Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mark, Chapter Seven

1 ¶ Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

Obviously, in this context, ‘defiled’ means unclean or unwashen. The Pharisees have a rule that in order to be spiritual and godly you must wash your hands before you eat. Now, we know that washing your hands is necessary for the prevention of many diseases. However, one of the marks of a Pharisee is regarding how you look on the outside, such as your manner of dress. Pharisee’s also judge others by the ritual they do. A Pharisee determines your spirituality by how faithful you are to church, to soul winning WITH the church, and how many church functions you attend. These things can be done by anyone who feels that they’ll get something positive for their lives out of being involved in these things but it does not determine how close they are to Christ. Usually, it involves adding to the Bible. For instance, Sunday School is not scriptural but it is a good thing, but to say that the health of your church depends upon the size of your Sunday School class is to belittle the scripture as being inconclusive or as having holes in it.

It has been proven time and time again that unsaved people and nominal Christians can attend church faithfully, and do all of the things that a Pastor would smile upon, such as come down to the front step and which the podium the preacher speaks from stands which fundamentalists like to call “the altar”, and it means absolutely nothing. These “aisle athletes” will come down to the “altar” every single service just about. These only shows that either they are not doing their duty throughout the week by getting on their face before God and dealing with their sins every day or that they are trying to get approval from the Pastor. These sheep are most likely not feeding themselves with God’s word the rest of the time in which they aren’t in church. Fundamentalist Pastors are not big on Bible reading because they have no control over it and they are usually too short sighted to realize that a Bible reading church will be a faithful church. There is also the possibility that a fundamentalist Pastor will be concerned that his errors of doctrine will be all to obvious to a congregation that knows true doctrine from reading the Bible daily and in great depth.

While Sadducees say “it’s all good” and have no standards of any import, the Pharisees mistake standards and separation for a relationship with Jesus Christ. Neither are correct. Sadducees have all sorts of Bible versions that say different things. The Pharisee has the correct Bible but twists the plain words of Scripture to justify their own convictions, as in teachings on whether or not a Pastor can have been divorced before he was saved or after if it was his wife who sinned against him, or whether or not animals have souls and spirits, or regarding eternal security, etc.

Sadducees and Pharisees both today mingle humanism and pop psychology in their sermons and make the Bible gibberish by using verses completely out of context to force the Bible to not only contradict itself but to mean things it doesn’t say.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Traditions; Sunday School, bus ministries, Grandmother’s day, Church softball leagues, Aerobics in the basement, State worship, and the like plus many others are confused with true worship and to question these things is considered not to be spiritual. When a Pastor prefers traditions over Bible reading, letting God speak to you daily and cleanse your heart, then he is condemning his congregation to powerlessness and there will be no Holy Spirit revival there.

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

This goes for all of us. One of my biggest problems is being genuine. I’m always thinking of myself and not Jesus Christ. When I am doing something for Him, supposedly, such as teaching Sunday School or visiting people it is often vain as the success of the work becomes more important than Jesus Christ. This, I suspect, is a problem for many pastors and missionaries. They get caught up in a numbers game, like some kind of salesman. “How many decisions have I gotten for Christ”, rather than how disciples are being made, how they’re being taught. We usually revert to the form of something rather than the heart.

The Pharisee wants to see that on the outside you are doing right. You are married, having never been divorced. You come to church whenever the doors are open. You dress ultra-modestly and not “worldly”. You twist the scriptures as they do to justify your convictions. It’s all on the surface. The Pharisee thinks that if you practice a habit your inside will change. This isn’t necessarily true.

If I have a Sunday School student who is poor, maimed from birth, and not particularly bright, and can’t read very well, then one might think he doesn’t have much value by the Pharisee’s thinking except as an OBJECT of compassion. However, if he takes gospel tracts and gives them to people each week and prays for me often, then he has much more value than I do, usually. His work is the best.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

I think of the fools who refuse medical care to their children and say that prayer is all they’ll rely on, often resulting in the worsening condition of their children. They deny God’s power in giving the doctor knowledge or wisdom. They reject that there couldn’t even be a medical profession if God did not permit the truths of the human body to be revealed. They restrict God by saying that the person who heals is not of God but of something else. They have no real faith and, in fact, their faith reflects their worship of themselves. I’ve heard of the “power of prayer” more than I’ve heard of the power of the One we pray to, and I have even heard, God forbid, of the “magic of prayer”. How hideous.

We don’t refuse to eat and say that prayer will sustain us. No, we eat and thank God for His providence in providing food for us. People are insane when they reject this Book and try to operate as Christians apart from it, at least in America. They start making up their religion as they go along. I would say that most Christians are too busy worshipping themselves to be of any use to God. Do you have more faith in your faith than faith in Christ?

We have traditions; door knocking, passing out tracts, Sunday school, preaching, taking up an offering, the “altar” which is just a step at the front of a church, hymn singing, etc. and these traditions CAN wind up being the object rather than a method to achieve an end for Christ, although they aren’t wrong in themselves. Remember, there was no Sunday School until the end of the 1700’s and there was no church building until the late 200’s. These things are good but are not the end we seek but a means to the end, which is the salvation of men, women, and children and their discipleship and the glorification of Christ, who is God.
14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

The food you eat does not defile you spiritually. It is the actions that flow from a wicked heart. Your real problem isn’t the nearly naked woman on the billboard, the queer at the gay rally, the alcohol ad in the magazine, these things are not your problem. Your problem is your own wicked heart and your lust for sin.

The words of verse 16 are repeated often to underscore something very, very important. The seven types of churches in the first part of Revelation are told this each one.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Our imaginations are vile and wicked things and we present all manner of violence and pornography from the depths of our unrighteous fantasies.

2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

God will destroy all the images that we use to stir up our evil minds.

Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

He has already commanded that certain pictures be destroyed back at the time the Hebrews were to enter the promised land.
Numbers 33:52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:

And pictures led Israel into idolatry.

Ezekiel 23:14 And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,

One note about foolishness in verse 22 is that the Bible definition differs from our current understanding because we have departed from the Bible.

Foolish people are unwise.

Deuteronomy 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?

A foolish man is a silly man.

Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

A foolish person works iniquity.

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Foolish people are wicked and they often prosper from our human estimation and not by God’s standard.

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

24 ¶ And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

A “Greek” is merely someone who is not a Jew. A Greek is a gentile.

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.
29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

Matthew gives more details. See Matthew 15.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

The Gentile nations hate to be thought of as dogs but in comparison to God’s chosen people, the Jews, that is what we are called. Jesus had come to the Jews. He did not travel to India or America as false religions say. God created these people out of the wicked Gentile nations and made them for Himself. They fell away and He wanted them to return. But, He warned them that He would extend His grace to the Gentiles and that many of the kingdom would be cast out. They did not receive it. The only reason we’re getting the crumbs is because the Jews rejected Christ. So, the Gentile nations like America and Britain need to stop being so proud and arrogant.

The Gentiles;

Isaiah 40:17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

But Israel isn’t one of them;

Numbers 23:9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
31 ¶ And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

This is the area where the maniac that was possessed had lived.

34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

I don’t understand why Christ healed in this manner. By the way, we say “tongue-tied” today.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;
37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

These are the same people who asked him to leave when the pigs committed hogicide.

Jesus Christ did all things well. This would be a great sermon and, I’m sure, has been used.

John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

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