Summary: There are natural enemies to growth that must be confronted and overcome through spiritual weapons.
WEEDS, WATER, AND INSECTS
Mark 7:1-23 (NIV)
Sermon Objective: There are natural enemies to growth that must be confronted and overcome through spiritual weapons.
We are in a sermon series today from Mark’s Gospel called “Life on the Farm.” It will focus on some of the basics of the Christian faith. Specifically, we will be looking at are some of the non-negotiables that define Biblical Christianity.
I began my ministry as a 23 year old in southern Illinois. It was there that I learned about wheat and corn farming. It was there I rode my first combine. I discovered that farming crops is significantly different than livestock. The weather in Illinois is also quite different than it is in Texas and Oklahoma. The seasons were to be respected and they created a rhythm for the farmers that could not be violated or overridden easily. There were certain times of the year that you turned your soil and planted and certain times that you brought in the harvest.
Crop farming has other interesting distinctions from cattle farms too. I became aware of “the enemies.” As essential as water is to farmers it can also be an enemy; as harmless as an insect seems to many it is a crop farmers nightmare; as innocuous as a weed might seem it is corn farmer’s competitor.
Water at the wrong time means you can’t get your crops in the ground … or you can’t bring in the harvest.
Insects come in all forms and are always a threat. Soil borne pests attack the seeds and the root system; others attack the stalk, leaves, and the fruit. Scientists and farmers are always seeking new and more effective ways to combat this enemy.
Weeds compete for moisture and nutrients. They can take over a field and choke out a wheat harvest. Agrochemists are always working with the farmers to protect the harvest and the ecology. They are always attempting to find ways to produce a stronger and better yield.
The farmer has to know his enemies if he is to outsmart them … if he is to see his desired effect accomplished in spite of them.
The same applies to Kingdom living too. There are enemies of the soul. Becoming aware of them is essential if we are to see the desired effect accomplished.
In today’s passage Jesus exposes spiritual enemies.
Mk 7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
Mk 7:2 saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed.
Mk 7:3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
Mk 7:4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. 19 )
Mk 7:5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”
Mk 7:6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Mk 7:7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
Mk 7:8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
Mk 7:9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
Mk 7:10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’
Mk 7:11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God),
Mk 7:12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.
Mk 7:13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Mk 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.
Mk 7:15 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.’’”
Mk 7:17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
Mk 7:18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?