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August 19, 2007 PM

MK 7:14-23

INTRO: Every saying of Jesus is important. I would never, in any way, want ever to diminish a single word which came from His mouth. But I think there were those things which Jesus said which may have had a greater impact on events and circumstances than other sayings of His. Our text for tonight is, I believe, one of those crucial, course determining sayings. From Matthew's account of this event we learn that "the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying" (Mt 15:12). These were, of course, the Jerusalem Pharisees, who would ultimately be responsible for Jesus' death. But in this text there is so much of practical and vast importance to discipleship and a life that pleases God.

    1. Earlier, Jesus had answered the critical scribes and Pharisees
      1. the issue then had been the ritual washings of rabbinic tradition
      2. the concern of the scribes and Pharisees was the possibility that something bought at the market might have been touched by an "unclean" person
      3. all the washings Jesus mentioned in vv. 3,4 were "tradition of the elders"
    2. Now, in an apparently different setting Jesus teaches of true defilement
      1. on this occasion He calls all the people to Him - this needs attention
      2. "Hearken...understand" - I get the impression that this was one of those issues about which Jesus was passionate ... and which would challenge thinking
      3. hearers were so steeped in tradition that truth would be difficult for them
    3. 7:15 is the truth about what defiles a man
      1. intrinsically speaking, meats do not have in them moral/spiritual impurity
      2. to eat with ritually unwashed hands will not morally/spiritually defile
      3. what defiles is what comes from within a person in his actions
    4. The problem? not everyone would hear with understanding - 7:16
      1. there are those hard lessons to be learned
      2. not hard, perhaps, because incomprehensible
      3. but hard because of prejudice, long habits & customs, deep personal desires & feelings, fear, etc. - it is the same now as it was then!
    1. 7:17 Jesus leaves the crowd for private time with disciples
      1. they asked Him about the "obscure saying" (parable)
      2. in private they told Him that the Pharisees were offended - and He told them that the Pharisees were "blind leaders of the blind" (Mt 15:14)
      3. Mt 15:13 - Jesus declares the Pharisaical system is not from God - it will be "rooted up"
    2. He notes concern that His disciples are "without understanding also"
      1. what enters a person from without is not what defiles him
      2. why? because it does not enter into his heart and is disposed of by the body's natural elimination system
      3. is He here setting aside the Mosaic dietary laws? - I think not; however, He may be setting the stage for what Peter experiences at Acts 10:9-16
    3. 7:20-23 is the point of Jesus' explanation
      1. the behavior of a person is the defiling thing - it comes from within
  1. re: the dietary laws ... the food was not what defiled ... disobedience to those laws, however, defile a person
  2. a most assuredly a dramatic statement for people steeped in Judaism
  1. The "heart" of a person is the issue here - for good or ill
    1. Prov 4:23 - this has been, in fact, always the issue!
    2. so,1 Pet 4:1,2 - the "new mind" is what is necessary to please God
    3. notice Ezek 18:31 - in the previous verse repentance has been the call ... repentance does require a new heart, a new mind, issuing in a right spirit
  2. Of actions and underlying attitudes?
    1. Jesus notes 7 plural things - 6 singular things
    2. there are the seven "actions" which issue from the six attitudes - how many sinful actions issue from pride and lasciviousness?!!!
    3. interestingly, evil thoughts are included here (so, Mt 5:28)
  3. Mt 5:8 - "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God"
    1. may I lovingly suggest that we need to honestly think about our hearts?
    2. we are careful about taking care of our physical hearts - are we as careful about our spiritual hearts?
    3. what Jesus said here needs our consideration

CLOSE: I know of few more challenging lessons from scripture than this one. It strikes at the very nature of who we really are. And the questions come, "Who are we ... really?"

Cecil A. Hutson

19 August 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)