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The Hardened Heart

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2022 7:00 pm

The Hardened Heart

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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June 5, 2022 7:00 pm

Join us as we worship our Triune God- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Have your Bibles with you as you turn with me to Mark chapter 6 and will start off by looking at verses 14 to 16, King Herod heard of it, for Jesus name had become known. Some said John the Baptist been raising the dead is why these miraculous powers are at work in him. Another said he is Elijah another say it is a prophet like one of the prophets of old, but when Herod heard of it. He said John we might be headed has been raised that with me as we get our Lord in prayer only. Father, we continue to pray for Fran, releasing start radiation and chemotherapy this coming week is to strengthen her. We pray for the cancer to dissipate. Pray for Susan Gray help her to completely heal with her heart issues Nicole Luddy's helper to get completely over this vertigo pray for this congregation.

Congregational Grace Church, you would soften our hearts give us a sensitivity to your leading live in a world that is become enamored with CN and resentful of the truth. How can we not fall into that trap. How can we resist the temptation to reject your principles and your grace.

Just give ourselves over to whatever brings us pleasure father Mike is wise to the deception of the flesh.

Make us aware of the strategy of Satan fill us with the love your word and fill us with a desire to please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Father use Herod's example to put the fear of God into our hearts.

Help us to run from the compromise that destroyed this man's soul keep my lips from arrow help me to preach the word faithfully. What is the precious and holy name of Jesus that I pray, amen.

You may be seated. I have shared this illustration with you before if you remember it please hold on with me. This illustration that perfectly illustrates the point that I will try to get across to you today. Several years ago when I was in my former church.

I got a telephone call about a half-hour before sending a night service was supposed to start the woman in the community and chief citizens. Pastor Doug and I said yes and she told me who it was and then she said that her husband had cancer and that he was up not doing well that he was in the last stages of cancer and they were sure that he would even make it through the night and she said Pastor Doug, could you come right now. She too could you comment and read Scripture to aim and pray for him and talk to you about the Lord and I said ma'am. I'm getting ready to preach in just a few minutes but my music minister was there. Jim Kelly and I told him the situation had to say Jim could you possibly go. He said I'll get Doug Joyner to delete the music for me and and yes I'll go right now it and he took off will about 45 minutes into the service so Jim come back in the back of the church. He sat down in and waited and and then the service ended and Jim made his way straight to May.

His face was white as a sheet and also Jim, what, what's wrong. He said I got never seen anything like this in my entire life.

He said I walked into that man's bedroom. He said I have my Bible in my hand and he said when he saw my Bible. He looked at me and said get out of here right now and NADH and I said listen I just wanted to to come and share the truth with you.

I wanted to share some Scripture with you wanted to pray for you and he said I told you to get out and get out right now.

Jim said he started backing up toward the door and his wife apologized doing this.

All the sudden he said that man just, grunted and then the East sat up straight in bed and he said all the sudden he screamed out she gave an then he flopped back in the bed and he said, his eyes were closed and his breathing stopped his wife whenever she checked on. She looked up at Jim and she said he's dead. Jim looked at me and he had tears in his eyes and he said Doug. He said that man entered into eternity. Cursing the name of the Lord.

What makes a person what makes a person's heart that hard. I had talked to his elderly mother. A few days after that she was a Christian she shared with me that she raised him in a Christian home and that all through his childhood and all through high school he went to church. Then he got into his college years Annie said to her.

Not going to church anymore. I find it empty. I find it meaningless and I'm not going and she said that the transformation in his life was scary. It was not that he was apathetic or lethargic toward Christianity. She said he was antagonistic and hostile. He hated God any pain to the people of God. She said he would see name, the EU, he would send her articles a through the week since he was often college articles about pastors that it had gotten Colden's sex scandals and money scandals and it just got worse and worse, that he would send her articles about churches that were split not because the people in the church couldn't get along with each other and he would laugh about that. She said he could point out a hypocrite a mile away and then say about that hypocrite. That's the reason I'm not going to church anymore. I don't have anything to do with it what makes a person what makes a person's heart that hard.

