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I. "FOR FROM WITHIN, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN PROCEED EVIL THOUGHTS, ADULTERIES, FORNICATIONS, MURDERS . . . ALL THESE THINGS COME FROM WITHIN"

A. A careful study of the life and teachings of our Lord reveal:

1. That He taught the most radical reform of all reformers

2. He pointed to the very root of man's difficulties - the heart - Jer 17:9; "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it"

B. Man's difficulties are within more than without:

1. The trouble of the Pharisees was a heart condition - Matt 23:25-26

2. Difficulties in the home are again, a condition of the heart

II. THE REFORM THAT CHRIST TAUGHT

A. It was radical in the sense of our modern concept of reform:

1. Christ insisted that man's difficulties are due to his sinful nature - "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" - John 8:34

2. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man" - Matt 15:19-20

B. Christ's reform was radical:

1. It denounced all superficial changes as hypocritical and an abomination in the sight of God - compare Matthew 23:1-36 with Mark 7:1-13; Matt 15:1-9

2. Hypocrisy had, in his day, used the field of prayer which hypocrisy he denounced Matt 6:5-7

3. Think of his comparison of the two men that went to the temple to pray - Luke 18:10-14

4. It insisted on the need of man to have a complete change of his nature, which, of course, included the new birth - John 3:3-9

C. Christ's reform is radical because:

1. It affects man's attitude toward God and man - if one wishes to worship God, he must worship in Spirit and in truth - John 4:22-23

2. If one desires to be true to man, he must love him as himself - Matt 7:12

III. THE REFORM THAT CHRIST TAUGHT INCLUDES THESE ELEMENTS

A. The removal of the cause of man's trouble which, of course, is sin:

1. Sin is a malady that knows no exception to any one born by a woman

2. Confessed the Psalmist, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" - Ps 51:5

3. Writes Paul, "For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing" - Rom 7:18

B. Such a removal requires heart surgery-the removal of the stone heart, and its replacement of a heart of flesh - Ezek 36:26-28:

1. But such a reform can be brought about by the Creator and Redeemer only - John 15:5; 8:36;

2. This is the basic reason why human efforts noble as they may be, must fail; simply because such a reform is not in the realm of human capabilities

C. History shows that superficial remedies are totally inadequate:

1. Says the prophet Jeremiah, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to doing evil" - Jer 13:23

2. Social reform and education have their place, but they are not the cure for the ills of

humanity

D. The radical cure:

1. We have already indicated that Christ's reform movement was and is radical

2. Because it admits no confidence in the flesh, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - John 3:6

3. The divine verdict has been and still is, "Yet must be born again" - John 3:3-9

E. The sphere of the reform Christ advocated:

1. Is the sphere of the Holy Spirit - "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord - Zech 4:6

2. This truth is the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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