Summary: As the world is on a steady pace of being demoralized by the hour, Christians are called to Raise the Bar!



Commissioned in 1936, the RMS Queen Mary was the most awe-inspiring ocean-going vessel in the world. She was over 1,000 feet long, and weighted over 81,000 tons, which was twice the weight of the Titanic. The ship carried about 2,000 passengers and housed a crew of about 1,200. Transformed from a luxury liner to a troop transport in World War II she carried almost 800,000 members of the military to and from the European war zones. The Queen Mary was retired from regular passenger service in 1967 after making 1,001 Atlantic Ocean crossings, and is presently harbored in the port of Long Beach, California. Even today the ship’s magnificence is like none other. But when the Queen Mary was retired from active passenger service, it was discovered that part of her gleaming exterior was hiding something far less attractive.

The Queen Mary’s three oval shaped smoke stacks, which were 36 feel long, 23 feet wide, and ranging from 70 down to 62 feet in height, were made of sheets of steel over an inch thick. During her decades of service, at least 30 coats of paint had been applied to the massive smokestacks, forming a shell around the steel interior. But when the smokestacks were removed for maintenance after her decommissioning, it was discovered that they were nothing but shells. When lifted off the liner and placed on the docks, they crumbled! Over the years, the thick steel of which they had been made had turned to rust from long exposure to heat and moisture. The beautiful exteriors of the smokestacks revealed a rusty, crumbly interior that spoke not of beauty and elegance but of deterioration and decay. The ships beautiful external appearance was hiding the internal reality that it had deteriorated to nothing.

It’s funny how people can appear one way, but in reality, they are not really the person you perceive them to be. Like the Queen Mary, people can seem like they have it altogether on the outside, but on the inside, they are falling apart.

At times Jesus encountered similar situations when He would come face to face with the Pharisees. The Pharisees lived life is such away that they became like the Queen Mary’s smokestacks, which were gleaming on the outside, but rusty and dirty on the inside.

Jesus called the Pharisees, hypocrites. They were like bowls that were polished until they shined on the outside, but on the inside, they were as dirty as the dishes in my sink and that can be pretty dirty at times. They were like the tombs outside the city wall that camouflaged the resting places of dead people’s bones with coats of bright whitewash, which was gleaming on the outside, but gruesome on the inside.

The Pharisees had built a fence around God’s Word where for them to keep their external appearances was more important for them then to obey the teachings of Christ. This became a huge problem during Jesus ministry. One scholar, noted that one of the most controversial sayings Jesus ever said is found in today’s text, which is Matthew 15:10-11: “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ’unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.”

Jesus flipped the script and raised the bar, to answer the question. What makes a man clean? In the context of my passage, Jesus said it is not ceremonial cleansing, but moral purity. To give you an example of the importance of ceremonial cleansing, in those days, washing your hands before you ate was more important then obeying Jesus’ teachings. They washed there hands because they believed that if they did this before they ate, this act would make their food clean, but if they did not wash there hands before they ate, then they would be eating unclean food, which would make their whole body unclean. Jesus said this is not what makes a man unclean, but what makes a man unclean is what comes out of a man’s heart. We all know that drugs are not the problem, but are the symptoms of the problem because the real problem is that we have an unclean heart. Brothers, if you want to get your heart under control and moved from a state of defilement to purity, I want to ask you to listen carefully to this teaching. Just as this teaching was revolutionary over 2,000 years ago and in great need, so it is the same, today. With the world on a steady pace of becoming more de-moralized by the hour, Christians are called to raise the bar.

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