Listen to the statement carefully. The people of the hardest hearts in this world are not the drunkards and the drug addicts.

The prostitutes and the homeless people on skid Road. The people that have the hardest hearts of the people that hear the truth of God over and over and over and over again and just kinda go through the motions their church attenders who hear the word of God and instead of repenting. I want to put God off. I said no not now maybe later but I have seen that I want to enjoy. I have pleasure that I want to get into and I'm not ready for that nail. I think that they can do this on their own timetable and they turn away and their heart becomes more and more calloused to the get to the point where they just don't care today I want to look up at a man in Scripture that is a prime example of a hardened heart is name is here and anime sees the son of King Herod the great is a teacher arc of Galilee and Paris, and in verse 14, we are told that there was a messenger that came in, gave him a message and the message was about Jesus healing the sick and casting out demons and raising the dead and turning water into wine and he said in the messenger Ptolemy said some are saying that this is Elijah Sommer saying that this is the prophet of Deuteronomy chapter 18 and and then Herod stood up and said no no I know who this is.

I know exactly who this is. This is the man that I had murdered. This is this is John the Baptist and he is risen from the dead and of course he was wrong.

But what led him to that conclusion. What led him to believe such a thing. It was the overworking of a guilty conscience he had murdered an innocent man, and not only an innocent man but a man of God's conscience was bothering him so bad they ate. He was just about to lose his mind. He would go to bed at night.

He had these dreams about this blooding silver platter with the head of John the Baptist purchased on here Woodman out and though in the woods and every time he would he would chop on a tree here that flood and it went over and over again, and he would hear the name John John John John you see the prison that were bonding with Johnny to see the jailer it would remind him of John and then this messenger comes to him, tells him about the ministry of Jesus and what Jesus was doing here in Israel and he says I know exactly who that is. John the Baptist raised from the dead, totally wrong conclusion. What land all that John the Baptist has been out by the Jordan River preaching his heart out these preaching to Israel to turn from their sins. To repent and turn to the Lord is getting Israel prepared for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ pays for. He's pointing out the sins of the soldiers and the sins of the of the religious leaders the sins of the tax collectors.

These preaching his heart out until he is shucking the corn. He is preaching with great great power and conviction that we know from what Scripture tells us that Herodias hated John the Baptist and hated him with a passion. We know that at some point John the Baptist had pointed out Herod's sin in the Herodias's sin of entering into this wrong adulterous relationship now when that happened the Bible doesn't exactly tell us what I like to do is to give you a scenario that's just my conjecture. I'm not sure exactly that happened this way but I think it's a very good possibility. King Herod heard about this profit.

The prophet John. He decides to go out take a look for himself so they get their black shiny chariot. They ride out to the hill that overlooks the Jordan River and there is he gets on the top that he'll he sees John, this is where John's preaching and and baptizing. There is a huge crowd. They are John's preaching his heart out. He is a is preaching to the people to repent, to turn from their sin.

He is preaching about about the coming Messiah.

There are many many people are coming to John and they sin, we are guilty we need to repent and John baptizes them with the baptism of repentance, but is Herod and his entourage arrived at the top of that heel with her bodyguards all around him and is all that is taking place makes kind of a lot of noise and so people turn around. They look to see what's going on and then John looks up and he sees. Everybody starts thinking himself. No John, don't do it.

Don't say anything to him. John you get yourself in trouble. It's not worth it. Don't do it. John John the Baptist as a prophet of God, and we got to speak. He speaks all hail can't stop him from speaking and so the Holy Spirit of God just speaks through John any looks up at Herod and he points out that heel and he said Herod repent. He said your your living with your brother's wife you committing adultery. It's an abomination before God. Repent. I can imagine Herodias slipping down in that chariot. She's embarrassed today as she didn't want anybody to see your and here's here and think it is simply nobody's ever talk to me like that before and they get in the chariot and in the Herod turns her around to the chariot driver says get us out of here and get us out of here weekly. That's a situation or at least how it could have been.

We know that John said this to Herod and and and Herodias it one at some time. I think it could be like that.

