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The Tragedy Of Tradition (Mark [7]1-13)

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The Tragedy Of Tradition

Text: Mark 7:1-13

Place Preached - (Mississauga International Baptist Church)

Date Preached - (04/26/98)


Dictionary Definition: - Attitudes, beliefs, principles and conventions of behaviour, deriving from past experience and helping to shape the present.  They are established by constant practice and handed down from generation to generation.

Traditions can be cultural, familial, or religious.

Tradition can be a good thing.

(2 Th 3:6 KJV)  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

It can also be an insidious evil.  It becomes so when it is out of it’s rightful place, when God’s Word is discarded for tradition. 

(1 Pet 1:18 KJV)  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

(Col 2:8 KJV)  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

This had become the case with Pharasaical tradition.  Explain

·         The Pharisees as a group arose in the inter-testamental period.

·         They were devoted to protecting and preserving Jewish belief from outside influences.

·         Traditions were a means of doing this.  They described them as “the fence of the law”.

·         Here is how these traditions developed.

1.     Tradition was explanation or application of the law.

2.     Tradition was used to interpret the law.

3.     Tradition became an interpretation of an interpretation of an interpretation of the law.

Things were now at the point where tradition was so distant from the law that the law was no longer recognizable to those blinded by tradition.

Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees was based on their wrongful emphasis on tradition, and their development of tradition which had no basis whatsoever in the law.

Jesus takes issue with the Pharisees and explains to them the problems with their tradition.

The same is true for us.  Do not get caught in the trap of elevating human tradition above God’s Word.

I. Shallow In It’s Words

Jesus Calls the Pharisees hypocrites (actors on a stage).

In other words they have a false profession.

(Isa 29:13 KJV)  Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

A. Tradition fails to hit it’s intended mark.  See Vs. 18-23

B. App:  Good works w/o the knowledge of Christ as Saviour.

You may say the right thing and many times even do the right thing, but you are estranged from God.

C. ILLUS:  The Three Yous.

1.     The person you would like to be

2.     The person others believe you to be

3.     The person God knows you to be.

II. Superficial In It’s Worship vs.7

A. Emptiness of Worship

People have some wrong ideas on worship.

The liturgy, sacraments, flowing robes, religious pomp and ceremony, granduer, ornate sanctuaries and furnishings, but no power with God.

The form of worship without the function.

Emotion, crying, singing waving your arms etc.

What does the Bible say?

John 4:19-24  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

B. ILLUS:  Which do you prefer?

A restaurant meal on the finest gilt-edged china etc.  Little food and a big price.  Or all you can eat on plain white corel?

There is lot’s of religion, but little spiritual food to be found.

III. Self-Satisfied In It’s Attitude vs.8-9

Tradition becomes a matter of pride.

A. Laying Aside God’s commandment

B. Rejecting God’s Commandment

C. Example vs.10-11

IV. Claim’s superiority over God’s Word vs.13

A. Sole authority.

It is the only, and it is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  It must govern our conscience and our conduct.

B. Either Accept it or Reject it

When it comes to the authority of God’s Word, there is no middle ground.

(Mat 5:18 KJV)  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

(Psa 138:2 KJV)  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

C. When Tradition Collides with God’s Word.....

Tradition, not God’s word must give way.


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