My First Sermon at Seminary

This is an outline of the first sermon I preached at seminary six years ago:

2 Chronicles 25:2: “The Danger of A Divided Heart”

Read 2 Chronicles 25:1-4, 14-16.

Prayer

(Introduction) My prayer for you this afternoon is that you would not end your life like that of Amaziah but serve God with all of your heart.

He started off well but ended his life in idolatry and under the judgment of God.

So many seminary students eventually drop out of ministry because of the idolatrous desires of their heart.  Adultery, money, insecurity.

God is not looking for namby-pamby Christians but for those who will serve him with undivided hearts.

Proposition: I call upon you to “Serve God with An Undivided Heart.”

What idols are preventing you from serving God with a whole heart?

What is it that consumes your thoughts?  That is what you worship and that is your god.

We see in this passage four ways that we can serve God with a divided heart that we must keep away from: idolatry, hypocrisy, greed, and unbelief.

(1) You can serve God with a divided heart by setting up idols that divide your worship between God and the world: Verse 14 worship of idols. 

According to 2 Kings 14:4 Amaziah also refused to take down the high places where idolatry was committed. 

Do not set up idols in your life that divide your loyalty to Christ.  Forsake the idols of your heart.  Do not have an undivided heart.

Hudson Taylor: “The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will.” 

Wilbur Chapman: “Christian! It is not the ship in the water, but the water in the ship, which sinks it. So it is not the Christian in the world, but the world in the Christian, which constitutes the danger. Anything which dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it!”

Don’t Waste Your Theological Education by neglecting personal worship, Bible reading and prayer, not evangelizing, not serving in the church, setting aside fellowship and accountability with fellow brothers in Christ, and not dealing seriously with the sin in your life.

Philip Jacob Spener: “A young man who fervently loves God, although adorned with limited gifts, will be more useful to the church of God with his meager talent and academic achievement than a vain and worldly fool with double doctor’s degrees who is very clever but has not been taught by God.”

(2) You can serve God with a divided heart by being a hypocrite: Verse 4 – partly obeyed the Law of Moses. 

Avoid hypocrisy: Amaziah obeyed the Law of Moses in not killing their children according to Deuteronomy 24:16 but broke the first commandment by committing idolatry 25:14.

(3) You can serve God with a divided heart by making wealth your treasure: Verse 9 – response to the man of God.

Do not make wealth your treasure: his treasure was in his wealth. 

Following the Lord is costly. 

The Lord will repay you for the sacrifices you have made on behalf of his kingdom as the prophet says.

(4) You can serve God with a divided heart by ignoring the Word of God: Verse 16 – rebukes the prophet. 

Do not ignore God’s warning in Scripture:

God sends people into our lives to turn us from our idolatry. 

Have you said to them what Amaziah said to the prophet?

(Conclusion) Half-hearted worship results in the judgment of God 25:17.

Pray that God would open your eyes to your sin unlike Amaziah – Verse 20

Hebrews 3:12-13: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

God disciplines his children to turn them from their idolatry in order that they may serve him with a whole heart.

Hebrews 12:6-8: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”

Have you been like Amaziah?  Have you started off well but have lost your first love?

Do not let your end be like that of Amaziah – it is the end the counts.

Will people remember you as a half-hearted servant of God or as one who is fully committed to doing God’s will in every area of your life?

What is it in your life that you have to forsake to serve God with a whole heart?

What is it that you are worshiping beside God that is dividing your heart?

Ask yourself, “Will this divide my heart in my obedience to Christ?”

Whatever it is, that is idolatry.  Confess it to God, repent of it and forsake it.

Closing prayer: Do not let our end be like that of Amaziah but of the Apostle Paul.

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