Summary: There is a huge difference between being and saying we are a disciple of Christ Jesus.
Mark 7: 1 – 8, 14 – 15, 21 – 23 / Eating With Dirty Hands
Intro: I would like everyone to look at your hands for a moment. Think for a moment about where those hands have been today. Are they clean? How do you know if they are clean or not? They might be covered with germs! --- Just in case, I’ve brought some hand sanitizer this morning and I’m going to pass it around the church and ask each and every person to take a little squirt, rub in onto your hands so we can be sure that everyone in this room has clean hands.
I. Vs. 5 – “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands.”
A. The tradition of the elders = 1 ½ egg-shells of water poured over the hands with the finger-tips help upwards. Cleans each palm with the fist of the other hand. Water then poured on hands from the wrists downward to run off the downward pointing fingertips. --- It’s just easier to use hand sanitizer, isn’t it?
B. The problem wasn’t sanitation. The disciples weren’t “living according to the tradition of the elders” – Keeping the tradition was more important than whether their hands were clean.
C. Keeping traditions = do as I do / my way is right, your way is wrong / my way or the highway.
II. Jesus’ answer was to call the religious leaders HYPOCRITES! Not the best way to make friends or influence people.
A. Exactly what is a HYPOCRITE? --- Someone who answers in a set dialogue / one whose life is a piece of acting without any sincerity behind it at all.
B. Jesus defines exactly what he means: “their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
C. Have you ever heard the old expression, “ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD?” I would add, “ALL THAT DOES NOT GLITTER IS NOT GARBAGE.”
III. The debate between Jesus and the Pharisees continues to this day. --- WHAT IS IT THAT REALLY MAKES A PERSON SPIRITUAL?
A. When I was at Waynesburg College I belonged to the touring choir which was a group of young Christians who served as ambassadors for the Presbyterian college. I was asked on day by a member of the choir, “Are you saved?” I answered them, with a resounding, “NO!” --- They were shocked until I told them that I felt I was “INVESTED.”
B. For me, being a Christian is not about an experience I had long ago at a young age. It is about how I grow in faith each time I allow God to use me.
C. Jesus says in Vs. 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’”
Conclu: Doing things, even good things, doesn’t make us spiritual. A relationship with the Lord Christ Jesus makes us spiritual. The closer that relationship, the more spiritual you become. You can scrub and sanitize the outer being all day and still be unclean. You must be clean on the inside and the only way that happens is to allow Jesus to occupy those sinful spaces of our lives. VSS. 21 – 23 tells us what makes us unclean. Avoiding those things and doing the opposite makes us clean on the inside and acceptable to God.