Sin, The Problem of the Heart

Bible Book: Jeremiah  17 : 9-10
Subject: Heart; Sin

Tragic events such as the one at the Virginia Tech campus were disturbing. What could cause a young student to take the life of thirty-two people as well as his own? We are troubled by the evil of such acts. These horrible acts of violence are even more disturbing because they reveal the dark side of human nature that we all share. We may try hard to excuse ourselves by saying this young man was mentally sick. We see murder as a terrible sin, which it is, but in the eyes of God all sin is hideous. Man’s greatest problem is his heart.

I. Sinfulness of the Heart


The sinfulness of the heart is revealed in the desire to commit sin even if the act is never carried out.

“. . . I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Gen. 8:21)


Gen. 8:21 (wicked means: “corrupt, incurable”)

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23

Bishop J. C. Ryle wrote, “We need no bad company to teach us, and no devil to tempt us, in order to run into sin. We have within us the beginning of every sin under heaven.”

II. Searcher of the Heart


1. Reveal the secrets of the heart.

“ Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Ps. 44:21

“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hidden, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Luke 8:17

2. Reveal the sins of the heart.

“Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” Ps. 90:8

God’s Word thunders from heaven, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10) “For all have sinned, and come shot of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)


1. Method of examining the heart.

a. Holy Scriptures.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:12-13

b. Holy Spirit.

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Ps. 139:7-12

2. Method of exposing the heart.

a. Exposing through testing. (Abraham & Job)

“But He knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tested me I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

b. Exposing through temptation.

1. God does not tempt people to sin. James 1:13-15

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:13-15

Temptation can bring the evil of our hearts to the surface.  (Achan and David)

2. Temptation is common to man.

1 Cor. 10:13

III. Solution for the Heart


“Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47

“. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3


“Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26


1. We must recognize the sinfulness of our heart and the power of temptation.

2. We should pray as the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

3. Like Job, we must repent of our sin. “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6) Jesus said, “. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

4. The remedy for a sinful heart is the new birth. Have you been born again?