Mark 7:14–23 (CSB)
14 Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand:
15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
17 When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable.
18 He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?
19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean).
20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,
22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”
The word of Christ does not neglect the real matters of life
Matthew 23:23-24 (CSB) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!
Matthew 9:12-13 (CSB) Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The word of Christ does not work from the outside in
Matthew 23:27-28 (CSB) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Isaiah 64:6 (CSB) All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
The word of Christ cleans from the inside out
Matthew 23:25-26 (CSB) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean.
1 John 1:5-10 (CSB) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The word of Christ is the good news
1 John 2:1-2 (CSB) My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous one. 2 He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
1. Why is it easier to cleanse ourselves from the outside rather than trust God to do the work inside?
2. What does God have to do first before our hearts can be changed?
Ezekiel 36:25-28 (CSB) I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. 28 You will live in the land that I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
3. After that, what does God get to do in us?
4. What is our responsibility?
The Prayer from the Psalms
Have your way in me. Amen.