CLEAN HANDS OR A CLEAN HEART?

Intro: A man attended a church service on a Sunday. On the way home, he complained about the sermon, the traffic, the heat, and how late the lunch was served, all while sitting through the service. After that, he bowed and prayed, thanking God for the food.
All the way through this post-church experience, his son was keeping an eye on him. He asked, "Daddy, did God hear you when we left the church and you started fussin' about the sermon, traffic, and the heat? ” The father blushed and replied, "Well, yes, son, He heard me." "Well, Daddy, did God hear you when you just prayed for this food right now? ” And he says, "Well, yes, son, He... He... He heard me. " "Well, Daddy, which one did God believe?" Too frequently, what we claim to be and what we actually are are vastly different. We refer to this state as hypocrisy. The language of ancient Greece gave us this word. In a play, it was used to describe actors. As they performed, ancient actors held a variety of masks in their hands. The masks could be held in front of the face as needed because they were attached to sticks. A mask with a smile suggested humor, a mask with a frown suggested sadness, and so on. The term "hypocritos" was given to these actors. The meaning of this word is "one who wears a mask." Today, we use the term to describe people who act like one thing when they are another. Hypocrites are those who stab you in the back while claiming to be your friend. Hypocrites are those who practice one lifestyle at church and another at home. Hypocrites are those who pretend that all is well while secretly engaging in evil acts. Now, people like that shouldn't be in the church, but unfortunately, there are some in every congregation. Ill. Some people assert that the church has an excessive number of hypocrites. I say that there aren't nearly as many as they say. They simply use it as an excuse not to attend church. Simply respond with, "Oh come on, one more won't make any difference" whenever you hear such discourse. Simply state, "It is better to spend a few hours with them in church than it is to spend eons with them in Hell." Simply state, "The hypocrite is closer to God than you are if he stands between you and God." Hypocrites are not a new phenomenon! Jesus encounters a whole group of hypocrites in this passage. They have come from Jerusalem, which was similar to the Vatican at the time, verse 1. They came to observe Him with the intention of criticizing Him and His ministry. They quickly find something to complain about when they arrive and begin to watch Jesus. Offended, these men observe Jesus' disciples eating without washing their hands. Over this matter, they attack Jesus, but He turns the tables on them. They believe that the issue is one of clean hands; however, Jesus demonstrates to them that the issue is actually one of pure hearts. We can learn something new from this text. There are still people who care more about having clean hands than they do about having clean hearts. We will learn from Jesus that a person's exterior and interior should complement one another. He is going to show us that what we really are is what we are in our hearts! He will teach us that legalism and hypocrisy should not be a part of our lives. He will instruct us that true defilement does not originate from the inside but rather from the outside! I want to preach on "Clean Hands or Clean Hearts" using these verses. Let's watch Jesus expose these religious liars as they really are. Let Him speak to your heart today, just as we do. You might discover that despite your efforts to wash your hands, you still have a filthy heart. I. v. 1–5 THE PROBLEM CONCERNED While these scribes and Pharisees were watching Jesus and His followers, they noticed that His disciples were eating without washing their hands. They found fault when they saw this. "to place blame" is the meaning of the word "fault." Since Jesus was the leader of the disciples, they then focused on Him. Because He was their Rabbi, He was in charge of how they behaved. The disciples weren't eating with soiled hands anymore. As Mark continues His narrative, the issue becomes clear. The Pharisees and all religious Jews, according to verses 3–4, would not eat unless they washed their hands in a particular manner. This was especially true when they got home from the market because they might have been tainted by a Gentile. Ritual is at the center of everything for the Jews and all religious people. Hand hygiene was not the purpose of this washing. It was a cleansing ceremony. This is how John MacArthur describes it: This washing was more of a ceremonial rinsing than it was about washing dirty hands. During the ceremony, one person poured water onto the hands of another with their fingers pointing upward. The person could move on to the next step as long as the water left their wrist. After that, with his fingers pointing downward, water was poured over both of his hands. After that, the other hand's fist was to be used to rub each hand. One Jewish rabbi, according to legend, nearly perished in Roman custody because he overused his daily supply of water while attempting to wash his hands in the proper manner. Mark says that in addition to rules for their hands, they had complicated rules