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Being Truly Cleansed

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Being Truly Cleansed

Mark 7:1-23

I.                     Intro

a.        Whenever I hear someone say that Christianity is an organized religion as being a list of dos and don’ts- it is troubling- that is not what our faith is about

                                                               i.      You miss the entire point- it is about love

1.       When you love someone, you will do what pleases them, what is best for them, by nature of that sort of relationship, you will have a list

a.        I love my wife

                                                                                                                                       i.      I have a list of dos and donts

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Do’s

1.       Water the flowers, wash the dishes, feed the kids

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Don’ts

1.       Don’t forget her birthday, don’t forget our anniversary

2.       But what defines my love for my wife is not the list of dos and donts

a.        Yesterday, the kids caught us smooching

                                                                                                                                       i.      I never witnessed my parents ever kissing

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Unfortunate- they went through a period like many couples where there was very little affection

                                                                                                                                    iii.      But it did not stop them from their lists of things to do

1.       They worked hard, they cared for the family, they performed their duties

2.       And absent of love

                                                              ii.      When you examine religion, especially Christianity, it can be the same way

1.       Absent of love, you are left with routine, a list of dos and donts

b.       The Mishnah

                                                               i.      Was  Jewish compilation of oral laws made at the end of the 2nd century it stated, “Tradition is a fence around the law.”

1.       Tradition protected God Holy Word and it assisted its people in keeping the law

2.       This fence began well enough, but as time passed the corruption and the wisdom of men produced absurdities

                                                              ii.      Protecting the Sabbath

1.       There was a list of prohibitions

a.        Looking in the mirror was forbidden- when you look you might see a white hair- tempted to pull it out- work on the Sabbath

b.       You cannot wear false teeth- what if they fell out, you would have to bend over and pick them up, clean them and put them back in- work

c.        You could wear a handkerchief, but not carry one- would be a burden

                                                                                                                                       i.      That meant if you were upstairs and wanted to go downstairs, you would tie it around your neck walk downstairs and untie it and bow your nose outside

2.       Rabbis would even debate if a man had a wooden leg and his house caught fire- could he carry his wooden leg outside considered work?

                                                            iii.      As we reflect upon all these prohibitions ridiculous, that is the result of faith when it is void of love

1.       Legalistic rituals arise when one focuses upon the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law

a.        And the only way to effectively witness to someone who may criticize our faith is to reveal, the love for our Christ it should be reflected in our fences not building fences to know our Christ

Reading the Passage

Opening Prayer

c.       The Encounter With the Legalists, v.1-13

                                                               i.      The Pharisees were always examining this new rabbi from Nazareth with cynicism

1.       They notice that Jesus’ disciples were eating bread with unclean hands

a.        One of the fences of the tradition was their obsession with cleanness or ritual cleansing

b.       This arose out of commandments in the OT for priests to cleanse themselves, but 200 yrs before Christ, all pious Jews, including Pharisees were practicing this ritual

                                                              ii.      Their commitment to ritual cleansing made them extremely pious, self righteous, there is a swelling of arrogance and pride

1.       We have to make a note- I was in discussion just yesterday with Pastor Charlie, how he discovered that all Pharisees were not bad- they just got a bad rap for crucifying our Christ

a.        We know thee Pharisees to be bad

                                                                                                                                       i.      We know that is a confrontation with Christ- He will reveal their evil intentions

                                                                                                                                      ii.      V.1, they were from Jerusalem, a special theological hit crew sent especially from Jerusalem to seek out this Jesus

2.       When they saw the disciples not washing their hands, they pounced, v.5

a.        They wanted answers, it was a theological debate

b.       An aspect greatly missed in written medium is aora of the environment unless stated by the author

                                                                                                                                       i.      But we can sense some sort of sarcasim, condescending tone

1.       I am sure they had a great sense of arrogance about them, troubled that they had to travel all this way, for what, a carpenter masking as a teacher of the law

2.       I am sure they were not ready for Jesus’ retort, v.6

d.      Jesus Reveals Their Hypocrisy in Loving God, v.6

“These people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”  - Isaiah 29:13  “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”  V.8

1.        Can you imagine the anger that began to arise in the Pharisees

a.        You must understand that in some rabbinic schools, they taught that rabbinic teachings, traditions were higher than Scripture itself, this was an outrage to criticize the traditions of the elders

2.       But what might have been more insulting

a.        Jesus with one quote from scripture had stripped them of what was the basis of their own existence

