Summary: What is the difference between religion and biblical Christianity?
We noted about a month ago from the beginning of Mark 7, Jesus confronted the Religious Leaders of straying away from God’s Word; as a matter of fact the Religious leaders 2000 years ago were so focused on themselves and traditions that they actually ignored what God said in the Bible!! Can this happen today??
Even in the so called Christian faith, how many Christian Religions today are so caught up in traditions rather than actual Words of God? Ever since the Creation of man, the devil has been twisting God’s Word to pull people away from God. How does the devil do it? The devil is successful when he twists God’s Word and have people focus on themselves rather than God; good feelings rather than actual faith in God’s Word!
How focused are we on God and His Word? Remember what we noted last week? – We are to surrender our lives to God Jesus Christ more and more! The Christian faith is an ongoing, growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Let us learn more from Jesus Christ from Mark 7:9-23…..
Simply, how did the Religious leaders nullify God’s Word in v9-13??
They added an excuse for not directly doing God’s Word.
The Religious Leaders during Jesus’ time added their own wisdom to God’s Word, thus nullifying God’s Word!
And based on v13, what can happen once you add to God’s Word? It’s a downhill slippery wicked road once you add to God’s Word! If God’s Word is the perfect target for living, how much of a deviation does the devil need to get people messed up? How messed up is the world today?
And so, before we discuss what Jesus taught in verse 14-23, we need to answer this question: Can we stop the devil or other people from deviating from God’s Word?
Because God is love, He gives people free will to choose!
God allowed the devil to tempt the first man and woman. God allowed the first man and woman to sin, to disobey God. God created everything and has power over everything; but in His divine wisdom, God allows the devil and sin to exist until God completely judges evil for eternity!
The Bible tells us that the final judgment of evil will happen when Jesus Christ returns to earth. And so, let us note while we live here on earth, we will deal with sin from the world and within ourselves till Jesus returns or when we die. Is there a solution to this dilemma? If Jesus Christ is the final judge and it is He who allows sin and the devil to exist, Jesus Christ is the answer for our lives!! And does Jesus understand our situation? We note in v14 how much Jesus desires for people to know the truth!
If we simply summarize what Jesus is teaching in v14-23, it is this: What’s in people’s hearts is what defiles, not what is in the stomach!
Verses 21-23 is the key passage! Let us note some details:
a. Sins that defiles are listed in v21-22…..
b. What our minds think is what we do! (v21)
c. What goes in our minds starts with our hearts!
Jesus actually tells us the difference between religion and Biblical Christianity from this passage; Religion focuses on the to do’s while Biblical Christianity is about a heart relationship with God!
The devil will take the truth and not only twist it, sometimes he will just simply reverse them! You see the devil will give you enough truth to trap you into not completely believing God.
Now, this does not mean that just because you have a relationship with Christ, you don’t have to be religious; on the contrary, if you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you would do what Jesus tells you!
And so, what do we need to note for our lives today?
1. For His divine purpose, God allows for now a spiritual battle within every person and in our world.
2. The spiritual battle was already won by Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection!
3. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way a person can win the spiritual battle.
4. Every spiritual battle starts in the heart! Regularly do a throne check of the heart!
5. Exercize, exercise, exercise taking every thought captive in Christ!
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 10… Let us close by reading aloud together v3-5….