Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8th - Defiled and Cleansed

Prayer Requests
New School Year
Survey of World Religion
Shelby's Braces
Costello's Grandmother's continued recovery
Alyssa's teachers' pregnancies
Kia's Family
Kari's friend's family

Text – Mark 7:14-23, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Welcome to class.
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About me; my name is Canyon Shearer, I’m 28 years old. I am in the Air Force, and I work on F-22’s. I am Summit’s volunteer pastor of evangelism.

You can call me Mister, Sergeant, Pastor, Sir, or just plain Canyon. One of the reasons I don’t require you to use a title is because I would rather think of you as young adults than children, and I will give you my utmost respect and hope you will do the same.

I can be reached at 928-606-6906 or I work in a classified area, so can’t have my phone at work, so e-mail or facebook is the best way to get in touch with me.

My teaching style is somewhat different than a lot of middle-school teachers, I’m not big on games or goofiness, but rather I like to spend most of the class in the Bible, letting it speak for itself. God esteems his Word higher than we can possibly imagine, so I request and require reverence towards the Bible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. There is an answer to every question, so please don’t hold back.

Today I want to look at Mark chapter 7, the reason being is that it will lay a foundation for every other part of Christianity. This is as important today for us as it was for the original audience because we have the same problem they had.

First let me give you some context. The religious people of Jesus’ day were called the Pharisees, they thought they were somebody special and extra good dudes. One of the reasons they thought they were so good is because they made up all sorts of rules that they would keep instead of the rules that God gave them.

For example, let’s look at

Mark 7:9-13 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

The 5th Commandment is to honor your father and mother…but that’s pretty difficult, so the Pharisees changed the law so that if anyone would promise their inheritance to them, then they were absolved of taking care of their parents. Because of their new law they rejected God’s law, but still felt pretty good about themselves.

The problem is that they thought they were inwardly pretty good people, and they felt that way because they were keeping a lot of rules. The rule which we are going to look at today that they made up was a requirement to wash your hands before you eat. The Pharisees thought they were keeping themselves from being defiled, or made unclean or unfit for Heaven, and when Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands the Pharisees were greatly offended. I want to show you today that we have an infinitely bigger problem than unwashed hands.

Mark 7:14-23 And he called the people to him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" ( Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

In the Old Testament God gave quite a few laws concerning what a person could and couldn't eat. These were for a spiritual purpose and not a natural purpose, for example, shellfish are scavengers and will eat basically anything and so in order to set his people apart from eating something that ate all sorts of garbage, God forbid the eating of shellfish. Similarly, pigs are gross animals who love to roll around in mud and muck which is made up largely of their own leavings, and God forbid the eating of them to keep his people spiritually removed from rolling around in grossness. But the Pharisees took these laws and rejected the spiritual purpose and only believed that something magical in these animals could keep them out of Heaven, so they were very careful in what they ate and touched and that they would wash their hands before they ate clean things just in case they touched something unclean.

In essence they were missing the point COMPLETELY. Jesus comes along to straighten them out and return them to the original meaning of the law, which was and is to point to God's holiness and separateness from sin.

Jesus asks, "Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart, but his stomach and is expelled?"

What do you think the heart is here that we're talking about? Is it literally the 10 ounce spongy pump in our chest that pumps 74 gallons of blood through it every hour? That's not what Christ is talking about, he's talking about the core of a person and who they are and what they desire. It's strange from a non-spiritual standpoint to consider that we feel emotions in different parts of our bodies, for example, we get nervous and get butterflies in our stomachs, or we are worried and feel like our belly is tied up in knots, and even though our brain is actually the center of our intellect, we feel like our person is in the center of our body. I'm sure God did this on purpose for a lot of reasons, making us realize we're more than a machine and showing naturalists that they can't describe us just as a collection of parts. We're not a body with a soul, we're a soul with a body. When this body wears out and dies, we will continue on, eventually (and we don't have time to talk about this now, but will in the future) receive a new body, one that will never die.

The Bible says amazingly direct and harsh things about our heart:

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."

And in that, we have a problem, because many places in the Bible, like Psalm 24, quoted in Matthew 5, says that causes a problem between us and God,

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

If we don't have a pure heart, what then is the extension? We won't see God.

Check out what Jesus continued to say in Mark 7, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

Let's look at some of these things that defile us, how about theft? Earlier we looked at the 5th Commandment, this is another Commandment, does anyone know which one theft is breaking? The 8th. Have you ever stolen anything? Does that make you a theif?

