Summary: What does it mean to "honor God with your lips" and yet be far from him? This sermon explores the type of followers Jesus is calling us to become.
Mark 7:1-23 “Does God want a Dirty Church?”
7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2 saw 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. 4 When 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! 10 For Moses said, ’Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ’Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But 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), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus 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.’" [NOTICE- THERE IS NO V. 16- IT HAD BEEN ADDED BY SCRIBES LATER, SO IT IS NOT IN MOST OF OUR TRANSLATIONS TODAY- IT DOESN’T OCCUR IN THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS]
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’? 19 For 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.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander [blasphemy], arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ’unclean.’"
1. God wants a lean church:
Something we can all relate- or almost all of us- Religion/Church as “Body Fat” metaphor- some body fat is a good thing- but too much is not a good thing-
Just as much religion and tradition as we need to function properly
Not supposed to build up for its own sake- if it does, it slows us down, tires us out and greatly hampers our functions of faith