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March 23, 2021 8:00 am
Traditions can serve as powerful symbols and can even create memorable pastimes, but without the proper perspective than the right motivation traditions can also lose their meaning entirely in this broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will discover that in Matthew chapter 15 Jesus said something to say about faith traditions in the heart. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce repairing you to think and act quickly if you had to choose some words to describe Jesus confrontational and radical might not make your list.
But let's listen in to find out why Dr. Boyce describes Jesus in exactly those terms. Almost everything that Jesus Christ said was radical teaching, because Jesus is gone, God's ways are not our ways and thoughts are not our thoughts. Yet all the unexpected and even radical teaching that we find on the lips of Jesus Christ.
Probably nothing was radical in terms of the religion of his day is one. He said to the Pharisees and about the Pharisees is Matthew records that in the 15th chapter talking about heart worship rather than outward forms of worship we get a sense of how important this is. Remembering that the same issue was treated directly, clearly, and acts in God's preparation of Peter to go to the Gentiles.
Remember those words from Paul unclean.
What I have called clean and also by remembering that Paul devotes the longest section of that application portion of the book of Romans chapter 14 do exactly the same issue now doesn't probably seem as radical to us because we don't fit into the spirit of that Angel also because we've heard it many times in probably also because we haven't really absorbed very much a price teaching, but nevertheless this is really radical teaching in terms of all religion way people normally think about religion.
Jesus, I what it is. It really matters to God. Valley sources are important to the teaching that are set in the context of the story and we need to look at the background of the story.
First, Jesus. We know had been hunting for a place to get some rest the body of the far side of the Sea of Galilee and the crowds and followed them there.
Then he had left and had gone back to the other side of the area of Vanessa rent. But even here he was interrupted by the multitudes would follow them around everywhere he went. He couldn't actually get away to be with his disciples and get any rest of all now while he was on that side of the sea, all the multitudes were there was visitation from Jerusalem group of Pharisees and teachers of the law.
They came to ask about his disciples.
Failure to wash their hands before eating.
Others had nothing to do with whether their hands were free of dirt wasn't just a matter of cleanliness and had to do was ceremony and with their traditions and their way of thinking about religion was all wrapped up in such things very fact that Matthew points out that they had come to Jesus from Jerusalem probably indicates that this was an official delegation people in Jerusalem heard about this rabbi is teaching all these things. I went to check them out to see if he was really supporting their tradition, now this matter of washing your hands before meals was not required by the Old Testament, but it had become a very important part of the pharisaic traditions and ceremonies because their religion really was based upon matters like this and get sense of how important this was to them by noticing that there are laws about cleanness, all that sort forms of ceremony that had to be followed in order to be ceremonially clean and incorporated in one whole tractate of the Jewish Mishnah. It's the tractate called Eileen so here they had an awful lot of laws and it was important enough to be codified in that form that what we learned in the story is how rightly wrong.
Jesus considered their position debate because he just reply and some mild way trying to excuse his disciples as if they were saying, well now I didn't really have a chance to wash. Don't worry about it. We were just out hiking.
I'm sure they'll do better next time. Nor did he introduce discussion of the subject's I well I'm aware of your position on that. But why don't we sit down and talk about that. On the contrary he attacked them forcefully and directly about their fussing over what were poultry and insignificant matters while at the same time they were neglecting the word of God and his commandments.
He said that their entire understanding was wrong that their hearts were far from God, and that their worship of God's name stronger. He spoke to the disciples about the Pharisees and he said that they were blind guides of blind man plants the audit not water that would eventually be pulled up by the roots.
In view of those parables that we had studied from the 13th chapter, it's evident what he's talking about here. Plants are pulled up by the roots and destroy those that are destroyed at the last judgment. What is really saying is that this form of religion isn't God pleasing.
All of these Pharisees are going to perish in the end, when we remember that they were the most highly regarded religious people of their day. We begin to see how radical this really was because Jesus was not only condemning their system he was condemning the best of human religion buying that all efforts to please God by external matters are sent and that the only thing that really matters is a radical change of heart because it's what comes out of the heart that makes a man unclean. Remember how God taught that to Peter when he was a job on the roof of the house he received the vision of these various animals of all kinds being let down in the sheep from heaven. God spoke to him and said kill needs. And Peter replied, as any Jew would've gone that he couldn't do that because were all sorts of unclean animals. There things that the Jews were allowed to eat because of their traditions and voice of God came to him, saying, don't call anything unclean that God has made clean, very obvious way that pattern that was set there in God's teaching of Peter followed by Peter's ministry to the Gentiles as he went to the house of Cornelius is set out here very clearly in this 15th chapter of Matthew is here in the first part of the chapter were told all is matter of cleanness and uncleanness as slave Pharisees thought about it really doesn't apply all the people that they would consider unclean and certainly the Gentiles were the worst but in the very next section of the chapter goes into a Gentile area and heals and answers the prayer of an unclean Gentile woman at the end of the chapter. I understand of the ministers to Gentiles when he feeds and heals that great company of 4009 we look at this. While the outline is clear. There are three teaching conversations in these verses. Verses between Jesus and the Pharisees is where I began the second is between Jesus and the crowds and the third is between Jesus and his disciples how the first is Jesus response to those that would complained about the disciples on traditional practices. The Pharisees said why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders I don't wash their hands before they each.