How about murder? That's the 6th Commandment, and here Jesus says it starts in the heart. That is a running theme in the Bible that our sins aren't sins once they are committed, they are sins in the seedling form. What is murder an expression of? Hatred, and its seed is hating someone.

Matthew 5:21-22 You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.

Wow, have you ever hated someone or called them a fool or a curse word? Speaking of curse words, in another place Jesus was preaching on a very similar topic, but there he added a very specific judgment of our hearts,

Matthew 15:18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

What we say has a direct representation of what our heart looks like, so if we say curse words, what does that say about our heart? It's cursed. We're going to be talking a lot more about that when we get to Zechariah in a few weeks.

The next one is adultery, and we can lump in with it sexual immorality. What is adultery? It's when you sleep with someone who isn't your spouse. Being as none of you have spouses, you may think it's impossible to break this one, but look at what Jesus said,

Matthew 5:27-28 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

I hope you're seeing that our hearts are in pretty bad shape, add to these things that defile our heart, coveting, desiring something that doesn't belong you, wickedness, forsaking good and doing something bad, deceit, stealing something through words not just through action, sensuality, doing something just because you want to and not because you've thought it through, envy, wishing you were someone other than who God created you as, slander, speaking evil against someone else, pride, thinking you're someone great when we see here that we're all sinners, and foolishness, or not wanting to learn, basically as we can see in many other places in the Bible, rejecting knowledge of God.

So do we agree that we don't have pure hearts? What then is the consequence? We won't see God, is the big one. Besides that, we see amazing promises from God, let's look briefly at the 5th Commandment,

Proverbs 20:20 If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.

How about the 10th Commandment on coveting and 7th on adultery,

Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Finally, one that isn't named here, but the 9th Commandment says thou shalt not lie. How many lies do you have to tell to be called a liar? Just one. How many lies have you told? Revelation 21:8 says that all liars will have their place in the Lake which burns with sulfur and brimstone, which is the second death.

God isn't playing around with the necessity of a pure heart, and yet we don't have one, so are we without hope? Left alone to our own efforts of cleaning our heart by washing our hands we would be without hope, but thanks be to God that he sent us a Saviour able to give us a new heart and wash us spiritually.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

We've got some big concepts here, so let's look at them. First of all we need to know how this happened. Jesus Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh, God the Son, stepped out of Heaven and put on flesh. He was tempted in every way we've been tempted, yet without sin, his heart was perfectly pure and he proved it by facing every opportunity to sin and doing right every time. But, because we would die without hope if something major didn't happen, Jesus Christ willingly took our sin on and in himself and bore it to the cross where his Father poured out the full consequence of sin on our sinless Saviour, Jesus Christ bore the hatred we deserved. Then three days later he defeated death and is able to save us from every sin we've committed, from the consequences of those sins, from having an evil and wicked heart (we'll talk much more about this next week), and from being separated from God. What he commands to have all that done is that we place our full trust in him and him alone that his character and payment was sufficient to redeem us from sin. This faith will bring with it repentance, a turning from sin and a hatred of evil, seeking to do right and love God above ourselves.

Ephesians 2:12-13 Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Then we can say such were we, great sinners, but that's who we were. Now we are washed, which is obviously not talking about our hands, but our whole person. When Jesus was washing his disciples feet Peter didn't want to partake because he felt it was demeaning to Jesus, but Jesus said unless I wash you, you will have no part in my kingdom! Peter was quick to say, "Not then just my feet, but my hands and head!" We see that Jesus washes our whole person.

Now we are sanctified, that is continually being changed to be more like Jesus Christ, knowing good from evil and choosing the good. This word sounds a lot like "saint", doesn't it? That's because they share the same root word. Everyone who is a Christian is a saint, being sanctified. If you're not being changed, then you sincerely ought to doubt if you are a saint, and you must make your salvation sure.

Finally, we've got this cool word, "Justified", which is a legal word to say that we are innocent. Are we really innocent of sin? No, we were and are great sinners, of whom I am chief, but Jesus Christ became guilty in our place, so we receive his innocence. We look forward in Heaven to our glorification when we will be unable to ever sin again.

Finally we see how this happened, in the name, or character, of Jesus Christ, and accomplished by the Spirit of our God.