How to Fill an Empty Heart

How to Fill an Empty Heart
March 19, 2023
Passage: Matthew 12:43-45
Service Type:

Open up your Bible, or electronic device, whatever it is that you use for God's word, to Matthew chapter 12. We're going to look at the importance of the condition of the heart of man

  • Matthew 12:43-45

Here we find Jesus describing the spiritual condition of His day. He says that they are a wicked generation. He had previously in context described them as an evil and adulterous people. 

  • Matthew 12:38

And so, they were an evil and adulterous generation. They were seeking a sign. Now, you think about all of the miracles that Jesus had done by this point, there were plenty of signs that He had performed, just not what they were looking for. 

  • Matthew 12:41-42

You think about Jonah, that reluctant prophet didn't even want to go there, didn't want to preach God's message. He went anyway after God, of course, compelled him to do so, you might say. And he preached the word and he was upset because people repented at the word. 

They had something greater than the preaching of Jonah. They had something greater and more glorious than King Solomon and all of his wealth and glory. They had the Son of God right there in their midst, and yet they were looking for a sign, something else to show that He has authority or whatever it is that they were looking for. 

And so in our present text study, again, they're described as a wicked generation, and we know that because of what they did to the Messiah, they were a wicked generation.

Now He uses the example of demon possession here. He warned it is not enough just to go through the process of having one's sin forgiven, unless reformation continues and something positive is put in its place, the end then, might be worse than the beginning. This was the case with the Jews of Jesus' Day.

There is an important lesson to be gleaned from this that applies to us today as well. Is a lesson on the evils of neutrality or disinterest. We must replace evil with good in our alliance. And so again, He uses the illustration of the demon. We're not getting into what demon possession was about, or what demons are for this lesson. But, the demons are cast out, but there is no change of life, and when the demon comes back, well, he brings seven more with him. And the end is worse than the beginning. 

And so there is the danger of an empty heart. Here, the home that He's talking about here is really the heart.

The Danger of an Empty Heart

Our heart is like a home, and in it can reside things that produce much harm. 

  • Matthew 15:19-20 

Think about all of those things that come from within. That's what defiles us. It's not the fact that the disciples were eating and they hadn't ritually washed their hands in some way before eating that made them defiled. What defiles a person is what comes out. 

The heart can also be the source of much that is good.

  • Matthew 12:35

Just like home, there are things in there that can harm, and there are things that can be a source of much good. And so our heart is like a home. A house can be cleansed, a heart also can be cleansed.

  • Hebrews 10:22
  • Acts 15:8-9

All of the Jews who converted to Christ, and the Gentiles who converted to Christ, had their hearts purified by faith. And so our conscience, uh, you, our hearts can be purified. Our conscience can be purged from those old dead works of our past life. 

  • Hebrews 9:14

The blood of Christ makes it possible because of the forgiveness of our sins to purge our hearts from those old dead things that we served before and now to serve the living God. And so our house can be cleansed and we are then expected to fill our home.  

Through Faith, Christ Himself Dwells in our Heart

  • Ephesians 3:17

Christ dwells in the heart by faith and the fullness of God dwells in us by faith through the Word of God. 

God's peace and grace are what are supposed to fill our hearts. 

  • Colossians 3:15-16

Even God's law is to be written in our hearts. 

  • Hebrews 8:10

And so we're to fill our home, our heart with God's Word. We're to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom, we're to let that peace and grace fill us with the Word of God. [We're to let] His word, His law be written upon our hearts. 

Now, what happens though when we do not do so when we do not feel that heart, once it has been purged of the old things, those old sins? You've heard the maxim, that nature abhors a vacuum. Now that's just simply, expressing the idea that an empty, or unfilled space, is unnatural and it goes against the law of nature and anything empty of space is going to be filled. Something is going to come in and feel that space. 

If we Fail to Fill Our Hearts the End is Worse for Us

If we don't make an effort to fill our hearts with good things then evil things are likely to return, and with a vengeance. That's what happens in the parable. This demon that was cast out, and then he comes back and he brings seven other demons with him. And so, the end is worse than the beginning. 

Think about the example of the Corinthians. Corinth, the idea to corinthianize was the idea to be corrupted or defiled. That city was known so much for that wickedness. But, the brethren there had been washed, sanctified, and justified. 

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
  • 2 Corinthians 12:20-21

And so they once did all these things. They were washed, they were sanctified, they were justified. And here later he says they're doing the same things over again. And so, they had gotten rid of those things, but apparently, they don't fill their hearts the way they should have. And so, they regressed back into the sin.

You know, consider also the example of the false teachers, that Peter addresses. 

  • 2 Peter 2:1

He is talking about these false teachers. These false teachers had become Christians at one point. They had been bought by the Lord. And they had escaped the pollution of the world through Jesus Christ. 

  • 2 Peter 2:20, 21-22

Almost exactly what Jesus said in that parable where he talked about the demons being cast out and then coming back, the end is worse than the beginning. They had become entangled once more in those sins that they had once escaped. For them, the latter end is worse than the beginning.

