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2007-06-10_From The Heart_Matthew 15.1-20_SL

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From the Heart

Matthew 15:1-20   |   Shaun LePage   |   June 10, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Children’s Sermon: What’s inside is what really matters! 2 balloons, 1 helium, 1 air (doesn’t it look just as good?); ceiling represents God; 1 stays far away, the other gets close to God. Draw rocket on outside of air balloon—work better? What do we need inside to get close to God? Trust Jesus who gives HS; God’s Word in our hearts; clean of sin.

B.    Mt. 12—Jesus rejected; 13—taught (via parables) disciples about kingdom in church age and how they (we) would need to minister between His 1st and 2nd comings; 14—taught them by example how to minister to dishonest doubters, or to the hostile or to honest doubters; 15—continues to teach about kingdom priorities.

C.    15 similar to ch12 (picking grain)—enemies pursue even to Galilee; trying to trip Jesus

II.     Body—Matthew 15:1-20

A.    Jesus was challenged by the hypocrites (1-2)

1.     (1) Jesus was trying to withdraw, but attracting attention; Pharisees worried, confront

2.     (2) “Tradition”—not Scripture  |  Ceremonial washing, not just washing up for dinner

B.    Jesus rebuked the hypocrites (3-11) (2 principles)

1.     (3-6) Come back to hand washing—right to the point: “transgress command of God…tradition”  |  dwron (“Corban”; Hebrew) Jewish tradition, pronounce property “corban,” lawfully unable to be used to support aged parents, but did not actually have to be offered to God—kept for personal use! Main point: tradition invalidated the word! In reality, tradition had replaced Scripture as supreme authority—corban illustrates this; “transgress the commandment of God…invalidate word of God” Question? Did Pharisees think they had invalidated the word of God? Religious hypocrites never think so (don’t be surprised at their shock)  | Secondary point: Honor your father and mother—directed at adults! Do you justify your “dishonor” somehow? You are invalidating the word of God. |  Principle: The Word is more important than tradition.

2.     (7-9) “Hypocrites” (actor; pretending to be something you’re not); “prophesy”=what was true of Israel in Isaiah’s day true in Jesus’ day (our day, too)  |  Why “hypocrites”? “honor with lips…hearts far away”—Jesus looked at inside revealed they were pretending; their worship was “vain” (worthless)  |  Why? “…of men” |  (10-11) Answer to “hand-washing” challenge: Spiritual trumps physical. Inner person is more important than outer. “Mouth” (words) reveal condition of heart. More later. Principle: The heart is more important than the hands.

C.    Jesus instructed the disciples (12-20)

1.     (12-14) “Pharisees were offended (skandalizo)”—notice “do you know…”! Of course! Called them “hypocrites”—Jesus meant to offend! (ponder that!)  |  3 truths about hypocrites: 1) offended by truth; Jesus not worried at all! 2) judged by God; metaphor: plants uprooted (tares, ch13)—not planted by God; not doing God’s work, teaching God’s truth; 3) lead others astray—blind guides, leading blind into pit.

2.     (15-16) Peter: “Explain”; Jesus—“totally ignorant”? After almost 2 yrs? Heb 5:11-12 

3.     (17) physical only affects physical; ceremonial washing (even lawful)—picture.

4.     (18-20) “things that proceed out of the mouth”—words reveal sinful condition of “the heart”! The heart is the real issue—not mindless law-keeping: Mt 12:7; 9:13; 5:22,28

III.   Closing: Two applications based on two principles above:

A.    Choose the Word of God over tradition. Why do we do church the way we do? In days before Reformation, RCC: Bible list of “forbidden books” 1229; threatened non-Latin Bible translators with execution; John Hus—taught Bible should be translated into language of people—burned at stake in 1415 (English Bibles used as kindling); Reformation: Bible translated; pulpits elevated—Word should be priority in worship. To worship God, we must know Him. To know Him, we must know the Scriptures.

1.     Beware of blind guides—those who exalt “tradition” over word

a)     Jewish Talmud instructs: “Give more heed to the words of the Rabbis than to the words of the Law.” This greatly influenced the RCC—high esteem for “oral law” (tradition), numerous traditions not found in Scripture—not necessarily bad except they “invalidate the word of God” (e.g., Infant baptism regenerates the soul 431; Mass instituted as re-sacrifice of Christ remission of sin 500; prayers directed to Mary, other dead people 600; Transubstantiation—bread and wine become literal body and blood of Christ 1215; Tradition declared equal with Scripture 1545; extra books (apocrypha) added to the Bible 1546; Mary co-redeemer 1922, etc.)

b)     But, much broader than just “religion”—“precepts of men” men’s ideas that contradict God’s word: origins, sexual “traditions” of the day; “tolerance” to include complete acceptance of all lifestyles, beliefs; be alert for blind guides, have compassion for and help the blind follower.

2.     Be ready to offend—Jesus taught lesson about how to handle those offended by the Word of God (willful unbelief): “Let them alone” (13:58)  |  But remember: Jesus “felt compassion” for the crowd—the blind following blind guides. Don’t leave them alone (thankful that was true for me); Point: don’t be surprised by offense, 1 Pt 3:13-16

B.    Choose heart worship of God over hypocrisy.

1.     Worship according to the precepts of God. (as opposed to the “precepts of men”) How do we identify false worship? Jesus connected “vain worship” with “teaching…” (v.9); Don’t be fooled by slick instrumentation, slick programs, slick hair (?) or “emotion=success” (best show)  |  shouldn’t fear emotion; but worship should be saturated with word; 1 Corinthians 14:23-25—“prophecy”=“intelligible words” NIV, vs.19)—emotions come when faced with reality of God! John 4:24—“spirit and truth”.

2.     Worship from a heart cleansed by God. Honoring with lips only? Heart far away? How do we get “near” in our hearts? James 4:7-10—start with humility, confession. Prepare yourself for worship before you come—daily walk.

C.    It’s what’s inside that really counts.

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