Summary: I want to explore the characteristics of externalism today and offer a remedy for dealing with it if it begins to creep into your life.
The Sin of Externalism
The Book of Mark
A. Do you consider yourself to be religious?
B. A religious person is defined as one who exhibits religion.
1. One who practices the customs and observances of his faith.
2. He is often described as being pious, or devout.
C. Being religious is not a bad thing.
D. The problem comes when people are religious just for the sake of being religious.
1. They put on a show.
2. They set up standards and rules that supersede the truth.
E. This is called externalism or hypocrisy.
F. Our passage in Mark deals with the problem of externalism and though not specifically mentioned it demonstrates certain characteristics of those who are religious just for show.
G. Let me say first that these people didn’t become like this over night.
1. It wasn’t like they started out this way.
2. It happened over time, slowly, until one day their actions became more important than the principles upon which their faith was founded.
3. The same is true with this sin in our lives.
a) We can become so enamored and dedicated to keeping up the right appearances that we forget why we do it.
b) Then what we do becomes more important than why we do it.
H. I want to explore the characteristics of externalism today and offer a remedy for dealing with it if it begins to creep into your life.
II. Externalism manifests it self in 6 ways.
A. A lack of vision and understanding of God’s purposes 2:15-16, 3:2.
1. These people were unable to see beyond self imposed limitations.
a) All they could see in the one case was Jesus eating with publicans and sinners vs.16.
b) They didn’t see the need to be among these people in order to reach them.
2. In the second instance they could only see a chance to catch Jesus doing something wrong.
a) All of the rules they were accusing Him of breaking were self-made rules.
b) They had reinterpreted the Customs and Law to fit their practices.
3. People can get so wrapped up in their own little world that they fail to see the significance of what others are doing – they only look for what is wrong.
a) They don’t get excited about the possibility of people coming to Christ only that a rule has been broken.
b) Imagine becoming upset about someone being healed on the wrong day.
B. Another characteristic of externalism is a lack of compassion vs.15, 3:4.
1. One of the most important ingredients of our Christian walk should be Love and compassion for others.
a) Compassion was one of the things that motivated Jesus Mk.1:41.
b) These people didn’t care one bit for the people Jesus was ministering to.
2. They had their agenda and it must be conformed to.
3. If we don’t have a genuine love for people outside of our circle we have a problem.
4. If we don’t care enough to want to do the work God has given us to do then we shouldn’t criticize those who do.
C. A third characteristic of externalism is the negative influence on other people vs.16, 18.
1. “Scribes of the Pharisees”.
a) These were theology students
b) Followers of the Pharisees.
c) Their training would make them just like their teachers.
2. They prey on people who are under stress or uninformed vs.18.
a) John was in prison.
b) These men had not listened to their leader.
c) They were convinced to join in with the Pharisees.
3. They were participating in the twice weekly fast which had been instituted by the leaders in that day.
a) It had no basis in the Law which only prescribed one fast a year on the Day of Atonement.
b) Not that there was or is anything wrong with fasting.
(1) Jesus fasted in the wilderness.
(2) He didn’t condemn fasting.
c) The problem here was an external application of fasting Matt.6:16-18.
4. They also influence people who are weak in faith 2Tim.3:5-6
5. Jesus explains to them that a new relationship was in force vs.19-22.
a) Mixing the old ways with the new will cause both to become worthless.
b) It doesn’t mean that the Old ways were wrong.
c) It is that they just don’t apply any longer.
D. A fourth characteristic of externalism is adherence to tradition and self made rules to the point that they fail to see the needs of others.
1. Spiritually vs.16.
a) They would never do that.
b) He was actually doing what they should have been doing Gal.6:1.
a) 2;23-24 They had gotten to the point that rubbing grains together with your hands was considered reaping.
b) 3:1-4 even the miraculous was forbidden under their rules and regulations.