What took place over the next few months that hardened hardened his heart on share with you six problems that came up into his life that I think hardened his heart. Number one toleration of unwise counsel toleration of unwise counsel equipment. Verse 17 it was Herod who sent sees John and found him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife because he had married her now might be wrong but I think if if John had gone to two Herod privately. We have listened to him at least a little bit anyway. Herod was not buying sailed his wife are mistress or whatever she was late, late that they she was with. She was with. And I mean to tell you when all this happened.

She was on him like ugly on eight what went when he went she heard all this, she was mad you've heard Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She was leaving that out. She was so mad the streams coming overhead. She was cursing John the Baptist. She was cursing Herod and she said I can't believe that he embarrassed me like that in front of everybody. They said he said what he is most intolerant man I've ever seen. These A's not right. This is this is bad. He should not of done this and she said listen, if you don't do something about him.

If you don't have him arrested him to make your life miserable. And that chariot is thinking himself.

I don't really want to imprison John. Everybody seems to loving. I don't really want to do this, but the DDN make us look awful bad and he did do some some saying some things that just hurt me and now if I if I don't do something about it. My wife will make my life miserable. So what did he do to the Council of Herodias, and he had John arrested and thrown into the palace dungeon people. Be very careful of the Council that you tolerate and Psalm chapter 1 verse one was David who said, blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, the corollary of that is miserable is the man who walks in the way of the ungodly.

What is unwise counsel. Unwise counsel is when somebody is counseling you to disobey God's word teenagers, young people, it is those friends of yours who tell you to to throw away her virginity. Oh, it doesn't really matter. You need to have this exciting experience, or those friends that tell you. Go ahead and try marijuana. Everybody's doing it one not or that man at work. Your buddy who tells you go ahead and get involved in extramarital affair man, it'll be so exciting. The most exhilarating thing that you've ever done. Proverbs 1921 says, there are many devices in a man's heart never list the counsel of the Lord shall stand so oftentimes a nave heart will begin to harden when it begins to tolerate unwise counsel number two. He was taken in by religious accommodation. Look at verse 24 Herod feared God, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man and he kept them safe when he heard him, he was greatly perplexed and yet he hurting gladly. Herod was not an atheist.

He was not an anti-religious man.

He had respect for John the Baptist and admiration for him.

But now he's standing there by himself and is thinking to himself while I'm the top political official in the entire land I have position. I have possessions. I have stuff I have all the pleasurable things that I can ever desire right there at my disposal, but yet I don't have peace and I don't have joint and I don't know what's gonna happen to me when I die. Then he looks at John the Baptist's nieces look at the difference here is John the Baptist who has nothing materially.

He's living out in the desert eats off the land Locust and while Honey's he's got nothing except at the close on his back is all the material possessions. He hands and yet he's got unbelievable. Please, and he's got great great joy and he's not afraid of anything.

P evening afraid of death. He said I can look at John and I can see the Lord in his eyes, and I think Herod was saying man John Scott something that I just don't have.

So we got that he's got John down and in the palace dungeon and I think probably a couple times a week when his wife would go to the beauty shop I he would sneak down and and talk to John Locke and see me goes a Texas Cherry turns around and sits down in it. John's in this sale right in front of them and he says to John Wright, John, tell me about this God you serve. Why is it that you would rather stay in this stinking prison sale just chained up like an animal you would rather do that and be free as a bird.

They said why would you rather do that when you can just shut your mouth and go free. He said, is your God really worth it. I can see John the Baptist stand up and I mean he begins to preach, he tells them about the steadfast love of Jehovah. He tells them about God's sovereignty and God's holiness and God's power. He tells him about the law of God and the consequences for breaking the law of God and the Scripture says that Herod heard him gladly was going on there.

Here's the preaching of God's word, he hears great truth. Here's things that all the convict his heart but he listen so that he walks out and he does nothing about it.

I mean there's no repentance there's no real brokenness. He does nothing about it. There is no change and there is no repentance. What is that I call that religious accommodation is just going through the motions is what James is talking about when he said that we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, a preacher's job is not to entertain you is not to stimulate you intellectually.