for washing things like plates, pots, and pans. Over 35 pages of the Jewish Mishnah, a compilation of oral Jewish laws written around 200 AD, are devoted solely to washing. The fact that they were "the traditions of the elders" rather than coming from God is the problem with their rules. With good intent, the "traditions of the elders" were established. According to the Mishnah, "tradition is a fence around the Law." The ancient Jews added to the Law in an effort to shield it from people. They added restrictions that were more stringent than the law itself. The leaders of the Jewish people held the beliefs that their customs shielded the Law from the people and that they assisted people in better keeping the Law. The following are examples of Jewish-made "fences" shared by one author: For instance, it was forbidden to look in the mirror on a Sabbath day because if you saw a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out and work on the Sabbath. False teeth were also out of the question; You would have to pick them up if they fell out, and you would be working. On the Sabbath, you were not permitted to carry a burden; however, you were permitted to wear a handkerchief. This meant that if you were upstairs and wanted to take the handkerchief downstairs, you would have to walk downstairs, untie it, and tie it around your neck. Then you could go downstairs and blow your nose! The man with the wooden leg sparked the rabbis' debate: Could he carry his wooden leg out of the house on the Sabbath if his house caught fire? On the Sabbath, you could spit, but you had to be careful where. You would be cultivating the soil and performing work if your sandal scuffed it when it landed on the ground. It was clear how naive these man-made rules had become. Again, the issue with their rules is that they were made by men rather than God. They did not follow God's rules; They were drafted by men in an effort to exert control over other men. (Note: The Pharisees are still with us today. There are numerous individuals who would attempt to compel you to follow their rules. They wish to instruct you regarding your attire; where you may travel; what you can do and so on Due to its worldliness, a tie chain cannot be worn. Due to their worldliness, open-toed shoes cannot be worn. Due to its worldliness, the beach cannot be visited. You have too much hair. Your hair isn't long enough. Here, you can't eat, etc. The only thing they are are silly Pharisee rules! That alone is the issue with man's regulations. They are not the Lord's but man's regulations. Anything that contradicts God's Word is unquestionably wrong. You are free in the Lord when a topic is not covered in the Bible. God's way is for us to evaluate each action in light of the following factors: · 1 Cor. 6:12 says, "All things are permissible to me, but all things are not necessary: I consider everything to be legal, but I will not be subjected to any authority. · 1 Cor. 10:23 says, "All things are lawful for me, but all are not convenient: For me, everything is legal, but nothing helps. · 1 Thes. 5:22, "Abstain from every evil appearance." · 1 Cor. 8:13: "Therefore, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend, if meat make my brother to offend." Keep in mind, Rom, that the weak believer is the one who sets all the rules. 14:1-15:1. Similar to how the ancient Jews controlled their flesh, they use rules as barriers. You are not bound by their rules, which they made up. However, you are free to follow the Lord's lead and serve Him. However, we must not forget that our actions should not offend our brother.) II. v. 6-14 THE PROBLEM CONDEMNED (Ill.) These men are displeased with Jesus because His disciples do not perform the Jewish ritual washings. Jesus demonstrates their hearts' hypocrisy in these verses.) Jesus condemns their legalism in verses 6–9. He says that these men are hypocrites. He accuses them of elevating their traditions to the point where they outweigh the Word of God, citing Isaiah 29:13. According to history, Jewish religious leaders came to value their traditions far more than the Bible. "Rabbi Eleazer said, 'He who expounds the Scriptures in opposition to the tradition has no share in the world to come,'" states Warren Weirsbe. "It is a greater offense to teach anything contrary to the voice of the Rabbis than it is to contradict Scripture itself," according to the Mishna, a collection of Jewish traditions found in the Talmud. He even tells them in verse 8 that they have "laid aside the commandments of God" in favor of their own rules and customs that they have made. In order to maintain their customs, He informs them in verse 9 that they have actually "rejected" God's commands! Jesus denounces their flagrant dishonesty! These men are elitists at best. They instruct the populace that adhering to all of the rules is the only way to be right with God. God will be pleased with your life and will accept you if you can do everything right. The opposite is absolutely true! (Note: We still have that crowd with us today! They believe that more important than anything else are their insignificant rules. A person is accepted by others if they walk the way they believe they should. if their hair is styled appropriately; put on the appropriate attire; avoid