Delivered on July 9, 2017
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Hopefully from the message today, we can get a better understanding of why we sin, where does it start, and how can we win this battle.
From our text, if you are familiar with the story, the Pharisees approached Jesus in regards to traditions, and eating with unclean hands. The Pharisees had elevated their oral traditions to a position of equal or greater authority than the Scriptures. The Pharisees had all kinds of ceremonial practices. If one did not observe them, then you were considered a sinner and not worthy to come into the presence of God.
For example, in the Old Testament, some foods were considered clean foods, they were alright to eat. But there were other foods which were considered unclean, those foods were not to be eaten. According to the Pharisees if one ate unclean foods they themselves became unclean, or sinners in the eyes of God. What Jesus wants them to see is that they misunderstood the nature of sin! In these verses we will consider today, we will discover what Jesus said was the true source of defilement. True source of sin.
At the beginning of chapter seven, the Disciples of Jesus ate some food without performing the ceremonial ritual cleaning that the Jews meticulously observed. The Jewish religious leaders were so obsessed with the outward acts of religion. Jesus criticized them because they substituted a bunch of rules for the simple commandments of God. In verse eight Jesus said…
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me. Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
Like a lot of religious people, even today, they thought faith was about what you did on the outside, but Jesus said it’s what’s inside that counts. Jesus told those religious leaders, it wasn’t their hands that needed cleaning, it was their hearts, because their hearts were dirty.
As Jesus often did He used the confrontation with the Pharisees as an opportunity to teach spiritual truth by a parable and then interpret that truth in private with His disciples. Note three things about sin with me from our text.
First, we need to confront the defective view of sin.
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus always told it like it was. The Pharisee wanted to talk about unclean hands, following traditions, but Jesus said the real problem was an unclean heart. The truth is that what a man is supersedes anything he does.
What Jesus is saying here is that people in our day still do not believe it. He is saying that our problem with sin is not caused by our environment but they are caused by what is already residing within each human heart.
Jesus said when you look deeply into the human heart what you find is not very pretty. In its natural state, it produces all kinds of wicked schemes. And every one of us is born sinners by nature, and by choice.
For example…if you are a parent, did you teach your children how to lie? Of course not! It came naturally for the child. Did you teach your children to talk back to you out of anger, or frustration? Of course not! It is in our DNA.
The worlds belief, is that people are naturally good at heart. But because of the environment, bad influences…media, the heart becomes corrupt. But Scriptures teaches the total opposite when it comes to the heart. Here is what Scripture tells us about our good hearts…
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
However you read it, it is not good, not even close! Translate it all you want…it means the same thing.
The wickedness of the flesh is often attributed to bad examples, bad company, temptations, or the snares of the devil. It seems forgotten that every man carries within him a heart of wickedness. We need no bad company to teach us, and no devil to tempt us, in order to sin. We have within us the beginning of every sin under heaven.
So…this is the first part. Confronting the defective view of sin.
The second part is this: Clearing the nature of sin.
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Jesus felt that it was important to correct the misconception about the nature of sin, because they felt that sin was largely an outward thing. Jesus wanted them to understand that sin was a deeper problem than just doing the right things outwardly. In fact, man’s idea of sin, and God’s idea of sin are totally different.
Man says that sin is an accident; God says it is a choice.
Man says that sin is a weakness; God says that it is wickedness.
Man says that sin is not big deal; God says that it is heartbreak.
Sin is Primarily a Spiritual Matter Rather Than A Physical One. “whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him”,( V18 )
The religious leaders were saying that eating with hands which had not been ceremonially cleaned would defile a person, in other words, defiled hands defile the food, and defiled food defiles the body, but Jesus declares that a man is not morally defiled by what he eats. As far as physical food is concerned whether it is dirty or clean, it simply goes into the stomach, digested and then is discarded.
Fair warning…we must really be careful on how we interpret these verses. At first glance, it may appear that nothing from without can defile a man, that man is there-fore free to get drunk or take drugs or do anything he wants to with his body. (You don’t own yourselves anymore Christians).
1 Corinthians 6:19
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Ok…here, one more, in regards to our actions in eating and drinking…
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
The saddest part about this verse is when you have become a stumbling block in your own household. When your spouse or children, no longer sees Jesus in you.
Keep in mind that Jesus is NOT talking about being healthy but being holy. Of course, it is obvious that you can put certain things into your body that are unhealthy. You can eat certain things that can make you sick. But the issue that Jesus is dealing with is greater than fats, proteins, carbohydrates or even calories. The point Jesus makes is that, it is not what you take into your body that makes you a sinner.
What makes a man a sinner is not the food he puts into his stomach, but rather the sin that originates in his heart. Obviously what Jesus is referring to when he speaks of the “heart” is not the physical heart but rather the center of one’s personality, the spiritual heart, the real you, the core of your existence.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
So…the point that Jesus wants to make is that, “Sin originates on the inside!” If one is to deal with sin, one must deal with the source of sin, which lies within our hearts.