That meant is that the disciples were unclean and what that meant is that they were gone religiously were not godly people of Jesus were true teacher is a man of God, he would be instructing his disciples and white behavior. Jesus response was twofold. As I indicated earlier. First, he confronted them directly in regard to their own religious practices and many condemned their false understanding religion is what a set number one you break the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition. This was a direct counterattack and it wasn't at this Jesus were merely saying well if I'm guilty then you're guilty to. Sometimes we do that sort of thing. That is what Jesus was saying, of all sales shifting of the matter from mere tradition that is the traditions of the elders to the word of God, which is primarily were accusing him of breaking the tradition of the elders he was saying you by your practices break the very wall of God.
Now the issue he raised was a particularly despicable practice of that time.
The fifth of the 10 Commandments, the first of the second table of the law. Jesus quotes here said that a man must honor his father and his mother and chapter later in the Exodus that is Exodus 21 verse 17.
A book says anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.
So together, those show how important it is to respect and care for one's parents. Now, what the Pharisees had done is devise a very interesting way of avoiding their obligation even had a word for word is doesn't occur here in Matthew, but in the parallel account in Mark in the seventh chapter does occur, the word refers to a gift dedicated to God work this way of a parent approach. One of these people asking to be helped because he didn't have enough money to live on or something like that all the person had to do what he really didn't want to help his parent was say Corban what that meant is that the money that might have been used to relieve his father or his mother in there needed been dedicated to God therefore couldn't be used in that way that's bad enough that God is more concerned to get our money than is to have us care for our parents, but it was even worse than this because of the greedy and uncaring son didn't even actually have to give the money to God to give it later, his deathbed, perhaps, or even moderate all and so in this way parents of such men were dishonored God's law was broken.
What Jesus was most concerned about is that by doing this they really nullified the Bible is making it of no effect which is the problem with human traditions. Human traditions always do. That's the first thing you said.
And secondly, he said, talking about their form of worship. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. He's quoting from Isaiah 29 chapter he reminds them of that verse because it points to the reality of hypocritical and therefore false worship. Even within the Jewish community because Isaiah was writing to them. Of course these people worship me in vain.
Their teachings are but rules taught by man was a damning accusation for people who were regarded as the best religious figures of their day. But it was just condemnation because of love tradition more than a genuine love of God always leads to false religion, and it should actually be leading the love of others as well. That leads to self-righteousness, which was the dominant characteristic of these man and is characteristic of the people in our day. Now all of that was so significant to Jesus.
But having answered the Pharisees directly. He then turned to the crowds and had a conversation with them and this is the second movement in the section he said to them, what goes into a man's mouth doesn't make you unclean. What comes out of his mouth. That's what makes them unclean was a direct contradiction of the Pharisees because it was saying that what matters before God is not clean or unclean hands kosher are nonkosher food, but what God is concerned about is the heart of the Pharisees should have known this, because that's what the Old Testament teaches was the clear teaching of Psalm 24. For example, Psalm asked the question of who may ascend the hill of the Lord who may stand in his holy place so that it answers this way, who has clean hands and a pure heart does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false with the Pharisees had known the person they did if they had thought about it, which they may have done lately what they had gone to separate the two parts clean hands and a pure heart. They forgot about a pure heart focused on clear hands and then they made it an external just had to be about washing in a certain formal way that's not what the song is about all I have a pure heart refers to inner holiness is what Jesus was speaking about on the sermon on the mount when he said blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God and clean hands refers to one who is pulling in his outward actions as well as inwardly because he's been changed within the exact opposite of Pilate. You will recall at the trial of Jesus Christ. When not before the crowd washed his hands as if he was absolving himself from any responsibility when in point of fact, the judge wrongly and condemned an innocent man to death, the Pharisees didn't know Psalm 24 they should've known. Psalm 15 on 15 acid words very similar Psalm 24 Lord who may dwell in your sanctuary who may live on your holy hill and answers this way.
He whose walk is blameless, does what is righteous and speaks the truth from his heart has no slander on his tong who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord keeps his oath even when it hurts, lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. That's the inward character of those who please God.
The people whom God approves of course, the only people who will ever have a wife like that of those who would been changed inwardly by God are to put in another language, the language Jesus used when he talked to another Pharisees name was Nicodemus told him you must be born again. The second of these conversations. The third is between Jesus and his disciples remember how the section is working at having to do with Jesus teaching of the 12 seems to of been private came to him now to say that the Pharisees were offended by his teaching while I find that amusing course they were offended by his teaching, self-righteous people are always amended and offended when you talk about true righteousness and truth is always reset it but I also find this amusing because the disciples that somehow they had the clue Jesus in that he wasn't aware that he defended them for that matter, and intended to offend them trying to do all of that and so Jesus did what he often does when John six didn't like the way he was talking about the doctrines of grace and objected to what he said you want me to speak more plainly, I'll do it and then gets even stronger than that. Well, this is what happens here. He says you're concerned about these man back they take him defenseless, and there being offended is proof. Not only that there false interpreters of the law, that would be bad enough because her job is to interpret rightly but they are outside of the kingdom altogether is what that reference to there being pulled up by the roots refers to its application of the second parable in Matthew 13, in which the weeds are separated from the weed the last day of her burned actually are true images for these men there called upland father is not planted, so that description.
