Summary: Pentecost 15(B) - Have a healthy heart! Recognize our problems. Recognize God’s solution.

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August 24, 2008 --


Mark 7:1-8

INTRO: How is your heart? Today, more than ever people are keenly aware of the importance of having a healthy heart. Exercise helps our hearts to be healthy. Beyond that there is medicine or even procedures that help our hearts. Physically speaking we do not always know when we are sick. Spiritually speaking we know that our hearts are always infected with sin. This is the simple truth of the Scriptures. Jesus was often taken to task because of his association with “sinners”. "Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’"(LUKE 5:31). Sin-sick hearts always need help. Once again Jesus calls us sinners to repentance.


I. Recognize our problems.

II. Recognize God’s solution.


A. We note the determination of Jesus’ enemies to confront him, verse 1. They came from Jerusalem.

1. Jesus was teaching near Capernaum. This was 70 miles from Jerusalem.

2. These church leaders walked a week in order to condemn Jesus not commend him.

B. Verse 2. The Pharisees were upset that the disciples ate with unwashed, unclean hands.

1. Washing hands before meals to be clean was the Pharisees’ teaching, verse 3.

2. Verse 4. The word “washing” gives us our word for baptizing.

a. Cup, pitchers were immersed. b. Kettles were not immersed but wiped with water.

C. Verse 5. The Pharisees finally challenge Jesus with “why”. They thought to have Jesus trapped.

1. The Pharisees did not recognize their own problems – faith was a matter of the heart.

2. Problem: They valued traditions of men more than the teachings of God’s word.

3. Problem: It was what was on the inside that made one unclean, not the outside.

D. Mankind still faces the same problems today. Many look only at exterior appearances. But inside our hearts are only evil all the time. This is not a pleasant message to hear. But it is the truth. There is no one who can do good, not one. All our righteous acts are like filthy rags. The imagination of our hearts is only evil all the time. Our hearts cause us problem after problem because of the infection of sin. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (MATTHEW 15:19). These sins of our hearts reveal themselves in our words and actions.

E. On this side of heaven there is not one person who can escape the effect of sin. Our every waking moment is tainted with sin because of our sinful hearts and flesh. We think terrible thoughts, utter worthless words, and act with evil intent. Again, not pleasant to hear but it is the problem we face daily. Unless we see and admit our problem we will never recognize that we need a cure. On our own and by ourselves we are completely corrupt. "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out"(ROMANS 7:18). This is our problem.

F. We live in a society that places great emphasis on the wisdom of man rather than God. At times, worldly wisdom can creep into the very teachings / traditions of the church. Consider the morality, or lack of it, in our day and age. Things that would make us blush only a few years ago are now overlooked by our enlightened society. At times, even the church “winks at” behavior that is morally wrong. The rate of divorce, unwed mothers, and people living together without the benefit of marriage are only a few behaviors that are widely accepted. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ"(COLOSSIANS 2:8). We will want to hear, read, and study God’s word more and more in order to know, believe, and base all our teachings on the “basic principles…of Christ” , not this world.

HAVE A HEALTHY HEART. It seems impossible on this side of heaven. Sin infection is always with us. Sin lurks in our hearts waiting to lunge out into our lives. Christ gives and is our solution!


A. The Pharisees made the mistake of asking Jesus, “Why?” Now they would hear Jesus’ answer.

1. Verse 6a. Jesus quotes Isaiah. The Pharisees held this prophet in high esteem.

2. Isaiah prophesied of these church leaders, they were hypocrites.

B. In case they did not understand Isaiah defines what that word hypocrite meant.

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