How is the End Worse than the First? 

How is it that things become worse than at first? In the case of the false teachers, they had forsaken the right way. 

  • 2 Peter 2:15, 14, 1

You know, he said they were given to greed. You think about, Balaam his motivation for wanting to curse Israel was out of greed. It was out of money, a love of money. And so they had forsaken the right way in pursuit of wealth or something like that. They had eyes full of adultery.

Verse one says they even denied the Lord who bought them. And so, if that's the case, the end is worse than the beginning. Their latter end is worse than their beginning. 

And so how do these things become worse? They forsake the right way. Seek after adultery and covetousness, deny the Lord who bought us. 

The Dangers of a Hard Heart

Our hearts can also become hardened. 

  • Hebrews 3:12-13

To be hardened in sin, means you're insensitive to sin. It doesn't bother you anymore that you commit these sins. 

  • Hebrews 10:26-29

When we become so hardened to sin that we become insensitive to it, and we willfully sin, we trample the Son of God underfoot, and we count the blood of his coat and we count the blood that he shed upon the cross of no account whatsoever.

  • Hebrews 6:4-6

When we continue as a Christian to live in sin, we go back into sin and we live in sin, what are we in effect doing? We're nailing Christ back upon that cross. We're counting His blood that he already shed of no account. You know, we can reach the point where it becomes impossible to be renewed again to repentance where we are crucifying again the Son of God and putting Him to an open shame.

And so the last state, Peter says, of that man is worse than the first. 

How to Avoid Having an Empty Heart

How do we avoid having this empty heart that is filled with evil? Well, we've got to fill the home of the heart with something that is good. You know, we've gotta fill it in principle. 

1) Sanctify God in Your Heart

  • 1 Peter 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your heart. Give Him the first place in your heart. The word [sanctify] means to set apart. We're to set a special place in our hearts for God as a ruler of our lives. We must regard God as holy in our hearts. So fill it and sanctify the Lord God. 

2) Be Selective with What Goes into the Mind

Be selective with what goes into your mind. We are to set our minds on things that are above. 

  • Colossians 3:1-2

3) Let the Word of Christ Dwell within Your Heart

We are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.

  • Colossians 3:16

We need to follow the example of King David. 

  • Psalm 101:3-4 

 You know, David had said, I'm not gonna look any vain thing before me. I don't wanna be around wicked people. Now, maybe he wrote this after the sin with Bathsheba. I don't know, but, we're to follow that example, not to set a vain thing before ourselves. 

Remember we are to transform our character and we do so by, first of all, renewing our mind. 

  • Romans 12:1-2

We're to fill it in principle and we're to fill it in practice as well. We ought to utilize every opportunity to study God's word.

  •  1 Peter 2:1-2 

Ways to Guard Your Heart

  • We ought to attend every service of the church.
  • Participate in the Bible study programs that are offered. 
  • Read our Bibles daily. 
  • Fill our hearts with psalms and hymns as spiritual psalms. 
  • Sing spiritual songs.
  • Choose what you watch, carefully.
  • Choose what you read, carefully.
  • Choose your friends, wisely.

This is how you let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.

  • Colossians 3:16
  • Ephesians 5:18-19

Of course, we understand that the Spirit dwells in us through the Word. Christ dwells in us through the Word. God, dwells in us through the Word. 

As we think about God's word, as we sing these spiritual songs that reflect God's word, we're being filled with God's Word. You know we ought to sing at home, at church, in the car. Sing alone and sing with others at every opportunity. You are to let your mind dwell on things that are worthy of praise and worthy of virtues. 

  • Philippians 4:8

Of course, he gave a list of things that we ought to think about. Be selective also about what you watch on television, the movies on your phone, whatever. Choose, your books, and magazines, and what you read, carefully. 

Choose your friends carefully. Because evil companionships can corrupt good morals

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33

Your friends, will either help you to be strong or they will hinder your efforts.

  • Proverbs 13:20

We cannot have communion with darkness and expect the light of God to dwell in us. 

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14

May I ask you, what is the condition of your heart? Are you filling your heart with things that are good? If not, then your heart becomes an abode for every evil thing and the condition of your heart may become seven times worse than before. We've got to be cleansed from those things. 

You know, as one who maybe is not a Christian, you have not had those sins cleansed from your life. The only thing that will cleanse those sins from your life is the blood of Jesus Christ, which is applied to us when we are baptized for the remission of our sins.

  • Acts 22:16

That's how we have our hearts cleansed. We've got to cast out those evil things, turn away from those to repent of our sins and be baptized to have our sins washed away. But we also, as a Christian, must continue to fill our hearts with the things that God would have us do, with God's word and with a changed life. We've got to continue to be faithful to God. 

  • Revelation 2:10

If you're here today and you are a Christian and you have not been living right, you need to repent and you need to pray for forgiveness, and you need to come back to Christ tonight, we're here to help you if that's your state. If that's where you are in your Christian walk, we're here to help you to go to Heaven. 

If we can assist you in coming to Christ, please contact us