It is not to give you philosophies of life that you might mull over the preacher's responsibility is to teach you what the word of God says and how that is to be applied to your life. The preacher's responsibility is to challenge you with the gospel, but it was Jesus who said I said if anyone be my disciple. Letting denying sale take up his cross daily and follow me. And what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul.

Okay, that challenge right there man's response. What kind of response. Maybe breaking down damages crime maybe yielding to it be absolutely broken by it but don't listen to a challenge like that and say so what or okay or yeah that probably sounds right but I really don't want to deal with it at this point in time that is extremely dangerous and if you do this you are on the road to hardened heart .3. Toying with sinful pleasure. Verse 21 to 22 but opportunity came when Herod on his birthday, gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and leading the legality for neuritis's daughter came in a dance she please Herod and his gasp and the king said to the girl asked me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you queen Herodias was not only evil.

She was extremely smart. She knew and was waiting for the perfect time and so on Herod's birthday. She invited all Herod's friends. They have military commanders political officials they hide luckily much later in Israel and she invited them all to come and celebrate with him on his birthday. She also knew Herod's weakness and that weakness was lust so she brought her own daughter in to dance before Herod and all these all these other friends.

The girl comes in. She does is very wicked, very seductive dance in the manner yelling and screaming in and screaming out lewd comments to her just going through all the Essen and ended doing that. Heart was burning so hot was lust that EP could even think straight. But listen the devils, not stupid didn't go fishing without attractive bait. He knows where your weaknesses are.

He knows where your vulnerabilities are, and he knows the exact best time to tempt you.

Now I'm not a legalist. I love the grace of God I want to extol the grace of God.

Every opportunity that I get.

I don't think that God loves me more because I obey his law or I'm faithful to a commandment that he gives. I don't think that it all. I know that God's God's grace is built on his mercy not only thing that I do understand that but I'm learning this lesson when I am slack and I am lazy in my obedience to God when I find myself making the soft easy decisions in life.

I lose the sense of God's presence in my life and I lose my spiritual age and so and Psalm 101 verse three. David said I will set no wicked thing before my eyes. Men there's no way in the world. A man can sit in his living room and watch some of the channels that are on TV right now that are accessible just about anybody and watch the sensual things that come through that TV is no way he can do that and keep his spiritual age is no way that a lady can read some of the articles in some of these women's magazines and it not affect your your walk with God.

So when we decide to quit finding and and just to be passive with these things that God is dealing with our heart about. We are on the road to hardened heart .4 is trifling with vials verses 22 through 23 for not Herodias's daughter came in a dance she please, Herod, in his gasp and the king said to the girl asked me for whatever you wish, and I'll give it to any valid to her. Whatever you ask me I will give it to you to have my kingdom. You know they're stupid and there's real stupid. This was real stupid. Here's Herod's friends are there. Wishing you happy birthday pat him on the back telling him what a great guy is.

And this girl comes in.

She starts dancing, everybody's yelling and screaming.

Always lewd comments and all the stuff and Herod says to her, all honey said you have made me so happy you have made our guest so happy I say when I monitored.

I'm going to give you anything that you won't up to half my kingdom that that's bad enough, but then he says one minute I swear to do this by now that I will do this. Yes, you can ask anything you won't up to have my kingdom and it's yours. So the girl says wait just a minute I'm going to counsel with mom and she runs back to Herodias whose sit there like a ravenous dog waiting for the daughter to get there.

Herodias says what what was going on and what did he say and she said well he said that I can have anything.

I won't up to half of his kingdom and she smiles wickedly and she said it worked I guiding I guiding nothing else would've gotten with this will getting because he's trapped by his own veil that it's just an interesting thing to me now. He never said this with his lips, but I think what's running through his mind is, is that he he understands what's going on with Herodias and he hates it with a passion. He's trying to figure out what he should do with it. The best thing that he could've done with it is the S PA could he could us have a little bit of backbone and he could've said, listen, listen, Salom was Herodias's daughter Lisa listen to me.

John the Baptist belongs in my half the kingdom, and no I will not put him to death.

