message given at Fire19, Hamburg)
The greatest miracle
This message is about the new heart. You know, I’ve seen many amazing miracles. I’ve seen creative miracles. I’ve seen cripples walk and blind eyes open on the platform in front of hundreds of thousands of people. But there is one miracle that stands out above all the rest. It is the miracle of salvation - because the Bible says that when we are saved, we pass from death to life. We are transferred from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God. The power of Satan is broken over our lives, and we become new creations in Christ Jesus.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
What is the greatest miracle of all? It’s a divine heart transplant. Let’s have a look at Psalms 51, a psalm of David. This is what he prays:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalms 51:10 – 12
The heart of a worshiper
At the beginning of Psalm 51, if you look in your Bible, you might notice something. Often in the Psalms, there is a little note at the beginning of the chapter that tells you what the Psalm is about, and this is what it says in my Bible. It says, “The Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him after he had gone to see Bathsheba.” It was after David had gone to see Bathsheba that this Psalm was written.
You may or may not know that story, so allow me to remind you and refresh your memory. David didn’t start out as the son of a king. He had no rightful claim to the throne of Israel. He started out as a shepherd, tending his father’s sheep. David had the heart of a worshipper. He would sit in the fields watching his sheep eating grass, and he would play his harp and worship God. No one else was there to see him. He was all alone there in that field. He had no money, he had no power, and he had no status. Even among his other brothers he was the youngest and the lowest. He wasn’t big and strong like they were. He wasn’t as physically impressive as they were. But David had something that the other brothers didn’t have. He had a heart that was after God - and God saw his heart.
God loves a heart that is after Him
Did you know that God could see the heart of man? The Bible says that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. When you look at someone you see their outside first. You see the way they’ve done their hair. You see the way they’ve put on their clothes. But when God looks at us, He sees something different. His first impression is not the outward appearance – His first impression is the condition of the heart. God loves a heart that is after Him. God found that heart in David, playing his harp in the field, worshipping the Lord, and God said, “I like this one.”
So, God put His hand on David. He pulled David up out of that field, and He put him in the palace. David went from a harp-playing shepherd-boy, to a king seated on the throne of Israel, and he began to grow powerful. He gained wealth. He gained status. He became famous. The women used to sing songs about him. He had many wives. He had much land. He had more power than a man could ever desire. And as David was becoming this powerful man, something began to change on the inside.
David was no longer pursuing God
They say that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And this began to happen to David very slowly. It happened so slowly that he didn’t know that his heart was changing. It was becoming hardened. It was becoming cruel. It was becoming sinful. It was no longer pursuing God. Now he was taking care of himself. He was no longer thinking about what God wanted – he was thinking about what he wanted.
In 2 Samuel 11, we read that one day, the soldiers were out fighting in a battle. David went to the rooftop of his house. He looked down, and there he could see, on another rooftop down below, a beautiful woman bathing. His heart began to lust for her. He said to his servants, “Go and get that woman and bring her to me.” He knew that she was married – that didn’t matter to David. He was the king. He could have anything he wanted. Bathsheba was brought to his palace. He committed adultery with her, and then he sent her away. He thought he had gotten away with it. He thought, “No one will ever know what I have done,” because Bathsheba’s husband was fighting in the battle.
Sometimes we think that God doesn’t see what we’ve done, and this brings us to something very important that you have to understand. The same God that saw David’s heart when he played with the harp in the field, is the God that saw David’s heart when he sat there in his palace. Although David had grown very powerful and impressive on the outside, God was still looking at the heart.
An old friend knocks on David’s door
Then one day, David got some news. Bathsheba was pregnant. To cover up one sin, David committed another sin. He had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. He had gone from a young man in the field who played the harp and worshipped God, to an adulterous, murderous, hard-hearted king. And then came a knock at the door. David opened it to see Nathan, the prophet. Nathan and David were old friends, and I can imagine David being very happy to see his friend. He says, “Nathan, come in, what can I do for you today?” Nathan answers, “David, I’m here on business. I have become aware of something that happened in your kingdom that you must know about. Let me tell you the story.” He continues, “David, there were two men in your kingdom, one who was very rich, one who was very poor. The rich man had herds of cows and sheep and donkeys, thousands of animals. The poor man had only one little lamb. It was a young lamb. David, this poor man loved that little lamb so much, he treated it like one of his own children. It lived with him in the house, it slept next to his bed at night. He’d given it a name. It was his friend. But one day, David, the rich man was having a party. He needed to feed many guests. So, he said to his servant, ‘Go to the house of my neighbor, take his one little lamb, and kill it. Cook it, serve it to my guests.’”
When David heard this story, his blood began to boil. He could feel his ears becoming hot. His neck was turning red. He said “Nathan, who is this man? Tell me his name! I will hang him from the highest tree.” And that’s when the old prophet looked David straight in the eye, pointed his bony finger in David’s face, and said: “David, you are the man.” Suddenly, David saw the condition of his own heart. I think that he had a flashback to the days that he sat in the field, worshipping God with his heart, loving God with purity, simplicity and humility. Suddenly, he realized what had become of him. He was a different person. He had changed, and he was now worshipping himself.