the appropriate places; Acceptance comes from doing the right things on certain days, etc. They are condemned if not. To clarify, legalism, Phariseeism, and individuals who attempt to impose their rules on others make me sick! Of course, they don't just bother me. Matt, Jesus despises that attitude as well. 23:1-36.) Jesus reveals not only their legalism but also the liberties they take with the Law. Jesus dismantles one of their customs in verses 10–13, allowing them to circumvent a commandment. Jesus discusses the "Corban" practice. "a gift offered to God" is the meaning of that word. God's commands are very easy to understand. In the fifth commandment, God said, "Honor thy father and thy mother:" that you may live long in the land that the LORD your God has given you, "Ex. 20:12. And, Ex. "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death," the verse says in 21:17. The need to take care of one's parents for as long as they lived was a part of this idea of honoring them. The majority of us still hold that belief today. The Jews, on the other hand, circumvented it. If they claimed that their assets or money were "Corban," which means "a gift offered to God," They could only use that money or those items for religious purposes. As a result, they didn't have to worry about taking care of their parents. They would simply inform their parents that they would not be receiving anything and that their belongings had been dedicated to the Lord. Talk about heartlessness! Verse 13 tells them that their customs have rendered the God-given laws useless. (Note: Once more, this attitude persists today! People have rules, but they don't always follow them. They find a way to circumvent the rules when they become an inconvenience. That's called being hypocritical! The fact that the "rule makers" are the meanest people in the world is another issue with them! They try to follow all the rules, but they punish those who don't. While they are preoccupied with crossing their Ts and Is, they are not too busy to judge those who break the rules. Because of this, the local pool hall frequently has a higher level of compassion, understanding, and acceptance than the local church! Hypocrisy is what this is!) (Note: Jesus was the first prophet to appear. With divine authority, he spoke. He acted as if he were in charge. The Scriptures were literally fulfilled by him. Everything He did was filled with power, wisdom, and love. He did a lot of amazing and shocking things. However, because He allowed His disciples to eat without washing their hands, the legalistic Pharisees were unable to accept that He was from God. What utter hypocrisy and spiritual blindness they displayed! Sadly, we still hold that mindset today! We are about to learn from Jesus that what you do on the outside doesn't matter; The essence of true spirituality is who you are inside! III. The problem is clarified in verses 14–23, where Jesus sheds some much-needed light on the matter. First, Jesus explains to the crowds in verses 14-16 that spiritual defilement is not caused by what enters the body, such as eating without washing one's hands; Defilement is caused by the things that come from within a person's heart. Verse 17: The disciples ask Jesus what He means because they are perplexed by this. He teaches them briefly about anatomy in verses 18–19 and reminds them that everything enters and exits the body. It enters one end and exits the other, but neither the heart nor the inner man are affected. It might make the body sick, but it can't make the soul sick. Jesus is instructing us that spiritual defilement cannot be caused by external factors! Jesus explains in verse 20 that a defiled heart is always the cause of spiritual defilement. Our heart is the origin of every sin we commit, whether it is a mental or bodily sin. We act the way we do because we are dirty inside. The heart will not be changed by adhering to external rules. John 3:3, 7 says that the new birth is the only thing that can change the heart and remove spiritual filth. A defiled sinner can be washed clean by Jesus' blood. He can transform them into a "new creature," 2 Cor. 5:17. Jesus gives us a partial list of attitudes and actions that lead to spiritual defilement in verses 21–23. Not breaking the foolish rules made by foolish men, but these are the things that make us unclean before God. Let's take a look at this list to see where our own hearts are right now. Evil thoughts – This is the source of everything else. A person with evil intentions will carry them out when they have an evil heart. Adulteries – Married individuals engaging in illicit sexual activity. Fornications: This word, which comes from the Greek word "porneia," means any sexual activity that is not legal. Sexual sin does not originate in the body; rather, it is the result of a defiled heart! Murder is the taking of another person's life. Additionally, according to 1 John 3:15, if you have hatred in your heart toward another person, you are guilty of murder. Theft – Taking something else's property for your own use. Mal, this covers a lot of ground, including the tithe. 