                                                                                                                                       i.      What propagated their status was tradition, what made them feel superior was their own merit in keeping their traditions and for Christ to just stripped them of their self worth

b.       Enron

                                                                                                                                       i.      “The Smartest Guys in the Room”

·         Enron employed around 21,000 people

·         was one of the world’s leading electricity, natural gas, pulp and paper, and communications companies, with claimed revenues of $111 billion in 2000. Fortune named Enron “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six consecutive years

·         It achieved infamy at the end of 2001, when it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained mostly by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption.

o    They would set up offshore accounts so that they would avoid taxes to increase their profitablility

o    They would diversify, they create companies floated by the NYSE just on their credibility

o    Energy traders were out of control

·         the scandal caused the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen that willfully doctored the books

                                                             ii.      Notice what Jesus calls them, “hypocrites”

1.       A word in the Greek which means, pretender, an actor, a charlatan, pretending to someone other than what he is

                                                            iii.      But there was a far greater charge- how they were offending God in worship

1.       It is one thing to sin against men, but you cannot sin against God

“Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. And Christianity of that kind is nothing more or less than the end of discipleship. In such a religion there is trust in God, but no following of Christ… Discipleship without Jesus Christ is a way of our own choosing. Discipleship is not an offer man makes with Christ. In the gospels the very first step a man must take is an act which radically affects his whole existence.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

·         The approaches of different churches:

o    The Catholics- extraordinary possibly which only monks could achieve

o    The Lutherans- to take the first step, it is not necessary to surrender one’s freedom. Come to church! You can do that of your own will- you can leave you home on Sunday morning and come to hear the sermon, If you will not, you are of your own free will excluding yourself from the place where faith is a possibility.

§  You cannot dictate your terms in regard to your faith

§  You may hear terminology such as invite Jesus into your heart, invite Him into your life, accept Him, I found Jesus, none of these are scriptural

·         There are only three phrases we should follow

o    Repent of your sins, confess that Jesus is Lord and follow Him

o    No of these three is based upon your terms, there is negotiating

o    Luke 9, tells of man who desires to follow Christ, you can’t even do that without being called by Christ

§  When Jesus calls, we follow, not when we feel like it, not when we are convicted to, we follow based upon one fact, He is Christ- His identity alone is the authority in which He calls and in which we follow

§  Are you still dictating your own terms with Jesus

·         Sunday service is optional

·         It is not a legalistic mandate- holding tot eh letter of the law

o    But to one who loves God, worships Him and follows in obedience to his Son, would honor God on the Day He has given us, to honor Him

o    That makes it a non-option

·         We are not Dsineyland have turnstiles

o    My responsibility- We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

e.      Jesus Reveals Their Hypocrisy in Loving Their Neighbor, v. 9

                                                               i.      When the scribe asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment

1.       “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  Matthew 22:37-40

2.       The second tablet of the Ten Commandments dealt with loving your neighbors

a.        By placing the honor thy parents as the very first of the commandments dealing with your neighbor, reveals the importance to God our love, respect for our parents

b.       Loving your neighbor first begins in your own homes

                                                                                                                                       i.      The Levitical law went one step further, that those who speak ill about their parents were to be executed

                                                              ii.      Every Jew understood the Fifth Commandment, “Honor thy Parents”

1.       Every culture has traces of God’s righteousness for we are all created in His image, it is just tainted and corrupted in sin- Paul writes in Romans 2-

II.                    For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, Romans 2:14-15

1.       There is no culture in the world that has a higher esteem for their blood, family as the Jews, because it was instructed by the God, to love, to care for their families

a.        The work of satan is to attack God at every turn

                                                                                                                                       i.      Through human traditions came their hypocrisy in loving their parents

2.       Honoring one’s parents meant to care for them in their elderly age, but scribal tradition got around that

a.        Simply say one’s possession were Corban (given to God)

b.       Even if man makes such a vow in anger, tradition would make him keep his vow, for his vow to God was more important to his parents

                                                                                                                                       i.      This was a twisting of the Word of God for their own purposes

1.       This revealed their hypocrisy, those who justified the law themselves would modify it so that they could escape the authority of the law

c.        He had the Pharisees reeling and the crowd is watching with anticipation as to what is about to happen next

