Monday, April 21, 2003
It's still one of the most amazing medical procedures ever developed - actually taking the heart of one person who has just died and shortly thereafter transplanting it into another person whose heart is failing. Today, over 2,000 of these heart transplants are performed every year in the United States. The first one took place in 1967, actually, in South Africa at a time when that country was racially divided by the system called apartheid. And the heart of a black accident victim was transplanted into the body of a sickly, 59-year-old man who happened to be white. And Christian Barnard, the heart surgeon who carried out this breakthrough operation, would go down in the pages of medical history with the giants.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Life-Changing Heart Surgery."
Now, while medical history records that the first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Barnard in the 1960s, real heart transplants were actually pioneered millennia ago - by the Master Heart Surgeon. And this miraculous procedure is more life changing than any medical procedure could ever be.
God describes this amazing transplant He wants to give each one of us in Ezekiel 11:19 and 20, our word for today from the Word of God. He says, "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh ... they will be My people, and I will be their God." That change of heart is something only God can do - it's beyond the ability of any counselor, any doctor, and religion. Only God can take a hard, cold, hurting heart and replace it with a heart that is able to heal, to feel, and to fully give and receive love - especially His love.
And maybe that "heart of stone" God talks about describes your own heart right now. You've been hurt, you've been disappointed, you've been exploited maybe, your dream has become a nightmare, you're feeling alone. Ground that's been walked on a lot gets very hard, and so does a heart that's been walked on.
But that heart of stone is like any physically unhealthy heart - it's slowing you down, dragging you down, damaging and even destroying relationships, and causing you more pain. It's time for you to accept Jesus' tender invitation to "come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) He's inviting you to come to Him and just pour out all that anger, all that bitterness, and all that pain. You could do that with someone else, but they don't have Jesus' healing power. Tell Him that you're tired of being shut down inside, of being so preoccupied with the past, with the pain. He came, the Bible says, to "bind up the brokenhearted" to give "prisoners release from darkness." (Isaiah 61:1)
This heart transplant miracle is not cheap, but it was paid for by Jesus Himself. Actually, it took His awful death on the cross to pay for every sin you've ever done and every sin ever done against you. So when you open your sin-hurt, sin-hardened heart to Him, He comes in with His awesome love and forgives you and heals you, and redirects you from a past that's been mostly about you to a future that's mostly about Him.
If you've never opened your heart to the one person who can give you a new beginning, you could tell Him you want to belong to Him right now, right where you are. If you want to begin your own personal relationship with Jesus, the Master Heart Surgeon, then I want to send you my booklet about this relationship. It's called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it.
There really is hope. It doesn't have to be like it's been for so long. You don't have to be like you've been for so long. Not when you let Dr. Jesus give you the miracle of a new heart.