THE HARDENED HEART.
I. THE IRRATIONALITY OF UNBELIEF.
A. John tells us that Jesus had done many miracles before them, yet they did not believe.
1. Why is it that some people refuse to believe in Jesus Christ?
a. Jesus tells us that they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
b. Some are afraid of the cost. What they might be called upon to give up of their worldly ways. Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me."
2. John tells us something rather frightening in verse 39. He tells us that they could not believe.
3. He declares that God has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.
B. God had revealed His power to them. Jesus had done many miracles before them.
1. Sometimes we mistakenly think that if a person could just see a miracle, then surely they would believe. Not so.
2. Many times miracles only lead to a hardened heart.
C. I think of the Pharaoh of Egypt when Moses came with the demand for the release of God's people.
1. He began to work miracles before the Pharaoh.
2. We read that the Pharaoh hardened his heart.
3. Again we read that he hardened his heart.
4. Finally, we read that God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh.
a. The Hebrew word used for hardened when it declared that God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh, is different than when Pharaoh hardened his heart.
b. When God hardened his heart the word literally means made stiff the heart of Pharaoh.
5. You can over and over again harden your heart to the things of God, but there finally comes the day when God will step in and make stiff your resolve against Him.
6. It is possible for you to come to a place where you cannot believe.
7. That means that you will be hopelessly and irretrievably lost.
8. There is a time, we know not when, a line, we know not where, that marks the destiny of men, twixt sorrow and despair. There is a line, though by us unseen, once it has been crossed even God Himself, in all His love has sworn that all is lost.
D. The first time that Jesus came on the scene and worked a miracle, they were faced with the question, could this be the Messiah?
1. After much heart searching and discussion, they came to the opinion, no, He is not the Messiah.
2. The next time He performed a miracle, again the issue arose, could this be the Messiah? This time it was a little easier to reject, because they had already rejected Him once.
3. With each succeeding miracle the issue arose once again, and again their answer was no. Each time they said no, it was a little easier to do so.
4. Now they are faced with indisputable evidence by the raising of Lazarus from the dead. However, by this time they had said no so often, it was impossible for them to say yes.
5. Their unbelief had become irrational unbelief.
E. I am convinced that most unbelief is irrational.
1. God called man to reason, but for some, that has become impossible.
a. "Come now let us reason together saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, you may be as white as snow." Isa. 1:18
b. Paul tells us to present our bodies to Him as living sacrifices, for this is our reasonable service. It makes sense.
2. The psalmist David said, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
a. It is as instinctive for man to believe in God as it is for a bird to fly.
b. One of the arguments for the existence of God is the universality of the belief in God. Every culture, no matter how primitive, has some belief system in a higher power.
c. It is as though God has programmed it into the DNA, which some brain scientists have begun to suggest.
3. Paul tells us in Romans 1
, that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God but became vain in their imaginations. Their foolish hearts were darkened, and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools as they worshipped and served the creature, more than the Creator who is blessed forevermore.
a. It never ceases to amaze me the foolish lies that man will believe once he has rejected the truth of God.
b. A classic example is the absurdities of the theory of evolution. "Matter acting upon matter can produce anything, given sufficient time."
c. Logic tells me that chaos cannot organize itself into order.
d. Logic tells me you cannot have design without a Designer.
e. There must be thought behind order, and that Thinker is God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God, all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.
4. Solomon speaks of this Word or Thought that brought order out of chaos, and he calls it Wisdom. Concerning it he said,
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Riches and honour [are] with me; [yea], durable riches and righteousness.
My fruit [is] better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When [there were] no depths, I was brought forth; when [there were] no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
When he prepared the heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;
Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights [were] with the sons of men.
Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed [are they that] keep my ways.
Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
a. Basically Solomon is just confirming the rational logic that order does not just accidently rise from chaos.
b. The DNA code in every living cell is an information system.
c. To believe that the information in the DNA in the cell of your body was formed by random chance is as ridiculous as believing that the Encyclopedia Britannica was formed by an explosion in a print shop.
5. The scribes and Pharisees had come to a place where they could no longer be rational concerning Jesus Christ. In spite of the indisputable evidence, they could not believe.
F. One of the weapons that Satan often uses against an unsuspecting soul is the accusation that they have committed the unpardonable sin. He loves to put people under this mental torture.
1. As long as you have any desire or inclination toward Jesus, you have not committed the sin for which there is no forgiveness.
2. That drawing toward Him though it may be very faint at this point means that the Spirit of God is still striving with you.
3. It is possible that you are on the path to committing the unpardonable sin. God warned before sending the flood that destroyed the earth that His Spirit will not always strive with man.
4. In the days of Noah, man had gone too far in His blasphemies against God, our society is approaching that place once again.
5. Once a man has committed the unpardonable sin, I believe that God takes his life from him, there is no purpose in his continued existence. We live only to fellowship with God, when we have crossed over that line where we can no longer believe and be saved, there is absolutely no reason for our continued existence. As Jesus said concerning the fruitless tree, "Cut it down, why incumbereth it the ground?"