It's not going to happen party over the could've done that but he didn't do that. He looked at all his friends up there. They just been pat him on the back and telling what a good guy he was. He loves me in the center of attention. He loves being praised and and and the less people talking about Inc. in a right good way. He don't want to lose that and he knows now that this could be a very difficult thing he knows now that he's made a vow and if he breaks that bio then they may think bad of him. So what's happening.

He is trapped by peer pressure folks. It was Jesus himself who said woe unto you, when all men speak well of you John chapter chapter 12 verse 43.

The Scripture says that the rulers of Israel that they did not that they did not confess Jesus openly because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. Folks everybody likes to be accepted. Everybody likes to be praised.

Everybody likes to be loved and we like that, but we don't like criticism do we we don't like to be put down only tell you something if you stand for God, you stand for truth is coming because people call you narrow.

They will call you bigoted and they will say that you're just totally intolerant.

Here's got a decision to make murder or offend his friends. Integrity or compliance right or wrong.

Chose wrong is and will I guess I just got got a go ahead and do it on, trapped by my own veil. I guess I gotta go ahead and have him beheaded and he does it right .6 is tempered by the time which in turn all way back to the gospel of Luke chapter 23 versus 11 to 12 and Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him, then arraign him in splendid clothing descending back to pilot and Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that day for before this, they had been at enmity with each other in many months have passed by. Something's Taken Pl. in Herod's heart over those months right after. Had John the Baptist beheaded his conscience was killing. That's all he could think about all he could dream about. It was bothering him horribly.

Like I said when the he had a dream it was always dreaming about John the Baptist and and he could see in this bind the head of John the Baptist perched on that blood. He silver platter and it was just killing him.

His conscience was still very active at that point in time in several months have passed by and Pilate doesn't want have to be responsible for totally the one who condemns Jesus choice since Jesus to Herod, he says here you deal with this to Harris happy about this. He likes it in the Bible says that he let his soldiers to treat Jesus with contempt put a rope around his shoulders to make fun having a beating in the face. They laughed at them and they Martin and then Herod, sending back the pilot said you have my permission. You have my permission to take this man and crucify, I want you to nail him to the cross. That's what I want you to do with Jesus, but she did that with a smile on his face. It didn't bothering is no hurting heart is noted stinging conscience.

He didn't care it was a heart that was hardest on that's exactly what happened to the man that my music minister tried to to minister to his heart was so hard that he went into eternity. When into eternity. Cursing the Lord on share with you my John MacArthur's assessment of Herod. I thought this was good. This is enclosing his interactions with both John the Baptist and Jesus Herod animus stands like Judas is a monumentally tragic figure in history have the greatest manhood Everly of the most honored prophet of God in his hands and he locked in a dungeon until he had had him executed. More importantly, he had an audience with the King of Kings and he mocked him and turned him away such wasted opportunity was the result of his insidious love for sin is arrogant unwillingness to believe in is probably fear the truth.

Claim to rule over others, but in reality he was a man controlled by the fear of man is fear the people initially kept him from killing John his fear of his friends. Finally, compelled him to authorize John's execution is fear. John made them anxious when he heard about Jesus that is fear turned to scorn when he finally had audience with the son of God. Feared everyone except the Lord, and he lost his soul.

As a result, to put it plainly hardened his heart and heart is the result of not having a fear of God. Folks, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the holy is understanding we ask you something. Are you going through the motions hearing the church here in the truth. The church you hearing the responsibility that you have, to turn from your sin and repent and are you pushing that away.

Are you saying that really matter.

I can deal with this later.

I've got a long time to live. I can I can get saved later in that way I can enjoy my sin, which you know that's a dangerous dangerous position to be in. And if you're in that position. I would caution you with all my heart. Turn from that room to Jesus who has great mercy in his blood will wash away all of your sin spray heavenly father we study today.

The progressive nature of heart hardening. We think that compromise is no big deal. We don't realize that with every compromise we make, we lose sensitivity to your spirit.

Help us to look at Herod and shutter help us to realize that the heart hardening process is real and it's dangerous give us motivation and heart that we refuse to compromise when conviction comes make us quick to repent, make us hungry to please you. We love you Lord help us to love you more parts in Jesus precious and holy name we pray. Amen


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