III.                Teaching for the Legalists, v. 14-23

a.       False Salvation is From the Outside In

b.       What He says is revolutionary, v. 14-15

                                                               i.      “In laying down the principle that uncleanness come from within, and not from without, Jesus’ pronouncement stated the truth, uncommon in contemporary Judaism, which was destined to free Christianity from the bondage of legalism.”  Dr. Vincent Taylor, the Gospel According to St. Mark

                                                              ii.      “the most revolutionary passage in the New Testament”

1.       We just don’t get it because we are not Jews

a.        Kashrut, the dietery laws of Jews dates back to Leviticus 11

                                                                                                                                       i.      Pigs have become the most notable

                                                            iii.      What was Jesus saying- put away your silly traditions and let’s examine the truth

1.       No matter how physically polluted the food you may intake it cannot alter nor effect your spiritual condition

2.       And vicea versa- no external cleansing rituals can make one spiritually clean

c.        But those who have been so engrained in such teachings, it is hard to have them relinquish their beliefs, including the disciples, v.17

                                                               i.      “why don’t you get it?”

                                                              ii.      States it out for them again, 18-19

1.       Food s for the stomach, it has no spiritual value, it goes to the stomach not he heart and then passes out as excrement- that’s it, that is the only purpose it serves- it has nothing to do with you being accepted by God or not

a.       In application, it may be difficult for us to grasp since we are not Jews and haven’t been brought up with rabbinic teachings of Kashrut

b.       It’s like next Sunday, I preach from the gospel of Sung Chang tell you, for you to enter into heaven, you must confess that Jesus is Christ and you have to eat kimchi three times a day

                                                                                                                                       i.      But we see legalism everywhere, there is another pastor Rev. Moon of the Unification Church, self proclaimed Christ, who says Jesus failed, that is why He died, he came to make it right for you to be cleansed of sin, you must be married and have a perfect families

c.        You look at other religions of the world it is all work based, merit based, what you have to do in order to receive salvation

                                                                                                                                       i.      Except Christianity, we have assurance, “Blessed Assurance”

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Our salvation is based upon the work of Christ, the perfect unblemished lamb of God

                                                            iii.      Differences of Legalism and Lordship

1.       Legalism causes you to work for salvation

2.       Discipleship is the result of salvation

a.        Legalism tells you that you must do these things to be saved

b.       Discipleship is a consequence of being saved

                                                                                                                                       i.      Legalism makes God void

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Discipleship makes God valid

d.        True Salvation is Inside Out, v.20-23

                                                               i.      Whenever Jesus confronts the Pharisees, it is the same issue, that true salvation comes from within

                                                              ii.      Jesus is telling of what is contained in the inner sanctum of a sinful man

1.       The evil thoughts (dialogismoi hoi kakoi)  evil reasonings to oneself

2.       Sexual immorality (porneiai)

3.       Thiefs (klepai) kleptomania

4.       Murders (moikeiai)

5.       Greed deeds of coveting (pleonexai) an appetite for the belongs of others

6.       Deceit (dolos) to bait or to deceive others

7.       Lewdness or sensualities (aselgia) plunging into moral debauchery in open defiance of public opinion

8.       Slander (blasphemia) blasphemy against God or man

9.       Pride or arrogance, the sin of self praising person who has contempt for everyone but himself

a.        This is pretty grim, words of description from the lips of our Lord to describe a man without grace, but how accurate He is

                                                            iii.      It is the inner man, the heart of a man that is the problem

1.       That is what is so foreign to man- we have such a deluded view of our own hearts, we just want to see the good things we have done

a.        “I am a good person, I do this I do that.”  Judging oneself in the light of others, to say you are good it is a relative term, what is your standard of good?

                                                                                                                                       i.      I’m a good person compared to Hitler, to Stalin

2.       Romans 3:9-17

3.       If you are going to measure yourself, you must do so with the only standard of goodness- Jesus Christ, it is only that standard that will be acceptable

a.        Don’t ever find yourself saying you are a good person, why wouldn’t God accept me, why wouldn’t he like me

                                                                                                                                       i.      God doesn’t like you, He loves you, big difference

                                                                                                                                     ii.      We are not called to like people, we are called to love people, just as He has loved us, and if we abide in Him, we ought to walk in the same manner as He has walked,  1 John 2:6.

                                                            iv.      Let no one deceive you, better yet, do not deceive yourself

1.       True cleansing can only come through the perfect, complete work of Jesus Christ

2.       By trusting in Christ, you assured to be accepted by God, to know God and to love God

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