You have heard my testimony, I was a drunk, and took drugs. Those were what was in my heart. My heart wanted to do those things. And so, what the heart wants, the heart gets! I could have said no to those things, but I was weak. No Jesus in my life to take over.
Here’s an illustration of mop and water. Suppose when you get home from church today you find your kitchen filled with water. (It is not a very pleasant thought I know!) But suppose when you find yourself in this situation that you get a bucket and a mop and you start mopping and squeezing and hauling the water out, mopping and squeezing and hauling the water out, over and over, but the kitchen just keeps filling up with water. How much better you would be to go to the source of the water and cut off the flow. You can mop and you can carry out water all day long, but you aren’t going to solve the problem until you go to the source of the problem. The matters of the Heart.
Again…Sin is an internal matter as well as an external matter and Sin is entertained as a possibility before it ever becomes a reality. It always starts in the heart…in a thought, and becomes an outward sin.
Jesus…now gives us a list of sins, and it is ugly…
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Now the evil deeds come! Unfortunately, these are all things that have been done everywhere. Adulteries, - violations of the marriage relationship. We’re living in an age where the marriage covenant is easily cast aside. Every day, we see it adultery portrayed, on television, and in the movies, as being quite normal. Marriage no longer matters…on how God intended marriage to be! “I don’t get along with my spouse…get a new one. It’s my third marriage, and it’s not working out. That’s because, you’re the problem. The issue is within!
Fornications, - (porneia) the word used is the general term for all kinds of sexual immorality.
Murder- This is happening around the world.
Theft- this takes into account all kinds of stealing, shop-lifting, cheating at school, cheating on our income tax, even stealing from God.
Covetousness, - is an overriding desire for self-gratification - describes the unchecked materialism of our age.
Wickedness- this describes the person who is not content in his sin, but who wants others to sin as well.
Deceit, - trickery or misrepresentation in order to gain an advantage.
Lewdness, - This word refers to open and unashamed sin. It is an attitude that says, “I will do as I please and I do not care what anyone thinks about it!”
Evil eye, - This is a Hebrew expression that speaks of envy and jealousy. It looks at the blessings of another and desires them for itself. It is envious when others prosper.
Blasphemy, - slanderous or injurious speech directed at either God or man. Gossip and cursing fall into this category.
Pride- The boastful lifting up of oneself, usually also involves the putting down of others. It’s the attitude that says, “Look at me, see what I have done. No one is a good or as great as I am.” This overbearing attitude is the opposite of biblical humility.
Foolishness: This word refers to those who are morally and spiritually desensitized. They cannot see their sins, neither can they sense the Lord working in and around them. With this kind of person, there is no spiritual illumination. There is no spiritual discernment. They do not know God and there is no desire to know Him.
Then in verse twenty-three Jesus say, “All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Man… do we need Jesus!!!
Jesus tells us that everyone has the capability of committing any of these sins. (We don’t like to admit that.) The root of them is lurking in the heart of each of us. But for the grace of God, the potential for all of these things (and more) is in every human heart. Given the right circumstances, you could steal today. Given the right circumstances, you could murder today. If you believe anything else, then you are deceiving your-selves!
Third: Changing the Outcome of Sin ( Through Jesus )
First; the need to confront the defectiveness of sin.
Second: being clear in the nature of sin.
Third: Changing the Outcome of Sin
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This tells us that the outcome or consequences of sin is death. How then is man to avoid the consequence of this life of sin? We have been told that the problem is our hearts, so how does one go about changing the human heart.
We have been told that the change that God desires in our lives does not come about by outward adherence to a list of rules and regulations. Rules are obviously necessary in life, yet rules do not produce a change in the heart. Especially, since the heart likes to break each and every command. So what is the solution, what do we do about our hearts?
A radical change in the human heart is what is needed. Education and culture will not achieve it. Social reform will not bring it into being. There is only one answer, regeneration. It was Jesus himself who in His conversation with Nicodemus said in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And this is affected by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
This was written for the children of Israel. And is also true and valid…according to Scriptures to you and I. You and I, must die…and be made new. We need a new heart, and Jesus promises it to all those who turn to Him in faith.
So…what do we need to recognize, about changing one’s heart?
First, we must recognize that the change has to come from the inside out. If we thoroughly change the inside the outside will take care of itself. But without the change on the inside, all the external changes in the world will merely be superficial.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Anything other than true change is just one who is merely putting on an act. But the fact that there are pretenders only proves that there is a reality to be attained.
Secondly, we need to realize that this change is a process. This renewing of our minds is an ongoing process of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Look at the last part of the verse. “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” .This is not a magical procedure, it requires that we are careful what we take in, replacing those things that are not of God with those things which are.
2 Corinthians 10:5-7
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
Is Jesus Christ living in you? Then it should show!!!
Change is from within. “The Heart Matters”. Who’s Heart is in you?
Pastor Richard Santos
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