3:8-9. Covetousness is the insatiable desire for something that belongs to another person. Wickedness: This term, which translates to "malice," describes all of the ways in which a person's thoughts can cause harm in their lives. It's a deliberate act of cruelty! The term "deceit" refers to shrewd strategies used to seduce another person for one's own gain. It's the idea that someone is trying to bring down someone else by working undercover. This category includes people who are sneaky and deceitful. Lasciviousness: This word means to act shamelessly and without restraint. A mindset that asserts, "I will do as I please, and I do not care what anyone thinks!" An Evil Eye is a Hebrew expression that refers to lust and resentment. It longs for its own blessings when it sees those of another. When other people do well, it gets jealous. Defamation of God or man through injurious or defamatory speech is blasphemy. Curing and gossip fall under this category. Pride is the arrogant exaltation of oneself. It is the mentality that suggests, "Look at me, see what I have done." Nobody is as great or good as I am. The opposite of humility is this overbearing attitude. Foolishness – People who are morally and spiritually desensitized are referred to by this word. They are unable to see their sins; They also cannot perceive the Lord's work in and around them. There is no spiritual light for this kind of person. Spiritual discernment is absent. They do not desire to know God and do not know God. Even if these things appear right on the outside, when they are in your heart, they will make you unclean. The problem is that putting a religious patch on a heart that has been defiled will not make things right. Even though the religious Jews followed all of the law, they were still accountable for sending Jesus to the cross. They were clean on the outside, but they were filthy on the inside. (Ill.) I used to work with a friend who drove a beat-up old Firebird. That thing had a chimney-like odor. He also did. He tried everything to quit smoking at all times. He even gave those patches a try when they were first introduced. He had one of those nicotine patches on his car one day when we were in the parking lot after work. He responded, "Well, aren't they supposed to stop smoking?" He was just having a good time and playing around. However, his external efforts did not address the underlying issue. The issue with that vehicle would have required a new engine. Mankind is the same way. The issue with the heart cannot be resolved with a religious patch. Eze, we require a brand-new heart. 36:26.) Human nature did not fool Jesus. He was aware that all men were sinners and could commit any sin. Rom says men are still sinners. 3:10-23; 1:29-32. Every person in this room is capable of many more sins than the ones we just discussed. In fact, you know that some of us here today are guilty of some of these things. Hearts in this room are filthy, and they must be cleansed. Acceptance of your condition's truth and confession of your sins are necessary for that to occur. If you are thinking any of these things right now, you are spiritually filthy and in serious trouble. Conc: A boy's Sunday School class was once taught by an unhappy old Deacon. He asked them a question because he wanted to help them understand what it meant to be a Christian. "Why do people call me a Christian?" he inquired. After a brief period of silence, one of the boys suggested, "Maybe it's because they don't know you." Jesus always told it as it was, just like that young boy. He explained exactly what the Pharisees and scribes were. He revealed to His disciples precisely what men's hearts contained. Verse 16 appears in the middle of our text. Jesus said, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear," in that verse. What has the Lord instructed you to think about today? This is the whole point of this passage: Jer, the problem with humanity is a heart issue. 17:9. 1 Samuel says that's where the Lord looks at us. 16:7. Matt, that's where sin begins. 12:34-35. Eze, that is the aspect of man that must be altered. 36:26! Are you dishonest? Do you wear a mask and pretend to be one thing when you're actually another? You're not very successful at hiding it. Your information isn't safe! Are you dishonest? I prefer to be called anything rather than hypocritical! Do you believe in law? Do you expect others to live the same way you do? Do you view them negatively when they don't? Do you have a heart that is dirty? What would happen if God revealed the contents of your heart right now? Would you ever be able to get over the shame and embarrassment of being shown for who you really are? Have you really been reborn? Has Jesus transformed your life and saved your soul? Or have you only been acting like you believe? "Let him who has ears hear," as the saying goes. What is the Lord telling you right now? If He has spoken to you, this altar is open. If He has, you must come today to correct it. Before the wrath of God overtakes your life, this could be your last warning! Right now, look into your heart. What are the contents there? Anger? Lust? Divisiveness? Unforgiveness? Pride? Hatred? Deviousness? Or do you discover gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, joy, peace, patience, and love? Your true nature is what resides within your heart! Right now, let us obey His voice.

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