Many were involved in Christian work.
They pretend to have been called by God but God hasn't called the lake tend to speak for God, but God hasn't spoken to them what they're doing is teaching the traditions of man, sometimes even the doctrines of the devil. It was the prince of darkness that kind of teaching in religious circles today don't we say that a preacher should deny the deity of Jesus Christ of their plants and father is implanted there weeds about to be pulled up and destroyed the final judgment that we have to say that about those who dismiss the value of Christ's atoning sacrifice for sin to ridicule resurrection and defend his normal sins of the Bible says will carry those who persist in the judgment well their plants.
The father has implanted in their condemnation will be just and secondly he calls sleaze Pharisees and teachers of the law blind guides were trying to lead others. The only outcome.
Both those who are leading. Most were falling and would fall into the pit and I don't think you met a hole in the ground. Jesus talking about there is the bottomless pit is weeping and gnashing of teeth forevermore. So that's the first thing he said he wrapped it up this way.
This is the positive teaching the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. And these are the things that make a man unclean. The Pharisees concerned about what it is that contaminates an individual, Jesus will tell them what it is is an evil heart.
That's what does it because out of the heart, things that are wicked like murder and adultery, evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander, these are what make a man unclean, but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean is interesting that at this point Mark comments on this recognizing how significant this teaching was saying that by these words.
Jesus declared all foods clean, thereby abolishing not only pharisaic but also a little bit ago regulations.
Mark seven verse 19 all learned the same lesson argues in Romans 14 the because of this teaching. Christians are not to divide over matters of diet or even the observance or nonobservance of special or certain holy days. Why because the kingdom of God doesn't consistently say kingdom of God says Paul is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and by man. What true religion as that's it. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and that's what Jesus came to teach and to establish these are exactly the opposite of that kind of spiritual sanctimonious pride takes delight in external matters. So we come to the end of Jesus. Radical teaching about the nature of true religion is the only kind of religion that God accepts that at least of the obvious question. Do you stand before God with clean hands only or do you come before God with the purified clean heart washing hands is not the only way people get wrapped up in ceremonial religion. This was the Pharisees problem among others. Same principle applies in other areas.
Some think of this in terms of doing good works versus their version of going with unwashed hands so they give money to help the poor, or they donate time for charity. They suppose that they're going to be accepted by God because of that kind of external activity or other people think in terms of religious observance go to church services. Maybe they're especially careful to make confession daily or something like that. Another person places weight on standing or sitting for prayers how he holds his prayerbook to reprocess himself entering the church and so forth.
My mother's very strong Christian today, but she says when she looks back on her childhood as she was being prepared catechetical instruction for her first communion. The only thing she remembers from that construction was how she was supposed to hold her prayerbook when she was supposed to stand up and when she was supposed to sit down say that is not religion you been understanding religion of these or similar ways you may discover. Also, I hope you have ceremonial things really don't change your heart. Regardless of how often you go to church or how much money you gave her all the good works.
You think you're doing it still the case that out of your heart, such things as evil thoughts false testimony and slander even if not greater sense of murder and adultery, sexual immorality, and theft, and you may be guilty of these greater sins as well. You have two problems. Realize that you need forgiveness for your sins. That's for things you've done in the past and you need a new heart that will enable you to stop sending and begin to live for God can forgiveness be filed is only one answer good news is that Jesus came to provide forgiveness by dying in your place bearing your penalty in his body on the cross work in the new heart rebound answer is the same, comes from Jesus not only died on the cross and rose again the send the Holy Spirit was able to give you a new heart capable of loving and serving him it was possible to talk about the whole of Christianity in terms of a renewed or transformed heart Bishop John Charles while that it years ago. This is what he wrote. What is the first thing we need in order to be Christians.
The answer is a new heart. What is the sacrifice God asked us to bring to M answer is a broken and contrite heart. What is the true circumcision.
It's a circumcision of the heart.
What's genuine obedience to obey from the heart. What is saving faith to believe with the heart where on Christ to dwell, to dwell in our hearts by faith. Once that she requested wisdom makes of everyone I son give me your heart.
You want a new heart need one glacial ever got it from God and from Jesus make the gift possible. So that's conclusion of the teaching, did Jesus ask him or new heart Pharisees refused to do it, so eventually they perished in their sins's prayer father were thankful for the teaching of Jesus Christ that moves true religion from all these external matters that matter. Nothing at all and instead focuses on back change which he alone is able to bring up does bring for those who turn to him and ask for we pray that you would bless us in this hour by giving that great gift to many working in their hearts, to repent of sin turn to Christ for forgiveness asking for renewal bring it about. We pray for Jesus sake you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.
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