David needed a divine heart transplant
When he saw the condition of his heart, the Bible says that he fell on his knees in front of that old prophet, and he prayed the prayer that we read in Psalm 51. He said “Oh, God! Create in me a clean heart!” It was the cry of a man who knew that he needed a miracle, because he could not change himself. He had no hope of fixing himself. What he needed was a divine heart transplant.
You know, for many years, when I used to read this passage, I read it the wrong way. I used to think that David was asking God to fix his heart. I thought what he was saying was “God, clean my heart.” And then I realized that I was reading it wrong. David didn’t ask for God to clean his heart. He didn’t ask for God to give him an extreme makeover. He asked God to give him a new heart. That’s why he said ‘create’. Create! CREATE in me a new heart!
Darkness turns to light
When I hear the word create, the image that comes to my mind is from Genesis 1:1-3. In Genesis 1, we read that the earth was formless and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. When you read that language in the original Hebrew, it’s a frightening scene. Darkness is covering the earth. There are oceans of boiling matter. There’s chaos and disorder. But the Spirit of God was hovering… And then it happened. God said, “Let there be light.” And into the darkness comes the power of God. The Word of God, that double-edged sword, pierces through all the chaos, and a miracle happens. Darkness turns to light. Chaos turns to order. Terrifying scenes become beautiful pictures, all in one moment, because the Lord speaks His Word.
Then we come over to the New Testament. We go to John 1, and we learn something amazing. The Word of God is not just sounds that come out of His mouth – the Word of God is a person.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4
God has sent Jesus – to you!
If your heart is full of chaos right now, if your heart is full of darkness, God wants to speak into that darkness. But He doesn’t just want to say words. He’s going to send a man – and that man’s name is Jesus. My friend, you need Jesus. If your heart is dark, you need Jesus. If you’re living in bondage, you need Jesus. If you’re struggling with pornography, you need Jesus. If you’re struggling with drug addiction, you need Jesus. If you’re hurting, you need Jesus. You don’t need a better doctor, you need Jesus. You don’t need a better psychologist, you need Jesus. You don’t need a different prescription, you need Jesus. You don’t need a better boyfriend or girlfriend, you need Jesus. You don’t need a different pastor, you need Jesus. Only Jesus can save you. Only Jesus can break your chains and set you free. Only Jesus can turn the darkness into light.
There’s one more revelation that hit me about this story, one more thing I want to leave you from this message. You know what I realized? David lived in the Old Testament, in the days before Jesus came. Do you know what that means? David was praying a prayer that could not be answered in his day. You see, David realized something far ahead of his time. He realized that what he needed was beyond the religious system to give him. In the temple, they offered sacrifices. In the tabernacle, they offered sacrifices. But those sacrifices couldn’t create a new heart. The best that they could do was to cover over the old sins for a season. But every year, those sacrifices had to be offered again, and again, and again.
The Word of God is a mirror for our souls
I live in the state of Florida in the USA, and one of things Florida is famous for is hurricanes. One time, many years ago, a hurricane went through my home town and destroyed just about everything. A couple of days later, I was driving through the city, and I noticed that some of the houses had a red X painted on the door. I said to my friend, “What does that mean? Why did they put an X on those doors?” My friend said, “The county, the city authorities, have gone and inspected the houses. They’ve surveyed the damage from house to house, and when they find a house that has been damaged so badly that it cannot be repaired, they paint an X on the door.” The X means ‘tear it down’. Don’t even try to fix it. Tear it down to the foundation, and build a new one.
My job as I write this is much like Nathan’s job when he went to see David. It’s an unpleasant job, but it’s important. My job is to hold up a mirror for you, so that you can see the true condition of your own heart. The Bible tells us that the Word is like a mirror for our souls. When you see the human heart the way that God sees it, you will realize something – that God has made a determination. The human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. It is beyond understanding, since there is none righteous, no, not one! (Romans 3:10-12)
He gives us HIS heart
God has painted a red X on the human heart. He says “I won’t fix it – it’s beyond repair. But here’s what I will do… I’ll give you a new one.” And here’s what you must understand. It’s not just any heart. You see, the truth is even greater than David could have imagined! God’s plan was not just to give us a new heart, not just to give us a clean heart. God said,“I’m going to give you my heart.” That’s why Jesus came! That’s why Jesus died! Not just to get you out of hell. Not just to take you to heaven, but to put heaven in you, to change you from the inside out… To give you a heart like His.
You can pray right now, wherever you are, and God will hear you.
He is longing to give you a new heart and a new life.
If you would like someone to pray with you and tell you more about following Jesus,
please contact our office Monday to Friday, 9am – 2pm (CET).
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda