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Summary: This sermon discusses sin and its origins as well as scripture that tells us how to fight agains it.

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Jesus had just finished a discussion with the Pharisees and now turns to address the crowd.

Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. (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.’ " [See note on why no verse 16] (17) After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. (18) "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? (19) For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") (20) He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ (21) For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, (22) greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. (23) All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ "

He called the crowd in close enough to hear Him again and proceeded to teach them. His requirement was that they listen and understand what He was about to say. Sometimes listening is the hardest thing we have to do because many people have strong opinions they feel they must always be expressing. Listening to the Son of God is a wise thing to do.

(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.’ "

Speaking here of things that a person can eat and can pass on through the body Jesus says things we eat don’t make us unclean. Instead it is the things that come out of a man that makes him unclean.

[Note verse 16 is not in most of the earlier manuscripts—most bibles will have a footnote explaining this.]

17) After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.

We see the disciples are having no better luck than the crowd when it comes to understanding Jesus parables. So once again He must hand feed them the full meaning.

(18) "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? (19) For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

Food does not make a man unclean; it has no access to the heart. It is merely swallowed and passes through the intestines and exits. The side bar in parenthesis here states that in saying this Jesus said all foods were clean. The Law of course had elaborate food restrictions and went into great depth about what a Jew could and could not eat.

Jesus continues.

(20) He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ (21) For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, (22) greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. (23) All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ "

In describing the heart Jesus is speaking of the way we think. He lists the things that come out of our mind (hearts) and they include evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. These are the things that He clearly said make us impure, contaminated and polluted.

It is what a man thinks in his heart that make him unclean and it leads to sin. James wrote about the sin process, let’s examine it.

James describes the sin process.

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

As we can see from this scripture from James that God is not the tempter, the temptation comes from our own desire, desire which we decide to act upon; and when we make that decision, it leads to sin. Jesus has said that we can sin without even committing an act. Matthew 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." So we must be careful even in our thoughts.

Paul has a recommendation for how to overcome the temptations of sin, let’s look at it. Romans 12:1&2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. (2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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