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Summary: Have you ever felt like a spiritual hypocrite? Good news… Jesus understands… and he came not to condemn us… but to call us out… from outward religion to real life and relationship with God.

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Breakthrough Spirituality

Brad Bailey – February 25, 2007

(Much of the ‘commentary’ notes used in prep for this message are from or adapted from Don

Williams, KingdomRain website study on Gospel of Mark Such commentary was never read but

merely serves as ideas that were drawn on and paraphrased in part.)

Have you ever found yourself entering into a spiritual activity such as worship or prayer…

when your heart really wasn’t all there? Have you ever felt like there was a disconnect between

what you proclaimed to believe and value…and what the state of your heart really held?

Have you ever felt like a spiritual hypocrite?

> Good news… Jesus understands… and he came not to condemn us… but to call us out… from

outward religion to real life and relationship with God.

As we prepare to enter this Lenten season…our series brings us to some particularly timely

words from Jesus…. Words which call us out…

Mark 7:1-23

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered

around Jesus and 2saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is,

unwashed. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial

washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not

eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups,

pitchers and kettles.)

5

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don’t your disciples live according

to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ’unclean’ hands?"

6

He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

" ’These people honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

7

They worship me in vain;

their teachings are but rules taught by men.’

8

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

9

And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to

observe your own traditions! 10For Moses said, ’Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ’Anyone

who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 11But you say that if a man says to his father

or mother: ’Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift

devoted to God), 12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13Thus you

nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things

like that."

14

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.

15

Nothing outside a man can make him ’unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of

a man that makes him ’unclean.’ " 16

17

After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.

18

"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can

make him ’unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his

body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

20

He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him ’unclean.’ 21For from within, out of

men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice,

deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a

man ’unclean.’ "

Backdrop…. ‘Kingdom of God’…. he embodies and enacts as a fulfillment. But the expectations

had become more nationalistic… after all… when you are a nation whose very existence and

identity lie in the calling out by the Creator of the universe… and now you are under occupation

by a pagon nation… the most powerful on earth… Roman Empire…you naturally reduce this a

need for God to send a super king again… to restore the days of David…. The good to rise up and

conquer the evil ones. This reflects a tendency that God has been confronting forever… the

tendency to make others all bad and we all good… or vice versa.

What comes with Jesus is a cosmic showdown…. which is personified with the religious leaders.

(Below from Don Williams)

Clearly the news about Jesus continues to reach Jerusalem.

Now a delegation from Jerusalem reenters the picture. It gathers around Jesus. He is under

observation. Again, we have already seen this when Jesus forgives the paralytic and then

heals him (Mark 2:6), when Jesus eats with tax-collectors and sinners (Mark 2:16), when Jesus

allows his disciples to work (2:24) and when Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand on the

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